April 29, 2018

Acts 8:26-40 John 15:1-8 “The Source” Oh, my goodness! This is a difficult time in which to live. Perhaps every generation says that, as we experience the challenges of life and the troubles of the world around us. But right now, it just seems that we are faced with one tragedy after another, so much senseless violence, and no end in sight! The Rev. Matthew Sams, who serves at Willowdale Presbyterian Church, just around the corner from the van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people last week, wrote and shared this prayer last Monday: Mangled Crumpled Twisted Bloody Screeching Silent weeping Hands clasping Hearts racing… Knees bent in service to comfort the wounded Knees bent in prayer to summon peace Sitting on my couch, the news is on, a curtain torn in the temple of my heart admitting the world’s pain. Death has its own schedule A withered hand reaching in to steal away life But you, you are the giver of life Therefore, we lift up to you those who have died on this day when violence erupted. There is no making sense of their death, there is no justice available in this moment. Yet may those who love them be comforted. There will be no raising today as for the sons of the widows of Zarephath and of Nain. Yet we are a people who know about Death. All our hope rests in Christ, the first fruits of the Resurrection. We lift up to you those whose … Read more »

January 29, 2017

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie 1 Samuel 18:1-5 Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Colossians 3:12-17 John 15:12-17 “Wisdom for Friendship” In this mini-series on the Book of Proverbs, it has been interesting to take a look at one of the wisdom books of the Hebrew Scriptures to which we don’t often pay a lot of attention. Two weeks ago, we reflected on the book in a general sense, exploring its purpose and potential usefulness for us today. Rather than trying to read whole chapters of the book in a single sitting, I suggested taking individual proverbs (just a verse or two in length) and reflecting first on how we may have experienced the proverb to be true, followed by asking ourselves what the proverb may be calling us to do, change, or focus on in our daily lives in response to its wisdom. Last week, I chose a particular theme that comes up frequently in Proverbs – “the fear of the Lord” that is described as the beginning of wisdom. We remembered God’s holiness and Jesus’ call to us to be perfect as God is perfect. Although we can be realistic and admit that we won’t reach perfection in this life, we were challenged by the reminder that God does have great expectations of us, and that God will judge us. Yes, forgiving us too, but continuing to work on us until we begin to reflect the goodness and love of God-self in the world. This morning’s theme from the Book of … Read more »

May 24, 2015

Acts 2:1-21 John 15:26-27 “Testify!” This morning we are pleased to be receiving new members into our congregation. Some will be publicly professing their faith in God and their desire to follow Jesus with their lives for the first time today. Others will be re-affirming their faith and making a commitment to worship and serve with us here at St. Andrew’s as members of this local congregation of God’s people. As I think about their professions of faith, I can’t help but wonder about the Christians who may have been a part of their journey to this day. I know that others witnessed to them about the love of God in Jesus Christ – maybe their parents or grandparents, maybe good friends, maybe preachers and teachers in their congregations of the past and in this congregation as well. Certainly, the witness about Jesus was present in the Scriptures which they read and considered in a variety of ways over the years. And for all those witnesses of centuries past and times present, I give thanks to God. Perhaps we might all pause this morning to think about who shared the good news with us. Whether it was many years ago or quite recently, whether it was one person who made a big impact on you, or numerous witnesses whose small offerings each contributed to your growing faith and understanding. Let us give thanks today for the Holy Spirit working through those people so that you came to know God in … Read more »

May 10, 2015

Acts 10:44-48 1 John 5:1-6 John 15:9-17 “Radical New Inclusion?” When I began to plan for this morning’s worship a few weeks ago, I thought I would preach about the impact of Christian camping. My own experience at a Presbyterian camp as a teenager and young adult had a significant effect on my journey of faith and contributed to the discernment of my call to ministry. A couple of lines in the Gospel passage stood out to me in my reflection… the part where Jesus instructs his disciples to abide in his love by keeping his commandments, and then he tells them, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” I thought especially about how my experience of camping ministry had grounded me in the faith, providing me with patterns of prayer, Bible study, and worship which I have treasured ever since. And I thought about how discovering my vocation as a Christian minister has not made my life simple or easy, but it has filled me with joy and peace many times throughout my life. I thought I might encourage everyone today, not only to send your children and grandchildren to camp, and Vacation Bible School, and youth retreats, and other opportunities for them to be immersed in Christian community, but I hoped to encourage us all to do the same for ourselves. Jesus invites us to immerse ourselves in his love, and his teachings … Read more »

September 28, 2014

“Friends” We’ve been talking about friendship this weekend with the Saskatchewan Presbyterian Youth. We looked at the story of David and Jonathan to see what we could learn about friendship from them. We studied the passage from John’s Gospel where Jesus calls his disciples friends, and thought about what it means to be a friend of Jesus. And we watched and discussed the play, “The Shape of a Girl” – a play about friendship, and bullying, and things getting out of control, and having the courage to speak out. More than any of us, the youth are probably most used to thinking about and talking about friendship. At their stage of life, making and keeping friends is a big part of life. When we are young, we learn about being friends… maybe from our parents, and maybe from our peers… we learn how to play together with others, how to share, how to care, how to listen to someone else and share our feelings with others too. I want to invite you now… no matter how old you are… to think about the friends you have had over the years. Remember your friends at school or in the neighbourhood when you were a child. Think of your high school friends. Some friends you had for a time, and others have remained close over many years. Maybe you remember college friends with whom you studied or partied. Maybe you remember work friends who supported each other and shared burdens or challenges … Read more »

May 13, 2012

Acts 10:44-48 John 15:9-17 Do you remember the story of Peter and Cornelius? It comes just before the section from the Book of Acts that William read for us this morning. Cornelius was a Roman Centurion. He was a devout man who feared God. He prayed diligently and gave generously to the poor, but he was a Gentile. And one day, Cornelius has a vision. An angel appears to him and tells him to send a couple of servants to a place called Joppa to find a man named Simon Peter. And so he did. Meanwhile, the Apostle Peter goes up on his roof to pray, and he sees a vision too. He sees the sky open up, and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it are all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he hears a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” Peter is obviously shocked because these are animals that Jews like him don’t normally eat. He says, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” But the voice is insistent. It repeats the instruction again and again and says, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” But before Peter has had a chance to think about what the vision might mean, there is a knock at the door. Cornelius’ servants have arrived and they are asking for Peter. … Read more »

May 17, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie John 15:9-17 I’ve been thinking about LOVE all weekend. A young couple in our congregation, Greg Mergen and Kim Lund, got married yesterday so I got to preach on the classic wedding text of 1 Corinthians 13 — the “love chapter”. You know the one. In the middle of it, the apostle Paul describes what love is: Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. And whether it’s the Corinthian Christians trying to love each other despite their differences and conflicts, whether it’s married couples trying to love each other through all the ups and downs of life together, or whether it’s any of us Christians trying to put love into practice in our lives, it seems like an impossibly high standard to live up to. We do try though, don’t we? We try to get along with our co-workers. We try not to snap at our kids. We try to be friendly to the neighbours next door. And we smile at the bus driver or the store clerk or the person passing by on the street. Sometimes we try, at least, when we remember… But often when we get to church on Sunday… that’s … Read more »