Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

desolate lands

Sermon: July 10, 2022 – Luke 10: 25-37

Just out of curiosity, I asked Professor Google a question this week: “which are the most popular parables of Jesus?” A review of a half dozen totally non-scientific articles shows that two parables seem to make everyone’s top five list: the parable of The Prodigal Son, and today’s gospel reading, the parable of The Good Samaritan. And no wonder. If we take it as presented in the gospel of Luke, it is a towering story of unexpected and even unreasonable …

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Sermon: May 15, 2022 – John 21: 12-19

Just before I start, I want to set the stage a bit.  Today’s sermon is not set in a general “somewhere”; this one is situated in a particular place.  So imagine with me the risen Christ, and some of his disciples, sharing breakfast on the rocky beach at Tabgha, in Galilee.  In this place, Jesus had walked and talked with the disciples and now the risen Christ and Simon Peter have some one-on-one time, talking about Peter’s role in the …

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Sermon: May 1, 2022 – Acts 9: 1-19

There are few things more inspiring to me, than stories of radical transformation.  You know, the stories of a person whose prior choices were destructive to themselves and those around them, whose life turned around into one that was life-giving and admirable.   Or, on a group level, stories of feisty resilience and grass-roots changes that have transformed the life of a troubled neighbourhood, institution, or nation.  Perhaps it’s just because I enjoy “underdog” stories, but I think it’s more than …

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Sermon: April 3, 2022 – John 12: 1-8 – Lent V

This is not the first time that we have been inside the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. You may recall from previous years in the season of Lent, hearing of the raising of Lazarus in the 11th chapter of John, and at that time we came to this same household and were introduced to the sisters of Lazarus: Mary and Martha. We met Martha, the busy one, attending to the practical needs of all around her, and the gospel …

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Sermon: Sunday, March 27 – Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32 – Lent IV

This parable: the story of the prodigal.   This parable has within it such depth of connection with the human condition, and with the deep grace of the Divine. The elements of the parable are well-known: two siblings, one parent.  Although Dad is still very much alive, the younger son cashes in his inheritance early, goes far away and wastes it all on the high life.  Things go sour for him, and he drags himself home, hoping to catch on as …

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Sermon: March 20, 2022 – Luke 13: 1-9 – Lent III

Our hearts break each time we see or read or hear about cruel, heartless, targeted violence, wherever and whenever the circumstances.  Most recently, the newsfeeds have been mostly from Ukraine, and the world continues to reach out to those who are targeted while also denouncing the Russian power-mongers who are unleashing the violence. Our hearts break for the ongoing story of missing and murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit persons, their families and communities, and the individuals and systems that …

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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: 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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