Michael Creal’s homily on September 8, 2019
Readings: Deut 30:15-20 Psalm 1 Philemon 1-21 Lk 14:25-33
At the time when Lee, in a moment of
some desperation, asked me to do the homily for this Sunday, I just
happened to be brooding over the climate change crisis. I looked at
the readings for today and these words from the Deuteronomy passage
jumped out: “This day I have set before you life and death,
therefore choose life that you and your descendents may live” –
those words provided a sharp focus for what I was thinking about. In
the case of today’s reading from Deuteronomy that choice for the
Israelites – between life and death – was a question of honouring
or not honouring the covenant that Moses put before the people.
Honouring it meant choosing life and living in accordance with the
Law, or rejecting it with the destructive consequences that could
follow. Renewing the Covenant and confronting that choice was
something that the Jewish people faced repeatedly in the course of
their history . Today, the stark choice of choosing life is something
we face. What I think that means for us, I’ll come to in a moment.
Continue reading THE CLIMATE CHANGE CRISIS: A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
2019.08.04 Holy Trinity
Transfiguration – A visit with dragons
Readings: Psalm 99, 2 Peter 1:16-19, Luke 9:28-36, The Peace of Wild Things (Wendell Berry)
A few weeks ago I met up with Tim, a friend from Christian Peacemaker Teams who I haven’t seen for several years. As we caught up on our lives we compared our networks of Christian activists and peacemakers, noting the connections, discussing the mentors and inspirational people we interact with. Tim referred to ‘holding the dragon close’. He explained that a dragon is an influential and powerful person in your life who is somewhat dangerous.
Continue reading A Visit with Dragons: Homily for Transfiguration
A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from a friend,
requesting that I come to Queen’s Park about 4.00 pm the following Monday to
join a demonstration. The occasion for this was the attempt on the part of the
NDP to pass a bill declaring climate change an emergency.
But a striking fact about this invitation was that I was
requested to wear my clergy collar. Now
if, like me, you’ve been to many lefty- type protests, you often DON’T want to be identified as a
clergy person! But not this time. I was there were greeted with open arms,
invited to pray and then to pose for a group photo.
Walking back to the subway, I pondered on this turn of
events. It occurred to me that maybe it was because the organizers, mostly
university and high school students, are for the most part, “unchurched.” Their
parents likely didn’t bother baptizing them and regular church attendance was
not a part of their upbringing. So maybe this unchurched generation are not as
predisposed to regard the church as something alien.
Continue reading Listen and Learn
Acts 11:1-18 Psalm 148 Revelation 21:1-6 John 13:31-35
there is one thing today’s scripture readings have in common, it is
about God doing something NEW. “I give you a new commandment: love one
another.” “Look, I make all things new.” And then there’s Peter, who
clued in to the new thing God was doing after the third memo.
Jesus warned his disciples that God would be doing new things in the future, things they were not ready even to think about while he was yet with them. And, sure enough, it didn’t take long. One afternoon, while he was enjoying his siesta, God gave Peter a vision, which Peter interpreted as a test of his faithfulness to Jewish dietary laws. [A reproduction of Fran Sowton’s painting of Peter’s vision at Joppa is the featured image for this post.] When Peter came to realize that it was not a test, but a message, specifically a message that God was making the circle wider, and he needed Peter to be onside, he made the necessary adjustments, and embraced the new scope of the mission. In this instance, it was Peter’s own religious upbringing that got in God’s way—a phenomenon we will encounter repeatedly throughout Church history.
Continue reading Getting out of God’s Way (Homily for Easter 5)
Readings: Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 125, John 12:1-8,
and “The Heavens Torn Apart” – John Terpstra
readings today are full of the promise of restoration. Isaiah has
rivers gushing in the desert; the psalmist sings of those who sowed with
tears reaping with joy and carrying home their sheaves; Paul tells us
to forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead; and in
John’s gospel, Mary of Bethany pours out a jar of costly ointment which
fills the whole house with its fragrance.
So we read about a God who breaks boundaries, does new things, a God of
surprises, and a God of extravagant love! This is the thread that runs
like gold through the readings of today, culminating in John’s account
of the anointing of Jesus’s feet by Mary of Bethany then drying them
with the strands of her lustrous long hair.
in this gospel, after the raising of Lazarus, Jesus has returned again
to the house at Bethany. It is possibly his last stop before he enters
Jerusalem for the Passover. Jesus feels safe here. Elsewhere Jesus has
spoken wistfully about the birds of the air having a nest to shelter
themselves, but he has nowhere to lay his head. But it does appear that
he was a familiar and much loved guest here. It was a safe refuge,
possibly the closest Jesus came anywhere to feeling at home and amongst
Continue reading God of extravagant love