“Reforming Towards Love”
The last Sunday in October is often marked in Lutheran, Presbyterian, and other Reformed Churches as Reformation Sunday. It’s the closest Sunday to that historic date of October 31st in 1517 when a German professor of theology named Martin Luther challenged the status quo of current Christian theology by nailing his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church, thus beginning the 16th Century Reformation of the Church.
In some contexts, Reformation Sunday is celebrated like a victory in which right thinking triumphed over wrong, and the church moved in new, more enlightened, directions. Of course, we must remember that while the 16th century movement brought needed change to our understanding of God’s grace and led to new opportunities for all Christians to read the Bible themselves and to interpret it together in community, it also led to brokenness and division in the church.
Change is difficult, and the church at that time was not successful in reforming together. The conflict over theology and church practice led not only to arguments, but to bloodshed. And the divisions made at that time still keep us separated today, even if most of the divisive issues have now been resolved.
For … Read more »
The following videos were livestreamed during the “Ride for Refuge” at First Presbyterian Church in Regina on October 3, 2020. The Moderator, the Rev. Amanda Currie, encouraged folks from First Church and across the country to “Walk, Pray, and Give with the Moderator” in support of Presbyterian World Service and Development. Thanks to everyone who walked, prayed, and rode for this vital mission of our church!
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1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
“Everything to God!”
In a season of elections and political debates, today’s Gospel story seems very fitting. Jesus is approached by two opposing groups who scheme together to try to trick him into saying something that he shouldn’t.
Commentators note that the Pharisees and the Herodians are a strange pairing because they would have been on opposite sides of the political spectrum and, in particular, the tax question. The Herodians were supporters of Herod Antipas (King Herod’s son) and Rome’s puppet ruler and collaborator with the empire. The Pharisees were against the Roman occupation, so they had little in common with Herodians – except their mutual opposition to Jesus and the trouble he was stirring up among the people.
The Pharisees and Herodians first soak Jesus in flattery, and then ask him a trick question: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” If Jesus says, “Do not pay taxes to the emperor,” the Romans will get him for treason. If he says, “Yes, we should pay taxes to the emperor,” his own followers in that occupied country will call him a traitor.
It makes me think of other questions asked of our political hopefuls in the course … Read more »
“Giving Thanks in Ordinary Times”
I did something a little unusual with the scripture readings this morning. As most of you know, we often follow the Revised Common Lectionary’s 3-year cycle of readings for Sundays. But today we had a choice of readings. Today I could have chosen the readings for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, or I could have chosen the special readings for Thanksgiving Sunday.
But instead of choosing one set or the other, I mixed them up a little. I chose Philippians 4 from the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, and matched it up with two of the readings for Thanksgiving – Deuteronomy 8 about being sure not to forget God when things are good, and Luke 17 about the ten lepers getting healed and the one who goes back to say thank you to Jesus.
The Deuteronomy reading makes a lot of sense for Thanksgiving Sunday. The message is: “When everything is wonderful in your life, when you’ve got everything you need, when you sit down to a wonderful meal of turkey and potatoes and vegetables and pie, surrounded by good friends and dear family, don’t forget about God…
“When the harvest is plentiful, when you move into … Read more »
Enjoy “Half an Hour of Hymns” to celebrate Thanksgiving Weekend. Sing along, consider what brings you joy, hope, and encouragement in these days, and practise gratitude with us.
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Please note that there are two videos for the service today, as we lost the feed for a moment and had to re-start.
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
“What Love Looks Like”
Professionals in the area of education will tell you that people learn in a variety of ways. Some are like my husband, who can read a book about something and easily recall all the details and explain the concepts. Others do better when they can listen to someone teaching out loud. (They are the ultimate sermon-listeners!)
Some learn better when they can see images or diagrams that illustrate the points. And still others won’t really get it until they can put it in their own words or actually try out doing it themselves. Personally, I do better with listening than with just reading, and if you can set the material to music, I can be your star student!
It seems to me that the foundational message of God for God’s people doesn’t really change from the ancient days of the Hebrews wandering in the desert to the seemingly new gospel message given in Jesus. Throughout that history, and still today, the goal is to guide human beings towards living in loving relationship both … Read more »
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
“Together on the Journey”
The parable of the vineyard is about two sons. Both were called to work in the vineyard. The first son says he won’t go, but then he shows up. The second son says he’ll go, but he never arrives to work. After telling this story, Jesus asked those who were listening, “Which of the two sons did what the father wanted?”
I am sure that everyone would reply the son who showed up. The parable reminds us that faith must be more than just words. The son who promises to work in the vineyard and then fails to do so is no help to his father. In contrast, the one who hesitates to work, but then decides to take up the task, likely pleases his father with his unexpected generosity.
I think about this scripture today, as we reflect on the call to participate in our denomination’s shared ministry and mission. We are connected through faith, governance, and sharing in ministry and mission. Through our gifts to Presbyterians Sharing, we participate in God’s mission.
Together, we equip congregations, ministries and presbyteries with skills and tools for evangelism and discipleship, stewardship and Christian education. Together we … Read more »
“Our Daily Bread”
The summer that I was fifteen years old, I worked at Woolworth’s. It was my first real job, other than babysitting the neighbourhood kids, and I got paid $5.80 per hour, the minimum wage at that time. Before I started each shift, I had to go downstairs to the employee’s lounge where the time cards were kept, find my card and slide it into the time card machine which would stamp the time I started to work onto the card.
I worked hard at that job… folding clothes and towels, fixing displays, and trying my best to direct customers to the things they needed. At the end of my shift, with tired feet I would make my way back downstairs, slide my card back through the machine, and then go home, satisfied with what I had accomplished.
I remember that job at Woolworth’s as a good experience, and I think a big part of it was that I had a sense of working hard and earning my spending money. For each hour I worked, I would earn my $5.80. It wasn’t much, but I had earned it and that felt good.
I’m not sure how Jesus’ first listeners would … Read more »
“A Whole New Way”
I suggested to Graeme and Bill that a musical setting of the Lord’s Prayer would be very appropriate for the Ministry of Music today. They are the familiar words of our Lord Jesus, the prayer that he shared with his disciples when they asked him to teach them how to pray, the prayer that we, and Christians around the world, include in our worship almost every time we gather.
You’ve likely noticed that Presbyterians tend to say the prayer a little differently than others. Where most ask God to forgive their trespasses, and others request forgiveness of their sins in general, Presbyterians often use the translation of Jesus’ prayer that says, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” And that seems very fitting for today’s passage from the Gospel of Matthew. After all, Jesus tells a story about a slave who owes a lot of money to his king, and about a second slave who owes quite a bit to the first slave.
The king mercifully forgives the massive debt of the first slave, cancelling what he owes and freeing him from the impossible task of paying it back. But rather than following the ruler’s … Read more »
“Loving our Neighbours by Caring for Creation”
From September 1st to October 4th, the Christian family celebrates the good gift of creation. This global celebration began in 1989 with the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s recognition of the Day of Prayer for Creation and is now embraced by the wide ecumenical community.
During the Season of Creation, we unite as one family in Christ, celebrating the bonds we share with each other and with “every living creature on Earth.” (Genesis 9:10) The Christian family celebrates the season by spending time in prayer, considering ways to inhabit our common home sustainably, and lifting our voices in the public sphere.
Here in Canada in 2020, faith communities and faith-based organizations are coming together under a unified banner to mobilize Canada-wide education, reflection, action, and advocacy for climate justice. The Presbyterian Church in Canada has signed on to this initiative called “For the Love of Creation” with other people of faith, hoping to make a meaningful contribution in the next decade towards a sustainable future for all life on the planet. The goal of the movement is to work together to build healthy, resilient communities, and a better future for all beings in Creation.
And so today, at … Read more »
“Half an Hour of Hymns” at First Presbyterian Church in Regina on Sunday, August 30th. The theme this week was inspired by Jesus’ question to his disciples in Matthew 16: “Who do you say that I am?”
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“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 »
This week, our “Half an Hour of Hymns” consists of some of the contemporary songs that we enjoy singing at First Presbyterian Church in Regina. We hope you’ll enjoy listening and singing along, glorifying God with a joyful sound!
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Worship for Sunday, August 16th with the Synod of Saskatchewan: Summer Student Minister, Samuel Andri leading and preaching, with participation from across the province.
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Sing along with Half an Hour of Hymns at First Presbyterian Church. This week’s theme is based on Romans 10:14-15 about the beautiful feet of the messenger who brings the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ.
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Worship on August 9, 2020 with the Synod of Saskatchewan: Summer Student Minister, Samuel Andri, preaching with participation from across the province.
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For our “Half an Hour of Hymns” today, we had a camp sing-along in celebration of Camp Christopher’s 75th Anniversary. Find out more about the camp at campchristopher.ca
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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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