“A Basket for Each Disciple”
When you’re reading a passage from the Bible and considering what relevance it might have for you today, one of the basic strategies is to think about where you might place yourself in the story. Which person can you relate to, and what can you learn from their experiences – their action or in-action, their faith or doubt, their success or failure?
Last Sunday I preached on a passage from Mark’s Gospel in which Jesus interrupted a mini break he was trying to take with his disciples in order to minister to the crowds who were coming to him for practical help and guidance in their lives. It was the disciples that I related to most easily – the ones who had been out doing mission and were trying to get away with Jesus for a rest. As a church leader at the end of a couple of busy and stressful years, I could imagine what they felt like.
I read a sermon by another preacher on last Sunday’s text though, and I was surprised that he placed himself and his listeners in the crowd instead – among the people who were like sheep without a shepherd, … Read more »
1 Kings 8: 1,6,10-11,22-30,41-43
“A Difficult Teaching”
In our Gospel reading this morning, Jesus is teaching in the synagogue (the community gathering place) in Capernaum. And he teaches this: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
And when his disciples heard what he was teaching, they said: “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” Like so many of us today, they wanted an easy answer and a simple way of living. They wanted the great results without the hard work. They wanted a quick fix, but Jesus was asking for more from them.
If you remember from the last several Sundays… Jesus has just finished his miraculous feeding of the crowd of 5000 or more on the hillside. Most of them appreciated Jesus’ ability to produce food for them, but now he is inviting them to go deeper, to … Read more »
1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
“Blessed by Wisdom, Saved by Grace”
When you think about WISDOM, I wonder if there are particular people that come to mind. Wise people that you have known, who have taught you and guided you in your life. Or perhaps there are some words of wisdom that you always remember, that you go back to, that you reflect on regularly and try to take to heart.
When I think of wise people in my life, I always go back to an elder from my home congregation when I was a child, George Lee. George was like a grandfather to me and many others. I don’t remember what he taught us, but I remember what it felt like to be near him. It felt like we were safe, and loved, and precious. He was in his early 80’s, and I remember him sitting on the floor with us children at Vacation Bible School and telling us stories. And it felt SO important to be still and listen to what he would say.
Back then I had no idea that I would one day become a minister. I never imagined that I would have so many opportunities to sit on … Read more »
“A Spiritual Battle?”
The other day I was reading a reflection about our recent national church meeting, the General Assembly, and the writer mentioned that there were a couple of women praying throughout the meeting for the deliberations. Normally, I would have been happy and grateful to know that we were being held up in prayer as we met and made important decisions for the denomination. But the author referred to these praying women as “prayer warriors.” Maybe you have heard that term, or even used it yourself, but it made me a little bit uncomfortable.
Given the context of the discussion of some difficult and controversial subjects, I wondered who these women were “warring” against with their prayers. Maybe against me, with my liberal views, or against the evil spiritual forces that were causing me to have such views! I was somewhat suspect of these “prayer warriors,” even though they were probably just praying for wisdom, and unity, and love in our deliberations.
This Sunday’s text from Ephesians sets off some of the same feelings in me, because Paul seems to be inviting the Ephesians to get ready for a battle. As a person with more pacifist leanings, it doesn’t … Read more »
Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie
Ephesians 4:25 — 5:2
John 6:35, 41-51
The day of a baptism is a wonderful day to reflect on and to celebrate the church — the family of God — the Body of Christ that we all belong to together. Today we are welcoming a new member of our big family. Grace Anne is joined to Christ and to all of us (to our congregation here at St. Andrew’s, and to the whole Christian church throughout the world).
I would love to be able to simply celebrate that… to say “Welcome Grace Anne, to this big, happy, healthy, wholesome family of God!” and let that be all that I say. But like most families, our Christian family is not always a happy place. Our family is prone to dysfunction. We often do recognize that we all belong to the same family, but we don’t always get along, or talk to each other, or act like we belong together. We’ve had lots of disagreements in our Christian family over the years, and lots of our members are still feeling angry or hurt or disappointed. Some have moved out. Others have given up on trying to get along, and mostly … Read more »
Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie
2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:13a
Back in February, I helped to lead an ecumenical retreat for women in ministry here in Saskatoon. The Eucharistic theme of our time together was taken from Henri Nouwen’s book, “Life of the Beloved”. We explored how our lives (as women in ministry) are taken, blessed, broken, and shared for the life of the world, as we participate in Christ’s own ministry today. As part of our time together, we decided that it would be both fun and meaningful to make bread. I had never made bread except using a bread machine, but some of the other women were at least occasional bread bakers, so we gave it a try.
We gathered in groups of 6 or 7 around tables in the dining room at Queen’s House, and took turns adding ingredients, mixing, kneading, sharing stories, and laughing a lot. And much to my surprise, our bread turned out both beautiful and delicious. We ate it together the next morning during our closing worship. It was an ecumenical “holy meal” with plenty of bread and wine to share as we celebrated our brief time together and began to think … Read more »