Sermons & Blog

Where is the Lord?

It’s no wonder that Jeremiah was reluctant to take up his calling as a prophet. If you remember from last week’s reading, Jeremiah is young, just a boy, who has been called to speak the word of God to the people of Israel. And, he’s reluctant at first to take up that calling, and perhaps we start to understand why as we listen to today’s text. In today’s reading we hear the first words that God speaks through Jeremiah, and they are not happy words. They are a lament, an accusation and a judgment, spoken in sadness and dismay and anger. “What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?” “They did not say

A Story of Liberation

When we first hear it, today’s gospel sounds like a story of healing - and it is. Jesus lays his hands on a woman who is bent over, and immediately she stands up. But when we listen carefully to the language used, when we pay attention to the way the story is told, we realize that this is more than a story of healing. This is a story of liberation. This is the story of someone being set free, someone being released from oppression. This is a story of liberation, and liberation is at the very core of the gospel. It’s Pride Week in Ottawa, and later today many of us will march in the Pride Parade. Pride represents many things to many people, but at its core, Pride is about liberation. In

Out of Character?

“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!" Does that sound like Jesus to you? Or does it sound out of character. And if it does sound out of character, well maybe that says more about us than it does about Jesus. If today’s gospel rubs us the wrong way, if it sounds out of character, then maybe it’s us. Maybe we’re guilty of having domesticated Jesus, of having tamed him and turned him into the sort of God that we want him to be. It’s easy enough to do. We can cherry-pick Bible verses we like, the ones where Jesus is kind and gentle. We can focus on the im

Where you put your treasure

Last week Jesus delivered a blunt warning. A rich man stored up treasure for himself, and he became a fool, isolated and blinded to the ways of God that lead to true human flourishing. Why did he do it? Why do we do it? Are we all narcissists? No. But most of us worry. We live in a culture that breeds economic anxiety, despite that fact that most of us have more than enough of what we need, and more than enough to supply the needs of those who don’t. It’s no coincidence then that immediately after he tells the story of the rich fool, Jesus next move is to address our tendency to worry. He says to his disciples, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or

Rich Fools

Let me tell you where we’re heading. We’re heading towards the sixteenth chapter of the gospel of Luke, which we will read on Sunday September 22, in which Jesus will say, “no one can serve two masters . . . you cannot serve both God and money.” We will get there via a series of parables that Jesus will teach. The parable of the steward who changes sides. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus. And today we begin with the parable of the rich fool. I find it remarkable that in a society that had much less wealth than ours, that was so much less materialistic than our own, that Jesus still spent so much of his time talking about money. And if Jesus felt the urgent need to warn people abo

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