By Susie Henderson
ROSEMARY FOR REMEMBRANCE
They say that grief is the tax on love — if you love you grieve, no getting around it. I brought rosemary today to honour the losses that we all carry and may be particularly mindful of at this time of year.
Rosemary — has a long history and there are many stories tied to this fragrant herb. Historically it has been thought to strengthen memory and that tie to remembrance and it has been included in both the wedding bouquet and the funeral garland.
Medicinally the camphor in rosemary has helped to clear congestion. In our house it mostly comes out with a little lemon to season Jennifer’s favorite roast chicken.
Today I offer it as a sign of remembrance, a scent that lingers, a way to witness that death is not the end of love. Death is not the end of love.
During this reflection, I invite you, if you’d like, to come forward and make yourself a mini wreath of remembrance that you can take home for a christmas tree or to place somewhere in your line of sight, a sign of the presence of those who have gone before us, still present, still missed, still remembered in our holiday times. You can make it during the service or just pick up the pieces to put it together when you get home. Continue reading Broken-hearted Blessings (Homily for Advent 3)
Some of you may be a bit leery of an Advent homily entitled “Anger as Fuel for Hope.” Isn’t ‘anger’ one of the seven deadly sins, I hear you ask? Isn’t Advent the rehearsal for the angelic choirs singing about peace on earth, and the arrival of the Prince of Peace. Why buzz kill the season’s hopeful mood? Why, indeed?
Well, for one reason, today’s scripture readings are reminders of the pain and suffering that humans have inflicted upon one another since forever, and testimonials to an understanding or acknowledgement that it will take a wisdom greater than our own to set things right, perhaps even a transcendent wisdom. “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!” the prophet Isaiah cries out. The story of Christmas has become so romanticized, its rough edges filed down, its scandalous message tied with a bow, the rough places steam-rolled, that it could be the work product of Walt Disney. Continue reading Anger as Fuel for Hope: Homily for Advent 1
Keith Nunn, Nov 26, 2017.
In case the lectionary readings today didn’t tip you off, this Sunday is called the Reign of Christ. This is the last stop before we start the cycle over with Mary’s story and the infant Jesus.
Co-incidentally, the first sermon I delivered after entering theological education was on the reign of Christ. At that time, I felt a need and pressure to justify my position through scripture. Not so much anymore. However, I do feel a need to maintain the conversation with scripture in general and with the person of Jesus Christ in particular.
Today, in spite of my infamous reputation for jettisoning the lectionary, I have kept all the appointed readings, albeit in abridged form. The straightforward interpretation of these texts probably makes most of us somewhat uncomfortable—I know it does me. I’ll return to them shortly, however. Continue reading What do we do with the King of Kings?
None of our lessons, not even the Psalm, were appointed for reading today. So, I’ll start by revealing the hidden agenda behind today’s worship: Driving our hearts and minds towards the third of our strategic planning sessions for Holy Trinity. That session begins just after today’s worship service ends. Continue reading Homily: November 18 2017
by Jo Connelly
Nov. 5, 2017
A couple of years ago I would be standing here talking about my heroes- Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi. But I’m not going to talk about these amazing people. I could have talked about some of the saintliness of some of the homeless men and women I have known, particularly those I know now who live at Seaton House men’s shelter. But even these heroes I am not going to talk about today. These people have inspired many of my life choices, and are understandably held up as persons to emulate. But I don’t know about you, but most days I don’t feel much like a Dorothy Day when I don’t even look at a homeless person pan- handling for spare change, let alone ask them if they need a place to stay and take them home to sleep on my couch. Continue reading Ordinary Saints
By James Harbeck
I’m going to tell a little story today. I don’t know whether I’d call it a parable. It’s not quite a literal history. But it’s close enough.
There was, once, a place that was very nice. Lush. Great for growing grapes and things like that. There was a family living there, and they were pretty happy with it. We’ll call them the Ones. Nothing’s perfect, but, you know, the Ones had food, family, all the things that people do with their time when nothing and no one is forcing them to do something else. Life was good enough.
And then another family showed up from another place. We’ll call them the Twos. They liked where the Ones were living. They wanted to live there. They didn’t say, “Hey, do you mind if we fit in here somehow?” or “What can we give you in exchange for some of what you have so we can live here?” They said, “Hi. We’re the Twos. These are guns. Look what they can do: [BANG BANG BANG]. Get the idea? We want this land. Oh, you? You can get out and live somewhere else, or you can stay and work for us.” Some of the Ones left. Some were killed. Some decided to stay and work for the Twos, because at least they’d still be in this nice place getting the benefit of the land. Continue reading Sour Grapes
“While I still smart with the memory of that ruler striking my left wrist many years ago, I know that this is mild compared to the abuse, rejection, death, disease and discrimination measured in a thousand brutal ways that many have experienced through misogyny, colonialism, slavery, homophobia and too many other wrongs. ”
The full text of Michael Shapcott’s homily from August 13 is below.
Fernie. Cranbrook. Yahk. His excitement grew. Here was a mountain that looked familiar. Could it be Goat? Yes. Yes. That was surely its peak. And here was the siding for the mine. Then the trainman came along the aisle shouting, ‘Creston! Creston is the next station stop. Creston next.” …The train puffed to a standstill, sending out clouds of white steam. The trainman set the nobbled brown stool on the platform, and reached up to give Charles a hand, but the boy was already running along the platform towards outstretched arms. “Gran! Gran!” he was shouting, “I’m home!” Continue reading How Big is the Tent We Call Home?
This Sunday in the Easter season has long been nicknamed Good Shepherd Sunday, as you may have gathered from the gospel reading and the 23rd Psalm. There is a long tradition of portraying Jesus as the Good Shepherd; there are numerous depictions on the walls of the catacombs of a shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulders. The Gospel of Matthew records that, “when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” [9:36] What caught my attention this time around, though, was the epistle reading, and its focus on pain and suffering. I was surprised at the number of memories it evoked. In my youth, when I worked as a music librarian, I had a Roman Catholic colleague, who was one of fifteen children. One of the things she heard regularly as a child, when one of them would whine or complain, was, “Offer it up. Our Lord hung on the cross for three hours.” Continue reading The Problem of Pain and Suffering (Easter 4 Homily)