Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: June 26, 2022 – Galatians 3: 23-29

When bad news & good news are intertwined, what do we hear? Download PDF:  Sermon_26June2022  Watch: https://youtu.be/nQXKlcqedLI Seventeen years ago, when I was coaching my son’s Little League baseball team, one of his teammates was a really athletic boy who was fairly new to baseball, and whose self-image was, shall we say, “a work in progress”.  As coaches, we were encouraged to help each child develop confidence at a number of different positions, including pitcher if they were so inclined, …

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Sermon: Sunday, June 19, 2022 – Psalms 42 and 43

A good story – whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, an oral tradition that has been kept alive for generations or an off-the-cuff recounting of what happened to you five minutes ago – is one that has a point of contact with the listener/reader.  It may touch on shared experiences that the recipient has also had, or it may just be told in a relatable way. Today’s reading from Psalm 42 and 43 – considered by most Bible scholars to actually …

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Sermon: June 12, 2022 – 1 Kings 17: 8-16

Today’s reading from 1st Kings, the encounter of the prophet Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath, is a story that invites us to see the big picture, and to come right up close as well. At first glance, there’s just the three characters, a crucial need, and a moral to the story.  There’s the prophet Elijah, a widow and her son, and the desperate need for food.  When a perpetual supply of ingredients is provided by God so that there …

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Sermon: May 29, 2022 – Acts 16: 16-34

“The true measure of your character is what you do when nobody’s watching.” First attributed to Charles Caleb Colton nearly 200 years ago, there have been versions of this quote repeated far and wide since then, most notably by legendary UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden, who wanted his players to understand that integrity matters off the court and on the court.   As an aside, I think of a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln, “Don’t believe everything you read on the …

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Sermon: March 6, 2022 – Luke 4: 1-13 – Lent I

As many of you will recall, three years ago – at this time of year – I was on sabbatical.  There are lots of “how to” guides on planning a ministry sabbatical, which I found somewhat helpful about 18 months prior to the time, but once it got closer I needed different, more personal guidance. Melissa Bane Sevier is a Christian Minister, photographer and blogger, whose “contemplative viewfinder” commentary on the Sunday lectionary I have enjoyed for many years.   Just …

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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: 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: 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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