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  • What kind of a name is that?
    with two humps I think God OK We ll keep both humps And the name Adam Hmmmmm Something with an m in it I think M has two humps God Is this the moose Adam No Too quiet for a moose How about Camel This animal could match my camel hair coat God Good idea But what kind of animal matches your snow shoes White rabbit comes forward Adam Hare This one does Let s call it Snow Shoe Hare God chuckles You re pretty quick Brown rabbit comes forward And this one is pretty quick too Looks a lot like the last one Adam But it s brown Let s call it a brown one a b one a bun a bunny That ll be cute God Bunny it is Oh here s one I almost frog ot It was jumping around the pond in the garden the other day Frog comes forward Adam Well let s call frog so you won t frog et God groans Ugh You are too funny But looks what s coming Your alarm clock Rooster comes forward Adam To rooster So you re the one who rousts me out of bed while you roost on a tree branch How about rouster for you God What kind of name is that Rouster This bird has such a round sound in the morning cock a d oooo dle d oooo Let s call it rooooster instead Adam Now you re picking the names God Sorry I gave you that job Your choice next Elephant comes forward Adam This is a big one Needs a big name A fantastic name God But look at that trunk It s so elastic It can grab anything Adam I know We ll call it elafantastic God Hmmm A bit long for a name don t you think Adam Then how about ele fant God Better Next Dog comes forward Adam pats the dog Let s call it dog After all a dog is man s best friend and you wanted me to have a best friend don t you That s what this is all about Racoon comes in Adam I don t need any help with this one Lord This one makes a racket at night especially when there s a full moon We ll take rack from racket and oon from moon Racoon it is To racoon Could you please keep quiet after 10 Sheep comes forward God Adam I feel a little sheepish about this one Its hair just keeps growing and growing Sheer nonsense I think you re going to have to keep clipping it Sorry for the bother Adam Well then let s call it Sheep for sheepish And I ll try to think of something we can do with all that leftover hair Maybe a hair shirt whenever you get around to thinking up the idea of clothes God Sheep it is Oh listen I don t like what I hear Snake comes

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/348-what-kind-of-a-name-is-that?tmpl=component&print=1&page= (2016-02-13)
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  • Go Back for Seconds!
    sad and desperate and asking the question what is this world coming to We need to turn back in gratitude not just in the spectacular or obvious moments but in the subtle or small moments as well so that blessings multiply and give other people eyes to see blessings in the world rather than just the heartache unrest and pain which are so apparent to us Gratitude and the blessing it brings to others is something that we can go back for seconds of again and again and again and gratitude is something that is a blessing to both ourselves and to others When thankfulness spreads so do blessings and saying thank you can become infectious So how do we begin to cultivate gratitude today We start small Intentionally looking at the every day things that happen to us and for any reason to say thank you These are our appetizers Recognizing the spectacular in the small and simple and looking for any reason to genuinely say Thank you It s as simple as always saying thank you to your waiter or waitress or as simple as thanking someone for just being who they are or saying thank you for a job or chore that is done routinely by the same person It s as simple as writing a quick thank you card Then over time the small and simple give us an appetite for more and we turn around to say Thank you like that one leper did for every blessing we encounter whether it s big or small At first constant thanking might feel belabored stiff and maybe a little awkward at first but soon you won t be able to get enough You will fill yourself with second helpings of gratitude and your life and the lives of others feel full and well Being grateful for every little thing can make a difference in our lives We don t need to be peppy and upbeat about life all the time but cultivating gratitude gives us eyes to see God s blessing all around us Not just in the spectacular moments and not just when things are going well but all the time And when we turn around and give thanks for them we notice even more and are blessed again When we have an amazing meal with family and with friends we feel full and satisfied we feel round and well When we return our gratitude to others we are blessed and become a blessing to others something in that act becomes complete and whole maybe its us maybe it s the other person but a meaningful connection is made As Jesus said to the man who said thank you Your Faith has made you well He had been healed physically but when he went back to say thank you he received another blessing and was made whole When we turn back for seconds like the person did in this story we are made well A first

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/350-go-back-for-seconds?tmpl=component&print=1&page= (2016-02-13)
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  • Ultimate Loyalties
    argue that we ve kept numbers five through ten so we should get credit for that right With no murder or grand theft conviction to blot our records we look like upstanding citizens loyal to our Lord But the Ten Commandments were not set out to provide each of us with a quick criminal record check They actually present a framework for community relationships The you addressed in each commandment is not the individual you Nancy or Darrel or whoever The you addressed is all of us together You who are my people says God together you shall have these priorities to honour me and each other Yet by this point in the Bible only half way through Exodus from the escapades of Abraham Jacob and Joseph to Moses unhappy journey through the wilderness all the commandments have already been broken or twisted in ways that led to heartbreak and harm So God offers the Ten Commandments as a call to repentance to people whose collective history includes failure and unfaithfulness over and over again That s why the commandments themselves include no punishment for failure and unfaithfulness In their simplest form the Commandments offer a daily reminder of our collective need for mercy inviting us to renew our commitment to God s purposes They call all of us back to faithfulness to God and to each other for when our relationships are guided by the mutual honour and respect these teachings embody life will be better for us all That s also why Jesus summed up God s Law in a positive way Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind strength soul and your neighbour as yourself Perhaps these words are easier to remember than all those Thou shalt nots Nevertheless Jesus words are also a strong call to loyalty expressed through relationships which declare where our priorities lie And Jesus kept challenging people to expand their definition of neighbour proposing that God s love included many who d obviously broken some commandment or religious regulation Samaritans tax collectors prostitutes lepers Yet his broader vision of the relationships we re to honour troubled many How could Jesus be so lax toward keeping the Law some argued So they set a trap to catch Jesus with a question that would get him in hot water however he answered Teacher is it lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor or not Say yes and the Pharisees will crow in victory proving Jesus was more loyal to Rome than the Jewish law Say no and the Herodians could report him to the Romans as a rebel and a threat But Jesus turns their trap into a question of ultimate loyalty He asks to see a coin of the realm a coin bearing Caesar s image with words proclaiming the Emperor divine That coin had no place in a faithful pocket Right there commandments one and two had been broken the coin honoured another god in a carved image So

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/351-ultimate-loyalties?tmpl=component&print=1&page= (2016-02-13)
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  • Finding our Genuine Selves
    or offer in that moment I had gone to church before going on this trip and always loved the sense of community I felt while there but this was the first time that I felt like there might be a place in the church just for me and that I had gifts that could be perhaps used in it So I think I can say that from that moment on something had changed within me Knowing what it felt like to be present with someone in a moment of pain like that and experiencing how it feels to take on others pain while with them not that I understood or could identify with what this couple was experiencing but it was powerful and eye opening moment in my life And so it was this experience in Guyana that I carried with me throughout the rest of my undergraduate degree as I began to explore religious study courses as my electives as I continued to work at a Presbyterian Church Camp during the summer months and as I started searching and looking for where my place in the church perhaps was Then as the time came in my fourth and final year to figure out where and what I was going to do next Knox College seemed like the place where I could go to learn more about what I experienced in Guyana and how I could combine what I loved about working in Christian community at Camp with the religious study courses I enjoyed so much throughout my undergrad and I must admit going to Toronto to get some big city living experience was also a draw When I decided to go to Knox I had no idea what I wanted to do exactly but I knew I wanted to be a leader in the church in any capacity I could and this felt like the right and most peaceful step to take next I wanted to feel like I did that day in Guyana all the time like what I was doing with my life was me being genuine and that it could in some way be meaningful in the lives and faith of others But what I m studying at school does not make me special What I want to achieve through ministry in the church is what everyone probably wants to achieve as Christians and members of the church regardless of whether you re in leadership or not Really all I want to do is as Jesus said in John s Gospel today to love one other as he loves us and to be a part of this body of Christ that we heard Paul speak about this morning For me Ministry or the experiences I ve had of it so far happens to be the outlet where I feel completely genuine and honest with myself and with others in doing this That outlet might be different for you I love the image of the body of

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/352-finding-our-genuine-selves?tmpl=component&print=1&page= (2016-02-13)
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  • Larks still bravely singing
    claim will honour God Their brutality troubles me They have no compassion for anyone And given that at least 90 of these extremists were raised in Canada many converting to this brutal mindset I wonder if we have raised a generation on too many computer games simulated battles where death is painless cheap Push a button and a cartoon character explodes no thought given to hearts broken children orphaned futures destroyed In WW1 soldiers like McCrae were shocked by the human cost in lives lost bodies maimed and futures shattered Many who survived the fighting really didn t always to carry the trauma of the trenches with them in body mind and spirit McCrae s poem always makes me mourn in remembrance thinking not of eventual triumph but of the deep deep cost the deep deep loss perhaps best described not by historians but by novelists Listen to this passage from Birdsong a novel about intergenerational soul searching after WW1 A young British woman travels to battlefields in France decades after the war trying to make sense of her family s history looking for her grandfather s story A reading from Birdsong the 1994 novel by Sebastian Faulks pages 210 11 That monument described in the book is real It holds over 72 000 names of British soldiers who went missing in the battles of the Somme who loved and were loved and now lie in fields beyond Flanders If McCrae s words invite us to reflect on what we fight for and on what we re willing to die for they also raise the question of what we will live for given the costliness of battles in foreign lands and now suddenly on our own streets Take up our quarrel with the foe To you with failing hands we throw the torch Be yours to hold it high If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep Though poppies grow in Flanders Fields As much as I love this poem at this point I am challenged by Scripture to consider how I will engage an enemy faithfully Listen Bless those who persecute you bless and do not curse them Live in harmony with one another do not claim to be wiser than you are Do not repay anyone evil for evil but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all If it is possible so far as it depends on you live peaceably with all Beloved never avenge yourselves but leave room for the wrath of God for it is written Vengeance is mine I will repay says the Lord No if your enemies are hungry feed them if they are thirsty give them something to drink Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good Perhaps you heard about the vandalism on the mosque in Cold Lake which happened the night after Cpl Cirillo was killed No one was surprised It was the reaction many feared But what warmed my

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/353-larks-still-bravely-singing?tmpl=component&print=1&page= (2016-02-13)
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  • Jesus Rules!
    judge between sheep and sheep between rams and goats 34 15 17 What makes me squirm even more than Ezekiel is this big picture scene in our Gospel this Last Judgement business where we can t comfortably or faithfully stand uncommitted on the side lines because there s no choice but to be involved This is the last and most crucial test of all This is the Final When Christ returns it will be to judge those he has called and expected to serve himself and others those who will earn the Chief Shepherd s commendation Come you that are blessed by my Father inherit the Kingdom prepared for you They will have lived lives of service that are Christ like And what we have great difficulty accepting is that the least ones the needy ones will enter the Kingdom of heaven will be Jesus new found friends will know and be sure of Jesus presence with them while the goats are left shaking their silly heads unable to comprehend that it was the Lord himself they failed to serve Lord when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not take care of you Matt 25 44 The Canadian Anglican Herbert O Driscoll in commenting on this passage says the difference is not between those who believe and those who do not believe The difference is between those who care and those who do not care The Reign of Christ is the triumph of caring That is the sign that the Kingdom has come God cared so much that he gave his Son to rule You remember Jesus trial before Pilate It s a simple question Jesus are you King Give me a straight answer and we can get this charade this farce of a trial and of justice over and done with neatly and cleanly But Jesus can only answer Yes and No Yes I am a King But no I am not a King in the sense that Caesar is My Kingdom is not of this world and I cannot be explained in the world s terms My reality is above and beyond the world How do we live in the society in which we find ourselves as believers and yet also live under the rule of Jesus as Lord Christians someone has said are obligated by God to obey the political authorities but not to treat them as ultimate authority Our faith in Jesus as Lord simply does not allow us to find deliverance or meaning salvation through any merely human endeavour We are in the words of the title of a book Resident Aliens Jesus is indeed a king he rules but not at all in the sense that Pilate feared not a political threat but a sword less king Think about the privilege which is ours of citizenship in the Kingdom the rule of Christ A pastor describes a woman she

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/359-jesus-rules?tmpl=component&print=1&page= (2016-02-13)
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  • What are we waiting for?
    like this God where the heck have you been or God why don t you just come back to earth now and fix everything so we can be happy and peaceful Waiting can be intensely difficult but in any situation there is something that can suspend us through it Today we lit the candle of hope From as simple a hope that the next three people in front of you at the grocery store don t have many items to as great a hope that God will act in your life in the same way you ve seen God act in your life before Advent symbolizes our own spiritual journey of hope as individuals as a congregation as a whole people of God In the video played for the children this morning we saw all those stories and events that led us to the birth of Jesus Those are stories that collectively we remember Stories where God was active in the lives of God s people They re stories we hear and re tell over and over again The video included symbols of the stories of Creation Adam and Eve Noah s Ark Joseph s coat of many colours Moses David and Goliath Daniel and the Lion s Den Jonah and the whale among others And then if we think about it on an individual level we all have stories from our own life stories that maybe just as we look back on them realize that they affirmed in some way or another God s presence in our lives At Advent we celebrate the fact that God breaks into the world and our lives and continues to do so It is the spirit of advent that we wait not in frustration for what hasn t happened yet but in hopeful expectation On one hand we re celebrating what s happened but on another we re yearning for what hasn t happened In our own lives we yearn for certain things and in the world we see people yearning for what hasn t happened yet Just look at what the outcry has been as a result of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson that has been everywhere in the news this week because of the recent result of the investigation In that outcry there is a yearning not just for justice in that specific event but for justice for a people everywhere There is a yearning in this situation accompanied with a hope that in the midst of all this sadness things could possibly change for the better But as impossible as a situation in our lives might feel and as small as our hope may feel God does amazing work with small beginnings and impossible situations Again if we go back to that video and think about the stories that were painted we recall small beginnings and impossible situations where God acted In Creation where there was nothing in Joseph an immature and arrogant teenager in Moses and his

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/360-what-are-we-waiting-for?tmpl=component&print=1&page= (2016-02-13)
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  • The Surprise
    table Bread She was making bread As she began to knead the dough another idea started to rise in Gabriel s head He could write the message in flour on the table It would have to be brief It was a small table Short and to the point Gabriel thought when suddenly there was a knock at the door Gabriel jumped as Mary walked to the door wiping her hands as she went It was another girl a friend of Mary s no doubt They hugged exchanged greetings and a message was delivered I could do that Gabriel thought Knock at the door like an unexpected visitor and just give her the message But what if she got scared and slammed the door in my face What if someone saw us talking She ll have enough explaining to do when the baby comes She doesn t need to make excuses for some strange visitor Then Gabriel sighed a long deep sigh He was running out of time Perhaps it was the sigh Perhaps it was something else Mary heard For whatever reason she spun around and stopped suddenly Her eyes looked right into Gabriel s He hadn t noticed her eyes before Brown and shining young and alive They should have looked right through him but they didn t They touched him Somehow Mary could see him Somehow she knew he was there Hello Mary he said finally because there was nothing else to say God is with you and wants to do something very special for you Mary didn t say anything But she didn t faint either And that was a great relief to the angel She just stood there shaking ever so slightly and stared at her guest There s no need to be afraid Gabriel assured her although it was hard to know exactly what she was feeling Was she trembling with fear Or was it more like excitement Gabriel couldn t tell And he didn t like that one bit This girl was nothing like what he d expected This girl was a bit of a surprise Look he went on God is very pleased with you So pleased that God wants you to be the mother of a very special child Jesus the Messiah God s rescuer whom everyone has been waiting for all these years Surely this would shock her Gabriel thought And he was ready to catch her if she should fall But all she did was sit herself down to think She played with the hem of her dress then she twisted her hair Say something thought Gabriel Say anything And finally she did I don t understand said Mary How can this happen How can I become someone s mother when I m not yet someone s wife Now this was the last question the angel expected This girl wasn t hysterical or alarmed Her question was plain and practical Gabriel cleared his throat and answered the best he could

    Original URL path: http://stjohnsmedicinehat.ca/worship-and-the-arts/sermons/2014-archive/361-the-surprise?tmpl=component&print=1&page= (2016-02-13)
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