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  • A piece of the action
    d like to give this to the Church Now this couple was facing big challenges The husband was a skilled tradesman who d lost his job when the BC economy took a nosedive He d been unemployed for two years was retraining His wife had multiple sclerosis moved with great difficulty Our church kept a pastoral eye on them and took them gift cards or hampers to help them along When I opened their envelope I found a cheque for 25 I knew they needed every penny so I looked at them puzzled The husband spoke up We sold a family heirloom that chest of drawers near the front door We made 250 This is our tithe I was truly humbled Yes our little church could use that money but so could that little family I learned about fearless generosity that day what it means to give with complete trust in God not worrying about what might happen So who is your model of such trusting generosity And now I have one more question I ve been pondering this week a question related to our theme for the pledge campaign Abundant Joy Can you think of a time when you felt joyful not just happy or content but truly joyful In John s Gospel Jesus uses the example of a woman giving birth After all the painful hours of labour the panting and the pushing and maybe even the cursing once the baby is born and pronounced safe healthy there is joy As Jesus says When her child is born a mother no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world How else could there be a second or third child in any family Fathers and grandparents will have felt that joy too when you saw your cherished little one for the first time A successful birth in the family is an occasion for joy But not having given birth I had to ask myself when I had felt a moment of joy transforming my life And I remembered the day my first book arrived from the publisher a different kind of baby to hold I was jumping up and down I wanted to wave it in the face of all my colleagues And then there was the day we heard Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa We started to dance around the office where I worked The dancing spilled out into the streets of Toronto and soon thousands of people were celebrating joyfully As I reflected on all these rather different occasions for joy I realized that we can t actually make ourselves joyful We don t get up in the morning and flip a switch saying Today I am going to be joyful No I think joy erupts in our lives when we share in a piece of something amazing a piece of God s action bringing goodness into the world Giving birth is not only

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/303-a-piece-of-the-action (2016-02-13)
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  • As precious as a drop of water
    we won t see that drop again for months maybe for centuries as it travels through the air and ground as a rain drop or a drop of the river if gets frozen into a glacier or swims in the ocean Think about everything we do with water we use water to drink to bath wash clothes or cars swim ski Today let s remember how precious every drop of water we use is In baptism we use just a few drops of water to touch us with God s love but every drop is precious and important just like you are So now remembering that drop of water on your finger let s listen to a story about Jesus and water found in the Gospel of John 13 1 20 We celebrate Baptism in Jesus name When someone is baptized God tells us how much God loves us God loves us so much that God sent Jesus to live a life like ours to show us what loves looks like in a life like ours When someone is baptized the water on their heads tells us God will wash away anything that goes wrong in our lives if we keep trying to follow Jesus The water seals God s love for us like a kiss when we re hurt to promise us things will get better because God s love will never let us go When someone is baptized we remember how important it is to be God s servants like Jesus was just like Jesus said in the story we heard When we re baptized we promise to live as God s servants and put God s love into our lives every day like Jesus did You can be baptized at any age young or old whenever you want to receive God s love to help you grow in love First there are some questions for us to answer so we can make our promises to God out loud where the world can hear us To those who are to be baptized Do you love our Lord Jesus as your friend and saviour A I do Do you want to be his friend and follower showing his love in your life and serving him day by day A I do Will you be a faithful member of our Church sharing in worship and work as best you can growing in faith wherever God s Spirit leads you A I will Amen To the family of those to be baptized Will you help your family keep their promises and grow in faith together blessed by God s Spirit A We will Amen To the members of St John s We are a family of God s people called to care for each other and serve with each other in Jesus name Will you walk with the Stewart family day by day and year by year so we all grow in faith together blessed by God s Spirit A We

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/306-as-precious-as-a-drop-of-water (2016-02-13)
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  • Red Carpet Treatment
    town It s as if a Hollywood star chose a used Volkswagen to pull up at the Oscars There s no prestige in a donkey Even the disciples are puzzled Jesus has given away his big moment Where s the glory Where s the photo opportunity now The crowd is still intrigued by Jesus wonders but on Palm Sunday there comes a moment when the Wow factor begins to fade Of course the Wow factor on every red carpet doesn t last forever I missed the telecast of the Oscars this year and when I checked the Monday news for the winners the knives were already out There were scathing reviews of some stars gowns and lots of commentary on who said what and how could they say that If we get swept up by celebrity in our red carpet moments it seems we can t wait to sweep a few celebrities under that carpet the very next day Like all the hype around Justin Bieber this year s Junos Did this troubled young star deserve an award Would he show up Would we want him if he did Star power can fade These days red carpet treatment includes the right to criticize sarcastic comments and day after reviews which deny we were ever excited by the parade of stars passing our way We shouldn t be surprised then when those Palm Sunday hosannas for Jesus die out before the week is done Indeed it is what Jesus expects In fact it s what Jesus wants us to realize His glory is not a factor of star power and rave reviews in the popular press His glory overturns what the world considers glory Glory is not your name up in lights or a glittering statue in your hand Glory is found in giving yourself away to serve God s purposes in the world no matter the cost Jesus chooses the image of a seed to make his point A seed is full of potential of new life nourishment and beauty Yet to produce that new life the seed has to die The seed gives its all to let the plant break through ground sending roots deep so fruit can blossom The seed has completely disappeared when its gift is ready to be savoured But in a generation attracted to the selfie those pictures of ourselves we snap for Facebook tweets giving yourself away is not our image of celebrity or glory We recall stars from many generations who gave themselves away to early tragic death Marilyn Munroe Elvis Presley Kurt Kobain Cory Monteith Their glory will always be haunted by their tragic end The world does not deal well with fallen stars And yet Jesus is willing to become a fallen star in order to show us that God s way is not the way of the red carpet God s way is the path of service serving each other not ourselves serving those others who sometimes get in our

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/307-red-carpet-treatment (2016-02-13)
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  • When it was yet dark
    to save I love the Easter story from John set in that time of day the mist of the Easter Morning when it was still dark This is such a simple setting no bright shining lights no sounds of triumphal glory but if you imagine yourself in that time of day having just experienced what Mary had the day before when Jesus was crucified you can sense just how eerie and mysterious and sacredthat morning would have felt It was morning but it was still dark out Light would have seemed very far away It would only just be bringing a dawning realization that everything which took place yesterday had in fact happened Think about that time of morning and picture Mary coming to the tomb the night is almost over the morning almost there but the pain from the previous day still lingers As Mary comes to the tomb she inhales but there is no scent of death and dying she sees that the great stone is rolled away The soldiers are gone As she focuses on the empty tomb she cannot believe what has happened Who could do this She weeps as she asks questions her questions wondering what possibly could have happened Mary came to the tomb that morning still remembering those ways that Jesus touched her life holding close what he did When she comes and sees that the tomb is empty she asks Where was the teacher who taught that even women like me were fit to save This is what Jesus had meant to Mary when he was alive what he said what he did how she encountered him these were the things that had changed her As she focuses on her questions and on the empty tomb in front of her she hears the voice of whom she assumes is the Gardener He speaks Woman tell me why your weeping Why on a morn so fresh and fair Mary says I came to pray for my Lord but look the grave has been robbed and his tomb lies bare Can t you tell me where he s been taken I ll do anything you say Where was the man who had called me Mary when all of the others had turned away Then he spoke to Magdelena Mary and she heard her name so soft and low Then she knew he had died to teach her what there was no other way to know Right after Mary asks where was the man who had called me Mary she hears a gentle voice It isn t until that moment she knows what has happened The questions of the morning are gone the mystery that made her weep is now the mystery that gives her hope All this is that moment when Jesus calls her by name She didn t recognize his voice before when he asked her why she was weeping but when she hears her name she knows Now put yourself back into

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  • 2014 Sermon Archive
    5 10 15 20 25 30 50 100 All 16 Grasping Resurrection April 27 2014 Nancy Cocks 17 Share and share alike May 12 2014 Nancy Cocks 18 There is a place May 18 2014 Nancy Cocks 19 The Man on Mars May 25 2014 Nancy Cocks 20 You just had to be there June 8 2014 Nancy Cocks 21 Running Side by Side June 24 2014 Nancy Cocks 22

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive?start=15 (2016-02-13)
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  • 2014 Sermon Archive
    Contacts 2014 Sermon Archive Title Filter Display 5 10 15 20 25 30 50 100 All 31 Face to Face September 8 2014 Nancy Cocks 32 Risking Mercy September 14 2014 Nancy Cocks 33 Neither Half Full nor Half Empty September 21 2014 Nancy Cocks 34 Conversation and all that Jazz September 28 2014 Nancy Cocks 35 What kind of a name is that October 5 2014 Nancy Cocks 36

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive?start=30 (2016-02-13)
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  • God gets through to us
    arrive at their conclusions and destination They benefited greatly from hearing the prophetic Scriptures of the Jewish tradition not only the likes of our Isaiah lesson today Isaiah 60 1 6 but for example from the prophet Micah 5 2 5 But you O Bethlehem of Ephrathah who are one of the little clans of Judah from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel whose origin is from of old from ancient days Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God And they shall live secure for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth and he shall be the one of peace They followed the star of Scripture and came to the place of encountering and knowing the God of the Scriptures They came under the influence of Christ as Light of the world the One whom even those not Jewish not of the House of David were called to place faith in Much later Paul reminds us the mystery of Christ was made known by revelation the Gentiles have become fellow heirs members of the same body and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel Ephesians 3 6 And the rest is history The Wise Ones headed down to the little town of Bethlehem home of King David the little town that the prophet Micah had said would one day have a significance far beyond its size And after they had laid their gifts before the manger they were warned by an angel not to go back to Jerusalem and King Herod For Herod with all his smiles and welcoming hospitality was really terribly threatened and frightened by all this fuss and talk of another King The Wise Ones had the good sense to go home by another way having established their reputation forever as representative universal followers of Jesus In the early 1800 s John Howard Payne wrote Be it ever so humble there s no place like home Bethlehem Mary and Joseph s place of residence filled the bill for being humble The magi nearly missed meeting God by about nine miles for that s about the distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem It s doubtful if Herod ever made it out to Bethlehem he was too busy in the centre of his universe Jerusalem Compared to Rome the real centre in that day even Jerusalem wasn t that much to send postcards home about When it comes to calculating and understanding the promises and the presence of God most of us are out by at least nine miles for many it s even further Following the star and finding Christ was like a home coming for

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2013-archive/219-god-gets-through-to-us (2016-02-13)
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  • Our "Confirmation Hearing"
    Then the scene shifts Apparently many people did take on the challenge Many people stepped up to John s call to righteous living and stepped into the cleansing water of baptismal commitment Jesus was one of them He joined them and us in shouldering a deep commitment to live out God s expectations And then we witness Jesus confirmation hearing But there s no fiery judgment to burn off any lingering doubt No question about his friends or his politics The heavens open and the Spirit descends like a dove an emblem of gentleness faithfulness and sacrifice The confirmation of Jesus purpose in God s vision is given in love not judgment You are my Son my Beloved With you I am delighted Gone is the stern urgency in John the Baptist s words Instead we hear God s voice filled with hopeful love desire The change in tone between these two scenes opens up the question for us to consider Which voice compels us to confirm our commitment to God s purposes the demanding urgency in John s preaching or the welcoming delight in God s blessing of Jesus If we are to put on Christ will we walk carefully trying to toe the line on righteousness or will we walk confidently trusting God s blessing on our lives Now there is a sense in which we must face both callings the demand to share ourselves with our neighbours for the sake of justice and generosity and the delight to serve God and please God with whatever we can do day each day as gracious instruments of God s Spirit But which voice motivates you to offer yourself to God the demand or the delight Which one inspires you to confirm God s purposes for your life I ask myself this question quite often Should we demand more of each other in our commitment to Christ expecting a depth of devotion that is exemplary and speaks of our passion to follow Jesus Or should we be gentler with each other inviting response and participation by igniting a sense of the delight we share in Christian friendship Probably each one of us responds a bit differently to high expectations and warm invitations Sometimes we resent demanding expectations when we feel they re set arbitrarily and push us beyond our current opinions or convenience Yet we know from other areas of life that having high expectations of ourselves can inspire growth and achievement When we push ourselves beyond familiar territory we often surprise ourselves achieve things we never dreamed possible A warm invitation on the other hand is meant to encourage us to trust our value to the whole community and not second guess our ability to contribute something to God s vision The sense that God takes delight in us ought to inspire us to offer what we can Yet it ought not to make us feel self satisfied that we have already done our bit and that God should

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2013-archive/220-our-qconfirmation-hearingq (2016-02-13)
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