Category Archives: Sermons

Reflections given as sermons or homilies at a public service. Members of our community take it in turns to preach to the whole community.

What is Love? Homily for Epiphany 4

by Sonya Dykstra

When I was reviewing the various passages in preparation for today, I gravitated towards 1 Corinthians 13, specifically the section on love. It’s a big topic, but I thought to take a stab at it and I want to open my reflection with a poem my good friend Natasha Ramsingh wrote titled,

Love Has Come For Me.

Love has come for me

It stands there
Demanding to be let in.

I thought.

I wanted it

I thought.

I invited it in

Continue reading What is Love? Homily for Epiphany 4

Care, Community, and Love

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of all our hearts be acceptable in your eyes, O God.

The best wedding receptions are the ones that are roaring good parties. In my life, I’ve been part of weddings from a lot of different vantage points. I’ve been the maid of honour at a same sex wedding, I’ve had the honour of reading the Ketubah, or marriage contract, at a Jewish wedding. I’ve been a member of the catering staff, and I’ve also been a bride myself. My favourite part of any wedding is the one where the lights are low and all the aunties are dancing in a circle to “Rivers of Babylon” by Bony M or “Jump Around” by House of Pain and it’s about the time when the caterers pack up the bar. At my own wedding, my new husband and I tried my mother sorely by dancing until about 2 am. Respecting her cultural traditions, she wouldn’t leave until we, the newly married couple did, no matter how we encouraged her to go on up to bed. We were ecstatic in the joy of our new marriage, and we danced till we couldn’t dance any more. The memories of these wedding days highlight for me the care, community, and love that made them possible.

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Hope and her two beautiful offspring

St Augustine of Hippo, the fourth century Bishop of the city of that name is an early church father that I usually love to hate. Augustine has been responsible for much of the fear of women and sexuality that has dogged church teachings throughout the centuries.

BUT Augustine also wrote this memorable phrase about Hope, which is the theme of today’s celebration: “Hope has two beautiful daughters; “ he wrote ( I’ve changed the noun to be more inclusive!) “ and their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” This time he had it dead right. Anger and courage – two of the components of Hope and also two themes running through today’s readings.

Continue reading Hope and her two beautiful offspring

The Rest Is Silence

Sermon, Church of the Holy Trinity, Toronto, November 11, 2018

Readings: 1 Kings 17:8–16; Hebrews 9:24–28; Mark 12:38–44

Hear this sermon as it was delivered:

On November 11, 1918, at 11 AM, the Great War officially ended and the guns fell silent.

That’s not just a figure of speech. It’s not just lofty poetry. Guns kept firing right until 11 o’clock. Artillery kept blasting away. More than 10,000 people died that morning.

Nobody was tape recording the sound; they didn’t have tape recorders. No one was at the front with a wax cylinder to record the sound phonographically. But oil drums in several locations were rigged up to transmit the vibrations for visual recording on a strip of film. They were used for triangulating the positions of enemy guns. They were still in use on the morning of November 11th, and a filmstrip has survived. It looks like a multi-line seismograph. The Imperial War Museum commissioned a reconstruction of the sound. You can hear different kinds of artillery blasting holes in the air more than once a second for a half a minute. And then they stop like a battalion of troops ordered to halt.

The war to end all wars was over.

It didn’t end all wars. We keep shooting at each other. Continue reading The Rest Is Silence

A Cloud of Witnesses (Homily for All Saints)

Wisdom 3:1-9     Psalm 24     Revelation 21:1-6a     John 11:32-44

A Cloud of Witnesses

Sherman Hesselgrave

All Saints is when the universal Church remembers the Christian faithful throughout history who make up the great cloud of witnesses, the communion of saints who surround us and inhabit our memory across time. If I asked you to think of a person you consider to be a saint—someone who has inspired you by their courage or their convictions, someone you aspire to be like, someone who left their fingerprints on your life, I’m sure you could name them or see them with your mind’s eye. Even though they were touched by death, they live on in our hearts and in our memories.

Continue reading A Cloud of Witnesses (Homily for All Saints)