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    The Morning After Blog

    From our Minister, John: Welcome to the Morning After. Preaching is created and offered and it’s a little awkward because you 'bare your soul' and it’s like you stand there buck naked, share what’s important to you, people get to peek and then walk away! It’s hard because it feels 'one way'. That is, I speak, people listen, and then choose to walk away or wander back, often with little comment one way or the other. 

    So here is a chance for me and our guest speakers to clarify, and for you to comment and for all of us to learn together! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, questions, or wonderings. This is a free space to engage!


    The Pulpit

    Last Sunday people made it to church, even though it was next to impossible to get here due to the Sun and Salsa Festival blocking the street. Nevertheless, we welcomed over 180 people to our Sanctuary on a hot summer day.  

    It was a fun day, and I'm thankful for the people who were there to help me with the service. The scripture video was fun, the Acts text was laughable, the piece Pam did was super, the duet by Justin and Adam was sweet and the video showing interviews on 'the pulpit' were great.

    I spoke of the pulpit as place of 'truth', as Fred Buechner begs, and then the idea that for me, sermons should:

    1) Challenge with truth (or insult as Jermeiahs Wrights church might, a prophetic voice);
    2) offer comfort to our sorrow and sadnesses, and;
    3) offer truth that invites us to transform and know that the cross and resurrection are central to our life. Our faith truth.

    Earlier last week I asked 10 collegaues across Canada why they preach and 8 replied (wow) with words of conviction, power, and hope in the endeavour. Their churches are lucky to have them. The sermon felt long to me, but I loved engaging with colleagues and then figuring it out for myself, for today. 

    It was also my last sermon before I take off on holidays so it felt like I 'dealt my cards' and played em out...

     I don't know, what needs to be in great sermon for YOU?

    - John


    Sometimes You Just Gotta go to Church...

    Yah, that's exactly how I felt, 'sometimes you just gotta go to church.'
    Nothing would satisfy; food, bike, songs, nothing, thats how i knew..."sometimes you just gotta go to church." 7 words...

    I was reflecting on the recent news of abduction and murder. I mentioned our close link in the baptism of Nathan, the funeral of Kathy Likness and Kim's mother Koreen. We are their community.
    I reflected that at baptism we say, "baptism isn't a protection from life - it is an invitation to life." I will never look at those words the same way again.

    Looking back, if I were to do Sunday differently I would stick with the theme but preach it black preaching style, rhythmic and engaging. I ended up reading it, i was too hind sight i should have let the spirit lead more.

    Sometimes you just gotta go to I right?

    - John


    Faithful Hospitality

    This week we looked at the connection between Calgary Stampede and our faith. I chose hospitality as a common theme between the two. 

    I began by saying the word "nice" isn't in the bible, but "hospitality" is.

    If I were to do this all over again I would really go there - there are not nice stories in the bible, Jesus wasn't nice, and sometimes God isn't portrayed well either! Now THAT is interesting!

    I felt my sermon was kind of so so, but there were other highlights from last Sunday. Right in the midst of preaching Shawn, our street person, was introduced as "clean" from booze for 39 days! And, we were in the presence of a family connected to the recent abduction story in Calgary. Holy!

    Anyway, though I was perhaps not my best, this Sunday was a good one. 

    - John


    Father's Day

    Father's Day and Trinity Sunday - what do they share in common?

    Well, I suggest that it's the word 'relationship' - a relationship between the different aspects or experiences of the sacred, and a deep realization that fatherhood is about relationships too.

    I enjoyed how last Sunday's service went. Father's day is a deeply emotional day for those who have difficult or challenging relationships with a father. Yet, it provides hope that we are opening up to the joys and challenges it is to be a dad and, that the joy and challenge with the intimacy that is God.

    What does Father's day mean to you?

    - John


    Songs, Stories, & Scripture: Golden Thread

    This week we did our 'Pet-ecost' Sunday, blending together the Pentecost story and our annual Pet Blessing. It was a fun service with fifty or more pets in our presence!

    It was a time to talk about the book by Harvey Cox, Future of Faith. I like his overview of where we have been and where we are headed because he speaks of Hillhurst as an age-of-the-spirit congregation.

    Overall, I wouldn't change much about this past Sunday other than to bring more attention to what we are doing already! HUC is an 'age-of-the-spirit' church and this helps us grow, expand and deepen our mission.

    What do you think?

    - John