Back to the Garden: from war to rebellion

Texts: Revelation 22: 1-5 (the Tree of Life) and Matthew 5:43-44 (love your enemies) There are a thousand things about war that horrify or dismay us; and one of them is how popular it can be. World War One, which is what prompted King George V to call the first Remembrance Day in the British … [Read more…]

Seeking refuge

The following is the preamble to Worship on November 3, 2019 Today we begin a month focused on one of the most important subjects of our time – refugees and the task of welcoming newcomers. This morning is the first of thee Sundays that takes inspiration from a book published in 2018. “Homes: A Refugee … [Read more…]

Back to the Garden: for love or money

Text: Luke 4: 14-21 (good news for the poor) Budgets have been in the news a lot lately. Last Monday was federal election day, and deficits, debt, and taxes were hotly debated in the campaign. Should the federal government move to erase the annual deficits it has been running over the last years, or should … [Read more…]

Back to the Garden: “Bread and Roses”

Text: Luke 1: 46-55 (Mary’s song) How do you get 400,000 young people to gather on an ill-prepared dairy farm and happily spend three days in the rain and mud without adequate security, food, or bathrooms? The answer is obvious, I think — music! The Woodstock Festival of Peace and Music, which occurred 50 years … [Read more…]

Turning wounds into blessings

Text: Genesis 32: 21-31 (Jacob wrestles with an angel) The ancient biblical story about wounds and blessings we just heard strikes me as a strange and provocative one. I decided to focus on this snippet from the story of Jacob today because this passage was the subject of an hour-long CBC radio documentary broadcast on … [Read more…]

Inspiring one another

Text: John 15:5, 7-15 (vine and branches) Friends, today I have two questions for you. What first drew you to Mill Woods United Church? And what has kept you here? In a minute, we are going to re-arrange the chairs, which are in chains of six. You will be asked to form these chains into … [Read more…]

Back to the Garden: lifelong learning

Text: Luke 10: 38-42 (Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha) By the time the Woodstock Festival of Peace and Music occurred in upstate New York in August 1969, my friends and I were deeply immersed in the ferment of the ’60s. As 12-year-old’s in the industrial city of Cornwall Ontario, we had caught … [Read more…]

Back to the Garden: from fear to faith

Text: John 16:31-33 (overcoming the world) Should we be afraid, and if so, of what? This past week, some of us worried about war between Iran and the United States. Eight days ago, military drones bombed a major Saudi Arabian oil facility that provides five percent of the world’s daily output of oil, or five … [Read more…]

Back to the Garden: life together

Text: Acts 2:42-47 and Hebrews 13: 1-3, 16 (sharing in common) What kind of community do we want? What kind of church are we building? And what kind of city, country, and world do we want to live in? Today I reflect on these questions based on the readings we just heard from the New … [Read more…]

Back to the Garden

Text: Genesis 2-3 (Adam and Eve banished from the Garden) Ten years ago today, I began full-time ministry. On Tuesday September 1, 2009, I stepped into the office at Knox United Church in Didsbury Alberta for the first time. I had been appointed as a supply minister and a student intern there for ten months, … [Read more…]