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.
"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.
Abraham and Sarah's grandsons, Isaac and Rebekah's sons, Esau and Jacob are fraternal twins. Esau was born first, but not by much. Jacob tricks Esau into giving up his birthright, then tricks Isaac into giving him the blessing that really belongs to Esau. According to the Genesis storytellers God has favoured Isaac all along, and chooses him to be the father of Israel! Reading is three episodes from Jacob's story: Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23, 28:10-17.
The story of "The Binding of Isaac" (Genesis 22:1-14) is an important part of Jewish tradition and worship. Muslims tell a similar story about Abraham and Ishmael. The strange tale is in the Christian canon of scripture. What are we to make of it today? Laurence reflects on the story with the help of some Jewish commentators and one Danish philosopher. He also refers to a Presbyterian outreach mission in Toronto, ARISE Ministry
Laurence suggests a way of reading the creation stories in Genesis that looks beyond concerns about science and history that often keep us from reading them. One thing they tell us is that God has endowed us with creativity and freedom, and invites us to share in God's ongoing creativity. Text is the first creation story, Genesis 1:1 - 2:4.
Sermon preached by the Rev. Janet DeWolfe, Minister in Association.
Sermon preached by our Senior Minister, Laurence DeWolfe, reflecting on The Book of Revelation, chapter 4. Laurence refers to the annual Outreach Barbecue, which was held on August 13. Guests from Portland Place, Evangel Hall Mission, and Glenview's Out of the Cold Dinners came for food, fellowship, and worship. (He apologizes for getting the timing of the Solar Eclipse wrong. He consulted a NASA site that employed Greenwich Mean Time! He also visited Rouen Cathedral, not Rheims on his trip to France in July. Was his mind still on vacation?)
This sermon, reflecting on Psalm 150, ends the first Summer Sermon Series. Psalm 150 also concludes the Book of Psalms. It calls us, and "everything that breathes" to praise the Lord in 13 different ways that all add up to a spectacle of sound, sight, and sensation that serves no earthly purpose. Laurence begins the sermon talking about the giant yellow duckie that visited Toronto over the Canada Day weekend.
Laurence begins his reflection by comparing Psalm 30, and other psalms like it, to the familiar hymn "Amazing Grace". The story behind Psalm 30 is probably quite similar to John Newton's story, and the experience that led him to write "Amazing Grace".
The Prayers of the People for July 2 are included below.
In a sermon on Psalm 23 Laurence reflects on the beautiful imagery in this much-loved poem. Israel's God is shepherd-Lord for the individual and the nation. The Lord is a constant, guiding presence and a gracious host. The psalmist discovers that God's goodness and mercy are always on his tail, even and especially when he forgets to look for them.
In a sermon for the Day of Pentecost Laurence reflects on the meaning of Pentecost for the individual believer today. Text is Galatians 5:16-26. Laurence begins by comparing the Apostle Paul's image of Flesh versus Spirit to the interest in zombies and speculation about a zombie apocalypse that has given rise to many zombie-themes movies and TV shows.
In a sermon reflecting on Galatians 3:6-9, 23-29 Laurence takes the distinctions Paul mentions in 3:28 (Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female) as examples of "assigned identities". Paul doesn't mean that the water of baptism washes away what it means to be Jewish or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. But the identities that others assign to each of those distinctions don't disqualify anyone from following Jesus and sharing life in the church. Laurence begins the sermon with the story of Trevor Noah and refers to Noah's book, Born a Crime.