Advent, Christmas, Epiphany sermons,prayers, stories, plays, fim
reviews, theological book reviews for use in the church-
the following biases:
sexual orientation and power inclusiveness in language and in imagery,
Jesus in valuing equally children, women and men,
justice as integral to the will of God for all creation,
theology and view of scripture, liberal, moving toward radical.
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for Preaching and Liturgy
Heb Test. lessons as basis for Advt - Epiph Preaching/
Wreath closing ritual:
After four weeks of lighting Advent Candles, here is a ritual for
taking the light from the candles, and into our lives.
This year we suggest keeping the wreath alight until Epiphany 1 A205
Epiphany Yr. A. Planning guide,
"Called to be Light." A207
1 Sermon: "My Faith and My Politics." A401
2 parable: "The Village - How the Market Place Became the
Highest Good." A302
Village part 2, Joan Paul vists the village." A302cont.
3 social comment: "The World is in a State of Chassis." A301
4, Use a Christmas Pageant (as per those listed above)
DRAMATIC liturgical resources
enactment of "Feeding the 500," according to John.
Suggestions for involving the whole congregation, including children
and youth. A
Remembers," intergenerational . A108
pageant for adults
and/or youth, "The Midwife's Letter." A203
Eve, lessons and carols,
"Stepping Stones to Christmas." A204
the Bus -An
Advent play-writing and acting project for teens B203
a child's unadulterated view. "Kaitie-ism." A103
Meeting Sunday, "Children's Finger Play." A104
Gift children's story: "Smile." A101
place in the church A112
Sees the Light -Epiphany Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 4:21; John 8:12,
9:4-5 ecclesicakes A111
parable: "How the Market Place Became the Highest Good." A302
Rant: "The World is in a State of Chassis." A301
story for White Gift Sunday a101
- A Toddler's view of Christmas
from the Church of the Deaf, "Angelo the Deaf Angel."
from the Church of the Deaf, "Word" Made Flesh.A403
"Now That We Have it, What Shall We Do With It?" A402
Magi's Gift, sermon A409a
it to children A110
sermon (epiphany 1) ecclesicakes baptsermon
of Baptism, a Litany B204ep
RESOURCES FOR ADVENT, Yr. B
first of an Advent series B4advt1
to Hope B4advt2
to Active Hope B4advt3
a Temple, the Body of Christ B4advt4
and SERMON WRITING or STUDY RESOURCES for AFTER EPIPHANY, Yr B.
1- "8 Blessings, Notes for
planning Jan. 12 and subsequent Sundays of Epiphany. B4ep
1 - Litany
for a Congregation's Reaffirmation
of Baptism B204ep
2 - Planning notes for Jan. 19 B4ep2
2 - "Called," a litany B205ep
3 - On the threshold of a New Day
Jan 26 B4ep3
3 - "On the Threshold," a litany B206ep
4 -"Blessings in and By the Community of Faith B4ep4
4 "Thanksgiving for church" B207ep4
5 The Blessing of Joining God in the World B4ep5
5 - "God Who Goes Before Us, : a litany B208ep5
6 - God of Compassion B4ep6
6 - "Compassionate God, Compassionate People,"a litany B209ep6
7, God Who Remembers and Forgets B4ep7
7, "God of Hope, " a litany B210ep7
8, Enlightened Mind. B4ep8
8, "God Who reveals," a litany B211ep8
C. Archives ------------------------------------
Theme for this season of Advent yr. C How
will we prepare the way for God's realm?
1 sermon suggestion
2 sermon suggestion
3 sermon suggestion
4 sermon suggestion
the Psalms as entry into worship (and other script) during Advent B202
alternate way to read scripture in congregational worship during
Advent ecclesicakes A201
Yr. C, Sundays After - Eight Themes: EpC1
- Delight; 3rd
- Holy Law; (see
also "Cov. of Laws A415)
- Called; 5th -
When God is Made Known to Us; 6th
-Curses & Blessimgs;
7th - Generosity;
- Transformed and Transfigured.
theme for Advent yr. C eccleiscakes
on Gospel lections
theme for the season -
WILL WE PREPARE THE WAY FOR GOD'S REALM inour hearts, church, and
Advent 1 -
Luke 21:25-36. How do we know when the Realm of
God is Near?
Luke 3:1-6 How will we Prepare the Way for Realm
Advent 3- Luke3:7-18
How will we Bear fruits of God's Realm?
-Luke 1:39-45 How will we identify God fullfilling promises?
of these weekly themes
1. How do we know the Realm of God is near?
the following sermon suggestion I give some general illusions and
leave it to you to give specific illustrations which fit your contect.
the overall theme and the four questions, which can make this season
of Advent a time to ponder what it is to be a citizen of the Realm of
God to which Jesus calls us. Let us during this Advent prepare a way
for the Realm of God to claim our hearts, our congregation and to
influence the values of our world. ]
for today arises from a verse of the gospel lesson for today. Luke
21:31 announces, "When you see these things you will know that
the Kingdom of God is near." One question this verse can pose
for us is: How do we know when the Realm of God is near to us?
This is a
good question for us to ponder over this next four weeks. All the
gospel writers agree that Jesus' mission was to proclaim "the
good news of the Kingdom of God" (Lk. 5:43). In today's reading
from Luke, Jesus is quoted as saying that when we see the leaves of a
tree starting to sprout, we know that summer is coming, then urges us
to watch similarly for the Realm of God. So, what sprouts do we
look for as announcing the nearness of the Realm of God? How do
we know when this Realm of God is near to us. What
signs tell you that the Realm of God is with us; when is it
as near as your heart, when is it as close your church, and when is
it in the neighbourhood of your world?
This is not
a question for me to answer for you. Yet I do have a role in giving
leadership as we work together to identify the Realm of God among us
and within us.
this article is in archives. If you wish to read it, contact
Bob and he will e mail it to you usually in 24 hrs.
2, How will
we prepare the way for the Realm of God?
ever envisioned yourself doing something as a way to prepare for
actually doing it? My youngest daughter, Margaret, works with
paralympic athletes. These disabled skiers use envisioning as
preparation for performing their event. Before they go down the hill
they rehearse in their mind what they will ask their bodies to do as
they speed down the ski run at a speed too fast for thinking.
Margaret told me about this, I wondered, "Would envisioning
would be an aid in preparation for living in the Realm of God?"
topic is the second in a series for Advent. It is inspired by John
the Baptist who urged people to "prepare the way of the
Lord." Could we prepare the way for the Realm of God by
imagining what it would be like - by envisioning it?
we began by asking how we would identify this Realm of God - would we
know it if we saw it in our personal lives, or if we met it in the
church, or if we heard of it in the wider world? Some say they know
the Realm of God is near when the Spirit moves them to feel loved
and loving. Others tell us they identify the presence of the Realm
of God by contemplation, prayer and study. Still others know
the Realm of God when they are moved by the Spirit to do something good.
the questions for last Sunday. They are questions which lead us to to
today's question: How will we let the Spirit Guide us in preparing
the way for the Reign of God to come more fully into our lives,
our church, and our world?
question, "How do we prepare the way for God's Realm,"
seems to assume that we want our personal living, our church and our
world to be more fully within God's reign. It appears to be based on
our desire for God. It begs the further question, do we want
more of God in our own hearts, in the life of our church, and in the
wide world? Maybe we are hungering for more of God, and a fuller
experience of God's Holy Spirit. Maybe we do desire a more intense
relationship with Christ.
we already have as much God as we want. Maybe we do not really want
to live more fully by the reign of God!
In some way
it doesn't matter what we want, what really matters is what God wants
and what God wants is to draw us more deeply into God's Realm. God
wants us, and God is coming to us. The biblical book of Revelations
has a wonderful image of God's desire for us. The writer of
Revelations tells of a church that is unenthusiastic in its mission.
It is not a people who want more of God. So, John pictures
Christ coming to the door of that church, and knocking to be let in.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and
open the door I will come to you" (Rev. 3:20). So, even if
we are not enthusiastic for God, God is eager for us.
biblical writers believed there is a role for us in
preparing the way for God's Realm.
article has been archived.
If yu want to read it, contact Bob
and he will e mail it to you within 24 hrs.
3, Yr. C. Lk. 3:7-18 How will we bear fruits of the Realm of God? ecclesicakes
week a local group were on television asking for the donations of
"lightly used coats" for poor children. This sounds a lot
like our Gospel lesson for today.
Gospel reading John the Baptist tells those who came to hear
him that now is the time to bear fruit worthy of repentance." He
goes onto explain that now is the time for those who have two coats
to give one away.
believed that true faith in God would show in the generous behaviour
of the faithful.
Perkins-Macintosh wrote recently for Mandate Magazine: "Any poll
will tell you that belief in God is firmly embedded in the North
American psyche. What is not so clear is the kind of God people
believe in, or whether belief has any bearing on the day to day
decisions and actions of those who believe."
He goes on
to quote the theologian, John Dominic Crossan who asks, "What
kinds of actions or values does God sanction? Conversely, what kinds
of actions and values does God reject?" Mandate 2003, "A
Decade to Disarm: from violence to non-violence," United Church
Soards asserts that our great "Protestant heresy" is our
failure to see that "true faith generates godly actions." Preaching
the Revised Common lectionary Yr. C, "Third Sunday of
Advent." Abington 1994.
many people seem to have the idea that sole purpose and end of
Christianity is to forgive us of our sins so that we can enter
Heaven. I am not surprised that some see Christianity this way. Many
of our hymns put forward this view. These hymns praise God that Jesus
died for our sins, and opened for us the gates to Heaven.
Baptist would have had trouble with such hymns. He would want them to
have at least one verse more. He would want to add a verse that
declares: Forgiveness of sin has made us able to love our neighbour
with a glad heart! The Cross has set free to practise love and
justice the rest of our days! (see Romans 6).
this article has been archived. If you want to read it, contact
Bob who will email it to you in 24rs, usually.
4, yr. C. How Will
We Identify God Fulfilling God's Promises? advtC4
1:39-45, and 46-554
One of the
qualities that I like best in a person is the keeping of commitments.
For me nothing is so frustrating as having someone say they will do
something, and then not do it. Of course there can be circumstances
that prevent someone from doing what they said they would do, and in
such cases we must understand. However, I have known people who will
say yes over and over and not do it over and over - it is a pattern
with them. On the other hand, how wonderful it is to have people in
my life who always do what they said they would do. In the Bible God
is portrayed as a model for all promise-keeping; God keeps promises
to us, and calls us to keep our promises to God.
scripture passages are rooted in this aspect of faith. They all
either see God fulfilling God's promises or they look to the future
and base their hope on God keeping God's word. This also is what
Christmas is about - The birth of this child in Bethlehem is is
seen by Christians as God fulfilling a promise made through the
prophets long ago.
about today? Is God still fulfilling God's promises today? If so, can
we identify any signs that that is so? I suppose before we can
respond to a question like that we need to remind ourselves -just
what promises has God made? When I ponder this, three major promises
come to mind. They are:
promises that we can trust Creation; 2. God promises us that
the Realm of God is now and in the future; 3. God promises to
judge us with grace. You may be able to think of others. Let me
review these three and perhaps you would consider how they relate to
you and your life, and to the life of the world, and share with me
other of God's promises which you experience in your life.
In my list,
God's primary promise is found in creation. This promise is written
into every day of every season; it is to be noted in every blade of
grass and every beating heart of every creature. I would be
interested in the promise you see or hear in a clump of earth, or the
cry of a newborn child. I find that the promise found in creation is
many promises. For now, I will touch on just two; the promise of life
and the promise of order. In every breath I take there is
the promise of life and the promise of order in the universe.
We all depend utterly on both these fulfilled promises. We modern
humans are very much enamored by our creations of technology, but
nothing we do would be possible without these two promises: life and
order. If the promise of life were to be withdrawn, where would we
be? What an empty life this would be without the new life in
children! How lost we would be without order! In a disorderly
universe, we could not even drive a nail or bake a cake, let alone
build a computer. Thank God for the many promises of creation.
first promise is the manifold promise of Creation. The
second of God's promises which comes to my mind is the promise of the
Realm of God. Where the promise of creation is the promise of life,
the promise of the Realm of God, has to with how we live that life.
This too is a many-faceted promise. It is a whole bundle of promises
in one package. However, the basic promise is that one day, on the
Day of the Lord, the Sun will rise on a world in which we live
together in peace and harmony. Jesus and the prophets were sent
to proclaim and to enact this rich promise. Our role as people of
faith is to show by our living that we are the vanguard of that of
that Day. Some would say that this also is the calling of every
nation and people. In all aspects of our personal and social being we
are to act out our membership in the the Realm of God. In this manner
we prepare the Way for the Realm of God to come upon the whole earth.
The third of
God's promises that I am addressing to day is the promise to judge us
with grace. This promise is God's response to our tendency to misuse
the first two promises. Humankind tends to misuse the promises of
creation and the promise of the coming of the Realm of God. That is,
we tend to ignore the fact that our in our life and in our
inventiveness, we depend on creation and on our neighbour. We forget
that of ourselves we cannot create life, develop technology, or
create humane societies. This leads us to not care about the Earth,
and to poison it as if it did not matter. It also means that we will
turn against our neighbour. God's response to this ruinous behaviour
is to judge us, but to judge us with grace. [ click
here to see also Be4ep7, God forgets our sin]
context, grace means we get a second chance, a chance to change. God
gives us a second chance and third chance and so on forever. It seems
to me that the chances run out when we have polluted the earth so
that no life is in it, and have ruined both our neighbour and
ourselves. Until then, God judges us with grace. Our role in this is
to accept the grace and repent. We prepare the Way of the Realm of
God when we accept God's grace and take action to respect the
promises of creation, and to live out the Promises of the Realm of God.
during this week of Christmas embrace heartily all of God,s
promises, and thus by our living prepare the Way for God's Realm to
be seen upon the Earth.
Yr. C. An Alternate way to read scripture in worship
my experience as a liturgist, I have noticed that many people's
eye's glaze over when several scripture lessons are read back to back
during the morning worship. Therefore, I have worked with worship
committees to change that by finding other ways to present the bible
in worship so that it has a better chance of being heard. On this
page, I offer one of these ways, and look forward to hearing of your
see this applied to all of Advent Yr. C, click here
we looked at the text of the lessons for each Sunday prescribed by
the lectionary, we came to realize that quite often the message of
the lessons was exactly what we wanted to communicate in the various
parts of the service.
we asked ourselves what it would like if we moved some of the
lessons to the place in worship where their message fit with a
particular movement in the liturgy. We found that very often the
Hebrew Testament lesson called us to worship and the Epistle lessons
could be read as powerful commissionings. We resisted forcing any
passage into a place where it did not fit. We tended to leave the
Gospel lesson to be read at its usual place in the service.
following suggestion comes from this approach to the reading of
scripture in the Sunday Service.
this method, the order of Sunday worship for Advent 1, Year C, might
be a follows:
the Promise of Advent Jer 33:14-16
response Ps. 25:1-10
of Approach and confession
Gospel Luke 21:25-36
of the People
Forth 1 Thes. 3:12-13
see this applied to all of Advent Yr. C, Scroll down>
Way to read Scripture in public worship for Advent Yr. C.
Heb. Testament readings for this Advent proclaim the Hope of Advent,
therefore I am suggesting that they be used as a part of the call to
worship. The other lessons may thne be read as folows
Advt, Jer 33
Zeph. 3:16-20 Micha 5:2-5
resp. Ps. 25: 1-10
of the day
and work of the Congregation
of the People
1 Thes. 12-13
Phil. 1:9-11 Phil.
not as per lectionary
the Bus for Chrismas Eve ecclesicakes B203
is a play in which much of the writing is done by those who put it
on - an opportunity for creativity. I will provide a framework and a
few central ideas and scene, and you the players can write a lot of
the dialogue from your own imagination experience, insights, and ideas.
Give each of the following characters a "nickname."
of the following characters represents a common attitude toward
Christmas. The purpose of the play will be to play with these
characteristics and find in them something true about Christmas.
1. : Sees Christmas as a time to get things. This character has lots
of things, and hopes to get more this Christmas.
nickname is _______________________________________________
2. : Sees Christmas as a time to party, and looks forward to
Christmas a time to do just that - Party!!
3: Sees Christmas a s a religious festival, and likes to go to
church at this time of year to hear the carols, and participate in
the liturgy. Not necessarily a deeply spiritual person.
4. : For this character Christmas is about food. Loves to cook and eat.
5 Holiday time! For this character Christmas is a time to travel -
like to Disney World!
Driver - No nickname yet. Is a family person, who wants to be
home for Christmas Eve.
interior of the bus. Two rows of chairs serve as passenger seats. A
chair for Driver. Driver has decorated the driver area of the bus
with some tinsel. There are advertising posters on one wall of the
bus, a very prominent one is an ad for a food charity, showing the
face of a hungry child, asking for donations for homless children.
gets on the bus and addresses the audience: "I want to tell you
what happened to me last Christmas Eve. I was working my usual shift,
which turned out to be on Christmas Eve. I was really looking forward
to being home with my wife and kids when my shift ended at 11 O'clock
that night. But, you may remember the storm we had last Christmas
Eve. The whole city was socked in. I and five teenagers where stuck
in the storm in this very bus for two hours. That was quite a
Christmas Eve. That was the night that Jesus got on my bus.
me show you what happened.
to players" The purpose of the following dialogue is to show
the audience what each character is all about. See my example re Char
1 below. What kind of interaction do you imagine between these
charcaters: friendliness? teasing? hurtfulness? camaraderie? Imagine
where each of these characters is going on Christmay eve - for
example, Char no. 2 may be going to a party.]
1, Getting on the Bus
sits and pantomimes driving away, then stopping and opening the
door. Char no. 1. gets on carrying a Ghetto Blaster, which is playing
shouts: "Merry Christmas to you!"
1: "Huh? What did you say?" Turns off the Blaster.
1: loudly, "Yeah! I call it 'Merry Get-stuff,' haha. Got this
Blaster last Christmas, and I am lookin' to get more stuff this time.
Merry Get Stuff!" Goes to a seat mid way down the bus, and turns
on the blaster. This Char is carrying a bag of gifts for family members.
pantomimes driving to the next stop and opening door. Char 2 and 4
get on, and pantomime brushing snow from their clothes. After
speaking with driver, take seat together in front of Char 1.
Blaster music is turned down so audience can hear dialogue.
2 is wearing [Party Dress?]_____________________________ and
carrying [ Party Favours?]______________________
4 is carrying [ Food?]_______________________________________
1 recognizes 2 & 4 from school and greets them with their
2&4 reply: ___________________________________________________________________
mimes turning on windshield wipers and driving to next stop.
3 gets on, mimes stamping snow from feet and brushing snow. Char 3
3: " _______________________________________ _______________________________"
to seat a little way from the others.
1 calls out to Char 3 using nickname: ________________________________________________
2 calls out to Char 3: " __________________________________________________________
4 calls out to Char 3: " __________________________________________________________
3 replies: ___________________________________________________________________
mimes driving with difficulty due to the storm, opens door at next stop.
5 gets on, and mimes removing snow, and rubbing hands together for warmth.
"Merry Christmas! Come in from the storm1"
5 : "O, Winnipeg is horrible in the winter. ........_______________________________________________
1 calls out to Char 5: " __________________________________________________________
5 replies: " __________________________________________________________________
other Characters speak to Char 5.
mimes trying to drive away. Peers out the windshield. Takes
microphone and radios to dispatcher for snowplough. Then turns to the
passengers:" I 'm afraid we're stuck in this snow. I have called
for help, but it might be a while."
sit in stunned silence.
Players, review the dialogue you have written. Does it give the
audience and idea of what kind of characters are on this bus? Is it
lively and have funny spots. Does it show any conflict or tension
among the passengers?]
scene begins with the passengers complaining because they will miss
what means most to them about Christmas. So write dialogue that
expresses this. Again, where do you imagine each char is going on
Christmas Eve? For dramatic purposes you might have Char 1 speak
first, and be the chief protagonist. For most of this scene the bus
driver just sits and stares out the windshield.]
1: Complains because his family opens gifts on Christmas Eve, and he
wants to be there to get his stuff.
This encourages the others, except the driver, to complain that they
will miss what is important to them about Christmas Eve, so write a
dialogie of their complaints. Brainstorm what these complaints might be]
2: walks up the driver and asks in a challenging voice if the driver
is going to miss any thing. Driver responds about wanting to go home,
but first, he needs to make sure his passengers are safely through
4. to driver: "What shall we call you, Driver Boy or
Mommy's Boy, or _______________?
are sitting quietly, looking sad and bored. Someone says in a loud
there is quiet again until there is aloud knocking on the bus door
(the sound of banging on metal is heard)
is startled and quickly opens the door. Everyone looks to see who it is.
enters dressed like homeless youth, dragging a medium sized bulging
plastic bag, and slumps wearily into the first available seat and
says to the driver, "Thanks, it's freezin' out there. I'm sure
glad I found you."
the Characters approach the stranger with questions: What is it like
out there? See any snowploughs? Where you from? I never saw you in
Char 4 asks: Got any food in that bag? I sure am hungry. I can pay.
says that he/she does have food, but it is for St. ______ drop-in
centre for street kids, like in the poster on bus wall.
leads to comments and questions such as it must be a small drop-in
if the contents of that bag are their Christmas supper, who are these
people why are you doing this? Where do they live?
explains that he volunteers for this drop-in centre for street
youth, and he's trying to bring them what he can. Their cook is sick
and most of the staff can't make it through the storm. But if this
bus makes it, he can help the youth have a Christmas Eve .
character responds from their own perspetive on Christmas:
1: You mean they will have not get any gifts!?
leads to the characters on the bus to discover excitedly how each of
them could also help (with gifts, food, a party, worship) - all
except Char 5 who decides in the end that a trip to the group home
would be a good way to start the holidays. They can phone home from there.
announces the arrival of a snow plough. Everyone cheers.
pantomimes driving to the end of the line, everyone exits excitedly
except the driver. The Ghetto blaster is playing a Christmas
Charol such as "Joy to the World."
speaks to audience: "That was my experience last Christmas Eve.
To me that stranger was just like Jesus coming onto my bus. I went
home that night and told my family, and the next morning after the
storm we too went the group home, and joined the party.
each of us have Jesus come into our lives every Christmas Eve. and
every day after."
you may find a different conclusion to this story - if you do feel
free to follow your imagination and heart!]
putting on this play two things are important:
prepare very well by practising twice as often as you want to. Learn
your lines very well.
Speak your lines loudly so the audience can hear you!
is a good idea to have guests come to your final dress rehearsal -
this will help getting over the jitters.
1 yr. B, Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-27
-This sermon is the first of a series based on the Hebrew Testament
lections for Advent, Yr. B.
titles for the other three are: Called to Hope, The Spirit Upon us
and The Church as a Place Where Christ Dwells and as Christ's Mission
Station. This series would be a journey from the darkness toward the
light, without making the darkness go away. If Christ is a Light in
the Darkness, the darkness is still with us.
64 was written at a bleak time in the life of God's people. It was a
time when God seemed far away, and the people were going to other
gods who seemed stronger and more successful.
I invite you to dwell with me on how bad it is for the church today.
I ask you to be mindful of how feeble the church is, and how bleak
its future seems to be, and how weak God seems to be compared to the
power of evil, and hurt.
The above article has been archived. If you would
like to read it,ask Bob to send to you and he will -usually within 24 hrs.
to Hope ecclesicakes B4advt2
40:1-11, 12 -321; Mark 1:1-8
sermon is the 2nd in a series for Advent yr. B. The series began
with Lament (eccleiscakes B4advt1).
me share with you a modern parable. The setting of this parable is a
fear that is unique to out times - being in an airline that is about
group of passengers excitedly takes their seats in an airliner
departing at night from Winnipeg to fly over the North Pole to
Scotland. Within a half-hour the flight is in the air, and
people are settling to sleep their way over the top of the earth,
when the cabin fills with an acrid smell, and the lights go out.
everyone is sitting upright with fear clutching their hearts. Then
the stewards try to bring calm, the public address system is not
working, so they go down the aisle explaining that a fuse has blown,
but the flight engineer will have it fixed soon. Ten minutes later,
the co-pilot comes into the cabin, and explains that the flight
instruments are not working, but the flight crew soon will have
everything fixed again. Another ten minutes go by with no news from
the crew. People begin to weep, and pray, and call to the stewards,
"Is it fixed yet." Some passengers know that by now they
are lost. Without instruments the pilot has no way of know directions
This artcle has been archived. To read it
conact Bob giving title and number and he will e mail it to you in24hrs.
Medak Pocket, 2PPCLI COMMENDATION ecclesicakes PPCLI
mid-September 1993 United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR)
soldiers from the Second Battalion Princess Particia's Canadian Light
Infantry (2PPCLI) advanced into the disputed Medak Pocket in southern
Croatian with orders to implement the latest cease-fire Between
Croatian Army troops and Serb irregular forces. 2PPCL was reinforced
with two mechanized companies of French troops. The Canadians, well
schooled in the delicate art of "peacekeeping", discovered
their negotiation skills and strict impartiality were not immediately
required in the Medak Pocket. instead they fbund themselves calling
upon their primary war-fighting skills when Croatian Army units
opened fire with machine-guns, mortars and artillery, in an eflort to
stop the Canadian advance. To complete their assigned mission the
Patticia's were required to threaten the use force, and ultimately
use deadly force against Croatian units. However, the true test of
military professionalism and discipline came after the smoke cleared,
the Croatians backed down and the Canadians immediately reverted to
their role as impartial peacekeepers in their dealings with
individuals who only momcms before had attempted to kill them.
resolute action came at a time when the UN reputation in Croatia was
at an all-time low due to repeated failures to secure the infamous
Uniled Nations Protected Areas (UNPA's). Colonel George Ochring,
commander of UNPROFOR Sector South. claimed the Princess Patticia's
"won for the whole mission a credibility and respect that will
be long remembered by the opposing parties and much Facilitate our
future efforts here."*
unique feature of the 2PPCLI Battalion Group was the size of the
reserve and outside unit augmentation to the operalion, Of the
Battalion Group's total strength of 875. 385 soldiers were volunteers
from various reserve units across Canada. One hundred and thirty five
personnel came from other regular force units.
July 3. 2002. the Governor General announced that the Second
Battalion Princess Patricia's would receive the Commander-in-Chiefs
Unit Commendation for the unit's action. The citation reads:
2nd Battalion Princess Patticia's Canadian Light InJantry Battle
Group (2 PPCLI BG) is awarded the commendation for courageous and
professional execution of duty during the Medak Pocket Operation in
the Former Yugoslavia in September 1993. Under conditions of extreme
peril and hazard. ]~tcing enemy artillery, small arms and heavey
machine gun fire as well as anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, the
members qf the 2 PPCLl BG held their ground and drove the Croatian
forces back. The exemplary actions of the 2 PPCLI BG caused the
Croatian Army ia cease their ongoing tactics of "ethnic
cleansing" in the sector, without question saving many innocent
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF UNIT COMMENDATION
Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation was created in July 2002 by the
Governor General to recognize the outstanding service of Canadian
Forces in times of conflict under direct enemy fire. 2PPCLI is the
second unit commendation to be presented by our
Cornmander-in-Chie£ the first being received by the IR22eR
Battle Group lbr their actions in Sm'ajevo in 1992.
2nd Battalion Princess Patticia's Canadian Light Iniantry Battle
Group (2PPCLI BG) is awarded the Commendation for courageous and
professional execution of duty during the Medak Pocket Operation in
the Former Yugoslavia in September 1993. Under conditions of extreme
peril and hazard, thcing enemy artillery, small arms and heavy
machine gun fire as well as anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, the
members of the 2PPCLI BG held their ground and drove the Croatian
forces back. The exemplary action of the 2PPCLI BG caused the
Croatian Army to cease their ongoing tactics of "ethnic
cleansing" in the sector, without question saving many innocent
to Active Hope ecclesicakes B4advt3
3, yr. A. Isaiah 61:1-3
Advent series is following the Hebrew Testament reading from the
prophet Isaiah for this season.
the mood of Isaiah 64, it began with a lament, a cry of near despair
expressing how bad things seem to be in the church and the world.
Then last week, taking a cue from Isaiah 40, the sermon called us to
watch for signs of hope - even in a seemingly hopeless situation,
without diminishing all the signs that lead to despair. These signs
of hope may be seen as signals that God has not abandoned the world.
to Isaiah 61, today's reflection asks us to move one step further,
and become, ourselves, active in hope - to be spirit-filled, to offer
"a garland in place of ashes."
first response to such a challenge is to look for places where
others are already doing this. So, this part of this sermon will
sound a lot like last week in that it will tell of the Spirit at work.
find that once I begin to look for the spirit at work, I am
immediately shown some. For instance, last Sunday our church was led
in worship by a hand-bell choir who showed they were filled with the
Spirit. This is a band of 12 women, none of whom would be called
persons who have any power in the world. But, the spirit has led them
to use what power they do have to make a proclamation. They have
elected that, in this saber-rattling year, when mighty politicians
are calling for war, they will reply to these world leaders with the
song prayer, "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with
me." They have decided to do this every time they are called on
to ring their bells.
they have the right to claim, "the spirit is upon us."
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a Temple, Christ in the World
Samuel 7:1-11, 16, Luke 1:26-38
Hebrew Testament reading for today leads me to remember that we are
called to represent Christ in the world. No, I am mistaken; we who
are the church are not only to represent Christ, but also actually to
be the body of Christ in the world.
is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ into the world. If
Christ is in the world anywhere today, Christ is present in and
I guess I should explain how I got to this conclusion from this
morning's reading from Second Samuel. Second Samuel is about the
Temple in Jerusalem. For Jews of ancient times, the temple was the
place of all places where the presence of God was to be found.
temple had been destroyed and rebuilt several times. Finally in the
year 70 the Romans destroyed the last one, which was never rebuilt.
When that last temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in the
year 70, Christians claimed that a temple was no longer needed.
Christians claimed that Christ and the Christian worship of Word and
Sacrament had replaced the temple as the place where God was to be
is in the world on every occasion in which the Gospel is preached or
Love of neighbour is enacted, and every time the Bread is broken for
the Eucharist and every time the Water is poured for Baptism.
is our faith that God chose to come into the world in the Babe we
anticipate every Advent. It is also our faith that God has chosen to
continue to be present in the world through the church that acts in
Christ's name. We are the Body of Christ. We are a living temple
through which God has elected to be present for all creation.
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B 2002 Epiphany Theme Planning
following are some week by week Planning for Preaching and Teaching
resources for the season after Epiphany.
I see it, Epiphany follows logically from Advent and Christmas. As
Advent anticipates the coming of Christ, and as Christmas celebrates
the birth of Jesus, the Christ Child, so Epiphany shows and
celebrates the beginning of Jesus' ministry in the world.
eight Sundays after Epiphany can be compared to a DVD of Jesus
"coming out" as the Child of God. The readings for each day
give us a clip of that ministry, along with appropriate passages from
the Hebrew Testament and the epistles. Or, to use an older analogy,
going through the readings for Epiphany are like viewing, with an
informed friend, a photo album of eight pictures of Jesus' early years.
if we do this following the Gospel reading, which are mostly from
Mark, we may come up with a series under the general title, Sharing
in the Blessing (1Cor. 9:23). Under this title we could have a
series that picks up fromMark 8, terms that describe the life of
faithful Christian individuals and communities: My selection of these
series, Sharing in 8 Blessings of Epiphany
(Jan.9) Calling, (Jan 26) Threshold of a New Day, (Feb 2) Blessings
in the Community of Faith, (Feb. 9) Reaching into the Community,
(Feb. 16) Living with Compassion, (Feb. 23) Reconcilling Humanity
with the Holy, (Mar. 2) Being Transfigured.
remainer of this series is in archives. If you would like to read
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in the Spirit, a litany
We have been baptized as Children of the Creator.
We confess that we are creatures of the One God who made Heaven and Earth.
At our baptism we were incorporated into Christ,
We confess that by the grace of God
have been united with Christ, in body, mind and soul
that we join Christ in the proclamation of Grace, and Peace.
Through our baptism we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We confess that by the grace of God
have been given the Spirit to nurture and guide us
the work of Grace and Peace.
The fruit of the Spirit is love and joy,
Come O Holy Spirit, in Christ's name fill us with your love
give us a joyful heart.
The fruit of the Spirit is patience, and kindness
Come O holy Spirit, in Christ's name fill us with patience
direct all our actions to kindness.
The fruit of the Spirit is generosity, gentleness and self control,
Come, O Holy Spirit. In Christ's name lead us to be a generous people,
and thoughtful in our deeds.
The fruit of the Spirit is Faithfulness,
Enable us, O holy Spirit to be true to the Gospel.
If we, the Children of the Creator God, live by the Spirit,
Let us be guided by the Spirit in Christ's name.
be it, Amen.
When using this litany on Epiphany 1, I suggest offeing it
after the sermon on baptism, and conclude
the service with the closinbg of the advent wreath (see Advent
Wreath Closing liturgy found at ecclesicakes a205 )
Blessing of Being Called ecclesicakes
aid for 2nd after Epiphany - Week of prayer for Christian unity
3:1-19 (11-20) God speaks to the Boy Samuel whose mother had
dedicated him to God's service.
139:1-16 (13-18) Where can I go from your Spirit?
Corinthians 6:12-20 Our physical bodies also are members of Christ
1:43-51 Jesus calls Philip; John declares Jesus to be the expected one.
One way to approach this Sunday would be to focus on
"Calling" as a spiritual concept, and as an individual and
corporate life experience. Taken as a bundle, the readings for today
might lead us to reflect on our own call by exploring the meaning of
Call in our faith and delving into the question of how that may apply
to us as individuals and communities.
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Called by God, a litany
O God of many gifts, you have called us
You call us by name, inviting us into the work of Grace.
O God of many gifts, you have nurtured us
You teach us to value the gift we have been given,
And to honour the gifts we see in our neighbours.
You invite us to use our gifts in love of yourself
And in love of neighbour
By the power of your Holy Spirit
Enable us to say "yes" to your Call in the Name of Jesus,
Use our gifts and skills for the good of our home, our church,
Our neighbour and our community.
the Threshold of a New Day ecclesicakes
1. Jonah 3:1-10 The city of Nineveh turns from "its evil ways."
2. Ps. 62.5-12 Let us trust in God, rather than in worldly gain.
3. 1 Cor. 7:29-31 The present form of the world is passing away.
4. Mk. 1:14-20 John the Baptizer is executed. Jesus begins his
ministry. Simon and Andrew are called.
My suggestion is that we on this Sunday we proclaim and celebrate the
age-old blessing and wonder that is ours when we find ourselves
standing on the threshold of a new thing that God is about to do. We
are often tempted to think that the best we can do is hold onto what
we now have, but this is not God's way. God is always calling us be
open to the movement of the Spirit, who wishes to use our gifts in a
new demonstration of grace
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On the Threshold of a Ever Renewing Day of God,
One: You call us, O God to step forward
All: You call us to stand at the threshold of your New Day.
One: You invite us to leave behind the Passing-away world,
All: To let go of its false securities and values.
One: You ask us to bring with us all that is good and true in our lives
All: To step forward carrying the ancient virtues of Faith,
Hope and Justice,
One: From this threshold we can see before us a vast panorama
All: from here we catch a vision of fresh possibilities of Good News.
One: Fill us with your Spirit, so that we may dare to move with you
as dsiciples of Jesus
ALL: Give us the heart, and generosity to dare to love you as you
and the humility to accept the love of our neighbour.
All this we pray in Christ's Name
1. Some examples of scripture that announces or celebrates the
threshold of a new Day:
-The covenant with Noah Gen. 9:8-17
-The call and covenant with Abraham and Sarah Gen. 12:1-9; 17:1-27: 22:1-19
-The call of Moses Ex. 3.
-The Ten Commandments Deut. 5:1-21
-Ruth 1:15-17 "Wither thou goest.."
-The anointing of David, I sam. 16:1-23
-Isaiah 2:1-4 )Micha 4)"Spears into pruning hooks, " Is.
11:1-9 Live in peace together, Is. 42:1-4 "will faithfully bring
forth justice,' Is. 65:17 new earth and new heaven.
-Hosea 11:8-9 I will not punish you in anger
-Mark 1: 15; [and all through Mark, especially in passages where Mark
shows a radical new ethic such as 10:43]
-Acts 2:17f quotation of Joel 2:28. "I will pour our my Spirit
on everyone." Acts 10:44f Holy Spirit given to Jews and to Gentiles
-Acts 3:6f; 13:1-5 The church reaches out into the world.
-Romans 3:21f. salvation through the free gift of God's grace
-I john 4:7-21 God is Love
-Rev. 21:5 "Behold, I make all things New"
2. See "A New Christianity for a New World, " John Shelby
3. The 2002-2003 Special. edition of Mandate contains
many examople of people working inthe Spirit to expand the
realm of grace. Published by the united Church of Canada. www.united-church.ca/mandate
Blessing of Faith Rooted Community ecclesicakes B4ep4
After Epiphany 4, Presentation of Christ.
Deuteronomy 18:15-20 God will send a prophet to succeed Moses
Psalm 111. In vs. 6 God gives Israel other people's land. This
is not an appropriate passage in light of Aboriginal and Palestinian
experience. The RSV glosses over this by translating this verse as
"the heritage of nations." The Good News Bible is more
straightforward: "giving them the lands of foreigners." I
see several options for worship planners:
- Draw this to the congregation's attention, as an opportunity to
teach how the ancient Hebrew's interpreted their history;
- And/or use the word "Heritage" to reinterpret the Psalm
as a celebration of the gifts of many people's which enrich the
church, our life. All this is particularly relevant for Canada in
that we have benefited both from taking other people's land* (perhaps
believing that this was God's doing), and and from having become a
*One wag has noted that it was stolen "fair and square."
- Use another Psalm such as 84.
I Corinthians 8:1-13 Let us, as members of the faith community
be good role models for one another.
Mark 1:21-28 Jesus heals in the local synagogue, his
reputation spreads as one who teaches with authority.
Notes for sermon and/or study
Suggested theme for this Sunday: The
blessings we receive as we are formed by and as we reform our
Communities of Faith - the
corporate congregational, wider church, ecumenical and interfaith
phenomena- as a source of blessing from God. John Shelby Spong
reminds us of the obvious: "Prayer is not just an individual
activity. It is also a corporate phenomenon." 1.
The Bible shows many examples of God relating to us as individual
persons who are also always members of the community of faith.. This
is significant because it affirms the value of each of us as persons
within the community who have rights, dignity and gifts and a
personal relationship with the Creator. (see examples)
The Bible illustrates this by the way it many times shows that faith
is lodged in particular persons who is a reformative member of a
community of the faithful:
-Abraham and Sarah - here the community is family.
-Joseph, who was abused by his brothers, yet found his clan
membership to be meaningful to him when they came in need, and he
refused the option to be vengeful.
-Moses and Miriam are strong personalities whose fulfillment is found
within the people of God.
-Ruth, who chose her mother-in-law's community. (The list could go on)
This is true for Jesus as well. We should not be surprised to find
him in a synagogue. Donald Harmen Akenson, reminds us that Jesus was
a Palestinian Jew. He was both formed by that community, and sought
to reform it.
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A Thanksgiving for the gift
of church - a litany
One: We thank you, O God of community, for all your blessings;
All: Especially we thank you for creating communities of faith.
One: Long ago you called Abraham and Sarah to be the founders of
faith-filled community and to be a blessing to all nations,
All: We in this congregation are counted as children of Abraham and Sarah.
One: When their descendents fell into bondage,
All:You remembered them and called Miriam and Moses to lead them to freedom;
One: At Siani you called them to be a people of your choosing,
All: And gave them commandments to live by as a holy nation.
One: At the right time, you came among them as Jesus of Nazareth,
through the body of Mary.
All: Jesus called men and women to follow him;
One: Through them the faith in one holy, graceful and righteous God
spread to all nations.
All: We are a branch of that holy tree,
called to be the church, the Body of Christ.
One: For this we give you thanks, O God.
All: Enable us now to continue to grow and mature in faithfulness
So that we produce true fruit of your Holy Spirit:
As Jesus removed the demon from the possessed man,
Give us the courage and strength to stand and speak for peace
At this when the demon of war is offered as a solution for worlds ills.
In Christ's Name we pray and decicate ourselves.
It can argued that we are full persons only within a community
of persons. There are many accounts of children raised in isolation
from community who do not develop as full persons. Discovery Channel
recently told of a child who managed to survive lost in a rain forest
from age 4 to 8. At the time of his disappearance, this child was
known to be quite normal, but when found, could not be trained to
overcome those lost years. He could now live in human society as a
mentally and socially a disabled person.
On the other hand, there are instances of children who do not reach
full person-hood because of their communities. A case in point in
Canada was illustrated by a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report
on religious group in British Columbia. In this
"church" men take more than one wife, and rule over them
absolutely. Girls as young as fifteen are taken as "wives"
without them having a voice in the matter. The girls are so
indoctrinated that they believe this rule to be necessary for their
1. A New Christianity for a New World, John Selby Spong. Harper
2. Saint Saul, Donald Harmen Akenson. McGill-Queens University Press
3. Naming the Powers, Walter Wi nk. Fortress Press 1984
4.. The Fifth Estate, "Bishop of Bountiful," Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation, Wed. Jan. 15/03. www.cbc.ca. /fifth estate.
Blessing of Joining God in the World
40:21-31 Have you not heard? The Lord is the Creator.
147:1-11 The Lord gathers the outcasts, heals the brokenhearted, give
animals their food.
Corinthians 9:16-23 Being all things to all people.
Jesus goes into the community, heals Peter's mother and many others.
of readings remind me that the main place to find God at work is
outside the sanctuary of the houses of worship. Last Sunday, the main
action portrayed by Mark was within a dedicated space and community.
Today's passages pull me out of the church into the streets of our
towns and into the valleys and hills of nature. They portray God as
being at work Crating and caring for the natural world, and
ministering to humans in homes and in the streets of our political
and social structures.
to be one of the most difficult truths for those of us in the church
to grasp and affirm. This may be because so much of our energy is
given over to erecting and caring for the church's buildings,
organizations, and membership. In my experience, these things took by
far the greatest amount of the time and energy of the active
parishioners and their pastors. This is not a bad thing, but it is a
truth about us. We are so busy inside that we rarely go outside.
God is busy in other places, the cosmos and the neighbourhood.
This is not
to say that we do not care about what goes on outside. In our worship
we pray about it, either give thanks for it, or rail against it, and
we develop outreach programs to "reach out" past the
Isaiah and Mark are portraying God at work in the world in a much
more radical way than that.
reminds us that the natural world is God's own precious child which
he tends, and that God patrols the streets of human society to
strengthen the weak, and those hurt by injustice, and to bring down
those who misuse power. This God who called Isaiah within in the
Temple (ch.6)¸ is the God of all the earth and of human society.
gospel portrays the one identified in the very first verse as the Son
of God, moving easily as a healing presence through a seamless world
of synagogues, homes, hills, lakes, towns and Temple.
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God who goes before us,
One: O Holy
Creator, who is at work in every corner of the world,
All: We see
your work in the Earth and the Heavens,
the rock and
soil, the stars and planets,
and in every
called into being long before you made us.
We marvel at
how all things work together.
One: O Holy
Care giver, who is at work in and through each cooperative act of love,
All: You are
always there before us,
leading us into ministries of solidarity.
One: On this
day you continue with relentless patient action
lead us to live in peace with one another.
All: We hear
your voice in the many who are calling us
our differences without resorting to arms,
and to enjoy
the bounty of the Earth
poisoning the air or polluting the water.
One: By your
Spirit you continue in Christ to enable us in your ministry.
this we give you thanks, O God.
Blessing of Being God's Compassionate Agent ecclesicakes
Sixth after Epiphany
5:1-14 Naaman is healed in the Jordan through the ministry of Elisha.
Psalm 30 You
have turned my mourning into dancing
9:24-27 Run to win the prize
Jesus heals a leper out of compassion for the person before him.
the Corinthians passage the lections for today all speak of God's
healing and compassion exercised either through God's agents, Elisha,
and Jesus or, as in the Psalm directly from God in response to prayer
is a major characteristic of God in the Hebrew prophetic and Psalm
traditions. These traditions understand that the compassion of God
grows out of God's love for creation, and overrides punishment.
Compassion is God's response to the human condition and to the
sinner's repentance. It is also what God requires of us (Micha 6:8)
chapter 11, Romans 3:9-31. Isaiah, who warns his people against the
fierce judgment of God (Ch. 2-3) always holds the assurance of
renewal through God's initiative (Ch.6, and 11). In today's reading,
Elisha says that the healing of Naaman is evidence that there is a
prophet of the true God in Israel.
says Mark, offering the good news of the realm of God for all that
repent and accept it (1:14-15). Mark clearly shows in this third
healing story that compassion accompanies this nearness of the Realm
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Compassionate God, Compassionate People, a
One: O God who knows us completely,
All: And who loves us as completely as we are known,
One: O God who looks in pity upon all who suffer hurt and wrong,
All: Teach us to be as compassionate are you are.
One: Lead us to be deeply moved by the inequities within humankind:
All: the lost opportunities for education and contribution;
The children who die of disease and malnutrition,
The families who are unable to get help for their young and their aged.
One: May we use all the modern means of communication
to direct our leaders to the compassionate
priorities we have for our communities.
.All: Lead us to put first those things that make for a world of peace,
a realm of equity, a planet of justice and a universe of sisterhood.
Encourage and stengthen those who advocate your Shalom
over all your Creation.
We dedicate ourselves to these things inChrist's name.
Who Remembers Us and Forgets We Are Sinners
43:18-25 God will not remember the people's sin
God's favour is on those who act with integrity toward the poor.
Corinthians 18-22 God's word to us through Christ is, "Yes!"
Jesus announces forgiveness and healing.
reflections on these passages
Is. - In his
theological look at Alzheimer's disease, David Keck reminds us that
our salvation is not dependent on our remembering us and forgetting
our sin.1. Isaiah 43 says this exactly. God forgetting sin is to more
a more complete dealing with it than forgiving is. One who forgives
us does remember what we did or didn't do, but if God forgets our
sin, as the person with Alzheimer's forgets, then our sin is truly
taken away. This makes true the Sunday by Sunday liturgical
proclamation of grace, which is followed by an invitation to begin
anew. Is it too outlandish to hear God saying to us: "I remember
you, but for the life of the world, I can't recall you ever doing
anything hurtful to me." God says this to the Alzheimer's
patient and also to us. All of us are dependent on God remembering
Psalm 41 -
The above does not to do away with Paul's insight, which I will
paraphrase: Let us not say, "Do evil because God has lost
memory!" (see Roman 3:8). However, it does mean that in the new
resurrected life that we are called to, God does not keep a record of
our wrongs (Rom. 6:5), they are wiped away. We take up the new life,
a hallmark of which is faithful integrity toward those who are weaker
I don't recall viewing a film version of this event, but I can see it
in my imagination. The whole inside of the house including, Jesus and
all those who are inside the house is strewn with fragments of
roofing. The air is filled with dust as this man is let down through
the roof. Jesus is laughing and clapping his hands as he brushes
fragments of clay and straw from his clothing and beard. He is
delighted at the audacity of the man's friends who have cut a hole in
the roof of Jesus' house. Here are people who have grasped the Good
News, and nothing will stop them from getting their companion near
the source of grace. They break through all restraints to acquire a
blessing for their friend!
symbolic story Mark portrays Jesus as responding by welcoming the man
into the new life which is rooted in the free gift of God's grace,
and which brings him the freedom to assume full humanity.
This man and
his friends were 'sinners.' This did not mean that he was a greater
transgressor that others, but rather that he was considered outside
the circle of 'the righteous.' This was a designation somewhat like
our society has used to define whole groups of people as not quite
fully persons: Jews, Ukrainians, Chinks, Japs, Irish, Indian, Nigger,
White Trash, disabled and now, Islamic.
symbolic story Mark portrays Jesus as responding by dismissing his
'sinner ' status and welcoming the man into a new life which is
rooted in the gift of God's grace, and which brings him the freedom
to assume full humanity. This is tantamount in our society to giving
a large bank loan to a 'homeless.' It is little wonder that the
righteous scribes were offended
It would be
a mistake to see this story as having to do with physical disability.
From my experience of working in partnership with persons with
visible disabilities, I discovered that all of us, whatever our
physical state, can be fully energized as we are offered and take
hold of the freedom which is symbolized in this story by the words:
"Stand up and take your mat and walk."
showed this in his Man in Motion wheelchair tour of the world and in
his continued work and life as colleague, leader, friend, husband and
father. I am not intimately knowledgeable about Hansen's life, but I
am sure that he experienced the possibility of a full life and he
took it. At some point with the cooperation of friends, he broke
through the obstacles that stood in his way. In fact, he has
co-authored a book which sets out seven steps to personal change that
apply to anyone.
said of him: "There are some moments in time that ignite the
passion and interest of the world.
spring of 1987, Rick Hansen created one of those moments when he
completed the Man In Motion World Tour, wheeling 40,000 km around the
world, to raise awareness of the potential of people with
disabilities. He broke down barriers and changed people's perceptions
about what is possible for anyone who dreams big dreams and has the
determination to see them through."2.
here for another story of hope and grace overcoming limitations
other than physical disabilities 3.
Marken passage we see Jesus affirming the faith of this man and his
friends who broke though the roof, against all those who would say
otherwise by labeling the man a sinner, and by keeping him on his mat.
all of us here today have received this same gift, and this same
opportunity to be full persons in church, home and society. These
also are the gifts we we are to encourage in our world.
Forgetting Whose We Are, David Keck. Augsburg.
2. Going the
Distance, 7 Steps to Personal Change, Rick Hansen, Dr. Joan Laub.
Growing Up to be a Voice of Hope
God of Grace and Hopeful Possibilities,
One: God of Grace and Hopeful possibilities,
All: Remember us and forget.
One: As you have admitted us to the life of grace,
All: Forget all that would make us less than fully human,
Forget the false limitations that we and others put on us.
And remember the person you created;
Rejoice in your work,
As we rejoice in one another.
Enlightened Mind Sees
Christ ecclesicakes B4ep8
Transfiguration Sunday 8th after Epiphany
2 Kings 2:1-12 Elijah is taken up into Heaven.
Psalm 50: 1-6 The perfection of the beauty of God shines forth out of
Zion. God calls the covenant people to gather in the Temple for judgement.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 Some are blinded in their minds and cannot see
the light of Christ
Mark 9:2-9 Peter, James and John see and hear Jesus transfigured into
the Son of God.
Psalm 50 - While many Canadian religious may strongly sense the
presence of the holy in church sanctuaries, there is long and wider
Canadian tradition of seeing the beauty of God shining forth in
nature. This is expressed in the opening verses of the popular song,
"How Great Thou Art." There also are those who see nature
differently; as opportunities for clear-cut logging and strip mining,
for instance. I suppose the National Post (the right- wing Canadian
newspaper) would say that they are just taking advantage of the
bounty the Lord has provided.
Our governments try to accommodate both these minds by making sure
that the clear-cutting and the scars of mining are kept just beyond
the horizon from the perspective (and mind) of the tourist lookouts
along the Trans Canada highway.
Corinthians - It would seem that St. Paul was earlier in having the
insight Barfield wrote of. Paul explained the different ways of
seeing Jesus to be the result of the participation of different
minds, the en-lightened mind and the veiled mind. A question often
debated is: which is which mind?
NOTE: This article is in archives. Contact
Bob and he will send you a copy. quote title and B4ep8
Litany: God who Reveals
One: O God who reveals to us the truth,
All Open our minds, so that we might know your truth.
One: Enable us to see the essence of Jesus
as Jesus appears to us with our sanctuaries, and through the world.
All: Open to us the truth you wish to communicate to us in the life
of Christ, and onour own life.
Baptism ecclesicakes baptsermon
Any Sunday when baptism is observed, or Epiphany 1, Yr. C
Corinthians 12: 1-13
Today we have celebrated baptism. Let us now open ourselves to what
baptism may mean for each of us, even though we were baptized long ago.
There are a number of things that all of us in this room have in
common. ( Name some of them). There are a number of things we share
with everyone in our town, our country, and our world.
Then, there is one thing we share with every Christian. That, is Baptism.
The different churches in our town have different ideas about how
baptism should be done, and when it should be done, but one thing we
all have in common is this: baptism is the doorway into the Christian faith.
As far as I know baptism is the one sacrament that can be
administered by a lay person. For instance, if an unbaptized baby is
about to die in a hospital, a Christian nurse can take water, put it
on the child and say: I baptize you in the name of God the Creator,
the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ." In an emergency any baptized
person can administer baptism, and most churches will recognize that.
In every church baptism is the doorway into the community of Christ.
In this morning's scripture lesson, St. Paul says that we are the
Body of Christ. We become part of this boy through baptism.
I once had the very high privilege of administering baptism to a man
and his 12-year-old son. I had taken the funeral of Anne, the wife
and mother of this family. After the funeral Steve came to me and
said, "My wife was baptized as a Christian, but I have not,
neither has William. Could we be baptized?"
Of course I said yes, and met with them several times to discuss the
meaning of baptism. Then, on the last Sunday before Christmas, Steve
and son, William stood side by side at the baptismal font and
declared faith in God, and were baptized. It was very moving
moment. From that moment on, by the rite of baptism, Steve and
William belonged to the Body of Christ.
Baptism marks a person forever; it is very difficult to undo it.
To undo baptism, you would have to come to the church, and declare
before the congregation: "I renounce my baptism! I renounce
Christ! I tear myself away from the community of faith!"
There is a story of a man who was disliked by every person in his
village. He was a nasty unkind, hurtful person. Of course he never
came to the village church, and always refused to donate to the
church or any village charity. He was Dickens' character, Scrooge,
but unlike Scrooge, he never repented. Everyone disliked him.
Then, one day, as happens with us all, he fell seriously ill. The
local priest noticed that he had not seen this man for several days,
and no smoke came from his chimney, so the priest went to the man's
door. When there was no answer to his knock, the priest went in, and
found the man sick in bed with high fever.
So, the priest got him water, and sat beside him every day, and when
the man died, he prayed for him and administered the last rites, and
conducted a funeral for the man.
The members of the church council were upset. "Why, " they
asked, "did the priest spend so much time with this man? Why did
he give him the last rites, and a funeral and burial in the church
yard?" The pries replied, "I did those things because that
man had been baptized."
The priest saw the man as within the circle of God's grace. He said:
"I know what kind of person he seemed to be, but I must leave
judgement of him to his Creator. Perhaps I failed in not showing love
to him until the end."
Baptism marks us forever as belonging to God the Creator, Christ and
Holy Spirit. We are baptized in the name of the Creator who made us
"in God's image" (Genesis 1:27). We are baptized in the
name of Christ who lived to welcome us into God's grace, and who will
never desert us. We are also baptized in the Holy Spirit, who is our
companion and Guide. The New English Bible quotes St. Paul as saying:
"In the one Spirit we are brought into the one body by
baptism." (1 Cor. 12:13)
This is the part that we are most likely to ignore. It is the Holy
Spirit who makes our baptism into the living and dynamic power of
God. Again, St. Paul declares: "in each of us the Spirit is seen
to be at work." The Good News Bibles translates that same verse
in this way: "The Spirit's presence is known in some way in each
person for the good of all."
So, on this day we have celebrated our baptism, the doorway into the
community of Christ; the rite by which we recognize that we all are
children of one Creator; and the ritual that opens us to the power of
God's Holy Spirit. May we see that love, that grace, that power in
ourselves and in one another. Amen.
Using the Hebrew Testament
Lessons as theological framework for public worship A202
During Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, Year A.
The Hebrew Testament passages given by the lectionary for this year's
Advent to Epiphany are ones that are often referred as being at the
foundation of Christian theology and faithful living.
Liturgically, they provide an excellent context and continuity for
worship through this season. Personally, their poetic beauty
and spiritual profundity resonate both with those who have been a
part of the church all their lives and with newcomers to the Faith.
Communally, they give us the foundation for wholesome community.
Finally, they give us a solid stepping off place for the preaching of
the Gospel, and all the other ways we communicate the Good News at
this time of year.
So, my suggestion is simply this:
- Read the Hebrew Testament lesson with the people within the
Approach section of your service
(In unison or responsively, using pew bibles, or by printing the
passages in the bulletin. At other times, you can recruit two or more
readers to read these passages in parts.).
- Offer Prayers of Invocation/Approach/Confession building on the
theme of this text.
- In preaching show how it and the Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel lesson
relate to one another.
- Read it at the beginning of the service also on those Sundays when
the sermon is replaced by Choir work, or by a Christmas pageant.
A further suggestion is that you look at the epistle reading for each
Sunday to see if it could helpfully be read in the dismissal movement
of your service.
Using this method, the order of Sunday worship for Advent 1, Year A,
might be a follows:
Welcome, and opening prayers
Communal reading of Hebrew Testament
Prayer of confession
Assurance of Grace
Prayers of the People
Or, on the 1st Sunday after Christmas in Yr. A.
Is. 63:7-9 will serve well in one of three places: the part of
worship often referred to as the Approach, or as Assurance of Grace,
or as we prepare to return to the everyday world.
Psalm 148, would be an excellent vehicle for entering into worship on
the Sunday which follows the wonder and joy of Christmas
PLANNING FOR THE SEASON of EPIPHANY
Epiphany. Yr.A. Ecclesicakes A207
During this season the lectionary invites us to be in
touch with our call to servanthood; to reflect on it and to renew it.
Sunday by Sunday we can lift up and open our hearts and wills to a
different aspect of this calling, and ask the Spirit to transform
us. Most significant to me is the constant focus on justice,
and both personal and communal faith, action and
1st Sunday, Baptism of Jesus
We are called by the Spirit
Is. 42:1-9 This is my servant, on whom I put my spirit who will bring
Psalm 29- God on throne over the waters
Acts 10:34-43 - Holy Sp. Given to Gentiles
Mt. 3:13-17 - Bapt. of Jesus, "My beloved"
Theme: As envisioned by Isaiah, the Spirit calls people of every
generation into justice- seeking servanthood
Let us remember the call of Isaiah, Jesus, and other notables, and
celebrate our own experiences of God's Spirit moving us ("my
beloved") individually and in community.
Calledto be Light
Is 49:1-7 The nation is reminded of its call to be a light to the nations.
Ps 40:1-11 I delight to do your will
1 Cor.1:1-9 The whole cong. is called to be saints
John 1:29-42 Jhn B. names Jesus the "Lamb of God."
Theme: We are called as community of faith to exercise our calling.
Let's remember how we have been this, and take hold of the challenges
and great adventures ahead for us in this time & place as a
community of faith.
Called to Name the Darkness
Is. 9:1-4 People in darkness have seen great light; relieve bondage
and bring justice.
Ps. 27:1-4, 9 The Holy is my light.
1 Cor. 1:10-18 People, be united in mission.
Mt. 4:12-23 Follow me & catch humankind.
Theme: Matthew quotes Is. To describe Jesus. What is the
darkness today in which we are called to be the light? Do not let our
infighting and jealousies snuff out the light we are capable of. What
great things churches can do when they work together!
Call to be Wise
Micah 6:1-8 in vs. 4, Miriam recognized as prophet. Creator requires:
Love kindness, walk humbly with God.
Ps 27:1-4, 9. Holding true to God, in midst of opposition.
1Cor.1: 18-32 Christ is the power of God and wisdom of God.
Mt 4:1-12 Beatitudes.
Theme: being aware of the teachings of the prophets, take a selection
of the beatitudes and invite worshippers to see how this. would apply
as holy wisdom in our homes, and public life. Give examples from your
own experience, reading and convictions.
True wisdom is to fulfill the
Law & prophets.
Is. 58:1-12 True observance is to let oppressed go free
Ps112 delight in God's law: Act justly, feed poor.
1Cor 2:1-16 follow not world's but God's wisdom.
Mt 5:13-20 reading puts together being light, and observing Law &
Theme: How does popular wisdom, social and economic values,
government legislation reflect the values set out by prophets &
Jesus? What would constitute "family values" according to
Law, prophets, teachings of Christian and other Scripture?
Duet. 30:11-20 to choose God is to choose life.
Ps 119:1-8 True happiness is to be blameless before the Creator.
1 Cor.3:1-9 Do our ways within the Church show us to be of this world
or of the Spirit?
Mt. 5:21-37 Jesus sets a standard of conduct higher than even the Law does.
Theme: Starting with God's gracious acts toward us, how shall we
choose to respond in order to intentionally create communities of
faith that practice the highest levels of peace and reconciliation?
Where do we, in the church, follow the values of the world or values
Can the church elect to be one of the teaching places that contribute
to a world of shalom?
Last Sunday, Transfiguration.
The result of opening
ourselves to God is Transformation
Exodus 24:12-18, [34:1-42; 28-30] Moses meets God on Mount Sinai.
Psalm 2 Political rulers are advised to acknowledge God's anointed as
superior to themselves and their authority.
2Peter 1:16-21 Peter testifies that the transformation of Jesus was
not a myth, but something he saw with his own eyes.
Matthew 17:1-9 Jesus is transfigured
Theme: Jesus' transformation is complete. The peasant wood
worker who was once a disciple of John the Baptist, has been changed.
The promise of his baptism is complete.
Can we see this as true of ourselves? According to the Methodist
teaching of sanctification, it is expected that the indwelling Spirit
of God will transform us, so that we are more than a "Material
Girl" or boy. Might this happen to us over and over again, so
that each year we move through the expectation of Advent, the wonder
of Christmas, and the call to servant- hood of the Sundays after
Epiphany, to find ourselves transformed individuals and communities
on this eve of Lent, so that we go into the weeks ahead as
spiritually more mature, and better able to travel into the deeper
waters of faith through these weeks before Easter.