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I am on an intermission

I will be on an intermission that has been approved by the Presbytery of Waterloo-Wellington from April 16 to June 24, 2018. I am very grateful to be able to take this opportunity. Here are just a few notes I would like to leave with you. I will not be updating this blog during the intermission period.I will, however, be working on a personal project -- a podcast in which I retell Bible Stories. If you are interested in following this project, you will find all the information and links to each episode at this site: retellingthebible.wordpress.com/I will not be available to offer pastoral care or assistance during this time. Each week I have arranged to have two local Presbyterian ministers available to visit people or otherwise offer care. They will also be available in the event there is need of services (such as funerals and memorials). The names and contact information will change from week to week and will be posted in the bulletin each Sunday. Please call the church office if you…

I will build my church

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Hespeler, 15 April 2018 © Scott McAndless Matthew 16:13-20, Matthew 7:24-27, 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 I  hope you all know by now that, after the Gala Dinner this evening, I will be starting a ten week period that is called an intermission in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. I will be away from the ministry of this congregation and of the larger church for that entire period. I decided to request this for a number of personal reasons – because I felt a great need to rest and refresh and to renew the passion that had nourished me over the past twenty-five years of ministry. So I certainly have a few personal goals that I want to work on, but, that is not necessarily what I wanted to focus on today.       I have been thinking a lot about what I wanted to preach about today, and I don’t really want to focus on me, but rather on the church. In particular, I want to ask how the church can grow and develop during a short season without a regular minister. I know what the natural tendency is, o…

Created in Christ Jesus for good works

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Hespeler, 8 April, 2018 © Scott McAndless – Baptism of Lincoln John 15:12-17, Ephesians 2:4-10, Psalm 139:1-16, 23-24 L incoln Alexander ______, it is such a wonderful privilege for all of us to be able to celebrate your baptism today. It is wonderful because it means that your parents and your brother have been willing to share you – their joy in you, their hopes and dreams for you – with all of us and with Christ in this very meaningful way.       I remember when we first heard from your parents that you were coming and how exciting that was. When I heard what they had named you Lincoln Alexander, I wondered (the way that you do) what significance there was in such a name. One thing that occurred to me, for example, was that you might have been named after one of the most famous presidents of United States. You could certainly do worse than to be named after a man of such vision, the great emancipator who changed the world for good. We certainly still need people who will stand up and…

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

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Hespeler, 1 April, 2018 © Scott McAndless – Easter Luke 24:1-6a T he sun was rising on a new day, but it was also rising on a new reality. There, inside a borrowed tomb, had been a man utterly defeated. He had stood up against the greatest powers in this world – the power of hate, the power of privilege and exploitation, the power of death – and he had been defeated in the worst and most shameful way possible. The dark powers of this world had won as they always seem to win.      But on that Sunday morning, all of that had been changed. Defeat had been turned into victory. Shame had been turned into glory. And, in that place haunted by the regrets of what might have been, death had been turned into life.      I wonder if we understand what this really means. It means that the fighting is over – that the battle is won once and for all. The greatest and most persistent powers of this world have been routed. And I have long wondered, if the greatest dark powers of this world were defeated way…

Hosanna! Save us how?

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Hespeler, 25 March, 2018 © Scott McAndless John 12:12-19, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Psalm 118:1,2 19-29 H ave you heard the word? They say that that man from Nazareth has come to town. He’s here for the festival. You’ve heard about the stir that he has been causing up in Galilee. He’s a storyteller, they say, loves to tell these stories about farming and seeds. Obviously he’s coming down here to support the local farmers and it is about time! Farmers don’t get the respect that they deserve. They feed us all! So what do you say, shall we grab a few of these palm branches, symbols of the fruitful earth, and be part of it? Hosanna! Jesus comes in the name of the Lord to save us from disrespecting farmers!       Hey, what are you sitting around wasting your time here for? Haven’t you heard that Jesus has come to town? He is the one who has made his name up north for being such a good exorcist. He’s been casting demons out right and left. And you know that those Galileans up there are all yokel…

When Covenants Hurt

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Hespeler, 18 March, 2018 © Scott McAndless Acts 7:51 – 60, Isaiah 40:1-8, Jeremiah 31:27-34 L ast week we talked about something unique in the nature of the God that we meet in the Bible. The people of Israel, unlike their neighbours around them, came to understand that their God was a God who made covenants. He entered into a relationship with his people where he required certain things of them and promised, in return, that he would remain faithful to them by continually showing them steadfast lovingkindness.       And that kind of covenant relationship is a good and beautiful thing. To be in a covenant relationship – any kind of covenant relationship – is a great blessing. I know that many of you have been blessed by such a relationship in your life, as have I. A good marriage, where each party in the marriage promises to support the other and to remain faithful and loving in the good times and in the bad, when everything is easy and when it hard, is such a covenant relationship. Many…

A God who makes covenants

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Hespeler, 11 March, 2018 © Scott McAndless
Genesis 9:8-17, Hebrews 8:6-11, Psalm 136:1-16 T he ancient Babylonians had a myth about a great universal flood sent by their gods to destroy the life of all the humans on the face of the earth that they had made. Only one man and his family made it through – survived by building a great ship and riding it out. And if that story sounds a bit familiar it should. It is a basic plot that I am sure all of us would recognize if we know anything about the Bible.       The ancient Babylonian story was not exactly the same, of course. The hero of the story was named Utnapishtim instead of Noah – a fact that I share with you mostly because I just like to say “Utnapishtim.” And, of course, the deity involved in the Babylonian story was not the God of Israel but rather a collection of ancient Babylonian gods. But the story corresponds so closely that most scholars would say that the biblical story is dependant on the much older Utnapishtim story.       …