High River United Church of High River, Alberta

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  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.
  Date: Sunday, July 01, 2018       Teacher: Celia Peman     Duration: 16 mins 9 secs    
Passage: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15    
  Series Summer 2018
  Description: Celia Penman was guest preacher today!
  Date: Sunday, June 17, 2018       Teacher: Rev. David L.S. Robertson     Duration: 16 mins 47 secs    
Passage: Luke 9:10-17    
  Description: If there was perhaps one take-away from today’s reading from Luke, it might be, “Don’t underestimate the grace and power of interruption.” And as if to drive that point home, the more I tried to keep on task with the work at hand this week, the more interruptions seemed to come my way. And that is exactly what happened to the disciples. Today’s text begins with the disciples upon their return, telling Jesus about all that they had done. They had been out and about the region around Capernaum and the north shore of the Sea of Galilee proclaiming the good news and providing a ministry of compassion and healing to many. When they got back, Jesus took them with him and together they withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. Most archeologists agree that Bethsaida was a hill-top settlement about 1.5 kms away from the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee and east across the Jordan river not far from Capernaum. This is Jesus’ neighbourhood and I couldn’t imagine a more picturesque retreat-like setting for private time with his disciples. And that’s what is really going on. Jesus has taken his disciples on retreat for prayer and reflection to a quiet’ish place in the southern hills of the Golan Heights. It is an intentional time for rest and to catch up on and debrief from all that has happened. The disciples were engaged with the public on many fronts tending and caring to the needs of the whole person—edifying and exhausting work to be sure. As they are settling into their time away with Jesus, the crowds became aware of Jesus’ location and soon, he and the disciples found themselves surrounded with people wanting to see and hear and learn more about the kingdom of God. It became quite apparent I’m sure that “retreat time” was over.
  Date: Sunday, June 10, 2018       Teacher: Rev. Susan Lukey     Duration: 19 mins 16 secs    
Passage: Luke 17:11-19    
  Description: Kyrie eleison! Lord have mercy! With those words, the lepers by the side of the road call out to Jesus, expressing the deep yearning of human hearts for healing and wholeness. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! Mercy is a deep and complex word. It does not mean “forgive me,” as is often thought. Rather it is about something freely offered, with no expectation of action or a returned favour. Mercy is compassion, kindness, gracious favour, an understanding of what the other person is going through. To offer mercy is to open one’s heart unconditionally to the other. So, when the ten lepers call out for mercy, they are not asking for forgiveness. They are not even asking specifically for healing. They are asking for something so much more than either of those. They are saying: We are shunned and ostracized by society; look at us & love us as we are. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! We are worn down by our disease; understand what it is like for us. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! We long to be touched and cared for; open your heart to us. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! We have done nothing wrong, nothing to deserve this;show us compassion Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! Mercy – that’s what the lepers ask for. Mercy! “Leprosy,” in the time of Jesus, was not likely the leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, today. Lepers could have had any manner of skin diseases, defined in Leviticus 13 as “a swelling or an eruption or a spot, with white hair in it and/or more than skin deep.” This could have included what we would call today ringworm, psoriasis, eczema, allergic reactions, boils, burns, among other skin irritations and diseases. In fact, houses and clothes could be declared to have leprosy if they had reddish or greenish spots appear – perhaps a type of mould or lichen. Strict rules were followed if it was determined by a priest that leprosy existed. The person wore torn clothes, let the hair on their head be disheveled, covered the upper lip and cried out, “Unclean, unclean,” if anyone came near. They had to live alone, outside the village, until a priest declared them to be clean, at which time they had to go to the temple to make specific offerings before being welcomed back into their village. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! When the lepers call out for mercy, they are asking for compassion, for understanding, to be treated as human again, to be welcomed back into the community – which would require healing from their skin disease. This is a fascinating story. The writer Luke, in just 12 sentences, touches upon multiple themes. I’ll explore just a few.



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

(403) 652-3168


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