Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: September 22, 2019 – Psalm 113

My Mom grew up on a farm near the town of Bruce Mines, Ontario, home of the first hard-rock copper mine in Canada, predating confederation by 20 years.  When the mines were open, which was sporadic at best, they contributed much to the local economy, but they also contributed the dreaded respiratory diseases, silicosis and black lung, to the men who mined there.  Most of the local men, then, knew two things: (1) they’d better have access to some farm …

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Sermon: September 15, 2019 – Luke 15: 1-10

The experience of lost-ness is one that resonates at so many levels in so many lives. Most of us can recall a hike that didn’t quite have the landmarks you’d expected, or missing your exit then getting turned around in an unfamiliar city. I hear stories from adults about their earliest or most striking memories from childhood, and becoming separated from their parents in a store or separated from friends exploring the woods, is a really common early memory, along …

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Sermon: September 8, 2019 – Jeremiah 18: 1-11

A potter, working at a wheel.  What a timeless, cross-cultural image that is.  The oldest known pottery, found in China, is 20,000 years old, and by 6,000 years ago or perhaps even 8,000, there is evidence of potters’ wheels in Mesopotamia. The recollection by Jeremiah, then, of visiting a potters’ house and seeing a visual metaphor for a hands-on God at work in the world, is one that resonates across the ages.  It certainly does in my life. click here …

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view from Mount of Olives

Sermon: July 28, 2019 – Luke 10: 37-42 (week two)

Today, our gospel reading is the same as last Sunday: the story of Mary and Martha. Mary, the contemplative, got her time last Sunday, through an exploration of the life and words of the English mystic, Julian of Norwich. This week, it’s Martha’s turn, and a different approach. click here for PDF Martha’s story is harder for me, because it strikes close to home and I may not be eager to hear all that Jesus has to say here.  I …

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road from Jerusalem to Jericho

Sermon: July 14, 2019 – Luke 10: 25-37

The gospel of Luke gives us a fine sequence this morning: A teacher of scriptural laws approaches Jesus, and queries him about what one does in order to have eternal life. Jesus engages the man in conversation, turns the question back on him and the lawyer says that the most important commandment in the Torah, is actually two side-by-side: love God, and love your neighbour. Jesus agrees. In response the lawyer asks, “well, who is my neighbour?” How far did …

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Sermon: July 7, 2019 – Luke 10: 1-11, 16-17

One of the things I hear all the time, is people telling me that the place they really meet God, is in nature.   For those of us who choose to live in this amazing, outdoorsy place, and for those who come here on holidays, this makes absolute sense.   The beauty and diversity of these surroundings, from the intricacy of tiny things to the immensity of the mountains, is nothing short of inspirational. click here for a PDF of this sermon …

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Sermon: June 30, 2019 – Matthew 25: 31-40

Is the Kingdom of Heaven more like… An exclusive concert with your favourite musical artist, in a tiny, intimate little setting? Or, A great big event – at a stadium or open field – with that same artist, and a huge audience singing and swaying to tunes you all know by heart? click here for a PDF of this sermon Admittedly, both images are totally non-Biblical and they both have their limitations, especially if you don’t like music.  But in …

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Sermon: Indigenous Peoples Sunday, June 23, 2019 – Isaiah 25: 6-9

I want you to bring to mind the most lavish banquet you can imagine: rich foods prepared just right, tender-crisp vegetables fresh from farm to table, your favourite beverages served with a flair, perfectly ripe fruits and a cascading dessert trolley. (About now my stomach is suggesting that I should have had a bigger breakfast before Church!) That is the image painted for us today in the 25th chapter of Isaiah. click here for PDF of this sermon These words …

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Sermon: Pride Sunday, June 2, 2019 – John 17:20-26

When I was growing up, “proud” was a difficult word, at least in the circle of modesty I grew up in.  It was OK to tell someone you were proud of them,  and we could be proud of our war veterans, in the way we’ve been hearing this past week at the 75th anniversary of D-Day – but in the opinions of my family and my Church, to be “proud” of one’s self was to be a “prideful” person, and …

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Sermon: May 19, 2019 – Revelation 21:1-6 and John 13: 31-35

This morning we have heard two readings, both speaking of something NEW: the new commandment of love that Jesus gives his disciples in the gospel of John, and the vision of a new heaven and a new earth, in the book of Revelation. click here for PDF of this sermon Occasionally in our lives, things emerge that are brand-new.  A new learning or a new opportunity comes out of nowhere and transforms the path we are on, or, conversely,  something …

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