Posts made in January, 2019

Winter 2019 Newsletter

Posted by on Jan 24, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Please click on link below to open the latest newsletter Winter 2019 Newsletter

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January 13, 2019 sermon

Posted by on Jan 13, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

January 13, 2019 Baptism is an important part of our Christian faith. Some would say that unless people are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, they are not truly Christian. Yet, various denominations of Christian churches have differing practices around baptism. Some insist on a full-body immersion while others are comfortable with the practice of simply putting water on the head of a person. Some practice infant baptism while others wait until a person is of a discerning age for baptism. And it goes on and on with various churches all insisting that their practices regarding baptism are what the Bible teaches. In my opinion, these discussions or differences over the Ordinance or Sacrament of Baptism only get in the way of the real meaning of Christian baptism. If we go back to the roots of Christian baptism, it began with the story of John the Baptist offering baptism to his fellow Jews, including the Jewish man, Jesus. When I did some research on the Jewish practice of baptism, one article claimed that “The Jewish mikva, or ceremonial bath, is the origin of the Christian baptism. (Jewish Origin of Baptism) Another article says, “The liturgical use of water was common in the Jewish world. The Law of Moses required washings on the part of priests following certain sacrifices and on certain individuals who were unclean because of an infectious disease. (Baptism: A Pre-Christian History) That same article says, “When John the Baptist came on the scene in the first century Jewish world, his teaching included the necessity of baptism. The people of his day were familiar with the act or practice of baptism. However, John’s baptism was not based on or authorized by the Jewish law or pagan religious customs and traditions. John was called to preach by God, armed only with the Word of God. It was the first time in human history in which a person had the opportunity to be baptized for the remission of his or her sins. A necessary refinement in the administration of baptism had to be made following the death of Jesus, however. Rather than submitting to the baptism of John, which was a baptism of repentance, we can now be baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.” All of this background information into the roots of Pagan and Jewish baptism practices is meant to clarify that when Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, the author of the Gospel of Luke attempts to make it clear that Jesus’ baptism opened the door to another type of baptism – one in which a person is immersed not only in water but in the very Spirit of God. Later Christian texts also declare that one baptism in the Holy Spirit is all that is required. A person does not need to be baptized again and again as a way of washing away the stain of sin or to be part of the Christian church. In today’s Gospel reading the author describes how this Holy Spirit presented itself to Jesus when he was baptized by John. It says that, “when Jesus was baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.”(Luke 3:21-22) Whether we understand this to be a literal dove or a metaphorical dove is not as important as what it means. An article by Thought Company says, “The dove symbolizes peace between God and human beings, going back to the time when Noah sent a dove out of his ark to see...

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January 6, 2019 sermon

Posted by on Jan 7, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

January 6, 2019 On Christmas Eve, Sue and I presented a dialogue that looked at the two themes of Light and Darkness. In that dialogue, I suggested that all people experience times of darkness and times of light in their lives. The message of Christmas is that in the person of Jesus, the light has overcome the darkness. Hope is better than Despair. Joy is what we all want instead of Sadness. Love is stronger than Fear. Jesus has made it possible for people to live life in a manner that makes their lives better. Today, on the Sunday which we call “The Epiphany of our Lord” we once again focus on the theme of Light. In the Gospel of Matthew, we encounter a cruel King who is known as King Herod the Great. In fact, he is so cruel that he arranges the death of anyone who he thinks might threaten his power and throne, including the death of some of his own immediate family. We also encounter wise men from the East who are also known as magi or astrologers in today’s language. These wise men are probably well-respected in their home country and supposedly saw a star “at its rising” or appearance in the sky and after examining their astrology charts conclude that it means a king has been born in the land of Judea. With their caravan of servants and camels loaded down with supplies they leave their home in what is likely today the country of Iran and head west. When they reach the city of Jerusalem, King Herod questions the wise men, attempting to find out who they think might threaten his kingdom someday. King Herod’s own scholars study their records and decide that a Messiah, which means Saviour, will be born in Bethlehem, a small town not far from Jerusalem. The wise men travel to Bethlehem and find a mother and child living in a house, according to Matthew’s gospel. It is then that the wise men kneel down and present the child with treasure chests filled with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. So, what might this biblical story really be about? It is usually included as part of the Nativity scenario in Christmas pageants but the gospel account makes it clear that it is not. The visit by the wise men would have occurred months, and maybe even a year or two, after the birth of Jesus. Often, Christians understand it to be a literal event but in my opinion it doesn’t really matter whether this visit by the wise men to Jesus is meant to be taken literally or metaphorically. What does matter is the meaning within the story. That is what I would like to look at this morning. In this story we have three main sets of characters. The first are the wise men. The second is King Herod. The third is Jesus and his mother, Mary. It’s fairly obvious that King Herod represents the Darkness that people can succumb to. Almost anyone can be taken over by fear and live in the shadow of its power, carrying out evil acts or getting involved in wrongful deeds. It’s also clear that Jesus and Mary represent the Light that people can experience. All people are able to learn to live with love and live in its light, becoming people who carry out good acts and get involved in helpful deeds. What I think is important in this story is who the wise men represent. I think the author of this story, the writer of the gospel of Matthew, was intending...

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