Unconditional Forgiveness!?

In this sermon I have largely followed the interpretation of Exodus 32-34 that is offered by Donald Gowan in his book The Bible on Forgiveness.


How long do you keep trying?

How many times do you go back to a relationship?

Perhaps you’ve had meaningful years together. You’ve grown together in love and care. And yet in some ways the other person seems incapable of maintaining a loving posture toward you. The other person seems continually to prioritize other activities or other responsibilities or other people, over you? Even worse, perhaps, the other person often seems incapable of a basic faithfulness to you and to the relationships.

How long do you keep trying?

How many times do you go back to the relationship? Continue reading


So angry he could die #jonah #GodAsksTheQuestions

He is so angry, he could die.

He is so angry, he wants to die.

Last week in our reflections on Jonah we ended on a note of mercy and grace. Jonah had made his declaration: 40 days and Nineveh will be overturned. 40 days and Nineveh will be smashed. But it turned out that Jonah was wrong. Last week we ended our reading in Jonah where our reading for this week has picked up again. With these words: “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” A note of mercy and grace.

And now Jonah is so angry, he could die.

He is so angry, he wants to die.

And Jonah prays his anger. Within the Old Testament, we find many instances when God’s people pray their anger. Particularly within the Psalms we have these moments when the God’s people pray their anger in such strong terms. Usually these prayers arise out of situations where God’s people are suffering – usually these prayers arise out of situations where they are oppressed and abused. They wonder where God is. In prayer they express their anger that God has done nothing to relieve their suffering or assuage their pain. In the context of our faith in Christ there is plenty of room to pray one’s anger in this way. Continue reading

a hot coal

Have you ever felt out of place?

Have you ever found yourself in some situation where you just didn’t belong?

In fact it’s a fairly common human experience – to feel out of place in this way.

If you’ve ever moved to a new town, you’ve probably felt out of place.

If you’ve ever travelled to another continent or country, you’ve probably felt out of place.

If you’ve found yourself spending time with people of a dramatically different income-bracket – well, you’ve probably felt out of place.

No doubt each one of us can of a time when we’ve felt out of place – we’ve all had that sense of discomfort and unease – of being disoriented – that goes along with being out of place. “Uh, I’m don’t think I’m supposed to be here.” Continue reading

rigorousness vs. leniency

It’s probably fair to say that we Canadians like things made easy. This become particularly obvious when we think of the various technologies ar out disposal:

Why get off the couch when you can change the channel with a remote control?

Why plant a large garden when you can get your vegetables at Metro?

Why change your whole lifestyle when you can just change your light-bulbs and consider yourself “green”?

At some level of course we can only be grateful for technologies that take some of the pain and harshness out of life. But it seems we always go one step further – yes, we want the pain and harshness out of our lives – but we also want everything to be a little easier. It applies to most living in modern western culture. You can only imagine the financial resources, the production time and the energy that go into making things easier for us. Continue reading