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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desolate lands

Sermon: December 5, 2021 – Advent II – Luke 3: 2-18

Watch at https://youtu.be/aPOvM021kKw Pause a while with me, in the presence of a sacred moment between parent and child, as we hear the final verses of the “Song of Zechariah” from the first chapter of Luke, which we heard last Sunday: “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their …

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Sermon: November 14, 2021 – 1 Samuel 3: 1-10

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.  (1 Samuel 3: 9, 10) There are many “call stories” in the Bible, and the one we heard today is ready for the stage. The characters in this scene are an aging priest named Eli, his young charge Samuel, and off stage, a voice which the audience understands to be the voice of God, though not immediately understood as such by young Samuel.  From previous scenes and scenes yet to come we 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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Sunday Message: October 24, 2021 – Hope and Resilience – Romans 5: 1-5

What to say about hope and resilience? Well, first of all, I voice a big thank-you to Sandy McCaig, for outlining repeated instances in her life and the life of her family, when hope was elusive – and then hope was found again, and hope found a partner named resilience. I trust that Sandy’s exploration of her experience with hope and resilience might be an encouragement for us to set aside some time to recall how these qualities have worked …

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Sermon: Thanksgiving Sunday, October 10, 2021 – Mark 10: 17-27

At Thanksgiving, we acknowledge that God is the source of life, the earth and all living beings. At Thanksgiving, we open ourselves to others with God’s own generosity. It may seem strange to have the gospel lesson about Jesus and a rich man seeking eternal life as our Thanksgiving scripture reading.  If truth be told, it’s the gospel reading for the Sunday between October 9th and October 15th , not specifically designated as a “Thanksgiving” reading at all; but to …

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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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