Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: January 2, 2022 – Epiphany Sunday – Matthew 2: 1-23

One of my favourite aspects of the narrative of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany is how, at each turn, we are shown God’s commitment to those who hold neither status or power.  The circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy is outside what genteel society would approve of, and Jesus’ birth happens amidst the livestock. The family that raises Jesus is neither from Jerusalem nor from a priestly family: they are Galileans, from the high country of Nazareth, the household of a builder.  The …

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Sermon: December 19, 2021 – Advent IV-C – Luke 1: 46-55

For nearly two years, we have spent a lot more time apart than together, reading and watching rather than exchanging and interacting.  That being the case, in planning for the 2021 Season of Advent, I looked forward to dealing with scriptures that had real-live embodied characters, rather than more conceptual or theological passages.   I was particularly drawn to the two just-forming nuclear families: Elizabeth and Zechariah and their child-to-be, John; Mary and Joseph and their child-to-be, Jesus. What I didn’t …

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Sermon: December 12, 2021 – Advent 3 – Luke 1: 26-45

The annunciation to Mary, followed by the visitation of Mary and Elizabeth. These are our back-to-back gospel readings from Luke for this third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of JOY. Watch at https://youtu.be/BZBuymsiMec  Download PDF: Sermon_12December2021-Advent3C The second scene, of young Mary and her much older kinswoman Elizabeth, is a scene particularly bathed in joy, yet it is with some trepidation that I attempt to unpack what is going on here; for I am hindered both by cultural practices that …

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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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Stained Glass Holy Family

Sermon: December 6, 2020 – Advent II – Matthew 1: 18-25

As much as the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is held in high esteem, the Bible tells us little about Joseph.   I know way more about the Patriarch Joseph, the one of the technicolour dreamcoat, than I do about this first male influence in the life of Jesus. Watch at https://youtu.be/Eo1ARzyw7i0 Download PDF at Sermon_06December2020-Adv2 On this Sunday of Peace, however, I wish to focus on one thing about Joseph:  he was the one who could have made …

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Sermon: March 29, 2020 – John 11: 1-45 (Lent V)

Two words that emerge from today’s passage from John are presence, and absence. click here for a PDF of this Sermon When my Mom was growing up, her Sunday School teacher liked to have Bible “memory verse” quizzes.  When the teacher quoted chapter and verse, Mom said she struggled a bit, but when the students were able to name the chapter and verse themselves and then recite it, Mom had a go-to verse that was a sure winner, and it …

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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 …

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Bow River and 3 Sisters GW

Sermon: December 15, 2019 – Luke 1:46-55 – Advent III

The third Sunday of Advent is typically the Sunday of Mary, mother of Jesus.  It is also, in this year’s Advent exploration of the classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, chosen to be the Sunday of Water.  These two, Mary and Water, do not come together by accident. click here for PDF Water plays such a key role in scripture: the first words of the Bible, the beginning of the first chapter of Genesis, are “When God began …

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