Sermons by Rev. Dr. Jeff Seaton
the paradox at the heart of our tradition, that our God is a merciful judge; that the one who preaches a way that is narrow has a love that reaches wide; the one who is all powerful walks each day beside us.
These stories are a wake-up call for us, a reminder to keep awake to what God has done.
This time of big change in our church is an opportunity for us to re-centre ourselves in the radical heart of our faith, this story of a powerful, saving, reconciling love that knows no limits.
Church is a holy mess. And it always has been. We come as patches of the quilt, willing to be formed into God’s beautiful tapestry.
This is part of that countercultural, alternative reality I keep talking about. How the church is very unlike the world.
Our opportunity today is to recover this sense of what the church is, an outpost of the kingdom of heaven, a community unlike any other, a place where God’s will is done on earth, as in heaven.
Here’s the thing to remember: God’s love is not mere sentiment; it’s much, much more than a sentiment.
I’ve come to believe that how we answer these two questions—Who is Jesus? and What is the purpose of the Church?—is of fundamental importance to us as a church.
It may seem scary at first, but we need to trust that it is also exciting. It can be exciting for us to rekindle our faith, and to see how knowing Jesus is transforming the lives of people who are new to us.
The challenge, the task for us is to find a way to retrieve or recover a healthy connection to the treasures of our tradition: the kinds of things that we do when we gather here each Sunday, through the prayers and the singing, the sacraments and Scripture, through an encounter with the Holy Spirit, the risen Christ, the living God.
Our calling is not to be popular. It is to be faithful stewards of the Gospel.
Our job is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.
This is Good News for us because it means that God is with us wherever we go, that God joins us in every venture God calls us to, and that God indeed will provide.
The Pentecost story of speaking new languages is a reminder to us of how the Spirit gifts us and empowers us to do what we otherwise couldn’t do, or wouldn’t do.
Sharing our story is at the heart of what we are about as a Christian community.
I think it’s time for us to go deeper into our own story, to seek direction from that story, to seek our purpose there.
If every time we gathered in this sanctuary we knew, with some level of confidence if not certainty, that the risen Christ was really present, not just as an idea or source of inspiration, but really present like on the Emmaus road.
We can allow our lives and our world to be cracked open to allow the Good News in: God has raised the crucified Jesus from the dead, and nothing in our world need ever be the same again.
God is bigger than our science, and God is bigger than our theorizing about God, and we must not let those things — our thoughts and categories — blind us to what God is doing among us.
Like the woman at the well, I too have a past that I am reluctant to speak of.
Lent is a season that brings our identity as Christians into conflict with our identity as consumer-citizens.
The whole point of the season of Epiphany is to point us toward a clear understanding of Jesus’ identity. It’s to help us to see who Jesus is, and how Jesus is a manifestation – an epiphany – of God.
Our faith story tells us that what is impossible for us is possible for God.
Sometimes things get in the way of our shining. Our light gets hidden under one or another bushel basket.
The cross reminds us that we are not called to self-sufficiency, and we are not called to worldly success. We are called to solidarity with the God who meets us on the cross in Jesus.
Well, here we are in church on Christmas eve. Gathered together to hear once again this most precious story, about a most precious baby, whose birth and life—and later, whose death and resurrection—reveal to us the preciousness of all life. That we are here in church on Christmas Eve—stopping to hear the story, to sing favourite carols, and to share in the wonder of this night with friends and family, loved ones, neighbours, and strangers—that we are able to do…
The story of Joseph, and his willingness to have his life upended in the service of love; to risk mockery and the disapproval of his mates as the cost of standing up for the vulnerable and unprotected; to put his whole life in the service of what God is trying to do in the world—this story is another invitation to us.
Think of something you can do that lets you step out of practices that reinforce boundaries and privilege, and into practices that challenge those kinds of boundaries.