God, A Moving Target
Sunday June 16, 2019 - Trinity Sunday — John 16: 1 - 4, 12 - 18
How many times have you heard people say “I’m spiritual, but not religious”? Or, "You go to church? I’m not that religious
myself, but I am spiritual." Friends, acquaintances, total strangers, on TV and radio, Facebook – even bumper
stickers! Spiritual-but-not-Religious is all around us now. Years ago I worked at a medium-sized film
business, and after a few months I started to notice that the owner often came in late
for work, by about 20 minutes or so. So one morning he explained to me that he'd often get
a take-out coffee, then park his car at a point where he could overlook the frozen lake, and
watch the sunrise. "Now I'm not religious", he quickly assured me, "but that's my spiritual
moment, that's when I connect with something bigger than myself". Spiritual - but not religious.
A “Fire-and-Brimstone” Sermon
Sunday June 2, 2019 — Romans 6:1-14
At a previous pastoral charge we had a lady join us for a while. She seemed to enjoy
worshipping with us, came down for coffee and a chat after the service, and appeared to
feel at home in our community of faith. Then one day she called me up because she
wanted to talk to me. It was important, she said. So we met in my office for a
conversation. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect…
She said she enjoyed the being with us, she felt comfortable with the people. And then she said, “Now before I decide to become
a member of this church I need to be sure of something, because after all, this is about
the fate of my eternal soul.” Go ahead, shoot, I said.
Sunday May 19, 2019 — Romans 1:1-17
It took my mom a serious life crisis, a nasty divorce in fact, to find her faith.
Now mind you, she had been going to church all her life because, well, that’s
what you did. She went through the motions, but I had never seen it make
a real difference in her life. It’s probably safe to say that she was a
“Sunday morning Christian” with the kind of faith that just wasn’t connected
to what you did the other 6½ days of the week. That changed after her divorce. Suddenly, nothing was as it had been before.
The Paradox Of Choice (or, when more is less)
Sunday April 7, 2019 — Matthew 25; 31 - 46
One of the things I like about Halifax is the coffee culture here. Seems like every other block has its
own independent coffee shop serving amazing coffee, usually organic or FairTrade. Heck, we even
have a coffee shop owner right here in our congregation – it doesn’t get any better than that!
But the first time I ordered a coffee here, I was overwhelmed by the
choices: drip coffee, French press, espresso, cappuccino, frappucino, Americano,
latte? Large, medium or small? To go or for here? Caf or decaf? Dark roast,
medium or light? With room for dairy, soy, or almond milk? With a shot of
something? Single or double shots? With a sprinkling of cinnamon a twist of
lemon? It felt like my brain was about to explode!
The Good News About Bad News
Sunday February 24, 2019 — Matthew 14:13-33
Earlier this week I was at the Mosque next door to discuss the space we’ll be using
there this Saturday, and I bumped into the Imam, Abdallah. I’d met with him before,
he’s probably in his early thirties, not old,
but the first thing I noticed was he seemed... older somehow.
When I got home I heard of course the news
of the horrific fire that claimed the lives of 7
beautiful children of a Syrian refugee family who had arrived here less than 2 years
ago. They attended the Ummah Mosque next door. And then I understood why
Abdallah looked older that day. He was still trying to come to grips with devastating
news, while having to respond to requests for help, respond to offers to help, respond to
the media, and to respond to questions that are impossible to answer.
Wow. Help. Thanks.
Sunday February 3, 2019 — Matthew 6:7-21
Have you ever asked yourself what we’re all doing here on Sunday mornings? Seriously,
why did you come here?
For many of us it’s this community. And it is
special to spend time with one another, to
know that we’re included by a loving
community like this one, isn’t it? The other
week I overheard someone say during the
passing of the peace: “Who else can I
hug?!”, which I think summed up that part of
church life perfectly. And I just love that this
is part of that person’s church experience.
Advent 1, December 2018 — Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:2-4; 3:17-19
I realize that the book of the prophet Habakkuk
may not be high on your Bible-must-read list. So
let me put in a little plug for him:
- It won't take you very long to read the book.
Not even 2½ pages in my Bible.
- In those 2½ pages you'll encounter a sensitive
and distraught person who is willing to challenge
God, speaking to God on behalf of the people,
which is very unusual; typically a prophet speaks
to the people on behalf of God.
- And, you will be in good company. To give you an example: in 1940, a church newspaper
in Switzerland published an article with a lengthy quotation from Habakkuk.
Sunday November 25, 2018 — Jeremiah 1:4-10 and 7:1-11
There’s this great meme that’s been going around for a while on Facebook. For those
of you who are not into that kind of thing: a “meme” is a humorous image or a short
fun video that someone posts on social media which strikes a chord with a lot of
people for some reason and who then start to share it on their social media platforms.
The one I’m talking about is a picture of Jesus turning over tables in the temple; you
know the scene, right? Jesus makes a whip out of chords, goes into the temple and
starts flipping over the tables of the money changers and the dealers who were
notorious for swindling honest people of faith and pilgrims.
Resist and Re-imagine
Sunday November 18, 2018 — Isaiah 36:1-3, 13-20; 37:1-7; 2:1-4
I don’t know about you, but to me this time of
year is, well, awkward; it feels uncomfortable.
We’re still two whole weeks away from Advent,
but for the world around us and for the other god
we worship, the economy, it’s different. This
Friday is Black Friday, the start of the Christmas
season in the world of retail, and the start of the
rat race of finding the right gifts and lining up for
the next sale and big discounts: Red Thursday,
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day. Shop
till you drop in a world that is preoccupied with getting the best deals and not so much with
annoying stuff like the rise of fascism, fundamentalism, gun violence.
September 30, 2018 — Exodus 14:5-7, 10-14, 21-29
It’s May 26 of the year 1940. Over
400,000 British and French troops
are trapped with their backs to the
English Channel, surrounded by
German panzer divisions and
ground troops. Churchill calls the
situation “a colossal military
disaster,” saying the whole core
and brain of the British Army is
stranded at Dunkirk. A national
day of prayer is declared
throughout the United Kingdom for
the deliverance of the troops.
Churches all across the UK call out to God on behalf of the trapped soldiers.
The next day, Churchill orders “Operation Dynamo” into effect.
Back to the Top