Sermon: Honoring the Lord

First Petition – “Hallowed be thy name”
Midweek Service of Lent 1

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

In our midweek Lenten series this year we’re going through the Lord’s Prayer. Last week we were encouraged to pray the Lord’s Prayer not only when we gather for worship, but also throughout the week, and even multiple times a day. This week we’re looking at the first petition, “Hallowed be Thy name.”

Have you ever seen someone who you recognized but had no idea what their name was? Have you ever been in that situation and tried to do the nickname thing to get out of it? “Hey buddy!” “My name’s not buddy.” “Sure, it is partner.” When we meet someone for the first time, we introduce ourselves by our names. Why do you think we do that? We tell them our names so that they can get to know us and relate to us. Knowing someone’s name is important for our relationships, isn’t it? If your best friend never knew your name, you’d question how much they truly valued your friendship. “You’re my best friend Susan.” “My name is Debbie.”

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Sermon: Finding Comfort in the Lord’s Advent


In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Our Old Testament lesson is very famous. In the coming weeks, it will be heard throughout the world by large crowds of people. Why? Because this reading was used with stunning effect by George Fredrich Handel as the opening three parts of his famous piece of music, “The Messiah”. I’m sure many here have heard Handel’s Messiah. I had the privilege of hearing it live for the first time ever last Christmas. Blew my socks off! But, what does it mean? How does it point to our Messiah?

First a bit of background information: God had given Israel his Law, “You shall have no other gods.” The Kingdom of Israel hadn’t listened. They worshiped Baal, Asherah and Molech. So, God sent the Assyrians and annihilated them. The same fatal disease also infected the kingdom of Judah and its capital Jerusalem. Like today, Religious pluralism was the predominate view. There was a diversity of religious beliefs which were encouraged to co-exist in Israelite society. Baal, Asherah, and Molech were honoured right alongside the Lord. A few good and faithful kings tried to enact reforms, but only delayed the inevitable. People thought if they offered the Lord half-hearted lip-service in the Temple, that it would be enough. Throw God a bone, offer him a goat, and I can go off and worship Baal. The people refused to listen to the warnings of the prophets. So, Isaiah prophesied a time when God would send Babylonian invaders to strip the temple and take Jerusalem’s people into exile. God’s just judgment for Judah’s unrepentant idolatry.

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Sermon: Abraham Sees the Stars Of Promise

Texts: Genesis 15:1-6; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; Matthew 3:7-11
Midweek Service, for the Second week of Advent.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them,” the Lord God said to Abraham, four thousand years ago. And Abraham looked up and contemplated the stars, more than he could count. And now, four thousand years later, this Advent you and I are invited to look toward heaven and contemplate the stars.

God had called Abraham out of Ur. He promised that he would turn Abraham into a “great nation”. He promised him many descendants. But Abraham was already well into his nineties. He needed to be reminded of the Lord’s guarantee to fulfill that promise. In our text from Genesis, God promises that Abraham will have a son. God speaks his word to Abraham at night, in a vision, and Abraham is fully awake. When people meet up with God, they usually respond in sheer terror. The same is true of Abraham, he is afraid. “Fear not,” God says. Then God immediately proclaims for a second time his promise to Abraham. God is Abraham’s shield or defense in life. God will protect and guide Abraham. He also promises that his “reward will be great.” God means that his descendants will be very great or numerous.

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Sermon: “We Feebly Struggle, They in Glory Shine”

Text: Revelation 7:9-17
First Reading, All Saints Day (Observed), Series A.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.


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Have you ever had a dream or nightmare that felt real? Occasionally, I’ll get a nightmare like that. I’ll have a dream and wake up and have a hard time for a moment or two distinguishing between the dream and the reality. Usually, it’s a bit scary. So, I get up, go grab a drink of water, and within five minutes I’m reminded that it was not real. It was just a dream. The accident didn’t happen, so-and-so is still alive after all, and the monster attacking you was just in your imagination. The clash of dream and reality can at times be powerful. Sometimes it may be hard to tell which is which.

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Sermon: Come to the Feast

Text: Matthew 22:1-14
Gospel reading for Series A, Proper 23.
(This sermon was revised for the one year Lectionary here.)

In the name of Jesus. Amen.


When was the last time you were invited somewhere for dinner? Perhaps it was last weekend when you went to friends’ or relatives for Thanksgiving. What was your table like? Was there a big, carved turkey? Were mashed potatoes and stuffing on the menu? Maybe some cranberry-sauce and some wine? Pumpkin pie for dessert? Perhaps you have been recently invited to a dinner at wedding? Maybe you went to a simple dinner at a friend’s house. Maybe you did the inviting! It seems like every special occasion or any important event involves a good meal. It’s also very much part of how we socialize. We invite people over for dinner, and we get invited over for dinner. Well today’s readings involve a great feast! The greatest feast you’ll ever be invited to!

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Sermon: Unity through the Self-Giving God

Text: Philippians 2:1-18
Epistle Lesson for Series A, Proper 21

In the name of Jesus. Amen.


Dear saints, have you ever been to a play, ballet or stage performance of any kind? Each performer does their bit, and plays their part. Back in St. Catharines, a few years ago they opened up a new performing arts centre. Laurin and I love choirs and classical

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music, so we have had the chance to see the Niagara Chorus and the Niagara Symphony singing and playing Bach, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Egmont Overature, and Brahms German Requiem. It is definitely something else to hear a choir perform live, instead of just in a recording. In any kind of live stage performance, all the individual performers work together in unity and the result is efficiency and beauty.

So that unity is important for a good production. All the performers know right where to be and what to do so that each move, each line, each note sung with precision. It is like watching a new or classic car engine with all its gears and pistons working together in perfect harmony. But, what if one performer is out of step or out of tune? What if one actor suddenly decides his minor character deserves a bigger role? What if the entire Bass or Soprano section decides to start singing a different tune? The beauty of the performance is ruined and chaos ensues. The beauty of the performance can only be seen when everyone involved was working together towards the same object, when they have the same focus.

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