4/16/19

pomalidomide (year five)

With Holy Week falling in mid-April this year it brings back memories of my initial diagnosis with myeloma and amyloidosis. I went for a bone marrow biopsy on Maundy Thursday, April 15. That was the final test that led to the surprising news that changed my life. At the time I was in shock and wondered what the future might hold. Eight years have now passed. After a series of treatments with varying degrees of success (autologous stem cell transplant, lenalidomide and bortezomib) I am now in my fifth year on a combination of pomalidomide, dexamethasone and cyclophosphamide. This continues to be very effective in reducing my free light chains and keeping the myeloma and amyloidosis in remission. We have made a couple of changes this year that have been beneficial ...

4/10/19

david bentley hart's new testament

I am finding David Bentley Hart's translation of the New Testament a fascinating immersion in Christianity's root texts. His attempt to translate "as if doctrine is not given" and to reproduce in English the raw and often halting prose of the Greek provides a new lens on these source documents. Particularly striking is the impact that undertaking this translation had on Hart himself ...

"Before embarking on this project, I doubt I truly properly appreciated precisely how urgent the various voices of the New Testament authors are, or how profound the provocations of what they were saying for their own age, and probably remain for every age. Those voices blend, or at least interweave, in a kind of wildly indiscriminate polyphony, as if an early Baroque vocal trio, an Appalachian band, a couple of Viennese tenors piping twelve-tone Lieder, and a jazz crooner or two were all singing out together; but what all have in common, and what somehow forges a genuine harmony out of all that ecstatic clamor, is the vibrant certainty that history has been invaded by God in Christ in such a way that nothing can stay as it was, and that all terms of human community and conduct have been altered at the deepest of levels ....

4/9/19

preaching cross & resurrection

In my time at University Hill Congregation I had numerous occasions to preach at services on Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Three sermons in three days. It was a rich challenge to preach my way through the beating heart of Christian spirituality. Here are links to some of those Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday sermons ...

palm / passion sunday

Growing up the Sunday prior to Easter was called "Palm Sunday". The service was a retelling of the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on a donkey (or a colt, depending on which version was told). But this changed by the time of my ordination. Then it had been renamed as Palm / Passion Sunday. This has made for a somewhat awkward liturgical dance. It means putting together the celebratory shouts of "Hosanna" alongside the same crowd's chants of "Crucify".

Over the years that I served in ministry at University Hill Congregation we had a custom of beginning the service with a palm processional led by the children. Waving fern fronds (readily available in our environment) the children would lead a line dance through and around the congregation as all sang an African song: "Sanna, Sanna, Sanna". The entry into Jerusalem became our entry into Holy Week. Then the service turned to a retelling of the Passion narrative.

3/25/19

preaching john 3:1-21

There are three articles on this site written to provide preachers with pastoral reflections for sermons proclaiming the message of John 3:1-21. If you are to preach a sermon on this text ... or listen to one ... where do you think the emphasis should fall? What is the Word from God from these verses for our time and place or for you at this point in your life?

You can find preacher's notes at these three links: John 3:1-8John 3:9-15 and John 3:16-21.

3/16/19

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 ...

3/13/19

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.