Sherman Hesselgrave

Bear Fruit that Befits Repentance

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

Nothing 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 touch.

This 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 and bearing fruit.

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Abba, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Homily given by Sonya Dykstra on November 24, 2019

After 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.

One, 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.

Third, 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.

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“When the veil is the thinnest…”

Cathy Crowe,
Street Nurse, Author

Thank you for inviting me to this place I have spent a lot of time in.

I’d like to read something by someone you all may know – Brian Burch:

We know what heaven is like: “In my father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  (John 14:2). And we know what Toronto is like. In our city are many heating grates; in our city are many file folders full of names of our sisters and brothers seeking a home. In the midst of our city are many trying to bring to life in the present heaven’s promise. This is done through protests and petitions. It is done through opening up sanctuary spaces for temporary resting places. It is done by squatting empty buildings. And it is done by those that weave together funds from various sources to develop new housing.”

This was by then Rev. Brian Burch in a homily given in 2005. Brian tells me he is now a grassroots co-op activist – which I think is a fantastic title.

Church of the Holy Trinity is woven through my memoirs, A Knapsack Full of Dreams.

That likely won’t surprise many of you. I’ve spent a lot of time here.

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“becoming available to the land”

George McKibbon,
Environmental Planner, McKibbon Wakefield Inc.

Let’s pray: may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and Redeemer. Amen.

Thank you for the opportunity to deliver this sermon to you today. This opportunity comes at a perilous time: we are failing to address the threats arising from a warming climate. David Wallace-Wells speaks to the dangers facing us in his book entitled: The Uninhabitable Earthi. I can summarize his analysis visually as three successively larger rings each fitting within the other. The inner ring identifies what is incontrovertible: the world’s climate is warming. This inner ring is surrounded by a second larger ring, within which he describes the results of this warming: species lost, wildfire such as that occurring this weekend in California, extreme weather such as the winds that are driving the wildfires in California, flooding, rising sea levels etc. linear results. In the larger third ring are less well understood and tipping points, loss of agricultural productivity, permafrost melting, uninhabitable landscapes, failed societies, climate refugees, etc. non-linear complex tipping points where the landscape character changes substantially and possibly irrevocably.

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Register for the 2019 Christopher Lind Conversation Here

2019 Christopher Lind Conversation

Canada’s Future: Reaching for the Common Good

Saturday, November 2, 2019 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Church of the Holy Trinity, Trinity Square, Toronto

There is no admission charge, but all attendees are asked to register at the EventBrite website:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/tickets-77051183163

Before his untimely death in 2014, Christopher Lind was the Director of the Sorrento Centre in British Columbia. He was a Senior Fellow of Massey College, and had served as the Director of the Toronto School of Theology, and President of St Stephen’s College, Edmonton and St Andrew’s College in Saskatoon. His last book was entitled, Rumours of a Moral Economy.

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Climbing Over Walls (Homily)

22 Sepember 2019

Readings: Amos 8:4-7 Psalm 113 Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison) Luke 16:1-13

For the noontime Eucharist on Wednesdays, we usually commemorate a saint who is remembered on the church calendar that week. Last Wednesday, we used the propers for St Ninian. The short biography in For All the Saints, told us that Ninian was “a fifth-century bishop who was the first to preach the gospel in western Scotland. He originally came from England, then a province of the Roman empire, and spent many years in centres of Christian culture like Rome and southern Gaul. At that time the leaders of the Church tended to think that people who lived outside the boundaries of the Roman empire were not worth converting to Christ. In Britain this attitude was visibly reinforced by Hadrian’s Wall, a string of stone forts built across the northern boundary of England, in order to keep out the Scottish tribes. But one day Ninian either climbed over or sailed around this wall and headed into barbarian territory in order to bring the gospel to the enemies of his culture.” The spunkiness of Ninian’s extramural adventure caught my attention. We live in a time when there is an ocean of rhetoric about walls. I have lived long enough to remember when the Berlin wall was erected, and I own a chunk of the wall from when it was torn down in 1989. Walls are real or imagined, bricks and mortar, as well as metaphorical.

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Refugee Ministry Sunday Homily

September 15, 2019
Holy Trinity Refugee Committee Sermon
Katherine Assad and Rob Shropshire
(Note: the Scotiabank Marathon fundraiser will be on October 20 –
Donate here: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/TeamFundraisingPage.aspx?teamID=878153#&panel1-1)

  • Jo (coordinating) gets up to introduce the sermon – “…Katherine and Rob.” She calls us up, but we aren’t there. She is surprised. She calls us.
  • Katherine jogs in, chipper. Runs around the sanctuary and up to the lectern, calling for Rob to catch up.
  • Rob enters, wheezing, struggling. Struggles up to join Katherine at the podium, out of breath.
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