Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: Feb 23, 2020 – Exodus 24: 12-18 – Deuteronomy 34: 1-5 – Matthew 17: 1-8

TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY: The term, “mountaintop experience”, is a great descriptor for those moments in life that are indescribably grand.   After great effort or a long, arduous journey, experiencing the strived-for moment is indeed a “peak” moment.  An academic career culminates in an award, a scholarship established in one’s name, or some other great honour.  A team’s season culminates in winning the championship, or a veteran player finally wins a championship after many seasons.  Nine months of morning sickness and backaches …

Read moreSermon: Feb 23, 2020 – Exodus 24: 12-18 – Deuteronomy 34: 1-5 – Matthew 17: 1-8

Sermon: February 16, 2020 – 1 Corinthians 3: 1-9

Last Sunday night was the annual broadcast of the Academy Awards.  As usual, we tuned in to about half of it and as usual, we’ve seen perhaps two of the films that generated nominees, but that doesn’t lessen our enjoyment of the evening.  It is frustrating that the Academy just can’t bring itself to nominate female directors or non-white actors, which points to bigger issues in the industry and society  around whose stories get told, and by whom, but that …

Read moreSermon: February 16, 2020 – 1 Corinthians 3: 1-9

Sermon: February 9, 2020 – Matthew 5: 13-16

You are the salt of the earth.  You are the light of the world.  There is so much empowerment in today’s reading, the second preaching segment of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This morning, though, it’s the next part of what Jesus said that insisted I keep coming back to them: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets” said Jesus to the crowd, “I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For …

Read moreSermon: February 9, 2020 – Matthew 5: 13-16

Sea of Galilee

Sermon: February 2, 2020 – Matthew 5: 1-12 – the Beatitudes

We all like stories of people who rise from humble beginnings to do great things.  Gordie Howe using rolled up Eaton’s catalogues for shin pads and becoming one of the top three hockey players ever.  Shania Twain, Celine Dion and Oprah Winfrey, rising from poverty and challenging family circumstances to international stardom. Peace by Chocolate, founded by the Hadhad family, Syrian refugees sponsored by a community group in Antigonish, NS.  Jesus Christ, born of a teenage mom and raised in …

Read moreSermon: February 2, 2020 – Matthew 5: 1-12 – the Beatitudes

Sermon – AGM Sunday, January 26, 2020 – Matthew 4: 12-23

Fritz Wendt, a German Lutheran pastor now working in the USA as a trained therapist, offers this assessment of today’s reading from the 4th chapter of Matthew: “[the ministry of Jesus] has begun, and he immediately begins recruiting staff for his work; he breaks into the ordered lives of Simon Peter and his brother Andrew and calls them into service. His simple words hit the mark: ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ click here for PDF …

Read moreSermon – AGM Sunday, January 26, 2020 – Matthew 4: 12-23

Sea of Galilee

Sermon: January 19, 2020 – John 1: 29-42

Two weeks ago, we marked the festival of the Epiphany, based around Matthew’s recollections of the Magi coming to adore the Christ child.  Today, our gospel lesson fast forwards thirty years, and switches authors from Matthew to John, but many of the same story elements remain. Click here for a PDF of this sermon The Magi were well trained in matters of the Spirit.  Either they were Zoroastrian priests or trained in what we would call astronomy and astrology, combining a …

Read moreSermon: January 19, 2020 – John 1: 29-42

Sermon: January 12, 2020 – Acts 10: 34-43

Cozy, predictable circles of care, are a good thing. click here for a PDF of this sermon Our twins developed a circle of best friends when they were in grade 3.  Twenty three years later, that group still stays in regular contact, and when they get together at Christmas when everyone’s back in the city, it’s like they were never apart.  Their shared history and acceptance of one another’s transitions through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood is a beautiful, important …

Read moreSermon: January 12, 2020 – Acts 10: 34-43

Norwich Cathedral

Sermon – Epiphany Sunday, January 5, 2020 – Matthew 2: 1-12

Have you ever been somewhere, but not exactly known why you were there? No, I’m not talking about going into a room to get something then forgetting what it was before getting there, an increasingly familiar experience for me as time marches on.  < Click here for PDF of this sermon > What I’m aiming at here, is feeling compelled to travel somewhere, or enroll in a seminar or workshop, or attend a public event, with only a vague and …

Read moreSermon – Epiphany Sunday, January 5, 2020 – Matthew 2: 1-12

Christmas Eve Messages 2019

Here are PDFs of the 2019 messages from the 5:00 PM all-ages service at the Creekside Community Hall, and the 8:00 PM service of Carols and Lessons at Ralph Connor. ChristmasFamilyService-500PM-2019 or http://ralphconnor.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/ChristmasFamilyService2019.pdf ChristmasEve800PM-2019 or http://ralphconnor.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2019-ChristmasEve8pm.pdf

Sermon: December 22, 2019 – Matthew 1: 18-25 – Advent IV

A word study isn’t generally the snappiest way to begin a sermon, but there’s a word in the story of Joseph that’s worth unpacking, in this Sunday when we look at the “earthy” story of Joseph and Mary and Jesus and God.  It’s the Greek word, Tekton. Click here for PDF In the lands around Lake Galilee, near where Jesus grew up, there’s an abundance of buildings that look just the same: greyish-black brick.  If you didn’t know better, you’d …

Read moreSermon: December 22, 2019 – Matthew 1: 18-25 – Advent IV