A former student of mine has drawn my attention to an upcoming ecumenical worship service which she has been involved in planning. The service, to be held at the Church of St. Andrew Anglican (2333 Victoria Park Ave., Scarborough, ON) this coming Sunday, June 4th at 7:00 pm, is hosted by the Ministerial Association of North East Toronto. The theme of the service is “One Spirit, One Church.” Continue reading Upcoming Christian Unity Worship Service
I prepared the following pastoral prayer for worship this morning. The biblical texts for the pastor’s sermon were James 3:3-5 and Ephesians 4:29. I have removed some petitions pertaining to particular persons and situations within the life of the congregation. Continue reading “When Talk is Cheap”: A Prayer for Faithful Speech
This past Sunday many congregations marked the end of the Christian year by celebrating Christ the King Sunday. The Feast of Christ the King is a relatively recent addition to the Christian calendar. It was established as a festal celebration by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and has, in the years that have followed, also begun to be celebrated by many Protestant denominations and congregations. There is a certain fittingness to the Christian calendar ending with the proclamation, “Christ is King!” Not only does this resonate with the shape of the biblical narrative itself, it also provides an obvious segue into the season of Advent, where we await the coming of the King. As I was preparing for worship this past week, I came across a prayer I wrote for worship on Christ the King Sunday back in 2008 that seems like it might also be of use for us today. Continue reading A Prayer for Christ the King Sunday
I recently had a student write a book review of Rowan Williams’ short book Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer for my summer systematic theology course. Williams, who is perhaps best known for having served as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, is one of the most erudite and learned theologians of his generation. That being said, this brief introduction to “the essential elements of the Christian life”1 may possibly go down as his most important work. Continue reading Rowan Williams on Sneezing and Muddying the Waters
- Rowan Williams, Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014), vii. ↩
The following sermon was preached several years ago on Ash Wednesday. Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is the text on which the sermon is based – Daniel 9:1-19. Daniel 9 is not a traditional Ash Wednesday text, but the resonances between the text and the day are significant and stirring.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that Christians have historically set aside to face up to their mortality and to repent of their sin. Now this doesn’t mean that Ash Wednesday is the only day of the year when Christians can humbly acknowledge their frailty and their failure to live into the fullness of God’s intentions for their lives, but if we didn’t set aside Ash Wednesday for this purpose, it is unlikely that we would set aside any time at all. For the broader culture we find ourselves in is built on the refusal to acknowledge the presence of death and the reality of sin. So I commend you for making the effort to be here tonight. Your presence signifies that you recognize that the Lord desires to do something for us far more important than making us comfortable. He desires to make us holy. Continue reading “In Sackcloth and Ashes”: A Sermon for Ash Wednesday