May 10, 2020

1 Peter 2:2-10 Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 John 14:1-14 “Domestic Church” You may know the Second Sunday in May as “Mothers’ Day” and you may be doing something special for your mother if she is near, reaching out to her by phone or video call if she is far away, or remembering her with thanksgiving if she has died. Usually at First Church, we share carnations with all the women on Mothers’ Day. Along with the various things I emailed out to everyone on Friday, there was a carnation colouring sheet. You might consider colouring that flower and sharing it along with a note of thanks and encouragement for someone in your life who nurtures and cares for you with a mother’s love. But in the church, this Sunday is called “Christian Family Sunday” or I like the title “Festival of the Christian Home” because it sounds like a wonderful celebration of families, relationships, and the households to which we belong. During the pandemic, we don’t get to see our church family in person, but we are spending a lot more time with our nuclear families within our homes. Thinking about this reality reminded me of the concept of “domestic churches” that I came across when I was studying theologies of marriage in connection with my doctoral work on interchurch families. Also sometimes called the “church of the home,” the idea will be most familiar in contemporary Roman Catholic circles because of its recovery by the Second Vatican Council. However, it … Read more »

April 14, 2019

Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11 “Mixed Feelings” Today we celebrate Palm Sunday. We began the service with the story of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, with the crowds singing “Hosanna!” and proclaiming, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” Some Pharisees in the crowd tell Jesus to order his disciples to stop – to stop this spectacle, to stop their praises, to stop their allegiance to him as a Saviour or a King. We know that, all too soon, they will stop. They will change their minds, change their allegiances, and change their shouts to “Crucify him!” And so today is also Passion Sunday when we remember how the people turned away from him, how they betrayed and denied, and ran away from Jesus. Luke reminds us in the Gospel story that when the disciples do stop – when they stop following, when they stop praising, Jesus is still the King. They don’t stop because he is not worthy. They stop because they are scared. And Jesus says to the Pharisees: “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” All of creation knows and witnesses that Jesus is Lord and King, even when we humans fall silent in fear. When I was speaking with the children this morning, we talked about times when we change our minds or change our plans. We do it all the time. Sometimes our changes of mind are God moving us towards the good. For … Read more »

March 28, 2010

The following sermon is framed by the hymn “A stable lamp is lighted” with words by Richard Wilbur and music Paulette Tollefson. Philippians 2:5-11 Psalm 31:9-16 Luke 23:1-49 A stable lamp is lighted whose glow shall wake the sky; the stars shall bend their voices, and every stone shall cry. And every stone shall cry, and straw like gold shall shine; a barn shall harbour heaven, a stall become a shrine. A long time ago, in an unimportant town, a young woman gave birth to her first child. In many ways, his birth was like many others. Mary wasn’t the first or the last girl to be found pregnant before her wedding day, and Joseph was good enough to marry her anyway and be a father to the little boy. What is unusual about this child is the fact that we have heard his story – not only the stories of his adult accomplishments when he became well-known for his teaching and healing and political activity. But we have heard the stories of his birth. This person impacted the world so much that we celebrate his birth, and legends are told about how he arrived and how he survived into adulthood to do all the great and good things that he would do. They say that his mother was a virgin – not just a very young woman – but an actual virgin. She’d never been with a man at all. The father of the child must have been God … Read more »

April 20, 2008 – Mission Awareness

A sermon by Dineke Kraay on Mission Awareness Acts 7:55-60 Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 1 Peter 2:2-10 John 14:1-14 Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ! On this Mission Awareness Sunday, the members of the Hildur Hermanson group intend to emphasize the mission work of our national church and the work of the Women’s Missionary Society. My first idea was to give you a lot of Mission information. It would have gone on like this: according to the latest statistics, in 2006 Canada Ministries created Fourteen New Ministries. It supported Twenty-six Specialized Ministries. In addition it gave funds to Eight Renewing and Eighteen Sustaining Ministries. These are awfully dry statistics. But they come to life when the people involved tell their stories as they do in Stories of Mission. And I could probably have provided you with similar statistics about International Ministries. But again, it is the stories that count. So, I urge you to pick up your free copy of this booklet after the service. They are on the table in the Narthex. And do read the additional mission information in the bulletin. I would like to highlight, however, the mission work in Eastern Europe. The Presbyterian Church in Canada supports: The Reformed Church in Hungary, The Hungarian Reformed Church and its Theological Seminary in Romania, and The Reformed Church of Sub-Carpathian Ukraine in Ukraine. The work here includes education, healthcare, work among the Roma people, formerly called Gypsies, and refugees. The national office of the Women’s Missionary Society is … Read more »