On Sunday, August 2, 2020, First Presbyterian Church is joining with Presbyterians across the Synod of Saskatchewan for a pre-recorded worship service which will be aired at 11:00 am with the leadership of our Synod Summer Ministry Students, Samuel Andri and Jacqueline Cleland. Watch here, or go to the Synod of Saskatchewan – Summer Ministry Facebook Page to join in the community by greeting one another in the comment section.
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Here is the video of “Half an Hour of Hymns” from Sunday, July 19, 2020. The theme is The Fruit of the Spirit, with one hymn for each of the fruit identified in Galatians 5:22-23. (This video is best watched while lying on your right side. That way it will be perfect! – Oops!) … Read more »
Here is a video of “Half an Hour of Hymns” from Sunday, July 12, 2020. We’re singing songs that celebrate the gift of God’s Word and sharing some of our favourite Bible passages and stories. … Read more »
Here is a video of “Half and Hour of Hymns” from Sunday, July 5, 2020. We are singing songs about following and learning from Jesus – Discipleship songs. … Read more »
On Sunday, July 5, 2020, First Presbyterian Church is joining with Presbyterians across the Synod of Saskatchewan for a livestreamed worship service at 11:00 am with the leadership of our Synod Summer Ministry Students, Samuel Andri and Jacqueline Cleland. Watch here, or go to the Synod of Saskatchewan – Summer Ministry Facebook Page to join in the community by greeting one another in the comment section:
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Here is the video of “Half an Hour of Hymns” from June 28, 2020. We are singing hymns of faith and trust.
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In the email I sent out to the congregation in preparation for this Sunday, I noted that I would be attempting to preach on Genesis 22 this morning, the story sometimes called “The Binding of Isaac” or “The Command to Sacrifice Isaac.” I mentioned that one commentary describes the passage as “one of the most famous, infamous, vexing, compelling, repugnant, fascinating, horrifying, suspenseful stories in the Bible.” The same author suggests that “It’s a dangerous story, so we have to tread carefully. And it’s a story full of treasure, which is why it’s been prized in both Jewish and Christian traditions for thousands of years.”
This familiar passage comes up in the lectionary once every three years, and many Christians hear it every year at Easter, as it’s one of the key texts in the Easter Vigil liturgy. And yet, it has engendered heated debate over the centuries. Is it a story of an abusive God, a misguided Abraham, religious violence at its worst? Or is it a story of faith and obedience? I remember one summer when it came up in the readings, another preacher was filling in for me while I was away on holidays. She … Read more »
This is the video from our “Singing for Justice” hymn sing on Sunday June 21st as we marked National Indigenous Peoples Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Regina.
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The following video is the worship service at First Presbyterian Church in Regina for National Indigenous Peoples Sunday on Sunday, June 21, 2020. We were honoured to welcome the Rev. Mary Fontaine, founding Director of Hummingbird Ministries in BC as our guest preacher. Read Mary’s biography here on the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s webpage.
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Genesis 18:1-5; 21:1-7
“The Gift of Laughter”
A humorous comment from George Burns: “The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.”
This week’s story from Genesis is a turning point in the story of Abraham and Sarah. God has promised to make them ancestors “of a multitude of nations,” even though Sarah is childless and ninety years old. Abraham initially finds this unimaginable, even laughable – and in this week’s story, so does Sarah.
The couple show hospitality to three strangers who stop by. The strangers are either angels with an important message for them, or perhaps even God in disguise, and Abraham seems to recognize this right away, and receives them warmly and takes very good care of them.
After showing the strangers some extravagant hospitality, Abraham and Sarah stand by – and from inside the tent, Sarah overhears the visitors tell Abraham that she “shall have a son.” Sarah laughs to herself in disbelief – she’s ninety, after all!
But not only does she eventually have a son, (she calls him, “Isaac” which actually means “laughter”) and she declares, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone … Read more »
We had some Wifi issues during the recording of worship on Sunday, June 7th. The audio of the sermon is perfect, however the video of the whole service has some skips, unfortunately. We have now figured out what went wrong, so we can make a better recording next Sunday!!!
“Entrusted to Us”
A few years ago, I was back in school working on another degree in ministry. I’ve put that work on hold for the moment, given some other things going on in my life that needed to take priority. But the courses I took, and the reading and theological reflection they involved were very helpful, even if I never actually complete the degree.
For example, I remember taking a course called, “Theology of Ministry.” Its overall purpose was to assist each of us as students to develop our own theology of ministry as we understand it in our particular contexts and roles within the church. I titled my major paper for the course, “Partners in the Ministry of Christ: A Presbyterian and Ecumenical Theology of Ministry.”
You see, I was discovering that my theology of ministry is rooted in a conviction that all Christian ministry is the ministry of … Read more »
“Channels of Living Water”
On Thursday evenings when First Church folk gather on Zoom for “Tea and a Chat,” I usually offer some kind of brief devotional or reflection, along with a question for discussion. This week, I highlighted the story of that first Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and noted the way that God surprised the first Apostles with the powerful experience of God’s presence in wind and fire, and the challenging mission of proclaiming God’s deeds of power to the world.
It’s not unusual for God to show up in people’s lives with an element of surprise. It happened many times throughout the stories of Scripture, and our little group on Zoom shared stories of our own experiences of being surprised by God, often in a positive way. I could have honestly said that I was surprised to be moving to Regina three years ago, and that I was surprised to be saying “yes” to a nomination to be Moderator of our church. But looking back, many of those surprises came with both challenges and also blessings.
Another topic of conversation in our First Church fellowship gatherings online this week has been “the wind.” On Tuesday evening, our … Read more »
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
“Holy God, Protect Them”
“Holy God, protect them.” That was part of the prayer that Jesus prayed in the days leading up to his death and resurrection. It was part of the prayer that he prayed for his disciples and for those who would come after them. The fact that Jesus prayed for us so intently in those days, rather than simply praying for himself and his own needs, and the idea that Jesus continues to pray for us even now have often been an encouragement to Christians.
When we’re feeling worried or afraid, when we’re tempted to give up or give in, when we are doubting God’s presence or love, or suffering from various trials, we are reminded that Jesus prays for us. The prayer assures us that we belong to Jesus as his followers, and therefore we also belong to God and are under God’s care. Jesus acknowledges that he will no longer be in the world (at least in a physical sense) but that we will be here and we will need God’s protection.
Jesus talks about giving us the gift of eternal life. But as I suggested a couple of weeks ago, that doesn’t just … Read more »
Acts 17:22-31; John 14:15-21
“The Best is Yet to Come!”
When the Apostle Paul addressed the people of first century Athens, he commented that he had noticed an altar in their city with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ I suppose he must have found it sad that these people were searching for God, and seeking to worship God, and maybe even wanting to offer their lives in service to God, but God remained a mystery to them.
But Paul came with good news for the Athenians, the same good news that has given our lives meaning, purpose, and hope as well. He said: “The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things… In him we live and move and have our being… We are his offspring.”
How did Paul know this? And how could he proclaim with such confidence that the God of all Creation was present and active and giving life and breath to all people as God’s … Read more »
1 Peter 2:2-10
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
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 … Read more »
I’m sure you’ve already noticed that this morning’s worship is all about sheep and shepherds. When we were planning ahead for the music for this service several weeks ago, I pointed out that the lectionary was giving us Psalm 23 again. It came up just about a month ago during the Season of Lent, and we’re getting it again on this Fourth Sunday in the Season of Easter. As I noted the sheep theme, someone started to sing that wonderful chorus from Handel’s Messiah about the sheep: All we like sheep… have gone astray, have gone astray, have gone astray….
I said, “Yes, that’s an excellent song about sheep. But not for this week.” You see, the readings on this Easter Season Sunday are less about the sheep going astray, getting lost, or messing up. And they’re more about what the shepherds are up to. Today is all about the shepherds, actually. And in particular, the idea that Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” who cares for us (the sheep) and leads us to abundant life.
Many early followers of Jesus would have been familiar with describing the promised Messiah as a caring a skillful “shepherd”: The prophets Isaiah, … Read more »
“In the Breaking”
I continue to be amazed, day-by-day and week-by-week, as we continue through this strange and difficult time of a world-wide pandemic, that Jesus keeps showing up beside us on our journey. I can personally say that each and every week of this lockdown, I have received the lectionary readings as a gift that have helped me through and given me encouragement and strength to keep going. I have not found it a struggle to preach during this time, because every week we have been blessed with another word of love, compassion, and hope for the future. And this week was no exception.
The story of the two disciples walking sadly away from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus, is a favourite for many Christians. In the midst of our own grief, loss, and confusion, we are reminded that Jesus comes to us, and walks with us, and reveals himself to us in love. Although one of the disciples is named Cleopas, we don’t know the name of the other. And so we may imagine ourselves in his place, walking with Jesus, learning from him, beginning to recognize his presence, and being sent to share the good … Read more »