Welcome, Christine Smaller!
2010-10-11 by David Howell

Christine Smaller is in her second year of ministry and has just started a short term position in a rural pastoral charge. Born and bred in the city she is enjoying the country life of her congregants. Christine lives in Toronto with her husband and three children and entered seminary after 20 years in business. She is very excited to be a part of the homiletical hot tub this week.

In the beginning (of the week)...
2010-10-11 by Christine Smaller

              As I begin to read the parable contained in Luke 18:1-18 I am reminded that, in our communities, we so often face situations where the one person who is supposed to represent justice is the one denying it.  I recall that some scholars suggest that the judge was not only the arbiter of law but would have been the widow’s closest male relative.  And so we are faced with the double whammy of being mistreated by a symbol of mercy and a flesh and blood person with whom we should be able to expect to be in compassionate relationship.

            This will be my sixth Sunday with this community and… in an attempt to “play it safe” in the beginning of my ministry here I decided (and confidently announced I was doing so) to preach a series on parables… so I could (ha ha) avoid any difficult topics, at least for a few weeks.  Difficult topics like… oh I don’t know – faith, love, forgiveness, redemption, trust, community, justice…  a strategy that obviously fell apart 7 minutes into my first session of sermon prep. I am tempted to preach on one of the other lectionary texts, but do not want to have to explain it.

            What word of good news is here for my pastoral charge?  I know there’s something… but for the life of me I can’t see what it is this morning.  Luke gives up a poignant clue in his directive introduction – when he says that this is a parable about how we need… to… not lose heart.  Okay then… here we go!


Canon Bouwmeester and Scarlet Gorton
2010-10-09 by David von Schlichten

It's stimulating to read these messages. Canon Bouwmeester is correct to stress that thanksgiving is to be a way of life that includes caring for those in need. Scarlet Gorton's challenge for us to walk with the leper is important for us Christians to embrace, since Jesus is ever calling us to un-other one another.

Have a blessed Un-other Sunday tomorrow, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Thanksgiving begins with an empty plate.
2010-10-08 by David Howell

A sermon by Rev. Canon Tony W. Bouwmeester who serves as Rector of the Anglican Parish of Long Point Bay:

Once again on Monday October the 11th we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday. Many families will come together and give thanks to God for the harvest we reap this year. Again there will be no famine in our land of Canada. Thanks to God, we live in a land of plenty and no one needs to go hungry.

Thanksgiving should not be restricted to a holiday weekend. Thanksgiving really should be a daily affair, and the work of a lifetime.

Many years ago when our children were small they said thanks with us for every meal. We often used the thanksgiving children say, “ God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for our food. By His hand we all are fed: thank you Lord for our daily bread. Amen.” One day our youngest son mark decided he needed to give thanks for everything on his plate and said, “Thank you God for the peas and carrots and the meat and gravy. Amen.” It was cute and very personalized. However one day there was nothing on his plate. As usual he began, “Thank you God….” Then he looked at his plate and saw there was nothing there. He never batted an eye and said, “Thank you God for the empty plate.” That was the day it became clear to me that thanksgiving begins with an empty plate, and improves from there.

What really is thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is doing something in gratitude for a gift or a favour received. In the Christian life thanksgiving is the gratitude we give to God for provisions and blessings received. Especially thanksgiving for the gift of forgiveness of sin, through the gift of His life made by Jesus Christ, on the cross. In that sense thanksgiving is the work of a lifetime. The good works we do are not done to gain God’s favour. They are our gratitude for his grace.

Now the biblical writer to the Hebrews says, “Through Jesus…let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:15-16). The name Jesus or the Hebrew Jeshua means savior. Giving thanks to His name means acknowledging with gratitude that the meaning of His name is fulfilled on the cross. That gift of Jesus’ life was once for all it cannot be repeated. What sacrifice can we offer to return thanks? The sacrifice of “praise” and “doing good.”

Christians should offer continual praise and thanks to God by publicly acknowledging that all our blessings come from God. They are not the works of our hands. The giving of public testimony of what God has done for us is not an option but an obligation of gratitude. It is the offering of a thankful heart.

However we cannot stop there; those who are hungry cannot eat the fruits of lips that give thanks to God’s name. Our churches cannot provide help to those in need on the strength of praise to God alone. The writer to the Hebrews clearly says in addition, “Do not neglect doing good and sharing.” In our social situation even Governments are saying, “Let the churches take care of the poor.” More and more people are turning to the churches for help only to find that most churches do not have the means to provide for the need. Surely that is where the sharing of our money and material resources comes in.

Thanksgiving is not the mere celebration of a holiday, but the active participation in the work God calls us to do. Providing for those who are in need should be a large part of that work and is enhanced or restricted only by the measure of the generosity of God’s people. In Port Rowan I would ask that you be generous with food and financial assistance to your Church or to the local food bank for that purpose.

Everything we do should reflect our thankfulness to God. Thanksgiving is a testimony raised among people giving glory to God in an expression of gratitude at work, at home, and at play. Scripture tells us that in everything we should give thanks to God. In that sense it is the work of a lifetime even if it begins with an empty plate.

walking with lepers
2010-10-08 by scarlet Gorton

What are we to take home today?

is the lesson here to be thankful?

is it to accept others who are not like us

is it  to show  mercy to all like Jesus did

is it to pray in one voice?

is it about the miracle of healing

yes – it’s all of the above

it’s like a parable

where we can have many lessons

So the one I personally am taking home today is the one about walking together with lepers.

It probably wasn’t too hard once the 9 Israelites were afflicted with leprosy to walk side by side with the Samaritan leper. Visibly on the outside they were the same. They shared a common disease.

There is a great need for Christians to look at the inside and see what we have in common. We each have hearts that break and souls that yearn and we all suffer and have needs. We all need hope to get us through life. We must get out of our comfort zone and walk with the lepers of today and call out with them for help.

When the 10 called out to Jesus it wasn’t because all 10 knew Him as God. Actually none of them did. And from our text the only one who knew Jesus as Lord afterward was the Samaritan, the foreigner.

So what I see in this story, What I am taking home today is the necessity for us to walk side by side  

Calling out to Jesus together with the lepers and the foreigners of today.

Recognizing that we are all in need of Jesus’ healing.

I am taking home an understanding that we need to walk the border of Galilee and Samaria as we travel to Jerusalem.

I am taking home the idea that we can learn how to respond from the leper and that we need one another.

Who do the lepers represent for you?

Who do you need to walk with today?

The unbeliever?

The homosexual?

The addict?

The mentally ill?

Who does the foreigner represent to you?

Let’s not wait for illness or tragedy to bring us together.

That’s what I’m taking home today.

It is not an easy message but I hope we can all see the need and respond.

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