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Showing posts from 2016

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

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Hespeler, 18 November, 2016 © Scott McAndless Luke 1:46-55, Luke 12:13-21 “Ghost of the Future! I fear you more than any spectre I have seen.” It is with those words that Ebenezer Scrooge greets the arrival of the Ghost who is called, “The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.” Scrooge is not alone in this. Nothing frightens us more than the dark unknown of the future.       Nevertheless, though his trembling legs can barely hold him up, Scrooge promises to brave the Ghost’s company and to pay heed to whatever it may show him. In this he lies, as we all probably would in his situation.       The ghost doesn’t speak but it shows him people reacting in various ways to the death of some wealthy person. There are some men of business for whom the death barely registers. Then Scrooge goes to see two women and a man who have pilfered various objects from the dead man’s rooms and his body and are seeking to sell them to a pawnbroker. Finally, he is shown a poor couple who are in debt to this man and w…

God is with us: Special reflections on the Christmas story and a baptism

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Hespeler, 11 December, 2016 © Scott McAndless Isaiah 7:1-4, 10-16, Matthew 1:18-25
Sunday, December 11, 2016 was a very special day at St. Andrew’s Hespeler. We celebrated a baptism (that had, as you will see, an interesting back-story) and had our children present to us their version of the Christmas story. This all came together in an unusual message that offered a unique perspective on ancient Biblical passages. As this message was integrated throughout the service, I present more of the service, particularly the Baptism, than I usually would.
Note that the names of the parents and child have been change to preserve their privacy on the internet.
Reflections on Isaiah 7:1-4, 10-16 K ing Ahaz of Jerusalem was in a bit of a bad spot. Two powerful kingdoms, the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Aram had entered into an alliance against him and they were coming to attack. Things looked bad. The heart of Ahaz and the heart of all his people were shaking like the trees of the forest shake b…

The Ghost of Christmas Present -- Seeing the Heart of the Matter

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Hespeler, 4 December, 2016 © Scott McAndless – Communion Luke 6:37-45, Psalm 72:1-7, 18,19, Deuteronomy 15:7-11 W hat was the best Christmas dinner that you ever had? How would you describe it to me? I bet that if we were to put that question out as a general survey, we would get a great variety of answers. Some would speak of dinners from long ago, even from when they were small. Others would speak of one from recent memory. You would hear of menus and guest lists and decorations.       But if you really pressed people to say what made it truly special, they would go beyond speaking of those things. They would start to speak of something very hard to describe: a warmth, a sparkle, a glow that somehow made the gathering that special – the kind of thing that is hard to pin down but that makes all the difference.       It would be much the same thing if I were to ask you to describe to me your very best memory of a Christmas morning. There would be some who would focus on the presents t…

The Ghost of Christmas Past

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Hespeler, 27 November, 2016 © Scott McAndless Isaiah 43:14-21, Philippians 3:4b-16, Psalm 51:1-12 I t will happen in just a little less than one month. People will go to bed filled with expectations. They will have sleep “with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.” The visions may vary from person to person. The kids will dream of presents and stockings bursting full. The adults, maybe, will dream of turkeys and stuffing and mashed potatoes. A huge number will dream of family, friends and loved ones coming together and what it will be like when they gather.       Christmas, more than any other festival in our lives is full of expectations. That is as true today as it was almost two hundred years ago when Clement Moore wrote his famous poem and included that line about the sugarplums. And expectation can certainly be wonderful, but there can also be a downside to them.
      I remember the Christmas when I was about 10 years old or thereabouts when the reality of Christmas just…

The Tower (Reflections on Mary Magdalene)

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Hespeler, 20 November, 2016 © Scott McAndless – Baptism Luke 8:1-3, Matthew 15:32-39, Psalm 1 M agdalena, I have decided that I want to speak to you today. On some long distant day, your parents will likely tell you the story of how they chose to give you your name. And the story they will tell you, I happen to know, will go something like this: When your mom was only a couple of weeks pregnant with you, your grandma got a phone call from your great Aunt Maggie who lived way out west. She had called to tell your grandma, before your mom had said a word, that your mom was pregnant and that she was going to have a girl.       That event was what prompted your parents to name you after your great Aunt Maggie (whose full name, of course, is Magdalena). And I’m sure you can be proud of being named after her – a strong woman who is obviously sensitive to things that many of us are not.
      But I didn’t really want to talk to you about your Great Aunt Maggie today, but about another woman –…

For a limited time, Caesar's Census, God's Jubilee, the book that will make you rethink Christmas, is absolutely free.

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I am very excited to announce that starting on November15 for 5 days, the eBook version of  my book, Caesar's Census, God's Jubilee, will be available for free on Amazon website. This is a wonderful book to read right now to get a fresh perspective on the Christmas Story in the Bible. Follow these links to download your copy before this extraordinary opportunity is gone. Make sure you share this news with others too! Link for Amazon.ca Link for Amazon.com

Here is some more information about what the book explores: According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus of Nazareth was born during a census that had been ordered by Caesar Augustus and, because of this census, his parents made a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, arriving just in time for his birth. It is a wonderful story that has inspired millions down through the ages, but it is also a story that has left some very puzzled. Questions abound for many readers of the story who have any knowledge of the history of those times. Question…