September 27, 2020

Exodus 17:1-7 Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 Philippians 2:1-13 Matthew 21:23-32 “Together on the Journey” The parable of the vineyard is about two sons. Both were called to work in the vineyard.  The first son says he won’t go, but then he shows up. The second son says he’ll go, but he never arrives to work. After telling this story, Jesus asked those who were listening, “Which of the two sons did what the father wanted?” I am sure that everyone would reply the son who showed up. The parable reminds us that faith must be more than just words. The son who promises to work in the vineyard and then fails to do so is no help to his father. In contrast, the one who hesitates to work, but then decides to take up the task, likely pleases his father with his unexpected generosity. I think about this scripture today, as we reflect on the call to participate in our denomination’s shared ministry and mission.  We are connected through faith, governance, and sharing in ministry and mission. Through our gifts to Presbyterians Sharing, we participate in God’s mission. Together, we equip congregations, ministries and presbyteries with skills and tools for evangelism and discipleship, stewardship and Christian education. Together we create and support new faith communities and participate in national and international mission. We engage in healing and reconciliation and support Indigenous ministries.  We prepare and support leaders and live out God’s call to justice. We empower, encourage and support youth. And … Read more »

March 15, 2020

  Exodus 17:1-7 Psalm 95 Romans 5:1-11 John 4:5-42 “More to Life” In the Revised Common Lectionary of Sunday Scripture readings, we’re in Year A of the three-year cycle right now. And during the Season of Lent in Year A, we get a series of wonderful, long, elaborate stories from the Gospel of John. Last week it was the story of the Jewish leader, Nicodemus from John 3. Today, we read John 4 in which Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman beside a well. Next week, he’ll be healing a blind man in chapter 9, and then we’ll go on to chapter 11 where Jesus will actually raise Lazarus from the dead. Last week, the Rev. Bob Wilson talked about how Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again. He must open his life to be led by God’s Spirit. He likened it to trusting God and “letting go of the rope” that we are clinging to for security, and to let God take us where we need to go and do what we need to do to build God’s kingdom on earth. And that kind of faith and trust begins with choosing to believe God – to believe that God loves us, that God has plans for us, that our future is in God’s hands. The major theme of John’s Gospel that is explored in all these wonderful stories is about how people come to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Saviour of the world. At … Read more »

March 23, 2014

Exodus 17:1-7 John 4:5-42 “Spiritual Food and Drink” As we continue our journey through the season of Lent, Year A (the first year of the 3-year lectionary cycle) gives us a long, elaborate story from John’s Gospel each Sunday. Last week it was the story of the Jewish leader, Nicodemus, being told by Jesus that he needed to be born from above. And today, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman beside a well, as he is travelling by the city of Sychar. Last week we paid attention to the way that John’s Jesus used confusing language. When he told Nicodemus that he had to be born “anothen” in order to see the Kingdom of God, the Greek word “anothen” could have meant “again” (as Nicodemus assumed) or “from above” (the more spiritual meaning that Jesus actually intended.) The major theme of John’s Gospel is about how people come to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Saviour of the world – how they come to realize who he really is. And the detailed stories of Jesus’ various encounters each give insight into both the identity of Jesus and the process of coming to believe in and have faith in him. The struggle for the Jewish Christians of the late first century (from whose community John’s Gospel came) was the fact that there were other Jews who had rejected the Messiah-ship of Jesus. The Jewish followers of the way had been kicked out of the synagogues by their friends who … Read more »

February 24, 2008

Exodus 17:1-7Psalm 95Romans 5:1-11John 4:5-42 As we continue our journey through the season of Lent, Year A (the first year of the 3-year lectionary cycle) gives us a long, elaborate story from John’s Gospel each Sunday. Last week it was the story of the Jewish leader, Nicodemus, being told by Jesus that he needed to be born from above. And today, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman beside a well, as he is travelling by the city of Sychar. Last week we paid attention to the way that John’s Jesus used confusing language. When he told Nicodemus that he had to be born “anothen” in order to see the Kingdom of God, the Greek word “anothen” could have meant “again” (as Nicodemus assumed) or “from above” (the more spiritual meaning that Jesus actually intended.) The major theme of John’s Gospel is about how people come to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Saviour of the world. At the end of chapter 20, the purpose of the Gospel is made plain: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” And the detailed stories of Jesus’ various encounters each give insight into both the identity of Jesus and the process of coming to believe in and have faith … Read more »