Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: January 9, 2022 – Isaiah 43: 1-7

I have to admit that politically, emotionally and theologically the past two years have been a grind.  With COVID setting the context, we have watched as the inequalities of our world have presented themselves, one at a time and all at once.  The shocking murders in the United States of people of colour, Residential School burial site discoveries here in Canada, the embarrassing inequality of global vaccine distribution, and the political divisiveness in this province and around the world, have …

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Sermon: Remembrance Sunday, November 7, 2021 – Revelation 21: 1-6a

Few books in the Bible are as polarizing as the Book of Revelation. It’s the book of the antichrist, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the number 666, For some, its apocalyptic narrative provides a clear roadmap of the end times, each symbol and event aligned with doomsday. For others, Revelation is easily side-stepped and ignored because of its weirdness. At times, I must admit, I fall into this category. In these days, particularly in the northern hemisphere, the Church …

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Sermon: October 31, 2021 – Mark 12: 28-34

“Which commandment is the most important of all?”[asked the Scribe]. 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDEDiqesmEI   Download PDF at  Sermon_31October2021 According to both Matthew and Mark, this …

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Sermon: October 3, 2021 – Ephesians 2: 13-22

Such dividedness. Insiders and outsiders.  Ethnic and Religious splits. Positions strongly held, to the point of erecting walls of hostility between one another. Differences, even, in what is considered authoritative and true. Watch at https://youtu.be/C9XfrJ_u-7o     Download PDF here: Sermon_03October2021 No, I’m not talking about Alberta or Canada or the US in the year 2021, though I clearly could be.  This paragraph describes the situation addressed by the second chapter of Ephesians. Traditionally considered a letter of the apostle Paul, …

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creation time stole

Sermon: Every Child Matters Sunday – Sept 26, 2021 – Matt. 3: 13-17

Jesus was not the first person to be baptized.  And John the Baptist was not the first person to perform this sacred ritual.  But at the baptism of Jesus, some important things happened. Download PDF here: Sermon_26Sept2021 Jesus was roughly thirty years old when he came to the River Jordan, so he came with much experience.  Whether that was the experience of being a carpenter or stonemason like his father Joseph, or if he had already engaged in formal study …

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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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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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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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the Cenacle in Jerusalem

Sermon: Pentecost Sunday, May 23 2021 – Acts 2: 1-21

Today we remember the first Christian Pentecost, an event that happened in Jerusalem.  At the time of this recording, a truce has been declared in Gaza and East Jerusalem, and we pause for a moment to pray for peace in that place. Watch at https://youtu.be/qJn5iQlYaT8     Download PDF:Sermon_23May2021_Pentecost I am an unabashed fan of Pentecost, to the point of saying this:  if the festival of Pentecost did not already exist, I think someone would need to invent it.  For when …

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three Sunday Messages, May 2, 2021 – John 15: 1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener (v 1)” says Jesus to his gathered disciples in his farewell address to them, in the 15th chapter of John.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit (v 5); No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me”. (v 4) …

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