January 20, 2020

God Reveals His Plan Of Salvation In Jesus (Epiphany 2 Year A)

I had a humbling epiphany moment early Sunday as I was hurriedly typing the Preface for Epiphany into the laptop I use in celebrating the Eucharist - the Readings for the season of Epiphany reveal who Jesus is and God’s plan of salvation. I added a phrase in the car, revised it in my head and as I taught: 
·     We are living in a culture that is unhappy, confused, lost and seeking meaning and new life. 
·     Readings describe three Epiphany moments when Gods plan of salvation was revealed
·     Isaiah prophecies’ in Babylon that God will raise up a servant who will give Israel new life 
·     John realizes that Jesus is the “lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world” and give us new life. (1.29) 
·     Paul describes the new life of  “grace given to you in Jesus Christ”. (1 Cor. 1.4) 

1. Isaiah learned how God would gave the Israelites new life 

January 4, 2020

Right Way Forward For Conservatives (political comment by Fr. John Gishler)

What conservatives should have learned from seizing defeat from the jaws of electoral victory in the 2019 election is that they had the wrong leader chosen through a defective selection process defending the wrong platform with the wrong marketing strategy. It was not just the leader’s fault so just putting a new face in place quickly is not the right way forward. The National Council has appointed a committee to oversee the selection process so let us hope they get it right this time. The basic flaw was too many candidates for proper scrutiny and a lack of clear criteria by which to judge candidates. Let me propose the following candidate ability and experience criteria, based on a wide review of media comment. In addition to already being a fluently bilingual established leader, candidates must have ability and experience in:

  • ·      Defining and defending modern conservatism
  • ·      Defining and defending a modern conservative social platform
  • ·      Defining and defending a modern conservative fiscal platform

1. Defining and Defending Modern Conservatism

December 20, 2019

Christ's Mass Is A Birthday Celebration (Christmas)

I was trying to figure out a way to explain our Christmas service to some very young children.  I realized that what we do in church to celebrate our Faith in Jesus is the same as what we do at a child’s birthday party. We invite their friends and family to gather for a meal and celebrate the child’s birth. Christ’s Mass – the first Mass or Holy Communion service of Christmas has all the same elements:
1.     We invite friends and family to gather
2.     We talk about the person
3.     We renew relationships, sing, pray have special food
4.     We go home with a special gift

1. We invite our friends and family to gather

December 17, 2019

Christmas Bible Study

Opening Prayer, Introduction

Christmas, Easter and Pentecost are the most important festivals in the Christian year of teachings. At Christmas we celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus as the coming of God into the world. On Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as a sign of our own resurrection. On Pentecost we celebrate the Holy Spirit of Jesus being poured out on all believers.

Christmas is preceded by the four Sundays of Advent during which Christians prepare for the coming of Jesus. Our first reading from Isaiah is a prophecy – words given to Isaiah directly from God over 500 years before the birth of Jesus. The part we read is the good news in a book that is mostly a warning to the people of Israel to turn from their rebellious and sinful ways. They ignored this warning and were overrun by other nations including Babylon and many were taken into captivity for 40 years. This prophecy gave those in exile – and us, hope of a better future.

November 14, 2019

We Grow Spiritually As We Overcome Lies, Temptations and Persecution (Proper 33)

 In the Gospel Reading (Luke 21.5-19) Jesus is asked about the End Times. He gives a warning about false teachers and persecution. The Good News is that the Holy Spirit will guide and strengthen believers so they can overcome both false teachers and persecution. This helps us grow spiritually.

1. Our lives on Earth are a time of spiritual testing and growth

November 12, 2019

Don Cherry God Moment - Canada's Archie Bunker

A normally very quiet and spiritual woman at our prayer group suddenly blurted our "He's an A..hole" We all laughed and nodded in agreement. Then the Holy Spirit managed to get a word in. Our leader said "I think we should pray for Don Cherry." There was a bit of confusion as we all pried our minds off judgmental ism and onto spiritual things. The result was the realization that judgment and negative thinking is always spiritually destructive to everyone. We also realized that all of us are racist to a lesser or greater degree. We all need to repent, ask Jesus to bear our sin and give us forgiveness to free us from this bondage. On deeper reflection I saw the good news that always comes out of the bad news. Don Cherry is like Archie Bunker who helped a whole generation see how ridiculous, foolish and hilarious racism and bigotry looks to others. He used the power of love and humour to overcome the hidden fear and insecurity that drives racism. I don't know Don Cherry, but Jesus does and whether he did it accidentally or deliberately, Jesus still loves him and will thank him for showing us how unforgiving we are and how foolish and ridiculous bigotry and racism is in Canada. We love you, we thank you and we pray for you Don.

October 17, 2019

We Are Called to Persist in Our Historic Faith (Proper 29C)

The Readings call us to repent our collective failure as a church to proclaim the historic Gospel and to persist like the widow and Timothy in teaching the Faith that was handed down to us. We need to recognize our place as a Church that has been marginalized and in effect exiled as irrelevant to the culture. Like the Hebrews in exile we need to call on our leadership to repent and be more persistent in proclaiming and sharing our historical Faith.

1. The widow refused to give up in her quest for justice