Sermons from 2020

December 27, 2020 — What’s in a name? — On the first Sunday after Christmas, we heard a story in which Jesus is named (Luke 2:21-40) and reflected on the year that is passing.

December 24, 2020 — Silent night — On Christmas Eve, we sang carols, lit candles, and reflected on Luke’s story of Christmas (Luke 2:1-20) against the backdrop of the pandemic.

December 20, 2020 — Be her child” — On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we heard Mary’s song of love and justice (Luke 1:46-56) and reflected on Love.

December 13, 2020 — Tears of joy — On the third Sunday of Advent, we heard a story about the miraculous conception of Jesus (Luke 1:26-45) and I reflected on the connections between grief and joy.

December 6, 2020 — “No Justice, No Peace!” — On the second Sunday of Advent, I reflected on the connections between justice and peace — Ian

November 29, 2020 — Looking for hope in all the wrong places — On the first Sunday in Advent we looked at Hope in relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic, a poem on “the end times,” and a story of a miraculous conception from Luke (1:5-17, the birth of John the Baptist foretold). The sacrament of communion was celebrated.

November 22, 2020 — Many crowns, many thrones — On Reign of Christ Sunday, I concluded a series on leadership with a reflection on the paradox of a Christ-like leadership, which is both humble and ambitious — Ian

November 15, 2020 — Vision 2021 — We resumed a series on leadership with a focus on vision and purpose

November 8, 2020 — “Scold your neighbour as yourself?” — On Remembrance Sunday, I reflected on the phrase “love your enemies” from Matthew 5 and related this to the recent U.S. Presidential election — Ian

November 1, 2020 — “Raised on robbery” — On All Saints Day, we reflected on the blessings and wounds bequeathed to us by our ancestors.

October 25, 2020 — “You’re welcome!” — We completed a month focused on gratitude with a story that raises issues of when to say “Please,” Thank you,” and “You’re welcome” (Luke 17:11-19, Jesus heals ten lepers).

October 18, 2020 — The weight of the world — We resumed a series on leadership with a focus on accountability, delegation, and empowerment and with a reflection on a story in which Jesus commissions his disciples (Matthew 9-10).

October 11, 2020 — Involuntary simplicity — On Thanksgiving Sunday, I reflected on a Gospel passage (Mark 10:17-31, “give everything to the poor“) and on the simple life advocated by Francis of Assisi — Ian

October 4, 2020 — David Faber led the service with a reflection on Psalm 19 and the concept of devotion — click here to see a video of the service.

September 27, 2020 — “Invincible Summer” — We continued a series on leadership with a focus on inspiration, including a reflection on a famous song of St. Paul’s (Philippians 2:1-13).

September 20, 2020 — “Out of the blue and into the black” — We focused on the role of emotional intelligence in leadership with a reflection on Jesus in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-36) and on a poem by Rumi, “The Guest House.”

September 13, 2020 — Resounding gongs and clashing cymbals — I reflected on two famous passages by St. Paul (Romans 12:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 13) and on the role of communication in leadership — Ian

September 6, 2020 — Necessity and invention — We reflected on the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 (Mark 6:30-44) and on the role of imagination, creativity and innovation in leadership.

August 30, 2020 — Getting real — We heard Jesus predict his own death (Mark 10:32-34) and I reflected on how facing up to reality forms one of the key foundations of effective leadership – Ian

August 23, 2020 — “Holding out for a Hero” — I reflected on on Jesus’ call to his first followers (Matthew 4:12-22) as we began a Sunday series on leadership — Ian

August 16, 2020 — David Faber led us in worship on the theme of forgiveness — click here to watch a video of this service.

August 9, 2020 — We released an edited video of a June 2020 production by a group of United church congregations in our Northern Spirit Regional Council — click here to watch this video.

July 26, 2020 — Four spiritual songs — We released a video recorded on July 5. It offers four songs that have been of spiritual significance to me over the last 20 years — Ian

July 19, 2020 — David Faber led the congregation in an online worship service. Click here to watch the video.

July 12, 2020 — Summer blessings — I reflected upon the blessings of summer with inspiration from a well-known gospel story about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field (Matthew 6:25-34) and a well-known poem by Mary Oliver (“The Summer Day”). We also celebrated communion.

July 05, 2020 — Think globally, act locally — We heard Luke 5:1, 5-8 (Jesus sends out the twelve) and reflected on how a spirit of worldwide solidarity could inform our work at the local level of church, family, and neighbourhood.

June 28, 2020 — Love the world — At the beginning of the week that included Canada Day, the July 4th holiday in the US, and the end of the first half of 2020, I reflected on a spirit of universal love in a world dominated by the spirits of nationalism. We heard “To Begin With, the Sweet Grass” by Mary Oliver  and 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (gifts of the Spirit) — Ian

June 21, 2020 — Reserves we live within — On the first day of summer, we celebrated the Indigenous Day of Prayer with a service focused on how Canadians of all backgrounds can live in right relations with each other and a reflection on Matthew 15:21-28 (Jesus and a Canaanite woman).

June 14, 2020 — From recovery to Jubilee — On the last Sunday of spring 2020, we reflected on the biblical notion of “Jubilee” — a once-every-50-years event in which slaves are freed and debts repaid — see Luke 4:14-19, Jesus proclaims Jubilee — and related this dream to the work of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

June 07, 2020 — Pride and prejudice — On Pride Sunday, we heard texts about unity with diversity (1 Corinthians 2:4-14, and an excerpt from a 1999 book Rev. William Sloane Coffin) and reflected on the current worldwide uprising against police brutality and anti-black racism.

May 31, 2020 — Busting the bubble — On Pentecost Sunday, we heard stories and sang songs about the Holy Spirit and celebrated the sacrament of communion.

May 24, 2020 — “You’re not the boss of me!” — On the seventh Sunday of Easter, we used the 201st birthday of Queen Victoria as an occasion to hear a biblical passage about the dangers of monarchy (1 Samuel 8) and to reflect on sovereignty.

May 17, 2020 — Realities we struggle to understand — On the sixth Sunday of Easter, we heard Jesus tell his friends of the coming of a Spirit of Truth (John 14:15-21) and discussed the difficulties the world has in understanding what is true or real.

May 10 2020 — Family memories — On Mother’s Day, we reflected on the 23rd Psalm. We sang a version with a traditional translation and heard a contemporary paraphrase that focuses on mothering.

May 03 2020 — Coins and fools — On the fourth Sunday in Easter, we heard a famous Gospel passage (Mark 12:13-17, “a question about paying taxes”) and reflected on how idolatry might be seen as an economic concept as well as a spiritual one.

April 26 2020 — Community values — On the third Sunday in Easter, I reflected on a famous Easter story (Luke 24:13-33, the road to Emmaus) and discussed the economic implications of following a spiritual path — Ian

April 19 2020 — Earth Day at 50 — On the second Sunday in Easter, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of “Earth Day.” The first was held on April 22, 1970. My reflection was on an essay by astrophysicist Carl Sagan and on a paraphrase of Psalm 24 — Ian

April 12 2020 — Silent spring — On Easter Sunday, we celebrated new life with stories and song of resurrection.

April 10, 2020 — Confronting Good Friday — a short reflection on Paul’s startling statement “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:19-20) — Ian

April 5, 2020 — Palm/Passion Sunday — We marked the various days of Holy Week as stops along the way of the prayers for communion in what was our first-ever virtual communion celebration.

March 29, 2020 — Peace in Lent — On the fifth Sunday in Lent, we heard a poem by Wendell Berry and a passage in which Jesus offers his friends peace (John 16:22-35).

March 22, 2020 — Faith in Lent — On the fourth Sunday in Lent and the first Sunday of spring, we heard Jesus say that faith can move mountains (Matthew 17:14-21) and reflected on how to maintain faith in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

video from our first online-only service

March 15, 2020 — Hope in Lent — On the third Sunday in Lent, I reflected on the COVID-19 pandemic in conjunction with a story of a conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman (John 4:5-28). The choir sang “Be the Love of Christ” — Ian

Video of the service — Facebook livestream

March 8, 2020 — Notes from the underground — On the second Sunday in Lent, I reflected on the Academy Award-winning movie “Parasite,” and compared its motifs of darkness and light with those from two Gospel readings — John 3:1-9 (being born from above) and Matthew 17:1-9 (the Transfiguration) — Ian

March 1, 2020 — “Going too far . . . or not far enough?” — On the first Sunday in Lent, we started the season with a story about Jesus facing three temptations following 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11); a reflection on what Lent might mean for us; and a celebration of communion. The choir sang “Dumela Kaufela”

February 23, 2020 — “Lost in translation” — We concluded a series of four Sundays on the “The Lord’s Prayer” with a reflection on a song by Leonard Cohen (“If It Be Your Will”) and a reading from Mark (Mark 14:32-42, Jesus prayers in Gethsemane). The choir sang “Jesus Ueja” – Ian

February 16, 2020 — David Faber delivered a reflection called “We are all God’s workers” based upon Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-9.

February 09, 2020 — David Faber led a reflection on the light of Epiphany. The choir sang “This Little Light of Mine.”

February 02, 2020 — God help us — We heard Romans 8:14-27 (“the Spirit helps us in our weakness”) as we resumed a series of reflections on the “Our Father” prayer that Jesus taught his friends. The choir sang “Bread of the World” and we celebrated the sacrament of communion.

January 26, 2020 — “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?” — We joined with our Zimbabwean friends for worship and a simple lunch catered by The Congregational Care Team. I reflected on God’s call based on a reading of Matthew 4:12-23 in which Jesus calls his first followers. The choir sang “There Is No One Like Jesus” – Ian

January 19, 2020 — Kingdom come — We continued a series of reflections on the “Our Father” prayer that Jesus taught his friends (Luke 11:1-4) and on the place of prayer in our lives The choir sang “Patience” by Linnea Good – Ian

January 12, 2020 — “How, then, should we pray?” — We began a series of reflections on the “Our Father” prayer that Jesus taught his friends (Matthew 6:9-13) and on the place of prayer in our lives.

January 05, 2020 — Vision 2020 — On the 12th day of Christmas, we heard the other biblical story of Christmas, the one involving a star, Magi from the East, and a murderous rampage by King Herod (Matthew 2:1-18). I reflected on what might lie ahead for us in 2020 – Ian

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