“Giving Thanks in Ordinary Times”
I did something a little unusual with the scripture readings this morning. As most of you know, we often follow the Revised Common Lectionary’s 3-year cycle of readings for Sundays. But today we had a choice of readings. Today I could have chosen the readings for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, or I could have chosen the special readings for Thanksgiving Sunday.
But instead of choosing one set or the other, I mixed them up a little. I chose Philippians 4 from the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, and matched it up with two of the readings for Thanksgiving – Deuteronomy 8 about being sure not to forget God when things are good, and Luke 17 about the ten lepers getting healed and the one who goes back to say thank you to Jesus.
The Deuteronomy reading makes a lot of sense for Thanksgiving Sunday. The message is: “When everything is wonderful in your life, when you’ve got everything you need, when you sit down to a wonderful meal of turkey and potatoes and vegetables and pie, surrounded by good friends and dear family, don’t forget about God…
“When the harvest is plentiful, when you move into … Read more »
“The Thankful Samaritan”
I have always liked the fact that today’s Gospel reading about the ten lepers who are healed often lands on Canadian Thanksgiving Sunday. There are options in the Revised Common Lectionary of Sunday readings to choose special readings for Thanksgiving, but the ones we heard this morning are just the regular ones set for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost. They just happen to include a perfect Gospel story about giving thanks.
So, the simple message we might take away from today is “remember to say thank you.” Like young children learning their manners for interacting with others, we are taught by Jesus that it’s right and good to make an effort to say thank you. It’s not uncommon for people to forget, to take good things for granted and fail to express our gratitude.
In the story from Luke’s Gospel, there are ten lepers who approach Jesus and ask for his mercy and help. And he gives it to them all. He doesn’t make a big show of healing these poor sick people, who would have been excluded from the community, living just outside the village so that they would not infect their neighbours with the disease of … Read more »
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
This morning’s scripture readings invite us to reflect and to respond. As we celebrate Thanksgiving weekend together with our Canadian neighbours, friends, and families, we are invited to remember that this holiday is about more than a big meal and pumpkin-themed decorations.
We don’t call it “Turkey Day” because it’s not just about the menu, but it can be for us, as Christians, a special time of reflecting on the goodness of God and responding to that goodness with our lives of service and generosity.
The passage from Deuteronomy that we just heard is Moses addressing the Hebrew People. They are at the point where they have just finished their long 40-year journey through the wilderness, and they are about to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land.
You will remember that they have been through a terrible time. After escaping slavery and a harsh existence in Egypt, they have wandered through the wilderness for years – living in tents, coping with scarcity and danger, complaining and arguing with each other at times, and sometimes nearly giving up hope.
But soon all that will be over. Moses tells them that God is bringing them into a good … Read more »
“Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!”
This is the first sermon I’ve written in a long time without my cat, Samuel, snuggling up beside me on the couch or trying to crawl on top of the lap-top while I’m trying to type. Unfortunately, Sammy got suddenly very sick last weekend. He stopped eating and drinking, and by Monday afternoon we knew it was some form of cancer. On Monday evening, we made the very difficult decision to euthanize him rather than putting him through the discomfort of treatments that might have given him a few more months at most.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, it was really hard to start telling people what had happened, and I found myself in tears again and again when I attempted to share my sad news. But at some point on Wednesday, I was about to make my way back upstairs to my office, and I said, “I need to go start working on worship for Thanksgiving Sunday. I’m not feeling very thankful yet, but maybe by Sunday I’ll be more in a Thanksgiving mood.”
And Karen said, “Aren’t you thankful that all this didn’t happen on Saturday evening instead Monday?” I said, “Yes, that’s for … Read more »
2 Timothy 1:1-14
“Pass It On”
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the birthday party of one of our youngest church members; Adam was turning one year old. The earlier part of the day was spent with the Camp Christopher Committee – reviewing this past summer of ministry with children and youth at Christopher Lake. There were about 250 kids who took part this summer, not to mention the young counsellors, staff, and volunteers whose lives were undoubtedly changed by their experience of living in the Christian camping community. And just the other day, I sat in on a meeting between Logan de Bruijn who serves on the Saskatchewan Presbyterian Youth for our Synod, along with Martha Fergusson, who has just begun a part-time position for the Synod co-ordinating and supporting youth ministry in and between the Presbyterian Churches.
My schedule alone is a tiny reflection of the fact that we, as a church, are concerned about our responsibility to pass along our faith in God and in Jesus Christ to the next generations. That’s why we have a church school program. That’s why we have a youth group. That’s why we support our Christian camp so faithfully. That’s why we … Read more »
Luke 17: 11-19
I did something a little unusual with the scripture readings this morning. As most of you know, we often follow the Revised Common Lectionary’s 3-year cycle of readings for Sundays. But today we had a choice of readings. (Look on the back of your bulletins… at the two sets of readings…) Today I could have chosen the readings for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, or I could have chosen the special readings for Thanksgiving Sunday.
But instead of choosing one set or the other, I mixed them up a little. I chose Philippians 4 from the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, and matched it up with two of the readings for Thanksgiving – Deuteronomy 8 about being sure not to forget God when things are good, and Luke 17 about the ten lepers getting healed and the one who goes back to say thank you to Jesus.
The Deuteronomy reading makes a lot of sense for Thanksgiving Sunday. The message is: “When everything is wonderful in your life, when you’ve got everything you need, when you sit down to a wonderful meal of turkey and potatoes and vegetables and pie, surrounded by good friends and dear family, don’t forget … Read more »
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Today’s Gospel reading begins with some sayings of Jesus. Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times a says, “I repent,” you must forgive.”
When the first disciples heard these instructions from Jesus, I imagine that they were overwhelmed by the demands. They were being called to a high standard of goodness and uprightness. But even if they did well at following the commandments, they weren’t given license to look down on others, or complain, or scoff at those who might do less well. Indeed, even as they were instructed to rebuke their fellow disciples when they did wrong, Jesus made it very clear that his followers must be people who forgive. Forgiveness … Read more »