Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus
Readings: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29, Vaclav Havel on Hope, Matthew3:13-17
Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash
Twenty years ago, on the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus, I was on sabbatical in Italy, and on this particular Sunday I was in Assisi at the Basilica of St Francis. The Abbot began his homily that day by saying, “With the baptism of Jesus we have all been baptized.” I had never thought of it that way before, but he was right. Every baptism has its roots in that moment Jesus stepped into the Jordan River
with John the Baptist. It was a moment of revelation, but also a moment of dedication and commitment to a particular journey. Orthodox Christians kick the signiﬁcance up a notch by observing that Jesus’ presence in the Jordan River that day had the effect of blessing all the water in the world. So, today is a ﬁtting opportunity to remember our baptism and to reﬂect on what it means in the world today.
The DNA of what it means to be Christian is embedded in the Baptismal Covenant. We will be invited to renew our baptismal vows in the service today. We will respond, “I will, with God’s help” to questions like:
Continue reading Hope for the world
• Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?
• Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
• Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain, and renew the life of the Earth?
The Golden Rule is baked into the Baptismal Covenant, as is peacemaking and care for the environment. To live our baptismal promises intentionally is to steer the world toward the peaceable kingdom envisioned by the prophet Isaiah and the reign of God that Jesus described through stories and encounters with others. Baptism taken seriously is a sign of hope in a world ﬁlled with strife, greed, and confusion. But regard for baptism has somewhat of a chequered history.
Homily for Christmas Eve 2019
is the dynamite that brings down walls.” “La misericordia es la
dinamita que derriba muros.” That is a line from the new movie, The
Two Popes, spoken by the man who would become Pope Francis. That line
resonated deeply, and I knew it would work its way into this
Christmas homily. That is because the Incarnation—God’s coming
among us as one of us—is God’s greatest mercy in bringing down
the walls that divide humanity from God and from one another. Someone
has defined ‘mercy’ as a “love that responds to human need in
an unexpected or unmerited way.” At its core, mercy is forgiveness.
Mercy is grace.
was born into a world all too familiar with systems of domination,
systems of empire and oppression that had existed from before the
time the prophet Isaiah wrote of the “people who walked in
darkness” who would see a great light of a new day of hope and
promise, where the yoke of their burdens would be broken; the bar
weighing down their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, snapped. A
child would be born who would become the Prince of Peace, and would
reign with justice and equity.
decided to include Garrison Keilllor’s retelling of the famous
story of the 1914 Christmas Peace, because, in a World War that would
result in about 40 million military and civilian casualties, we know
that the people on the front lines were not only capable of
demonstrating their humanity with a spirit of generosity, they
certainly would have welcomed an end to all hostilities, were it not
for their imperial masters. Peace was, at once, both so near and yet,
so far away.
Continue reading a hole in the wall
CHRISTMAS EVE December 24
7:30 PM Mulled Cider and Caroling
8:00 PM Christmas Eucharist (Holy Trinity and San Esteban Communities' bilingual service)
CHRISTMAS DAY December 25
10:30 AM Eucharist with Carols
The SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS December 29
10:30 AM Lessons and Carols and Eucharist
Sherman Hesselgrave’s homily for Advent 2, December 8, 2019
Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10 Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 Matthew 3:1-12
will spike blood pressure quite like hypocrisy. “You brood of
vipers!,” John the Baptist says to the Pharisees and Sadducees who
have come to the Jordan River for baptism. Later in Matthew’s
gospel, Jesus will liken Pharisees and teachers of the law to
“whitewashed tombs.” The veneer and the interior life lack
integrity. My liturgics professor in seminary was a Jesuit who
described a well-integrated person as someone, who no matter how or
where you engage with them, you have a sense of the whole person.
There is a consistency, an integrity, no matter where your lives
is a theme that flows through Jesus’ public life and teaching, and
he uses the metaphor of bearing fruit regularly. Trees are known by
the fruit they produce, and whether that fruit is any good. We have
all had the experience of sinking our teeth into a gorgeous-looking
peach, apple, or plum, only to be disappointed by its mealy texture
or bland flavour. On this Second Sunday of Advent, when John the
Baptist is always the focus, we are confronted today by his
imperative to “bear fruit that befits repentance.” I would like
us to take a moment to unpack John’s statement, by taking a closer
look at repentance
Continue reading Bear Fruit that Befits Repentance
Homily given by Sonya Dykstra on November 24, 2019
my second homily this summer, I felt I was done giving them. In
fact, when I agreed to coordinate this service, I did so under the
assumption that I’d find an individual willing to give a reflection
instead of standing here myself. So why is it that I’m attempting
another homily? I’d like to share three beliefs I hold that work
together and contributed to this homily.
I believe in God the creator. I’m sure it’s a belief many of you
share, so much so, we say it together in the Apostle’s Creed and
the Nicene Creed: I believe in God, the creator of heaven and earth.
Two, I believe God continues to create, the easiest example to cite are the newborns who enter the world each day: tiny creatures that I believe God had a hand in.
I believe God invites us to be co-creators. I love this idea – that
you and I can accept God’s invitation to participate intentionally
in what God is doing in the here and now. God’s story in humanity
isn’t finished. The bible ended in Revelation, but God’s story
is still unfolding. When we align ourselves with being attentive to
God’s will rather than our own often uncertain, often selfish
wills, there is joy, there is purpose, there is life-giving energy.
How to be attentive to God’s will is a harder question to answer
and I want to use my standing here to serve as a small example.
Continue reading Abba, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.