2018 12 30 A Stable Place
Toronto United Mennonite Church Colossians 3:12-17 – “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26 – Samuel grows up in the Temple Luke 2:41-52 – Jesus as a child in the Temple
Six and a half years ago, when I was still relatively new to Canada, and to this church, I was working with Christian Peacemaker Teams. If you don’t know much about CPT, it is what we euphemistically call a ‘lean’ organization – like a lot of the church world, we get a lot of work done without spending much money. I learned that there was to be a Mennonite Church Eastern Canada gathering in Leamington, and as I was interested in spending more time with the Mennonites, and had never been to Leamington, I thought it would be a good idea to attend, to staff a table for CPT and especially to talk to people about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In this sermon I will explore what we know of John the Baptist and show how his ministry invited others into repentance and re-entry into the sacred story of Israel’s covenant with God. I will speak of how John’s ministry was more than a precursor to Jesus’ time, but was part of the same prophetic stream that Jesus was. I will speak of the danger of only reading the Hebrew Scriptures as they relate to Jesus. And I will offer a way to understand the witness of John the Baptist to our time, both in the Advent season and in how we are invited to accompany Jesus today.Continue reading
2018 10 14 He Went Away Grieving
Windsor Mennonite Fellowship Job 23: 1-9, 16-17 Mark 10: 17-31 (see below for texts)
Move him into the sun— Gently its touch awoke him once, At home, whispering of fields half-sown. Always it woke him, even in France, Until this morning and this snow. If anything might rouse him now The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds,— Woke, once, the clays of a cold star. Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides, Full-nerved—still warm—too hard to stir? Was it for this the clay grew tall? —O what made fatuous sunbeams toil To break earth’s sleep at all?
Futility, Wilfred Owen – May 1918
We are in the middle of the three great festivals of memory, the trifecta of remembrance:
Thanksgiving (Beginning October)
Hallowe’en (All Saints and All Souls) End of October
Remembrance Day, Nov 11
This is a time of remembrance. Seeking after comfort and remembering life at a time when there is the reminder, the spectre of death. It’s a time for bonfires, soups, and pumpkin spice, the first day cold enough to need last winter’s gloves and scarf.Continue reading
St Paul was many things, but he was not conflict avoidant. He was angry, defensive, grumpy, and critical at different times as he confronted his critics, adversaries and his friends. And from time to time, he got it right, when he remembered to point his friends and adversaries to Jesus, remembering ‘we have a new perspective; we don’t regard anyone from a human point of view, based on worldly standards and interests. We used to think of Christ in the same, human way, but we don’t think of him that way anymore. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.’
In this sermon I will discuss the ‘Sursum Corda’, the oldest piece of communion liturgy, and discuss the role of thanksgiving in the Eucharist and in the life of the church. I will propose that the giving of thanks is a good thing in and of itself, beyond the goodness of the thing you are giving thanks for. I will suggest that part of ‘Being Church Together’ is sharing our thanksgiving. Then I will detail some of the many things I am personally thankful about in TUMC specifically and show how participation in this church is a good way of centring thanksgiving in my life, not just of doing good but of being thankful for that good.Continue reading