October 18, 2020

Matthew 22:15-22
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

“Everything to God!”

In a season of elections and political debates, today’s Gospel story seems very fitting. Jesus is approached by two opposing groups who scheme together to try to trick him into saying something that he shouldn’t.

Commentators note that the Pharisees and the Herodians are a strange pairing because they would have been on opposite sides of the political spectrum and, in particular, the tax question. The Herodians were supporters of Herod Antipas (King Herod’s son) and Rome’s puppet ruler and collaborator with the empire. The Pharisees were against the Roman occupation, so they had little in common with Herodians – except their mutual opposition to Jesus and the trouble he was stirring up among the people.

The Pharisees and Herodians first soak Jesus in flattery, and then ask him a trick question: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” If Jesus says, “Do not pay taxes to the emperor,” the Romans will get him for treason. If he says, “Yes, we should pay taxes to the emperor,” his own followers in that occupied country will call him a traitor.

It makes me think of other questions asked of our political hopefuls in the course … Read more »

October 22, 2017

Exodus 33:12-23
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

“Seeing God”

It has been a very difficult journey through the wilderness. After God led the Hebrew People out of slavery in Egypt, across the Sea, and into freedom, they wandered for forty years without finding their way to the promised land.

God provided for their basic needs along the way – food to eat, water to drink, simple shelter from the elements – but it was obviously a pretty discouraging time. The people complained bitterly about their circumstances, and at times they even longed to go back to the security and predictability of their oppressed life in Egypt.

Last Sunday, we read the story about the time they built a golden calf to worship, just one of the times that they turned away from God and did wrong things. And we were reminded that although God was disappointed, and although God was angry, God’s love and grace eventually prevailed, and God gave them another chance.

It is in today’s reading (a chapter later) that Moses begs God to give them that second chance, to keep them as God’s own people, and to stay with them on their journey and lead them all the way into the promised land.

In the midst … Read more »

October 19, 2008 – Calvin-Goforth Presbyterian Church

The following sermon, based on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, was preached by the Rev. Amanda Currie at Calvin-Goforth Presbyterian Church, Saskatoon, on Sunday, October 19th. Worship at St. Andrew’s was led by the Stewardship Committee using resources for Presbyterians Sharing Sunday.

Written in about the year 50 CE, some 20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus and 20 years before the Gospel of Mark was written, Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is the oldest piece of Christian literature that we have. Early on during his second missionary journey, Paul, accompanied by Silas (sometimes called Silvanus) visited Thessalonica, the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. They preached in the Jewish synagogue, with the result that some Jews and a larger number of pious Gentiles became Christians. In the book of Acts it is suggested that Paul spent only a short time in Thessalonica before difficulties occurred and he and his companions left the city.

The letter shows that in the relatively short time he was with them, Paul developed a deep familial affection for the Thessalonians. He cared so much for them and he was so concerned for these newly evangelized Christians that he had … Read more »