February 3, 2019

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Luke 4:21-30 “The Demands of Love” I’m looking forward to next Sunday evening at First Church, and our “Celebration of Love” fine dining event. I think it’s going to be a lovely evening to support a good cause – our refugee sponsorship initiative – and to celebrate the gift of love. In the early stages of planning for a Valentine’s Day-themed dinner, we were talking about the program and I suggested that we include some love poetry, in addition to the music and dance that would be the highlights of the entertainment. I’m no expert on poetry, but I thought of “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. And then I thought of Robert Burns’ poem that begins “My love is like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June. My love is like the melody that’s sweetly played in tune.” But I am a Christian minister, not a poet, so the next thing that came to mind was not exactly a poem. Although it is poetic. It was our Epistle reading today from 1 Corinthians 13 – the love chapter. I’ve preached on that chapter many times, and most of them were at weddings. “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude… [Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” I usually explain that the passage wasn’t intended for a wedding or … Read more »

June 19, 2016

1 Corinthians 13 1 John 4:7-12 “The Fruit of the Spirit is LOVE” The photograph on the front of this morning’s bulletin shows a boy named Jake, in the midst of a great leap off the dock into Lac Castor – Beaver Lake. I know that lake well, as it’s the lake at Gracefield Camp – the Presbyterian camp that I attended as a child and worked at for many years as a young adult. The picture was chosen to mark the beginning of the Christian camping season and the goodness of God’s creation coming alive at this time of year, but what I noticed about it was the boy’s leap! He looks so confident and free… trusting that the water won’t be too shallow for such a leap, or too cold for a little boy, or too full of strange creatures like fish, or turtles, or leaches, or lake sharks! The boy’s confident leap makes me think about the leaps that we adults are invited to make, and about which we often show a great deal more hesitation… things like buying a first home, starting up a business, deciding to change careers, embarking on a new ministry, or getting married. Pope Francis remarked this week that the vast majority of young people getting married today don’t truly understand the meaning or significance of the commitment that they are making to each other. It’s like they are children, leaping into a lake without checking the depth, or the temperature, or … Read more »

January 31, 2016

1 Corinthians 13 “Practice Love” The Apostle Paul’s words to the Christians at Corinth are beautiful, but often challenging to hear. The middle section especially is difficult, because when I hear those familiar words again, I become immediately aware of how often my own actions and words have betrayed the love to which I am called: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I think of times when I have been grumpy instead of patient. I think of times when I’ve been cruel rather than kind. I think of times when I was more concerned about how I would be perceived than about a situation being resolved. I think of moments of frustration, irritability, and stubbornness, that have not just been a part of my life, but a part of my life this week! There have been times when I have been unwilling to bear with all things. Indeed, I’ve complained, and criticized, corrected and insisted on my own way even when the issue wasn’t all that important. It’s easy to blame such behaviour on being tired or hormonal, or on the stupidity or ridiculousness of the people around me… but the fact is that I, and we, as Christians are called to … Read more »

February 3, 2013

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 “Everything with Love” We talk a lot about LOVE in the church. We read scripture about love: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end.” Lamentations 3:22 “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” Psalm 36:5 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44 And we sing hymns about love: “Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down.” BOP #371 “A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another as I have loved you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” BOP #225 “What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul!” BOP #242 “Jesu, Jesu, fill us with you love; show us how to serve the neighbours we have from you.” BOP #229 In our faith community, Sunday by Sunday and week by week, we gather to remind one another about the unconditional love that God has for each one of us, and we pray together that God will help us … Read more »

January 31, 2010

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Jeremiah 1:4-10 Psalm 71:1-6 1 Corinthians 13 Luke 4:21-30 I’ve been pondering these scripture texts all week and thinking about what to say to you this morning. And most of my attention has been focused on the prophets. I spent some time on Friday reading about Jeremiah and his call as a prophet to the people of Judah in the period just before the exile. Jeremiah, whose call we heard today, had the really tough job of preaching God’s words of judgment to the people. He was the one who had to tell them to shape up, to stop worshipping so many false gods, and to turn back to the One God of Israel. From the very beginning of Jeremiah’s life, he was chosen by God for this difficult task. And though Jeremiah objected, saying that he was only a boy, God said “You will go to all to whom I send you, and you will speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” But figuring out what words to say was probably the least of Jeremiah’s worries. God would give him the message to proclaim, but the hard part was going to be dealing with the people’s response to his words. God said, “I will appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” In other words, most of what Jeremiah had … Read more »