March 15, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Exodus 20:1-17 Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 John 2:13-22 Has anyone ever scoffed at your faith or laughed at your religion? Have you ever gotten into a debate over the existence of God or the usefulness of practicing your faith? Many of us Christians have engaged in those kinds of conversations or debates many times over the years. And sometimes we’ve left them feeling frustrated because we couldn’t think of many great arguments in favour of Christianity. Or we’ve left them feeling guilty because we got angry with a person who couldn’t seem to accept our perspective. Or perhaps, once in a while, we’ve finished those conversations feeling good about the experience because we got a chance to share our faith – not to defend it or to justify it, but simply to tell our neighbour what we believe about God and how our beliefs affect our lives. I don’t know very many Presbyterians who aren’t scared to death of sharing their faith with their neighbours, co-workers, and friends. And one reason for that may be because of past negative experiences — when they seemed to lose the debate, when they left the conversation feeling angry, hurt, guilty, or like a failure. It’s like how I tend to avoid getting into debates about controversial topics like religion with my brothers-in-law. I know those conversations never end well, so I figure it’s better to avoid them altogether and to stay on good terms. I think … Read more »

September 13, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Proverbs 1:20-33 Psalm 19 James 3:1-12 Mark 8:27-38 As you know, the bible contains many different types of literature within its many books. And the book of Proverbs is part of the type of biblical material called “wisdom literature”. It is an amazing book full of wise sayings and advice for many people in many situations. And it begins with an image of wisdom personified. Wisdom is out in the street, in the squares where all the people are passing by, and she’s shouting. Woman Wisdom has chosen the busiest corner at the entrance of the city gates, and she is calling “How long, O simple ones? How long will you love being simple? How long will you hate knowledge? I have called to you, and made my words known to you. I have offered to share my wisdom with you, and you have ignored me.” Wisdom is sick and tired of being ignored, and she seems to be giving up on the people who don’t have any use for her. “It’ll serve you right!” becomes her message. If you ignore wisdom, things won’t go well for you, and you’ll have to deal with it all on your own, without any knowledge or wisdom to help you. Now it could be that the wisdom that is calling out to us today is simply the many proverbs that we find in the bible. The image of Woman Wisdom calling out is a great way to … Read more »

January 24, 2010

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a Luke 4:14-21 In the middle of our bible reading challenge here at St. Andrew’s, the lectionary has provided us with a wonderful set of readings on which to reflect and pray. The overarching theme in Nehemiah 8, in Psalm 19, and in our reading from Luke’s Gospel is the scriptures themselves — and in particular, the question of how we use and interpret the scriptures. The psalmist begins by making it clear that the scriptures are of utmost importance for God’s people. Of course, from the psalmist’s perspective, at least 500 to maybe 1000 years before the birth of Jesus, the scriptures consisted of the Law of Moses, perhaps as gathered together into the Torah — the rough equivalent of the first five books of our bibles today. The psalmist declares that the Law of the Lord is perfect. God’s decrees and precepts and ordinances are sure, and right, and true altogether. He thinks very highly of these texts and speaks of them with utmost respect and admiration and praise. And it’s not only that God’s commandments are true and right from the perspective of a wise and powerful God. The psalmist is arguing that they are actually useful for those who might read and pay attention to them. God’s laws revives the soul, the psalmist claims. God’s decrees make the reader wise. Paying attention to God’s precepts and commandments brings joy to your heart … Read more »

September 16, 2012

Psalm 19 James 3:1-12 Mark 8:27-38 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen. Preachers and teachers need prayers like that one, taken from the final verse of Psalm 19. I remember my preaching professor in seminary telling us that the high pulpits in many churches should serve as a reminder to preachers of the magnitude of the task that we are called to. When we approach one of those pulpits, and make our way up the steps, we should do so in fear and trembling, he said, praying that God will give us the words to speak. Our pulpit here is not so high, not like the one I saw years ago in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Geneva where John Calvin once preached. It has a full spiral staircase with about ten steps to climb… plenty of time to think about what the preacher is about to do… plenty of time to ask for God’s help. But even as I make my way across from the lectern to the pulpit here on Sunday mornings, I’m praying something similar because I know that words matter, and I know that I’m human and I can’t always come up with the right ones on my own. The Book of James warns us, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater … Read more »

January 24, 2016

Nehemiah 3:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a “Interpreting the Scriptures Together” The overarching theme in most of this morning’s scripture readings is the scriptures themselves. In particular, it is the question of how we use and interpret the scriptures. The psalmist begins by making it clear that the scriptures are of utmost importance for God’s people. Of course, from the psalmist’s perspective, at least 500 to maybe 1000 years before the birth of Jesus, the scriptures consisted of the Law of Moses, perhaps as gathered together into the Torah — the rough equivalent of the first five books of our Bibles today. The psalmist declares that the Law of the Lord is perfect. God’s decrees and precepts and ordinances are sure, and right, and true altogether. He thinks very highly of these texts and speaks of them with utmost respect and admiration and praise. And it’s not only that God’s commandments are true and right from the perspective of a wise and powerful God. The psalmist is arguing that they are actually useful for those who might read and pay attention to them. God’s laws revive the soul, the psalmist claims. God’s decrees make the reader wise. Paying attention to God’s precepts and commandments brings joy to your heart and light (or understanding) to your eyes. The writer of this psalm feels so strongly about God’s Word that he hungers for it more than rich food or great wealth. It is the greatest gift of all. It was … Read more »