The beginning of a short sermon series – this week, looking at transformation through travel…
A few decades ago the Swiss theologian Karl Barth offered a suggestion to young seminary students and theologians, a suggestion we are going to take him up on over the next few weeks. Barth suggested that they read with the bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand.
These two texts represent two worlds? There is the world of the bible, in which the ways and identity of God are opened up for us. The world of the bible, in which ancient human experiences of God are recounted. And then there is the world of the newspaper, in which our contemporary world is described, in which the opinions of our neighbours are offered, in which the preoccupations of our society come to light. Continue reading →
My sermon from today – no doubt more provocative than usual…
We turn back to the letter of James this morning for the second sermon in this series. And based on our reading from James this morning you will realize that today we are talking about money. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise since Jesus, for his part, talks about money more than almost anything else. And as we acknowledged in the first sermon in this series, James the brother of Jesus is a preacher in the mould of Jesus.
As soon as I say that we are talking about money matters this morning, most of us probably have a good idea how the script will unfold. Perhaps we expect it to go something like this:
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My sermon from this past Sunday.
Today, as is indicated on our bulletin cover, is Christ the King Sunday.
Next week we will begin a new church year as we move into the season of Advent. And today we close out the old church year, doing so by celebrating the kingship of Jesus Christ. Our human lives are lived in a rhythm of years – year passes into year. And through the rhythm of our years the truth gospel gives shape to our lives. This morning, the gospel reminds us that Christ is king – the gospel reminds us that in the passage of our days and years there is no moment that is not lived under his lordship, his kingship.
In Canadian society today, of course, the idea of kingship, of royalty, is pretty distant from the thought and life of most people. I recall that just a few months ago there was a debate whether the Governor General, Michaelle Jean should be referring to herself as Canada’s head of state. The Prime Minister’s office intervened, suggesting that Queen Elizabeth is in fact the head of state and that the Governor General is simply her representative in Canada. Most Canadians, of course, heard nothing of this debate, and the vast majority of who did hear about it likely offered yawn of indifference. Whether or not the monarchy is important to our history and society, monarchy provokes a yawn of indifference. Continue reading →
A sermon in my continuing, brief series on biographies of faith.
We continue, this morning, with our short series – biographies of faith.
We have all-too briefly explored the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who gave us a sense of costly grace – of what it means to stand firm for Jesus Christ and his church; an individual who was martyred by the Nazi regime in 1945.
We have all-too briefly explored the life of Joni Eareckson, who gave us a sense of what it means to follow Jesus Christ in the midst of our suffering – who reminded us of our freedom to be honest with God; who reminded us also of our resurrection hope. Our hope for a world made new.
This morning we reach a little further back into history in order to answer those questions we have taken up – What does it look like when someone is following Jesus. What does a genuinely Christian life look like? And that equally vital question: What does it look like when I am following Jesus. Continue reading →