Lent II – The Holy Spirit


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


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


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

Midrash on the Rich Young Ruler


Midrash on the Rich Young Ruler
2016 10 16 – Toronto United Mennonite Church

Read before our sermon: Going Back to the Beginning, following on from the scripture reading of Mark 10:19-27 – The Rich Young Ruler.

Then after He had said these things, one of His disciples, who was late, because he had been making sandwiches, crept in and whispered to Bartholomew  ‘so what did I miss’?

And Bartholomew whispered back what had transpired, how the rich young ruler had approached Jesus and the question he had asked, and the answer that he had heard, and how he had gone away in sorrow, and Phillip, the disciple who was late, was amazed at these words.

And Phillip considered these matters in his heart with trepidation, because he happened to have some investments in a fish paste company and he wondered if he was supposed to have cashed those in and give the money to the poor. Continue reading

Going Back to the Beginning


Going back to the Beginning
2016 10 16 – Toronto United Mennonite Church – listen to the sermon here

Scriptures: Luke 18:1-8 – the Parable of the Persistent Widow
Mark 10:19-27 – The Rich Young Ruler

This sermon was part of the ‘All Things New’ series at TUMC, with a focus on youth. The genesis of the sermon came when my Youth Mentoring Partner (YMP, below) read a book I had given him over the summer. We decided to preach a sermon together the next time I was due on the TUMC rotation, so we worked on it together, mostly through a shared online document, and with help from various others.

We began by reading a ‘midrash’ following on from the Rich Young Ruler story, which I have elected to post separately, here. Then began the sermon proper:

YMPI started to want to preach when I read “the Irresistible Revolution”. It is very possible that it changed my life forever. Something in that book resonated in me, and made sense to me. I don’t think that I fully understood what it was trying to say, or what it was that really resonated with me. I just thought in social justice terms: this person is helping the poor, healing the wounded, and loving the unloved. I read this book somewhere in grade eight. Continue reading

Arrogance & Imagination


Arrogance & Imagination
2016 10 22 – Mississauga Mennonite Fellowship

Scriptures: Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22 – Jeremiah pleads with God
Luke 18:9-14 – the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

Arrogance & Imagination – as followers of Christ in a wealthy & powerful nation, our spiritual path often takes us towards humility and gratitude to God for the opportunities in our lives. This is all the more the case as we encounter the true impacts of Christian arrogance in the TRC report and the continuing witness of Indigenous people to the church. I want to take time to consider this arrogance and entitlement. Where does it come from? What do our scriptures say? When does following God require these behaviours?
Continue reading

Do not put your trust in princes II – Christian Anarchism


Do Not Put Your Trust In Princes – Christian Anarchism
2016 07 24 Workshop offered at Toronto Anarchist Bookfair
Based off an outline from 2014 06 27 London Anarchist Bookfair

Introduction (5 minutes)

To – identify the anarchist impulse historically in Judeo-Christianity
To – suggest ways to reimagine contemporary Christianity
To – talk about the spirituality of Empire and of resistance
Not – discuss the existence of God
Not – convert people
Not – to defend religion
Not – engage in autocritique – i.e. not attempting to resolve all possible problems. Continue reading