August 29, 2015

Religious People Are Not Always Spiritual People

Jesus is teaching us the difference between Religious people and Spiritual people. Religious people are like the Pharisees who were so prideful of keeping the Law, they had no time or energy left to love God, the Law giver. The Readings warn us to seek a personal love relationship with God (righteousness); over perfect religious practice.

1. Song of Songs (2.8-13) is an erotic love poem

This at first may seem out of place in the Bible – particularly if you had a female professor of Old Testament explain that the references to animals, mountains, fruits and lily pads are interpreted as parts of the male and female anatomy. We recoil in horror because we are so ‘head focussed’ instead of ‘heart focussed’. This is of course the point. God is all knowing - and not interested in an intellectual relationship with us. What God wants is a passionate, emotional love relationship.

August 21, 2015

We All Hunger For The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit (Proper 21)

For the past three weeks churches using the Common Lectionary have been studying the same passage in John’s Gospel (6.25-69) which is about Jesus as the “bread of life” that feeds our eternal spiritual life. Jesus is using the historical experience of the Hebrews in depending on God to keep them physically alive with mana; to explain how Christians must depend on Jesus gto keep them spiritually alive both in this life and after physical death. The key is our dependence on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. This is the opposite from the (false) hope many people in our time have in “self-salvation” through good works or good moral behaviour. Self-salvation is the greatest lie of our time.

 For over twenty years I have been working with generally declining Anglican churches to help them find the key to stopping the decline, thrive, grow and be more spiritually nourishing. Last week I had an epiphany moment after a particularly nourishing and uplifting experience WITH the tiny (14 people) congregation in Sundre, Alberta. I asked myself why was this experience so spiritually nourishing? What is so different about this congregation?

 1. These people regularly depend on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

August 14, 2015

The One Who Feeds On Me Will Live (have spiritual life) - Proper 20

The Gospel of John Readings assigned for Propers 18-20 – four weeks of teaching, all cover the same central idea of Jesus as ‘the bread of life’. This is probably the most important – and hardest teaching of Jesus to understand. It is a summing up of the New Covenant of Jesus all the way from the Hebrews experience under Moses to the Pentecost experience of the first Christians. The subject is how to have a personal spiritual life that will last forever, including after our physical bodies die.

 1. Jesus explains He is like the mana that came from heaven
This is another example of using a visible and physical thing to explain an invisible and spiritual thing. The Bible teaches us that when the Hebrew people wandered in the desert for 40 years God provided a strange, powdery / flakey substance that formed on the ground in the morning and had to be gathered and eaten each day.

August 8, 2015

Why Is Working With Other Churches Important to St. Edmund’s? (Bow-Mont Ministerial Service, Aug. 9, 2015)


In writing to the Christian community in Corinth, the Apostle Paul said
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

We are all baptized into the same spiritual body. This body is more effective when all the parts – all the churches, work together. People in our time are isolated and confused about religion. They are seeking community, fellowship and meaning in their lives. We call this ‘spiritual life’. But what do the un-churched see? They often see churches breaking into smaller and smaller fragments – and fighting over minor theological issues. The message we send out is that nobody really knows the truth about Jesus – so why bother attending church?

August 1, 2015

Jesus New Covenant Unites Us In His Spiritual Body (Proper 18)

The Readings help us understand how the new Covenant of Jesus helps us grow and mature together into the spiritual body of Jesus. They began with the Prophet Nathan rebuking David for “despising God” and breaking the Covenant of Moses in his acts of adultery and murder. In the Gospel (John 6.24-35) Jesus declares a new covenant, that adds to the teaching of the Moses Covenant, describing Himself as the bread of heaven that gives life to the world. Finally in Ephesians (4.1-16) the Apostle Paul urges us to grow up into the joy of maturity in our spiritual life as part of the spiritual body of Jesus.

 1. Covenants with God are serious and have consequences
Covenants have two parts – what we do; and what God does. In the Covenant of Moses the people were to love God and their neighbour as defined in the Ten Commandments. In return God promised land, children, prosperity and protection from enemies.