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April 23 - The Road to Emmaus

Podcast-April 23

In a sermon for The Second Sunday of Easter, Laurence reflects on the beautiful story of two disciples who met Jesus on their journey home. This story is told so we can find ourselves in it, as disciples far removed from the time and place of Jesus' resurrection. Gospel is Luke 24:13-35.

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Good Friday - Life Affirming Death Awareness

Podcast - April 9

In a sermon for Good Friday Laurence invites us to reflect on the presence of the cross, an instrument of death, in our worship. He says the cross and the death of Jesus call us to healthy Death Awareness.

Laurence quotes this article and refers to the work of Dr. Robert Firestone. He also points to the Celtic cross on Glenview's Communion Table and this window, in the west transept of the church. (Photo credits: Paul McDonald)

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April 2 - Jesus in Jericho, Looking for the Lost

Podcast-April 2, 2017

In a sermon based on two stories of Jesus in Jericho, from Luke 18:35 - 19:10 Laurence invites us to hear the tales of the blind beggar at the city gate and the tax collector up the tree in the town square. Did the beggar already have saving faith when he met Jesus? Was Zacchaeus already a good and generous man when Jesus saw him out on a branch and went home with him?

Laurence begins the sermon telling part of the story of Fiona Stewart-Darling, a Church of England priest who is a Chaplain to the business and financial community at Canary Wharf in London. You can read an interview with Fiona here.

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March 26 - Filling Gaps and Closing Chasms

Podcast-March 26, 2017

Laurence's sermon reflects on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. It's sometimes called "Dives and Lazarus". "Dives" means "rich man". He doesn't have a name in the story. In fact Lazarus, a poor man whose ironic name means "God helps", is the only character in any of the parables who has a name. He isn't the Lazarus we meet in John's Gospel when Jesus calls him out of his grave. This Lazarus dies and stays where he's planted, with Father Abraham in Heaven. "Dives" also dies and he's surprised to discover where he's planted for eternity. This story gives the gap between rich and poor an unexpected twist. Reading is Luke 16:19-31

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March 19 - Prodigal Lovers

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March 19 - Prodigal Lovers

In a sermon on the familiar Parable of the Prodigal Son, Laurence reflects on God's call to us to be Prodigal Lovers. A prodigal spends something of great value extravagantly, until there is no more. But there's no limit on God's love. Reading is Luke 15:1-3, 11-32.

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February 26 - On The Edge of Glory

In a sermon for Transfiguration Sunday Laurence reflects on the purpose of mountaintop experiences in our lives. He begins with Lady Gaga's song, "The Edge of Glory" to describe the experience of Jesus' first disciples. Jesus took three of them up on a mountain, where they got to look beyond the edge of glory and see more of who Jesus was than they had ever seen before. Laurence quotes from Col. Chris Hadfield's book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth to illustrate the power of a mountaintop experience to change us, and send us back down to live everyday life in a way that changes the world. Gospel for the day is Luke 9:28-45.

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February 5 - Far From La La Land

Podcast - February 5Insert text then audio fileInsert text then audio file

Laurence responds to current events, including the shootings at the mosque in Quebec on January 29 in a sermon on Luke 6:1-10. In that Gospel story a Roman Centurion reaches across the divide between the conquerors and the conquered. Jesus reaches back, heaving the slave of an enemy of his people. This enemy turns out to be compassionate, and respectful of the community among whom he serves the Empire.

These were the Words for Meditation offered to the congregation before worship on Sunday:

To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege. It is a kind of blasphemy. Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practised cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamour of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What God says at such times is: “Not in My Name.” ~ Rabbi Jonathan Sachs

Laurence quotes the Imam of the Imdadul Mosque in North York. These are the Imam's words as he preached to his congregation last Friday morning:

For, though we are grieving and many in our communities are afraid and feeling victimized, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not come to teach us to be paralyzed by our fears or to wallow in self-pity, or to be mouthpieces for grievances. He came to teach us how to heal and how to be healers, how to respond to ugliness with beauty, how to be fully human in times of ease and in hardship.

 

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January 29 - Anniversary Sunday

Podcast - January 29

Podcast - January 29

To celebrate Glenview's 92nd Anniversary Guest Preacher Rev. Helen Smith talked about carrying the things we value from the past forward, without being afraid to change or adapt to meet new challenges. Glenview was born in a time of controversy and struggle, but grew to be a vibrant congregation. Text was Luke 6:1-16.

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January 22 - Fishing in Deep Water

Podcast - January 22

In a sermon for the Third Sunday After Epiphany Laurence reflects on the story of Jesus calling his first three disciples, as told in Luke 5:1-11. Before the three fishermen leave everything behind to follow Jesus, he challenges them to dare to fish in deep water. Secondary reading was Ezekiel 47:6-10. The service included the Sacrament of Baptism.

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January 15 - Jesus Goes Home to Preach

Podcast - January 15

In a sermon based on Luke 4:14-30 Laurence talks about Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, and what it was like for Jesus to go home for the weekend and worship in his home synagogue. The congregation were proud of him, until he started talking about the purpose of his ministry.

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January 8, 2017 - A Saviour With Dirty Feet

Podcast Graphic - January 8, 2017

In a sermon for the observance of the Baptism of Jesus Laurence talks about Jesus' immersion in the history and life of his people, Israel, and in our life today. At Jesus' baptism God called Jesus "my son" and the Spirit descended on him. God calls us beloved children in our baptism, and ordains us for service in this world. Reading was Luke 3:15-22.

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January 1, 2017 - Spiritual Grandparents

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January 1, 2017 - Spiritual Grandparents

In a sermon for the first Sunday after Christmas Laurence reflects on the story of Simeon and Anna, calling them spiritual grandparents of Jesus. What makes a spiritual grandparent? Maturity in faith isn't always synonymous with maturity in years, but how we learn from life experience helps us find a wider, deeper faith. Reading is Luke 2:21-38.

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Christmas Eve 2016 - Shepherds On Our Streets

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Christmas Eve 2016 - Shepherds On Our Streets

In a sermon for Christmas Eve Laurence reflects on the shepherds who were near Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Who were they? Who would they be today, in our city? Reading is Luke 2:1-20. Recording starts with the reading of the Gospel, followed by the hymn "Joy to the world". The sermon starts at 6:05.

Laurence reads a poem by Howard Thurman:

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

- "The Work of Christmas" in The Mood of Christmas & Other Celebrations (1985)

Thurman also wrote:

Where refugees seek deliverance that never comes
And the heart consumes itself as if it would live,
Where children age before their time
And life wears down the edges of the mind,
Where the old man sits with mind grown cold,
While bones and sinew, blood and cell, go slowly down to death,
Where fear companions each day's life,
And Perfect Love seems long delayed.
Christmas is waiting to be born:
In you, in me, in all mankind.

- "Christmas Is Waiting to be Born" in The Mood of Christmas & Other Celebrations (1985)

 

 

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December 11 - The Spirit of Joy

Sermon Podcast - December 11

In a sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent Laurence reflects on the good and troubling news that God calls whom God will call, God chooses whomever God needs, and God speaks through human voices (usually voices people don't expect to hear from). Readings are Isaiah 61 and Luke 4:16-21. He reads a poem, "Said the Lord", by Moira Burgess.

Said the Lord

And the Lord said:
I shall send my child to earth
to be a teacher and a comforter
and my child shall have wisdom
and shall love and nurture and save the children of men.
So shall it be, said the Lord.

And down came the Holy Spirit
and a virgin bore a daughter
who was the daughter of God.

A girl? people said.
Better luck next time.

And the child grew and ran about in Galilee
and told her cousins stories about God. For a while.

Bring in the goats!
Mix the porridge! Sew on that sandal strap!
What’s the matter with you? people said.

And the day of her womanhood came upon her
and she rejoiced. Life ahead,
and her family rejoiced –
soon she’d be off their hands.

But I want to put people right about God, she said.
Nobody likes a lippy girl, they replied.

The spirit of the Lord is upon me, she said.

You’re odd enough already, her family said,
don’t you want a husband or what?
as they beat her and married her off rather quickly
to a nice young fellow with his own flock of goats
so that was all right.

And she lay with her husband, of course.

And she bore him a son so everybody was pleased
and a daughter, well, can’t be helped
and two more sons and another daughter,
and another son
(not counting those who died)
the spirit of the Lord on a back burner
for fifteen years and more.

Wouldn’t have been without them. Heavens, no.

And when the children were grown
she said to her husband:
The spirit of the Lord is upon me.

Who’s going to make my supper?
her husband enquired.

He didn’t beat her. Didn’t need to
begot another son instead, who died.

So she went to milk the goats
and make the porridge
and the Lord came to her in the tent.

Why don’t you begin your mission, my daughter,
said the Lord, rise and go about Galilee
with twelve disciples
as my spirit may command?

I have tried, you know,
said the daughter of God.

And the Lord looked at her, at her stretch-marks,
her dishpan hands, the snaggly teeth
the place where the goat bit her
and he knew that it was so.
They are a stiff-necked people,
the children of men, said the Lord.

That’s one way of putting it,
said the daughter of God.

And the Lord sighed.

You are an idea, my daughter, said the Lord,
whose time has not yet come.
A thousand years from now
still no chance.
Two thousand years? Not really.
How are you on flower-arranging? said the Lord.

It’s never been my forte,
said the daughter of God.

And being weary she closed her eyes
and was gathered to Abraham’s bosom,
or Sarah’s bosom, perhaps, let’s hope,
a bit more empathy there.

I think I’ll try again next year,
said the Lord,
but this time I’ll make it a boy.

And it was even so.

Moira Burgess (c. 2003) is a Scottish novelist and historian who sometimes writes verse... She says she wrote this poem while she was “musing on misogyny in organised religion… The particular trigger [she says] was one of the reasons given by… [her] Church – for not allowing women into the priesthood: it’s impossible because the priest is the representative of Christ on earth, and Christ was a man.”
— http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/said-lord

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