Thursday, November 08, 2007

Funerals and Flat tires

The message that I left for my wife had only a little sarcasm in it as I called from the coop gas station to thank her for leaving me a flat tire on the car. In a cliche sort of way I was late for a funeral and was happy to dispay my mechanical prowess in removing the tire and applying the spare in under 5 min. (while wearing a clergy coller no less and trying not to get dirty). Thank God for old cars with full size spares. The big challenge will now be to remember to actually get that other tire fixed before the next flat. All was well, and I was able to deliver this sermon;

John 11:17-26 - 17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ 23Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ 24Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ 25Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’
Let us pray:
Lord God, give us faith and trust to hear your calling to relationship now, and to the resurrection of ever lasting life. A calling to not fear, for you have redeemed us - you have called us by name - and we are yours - Give us faith and trust to know that we will be reunited with our loved ones. Help us to hear and believe this because you are the Holy one - our saviour. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Promises and callings.

In the Isaiah verse we read today, we hear the prophet Isaiah bringing Words of comfort and relief to the troubled people of Israel. The nation of Israel had been conquered - the people taken off in slavery - and God, and the voice of God had not been heard in a long long time. Doubt has taken root -

Perhaps God doesn’t have the power to save us? Perhaps God doesn’t want to use the power save us?

And now the voice of Isaiah the prophet rings out. Despite all appearances to the opposite, God is a powerful God, and God is moving to rescue them from their distress. God is sending a strong message to the people - I am your God - I will not leave you.

They were a people that were living in doubt - they were a people living in oppression and fear with the shadow of death hanging over top of them. And now finally, after such a long season of death and pain, they were again hearing the call of God, a call to return to relationship with God, to return to the joy of living.
They have a calling on their lives - to believe that God does have the power to rescue them - and further, God has the will to do it - God has put a calling on their lives - a call to be in relationship and show the world just what a nation could be.


For us,---Today, is a day where we are gathered in mourning and thanksgiving. Gathered here, I encourage you to express your sorrow, your pain, and mixed in with all that, share your thanks and joy for the life Sylvia lived. For today is a day of morning our loss, but we do not mourn without hope.

Jesus said in today’s gospel verse “Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

And here we join the people in Isaiah’s story --- there is a lot of pain in life right now - and there are many questions that need to be answered - so I think we DO want to believe ... but doubt remains. Could this new life be true? Does God have the will to make it happen?

Today is a day where questions like “Why death?” “Why Cancer?” “Why does it have to be this way?” bounce around in our heads. So when Jesus asks “Do you believe this?” it is a very loaded question that we cannot simply answer.

In the midst of these difficult questions, I encourage you to remember the life of Sylvia. From that little girl who became the church organist in that small Manitoba congregation at the age of 6, to the hard working - cancer ridden person that lived a life in relationship to God and her community. In her life of ups and downs, the voice of God was clear and not so clear at times. Life was good and not so good at times.

Some of the big questions cannot be answered - but we can look to what God has done, and is doing - let us listen to what God is calling out.

We gather to grieve and mourn the death of Sylvia, we also celebrate and give thanks for her life, and give thanks for all the love and care that she gave to family and friends, for the ways in which she touched lives and for the ways that she will be remembered.

And We can also give thanks to God for the promise that we are never alone. We give thanks that God too knows our grief and sorrow in loosing a loved one. We give thanks that God cares for our loved ones that have died and that to whom God has promised, both them and us, New Life.

A New Life where our doubt and difficult questions will turn into joyous clarity and restored relationships, where loved ones shall be reunited and where we can live in joy, peace and celebration.

We give thanks that no matter what, God loves and cares for us and that death is not the end of our living. And finally we give thanks that with God those of us who must keep on living, when a loved one has died, will know that we are not alone and that soon… the light of God’s promise’s will again be clear and the doubt will be washed away. Death and doubt do not have the final word today. It is God who gives us faith to believe - faith to trust that he can give us - and has the to will be with us - in life everlasting. Amen.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Eucharistic Theology Quiz

Eucharistic theology
created with
You scored as Luther

You are Martin Luther. You'll stick with the words of Scripture, and defend this with earthy expressions. You believe this is a necessary consequence of an orthodox Christology. You believe that the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Christ, but aren't too sure about where he goes after the meal, and so you don't accept reservation of the Blessed Sacrament or Eucharistic devotions.