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Showing posts from February, 2017

Joseph: A journey from envy to balance

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Hespeler, 26 February, 2017 © Scott McAndless Genesis 37:1-11, Genesis 45:1-8, 1 Peter 2:1-10 D ifferent people are driven by different things on their path through this life. I think we all recognize that. Some people are driven by ambition or pride. Others are motivated by greed or envy or lust. But there are some people for whom all of that really means very little. There is really only one thing that matters to them: that they are unique and special.       Now, I realize that we are all, in our own ways, special. We are all individuals who have a unique makeup of habits, traits and interests. So, in a way, these people aren’t any more unique than anyone else. It is more a matter of how such people want to be seen and treated. They want everyone to see and notice how unique they are. They need to stand out from the crowd in some significant way.       If you want to compliment such a person – I mean, give them a compliment that will actually mean something to them – do not bother s…

Jacob: A journey from deceit to hope

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Hespeler, 19 February, 2017 © Scott McAndless Genesis 32:13-32, 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Psalm 34:11-22 J acob, the son of Isaac, was always driven by one thing: the need for success. It had started, for him, even in the womb. Jacob had been a twin with his brother Esau and, as it turns out, was fated to be born second in a world where the difference between being the firstborn and the second born was only everything. But do you think that Jacob was inclined to accept that second place position? Not that all! We are told that he fought for dominance even in the womb with his brother. And, even when Esau came out first, Jacob followed right after grasping his heel.       Faced with the seemingly overwhelming disadvantage of being born second, Jacob never gave up. First he persuaded his brother to sell him his birthright for the price of a few lentils and then, when for some strange reason, nobody would honour a contract made over seaming bowl of hot stew, Jacob went ahead and tricked his blind…

Martha: A journey from pride to freedom

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Hespeler, 12 February, 2017 © Scott McAndless Luke 10:38-42, John 11:17-27, Psalm 12 W e all know a Martha. For that matter, many of us are Marthas. I hope you all recognize her type in our story this morning from the Gospel of Luke, but, just in case you’re not sure, let me lay out for you some of what I think that Martha’s backstory must have been.       Martha was the oldest of three siblings. There was Martha, then her brother, Lazarus, and then the baby Mary. As often happens with the oldest child – maybe especially when the oldest is a girl – Martha was given a lot of responsibility early on. But of course, given the realities of the world that they lived in, the family pinned all of their hopes and dreams on the only son, on Lazarus. He was the one who had to succeed. Indeed his failure would destroy the fortunes of the entire family.       And that was a problem because, from an early age, Lazarus was rather sickly. His lungs were weak; he always seemed to come down with fever…

Paul of Tarsus: A journey from anger to compassion

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Hespeler, 5 February, 2017 © Scott McAndless Galatians 1:13-24, 2:11-14, Philippians 3:4b-11, Psalm 37:1-13 S aul of Tarsus was a very angry young man. When he first blasts onto the scene of the early Christian church in the Book of Acts he is described as “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” (Acts 9:1) His persecution of the church, which, by all the accounts, was ruthless and brutal, is probably the clearest example of what could happen when he allowed his anger to run away from him. But his anger was not, as we often assume, just connected to his rejection of what he saw as the new and heretical Christian faith.       Even after Saul encountered the risen Jesus for himself, embraced the Christian faith and even changed his name and started to be known as Paul, his anger could still burn very hot and could be destructive even though his passion was now directed towards the positive message of the Christian gospel.       We read this morning, in Paul’s ow…

Given recent anti-Muslim events, what is God calling me to do?

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Like so many of my friends, I have been deeply saddened by events that have taken place in just the past week that have had the effect of marginalizing Muslims and Muslim communities in Canada and in North America. How can Muslims feel anything but less safe in this country today? How can they feel anything but less welcome?

If there has been any ray of hope in the recent events -- the attack on a Mosque in Quebec City and the American immigration bans -- it has been in how people who deplored them have reacted. My heart has been greatly warmed as I heard and saw the huge numbers of people who flocked to airports and other places to protest the immigration ban. I have been encouraged to hear of Christians gathering in Quebec City and in other cities to pray and hold vigil on behalf of the murdered Muslims of Ste. Foy. I have rejoiced to hear of many who are raising funds and donating to bring comfort and healing to those affected. I thank God for these responses and signs of God's…