Christmas Memorial Sermon – November 28, 2007

The following sermon was preached at the annual Christmas Memorial Service for St. John’s Columbarium on November 28, 2007. The service took place at St. John’s Cathedral in Saskatoon, SK. Isaiah 9:2-7Psalm 139:1-18John 1:1-14 I have a vivid memory of a school trip to the Maritimes when I was nine years old. We were visiting a small town in Acadia, and we were billeted with local families. The room I slept in those few nights was in the basement of my billet’s home. It had a small window, but being on the edge of town there wasn’t much light outside to come in through the window at night. In the middle of the first night, I woke up because I needed to go to the bathroom. The room was so dark that I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face, and it took me a moment to remember where I was — that I wasn’t at home in my own bed. Once I realized where I was, I also realized that finding my way to the bathroom was not going to be easy. But I couldn’t wait till morning, so I got up and started feeling my way towards where I thought I’d find the light switch. I found a wall. I found a corner. But I didn’t find a switch. Frantically, I started searching for the door. Where was it? I was starting to feel trapped. I strained my eyes, opening them as wide as I … Read more »

September 5, 2010

Jeremiah 18:1-11 Part 1 Right from the moment that God called Jeremiah to serve as a prophet, God made it clear that Jeremiah would often be bringing bad news to the people. The reality was that God’s People in the Northern Kingdom of Israel were not living very faithfully towards God or lovingly towards one another. And Jeremiah got the unpopular job of warning them to shape up or experience God’s power against them. The wonderful metaphor of God working on us like a potter carefully and gently transforms a lump of clay into a beautiful and useful vessel can easily lose the clear, harsh judgment that Jeremiah was announcing against an unfaithful People. It’s not just that God wants to smooth out our rough edges or give us a fresh coat of paint. Jeremiah is talking about a much deeper and greater transformation… from self-centered, selfish, self-loving people… into people who love God and want to show that love by caring for others, by putting others first, by loving our neighbours and the stranger who is in need. We’re talking about big changes here… transformation… That’s what God wants to do in our lives, and God has the power to do it too… like a potter who can not only smooth out a rough edge, but who can choose to squash the pot that isn’t turning out right… to squish it and pound it work it into useable clay, and begin again… to form it into the beautiful vessel … Read more »

July 17, 2011

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Psalm 139 I think I understand why Jesus’ disciples would have needed him to explain the parable of the weeds among the wheat. Like them, I don’t think I would have gotten the point just from hearing it once and thinking about it a little. In fact, I read the parable over and over this week. I reflected on it for hours. I read what others had to say about it online and in several published books. I even had a couple of conversations with other Christians about what Jesus’ parable might mean for us today. But when I stopped reading and thinking and talking… when it was time for me to start writing, to decide what I would say to you today, I felt stuck. There seemed to be so many possible interpretations of the parable that I didn’t know where to begin. So I decided to begin with the explanation of the parable that is provided in the Gospel. Maybe that was Jesus’ own explanation to his disciples on that day when they were confused: They were back in the house, and the crowds were left outside. And the disciples said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” And he answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the … Read more »

January 15, 2012

1 Samuel 3:1-10 Psalm 139:1-18 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 John 1:43-51 The following sermon is posted with thanks to Kathryn Matthews Huey, whose reflections on Psalm 139 (from the website of the United Church of Christ) provided significant inspiration, and from whom I borrowed several paragraphs. There is an obvious connection between the Old Testament and Gospel readings this morning. They are “call narratives” – stories about people who received a call from God. In First Samuel 3, a little boy is called to become “a trustworthy prophet of the Lord,” and John’s Gospel tells the story of Philip and Nathanael leaving everything behind to follow Jesus when they realize that he is the one “about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote.” Many of us here today (perhaps all of us) have also been called by God. We probably weren’t wakened by God’s voice calling out our name in the middle of the night, and we didn’t have Jesus literally walk up to us and say, “Come and follow me.” But we have heard God’s call in the words of the Bible, through the voices of preachers and teachers, or as an urgent sense of needing to get out of our own concerns and do something for God. Some have heard calls to particular ministries in the church. Others have sensed a call to speak up for someone who was in trouble, or to speak out for what was right and just at work or in the … Read more »

September 8, 2013

Psalm 139 “We Remember that God is With Us” At Women’s Camp this weekend, the theme was “Ministries of Presence.” Emily Carr, who serves as the Ecumenical Chaplain at the University of Saskatchewan, led the program along with her mother-in-law Moira Brownlee who serves in a ministry to ex-convicts in Calgary. Both women shared stories about their experience in ministry when they were called upon to be present with others – not necessarily to DO something particular, to solve a problem, to say just the right thing, or to convince someone to change their life around and turn to Jesus. Instead, they identified some of the many times when they have been called upon simply to be present with someone who was in crisis or trouble, and somehow, through their just being there, God was working through them. The stories that Emily and Moira shared on Friday evening at camp reminded me of some of my own experiences. Emily talked about the awkwardness of being with someone in a nursing home or a hospital room when there isn’t anything more to be said, when there isn’t anything more to be done… when all the minister, or the chaplain, or the good friend or family member can do is to be present. And I’ve been there for lots of those times too… sitting at the beside holding someone’s hand… standing in the room with a family waiting for their loved one to take his final breath… hovering in the hospital hallway, … Read more »

January 18, 2015

1 Samuel 3:1-10 Psalm 139:1-18 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 John 1:43-51 “Vocation” The most recent issue of the WMS magazine, “Glad Tidings” is focussed on the theme of vocation. When I asked one group earlier this week what “vocation” means, someone said, “It’s what you do.” And more specifically than that, it’s what you are called to do. The word, “vocation” comes from the Latin “vocare” meaning “to call,” and our scripture readings this morning and next week also, are filled with stories of people being called by God to various ministries. Although people who become ministers like me, and maybe even people who become Christian educators like Martha and the others we commissioned this morning, quickly get used to the idea that we are called to a particular ministry in the church. Sometimes we can recall times when people noticed our gifts or our potential for a certain ministry, and even if we didn’t hear God’s voice calling to us directly like Samuel did… we certainly heard it through the voices of others in the Christian community. One of the things that was very interesting about the last issue of “Glad Tidings” was that it wasn’t a bunch of stories about ministers or missionaries being called by God. Instead, it was filled with stories of a variety of Christian women who were called to a variety of vocations – women called to different professional roles, inside and outside the church, women called to be parents, and women called to more … Read more »

September 4, 2016

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie The worship service on Sunday, September 4, 2016 was a family service. Rather than the usual short children’s message followed by a longer sermon, we had a three-part message with the first two sections aimed primarily at the children, and the third one aimed at the adults. The audio file of these three messages has been edited so that they flow from one to the next. During the actual service, there were hymns, reflection times, and prayers between the sections you will hear on the recording. Part 1: “Created by God: We are God’s special children” (Psalm 139) Part 2: “Shaped by God: We grow into the people God wants us to be” (Jeremiah 18:1-6) Part 3: “Warned by God: We must change our ways to God’s ways” (Jeremiah 18:1-11) Listen to this Children’s Message & Sermon

January 14, 2018

1 Samuel 3:1-20 Psalm 139 John 1:43-51 “Rare Words from God” “The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.” That was part of the introduction to the story about the prophet Samuel… Samuel as a young boy, when he first began to listen for God’s voice and share God’s words with the people and their leaders. I wonder if people might say something similar about the days in which we live now. I wonder if you would say that it is rare to hear God’s word today, that there are many, many words and messages being proclaimed in print, on TV, through the internet and social media, but that hearing God’s word in the midst of all of those other words is rare, indeed. The story of Samuel’s calling serves as a reminder for us that God does indeed speak. Even when we have begun to think that messages from God are rare or even impossible, God continues to call. The question is whether we are listening and able to recognize God’s voice. When Samuel figures out (with Eli’s help) that it may be God who is speaking to him in the quiet of the night, and he says, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” I love how God begins the message he has for Samuel. God says, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears it tingle.” Interesting, huh? What God is … Read more »