October 20, 2019

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 Psalm 133 John 17:20-23 “I Have Need of You” Back in my seminary days at Knox College, I took a preaching class with Stephen Farris that was specifically focussed on preaching 1st Corinthians for congregations in conflict. You may remember that the Church at Corinth was the epitome of a congregation in conflict. In the first chapter we hear that some say they belong to Paul, others to Apollos, and others to Peter. They have divided themselves into different groups with different allegiances, and they aren’t being very kind to one another. Some of them think that they are better than the others because they have special spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues. When they get together for the Lord’s supper, some are getting well fed while others go hungry. And when they share times of worship, there is chaos happening too – a kind of a power struggle over leadership and who gets to interpret God’s Word. They are even having arguments that lead to lawsuits. Things are not good. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians provides excellent material for challenging and encouraging congregations that are experiencing conflict today. In the class, we were given a particular situation of congregational conflict and instructed to preach a passage from 1 Corinthians that would speak to that situation. It wasn’t a difficult assignment, especially with imaginary circumstances. I never could have imagined seventeen years ago that I’d one day be Moderator of the 2019 General Assembly and challenged to … Read more »

January 27, 2019

“Gathered around God’s Word” Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a 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 »

January 20, 2019

“Time to show God’s glory” 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 John 2:1-11 Time is a precious commodity in our lives today. I appreciate that all of you have set aside this hour or two for worship, and fellowship, and service in the Christian community. I know that there are many demands on your time day-by-day, and it means something when you choose to use your time in this way. When you are deciding how to use your precious time, I wonder how you choose your activities. I wonder how you set your priorities. Sometimes we just prioritize what seems most urgent. We work towards the deadlines that are looming largest, and leave future planning and projects until later when they too become urgent. Things get done in a hurry, but at least they get done, and we keep our heads above water as we manage our hectic lives, families, and work. When taken to the extreme, time-crunched lives like this mean that the basics get done, but there is never any time for the extras. Decorations go up for Christmas, but little time is spent enjoying them. Children’s food and clothing are provided, but squeezing in time to just hang out with and enjoy your kids happens rarely. You go to the clinic when you get sick, but time to consider and take up healthier practices in life doesn’t become urgent enough to be done. The church’s worship and programs keep running, but we may not take the time to plan for … Read more »

October 23, 2016 – “Being the Church: Welcoming All Ages”

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Deuteronomy 6:1-9 1 Corinthians 12:12-21 This morning we continue to reflect on some of the wonderful qualities that are present in many congregations, including ours… acknowledging the gifts of “being the church” that we need to preserve so that we can continue to serve in the communities where we live. Today’s quality is “Welcoming All Ages” – a very appropriate one for this special day on which we have baptized baby Fraser, welcoming one of our youngest members to the church family, both of this congregation and of the whole church of which we are a part. I want to acknowledge the Rev. Emily Bisset, who wrote the study guide on the theme of “Being the Church” and whose sermon on “Welcoming All Ages” I adapted for today. Deuteronomy is a sort of guide for the Israelites as they finish their forty-year journey in the wilderness and get ready to inhabit the Promised Land. While they journeyed from slavery in Egypt to freedom, God was with them in visible and tangible ways. God provided manna to eat every morning and quails for their supper every evening. God went before the people as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Now that the people are about to enter the Promised Land, Moses tells them that there is a new way to remember God’s saving acts and also to sense God’s presence in their midst: that new way is the … Read more »

May 29, 2016 – Program Presentation

This year the Session decided to include the Annual Program Meeting in Sunday worship. The convenors of the Program Committees (Christian Education, Outreach, Pastoral Care, Stewardship, and Worship) presented a skit to share about their activities over the past year and to present their program goals for 2016-2017. The skit was inspired by 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, in which Paul encourages the Corinthian Christians not to argue over who has the best spiritual gifts, but to value all the variety of members and their spiritual gifts that make up the Body of Christ.

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 »

January 27, 2013

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a “Gather Around God’s Word” On Friday evening I attended the Ecumenical Jazz Service at St. Francis Xavier Parish. It was one of the special services planned for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity here in Saskatoon. It was a lovely service, with musical leadership provided by an excellent jazz trio of piano, double bass, and drums. Under the leadership of Pastor David Hunter from Augustana Lutheran Church, the Churches of the Broadway-Nutana area worked together to lead the worship. Before the Gospel reading, the congregation was invited to stand and sing a jazzy Alleluia in preparation for hearing the Gospel proclaimed. But when the song ended, the congregation waited, and no one stepped forward to do the reading. Something had fallen through the cracks in the planning, and there was no one ready to read. Realizing what had happened, David scrambled to solve the problem. And after glancing around, he asked the question of us all, “Does anyone have a Bible?” The Catholic Parish in which we were worshipping only had hymn books and prayer books in the pews and David didn’t have one on hand either. As I was just realizing that I could access the reading using the Bible App on my phone, another Lutheran pastor came forward with a bible in hand, looked up the text, and read it aloud for all to hear. I do carry a little bible around with me most of the time, and it … Read more »

January 20, 2013

Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 John 2:1-11 “One Family of Faith” I’ve been looking forward to this week with great anticipation. Some people count down the days until Christmas. Some people count down the days until their birthdays. But I’ve been counting down the days until the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and I am so pleased that it has finally arrived once again. It’s a typical third week of January in Saskatchewan, bitterly cold outside. But inside the churches of Saskatoon there is a great warmth, not only because the furnaces and boilers are working overtime, but because Christians of all backgrounds and denominations are gathering to pray, to sing, to share food and fellowship, and to celebrate together as one family of God. Some of you come from large families and know what it’s like to go to a big family reunion. Family reunions can be great celebrations, and they can be tricky to plan. As the family has grown, people have moved in different directions. They’ve spread out across the country or even the world. They’ve left behind some family traditions and created new ones. They’ve joined together with other families and blended cultures and ways of life. So when you get the family back together again there can be tensions. People have changed and grown while they’ve been apart, and may have different ideas about what it means to be a part of the family. But at the same time, there is something that binds … Read more »

September 11, 2011

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 Hebrews 10:19-25 This morning’s “Gems of Encouragement” theme comes from the Christian Education Committee, with special thanks to Mary Jane Hanson for the idea and for taking care of many of the details. The committee decided that a focus on the spiritual gift of “encouragement” would be a wonderful way to start another educational year, as well as a good way to build up supportive relationships between the people in our church community. But when we first talked about doing this encouragement theme in September, I didn’t realize how many things would be coming together on this day. We are beginning a new year in the Church School, and we have a number of new teachers coming on board. We are ordaining three new elders who will join our session and serve in the leadership of our church. And we are announcing that we have hired a Pastoral Care Nurse for the congregation for the very first time. And simultaneous with all of these joyful and exciting beginnings, we are aware of the fact that today is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. In so many ways, “encouragement” seems like the right thing for us to be doing today. And so, setting aside the lectionary readings for today, I selected the passage from the book of Hebrews that Logan read for us this morning. I thought that the final verses (24-25) – originally written (or perhaps preached) to one of the … Read more »

June 12, 2011

Acts 2:1-21 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 The wind was blowing yesterday. It was slamming the screen door and rattling the blinds of my house. It was pushing my little red car as I drove along the freeway so that I had to hang on tight to the steering wheel. It was rustling through the branches of the trees and sending out showers of seeds through the air. And up above, it was streaking its way across the sky, playing with the clouds and creating an ever-changing display of God’s glory. It makes a lot of sense to me that the Spirit of God should be compared to a rushing wind… an invisible force that seems to come out of nowhere, but that makes its presence and power seen and heard by its effect on whatever it blows upon. I remember a friend in my church membership class years ago trying to describe what the Holy Spirit was. She said the Spirit is the “umph” I need to do and be what God is calling me to do and be. The Spirit is like the “divine shove” that disturbs us out of our resting places and moves us to start doing God’s work in the world. That definition fits pretty well when you think about the Spirit being poured out on the gathered disciples on that first Pentecost day after Jesus’ death and resurrection. They described the Spirit as a rushing wind swirling around them, as tongues of fire resting upon them. … 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 »