February 20, 2022

Luke 6:27-38
Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40

“For Those Who Are Still Listening”

This morning’s Gospel passage continues where we left of last week in Jesus’ “Sermon on the Plain.” Last Sunday we heard what Jesus had to say to the poor: that they were especially loved and blessed by God. And we heard what he had to say to the rich: that they should watch out because they may well be on the wrong path. We also noted that his preaching was particularly aimed at his own disciples, calling them to take up his particular concern and care for the poor, the oppressed, and the outcast people who were treated poorly by the world.

As the sermon continues today, Jesus addresses his comments “to you that listen.” His next instructions aren’t just for the poor, or just for the rich, or just for his committed disciples. He speaks to all who are listening, and one commentator suggests that the translation could just as easily be rendered “to all who are still listening.”

I don’t expect the problem is that some of the sermon-listeners have drifted off to sleep in the middle of a long and boring sermon, as some contemporary church-goers have been known to do. … Read more »

February 13, 2022

Luke 6:17-26

“Loving Who Jesus Loves”

“Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of [other people too].” That’s the way that today’s Gospel text begins. Jesus came down to be WITH the people – with his followers and with everyone who wished to gather around.

The Bible includes plenty of stories of Jesus and others going up hills or mountains. They go up there to think, or to pray, or to draw close to God. And often God speaks to them and encourages them in special ways during those mountain-top experiences.

But in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus comes down. Perhaps it’s not unlike how God came down to be with us in human form in Jesus himself. And then Jesus did not keep his ministry up in the mountains or reserve it for holy places like temples or synagogues. Jesus came down with his disciples to be with them and with all the people of the community.

The first thing he did on that level place was that he healed all of them. “They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled … Read more »

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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … Read more »