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.

Exiting the Fortress – Oliver Roberts

I feel an immense amount of gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to hang some of these artworks in a space like this, in a place like this. If the artworks speak at all, if they have a meaning or convey a sense of place and time, places and times shared and learned, then it is befitting that they get to sit among all of these wonderful sisters and brothers and sons and daughters, in a place where acts of radical hospitality and Love are performed, daily and incessantly. What an interesting place we find ourselves in, our friends sleeping outside, citizens bustling in and out of the Eaton Centre, all of us in here communing with each other. What an ebb and flow of paradox and of resilience.

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Our Flawed Glory

A sermon preached by Jo Connolly on Feb 2, 2020

Last week Keith and the Fallen Angles led us through reflections on darkness and light and during this fragile and frightening time we hold both in our hearts and in our lives.  As we heard last week, in her poem “Blessed Are You” Jan Richardson said “Blessed are you; who bear the light; in unbearable times, who testify to its endurance amid the unendurable, who bear witness to its persistence when everything seems in shadow and grief.”  These words rung true for me and helped me focus my words for today.  Today we celebrate “the presentation.”  I will try to look at “presentation” from a couple of angles, and ask your indulgence as I present some thoughts for your reflection.

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Darkness and Light

Striving to live fully in all the pieces and places we are

Light and dark are often set up as the primary dualism or binary in our lives. And yet we desperately need both and all the space in between.

Our future as a community lies not in dualism, but in embracing ambiguity and multiplicity.
We can set boundaries and then transcend them.
We can revere the past and let it go.
We can be fearful of the future and thrilled at possibility.
We can love and be annoyed by the same people.
We can be energized by ideas and exhausted by their implications.
We can fear the dark and still need the rest it brings,
We can exult in the light, but be too dazzled to act.

Let us take 5 minutes in this gentle candlelight to personally reflect on the readings I offered today:

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Hope for the world

Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus
Sherman Hesselgrave

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:

• 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.

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