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.

Two girls eating chips and colouring

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.

Read More »Hope and her two beautiful offspring
Armistice recording 1911

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.Read More »The Rest Is Silence

painted image of a light shinging through haze

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.

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“We have met the enemy, and he is us”

July 8, 2018

The Jesuit priest James Martin tells of his drive near the Rift Valley in Kenya two decades ago:

“I was transfixed by the verdant green grass that carpeted the hillside”, he writes. “Suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, a lone white sheep clambered down the hillside and darted in front of my car. I swerved to avoid hitting it… Then I watched the sheep gingerly climb down into the valley on the right side of the road. Just then, from my left, a figure darted across the road. It was a young Maasai shepherd… The shepherd dashed in front of my idling car. Barefoot, he smiled and waved to me as he passed. He scrambled down the side of the hill in pursuit of the sheep, raising clouds of dust, calling loudly all the time… Then I looked up and saw the rest of the flock, about twenty or thirty sheep, up the hill on my left. How stupid! I thought. He’s leaving behind the whole flock for that one sheep. Then something dawned on me, and I laughed out loud. It was the Parable of the Lost Sheep in action!”

Read More »“We have met the enemy, and he is us”

“May we be courageous today. May we learn today. May we love today.”

 June 10, 2018 – Church of Holy Trinity, Trinity Square

Our sisters and brothers at the Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland’s longest-serving centre for peace and reconciliation, begin their day with these words:

“We resolve to live life in its fullness:

We will welcome the people who’ll be part of this day.

We will greet God in ordinary and hidden moments.”

What a remarkable story from the Book of Samuel. The elders of Israel complain to Samuel about the judges who were the government of the day. Israel was a group of scattered tribes under attack by the Philistines. The elders wanted a strong man for protection.

Read More »“May we be courageous today. May we learn today. May we love today.”

woodcut of Mary as Queen of Heaven

Sermon: Mother’s Day 2018

Mother’s Day 2018
by Joanna Manning
Mother’s Day 2018 finds me in a militant state of mind. And if we go back to the origins of the celebration, that’s actually very appropriate frame of mind to be in.
As you may know, Mother’s Day began not as a celebration of a woman’s personal devotion to her family but as a holiday that commemorated and fostered women’s civic and international activism.

Read More »Sermon: Mother’s Day 2018