Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021 – John 12: 12-16

As our months of pandemic drag on, Palm Sunday is catching me in a way it has not caught me before.  Perhaps it is just because the thought of an in-person parade of any sort makes me cringe, especially envisioning it in the cramped streets of Old Jerusalem…but the newfound impact of Palm Sunday goes far deeper than that. Watch at https://youtu.be/Y-3PTba64kY        Download PDF at Sermon_28March2021_Palm At Palm Sunday, we envision calls of “Hosanna” hailing Jesus as …

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Sermon: March 21, 2021 – Lent V – John 12: 20-33

Legacy. One’s legacy can be a tough thing to ponder.  While a legacy doesn’t necessarily wait until one has died, the word does remind me of my mortality; and the other tricky thing about assessing my legacy is that it’s only partly about what I pass along.  My legacy will rely heavily on how it lives on in the lives of others. Watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg03gUdh4qE  Download PDF at Sermon_21March2021 Now, before going any further I must name that some legacies …

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Sermon: March 7, 2021 – John 2: 13-22 – Lent III

Tables overturned. Coins scattered on the floor.  Animals intended for ritual sacrifice, driven out.  Those responsible for such atrocities, chastised.  This graphic event even has its own special names: the cleansing of the temple, or, overturning the tables of the moneychangers.  In a fine sermon last Sunday, Erin Klassen at Scarboro United Church in Calgary stepped back from some of that language, but clearly stated that whatever the motive and size and symbolism of the incident, it recalls the day …

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Sermon: 28 Feb 2021, Lent II – Mark 8: 31-38

At the end of a particularly testy exchange with his disciple Peter, in which they argued about the path to crucifixion and what it meant to proclaim Jesus as the Christ or Messiah, the gospel of Mark has Jesus say these words (pronouns adjusted):  “If anyone wants to come with me… they must forget self, carry their cross, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their own life will lose it; but whoever loses their life for me and …

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desolate lands

Sermon: Lent I, February 21 2021 – Mark 1: 9-15

Jesus, age thirty-ish, had a new future opened to him.  Baptized by his cousin John, a heavenly voice named and claimed Jesus, and he knew that his life was going to be radically different from then on.   What exactly was this going to look like?  He did not know, but he and God both knew that he needed to find out.  According to the gospel of Mark, the Holy Spirit either led him or propelled him into the barren wilderness …

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Sea of Galilee

Sermon: February 7, 2021 – Mark 2: 1-22

I know a bit about leather.  From years of coaching baseball, the difference between catching a ball in a new, stiff glove, or one that has been well broken-in and used for a few seasons, is like night and day.  The new glove may look pretty but is prone to having easily-caught balls pop out, whereas the weathered veteran glove is soft, supple, fits your hand just right, allows for a secure catch and easy transfer to your throwing hand. …

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Sermon: January 31, 2021 – Mark 1:14-20 and John 1: 35-39

A note of thanks before I begin: one of the great gifts of online worship, is that I get to experience other preachers, which we were rarely able to do when everyone was in their own building at the same time, many of us without an online presence.  Two sermons I have heard recently on the call stories of Jesus to the early disciples have greatly influenced my approach to today’s Bible texts, so I’d like to give a shout-out …

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Epiphany Sunday, January 3, 2021 – Matthew 2: 1-12

Journey with me, 12 months back, to the time that 2019 was ending and 2020 just beginning.  With the teens rolling into the twenties, there were a number of recaps, remembering back to 2010, and the things that had changed over a decade, and many we looked forward to a year of potential clarity, the year 2020 as a time of 20/20 vision.  Admittedly there was awareness of a recently reported, highly infectious form of coronavirus elsewhere in the world, …

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Mary and Elizabeth by Corby Eisbacher, American.

Sermon: December 20, 2020 – Luke 1: 26-45 – Advent IV

One of my favourite things about the Nativity narratives in the gospels, is the special role played by those outside the formal power structures: shepherds were considered uncouth and untrustworthy, yet according to Luke they were the first witnesses to the Christ child; the Magi were scholars, perhaps even nobility, but they not from Judea.  They were from a different land and a different religious tradition, yet according to Matthew were drawn by God to bear homage to the newborn …

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wildflower growing in Judean wilderness

Message for the Sunday of JOY – 13 December 2020

Today is the third Sunday in Advent, the Sunday of JOY. Watch at https://youtu.be/xAmhdJfNHBk  Download PDF at Sermon_13December2020_Adv3 Each year, this Sunday arrives, with its special pink candle signifying a break from the darker hues of pensive blue or penitential purple.  And every year I draw just a bit of a blank for JOY can be a rather distant word for folks like me who have journeyed with depression over many decades.   Words like pleasant, satisfying and enjoyable, I find easy …

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