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Showing posts from January, 2019

That'll get you pushed off a ledge

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Hespeler, 27 January, 2019 © Scott McAndless Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 44:1-26; Luke 4:14-21 I n the Gospel of Mark, there is a story of Jesus’ visit to his own hometown of Nazareth. Jesus, who has already established himself in other places throughout Galilee, goes home and he speaks in the local village gathering or synagogue. But the people in Nazareth reject him saying, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3) Their reaction seems to indicate that they think they know Jesus too well and so are not willing to accept the authority that he is claiming for himself.       What we don’t get in Mark, however, is an actual account of what Jesus said to inspire such offense. For that you need to turn to this morning’s reading from the Gospel of Luke. And what you find there is a little bit surprising. You see, I know, having read the Gospel of Mark, that the people in Nazareth are go…

Six Stone Jars

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Hespeler, 20 January, 2019 © Scott McAndless Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11 T here were six stone water jars, I mean really large water jars that each held twenty or thirty gallons. And they were just sitting there by the entrance when the mother of Jesus brought a crisis to his attention.       They were at a wedding – a wedding that was the most important event that would take place in Cana that year. Life in Cana – life in most any Galilean village – could be pretty bleak. It was nothing but a hardscrabble existence working from dawn to dusk just to survive. By some estimates, about 90% of what they were able to produce was siphoned off in taxes, rents and fees to support the temple and religion of Judea.       Opportunities to celebrate anything were few and far between. So when those opportunities came, they were of vital importance to everybody. A wedding feast in ancient Galilee was as close as many of these people would get to feeling that lif…

WARNING: Flood and Fire Ahead!

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Hespeler, 13 January, 2019 © Scott McAndless Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 29:1-11, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-22 I t is kind of amazing the difference that one little word can make. Our reading this morning from the Book of Isaiah begins with a pretty amazing promise. Do not fear,” God says through the prophet, “for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Can you even imagine what is being said here? The eternal creator, the ruler of the cosmos and the King of all kings reaches out to a people who are lost, confused and distressed and God chooses them.
      And it is not just in that passage; it is a theme that runs through all of our lectionary readings this morning. Why are the people flocking to John the Baptist out in the wilderness? They are there because they are filled with expectation. God is doing something and they are being baptised because they want to be part of it. In that baptism, they are experiencing the same thing – God’s redemption, calling them by nam…

King Herod... was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him.

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Hespeler, 6 January 2019 © Scott McAndless Isaiah 60:1-6, Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12 I  understand why King Herod is frightened. I mean, that makes perfect sense to me. Here a bunch of foreigners show up in one of his grand palaces. They’ve traveled from a distant country far in the east and they certainly come across as rather wise individuals. They are looking, they say, for one who is born the king of the Jews. Yes, Herod is not going to like that.       King of the Jews was one of his titles and he was certainly not interested in hearing about another claimant to that throne. In fact, Herod was so self-important that he could hardly even tolerate the idea of his own sons succeeding him on the throne and had a number of them put to death. These strangers arriving with news that a new king has been born, one who is obviously not even related to Herod’s family, is bound to upset him and, given his somewhat fragile ego, to frighten him.       But I have alwa…