Sunday, November 20, 2016


See Robert Lentz talk about this icon here.
If you identify as Christian, tonight’s reading quite possibly made you angry—and I’m warning you now, this sermon might make you furious! For like the older brother in the Prodigal Son, many of us Christians find God’s generosity a bit hard to stomach. What on earth am I talking about? 

Well, as we just heard, Jesus is crucified between two criminals. One mocks him; the other acknowledges his own sinfulness and asks Jesus to remember him. Jesus replies, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” And what we hear is that one criminal died mocking and implicitly condemned; the other, having acknowledged his sin, died forgiven and was guaranteed a place in heaven. In other words, this second man never even gets to the field, let alone works a full day; and yet he receives the full reward. So the text has generated a lot of writing and a lot of sermons about Jesus’ scandalous act of forgiveness, since he forgave even the hardened criminal who, at the eleventh hour and while dying an excruciating death, turned to Jesus. Such forgiveness is certainly scandalous. But if we look closely, we might discover that it’s a lot more scandalous than that.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Keep Calm and Carry On

Is it the end of the world? A violent misogynist and serial liar, who shows naked contempt for women, people of colour, the democratic process, the office of the President, and the law; a man who deliberately muddies truth and fiction; a man who threatens to exclude 1.6 billion children of Abraham from his country simply because of their faith; a man who claims to represent the working class, yet flies in a gold-plated jet and pays no income tax himself; a man who feeds on and fuels the anger of a nation: this man has just been elected president of one of the biggest military powers on earth.

Then tomorrow night we will see a rare astronomical event: a perigee-syzygy, or a supermoon. This is when a full or new moon happens at the same time that the moon is closest in its orbit to the earth. This week’s full moon is the closest full moon the earth has seen since 1948: it will loom large in our skies. What with the violent threats of the president-elect of the United States, and the signs and portents in the skies, it would be easy to believe that the end of the world is nigh, and I am sure there will be preachers who will say so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

True Stories at the Zacchaeus Tree

On Sunday at Sanctuary, Joel Rothman reflected on Luke 19:1-27. Here is his reflection:

This is a very well-known story isn’t it? It only occurs in the Gospel of Luke, but it’s in all the children’s Bibles. Me and my kids were reading it in the children’s Bible recently. We talked about taxes and kings and tax collectors. We talked about why the people hated the tax collector. Was it fair that they hated him? Was it his fault that that was his job?
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