August 25, 2019

Jeremiah 1:4-10 Hebrews 12:18-29 Luke 13:10-17 “Shaking Things Up” After this morning’s bulletin was printed with the sermon title, “Shaking Things Up” I started thinking that I should have called it “To Shake or Not to Shake: That is the Question.” You see, the reference to shaking in today’s reading from the Book of Hebrews brought to my mind all kinds of associations with shaking. And some of them favoured shaking things up as a good plan, while others suggested that shaking was really negative. To Shake or Not to Shake: That is the question I want to consider today. I must say that Presbyterians are generally pretty disinclined to shake. We have a reputation for being reserved and thoughtful, not wild and enthusiastic. Some have called us “the frozen chosen” and we’re not prone to ecstatic utterances. You might say that Pentecostal Christians, when the Spirit is moving them to raise their hands, move to the praise and worship music, or even speak in tongues are the exact opposite of quiet orderly Presbyterians. But then I remembered the Shaker Movement within Christianity. Many of us know the Shakers from their musical contributions to the wider church, especially the Shaker hymn, “’Tis a gift to be simple” with the tune we use in the “Lord of the dance” hymn that we love. And beyond the church, many people will know the Shakers for the unique style of furniture that they designed. They believed that making something well was in itself, … Read more »

August 22, 2010

Hebrews 12:18-29 Luke 13:10-17 I have an image in my mind of a teenage boy. He’s wearing a black vest over a clean white shirt with a bow tie. But instead of the slacks that you might expect, he’s donning a red and white kilt with knee socks to match. Surrounded by girls his own age and younger, he’s dancing with all his might… head held high, arms in the proper position, eyes focussed as he concentrates on the steps of the dance. Though there were lots of interesting dances and presentations at Folkfest over the last few days, one of the people I will remember is boy in the middle of the Highland Dance group at the Scottish pavilion. To me, he just seemed to represent what Folkfest is all about… an unself-conscious celebration of cultural heritage, a determination to carry on the traditions of our cultures, and an opportunity to discover our identity by learning who we are and where we came from. If you spent any time of Folkfest this year, you can’t have missed what I saw everywhere… people of all ages dressed in their native costumes… beautiful fabrics, funny wigs, scarves and sashes everywhere! The official ambassadors were walking around proudly, or standing at the entrances to welcome the gathering crowds. They were all confident, proud, and excited to be representing their countries and cultures. They held their heads high… celebrating who they are and the groups to which they belong. The story from today’s … Read more »