January 30, 2011

“Psalms of Lament: Living in a Broken World”

Numbers 11:11-15
Psalm 13, Refrain #1
Mark 15:33-38

As most of you know, we have been celebrating the Psalms at St. Andrew’s this month, and last Sunday our focus was on Psalms of Praise and Thanksgiving. Now, I’m sorry for any of you who missed last Sunday because it was a great Sunday! With the theme of praise and thanksgiving, we got to pick some joyful, lively music, and there was a wonderful spirit of rejoicing in the church.

I think it worked out really well. But it wasn’t just that we had planned a good service… it was also the fact that everyone came in to church in a great mood! Someone told me afterward that the entranceway before church last Sunday was full of laughter and excitement and joy. Do you remember why? It was warm outside!

That was the morning that we finally got a break from the bitter cold of a Saskatchewan winter, and we all came in to church rejoicing. It was a great day! And most of us arrived at worship more than ready to praise and thank God for all God’s blessings, including the relatively warmer temperature.

But happy and joyful are … Read more »

January 23, 2011

“Psalms of Thanksgiving: Living Praise”

1 Chronicles 13:1-8
Psalm 147
Matthew 19:13-15

Praise ye the Lord, hallelujah! Everybody praise the Lord! (sung, with congregation joining in)

Psalms of praise and thanksgiving are often the most popular, familiar, and well-loved of all the psalms. They are the prayers that appear most often in the lectionary and in the Christian church’s great festival Sundays. And if you flip through the book of Psalms, you’ll find a praise psalm within seconds. There are lots of them! And many of them have been set to music, so you can find lots of them in our hymn books as well.

In some ways, psalms of praise and thanksgiving are simple. They express the kind of thoughts and feelings that seem appropriate for church. They tell of God’s goodness and power and love. They say thank you to God for all the good things God has done.

Psalms of praise fit right in with our expectations of what worship should include, and they seem appropriate for all of our celebrations. We stand, we sing, we read, we sit. Praise done orderly and respectfully, just like the way we pray.

Praise ye the Lord, hallelujah! Everybody praise the Lord!

Our ancient ancestors had a different way … Read more »

January 16, 2011

The following sermon was preached at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Parish in Saskatoon. The occasion was an Ecumenical Sunday to mark the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-34

Before I begin, I would like to say thank you to all of you for welcoming me this morning, and thank you to Father Tony for inviting me to share my reflections on the scriptures with you. As we begin this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, it is good for us to worship, to pray, and to share across denominational lines, as we seek to grow together in unity and peace.

As Tony mentioned, I am the minister at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, just down 20th Street at Spadina Crescent. I am pleased to see that there are a few members of my congregation here at St. Mary’s this morning, and I would encourage the members of St. Mary’s Parish, that you are most welcome to worship with us at St. Andrew’s later this morning at 11 a.m. If you decide to join us, you will get to hear Father Tony preaching, as well as to experience worship in the Reformed Tradition, just as we are sharing … Read more »

January 9, 2011

Psalm 23

“Psalms of Trust: Learning to Live Without Fear”

I watched a transformation taking place on Thursday evening. If anyone else watched the medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” this week, then you also got to witness the transformation from fear to trust, from despair to hope, and from giving up to determination to work for the good of those who are suffering. Of course, the show is only fiction. But it’s fiction that in many ways mirrors reality, and that reflects on the struggles of real people in the world today.

First of all, you need to know the background. Last season, the Seattle hospital and its employees experienced a traumatic event. A grief-stricken man entered the hospital with a gun and terrorized the staff and patients, injuring many people and killing several as well. And many of the characters of the show have not been the same since. One surgeon has been too scared to operate. Another continues to struggle with feelings of powerlessness when she is unable to save a patient. Still others are crippled by fear and the memories of that awful day.

Not everyone has experienced that kind of trauma in life, but most of us have seen it on … Read more »