Posts

How do we live out the Great Commission today?

Image
Hespeler, 18 February 2018 © Scott McAndless Matthew 28:16-20, Romans 10:10-17, Psalm 2:1-12 A month ago, as you will remember, I had Andy Cann tell me what to preach about. He was given that privilege because he had the top bid in the auction last fall when I put up the right to name a sermon topic. There was also a second highest bid in that same auction and Jean Godin agreed to match Andy’s bid and be able to name a topic for this month.       And I like Jean, I really do. In fact, I know many people who would only too happily attest to what a wonderful person she is. But I am going to confess to you that there were a few times as I prepared for this morning’s sermon when I wondered whether or not she liked me. (Just kidding, Jean.) The topic that Jean chose was this: How do we live out the Great Commission today? On the surface it is a wonderful question, of course, something that gets to the heart of what the church is supposed to be. It’s just that when you really take the questio…

Creator

Image
Hespeler, February 11, 2018 © Scott McAndless Genesis 1:1-8, John 1:1-14, Psalm 148:1-14 I  am sure that many of you are familiar with Dan Brown, author of bestselling books such as The DaVinci Code. His books and the movies that have been made of them have been incredibly popular in recent years. In an interview that took place to promote one of his books someone asked Brown the question, “Are you religious?” this is what Brown said: “I was raised Episcopalian, and I was very religious as a kid. Then, in eighth or ninth grade, I studied astronomy, cosmology and the origins of the universe. I remember saying to a minister, ‘I don’t get it. I read a book that said there was an explosion known as the Big Bang, but here it says God created heaven and earth and the animals in seven days. Which is right?’ Unfortunately the response I got was, ‘Nice boys don’t ask that question.’ A light went off, and I said, ‘The Bible doesn’t make sense. Science makes much more sense to me.’ And I just gra…

Father God

Image
Hespeler, 4 February, 2018 © Scott McAndless Matthew 5:43-48, Galatians 4:1-7, Psalm 27:4-14 W hen we pray to God and call God, “Our Father,” you all get that that is a metaphor, right? I mean, we all understand that we don’t mean that literally. We’re not saying that God is our literal or biological or even foster father, but that, in some meaningful ways, God is like a good human father. It’s a metaphor. And it is, in many ways, a good metaphor – a metaphor that genuinely helps lots of people to see God in a helpful way. But we also understand that, like most metaphors, you cannot push it too far. You should not take that metaphor as an indication that God is human or male or likes to smoke a pipe and read the Sport’s Section even if every father you have ever known has been human, male, a pipe-smoker and a sports fan.       What’s more, I think we can all recognize that it is a metaphor that doesn’t work as well for some people as it does for others. Some people, frankly, don’t reall…

Doubt & Faith

Image
Hespeler, 28 January, 2018 © Scott McAndless Luke 17:5-6, James 2:14-26, Psalm 26:1-12 W hen I spoke to him about his role in the church, asking if he might like to increase his participation in some way, he became very quiet – uncharacteristically quiet – and his face visibly dropped. “I don’t think so,” he said in a small voice “I’m not a very good Christian.”       Not a good Christian? How could he possibly think something like that? He was about the kindest and most thoughtful man I had met in many years. He was a committed father and husband who always tried to do his very best for his family. He was generous, sometimes to a fault. Most of all he was thoughtful and engaging when it came to questions about God, the world and his place in it. I loved to discuss with him as he sometimes pushed against my thoughts in provocative ways.       But there, it seems, was the nub of the problem. He explained that, while he did love talking about Jesus and enjoyed thinking about various storie…

School of Hard Knox; They never taught me this!

Image
Hespeler, 21 January, 2018 © Scott McAndless Galatians 1:10, Isaiah 43:16-19, Psalm 91:1-16 B ack in October, as you will remember, we held a dream auction here at St. Andrew’s and we asked everyone to consider putting something up for auction – especially something that represented your own talents or hobbies. And so I decided to put up a sermon for auction. I, foolishly thinking that I could write a sermon about anything, said that the highest bidder would be able to order a sermon on the topic or with the title of their choice. I am here to tell you now that the winning bidder was Andy Cann and the day is today – which is my way of saying that, while you can absolutely blame me if you don’t like the content of today’s sermon, if you object to the topic, you can speak to Andy. (By the way, there was also a second place bid and Jean Godin has already named a topic for next month.)       So this is the title that Andy gave me for today’s sermon: School of Hard Knox; They never taught me …

What I am learning from preaching the Catechism

Image
In 2004 the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada commended a document prepared by the Church Doctrine Committee for use in churches. The document was called "A Catechism for Today," and it was an updated version of a kind of teaching tool, in the format of a series of questions with supplied answers, that has been used in churches since the time of the reformation.

You can download and read the Catechism for yourself by clicking here.

This year at St. Andrew's Hespeler, we were looking for a way to reconnect with some of the basic teachings of Christianity and of our tradition. Unfortunately, we increasingly find ourselves in a world where people, including practising Christians, are not familiar with some of the basic ideas that have been so important to the faith down through the centuries. So we decided that we would make use of "A Catechism for Today." throughout the year. The document is conveniently broken up into 52 readings so we are pl…

Is faith incompatible with science?

Image
Hespeler, 14 January, 2018 © Scott McAndless Genesis 1:26-2:3, 2 Chronicles 4:2, Hebrews 11:1-3, Psalm 111:1-10 I n the third century before the birth of Christ, one of the most brilliant people on the face of the earth was Archimedes of Syracuse. An inventor, mathematician and scientist, he accomplished many great things. He is the guy who is famous for discovering a process for calculating the volume of something that so amazed him that he jumped out of his bath and went running through the city naked shouting “Eureka.” You know, typical genius behaviour.       One of Archimedes’ greatest contributions to science, however, didn’t really draw a crowd like that. He was the first person to calculate the value of pi to any degree of accuracy. Pi, as you may recall from your high school days, is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is an extremely important number – foundational to many fields of science including geometry and physics. It is also used constantly in…