High River United Church of High River, Alberta
     

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  Date: Sunday, February 11, 2018       Teacher: Rev. Susan Lukey     Duration: 21 mins 50 secs    
Passage: Mark 9:2-8 & John 17:6-13    
  Description: I was baptized and grew up in the United Church. My mom was from a Lutheran family and my dad from a Ukrainian Orthodox family, but neither of those denominations existed in or near to Acme, our home town, so they chose the United Church of Canada as the church to which they would commit themselves and in which they would raise their daughters. As a young adult at university, I tried out other denominations, Baptist, Alliance, Catholic, and attended Bible studies of various groups. But I had too many questions and they had too many answers, and I found that their answers didn’t resonate with the spirit within me. So I found my way back to the United Church, and to ministry within the United Church. This is my home. What does it mean to be a participant in The United Church of Canada? Today, commitment to a particular denomination is not what it used to be.
  Date: Sunday, February 04, 2018       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 17 mins 50 secs    
  Description: Why bother going to church? Rabbi Schmuel Kaplan tells the story of an employee who approaches the boss in order to ask for a raise. Well, you can imagine the boss pummelling the employee’s request with any number of questions that have to do with justifying why a raise is so deserving. While going to the boss individually is a worthy endeavour, imagine the difference if all the employees showed up at the same time or, the union reps are part of the meeting? The weight of the request would shift in a very different way. No doubt, the rational for the increase in wage would be more convincing. No matter, the boss would have to hear the request very differently. Well says, Rabbi Schmuel, imagine one person praying to God compared to a whole community praying to God. Not that individual prayer is any less significant, but there’s more capacity when a whole community prays. We must not underestimate the power of corporate prayer. And of course, the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament writings are filled with expressions of corporate prayer. In fact, the synagogue was developed to create a context for local corporate prayer so everyone in their town could come together and pray. The roots of the Judeo-Christian faith are community-based and grounded in congregational life. And the soul reason for that is founded on praying together. Why bother going to church? We go because it matters that we pray together in community one with the other. We bring our whole self to church. We bring all that matters to us. We bring our worries, our anxieties, our intentions, our concerns, our gratitude, our joy, our compassion, our vision, our hope, our skills, abilities, talents, possessions, our desires for everyone’s well-being into a corporate community expression of prayer. Amazing really.
  Date: Sunday, January 21, 2018       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 24 mins 17 secs    
  Description: Rev. David explores what it means to believe in God, in non-traditional terms and rooted deeply in the Judeo-Christian path.
  Date: Sunday, January 14, 2018       Teacher: Rev. Susan Lukey     Duration: 24 mins 42 secs    
  Description: We are in the year 2018. We are surrounded with technological advances and scientific understandings more than any other time. We have landed on the moon, have a space station orbiting the earth, and are talking about living on Mars. Information speeds around our planet instantaneously. We can talk and facetime with a friend on the other side of our planet with only micro-seconds of delay. The list could go on – we are a people who have so much, know so much, have discovered so much - so why do we bother with faith? The truth is that 100 years ago or 1,000 years ago or 10,000 years ago people probably were saying the same thing wherever they lived – we know so much more than our ancestors, we have discovered so much more. People living 100 or 1,000 years from now may look back at us and wonder at what primitive lives we lived. It all reminds us that we are part of something so much more, that there is something much greater and much more mysterious going on than all our scientific advances or medical knowledge or technological break throughs can totally capture. That is when we turn to faith – faith in God, in a More that is Mystery, and Love, and Wonder, and Possibility. We choose faith in our generation. In past centuries, faith was assumed. People included faith practice in their lives in the way they would include food and labour and sleep. They could not have imagined life without religious practice and a sense of faith as a foundation to all they did. But we are in a time when, because of all the science and technology, because of rapid change and human migration, and because of some horrendous actions by religious people which overshadow the good that faith can do, having a faith or religious practice at the core of your life is no longer assumed. We now live in a culture formed much more around materialism and science, though even science, too, has a hard time being taken seriously and is sometimes dismissed. For the first time in history, to follow a faith and a religious practice is a choice, not a given.
  Date: Sunday, January 07, 2018       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 13 mins 19 secs    
Passage: Isaiah 60:1-6 & Mark 1:9-12    
  Description: Arise shine, YOUR light has come. On this Epiphany Sunday, it’s like the words of Isaiah are saying to us Christians: “OK, you have passed through Advent and lit the candles of hope, peace, joy and love in anticipation of the celebrated birth of Jesus. You have gathered on Christmas Eve and lit more candles and proclaimed the light of God that even the darkness cannot put out. you have gathered around the manger and pondered the mystery of God’s incarnation—of being born—in the baby Jesus and how amazing that is remembering of course that it’s the tradition’s way of inviting you to be aware that you are also the embodiment of God’s presence—the hands and feet of Christ. Then, if your household is like mine, we collapsed into the week between Christmas and New Years—perhaps still frantically working the kitchen, cleaning, travelling, eating and drinking, enjoying family time. And then we land on Epiphany with Isaiah’s words. It’s as if the prophet is wondering, “OK you have done all that. Now what are you going to do about it? Arise, shine, YOUR light has come. The glory of the LORD has risen upon you…. Lift up your eyes, look around..... While this is an awesome text post Christmas. I think it would be even more fun to read on Groundhog Day imagining the returning spring light as we drift out of winter’s hibernation. But let’s not get too far from the point. I believe that Isaiah’s words are intended to help us bask in God’s light of hope and promise and vision. Our light has come. The Prophet’s invitation is to lift up our eyes and look around. This is especially significant for our congregation. We have weathered the past 5 years of our own version of exile and return post disaster. We have suffered emotional losses, material losses, human losses and physical losses to be sure. We are finding our way home to a new kind of normalcy how ever we understand that and now, in this season of Epiphany—the season when the tradition remembers and points to God’s revelation in the newborn Christ—we enter God’s light arising and shining upon us. It’s the time when we move more deeply and intentionally into our spiritual identity as God’s people living our faith and compassion in community as a congregation. It’s the time when we own what we say and do, proclaim it, and reconstitute ourselves for a life in mission and ministry together.
  Date: Sunday, December 31, 2017       Teacher: Guest Worship Leaders     Duration: 12 mins 24 secs    
Passage: Psalms 126 & Proverbs 15:13-30    
  Description: Guest preacher: Celia Penman talks about a new year's resolution of smiling!
  Date: Sunday, December 24, 2017       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 12 mins 5 secs    
Passage: Matthew 1:18-25 & Luke 2:1-20    
  Series Advent 2017
  Description: Rev. David speaks of the need for quiet space on Christmas Eve to reflect on our faith.
  Date: Sunday, December 24, 2017       Teacher: Rev. Susan Lukey     Duration: 9 mins 17 secs    
Passage: Matthew 1:18-25 & Luke 2:1-20    
  Series Advent 2017
  Description: So why do we bother? Why do we come to church on Christmas Eve, or any other day of the year? When we could be snuggled up at home, or feasting with family, or reading a good book, or enjoying a favourite Christmas movie? Yet, here we are – gathered on this sacred night to worship. We are unique in some ways. Many in our society have abandoned the Christ in Christmas, and still celebrate with gift-giving and parties, and big meals with family and friends. The sparkling lights of many colours decorating homes, streets and businesses are a delight in this season. News comes from friends and family far away in Christmas cards. A shopping frenzy marks the last weeks before Christmas. But, more and more, there is no sign of Jesus in any of these – not on the Christmas cards available for purchase or in the stories told around the season. Some of this is good, in that it recognizes that there are many faiths and many festivals of light celebrated in our country. Hanukkah, the Jewish festival was celebrated from December 12 to 20 this year. Diwali, the Hindu and Sikh festival of lights, was celebrated in October. Kwanzaa is celebrated by African-Americans for eight days, starting December 26. At the beginning of this month, our Muslim neighbours celebrated Eid-e-Milad, the birthday of the prophet Mohammed. So, some of the reason that we don’t see Jesus in all of the celebrations is simply that other faiths are celebrating their reasons for the season. And that diversity adds to the richness of spirituality in this country. But more and more, Christmas is becoming a secular holiday, devoid of faith and the story of Jesus’ birth. People happily put up trees, count down with Advent calendars, and buy gifts at this time of year, as something quite separate from what we do here this evening. So why do we bother? We bother because there is something profound, something mystical, something for which our spirits yearn, found in the story of Jesus. In a barn, some 2,000 years ago, a child was born, who was named, “God with us.” And in this child we find something that the world can not offer us. We find hope that transcends tragedy, peace that transcends chaos, joy that transcends grief, and love that transcends the judgement of the world.
  Date: Sunday, December 17, 2017       Teacher: Rev. Susan Lukey     Duration: 10 mins 45 secs    
Passage: Isaiah 55:1-13 & Matthew 1:1-12    
  Series Advent 2017
  Description: Overwhelmed with joy! That’s how the gospel describes the feeling of the wisemen, when the star guides them right to the house in Bethlehem where they find the child named Jesus. Overwhelmed with joy! Can you think of a moment in your life when you have felt overwhelmed with joy? It is not an every day thing. It is something extraordinary, something more than could be imagined. It is a moment when there is a smile on your face and tears running down your cheeks; a moment when all seems right with the world, even if chaos is all around you. It comes unexpectedly; it is never anticipated or planned or managed. It is a moment that takes your breath away. That’s what it is to be overwhelmed with joy. Our society speaks freely of happiness. Happiness can be an every day thing. I feel happy when I’ve accomplished some work or found an item (on sale!) that I had been searching for in the store. But joy is something so much more. Joy comes even in the midst of sorrow. Joy is not confined to times when life has gone perfectly or easily. In fact, joy often follows a time of challenge or struggle. That’s what it was for these wiseones.
  Date: Sunday, December 03, 2017       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 19 mins 22 secs    
Passage: 1 Timothy 6:7-19 & Luke 1:39-56    
  Series Advent 2017
  Description: Perhaps you have noticed that the light in the front entry way to our church is left on 24 hours. Early in the building phase of this facility a decision was made to keep the light on as a beacon of hope for our town and the world. The light shines because we are people of light and hope following in the way and wisdom of Jesus Christ. Our mission clearly states that our church a community of help, home, and hope. The letter of 1 Timothy helps us think about what that means even more. But first, lest we be distracted by one thing, let’s get that out of the way. The writer of 1 Timothy makes it clear that money is not evil. It is the love of money that is evil. It is the love of money and riches that leads to the entrapment of senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction and causes them to be pierced by many pains. Wow. So, let’s be sure we’ve got that. The second thing that we need to clarify is that 1 Timothy wants us to understand that because we are rich (and let’s just assume that by the world’s standards we are all rich) we are commanded not to be haughty or to set our hope on the uncertainty of riches but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. We are to be rich in our good works, generous and ready to share… So where does this wisdom invite us to place our hope? On our riches? Or in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment, our good works, and our practice of generosity? There is only one correct answer here. Our hope is God, the one who provides richly for us—the one who is the source of wisdom, the one who inspires hope. When we share generously, we rest our hope in God.

 

 


Winter Solstice 2018 Labyrinth Walk
Created On Thursday, 13 December 2018
For those who appreciate walking the labyrinth, as a way to focus your prayers, to calm your...
Experiencing Grief, Depression or Loneliness this Holiday Season
Created On Thursday, 13 December 2018
We know that this season is not Merry for everyone. Join us for our Longest Night Service on...
Thanks to the High River Downtown Businesses!
Created On Thursday, 06 December 2018
We love our downtown High River.....and its businesses! Thanks to these businesses who donated...
Don't Forget to join us for Games Night
Created On Thursday, 15 November 2018
Board games, card games, role-playing games and more. Bring your own or play one we have...

 

SUNDAY MORNINGS @ 10AM

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

(403) 652-3168

office@highriverunitedchurch.org

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