August 13, 2017 | We would like to extend a warm welcome back to Jim McKibbin for sharing a message with us every Sunday for the rest of August at Heritage United Church.
August 6, 2017 | The gospel story for this week is an old favourite about Jesus and his disciples that was told over and over again. It was told so many times that it has been recorded in all four gospels. This is the feeding of the 5,000.
The disciples wanted to send the crowds home because they were not equipped to take care of such a large number of people. They are in middle of nowhere. They had nothing more than two fish and five loaves of bread. They don’t have enough. They just don’t have enough to take care of all of these people.
Ever feel that way? Ever feel utterly overwhelmed by the world and your inability to do anything about it? Ever feel like you’re not enough?
July 30, 2017 | In our reading this week from the gospel of Matthew, Jesus takes the time to describe six parables. They are a series of snapshots taken from different perspectives. Each gives a little glimpse that adds to our understanding of God’s kingdom. They provide a new way to consider of seeing and doing things. Seeing heaven in a different way.
For most people I think I would be safe to suggest that it can be described as some far off place.
You might see it in your imagination as a favourite place that brings you peace and comfort. Like a beautiful white sandy beach with the water gently lapping on the shore.
And so this week Jesus uses a mustard seed, leaven, a buried treasure, a beautiful pearl and a net full of fish. The kingdom of heaven is like these, Jesus says. It is not so much something you can figure out or go out and find and you certainly don’t shop for it at a store or order it at amazon.ca.
July 23, 2017 | Weeds in the garden, it is a natural occurrence. We know that from our own gardens, right? Or if you have had the privilege of spending time on a farm, weeds grow. They do naturally but not in the parable we will hear this Sunday. Someone has deliberately planted weeds in their neighbours farm. It’s sabotage. Doesn't that sound outrageous to you? Can you imagine someone in your community going around to the surrounding farmers fields or community gardens planting weeds. That would be very poor form.
To make things even trickier is the type of weed that was scattered by this evil doer. It looked exactly like the wheat that had been planted by the farmer in the early growing stages. In other words, you didn’t know you had weeds in the garden until it was almost too late. When the farmer is notified though he tells his servants to just leave them where they are until the time of harvest.
July 16, 2017 | This Sunday at Heritage we meet a different kind of caregiver of the land, a rather peculiar one. I say this because usually when we hear about the work of a farmer they know about the soil. Certainly being out here in this farming community, there are many who have worked the land in your families for generations. You know good soil from bad soil and what you need to do to keep it that way.
Well, the sower from our reading in Matthew’s Gospel does not seem to follow along with the practices that farmers would follow. I am sure it would come across as wasteful and even foolish to those who first heard this. For we are told that quite apart from the best agricultural practices, this sower throws seeds on a well-worn path where birds can eat them, on rocky ground where it is unlikely that they will grow, and among thorns that will choke them.
I don’t know about you but I think it seems pretty obvious that this sower is anything but a good businessperson. He seems quite happy to just toss seeds everywhere and anywhere. Why does he do this?
July 9, 2017 | Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Rest is an essential thing in our lives. Too often, we run through life dashing to the next place to make the most out of the day. Jesus began his ministry by carrying the strain of many duties. As Jesus undertook his ministry, he continually focused on God’s purpose without getting sidetracked by what other people wanted or expected him to do. To take care of ourselves that is and not get so caught up in getting absolutely everything checked off our to do list before calling it a night.
July 2, 2017 | This weekend we celebrated the 150th Birthday of Canada and worshiped together sharing a selection of Canadian hymns. These hymns were old time favourites of years gone by and ones that have become available in more recent years.
What comes to mind for you when you think of church hymns? Are there particular ones that bring back memories of childhood days and participating in Sunday School? Or are those that remind you of a special time in your life? Our hope is that as we celebrate and reflect on what it means to be Canadian we can do so by reflecting on the beautiful music by a variety of Canadian artists.
June 25, 2017 | What we yearn for in life often seems forever beyond us. You want happiness and it seems one step ahead of you. How about wealth? There always seems to not be enough. Or Security? Just when you think you have it, it’s gone. And love? Ah yes, love especially. We set out to acquire love and all you end up with is a crippling preoccupation with self that holds you back from the fullness of life with others. Yet, strangely enough, when we don’t chase one of these things for its own sake, when we orient our lives elsewhere, what we had been yearning for often arrives anyway. We don’t find happiness, happiness finds us. We don’t grasp love. Love grasps us.
Which brings us to Jesus’ words we heard. “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” But in this reading there is more to it than that. Jesus is being more specific. He is preparing his followers for difficult days ahead.
June 18, 2017 | This Sunday we find Jesus with the first disciples showing them what role they are called to. Amidst a world crowded with struggle and need, a world confused by a less than ideal political reality and made up of social divisions. Jesus sees the crowds that are everywhere. They are tired, helpless and lost with no one to show them the way. And yet moving through the cities and villages of his day and time, situated in that place of overwhelming need, Jesus turns to the disciples and declares the harvest to be great and plentiful.
In light of the goodness and the love that over and around them lies, Jesus commissions the disciples to go out into their communities, among the crowds and to address the need.
June 11, 2017 | Life is really all about the relationships that we have, isn’t it? Those that nurture, provide, protect and enable us. Relationships, good and bad, give us the experiences in life that help us grow into the people we are.
In our gospel reading this Sunday, we find Jesus and his disciples. To establish and strengthen their relationship with one another, Jesus has taken them on a march from Galilee to Jerusalem and back again, wherever he perceived there was a need for healing and restoration. Now it is their turn to carry on and so he commissions them to go into the world and continue his ministry without him.