July 1, 2018

2 Corinthians 8:7-15 Mark 5:21-43 “Canada: Blessed to Bless” When I began to reflect on the Scripture readings for today, the first thing that caught my attention was in the passage from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. It was the part about finishing up what we start, completing our work. I immediately thought about my unfinished doctoral degree. As you may know, I started working on a Doctor of Ministry degree several years ago. It’s one of those degrees designed for people in full-time ministry, so you take courses and do the work while continuing in your congregational role, and reflecting on your ministry as you do your research and writing. And it’s a fair amount of work. I finished the coursework and the comprehensive paper, and started working on my thesis proposal while I was still in Saskatoon. Then, last September I decided to take a 1 year leave from the program. I wanted to concentrate on getting settled into this new ministry in Regina, and I was allowed to pause for a year without penalty. But the year has sped by, and soon it will be time to pick up that work again, and try to get it completed. Here’s what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began… not only to do something but even to desire to do something – now finish it according to your means.” Of course, I have a certain … Read more »

June 28, 2015

2 Corinthians 8:7-15 Mark 5:21-43 “Both Hands for God” As I told the children this morning, we might want to think about our two hands as one for reaching up to God for help, and the other for reaching out to care for and help others. In our Gospel reading this morning, we heard two interwoven stories about people reaching up to Jesus for help. An important leader in the synagogue pleads for Jesus’ help because his daughter is about to die. And a poor, sick woman comes up behind Jesus in the crowd, and literally reaches out to touch his clothes, trusting that he will be able to heal her. The reading from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians is about the other hand… the one we are called to use to reach out to others with the love, care, and practical assistance that others may need, and we may be able to provide. Paul notes that the Corinthian Christians excel in many things… in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in eagerness and love… and he also wants them to excel in generosity. He is asking them to provide financial support for another church that is struggling with poverty. He is inviting them to give to the Church at Jerusalem out of their present abundance, to meet the present needs of their sisters and brothers in Christ. Paul does not suggest that they should give to the point of suffering, but he encourages them to put their good intentions … Read more »

July 1, 2012

2 Corinthians 8:7-15 Mark 5:21-43 In today’s portion of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Christians, the apostle is making an appeal for financial support. It’s not an appeal for the Corinthians to support Paul personally, but to send money to the Church in Jerusalem where the Christians are in need. The equivalent in our context would be when our Stewardship Committee gets up before the congregation and asks that we consider our gifts to Presbyterians Sharing or to Presbyterian World Service and Development. They’re not asking for donations for the general fund of our church, but they’re asking that we be intentional about the gifts that we make to the church’s mission and ministry beyond our congregation. Since today is the first Sunday of the month, Karen has included in the bulletin a little report on the offerings made during the month of June, as well as our giving goals for the month of July. And as you can see, we did very well last month. In some of the previous months, we weren’t quite as successful in meeting our giving goals, but in June we did quite well. In fact, I want to be clear today that the purpose of my sermon is not going to be to appeal to you in the way that Paul was appealing to the Corinthian Christians to increase their generosity and to follow through on their commitments to give. Because this congregation already does very well at giving. Last month when I was … Read more »