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.

“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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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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THE CLIMATE CHANGE CRISIS: A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

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.

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A Visit with Dragons: Homily for Transfiguration

2019.08.04 Holy Trinity

Transfiguration – A visit with dragons

Peter Haresnape

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.

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Listen and Learn

PENTECOST 2019     

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.

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Mary of Bethany by George William Joy (detail) - 1900; public domain

God of extravagant love

Readings: Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 125, John 12:1-8,
and “The Heavens Torn Apart” – John Terpstra

Joanna Manning


The 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.

 And 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.

So 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 friends.

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