Acts 17:22-31; John 14:15-21
“The Best is Yet to Come!”
When the Apostle Paul addressed the people of first century Athens, he commented that he had noticed an altar in their city with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ I suppose he must have found it sad that these people were searching for God, and seeking to worship God, and maybe even wanting to offer their lives in service to God, but God remained a mystery to them.
But Paul came with good news for the Athenians, the same good news that has given our lives meaning, purpose, and hope as well. He said: “The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things… In him we live and move and have our being… We are his offspring.”
How did Paul know this? And how could he proclaim with such confidence that the God of all Creation was present and active and giving life and breath to all people as God’s … Read more »
Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie
“The Fruit of the Spirit is GENTLENESS”
Parents and teachers well know the challenge of trying to guide children towards right behaviour, discipline, respect, and good relations with their neighbours. It has been a challenge in every generation to teach our children how to live well, instilling in them good values and self-discipline to help them through life.
As I talked about with the children this morning, our methods of discipline in school have changed over time, probably for the better, as we’ve moved away from corporal punishment towards more gentle methods. But as many of us have experienced, if we don’t use any form of discipline consistently, it usually leads to chaotic classrooms and children with very short attention spans and even less regard for others.
I’m no expert on discipline, and I would defer to some of the teachers in our congregation as to what works best today for children of various ages. But as a minister, I would like to suggest this morning that God – as our loving Parent, our heavenly Father, our nurturing Mother, our divine Teacher – God wants to teach us God’s own loving ways, and perhaps … Read more »
Several stories in this sermon are borrowed from the book “Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christian” by Thomas G. Long (San Francisco: 2004).
I’ve been reading a book this week called, “Testimony” by the American Presbyterian preacher, Thomas Long. Out of the various volumes that I brought home from my study leave last week, it seemed the most appropriate one to read as I was reflecting on this morning’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
Testimony is about bearing witness. It’s about using our voices to tell about what we have seen and heard and experienced of God in Jesus Christ. And testimony is a fundamental part of what Christians are called by Christ to do in the world.
Love God. Love our neighbours. And tell the world about God’s love in Jesus Christ. If we wanted to sum up our purpose… that would be a pretty good summary.
But at least within the mainline churches, and at least within the last several decades, we don’t do a lot of talking about our faith out loud. We don’t want to offend our neighbours or come across as pushing our religion on anyone, so we generally keep our mouths shut and we blend … Read more »
Until I started to explore this morning’s text from the Book of Acts, I had no idea how much wonderful stuff about God was packed into such a short little speech by Paul at the Areopagus. Your typical modern-day preacher takes at least ten minutes, if not fifteen or twenty minutes to preach the Gospel in most of our churches. And rarely do we manage to do it as eloquently as Paul’s little sermon to the philosophers in Athens.
The element of Paul’s speech that really spoke to me this week was the idea that God does not need us, but that we need God. It’s humbling for us — even the brightest and most gifted and most accomplished and independent — to listen to Paul’s words: “The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.”
It’s humbling to remember that everything that we have and everything that we … Read more »