March 30, 2012

Palm Sunday Is the Roll-out Of the New Covenant

  •  Chose these powerful and exciting Palm Sunday Readings for my Ordination 20 years ago
  •  Words ‘set His face like flint’ gave me the courage to seek ordination
  •  Roll-out: new word for introducing a new program / computer system
  • Readings roll-out - reveal who Jesus is, how to respond & how to celebrate
  • I pause at Eucharist Prayer words “New Covenant” to let them sink in - very dramatic moment

1.     On Palm Sunday Jesus reveals who He is publicly
a.     The disciples had begun to see this but were still  confused
b.     Many people had figured it out when He raised Lazarus
c.     Riding a donkey into Jerusalem was a claim to authority
d.     This was a claim to the religious authority of the Messiah
e.     Riding a horse would be a claim to political authority
f.      Even the crowd figured it out as fulfillment of prophecy
g.     Revelation includes quoting the Isaiah 57 Prophecy and throwing the money changers out of Temple – “my Fathers’ house”

2.     Jesus defines the New Covenant

March 17, 2012

We Are Saved By Grace Received Through Faith

  •  God’s grace saved the rebellious Hebrews from physical death as they trusted God and gazed at the image of the snake on a pole.
  • John 3.16 promises faith saving “whoever believed in Him” (Jesus)
  • It is important to know how this really works – what it means to us
 1. What do we mean by being saved?
    1. Photo of ‘Safeway saves you more sign’ in Edmonton
    2. Paul -“you were all dead in your transgressions” (Ep. 2.1)
    3. Problem is God is holy and separated from the unholy
    4. Any rebellion against God’s Commandments is sin
    5. Augustine taught ‘Original Sin’ – born in sin and w/o hope which we can interpret as a dangerous tendency to sin
    6. Pelagius (c 400) debate ended in heresy charge for teaching rational humans could save themselves by a perfect life
    7. Pelagianism has re-surfaced in our time in Liberal Theology that denies the need for repentance and for God’s grace
    8. Good News is that God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Ep. 2.5)
    9. ‘Saved’ means being saved from separation from God (i.e. hell), receiving the Holy Spirit and eternal spiritual life

March 3, 2012

Jesus Made a New Covenant Based on Love

·         Readings begin with the Covenant of Abraham and end with the Covenant of Jesus we celebrate in The Eucharist
·         Need to understand the meaning of a covenant with God
·         Need to realize that the bottom line is a love relationship
·         Lent is a good time to examine our own relationship with God – more than tokenism - like giving up chocolate

1.    What is a Covenant?
a.    A special type of agreement with God - God initiates
b.    Both parties promises to do something
c.    Abraham had to “walk before me faithfully and be blameless” (Genesis 17.2)
                                            i.    Love God - loyalty to one God vs. many gods
                                           ii.    Love others - good behaviour towards others
                                          iii.    Notice it is all about an attitude of the heart
                                          iv.    Pharisees / Teachers of Law substituted rules
d.    God provided land, children and prosperity
                                            i.    Can see in the history of the Jews – prosperity