nothing has changed ... everything has changed

Here is a link to a sermon that proclaims Isaiah 55:1-13 with reference to Galatians and 1 Corinthians: Like Rain and Snow. This passage from Isaiah is one of the lessons set in the lectionary for the third Sunday of Lent this year. It is one of my favourite texts. Reading the sermon now I find myself drawn to the way it closes. The final paragraph begins this way:

Nothing has changed. Everything has changed. We go back to the same homes, the same studies, the same jobs, the same aches, the same world. Yet nothing is the same again. We are departing that world. We are leaving it behind. We are entering God’s new world ...


a sermon for the second sunday in lent

It has been six years since I preached a sermon for the second Sunday in Lent on the root gospel text found in Genesis 15:1-2,17-18. The three year cycle of the lectionary brings this passage around once again this coming Sunday. Here is a link to that sermon on the faith of Abraham and Sara - Children of the Promise.


let me see again

This is a sermon on Mark 10:46-52 - the story of Bartimaeus - from October 26, 2003 ... 

Jesus travels to Jericho once. Today is that day. Surely it is a big day, with plenty on the agenda: people to meet, teaching and healings among the crowds, unexpected guests at table with him, arguments with the powers that be. But the text says nothing about the day Jesus spends in Jericho. It says: “They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho ...”. The one event recorded and remembered from that full itinerary is an unwelcome interruption on the way out of town: “As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’”


a psalm for ash wednesday

University Hill Congregation continues the practice of inviting the congregation to share in hosting scripture throughout Lent. This year I have been assigned Psalm 51 ...

I remember when I first truly encountered Psalm 51. Rabbi Martin Cohen was team teaching with me in VST’s summer school. The course was called “Reading in Each Other’s Light.” Each day in class we read scripture over one another’s shoulder. On Tuesday we each chose a Psalm central to our tradition. I selected Psalm 22 - “My God, why have you forsaken me”. Martin chose Psalm 51. Here, he taught us, lies the heart of the Hebrew scripture. Here is the Psalm read by all Jews on the holiest day of the year - Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement. 


resources for transfiguration sunday

The Transfiguration of Jesus
by Armando Alemdar Ara
This coming Sunday marks the conclusion of the season after Epiphany. Each year on this day the church retells the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Looking back over the years I have posted testimony to what God is up to on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Here is a description of the way in which this Sunday fits in the Christian Year - Glory Redefined. Here is a sermon for Transfiguration Sunday - The Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ. Here is a prayer offered on this day - You Are There. And here is a quotation from the novel "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson - Wherever You Turn Your Eyes.


the problem with the "season of creation"

In recent years some have begun to celebrate a "Season of Creation" or "Creation Time" as part of the Christian Year in September and October. On the surface this seems a worthwhile innovation. Perhaps it is. I wonder. Here is how I put it when I wrote a column on this issue for the United Church worship resource "Gathering" - kingdom come.

What do you think of naming one season or one Sunday in advance as highlighting a particular social issue. As always, I am glad for your comments.


preaching ephesians on july 15, 22 & 29

Those who are following the Revised Common Lectionary have an opportunity to preach from the Letter to the Ephesians on successive Sundays this month. Here are preacher's notes on the readings from Ephesians this July ...

                July 15 - Ephesians 1:3-14
                July 22 - Ephesians 2:11-22
                July 29 - Ephesians 3:14-21