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Sermons by Rev. Joan Pell

change happens

Change Happens

Change happens!Things wear out. Wear and tear takes its toll. Roads crack. Sometimes they can be patched. Other times they need fully resurfacing. Yet, other times they need widening and improving. Nothing lasts forever.We however like to map our lives out. We want to be in control. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Joshua 1:1-8)

an array of pasture

An Array of Pasture

Psalm 23 is the most well-known Psalm. How many of you memorized it as a child? In the USA today, Psalm 23 used at almost exclusively at funerals. I think that’s a shame because Psalm 23 is a psalm for the living — it is a psalm for you and I to apply every day of our life — it is good for soul restoration all the time. (Psalm 23)

feed my sheep

Feed My Sheep

I love the fact the disciples are slow on the uptake. They seem so human. My favorite disciple is Peter, perhaps because I see so much of myself in him. Peter now has this conversation with Jesus. Three times Jesus asks him if he loves him and when Peter affirms he does, Jesus tells him to “feed my sheep” and symbolically wipes away the three times Peter previously denied Jesus before the cockerel crowed. Peter is not just forgiven, he is drawn back into community, and given meaningful work to do. What wonderful grace! And Jesus is not just speaking to Peter; this is a message for us too. (John 21:1-19)

know doubt

Know Doubt

I like Thomas. I can relate to him. He seems so authentic. I wonder whether I would have done the same thing: Jesus was dead, and the other disciples claimed to have seen him?! It made no sense. Thomas did not care what they said. He was not going to blindly follow the crowd. And so, Thomas lives with his doubts and wrestles with them until Jesus appears to him. (John 20:19-31)

Resurrection Hope

Resurrection Hope

We have come here today because we know that Christ is risen! But on that first Easter morning, no one knew that Christ had risen. Jesus’ disciples and friends were in the depths of despair, fear and guilt. The world seemed dark and hope was nowhere to be found. Christ had risen, but they had to discover that for themselves, so that they could say “I’ve seen the Lord” and experience for themselves the light that pierces the darkness and a new and transformed life. (John 20:1-18)

Cultivating Grace & Letting Go of Judgment

Cultivating Grace & Letting Go of Judgment

We know this parable that we have just heard read as the parable of the prodigal son. The word prodigal means wastefully or recklessly extravagant. The younger son wastefully spends all his money. The father recklessly and extravagantly forgives his younger son. And the older son? He sits in judgement of them both. So, is God like the prodigal father dispensing grace lavishly or the oldest son who holds onto grudges and judges strictly? I think all of us here would say that God is like the loving father in the parable. As I thought about our cultivating and letting go topic, this spoke to me about our need to let go of judgment and to cultivate grace for one another. In this sermon, Pastor Joan shared (with permission) a version of the parable written by United Church of Canada minister, Rev. Catherine MacDonald, that was told from the perspective of the prodigal son’s mother. Sorry, we do not have a transcript or recording for this sermon. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3,11b-32)

Cultivating Healing & Letting Go of Haste

Cultivating Healing & Letting Go of Haste

Today as I was reflecting on this fig tree parable, what came to mind is our need for haste. I tend to move hastily and quickly onward and just get on with the next thing on the to-do list. Jesus in this parable reminds me that the hasty thing of just cutting down the tree or completing my to-do list might not be best solution. Things that are worthwhile take time. Healing takes time. (Isaiah 55:1-9, Luke 13:1-9)