Showing posts from January, 2017

Lurking at the door - The Bible introduces the concept of sin

Hespeler, 22 January, 2017 © Scott McAndless Genesis 4:1-15, 23-24, Matthew 18:21,22, Psalm 36 O ne of the complaints that you hear leveled against the church from time to time is that we never seem to talk about sin anymore. We love talking about grace and love and reconciliation – and that is fantastic – but where is that focus on faults and shortcomings that was so characteristic of the church in former days?       And I will certainly agree that there is something to this complaint. I understand where the reluctance to talk about sin comes from – especially when it is a concept that has been so often misunderstood and even misused to gain control over people – but I also appreciate that if we do not have an understanding of sin and what it can do to us, our Christian faith will never reach its full potential.       So I am going to dare to look closely at sin, its meaning and its power over the coming weeks. I do not necessarily feel like I have to approach the topic in the ways t…

Resolutions 3) To Listen

Hespeler, 15 January, 2017 © Scott McAndless Mark 4:1-9, James 1:19-27, Psalm 116:1-8 J esus, like many good speakers, had certain catch-phrases that he would use over and over again in his preaching and storytelling. One of his favourite lines, for example, was “the first shall be last and the last first.” It comes up so often in the discourses of Jesus in the gospels and in varying contexts (usually as the punchline of a parable) that it seems reasonable to conclude that it was one of those phrases that Jesus threw around all the time.       But there was another phrase that Jesus must have used even more – one that just seems to have slipped out all the time – not necessarily as a part of the parable or story he was telling but almost like punctuation or emphasis. That saying was, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”       It is an odd phrase when you think about it. I mean, very few people don’t have ears. Barring some birth defects, tragic accidents or the madness of Dutch post…

Resolutions: 2) A Commitment to the truth

Hespeler, 8 January, 2017 © Scott McAndless Ephesians 4:17-25, Psalm 43, John 8:31-38 A s you may have heard, the Oxford English Dictionary chooses a word of the year for every year that goes by – one word to capture the spirit of the age and mark significant trends in society. You may have also heard that the word that they chose for 2016 was, “post-truth.” They did not choose this word lightly or subjectively. They noted that the use of this word had grown enormously over the last 12 months – appearing 2000 percent more often in articles published over the last year.       The word, they say, is often used in the phrase “post-truth politics’’ and it has to do with the fact that we are living in a time in which truth has become largely irrelevant. The dictionary defines it as an adjective that relates to “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”       Of course, the reason why this idea of “pos…

Resolutions: 1) To leave space to grieve

Hespeler, 1 January, 2017 © Scott McAndless Lamentations 1:1-7, Matthew 2:16-16, Psalm 44 I t is a good thing, I suppose, that God made sure that Jesus, Mary and Joseph got out of Bethlehem before King Herod’s murderous men arrived. Three innocent lives were saved and, even more important, everything that the Messiah had been sent to accomplish was saved. But most people who read this part of the story (which, of course, we often don’t read at Christmas time because who wants to dwell on such things!) – those who do read it can’t help but ask: “Excuse me, but what about all of those other children two years old and under? Couldn’t they have been saved too?”       We modern people are not the first to be scandalized at these events. From ancient times, this little episode has been called by the name, “The Slaughter of the Innocents,” and considered to be one of the more scandalous events told in the Bible. In thousands of years, nobody has been able to come up with any good reason why …