Sermons & Blog

What's Burning in Your Heart?

There is a recognition problem on the road to Emmaus. Jesus comes near to Cleopas and his companion and walks with them on the way, but they don’t recognize him. The text doesn’t say why they didn’t recognize him. They are, or had been, followers of Jesus, they’d walked many a road like this with him before, but they don’t recognize him this time around. Maybe he looked different. Maybe he sounded different. Maybe death and resurrection have a way of changing you. But the recognition problem could have been solved easily. All Jesus had to do was say, “Hey, it’s me!” Why didn’t he do that? Is he just messing with them? Sure, the delayed recognition makes for a better story, in fact t

7 Ways COVID-19 Will Transform the Church

7 Ways COVID-19 Will Transform the Church It’s starting to dawn on those of us in church leadership that large group gatherings, the weekly Sunday gatherings that most churches have relied upon as the mainstay of their existence for centuries, may not happen again until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found. That may be 18 months or more away. Simply waiting out this pandemic doesn’t look like a good option. Local churches that put everything into a holding pattern may have a hard time re-emerging by the time a vaccine is found. But churches that lean into this difficult time in the life of the world, by going on-line and extending church beyond Sunday gatherings, will discover new ways of bein

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

This is a time when many of us are feeling stretched emotionally. I know that I am. It’s hard to escape the news about COVID-19. We hear about hospitals overwhelmed in Italy and New York, we read about the tragedies taking place in seniors’ residences and long term care homes right here in Canada and it makes us afraid, to greater or lesser degrees. As we know, fear triggers a fight or flight response deep in our brains and in our bodies – but what do we do with that, we’re staying at home, there’s nowhere to flee and nothing to fight. When more bad news comes, a friend admitted to hospital or the death of someone we know, we feel the grief and sadness, but we no longer have familiar ritu

The Easter Experience

Some folks say that we shouldn’t even be celebrating Easter this year. That we can’t celebrate Easter, not really, not when we can’t gather together in person, not with all the restrictions created by this pandemic. This is no time for celebration, or so they say. And they’re right that Easter is different this year. Empty church buildings, no choirs, no travel, no family gatherings. But it goes deeper than that. Right now there is fear and uncertainty across the world. We are more aware of our mortality than ever before. Death has gotten closer, even if it hasn’t touched us personally yet. Many are grieving. Many more deal with loneliness, hardship and the loss of daily routines as the

Atonement (Good Friday)

I don’t know about you, but I struggle to make sense of the gospel that we just heard. On one level it is a tragic episode in human history, one of many tragic episodes in our history. As a human drama, it’s the story of a good person who is betrayed, condemned unjustly, abandoned and made to suffer and die in the most excruciating way possible. It’s the story of one whose message of forgiveness, of truth, and of love challenged those who heard it and posed a threat to the power of the ruling authorities, in this case, the religious authorities and their military masters. At this human level, sadly enough, the story is easy to understand. And the next stage in the story should have been

Darkness (Palm Sunday)

The juxtaposition on this Sunday of Jesus’ triumphant Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem with the long reading of the Passion of our Lord is jarring to say the least. Sometimes it makes me long for the days of my youth, when the gospel reading of Jesus’ acclaimed entrance into Jerusalem had Palm Sunday all to itself and it was an occasion for joy and celebration. The great turn which we experience this morning from songs of praise to a darkness which covers the whole earth leaves little room for celebration. It is rather, meant to disturb us, to move us away from complacency. We’re getting a taste of what it means to move away from complacency these days. Things that were taken for gran

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