When Covenants Hurt

Hespeler, 18 March, 2018 © Scott McAndless Acts 7:51 – 60, Isaiah 40:1-8, Jeremiah 31:27-34 L ast week we talked about something unique in the nature of the God that we meet in the Bible. The people of Israel, unlike their neighbours around them, came to understand that their God was a God who made covenants. He entered into a relationship with his people where he required certain things of them and promised, in return, that he would remain faithful to them by continually showing them steadfast lovingkindness.       And that kind of covenant relationship is a good and beautiful thing. To be in a covenant relationship – any kind of covenant relationship – is a great blessing. I know that many of you have been blessed by such a relationship in your life, as have I. A good marriage, where each party in the marriage promises to support the other and to remain faithful and loving in the good times and in the bad, when everything is easy and when it hard, is such a covenant relationship. Many…

A God who makes covenants

Hespeler, 11 March, 2018 © Scott McAndless
Genesis 9:8-17, Hebrews 8:6-11, Psalm 136:1-16 T he ancient Babylonians had a myth about a great universal flood sent by their gods to destroy the life of all the humans on the face of the earth that they had made. Only one man and his family made it through – survived by building a great ship and riding it out. And if that story sounds a bit familiar it should. It is a basic plot that I am sure all of us would recognize if we know anything about the Bible.       The ancient Babylonian story was not exactly the same, of course. The hero of the story was named Utnapishtim instead of Noah – a fact that I share with you mostly because I just like to say “Utnapishtim.” And, of course, the deity involved in the Babylonian story was not the God of Israel but rather a collection of ancient Babylonian gods. But the story corresponds so closely that most scholars would say that the biblical story is dependant on the much older Utnapishtim story.       …


Hespeler, 4 March, 2018 © Scott McAndless – Communion John 8:2-11, Romans 7:15 - 8:1, Psalm 51:1-17 T hey had grasped her by the arms and by the legs and then dragged her through the streets little caring that her clothes were being ripped and torn away from her. Frankly a number of them took advantage of the situation by ogling the exposed portions of her body that would normally never be seen in public. A few of them were even so bold as to take advantage of her vulnerability by reaching out to touch what should have been off limits.       It was fine. They were sure that it was fine because they were on a holy mission. They had taken her in a flagrant act of sin. They were protecting the community from her filth. Surely, if they took advantage just a little bit, it was only in a good cause.       They were looking for the popular preacher who had been seen around town recently – gathering large crowds and preaching all sorts of nonsense. He had been getting certain people in the comm…

God's providence and the problem of evil

Hespeler, 25 February, 2018 © Scott McAndless – Annual Meeting Mark 8:31-33, Romans 8:18-30, Psalm 10:1-18 E leven days ago, a young man walked into a school in Florida with an AR-15 rifle near the end of the school day. He pulled a fire alarm and started firing on students and teachers indiscriminately for about six minutes. By the time he dropped his pack and gun and left, 17 people were dead and 15 more wounded. It was an afternoon of bravery and terrible suffering on the school grounds with one teacher even putting his own body in front of his students. It was an afternoon of a million tears. And yet we as Christians proclaim, The Lord is king forever and ever.” I have to ask: what kind of king stands by and watches something like that?       At the end of last September the tenth most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean finally sputtered out. When that hurricane, named Maria, was near the peak of its strength, it had slammed into the island of Puerto Rico with …

How do we live out the Great Commission today?

Hespeler, 18 February 2018 © Scott McAndless Matthew 28:16-20, Romans 10:10-17, Psalm 2:1-12 A month ago, as you will remember, I had Andy Cann tell me what to preach about. He was given that privilege because he had the top bid in the auction last fall when I put up the right to name a sermon topic. There was also a second highest bid in that same auction and Jean Godin agreed to match Andy’s bid and be able to name a topic for this month.       And I like Jean, I really do. In fact, I know many people who would only too happily attest to what a wonderful person she is. But I am going to confess to you that there were a few times as I prepared for this morning’s sermon when I wondered whether or not she liked me. (Just kidding, Jean.) The topic that Jean chose was this: How do we live out the Great Commission today? On the surface it is a wonderful question, of course, something that gets to the heart of what the church is supposed to be. It’s just that when you really take the questio…


Hespeler, February 11, 2018 © Scott McAndless Genesis 1:1-8, John 1:1-14, Psalm 148:1-14 I  am sure that many of you are familiar with Dan Brown, author of bestselling books such as The DaVinci Code. His books and the movies that have been made of them have been incredibly popular in recent years. In an interview that took place to promote one of his books someone asked Brown the question, “Are you religious?” this is what Brown said: “I was raised Episcopalian, and I was very religious as a kid. Then, in eighth or ninth grade, I studied astronomy, cosmology and the origins of the universe. I remember saying to a minister, ‘I don’t get it. I read a book that said there was an explosion known as the Big Bang, but here it says God created heaven and earth and the animals in seven days. Which is right?’ Unfortunately the response I got was, ‘Nice boys don’t ask that question.’ A light went off, and I said, ‘The Bible doesn’t make sense. Science makes much more sense to me.’ And I just gra…