28 February 2016

Vestry Sunday 28 February 2016

Charge to Vestry by Stuart Pike
The Parish Church of St. Luke.
Photo Credit: Sandy Darling, Christ's Church Cathedral

21 February 2016

Lent 2 C 2016 by Elliott Siteman

Lent 2 C 2016 sermon by Elliott Siteman
Photo Credit: Helen Haden on Flickr.com

14 February 2016

Lent 1 C 2016 - Temptation in the Wilderness

Lent 1 C 2016
Sermon by Stuart Pike - Temptation
Photo Credit: JimSideas on Flickr.com

10 February 2016

Ash Wednesday 2016

Ash Wednesday 2016
Sermon preached by the Rev. Sheila Plant.
Written by the Rev. Margaret Rose
Photo by Lawrence O.P on Flickr.com

07 February 2016

Tranfiguration 2016

Transfiguration 2016 - the Last Sunday after Epiphany

Sermon by the Rev. Elliott Siteman.

Sermon Text:

Sermon for the Last Sunday after Epiphany - Transfiguration Sunday
7 February 2016
Parish Church of St. Luke, Burlington, ON

May only truth be offered here this day, and may only truth be received; in the name of God: Father (+), Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The internet is a fascinating place. You can find absolutely everything and anything there. With a few clicks of the keys you can find anything you want instantly. One of the great blessings and curses of the internet is how fast it works.  At one moment it can be an amazing resource to help  us learn about the world and in that same instant it can further the cause of the desire for instant gratification.

But there is such a vast amount of content that sometimes it takes years to find something truly remarkable, or sometimes it take years to simply stumble over something that can truly blow your mind wide open.

This week, as I was sitting at my computer at home, tending to a sick child I found, stumbled upon just such a thing.  It is a video posted some three years ago of some of the finest current East Coast musicians singing a song.  The video is set in a place I know very well - the Granville Mall in Halifax.  Granville Mall is an outdoor area with shops on either side and you walk on some of the original cobblestones that were what passed for streets in the early days of Halifax.

Now a video of East Coast Musicians singing a song is not all that mind blowing - though the talent that is inherent in that part of the world is quite undeniable, with performers like Rose Cousins, Paper Lions, Repartee, and Old Man Luedeke (if you’ve never heard of any of these performers I would strongly suggest you look them all up).  No, not THAT they were singing… it was WHAT they were singing that completely stunned me.

They were singing, with love, joy, and amazing talent a song by the late Gene MacLellan (himself a giant of East Coast Music), entitled “Put Your Hand in the Hand”. You all know it:

Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the waters
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself and you can look at the others differently
By puttin' your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee

It is a beautiful Gospel song about walking alongside Jesus, going where he leads, and putting your trust in him.  It is a song about self-reflection.  It is a song of faith.

And there, on the old cobbles of Halifax, sang this group of performers this song that – to my mind sums up the nature of our faith.  They sang it without fear, without embarrassment, they sang with – could it have been? – love and devotion.  Could it have been an invitation?

This group of performers, for me, are the epitome of what the transfiguration is all about.  We hear the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the Last Sunday after Epiphany because the season of Epiphany is all about revelation and seeing things in new ways and being surprised by what we learn.  The season of Epiphany is all about seeing ourselves in new ways and being surprised what what we learn.

In the Gospel story we hear today Peter, James, and John see Jesus in a whole new way, they see him speaking with the great Law Bringer, Moses and the great Prophet, Elijah and in that moment Jesus becomes the fulfillment of both.  Jesus renews the covenant on this mountain top, Jesus becomes the embodiment of the Law, in that it is his Word, his example that should guide the lives of all who follow him.  He also becomes the personification of prophetic truth in that it is through him and his teaching that the whole world can find a better way to live, a way that brings about the kingdom.

Peter wants to live in this glorious moment forever.  He has no intention of going down the mountain, he wants to revel in the presence of these great people, he offers to build homes so that they would not have to depart.

God has other plans.

Those plans are inherent in what Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were talking about, they “were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”  God's eye, and Jesus eye is fixed on Jerusalem.  This mountain-top experience is all well and good but now there is work to be done.  Now they must move on to something truly difficult, painful, and horrific.

Jesus does not react with fear, or with hesitation, he has been given his mission and it is one that he means to accomplish.  But, of course, he cannot accomplish it alone.  Thus God speaks to Peter, James, John, and ultimately God speaks to us here today, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

This is our call to go forth, with our hand in the hand of the man from Galilee and do amazing things.  Things that will be difficult, painful, and sacrificial. Things that will be life-giving, powerful, and full of God's love.

We cannot, we should not, we dare not stay on our mountain-tops in fear of what is to come.  We are to be like CBC Music's All Star Choir and launch ourselves out into this world without hesitation, without fear, without embarrassment and sing.  Sing for all the world to hear that we do what we do through the love of God and that love is for all people. 

The days of Lent are all to quickly upon us, we have reveled in the joys of the Epiphany, recognized that Jesus is with us, that the Son of God is our teacher, leader, and friend, and now it is time to start the work of faith, the work of love, the work of  God.

When we are able to do that, to live with our fears, put aside our preconceptions, venture out of our comfort-zones it is then that we too can step out onto the cobblestones of this world and joyfully invite those around us to:

Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the waters
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself and you can look at the others differently
By puttin' your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee


CBC Music's All Star Choir sang “Put Your Hand in the Hand” by Gene MacLellan
In Concert at Granville Mall (outdoors), Halifax, March 08, 2013

Featuring CBC Radio 2's Tom Power, Rose Cousins, Old Man Luedecke, Mo Kenney, The Sanctified Brothers, Paper Lions, Anna Ludlow, Repartee, Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble, Reeny Smith and Katherine Shore.