Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: September 15, 2019 – Luke 15: 1-10

The experience of lost-ness is one that resonates at so many levels in so many lives. Most of us can recall a hike that didn’t quite have the landmarks you’d expected, or missing your exit then getting turned around in an unfamiliar city. I hear stories from adults about their earliest or most striking memories from childhood, and becoming separated from their parents in a store or separated from friends exploring the woods, is a really common early memory, along …

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Sermon: September 8, 2019 – Jeremiah 18: 1-11

A potter, working at a wheel.  What a timeless, cross-cultural image that is.  The oldest known pottery, found in China, is 20,000 years old, and by 6,000 years ago or perhaps even 8,000, there is evidence of potters’ wheels in Mesopotamia. The recollection by Jeremiah, then, of visiting a potters’ house and seeing a visual metaphor for a hands-on God at work in the world, is one that resonates across the ages.  It certainly does in my life. click here …

Read moreSermon: September 8, 2019 – Jeremiah 18: 1-11

Sermon: September 1, 2019 – Hebrews 13: 1-7

Our scripture reading this morning comes to us from the final chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews. Hebrews is one of those books that I have chosen to preach from almost never in nearly 4 decades of preaching.  If asked, “tell me what you know about Hebrews” the answer would be, “the great cloud of witnesses” referenced in chapter 12 (starting v.1), a great scripture reminding us of our connectedness with those who have preceded us in faith.  If …

Read moreSermon: September 1, 2019 – Hebrews 13: 1-7

view from Mount of Olives

Sermon: July 28, 2019 – Luke 10: 37-42 (week two)

Today, our gospel reading is the same as last Sunday: the story of Mary and Martha. Mary, the contemplative, got her time last Sunday, through an exploration of the life and words of the English mystic, Julian of Norwich. This week, it’s Martha’s turn, and a different approach. click here for PDF Martha’s story is harder for me, because it strikes close to home and I may not be eager to hear all that Jesus has to say here.  I …

Read moreSermon: July 28, 2019 – Luke 10: 37-42 (week two)

Sermon: July 21, 2019 – Luke 10: 38-42, week one

My initial thought, knowing that this Sunday’s reading was the story of Mary and Martha and their differing relationships with Jesus, was to compare and contrast the gifts each of them brought to discipleship, in one sermon.  But as the week moved along I realized this was going to take two Sundays, not just one.  So today, honouring the tradition of Mary, the more mystical or contemplative of the sisters at Bethany, I’m going to share the work of one …

Read moreSermon: July 21, 2019 – Luke 10: 38-42, week one

road from Jerusalem to Jericho

Sermon: July 14, 2019 – Luke 10: 25-37

The gospel of Luke gives us a fine sequence this morning: A teacher of scriptural laws approaches Jesus, and queries him about what one does in order to have eternal life. Jesus engages the man in conversation, turns the question back on him and the lawyer says that the most important commandment in the Torah, is actually two side-by-side: love God, and love your neighbour. Jesus agrees. In response the lawyer asks, “well, who is my neighbour?” How far did …

Read moreSermon: July 14, 2019 – Luke 10: 25-37

Sermon: July 7, 2019 – Luke 10: 1-11, 16-17

One of the things I hear all the time, is people telling me that the place they really meet God, is in nature.   For those of us who choose to live in this amazing, outdoorsy place, and for those who come here on holidays, this makes absolute sense.   The beauty and diversity of these surroundings, from the intricacy of tiny things to the immensity of the mountains, is nothing short of inspirational. click here for a PDF of this sermon …

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Sermon: June 30, 2019 – Matthew 25: 31-40

Is the Kingdom of Heaven more like… An exclusive concert with your favourite musical artist, in a tiny, intimate little setting? Or, A great big event – at a stadium or open field – with that same artist, and a huge audience singing and swaying to tunes you all know by heart? click here for a PDF of this sermon Admittedly, both images are totally non-Biblical and they both have their limitations, especially if you don’t like music.  But in …

Read moreSermon: June 30, 2019 – Matthew 25: 31-40

Sermon: Indigenous Peoples Sunday, June 23, 2019 – Isaiah 25: 6-9

I want you to bring to mind the most lavish banquet you can imagine: rich foods prepared just right, tender-crisp vegetables fresh from farm to table, your favourite beverages served with a flair, perfectly ripe fruits and a cascading dessert trolley. (About now my stomach is suggesting that I should have had a bigger breakfast before Church!) That is the image painted for us today in the 25th chapter of Isaiah. click here for PDF of this sermon These words …

Read moreSermon: Indigenous Peoples Sunday, June 23, 2019 – Isaiah 25: 6-9

Sermon: June 16, 2019 – Acts 17: 16-21

Bible teacher Kenneth Osbeck wrote in 1990 that Jesus Loves me was “without doubt the song that has been sung more by children than any other hymn…and is still one of the first hymns taught to new converts in other lands.” click here for PDF As a child of the 1960s, I can attest to that popularity in my growing-up years.  So I had a look at the old 1930 United Church Hymnary to check the lyrics that I would …

Read moreSermon: June 16, 2019 – Acts 17: 16-21