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Showing posts from August, 2009

Proper 22, Year B

Acceptable Worship

Readings: Song of Solomon 2:8-13; Psalm 45:1-2, 7-10; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Adapting to change is a constant theme in life. It is human nature not to appreciate change. Consider the number of jokes about changing. We have all heard many versions of the ‘light bulb’ joke. How many Anglicans does it take to change a light bulb? Anglicans don’t change. It is true that as Anglicans in a liturgical setting we can get upset when something changes in the rituals. The ritual may not even make sense, but we want it to continue. Heaven help the person who tries to make a change!

I know this from personal experience. I could find a few examples from this congregation if I really tried, but it is much safer to look back to a previous congregation which shall remain nameless. When I first arrived in the parish they enlightened me about some of their “rules”. The best one was that the flowers on the altar were not to exceed the height of the arms of the …

Proper 21, Year B

Where Can I Go?

Readings: Readings: 1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

A friend was telling me about a colleague who had left his church in a huff because he felt that the clergy had let him down at a time of great need in his life. He knew that my friend was quite involved in her church and conversation often centered on the Christian faith. She found him to be a caring person, a person of great integrity, and it bothered her that he had left over a bad experience. She found it sad, not only for him, but for his parish. As much as she empathized with him, she was not about to let him off the hook. “It’s no good staying outside and complaining about things,” she told him. The only way to make a difference is to come in and be part of the solution. The church is like a family. Sometimes people let you down, but they never stop being family to you.”

He left his work at the company to begin a new career. She phoned him up to see how thing…

Proper 20, Year B

What Matters?

Readings: 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14; Psalm 111; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58

You are with someone you dearly love. You would like very much to convince him or her to change their behaviour. Maybe you want them to stop a dangerous habit, avoid a quarrel, forgive some bitterness, forget something from the past, or to make a decision about something that keeps being put off. It could be your son or daughter, your mother or your father, your husband or wife, a friend. She is standing there before you. He is sitting right next to you. You talk, you reason, you argue, you speak. There is no response. You might as well be talking to the wall. He just stands there staring at you. She just sits there not showing any sign of real contact. You plead, “If only you could see things the way I see them. If only you could understand what I understand. I wish I could get inside your head and make you see. I wish I could get into your heart and make you feel what I feel. If …

The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 19, Year B

Real Bread

2 Samuel 18:1,5,9-15; Ephesians 4:25-5:2; John 6:35, 41-51

When I was growing up, my mother baked all the bread for our large family. Saturday morning was bread-making day, and I can remember the delicious odours that came from that kitchen. As children, we were not always very appreciative of mother's efforts. When Sunbeam came out with a big advertising campaign, we longed for that over processed white bread. I remember asking mother if we could please have some "real" bread for a change.

Later on, my sister and I became the bakers of the family bread. We baked enough, not only for the family to eat for the week, but enough to sell around the neighbourhood for spending money for ourselves. It did not matter how much bread we baked. We could always sell it. People valued it. They valued its nourishment. Bread became a significant factor in our lives. We got creative in trying new kinds of bread, buns and rolls, and then sweet breads that pe…