August 11, 2019

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Luke 12:32-40

“Learning to do Good”

When I read the Scripture texts for this Sunday, I started thinking about some of the things that happened at the General Assembly of our church back in June. You’ve already heard from me that the Assembly was both difficult and important. We engaged in a process of decision-making regarding same-sex marriage that brought out our deep differences and challenged us to find a way forward as a denomination together. But sexuality was not the only important topic addressed by the 2019 General Assembly.

Another important thing that happened at the Assembly was that we marked the 25th anniversary of our church’s confession to God and to Indigenous Peoples regarding our participation in the colonial and assimilationist practices of this country, and especially our role in the Residential School System.

It was 25 years ago, in 1994, that the 120th General Assembly made the confession and then Moderator, the Rev. George Vais, presented it to Phil Fontaine, who was the Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. At the time, Phil Fontaine accepted the apology, but was not yet prepared to offer forgiveness to the church. Which is fair, I think, because we were … Read more »

August 8, 2010

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-12

The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews begins with a definition of faith: The King James Bible translates it this way: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The New International Version says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase “The Message” puts it like this: “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”

At our church membership class two weeks ago, I asked those present to think about what it might mean to be a person of faith. I asked them to think about what the characteristics of a person of faith might be… and these were some of the answers: hope, trust, generosity, kindness, commitment, steadfastness, humility, patience, joy.

But before I asked them to define faith, I invited them to think of a person they know whom they think of as a person of faith. Maybe someone in their life today, maybe someone they once knew, maybe someone … Read more »