“Overcome Evil with Good”
Thank you, Marianne and Gabe, for sharing that beautiful ministry of music, “Ancient Words.” Sometimes, when I am reading Scripture, I almost forget how ancient the words actually are. I open the Bible expecting the words to say something to me and to our community today, and I lose sight of the reality that they were written so long ago, in another language, to ancient communities of faith in a land far away.
And yet, the ancient words do still speak to us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God teaches and guides us through the Scriptures as we seek to follow the Way of Jesus even today. We need to do the work of reading and thinking about them, considering the setting and historical circumstances that they first addressed, and applying them to our time and place, but they are indeed relevant for us.
The lectionary passage that really struck me this week was the section from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the first century Roman Church. In the first part of chapter twelve, Paul instructs them about how to get along as a Christian community – valuing each member, sharing the variety of gifts … Read more »
The following sermon was preached by the Rev. Amanda Currie at an ecumenical service held at Resurrection Roman Catholic Parish in Regina. The service was organized by the Regina Council of Churches as the closing worship for the 2019 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme and key Scripture texts were chosen by the Churches of Indonesia who prepared the WPCU resources for 2019.
The theme chosen by the Christian Churches of Indonesia for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue.” But the first thing I noticed about the theme text from Deuteronomy is that it doesn’t ONLY focus on justice, but also includes a long section about worship.
The whole passage is a section of the Deuteronomic Law Code, an expansion of the ten commandments given to Moses and the Hebrew People at Sinai – a detailed plan for how the people will live as God’s People in the land that God is giving them.
Summarized down to its fundamental principles, the Law Code calls them to love and worship God, and to love and seek justice for their neighbours. This is the vision of God for the people, and … Read more »
John 14:15-18, 25-27
“As far as it depends on you…”
This sermon was prepared by the Rev. Amanda Currie with input from the Saskatchewan Presbyterian Youth who were reflecting on the theme of peace during their weekend retreat at First Presbyterian Church November 3-5, 2017.
This weekend First Church was pleased to host the Saskatchewan Presbyterian Youth event which was all about PEACE. And we are pleased this morning to have the SPY youth participating in worship leadership on this Remembrance Sunday.
When we began to discuss PEACE this weekend, we came up with the following definitions of PEACE…
What is Peace?
- A state in which there is no war or fighting
- A quiet and calm state
- A state in which a person is not bothered by thoughts or feelings of doubt, guilt, or worry.
- A feeling of being safe, protected, and relaxed
- A sense of purpose and direction in life
- Being alone, but not lonely
- An end to violence and conflict
- Understanding and respect between people
- Very difficult to achieve
Unfortunately, peace is not something that we notice happening in our world very much. If we watch the news, we are much more aware of war and conflict and violence, and rarely … Read more »
It is September – a wonderful time for new beginnings! I wonder if it is a good time for you, right now, as September begins, to make a new start in your life of faith. And I wonder what that would look like for you.
Today’s story from the Book of Exodus is all about a new beginning for Moses that leads to a new beginning for God’s People, Israel, in a new land and with a new freedom. And it starts with God speaking.
Moses was going about his work, looking after his father-in-law’s sheep, not looking for a change, not searching for adventure, not trying to figure out what his next big mission should be. But God speaks to him, and everything changes.
God gets his attention with a burning bush, calls him by name, and then explains that God has a task for him to do… to go to the Pharaoh, and bring God’s People out of slavery in Egypt.
God speaks to others too. The Apostle Paul comes to mind, back before his name was changed, and he was Saul. He was travelling along the road to Damascus when it happened. God got Saul’s attention by … Read more »
“Transformed by the Renewing of our Minds”
Very often I find myself drawn to the Gospel text for the focus of my preaching. After all, it’s in the Gospels that we find the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, and where we hear Jesus’ own teaching and preaching. As people who have been called to his “way of life” and committed ourselves to being his disciples, the Gospel texts may seem like they are the most important part of the Bible.
But if, with Peter, we have already grappled with Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” And if, in faith, we have answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Then the next question for us concerns how we will live as followers of that Christ, how we will live as people of faith in the church which he established.
So, this week I found myself turning again and again to the text from Paul’s letter to the Romans. The first part of Romans 12 is not so much about Jesus himself, as it is about us. It is advice and instruction from an early leader in the Christian Church about how to live as the … Read more »
“The Fruit of the Spirit is PEACE”
This week in St. Catharines Ontario, over 400 young Presbyterians gathered to learn, play, and worship together at the Canada Youth 2016 conference.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, about 300 people were killed when a large car bomb exploded in a busy market. In the U.S., two black men were shot and killed by police for no good reason, and five police officers were killed and others injured by snipers in retaliation. In Bangladesh there was yet another terrorist attack, with people throwing homemade bombs at police who were standing guard outside a prayer service marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. And when I looked online at a listing of violent incidents and attacks this month alone, it went on and on and on.
You might assume that the Presbyterian youth would go on with their program, likely unaware or at least unaffected by such terrible incidents so far away. But in fact, part of the CY program included learning about and responding to the world refugee crisis – the crisis caused by unrelenting violence against civilian communities and families.
And when they gathered for worship, they prayed sincerely and intensely … Read more »
“Here I am, Lord”
The Hebrews were a group of marginal, oppressed people, living in the land of Egypt long ago, and in an attempt to keep their population under control, the king of Egypt ordered that any male babies born to the Hebrews be thrown into the Nile river to drown. And that’s when Moses was born.
After hiding the little boy for three months, Moses’ mother placed him in a basket and released him to float down the river, from which he was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who took him in and raised him as her own son.
We don’t know anything about Moses’ life as he grew up in Egypt, just as we don’t know much about Jesus’ early life. But the book of Exodus indicates that although Moses had the privileges of royalty, he did know that he was born a Hebrew, and he had a certain amount of identification with their plight as an oppressed People.
The first story about Moses’ adult life is about him trying to stand up for a Hebrew who was being beaten by an Egyptian. But rather than just order the Egyptian to stop, Moses’ anger takes over and he … Read more »
Exodus 1:8 – 2:10
Can you imagine being Shiprah or Puah when Pharaoh ordered them to start killing all the baby boys? How scary it must have been for them to disobey the king’s orders and lie right to his face about it!
Can you imagine being one of Jesus’ disciples when he asked, “Who do YOU say that I am?” How difficult it must have been for Peter to say out loud what he really believed about Jesus when everyone else seemed to think he was just some kind of prophet!
In some ways, this morning’s readings are very different from each other. But on another level, they are connected because they’re all about people of faith finding the courage to speak and to act on their faith in spite of great opposition.
On Friday evening, I went to a short play with my friend, Martha. It’s a play that we’re considering including in the program for the Saskatchewan Presbyterian Youth conference at the end of September. And it’s a pretty heavy play because it’s all about girls bullying girls.
It’s one of those one-actor plays that always impresses me so much because the actor performs for an hour straight, remembering … Read more »
As I told the children this morning, today’s text from the Gospel of Matthew reminded me of the difficult reality that our faith in God and in Jesus Christ our Lord calls us not only to good things, but to hard things.
When Christian churches are reaching out, inviting new people into the family of God, that isn’t normally a big part of the message. We’ve all seen the messages that churches try to put out there in the community at large – on our church signs, on our websites, on the flyers that are dropped in mail boxes. They say, “Everyone is welcome!” They say, “Come and experience new life in Christ!” They say, “Come and worship with friendly Presbyterians.”
I’ve absolutely never seen any church advertising that said: “You’re most welcome to come and suffer with us!” I’m sure that I would have remembered a message like that. And I might have wondered if they were talking about suffering through the Sunday sermons! No, when we tell others about our church, when we tell others about our faith, we tend to focus on the positives – on the good things that we have experienced … Read more »
The following sermon was preached by the Rev. Amanda Currie at St. Andrew’s for the World Day of Prayer worship service on Friday, March 6th, 2009. The service for the downtown churches of Saskatoon was hosted by St. Andrew’s and organized by Adela MacDonald and Helen Foss, in cooperation with women from seven neighbourhood churches. The liturgy was prepared and adapted by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada.
Scripture: Romans 12:4-21; Exodus 2:1-10; Acts 4:32-35
The earliest Christian church, described in the book of Acts, sounds so wonderful, doesn’t it? “Those who believed were of one heart and soul…” Doesn’t that sound lovely when you think about the disagreements and conflicts in our churches today? “With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…” Doesn’t that kind of preaching sound inspiring? “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned land or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.” Wow! Not a needy person among them — no one left out — because they all committed … Read more »
The concept of being called by God or called by God in Jesus Christ is one that runs all the way through the Hebrew and Greek scriptures — our bible.
God called Abram to leave his family and his country, and to go to a new land where God would make him and his descendants into a blessing to the world.
God called the boy Samuel to be a prophet to the people. God called him to speak words of judgement against those who were not living in God’s ways so that they would turn and follow God.
Another prophet, Isaiah, explained that God called him even before he was born. He believed that his whole identity and nature was to be one who gathered Israel back to their God. That was his call.
Jeremiah too was a prophet appointed by God to speak God’s words. When God called him, Jeremiah said, “O God, I don’t know how to speak! I’m only a boy!” But God said, “Do not be afraid, because I am with you.”
In the Greek scriptures, God’s call was heard in the voice of … Read more »