Easter 2022 – Sermon

Acts 10:34-43​
Psalm 118:1-2,14-24​​
1 Cor.  15:19-26
John 20:1-18
​​April 17, 2022
​ St. Mary’s Regina
Easter Day
Year C
Revd. Paula Foster

Alleluia!  He is Risen, the Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!   That’s our shout, our cry, our joyous exclamation today.  Three days after He died, the tomb is empty…..our Lord Jesus is risen!  It’s amazing, it’s baffling,  and yet it’s unbelievably true.  We celebrate The Resurrection of Jesus  along side millions of Christians throughout the world today.  We all know the story,..most of us have heard it all our lives, but do you believe it? Does it make you stop and think about your life and the way you live? What do you believe about God and about Jesus…about the cross……and about the empty tomb?  (Pause)

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Good Friday 2022 – Sermon

Good Friday is the most significant day that we remember or reflect on the only moment when humanity and God were reconciled in a drastic process of love, forgiveness of sin, and the death of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God whose ministry has revealed God to humanity. 

This is even a simplistic representation of the theme of the cross for us because Christians have no consensus on how the death of Christ has reconciled us to God or led to the forgiveness of our sins. After reading William Placher’s book, Jesus the Saviour, this week I was struck by his remarkable discovery: “the Christian tradition has never taken an ‘official’ position on how Christ’s death helps save us” (p. 113). For this reason, John Calvin has acknowledged a plurality of possibilities: “If the death of Christ be our redemption, then we were captives; if it be satisfaction, we were debtors; if it be atonement (reconciliation), we were guilty; if it be cleansing, we were unclean” (113, emphasis added). 

I would like us to approach our preaching today through the atonement (reconciliation) perspective, in view of the same theme in Leviticus 16 (I encourage you to read this chapter at your free time).

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Maundy Thursday, 2022 – Sermon

Maundy Thursday   St. Mary’s Regina    Rvd. Paula Foster

April 14, 2022

​This is a holy, sacred time and a holy, sacred place.   This time and place are both holy and sacred because of two gifts that God has given each one of us.  The first of these gifts is the ability to remember.  What would we be if we could not remember the events, people and places we encounter in our lives?  We’d be only creatures who react out of instinct for self-preservation like any other animal.  

​But because we CAN remember, we are not just creatures of the present, but people with a past and memories that influence, guide and shape our lives in the present and for the future.  We remember the joys and the sorrows of our upbringing, of our growing up and going out into the world.  At a deeply fundamental level, our memories root us and help us define who we are as people.  We become separated from ourselves without our memory and that is part of the tragedy of diseases that destroy our ability to remember.  

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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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