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April 15 - Saul falls down, but not far.

 Podcast - April 15

Sermon on  Saul's encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Reading is Acts 9:1-19. Laurence refers to a series of pictures on the screens, including the images below from the Italian master Parmigianonini and Paul McDonald's collection of photographs of Glenview's stained glass windows.

 

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April 8 - Wounded, but not defeated!

 Podcast - April 8, 2018

In a sermon for the Second Sunday of the Easter season Laurence reflects on the story of "Doubting" Thomas. Does Thomas deserve the name we've given him through every Christian generation? Thomas professes faith in the risen Jesus, calling him "My Lord and my God". He can only do that because he has seen and touched the wounds in Jesus' body. Does that mean our Lord and God is wounded, too? Text is John 20:19-31.

Laurence refers to the April 6 bus crash, in which 14 team members, coaches, and associates of the Humboldt, SK Broncos hockey team were killed, along with their bus driver. Another 14 young men were injured. He also shares a prayer the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada wrote and posted on social media in response to the tragedy. (Quoted below)

I am waking up to the tragic news out of Saskatchewan about the accident that took the lives of 14 people on the Humboldt Broncos (Junior Hockey team) bus and injured 14 others. So this is raw and quick.

God your Son wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus, we weep over the Humboldt Broncos team members and coaching staff who died in the bus accident yesterday.
We lift up before you family and friends, the community of Humboldt, the other teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, be the God who sees and hears their cries of sorrow and loss.
We lift up before you first responders, doctors, nurses, others who were at the scene or are providing care to the survivors, be the God who guides hands and calms minds in the midst of crisis.
We pray for those who were injured that they would be healed of their injuries both physical and psychological, be the God of healing and hope.
God, we do not have words to adequately express the ache in our hearts.
These things we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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April 1 - Easter Sunday

 April 1, 2018

In John's story of the day of resurrection, Mary Magdalene goes to where Jesus was buried and meets someone she first thinks is the cemetery gardener. She realizes the man is Jesus, risen and alive, when he calls her by name. First, though, he asks her two questions: Why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?. Laurence asks those questions in his sermon reflecting on John 20:1-18.

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March 18 - No King but Caesar?

 Podcast-March 18, 2018

In a sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent Laurence reflects on the three sided conversation that takes place as Jesus stands before Pilate and the angry crowd of Judeans outside Pilate's court. In a moment of high drama the people shout to Pilate, "We have no king but Caesar!" Jesus hears it, too. Reading is John 19:1-16a.

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March 11 - Truth or Truthiness?

 Podcast - March 11, 2018

In a sermon reflecting on Jesus' encounter with the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, Laurence asks Pilate's question, "What is truth?" Jesus doesn't answer, or Pilate doesn't wait for an answer. Maybe the answer is Jesus himself. Reading is John 18:28-40.

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March 4, 2018 - Not Lost, Just Not Home Yet

 Sermon Podcast-March 4, 2018

In a sermon reflecting on events on the night Jesus was arrested, Laurence talks about the natural human fear that lads Peter to deny that he is a disciple of Jesus. There are times when fear takes hold of us, and we lose our hold on faith. But God doesn't let go of us. Even Peter's denials can't sever his connection to Jesus. Reading is John 18:15-27.

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January 14 - Wine for a Wedding

 Sermon Podcast - January 14

In a sermon based on the story of Jesus at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, Laurence reflects on Jesus' transforming presence in all of life. Jesus "hallows and beautifies" all relationships, not just marriage. Jesus shares in the joy of all celebrations, not just weddings. Laurence begins by sharing his experience of two very different marriage practices in India in 2014. Reading is John 2:1-11.

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January 7 - Come and See

 Sermon Podcast - January 7

In a sermon reflecting on John 1:35-51 Laurence focuses on the story of Jesus' first followerss, as John's Gospel tells it. Jesus asks some disciples of John the Baptist, "What are you looking for?" They ask, "Where are you staying?" Jesus replies, "Come and see." As is typical of John's Gospel, every word in that exchange is significant, carrying more than one meaning. Laurence chooses "stay", which has also been translated as "abide". The first disciples are interested in where they will stay for the night if they go with Jesus. They're also asking about his whole life, and the source of his life. Can they share in that life? Jesus says, "Come and see." (Laurence's "next job" after he retires will not be "Social Media Influencer", though he will likely continue to use social media. He'll also keep on doing his best to influence people for Jesus.)

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December 10 - Dry Bones in Advent

 Sermon Podcast - December 10

In a sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent Laurence reflects on Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Luke 1:26-38, two texts we don't often hear together. Both remind us of God's way of creating new life where all human hope is lost, where human efforts haven't succeeded, and where no human seeds have been planted.

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November 26 - Exiles and Chocolate

 Sermon Podcast - November 26

The prophet Jeremiah wrote a letter to people who had just been marched 1500 kilometres to a strange land. He told them to accept their fate, dig in, and prosper. They would be in exile for a generation or more. Laurence draws this message from the text: When you find yourself in a place you didn't, couldn't choose... When you look around and all you see is strangeness and strangers... The best thing you can do is be a good neighbour. Reading for the day: Jeremiah 29:1,4-14.

Laurence refers to an article in the Jerusalem Post, reporting on an archeological discovery on the life of the exiles. He tells the story of Peace by Chocolate, a business founded by Syrian refugees in Nova Scotia. He also refers to the rise of white race rage in North America and Europe and an incident on the University of Toronto campus earlier this month.

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November 19 - Isaiah In and Out of Season

 Sermon Podcast - November 19

In a sermon reflecting on Isaiah 9:1-7 and John 8:12, Laurence offers a way to read from the Hebrew prophets that locates the prophets in a time and a place, but allows us to carry their words into our time and place, in continuity within the community of faith from the prophets' days to ours. Christians can see the truth of Isaiah's words as Jesus fulfills them, without having to believe Isaiah had nothing to say to his community because he was really talking about Jesus. Isaiah's declaration that light will surely dawn in darkness is echoed in Jesus' words: "I am the light of the world. Whoever believes in me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

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November 12 - Thoughts and Prayers and Amos

 Sermon Podcast - November 12

Amos was a humble shepherd and "dresser of sycamore trees" when God called him to leave the land and take up a prophetic ministry. Amos' sermons include beautiful evocative images. Like justice rolling as an ever-flowing stream through a thirsty land. Laurence connects the image of the stream to the difficult but necessary process of establishing right relationship between Canadian Churches and Indigenous Canadians. He refers to a recent lecture by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Mullin, "Reconciliation is Negotiating the Rapids Together" Reading for the day: Verses from Amos, chapters one and five.

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October 29 - Reformation and Real Estate

 Podcast-October 29

In a sermon for Reformation Sunday, 500 years after Luther's 95 Arguments About One Thing, Laurence reflects on the role real estate plays in religious reformations and wars. The text is from the story of Solomon building and dedicating the first temple in Jerusalem, 1 Kings 5:1-5; 8:1-13.

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October 22 - Kings, Politics, and Bible Stories

 Podcast-October 22

In a sermon on the first two tales in the great story of David, from 1 Samuel 16, Laurence challenges people who don't believe there's anything about politics in the Bible, and there are no contemporary connections between our time and the time of David and all the kings of Israel and Judah.

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October 8 - How Much is Enough?

 Podcast-October 8

In a sermon for Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday Laurence asks "How much is enough?" Reading for the day is Exodus 16:1-18, part of the story of how God feeds the whole congregation of Israel in the early days of their journey from Egypt to Canaan.

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October 1 - Nec tamen consumebatur

 Podcast-October 1

"Nec tamen consumebatur" is not a new character on "Game of Thrones". It's Latin for the phrase "Yet it was not consumed". The phrase has special meaning for Presbyterians, though we don't think about it much these days. In a sermon on the story of God's call to Moses through a bush that was on fire but didn't burn up, Laurence reflects on the reasons many Christians in the past took the burning bust as an important symbol, and what it can mean for Christians today. The reading is Exodus 2:23 - 3:15; 4:10-17.

 

 

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