Dangerous Liaisons – We might just be moved…

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2017 06 25, TUMC Sermon

Three different rainbow banners at Toronto United Mennonite Church

Banners at TUMC on Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dangerous Liaisons – We might just be moved…
Song of Songs 8: 4-7 – love is as strong as death

Just this last week, at the memorial service for a longtime member of the Student Christian Movement, we sang many of the old Social Gospel hymns from the SCM songbook. At the close of the service the familiar “We shall not, we shall not be moved” sprang up spontaneously.

It’s a great song; a protest classic with Biblical overtones – “like a tree planted by the waters, we shall not be moved”. On the streets it cools people off and helps a group find a sense of unity and purpose. The imagery of the song is firm and resolute. We are firm in our ideals and principles and position, and we shall not be moved. Even while we’re getting dragged away by the police we shall not be moved!

But being firm in your principles is not the only virtue. Our summer preaching series is about times when this song does not apply. Times when “we might just be moved…” Continue reading

We are part of a movement

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We are part of a movement.

When we look back, we see saints, prophets, matriarchs & patriarchs, dissidents and activists, peace-makers, history-makers and home-makers. We see faithful people responding to the fears of their time.

We are part of a movement.

When we look below us we see the Earth, Creation, our world. It is a place full of life and creativity! But our footstep is heavy and our world is suffering. Our place in the web is growing tenuous. As we open our eyes to see the truth, help us recall our kinship to all creation.

We are part of a movement.

When we look around we see each other. The people to your left and right are your comrades, your community, your colleagues and co-conspirators. Each of us has a gift to share. Each of us has a need to be met. In our communion of purpose, let us remind each other that we are all made in God’s Image.

We are part of a movement.

When we look ahead, we look together. We see challenge, adversity, and much work. We also see grace to do, grace to be, and grace to become.

[Name], we are grateful that you will be part of our community. We will endeavour to support you in your peacemaking ministry. We will pray with you and work with you. We are part of a movement. Amen.

Lent II – The Holy Spirit

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Lent II – The Holy Spirit
2017 03 12 – TUMC Preaching Series “Credo: Faithful Moorings” – listen to the sermon here

Scriptures: Isaiah 61:1-6 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me…”
Romans 8:22-27 “We know that the whole of Creation had been groaning…”

Prayer of Illumination (prayer offered by another member of the Preaching Team throughout this series, author Michele Rizoli)
Creating God, wind of the Spirit,
Who comforts in safe harbor and challenges in open water,
Be present as we examine the anchors of our beliefs and practices
Guide us as we navigate being faithful followers of Jesus and witnesses to your compassion. Amen

I have a confession to make. When the preaching team met to discern our series; Credo: Faithful Moorings, we sought to encounter some of the key doctrines and concepts that inform our Christian, Anabaptist, Mennonite, Canadian, Urban, 21st Century faith. Each member of preaching team offered a suggestion about what they might cover. We have already had many of these sermons – focusing on Creation, on Sin, on ecclesiology, on God and on Jesus.

For some time I have been wondering what Mennonites make of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

The Holy Spirit

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The Holy Spirit
2017 02 19 – Danforth Mennonite Church

Scriptures: Isaiah 61:1-6 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me…”
Romans 8:22-27 “We know that the whole of Creation had been groaning…”

One Sunday, the minister stood up before the congregation looking slightly ashamed.

“I am terribly sorry” he began. “I have had a very busy week, and I have not had time to write a sermon. This week, we shall have to rely upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. But next week we hope to do much better!”

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Spirit, and the role of the Holy Spirit in churches. Continue reading

Advent II – Someone is coming

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Advent II  – Someone is coming
2016 12 04 – TUMC Junior Youth service – listen to the sermon here

Scriptures: Isaiah 11:1-10 – The Peaceful Kingdom
Matthew 3:1-12 – The Proclamation of John the Baptist

The sermon was written after several weeks ‘workshopping’ the scripture texts during Sunday School Hour. We read them together, discussed images, brainstormed questions, and talked about how the two readings compared and contrasted. What emerged is this conversation for five voices:
Bea – Old Testament (OT)
Alak – Believing (B)
Elliot – Questioning (Q)
Ani – Explaining (E)
Alex – New Testament (NT)

OT – Something is happening.
B – Someone is coming
Q – Have you heard?
E – Now is the time to hear.
NT – The one who is coming is almost here.

OT – “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Continue reading