Palm Sunday, 2022 – Sermon

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Luke 22:14-23:56 
April 10, 2022
St. Mary’s Regina 
Palm Sunday
Year C
Revd. Paula Foster

​Anyone visiting us today might wonder what we are doing because our liturgy is quite different this morning from at any other time of the year.  You were handed a palm branch (or a palm cross) as you came in the doors. There are two gospel readings; one that tells of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the other covering the events of several days in time. 

There is much happening this morning because today marks the beginning of Holy Week, the most important week within the Christian church. Christians all over the world come together this week to reflect on and participate in the events of the final week of our Lord Jesus’ life. 

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Lent 5, 2022 – Sermon

How do you feel about extravagance?  Extravagant gifts, extravagant gestures?  Lent may seem like an odd time to talk about extravagance, but really, isn’t Lent about extravagance in the other direction?  In Lent we are called to an extra level of self-abnegation – to more intentional prayer and fasting, to giving our attention to God, and our physical lives, our time, our talent and our treasure, to the needs of the world around us.  In Lent, we are called, in fact, into extravagance.

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Lent 2, 2022 – Sermon

Last Sunday morning before the service began, Paula asked me how I was doing.  And I told her that I had been feeling sad because in these times of the church year when I most wish for time and space to be quiet and contemplative, I am instead most busy.  Probably I am fooling myself that if I didn’t have tasks to perform or events to attend during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent that I would spend more time meditating on the Word or in quiet contemplation and prayer.  But I do feel longing at these times for those practices.

What is Lent for?  I was trying to imagine what the cultural understanding of Lent looks like these days.  I think if you asked most people outside of the Church what Lent was, they wouldn’t have heard of it at all.  Those who have might talk about giving up chocolate or meat, eating fish on Fridays.  Maybe if they are really informed, they might talk about giving alms or acts of service. 

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Lent 1, 2022 – Sermon

First Sunday in Lent – March 6, 2022. St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Regina. 

We thank God for his protection, enabling us to enter safely into the season of Lent. In Lent we preach and learn about certain preparations for the upcoming season of Easter because we havecompleted witnessing great signs of the inbreaking and revelation of the kingdom of God into human history during the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.

While the focus in our Anglican liturgical and preaching calendar is Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God whose birth, ministry, death and resurrection reconcile humanity with God, Lent particularly zooms into the description about how our life should emulate Jesus Christ and his suffering for others, thereby giving us a glimpse into Christ’s life and ministry as the benchmark of Christian teaching on discipline and discipleship. We will talk about discipline today.

Christian discipline is a thoughtful process of spiritual training, correction and practice that results in transformation of heart and behaviour and enables us learn about how we shouldinteract with and understand God.

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Quinquagesima 2022 – Sermon

Exodus 34:29-35​​
Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Luke 9:28-43a
February 27, 2022
St. Mary’s Regina
Transfiguration Sunday
Year C
Revd. Paula Foster

From our first reading this morning we hear these words: “when Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses (returning from the mountain), the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him.” From the gospel of Luke we hear these words: “And while Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became dazzling white…and the disciples were afraid.”  Both men climb a mountain; Moses by himself and Jesus with three close companions. Both men encounter God.  Moses returns with physical evidence of his conversation…..the 10 Commandments carved in stone and a face that shone with a brightness that was hard to look at.  Jesus has witnesses, but they are terrified by what they saw and heard and kept silent about it all until a later time. 

Obviously, coming face to face….having an encounter with God changes us.  It results in a transfiguration that is difficult if not impossible to explain.  I suspect that it can be intimidating to look into eyes that have seen God’s glory….seen the world as God sees the world…..seen us as God sees us. Moses’ face shone because “the Lord had been speaking to him.” 

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Sexagesima 2022 – Sermon

Classical economic theory tells us that, if left to their own devices, markets will balance themselves out — supply meeting demand — because the humans in those markets are rational beings who will behave in their own self-interest by making decisions based on reason.   It amazes me that anyone who has actually met another human being could espouse such a theory in good conscience and with a straight face, but somehow or other this idea has managed to hang on more or less up until the present age.

In my opinion, classical economic theory is more useful as a model you can hold up against actual economies to see just how far off the mark you are about people acting rationally.  Personally, I’m much more interested in behavioural economics, as developed in the 60s and 70s by Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman.  Tversky and Kahneman developed a number of concepts that describe the ways in which people make irrational choices.  The availability heuristic, for example, says that people tend to believe things they’ve heard stories about are more common than they really are.  Like if you hear a story about a shark attack, it sticks in your mind, and you think shark attacks must happen all the time.  But you’re not stacking up the story you heard against the thousands of people who go into the ocean every day and aren’t attacked by sharks.  We are much more moved by a good story than by data.

Jesus in Luke chapter 6 is giving us his speech as the chief economist of the Kingdom of God.  If rationality states that when someone punches you in the eye, the fair thing is for them to stand still while you return the favour, the economy Jesus is describing here is based on a principle of abundance, not balanced ledgers.  “Love your enemies.  Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you.  Pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn to them the other also.”  I ask you, is this rational?  Is this an example of supply balancing with demand?

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Septuagesima 2022 – Sermon

Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 11
Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 6:17-26
February 13,2022
St. Mary’s Regina
Epiphany 6
Year C

            I have been to the Holy Land.  Six years ago, the clergy of the Diocese of Saskatoon went together on a pilgrimage to see the land where Jesus lived and taught.  I saw for myself how much of Jerusalem can be seen from the Mount of Olives and whether the Jordan is a rushing river or a flowing stream.  I saw the physical land around Tiberias where tradition holds that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (according to Matthew) or the Sermon on the Plain (according to Luke).  It is the same sermon recorded in three of the gospels and in my mind there is a difference between a mountain and a plain.

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Epiphany 5, 2022 – Sermon

Isaiah 6:1-13
Psalm 138
1 Cor. 15:1-11
Luke 15:1-11  
February 6, 2022
St. Mary’s Regina
Epiphany V
Year C

            There have been a few glitches in my life this week.  I won’t list them, but I was unexpectedly called to preach this morning because of illness. So in full disclosure, I have borrowed a large portion of this morning’s message, written by Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor,in her book “Home by Another Way” pp 39-41. 

Have you ever had a day when no matter what you tried, you could not get your work done?  A day when all your plans and schemes and lists and organization skills were in place and still, at the end of the day, you had nothing to show for all your hard work? Do you remember the feelings you felt?  Were you discouraged, frustrated, angry and tired?  Were  there other people depending on you and so they felt let down?  Our failures often have a domino effect on other folks.  That is what has happened to Simon and James and John and unnamed others…the village fishermen…when they pushed their boats onto Lake Gennesaret to go fishing.  

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Epiphany 4, 2022 – Sermon

Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71: 1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30
January 30, 2022
St. Mary’s Regina
Epiphany 4
Year C 

            Faith, hope and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is Love.  Faith, hope and love…these three remain…outlast all other things, but the greatest of these is Love. These words are beautiful words, familiar words. They hold a truth that most of us appreciate and value. The truth is that love is very powerful.  

L-O-V-E is one of the most over used words in our English language.  We use the word Love to describe the things in our life for which we feel passion and there is quite a range of things that we love.  We love certain foods, sports, activities, books and of course, people.  I love chocolate and I love my family but the two feelings are hardly comparable.  And yet we use the same four letter word to describe them both. 

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