High River United Church of High River, Alberta
     

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  Date: Sunday, September 09, 2018       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 17 mins 20 secs    
  Description: Ever since I was a young boy, I have had the sense of a wider and divine presence moving within and all around me. When I could, I would take up residence in one of my two special trees. There, I could sit and ponder life, the universe and everything as only a 10-year-old could. The trees offered me a safe place, a quiet place and a restful place where I could feel the presence of God with me and at the same time, feel my soul replenished. To this day, I can only refer to those childhood moments as full of grace. They were moments that sparked my capacity to imagine, to dream, to wonder, to simply see the goodness of creation as the sunlight dappled its way through the leaves. These moments remain precious to me and of course, they only hold meaning for me and my spiritual path. But, what I can say is that time sitting in the tree was not only a safe and spiritual place, it was the place where my call to ministry was slowly taking root. It was the very beginning of a journey that led me to a life of service within the Christian community or to use Paul’s words, a call to participate in what God is doing, striving to excel in building up my spiritual gifts for the good of the church (I Cor.14:12). Over the years my understandings of the Divine and the significance of the Christian community have continued to shift, grow and hopefully mature. I remain steadfast in my decision to advance the role and place of the faith community in service to the world around it. Our Biblical tradition and our denominational heritage are both quite clear that congregations are not designed to be a passive audience gathered on a Sunday morning with the soul purpose to be entertained or be pleased. Rather, the congregation is an active agent of Christian faith that exists to offer healing, justice, compassion, light and love to its members and the world around it as informed by the ancient Hebrew writings and the wisdom and teaching of Jesus. Chapter 14 in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is exactly about that. He is admonishing the church in Corinth to pay more attention to what it means to strengthen the spiritual gifts that serve the good of the congregation—that is, the good of the whole so that it can provide for its members and those it serves in the wider community. As we begin the Fall, I am convinced that congregational life matters more and more to our well-being. It matters that we be together in Christian love to: foster community, tend to relationships, pray together, rest in the presence of the Divine, share meals together and offer care to one another. I had a couple of parents from the Priddis area in a little while ago who wanted to see me about their 22-year-old adopted son. At the end of our time together they wanted to pay me. I said, my congregation makes it possible for me to be with you. Please consider a donation to High River United Church. In the last year I expect that Susan and I have provided approximately 400 hours of one on one pastoral care appointments where we provide all manner of support for relationships, those grieving, suffering addiction, and enduring personal challenges. I share this because, the need is great and seems to be increasing. People need to be heard and truly listened to. A faith community most often is the only place where someone can truly be heard and be surrounded by the presence of others when they are most alone.
  Date: Sunday, September 02, 2018       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 15 mins 24 secs    
  Description: On August 20, CBC reported about a fleet of 20 combines in formation along with more than 100 volunteers in Milestone, SK. They were harvesting the crop of durum wheat belonging to the family of Brian William, who died after being hospitalized during the onset of the harvest season. The grieving family was reticent to ask for help, but after some consideration they relented. Family friend Jeff Brown organized an event of grace and gratitude that he will never forget. 258 hectares of crop were harvested in a matter of hours. This image has stayed with me because it tells me that humans have such capacity to offer compassion and generosity in ways that heal the human heart and show the world how to make a difference in the lives of those who are vulnerable. In gospel terms, compassionate and generous acts are the embodiment of the Kingdom of God. The gifts of generosity and compassion in Milestone, Saskatchewan are not predicated on the colour of one’s combine, the amount of horsepower and capacity, how long one’s been farming, or any other form of inherit merit. All that fades away in order to create room for the profound gifts of compassion and generosity which, according to today’s gospel story about the vineyard, surpass even fairness. The landowner hires labourers early in the day, then at 9:00 AM and again at 5:00 PM. Here’s a landowner who is trying to make a difference. He see’s people standing idle—because there’s no work to be had. In fact, idleness is a theological and moral issue for the people of Jesus’ time. It is something to be addressed and solved because the Judeo-Christian tradition values meaningful, joyful and purposeful work. As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “There is nothing better for mortals than to eat, drink, and find enjoyment in their toil.” As I read Matthew’s story from the vineyard, I found myself connecting with those standing idle in the marketplace enduring unemployment or underemployment and likely the dulling absence of enjoyment in their toil. During the day, the landowner’s generosity and compassion show up 3 times in the market place and provide work for those standing idle. At they end of the day they are all given the same wage which causes disgruntlement. At first the issue seems to be one of fairness and to be honest it’s understandable. Yet, this is a story not about fairness. It’s about helping us realize that God offers compassion and generosity to everyone who works in the vineyard regardless of the number of hours worked. The gospel’s wisdom goes beyond convention and invites us to fix our gaze on the goodness of God who is generous to all.
  Date: Sunday, August 26, 2018       Teacher: Rev. Susan Lukey     Duration: 20 mins 57 secs    
Passage: Luke 18:1-17    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: A widow, a tax collector, children, and a rich young ruler. These are the characters of four of Jesus’ parables that the gospel writer, Luke, places together to share what he believes about Jesus. Like any great storyteller, which he was, Jesus would have told these stories on many occasions to many different audiences. But you don’t write a book or a gospel by repeating the same stories over and over, so Luke chooses this point in the gospel to share these stories and he groups them together, along with a story about a rich young ruler. Luke ends this group of stories with the disciples asking a question: “Then who can be part of your kingdom?” Let’s back up to the previous chapter (remember the chapters and verse were added later and are not in the oldest manuscripts – they are one person’s idea of what stories go together, so it is good to look beyond the chapter we are reading to get a broader view of the story.) In the verses leading up to these stories, we hear this introduction: (Luke 17:20-21) Once Jesus was asked by the pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” And then, after a bit longer explanation of this introduction, we are presented with the stories: a widow, a tax collector, a group of children, and a rich young ruler. What an interesting collection of people. The widow, the tax collector and the children are ones who were on the sidelines of society at the time. They wouldn’t count for much or have any status or power. In fact, the tax collector would be considered a traitor of his faith and his people. Yet, each of these – the widow, the tax collector and the children – are honoured and valued in these stories. They are held up as models for what it means to be part of the kingdom of God.
  Date: Sunday, August 19, 2018       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 20 mins 21 secs    
Passage: Luke 10:25-37    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: Do this and you will live. Go and do likewise. These are Jesus’ words as he responds to the young lawyer. I think we need to pay attention to Jesus’ very flat, plain speak. Referring to the transaction between the young Lawyer and Jesus, one commentator says, “Asking questions for the purpose of gaining an advantage over another is not a kingdom exercise. Neither is asking questions with no intention of implementing the answers. The goal of witnessing or of theological conversation is not to outwit another…” (Craddock, Luke: Interpretation, p. 150) But of course that is what the young lawyers is trying to do. He is posturing. He trying to spar intellectually with Jesus and turn the whole transaction into an academic game. And of course, he is bright. He knows the wisdom of the Law and in fact answers his own questions… correctly. Jesus doesn’t disagree with him. However, having the right answers doesn’t mean that this young lawyer knows God. Jesus stops the banter and gets the young lawyer off his high horse by telling him to go and do likewise. It’s fine to have the right knowledge. It’s not fine to do nothing with it. Jesus chooses not to engage him at the level of academics. Instead he says, do what you say—love your neighbour, be like the one who shows mercy. Do this and you will live.
  Date: Sunday, August 12, 2018       Teacher: Rev. Susan Lukey     Duration: 14 mins 36 secs    
Passage: Isaiah 25:1-8    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: We need a vision for our individual lives, for our life as a faith community, for the community in which we live, for our country and our world. Without vision, we are lost and scattered, we get pulled in too many directions. As Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a Harvard business professor says, “A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” That’s what vision does for our lives – calls us to become something more, calls out our gifts and our skills, challenges us to learn new skills and try out new possibilities. Vision is the inspiration to create in own lives, our communities and our world a place of hope, justice, peace and compassion for all people. In today’s scripture, we read of a vision – a dream, a hope, a picture of the best of what can be.
  Date: Sunday, August 05, 2018       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson    
Passage: John 6:1-13    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: A boy, some fish, some bread - and 5,000 to feed. What do we make of this miracle story? It's not the miracle that's important - it is the meaning and the message of the story. A mountain, a boy and plentiful grass. It’s these three rather understated details that drew my attention as I read through today’s text from the Gospel of John. And partly that’s due to my increasing awareness that little details, which often go unnoticed, are not arbitrary. The writer of the text has placed them there for a reason. Mostly we don’t know why, yet they spark our curiosity around how the little details contribute to a deeper awareness of what the text is trying to convey.
  Date: Sunday, July 29, 2018       Teacher: Rev. Susan Lukey     Duration: 16 mins 2 secs    
Passage: Hebrews 10:22-39    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: The spiritual journey is not a solitary journey. We can't do faith alone. We need to be supported and challenged within a community that accepts us unconditionally. We need to gather regularly to encourage one another in faith.
  Date: Sunday, July 22, 2018       Teacher: Bob Gibennus    
Passage: Job 18:1-21    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: Bob Gibennus continues on suffering: Selected verses from Job: Chapters 18-22; 38,39 & 42
  Date: Sunday, July 15, 2018       Teacher: Bob Gibennus     Duration: 16 mins 58 secs    
Passage: Job 2:11-13 & Job 11:1-6    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: Bob Gibennus continues to speak about suffering. The scriptures he refers to are: Job 2:11-13 Job 3:1-7 Job 4:1-2, 7-9 Job 8:1-7 Job 11:1-6
  Date: Sunday, July 08, 2018       Teacher: Bob Gibennus     Duration: 19 mins 50 secs    
Passage: Job 1:1-22 & Job 2:1-10    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: Bob Gibennus is guest preacher - a three week series on the book of Job and suffering. Gracious and loving God We come to this holy place today seeking time with you And our sisters and brothers in faith. We bring our joys and our sorrows; We seek your comfort and reassurance. We bring our blemishes and our failings; We seek your grace and renewal. May our time together during this sacred hour be a blessing. And may we leave this place changed. Amen.

 

 


Games Nights - Fall 2018
Created On Tuesday, 18 September 2018
It's time for board games at High River United Church. Our Games Nights return, starting October...
Ukulele Group Staring This Fall
Created On Tuesday, 18 September 2018
No experience necessary - you just need a pulse and be willing to show up! Coming this fall…. A...
Car Show N Shine - This Sunday, September 23
Created On Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Our United Church worship service will continue as usual at 10:00 am as we welcome the Show N...
Wednesday is Simple Supper
Created On Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Wednesday at 5:30 is the correct time to come for Simple Supper. There was a mistake in the ad...

 

SUNDAY MORNINGS @ 10AM

123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168

office@highriverunitedchurch.org

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