Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: September 19, 2021 – Mark 9: 30-37

Today’s gospel reading from the 9th chapter of Mark has three parts to it: Jesus delivers troubling news about his death, which his disciples fail to understand; those same disciples quarrel and jostle for position; and Jesus brings a child into their midst, to illustrate just how different his new conception of power is from their tired old views. View at https://youtu.be/escx5Jmmfso      Download PDF: Sermon_19September2021 Let’s look at these three portions, with an intention to experience the wisdom …

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Sermon: September 12, 2021 – Psalm 19

Figuring out one’s priorities is no easy feat. Do I focus on my own needs, the needs of those closest to me, the needs of communities that I am part of, or the needs of all living beings and the planet itself?  With so many needs, how do I best align my choices with God’s hopes – especially at a time when many of us feel that our capacity is at a low ebb? Watch at https://youtu.be/4j35tkU9vAI   Download PDF:  Sermon_12September2021 …

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Sermon: August 29, 2021 – James 1: 17-27

The book of James is one of those books you probably know a couple of quotes from, even if you couldn’t specifically place them.  James 2:20 says that “Faith without works is dead” and in today’s reading, James 1:22, working the same angle, urges the reader/listener to “Be Doers of the Word, and not Hearers only.” Watch at https://youtu.be/C6Pa_0VBiK8  Download PDF at Sermon_29August2021 Even for those who aren’t overtly religious, these quotes ring true.  The things that we say are …

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Sea of Galilee

Sermon: August 22, 2021 – John 6: 57-69

The focus scripture for today is John 6:67-68.  In these verses Jesus, watching many people walk away and choose other paths, asks the inner circle of twelve disciples if they, too were planning to leave, and Peter answered with these words: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Watch at https://youtu.be/Gs0fpaPRpyk     Download PDF: Sermon_22August2021 The words of eternal life. Clearly, in my occupation I like words.  Having the opportunity to preach each Sunday …

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Outdoor Worship – Message – August 15, 2021

When Dave [Somerville, today’s pianist] and I were meeting to determine the music for today’s outdoor service, we searched for a theme that would fit the occasion.  Before long, one word emerged and the word is PRAISE. NOTE: to underline this theme, the following Psalms of Praise were used throughout the service: 34: 1-9; 89: 5-6, 14-18; 95:1-7; 100; 103: 1-6; 111: 1-5. Download PDF at Sermon_15August2021  Watch at https://youtu.be/rJ-ztPp1EsY For us humans, praise is a complicated thing.  A child …

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Sermon: August 8, 2021 John 6: 35, 41-51

“I am the bread of life” says Jesus. “Whoever comes to me shall neither hunger nor thirst”  And the crowd says, “yes, Lord Jesus, fill us with your love.” Oh, that’s not how it goes?  I’m sure that’s what they would have said. Well how about, “I am the bread of life” says Jesus. “Whoever comes to me shall neither hunger nor thirst”  And the crowd says, “yes, Jesus, give us this sustenance, that we might share it with others.” …

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Sermon: August 1, 2021 – 2 Samuel 11

For decades, I have been both impressed and troubled by the way the Bible approaches the story and legacy of King David. Watch at https://youtu.be/CUA-kadR1DY   Download PDF: Sermon_01August2021 We will all, I think, be familiar with David, the slingshot boy, the harpist and Psalmist, the military tactician.  But that is far from the full story. As described by Jonathan Kirsch, “David, as depicted in the Hebrew Bible is, above all, a man of profound contradictions. He is described as “a …

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Sermon: June 27, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 8: 7-15

As I approach this reading from 2nd Corinthians, chapter 8, it strikes me that the ministry of the Apostle Paul has similarities to the online ministry that we and many Churches have exerted during these past fifteen months. In his own day and in his own way, rather than being entirely reliant on in-person gatherings, Paul’s ministry utilized the technologies available to him. Watch at https://youtu.be/uPbQkjcadEw    download PDF: Sermon_27June2021 Any of us who had Bibles with colour plates, can …

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Sermon: June 13, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 5: 6-17

Occasionally, a Sunday Scripture from the Lectionary will sort of stand there, defiantly, as if to dare the preacher to say something about it. And occasionally I will look back at it with my shoulders in full shrug and reply, “like what?” This week’s reading from Paul’s second letter to the Church at Corinth was like that – talking about faith and courage, life in the body vs. eternal life, seeking God’s favour without becoming boastful, and the newness of …

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Orange Shirt Day

Sermon: June 6, 2021 – Acts 15: 7-19

I am writing this sermon four days after hearing of the discovery at the Kamloops Residential School.  At this moment, I carry within me silent, sorrowful, helpless, culpable emptiness, and am seeking the words God wants to enter that silence. Watch at: https://youtu.be/EpDvYajNs5U    PDF download at Sermon_06June2021 So I humbly ask God, “where are you in this?”  For even if I could find no words at all, I know that God is not absent from this scene. We know …

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