February 24, 2019

Genesis 45:3-11, 15 Luke 6:27-38 “Grace Running Over” Did you notice one of the most famous Scripture verses in our Gospel reading this morning? Luke 6:31 says “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” and that is possibly one of the best-known ideas from the New Testament or most-common summaries of what it is that Jesus taught. People call it the “Golden Rule” – not because it will make you rich, but because if you can’t remember all the other commandments and instructions found the in the Bible, if you at least try to live by this one, you’ll do okay. “Do to others as you would have them to do you.” The concept is certainly not unique to the New Testament or to Christianity. Perhaps you have come across “The Golden Rule” poster, published by the Scarboro Missions in Toronto, and posted in many interfaith chaplaincy offices in hospitals, and university campuses, and retreat centres. It points out that when people of all the major religions sit down to talk about what is the most important aspect of their faith, they find a great deal in common. Christians find the “Golden Rule” in Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12, and Jews read something very similar from the Talmud: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour.” Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad of Islam teaches: “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.” From Jainism we learn: … Read more »

February 17, 2019

Luke 6:17-26 “Blessings in Flat Places” You’ve probably heard of the “Sermon on the Mount.” Not many of Jesus’ sermons were given titles, but one great sermon recorded in the Gospel of Matthew is given a name (at least by Christians, later). The Sermon on the Mount… It’s the sermon Jesus preached while standing up on a hill, the teachings he declared from above while the people listened from below, looking up to him for wisdom and guidance and blessing. Matthew presents Jesus as a kind of new Moses, and so sets his version of the famous sermon “up the mountain” just as Moses received the Torah with the commandments on Mount Sinai. Luke, on the other hand, from whose Gospel we read today, presents Jesus as a figure in the ancient prophetic tradition, less a new Moses and more a new Jeremiah. And while the prophets may pray on mountaintops, as Jesus frequently does in Luke, their prophetic work is done down among the people, in the nit and grit of everyday life. Today’s Gospel of Luke reading begins: “Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place.” It may not be acoustically the best choice of position for preaching, but Luke’s Jesus is down and dirty: he walks, and heals, and teaches in the valleys and on the plains, meeting us exactly where we are. Now, I do remember when I drove into the Rocky Mountains of B.C. for the first time. I was absolutely amazed … Read more »

July 24, 2016

Ephesians 4:26-32 Luke 6:27-38 Philippians 2:1-11 “The Fruit of the Spirit is KINDNESS” When you think of kindness, what comes to mind? An encouraging note sent by a friend? A caring shoulder to cry on? Someone assisting you with a difficult task, or allowing you to have a break from your work when you are tired? Whatever you think about, it most likely includes a warm fuzzy feeling. Kindness just does that. No wonder it’s a fruit of the Spirit. When we’re kind, others get to experience that warmth, and whether they realize it or not they’re experiencing some of God’s character. Over the years here at St. Andrew’s, I have come to know many of you as people who demonstrate kindness on a regular basis. Of course, there are ways in which the church programs encourage us all to grow in kindness. During one of the arts and crafts sessions at Vacation Bible School last week, our children made cards to distribute to elderly homebound people in the congregation. Our refugee sponsorship program has encouraged many of us to give extra offerings and household items to make one family’s settlement in Canada possible. And all summer you’ve been bringing in fruit offerings every Sunday to bless the lives of people at the Saskatoon Native Circle Ministry. And all these things are acts of kindness, inspired by people in our congregation with good ideas and kind hearts. But I know that your kindness is expressed in all kinds of other … Read more »

October 16, 2011

Isaiah 58:6-11 Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 John 12:1-8 Luke 6:17-31 Tomorrow – October 17th – has been designated as the “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.” And here in our city, the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition is hosting its 8th Annual “Poverty Awareness Week,” with special events being planned throughout the week to raise consciousness about poverty in our community, as well as to encourage those who live in poverty as they continue their daily struggle. Last year was the first time (in my almost 8 years of living in Saskatoon) that I participated in the “Hands Across the Water” event during “Poverty Awareness Week.” “Hands Across the Water” is a kind of symbolic act. People gather at the bottom of the Broadway Bridge. Then we line up, and join hands as we walk up the bridge, with the goal of being able to reach to the other side. We come together as people of all socio-economic levels, and we join hands to combat poverty, to reach across the troubled waters that so many people experience because of poverty. We recognize that poverty is an issue that affects us all – both the West side and East side of Saskatoon – and that together we can overcome it. They told us last year that we managed to reach further than we had ever reached before, and there was lots of rejoicing and cars honking their horns as they drove by. But I was near the front of the line, and I … Read more »