October 1, 2023

Exodus 17:1-7
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

“One Loving Change”

On this final Sunday in the “Season of Creation” it is fitting that the Revised Common Lectionary gave us a story about water. The search for water that we read about in Exodus, where adults, children, and animals are close to death, is desperate.

We don’t have to look far for a contemporary example because much of the Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in forty years. For example, in Laikipia in Kenya, the resilient nomadic Masaai people have lost livestock, and the riverbeds are baked dry, with desperate wild elephants storming and destroying bore water tanks in search of water.

Women and children dig for hours in the dry riverbeds, searching for small pools of moisture, lifting out precious water in cups. As night falls, the wild animals come to the pool and drink, and in the morning, the process begins again. We all need water for life.

Or perhaps you saw the CBC News story last week about the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The Mackenzie, one of the longest rivers in our country, runs from Great Slave Lake through the Northwest Territories before eventually emptying out into the Arctic Ocean. It is … Read more »

September 24, 2023

Exodus 16:2-15
Matthew 20:1-16

“Enough for All”

There’s a stand-up comedian that I’ve been following lately online. Ismo is a comedian from Finland, and I find him hilarious, especially when he’s talking about his Finnish experience of North American English language and idioms. There’s one video in which Ismo explains that he has a kind of a strange relationship with food. He says,

When I was a kid, my mom always said that ‘You have to eat everything from your plate. You have to eat all the food… because there is starvation in Africa.’
And then I ate… everything.
And then I grew a bit older, and I started to think, ‘How have I helped?’
‘How have I helped… the situation in… Africa?’
I’m now a little bit overweight…. I hope they are happy.
I have done my best… eating so much.
If I ever go to Africa and they look at my belly… I will say that ‘I did it for you!’

I can’t replicate Ismo’s comedic timing and manner in relating this little story about food and hunger and international relations. But I expect that many of you remember a parent saying something similar to you when you were young, or maybe you remember saying it to your kids … Read more »

September 17, 2023

Exodus 14:19-31
Matthew 18:21-35

“Acts of God?”

I am finding that it is an interesting process to focus my preaching this month on the Season of Creation while I continue to follow the Scripture readings for Sundays that are set in the Revised Common Lectionary. I want to acknowledge the Anglican Communion’s resource “Preaching for God’s World” which provided some helpful information and inspiration for today’s sermon, as well as the blessing of discussing the focus text from Exodus in our Bible study earlier this week.

If you’re a regular church-goer or you went to Sunday School years ago, you probably know the story recounted in Exodus 14 quite well. It may be images from that old movie, “The Ten Commandments” with Charleton Heston as Moses that come to mind when you think of it. You see him standing there with his arm raised high over the sea, and miraculously the waters begin to part, rising up into great walls of water on two sides.

It’s a spectacular demonstration of God’s power and love for the Hebrew People. As we have been remembering over the past couple of Sundays, God heard the cries of the Hebrews as they suffered under hard labour and slavery in … Read more »

September 10, 2023

Exodus 12:1-14
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

“We Can Do Hard Things”

Where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, Christ is present. When we come together like this on Sunday mornings to engage in the rituals of praise, prayer, preaching, and Sacraments, Jesus is here with us. I hope that you know that, and that you feel that, and that you are encouraged and strengthened by that promise.

I know that there are many different reasons why people decide to attend worship on a regular basis. You may come for the music, or for the friendship and community, or because you made it a habit many years ago, and it’s just what you do. But when I’ve asked regular worshippers why they come to church each Sunday, many of them say that it strengthens them for the week ahead.

It’s because life is hard, and we need to be reminded that we are loved and that we belong. We need to be assured that when we mess up, we can be forgiven and try again. We need to hear that God has difficult but important things for us to do in the world, and we need to know that we can do those hard things.

I … Read more »

September 3, 2023

Exodus 3:1-15

“Getting our Attention”

This month in our worship at First Church, we are joining Christians around the world in celebrating the Season of Creation. This is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment together. During the Season of Creation, we join our siblings in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home.

The season starts on September 1st, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations. Throughout the month-long celebration, the world’s 2.2 billion Christians come together to care for our common home.

I titled my sermon this morning, “Getting our Attention.” First of all, I wanted to get your attention and invite you into this special season of reflection on God’s world, appreciation for the natural environment, and action for its preservation and renewal.

I hope that you’ll come to worship each Sunday to think deeply with me about the Scriptures and Creation, that you’ll attend the special outdoor gathering being planned by the Mission & Outreach Committee after worship on Sept. 17th, and that you’ll respond with personal changes … Read more »