Wealth

Wealth

The great land owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away...

—John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

We live with wealth. And not just money. We have time and resources and talents and opportunities that surround us here in Canada. And so the question is not so much whether wealth is good or bad but instead how we will steward such wealth— comparatively slight as it may seem at times—into channels that serve the Kingdom of God on earth.

Walter Brueggemann writes, “a study of the various biblical texts on money and possessions makes clear that the neighbourly common good is the only viable sustainable context for individual well-being.”

Our challenge then is to explore what
it means to enjoy our blessings, to plan wisely for our individual needs, all while contributing to the common good around us.

May we be wealthy well.


No Coveting

Discussion Notes
Today we are exploring the connection between memetic desire and the promise of God to set us free.


Generosity and Justice

Discussion Notes
Today we are looking at the relationship between generosity and justice.


The Pursuit of Happiness

Vision Sunday 2019

Vision Sunday 2019

vi-sion (noun): sight; the anticipation of what will come to be; a vivid, imaginative concept

Each year at this time we talk about our common vision. Each year we take time to look a little ahead of ourselves, project where our path might lead us, make adjustments if necessary, and reorient ourselves to our true north.

This is the chance to share what is on our minds and hearts, what it is we can do and be for our friends and families, for our communities and workplaces, for Calgary and our world.

This is a day to find alignment as acommunity around some of our most exciting possibilities. And there is a lot on the horizon.

Discussion Notes

Holy Week

Holy Week

Palm Sunday

We are approaching Easter, the centre, the hinge-point of the Christian faith. The moment we stop and watch, realizing that what we witness is on our behalf, for our life and hope and future.
Inglewood Parish 1030AM

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross began as pilgrims retraced Jesus’ final steps in Jerusalem up to the hill where he was crucified. Wanting to share that practice and experience with people who couldn’t make the trip to Jerusalem, they created local stations of meditation that became in itself a tradition.

Kensington Parish open 9AM-9PM Tuesday and Wednesday

Good Friday

Everything about the cross event was bent to the task of pressuring Jesus toward self-preservation. The core essence of God’s character was under siege. The pivotal question of the ages hung before men and angels: Who is the Ruler of the universe? What is He really made of at heart? Will his love prove itself a sham under pressure, or will he plunge to the deepest depths of total self-giving for others?

Kensington Parish: 9AM, 1030AM, 12PM

Resurrection Sunday

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant day. If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of the Lord. If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.

Inglewood Parish 1030AM

Discussion notes

Bonus Material

Shannon shares her story of grief and loss and community with us for Easter.

Parables of Grace

Parables of Grace

Our lives are a collection of stories. The ones we find ourselves in. The ones we watch and read and listen to. The ones we invent and create.

And what’s curious is how Jesus’ life and ministry were shaped by these same contours. His lived experience...the Hebrew Scriptures and traditions he learned...and, of course, the stories he told.

In our walk through Lent this year, we turn our attention to a particular set of tales Jesus gave his followers. Parables of lost sheep, midnight visitors, and trees that don’t grow fruit.

In the end, we come back to the words of Jesus each year to understand the Divine story and its connection to the meaning of our own. And we hope too that, whether we ‘get’ the parables or not, we begin to see them as “first and foremost God’s way of getting to us.” –Robert Farrar Capon

Group Discussion Notes Week One
Group Discussion Notes Week Two
Group Discussion Notes Week Three
Group Discussion Notes Week Four
Group Discussion Notes Week Five
Group Discussion Notes Week Six
Group Discussion Notes Easter Sunday


Lent


When In Rome IV

When In Rome IV

We return this year for a penultimate swing through Paul’s letter to the Romans. We’ve been working our way, chapter-by-chapter, through this monumental letter. And this year, we pick up where we left off last spring in chapter 9.

Romans is full of heavy theology, but underneath it all is the tender heart of a disciple who wants to communicate the story of Jesus.

What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can we experience it? What will it mean for our future? And what does Jesus have to do with our everyday lives?

It’s these fundamental questions that form Paul’s agenda in Romans—an agenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes but always pointing us back to Jesus.

Groups Discussion Notes Part 1
Groups Discussion Notes Part 2
Groups Discussion Notes Part 3
Groups Discussion Notes Part 4
Groups Discussion Notes Part 5


Friendship

Friendship

Best friends. Old friends. New friends. Kind friends. Weird friends. Hilarious friends. Sad friends. Forgotten friends. Facebook friends. Forever friends.

Let’s really think about our friendships across a lifetime. Who was your best friend growing up? How did your friendships shape you in your twenties and thirties? What do you hope your friendships will look like in your forties, fifties, and beyond?

The terrain of friendship is well- travelled by some, and less familiar to others. There are days when you just know you wouldn’t make it without your friends. But other days you find the rules of friendship shift right under your feet.

We’re asking what the Creator’s intention is for friendship. How did Jesus extend radical welcome and still hold his best friends to a high standard of love and loyalty? Why do we need friends to find the Spirit at work in our lives? Bring all your experiences to the conversation on friendship and be reminded why this work of love matters so much in the end.

Unexpected

Unexpected

Christmas is packed with personal traditions. Every year we hang up the same tree decorations. Every year we gather with our loved ones to celebrate the same big holiday. Every year we try to come up with a creative gift for someone special and basically get the same gift we did the year before.

So the question is, can the story of Jesus in a manger really surprise us one more time around? Can Christmas hold more meaning than all the ornaments, intricate family meals, and presents wrapped under the tree?

Advent is a time to return to the story of Jesus’ coming. And in returning, we find that we aren’t the same person we were even a year ago. The Divine’s coming to us in human flesh is charged with the unexpected. There’s the unexpected way an old story becomes new. There’s an unexpected baby who holds the mystery of the universe. There are unexpected angels sent to declare that heaven has come to earth and nothing is the same anymore.

Home Group Discussion Notes for Advent 2018 Week One
Home Group Discussion Notes for Advent 2018 Week Two

Joseph

Joseph

Over the past few years, we have been seeing what the Bible has always known: that human stories, when viewed through the lens of faith, teach us how to live. Together we have explored the stories of Abraham and Jacob. This year we come to the story of Joseph.

The journey of Joseph’s complicated relationship with his brothers will be our focus for this fall season. This is a common and extraordinary tale: sibling rivalries, dreams of destiny, acts of betrayal, realizations of loss, sudden reversals, acts of kindness, restored peace. And in this whole mix, there is God. In fact, like any really good story,there is more going on here than at firstmeets the eye.

Joseph was a person in process, just as we continue to be. We see him grow up from a despised younger brother to a respected leader, from one presumed dead to the centre of life and action. And if we pay close enough attention, we might see what perceptive readers have always noticed: that Joseph’s story carries an uncanny resemblance to the story of Jesus himself.

Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 1
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 2
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 3
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 4
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 5
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 6
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 7
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 8

The Problem with Prayer

The Problem with Prayer

We can be honest. Prayer is hard sometimes. And yet, prayer is perhaps the most precious and most under- utilized gift we have. For a multitude of reasons, people who follow Jesus often struggle with it. And the more capable you think you are, sometimes the

more significant the struggle becomes. Perhaps this is because we fail to see

the profound practicality of prayer, the deeply connected way it can reorder our lives. Perhaps we need to look at life, and ourselves, in a new way.

In this series, we want to imagine the Lord’s Prayer as a series questions

we can ask daily. We want to take the practice of talking to and being with God, and see this way as something solid and tangible, something daily, something that matters to our experience of life.

If you have grown a little stale in your personal prayers, this series promises to re-energize what is most basic. Prayer is more practical than you ever dreamed.

Download this week’s Home Group Discussion Notes

Year Five

Year Five

September always feels like a new start. School is back in session, the pause of summer vacation has come to an end, and there is a fresh focus on moving forward with renewed vigour.

It’s no different for us at Commons. So every year we like to start September with a reflection on the central concepts that guide our community.

Intellectually honest. Spiritually passionate. Jesus at the centre.

Welcome to the start of our fifth year as Commons Church… and our first September in Inglewood!

Acts of the Apostles

Acts of the Apostles

The book of Acts can present as a collection of hyperboles. Fire from heaven, dramatic exorcisms, adventure on the high seas, earthquakes and arrests. In some ways this seems appropriate, because it’s the story of Jesus’ first followers after all. How they began to share the story of Jesus’ life and resurrection, with the Holy Spirit invariably appearing to add dramatic flair.

But, if we take time to look a little closer, we find that there are a bunch of stories here showcasing the haphazard, serendipitous, and mundane ways in which the first Christians went about trying to be faithful. The ways in which they encountered the divine. The ways in which they discovered, as N.T. Wright says, that the God of the Hebrew Scriptures was “doing a new thing in the whole world.”

Seeing this, we can affirm that while the Church’s genesis was marked by spectacular action, it was also expressed in ordinary human experience. That the Holy Spirit was at work in spectacular events and day-to-day monotony alike. And we can consider how the same might be true for us.


*you can use the menu icon in the top left corner of the video to jump to any message in the series.

Proverbs

Proverbs

When it comes to the words that inspire us, we can all think of quotes by writers, rappers, and filmmakers. Words are important, powerful, and help us construct meaning in our lives. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to read a quote that makes you think “Yes, that is how I feel!” and “Yes, that’s what I think too!”

The Book of Proverbs is a collection of ancient quotations. It belongs to the category of biblical books we call the wisdom literature. It’s found right in the middle of the Bible, but we rarely think of the words in this collection as central to the wisdom in our everyday lives. Proverbs is often overlooked, can seem pretty dusty, and when read too quickly is a blur of cliches.

Let’s take another look at Proverbs. Let’s trust that there’s something here for us in our big life questions about how to be wise in relationship with our families, our bodies, our resources, and our power. Proverbs hands us a way to find wisdom in the ordinary. It’s about the art of living and seeing the beauty of God in the grit of everyday life.

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*you can use the menu icon in the top left corner of the video to jump to any message in the series.

DISCUSSION NOTES

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Ritual

Ritual

We believe we need a recovery of sorts. Contemporary culture has pushed us to think that public life is mostly structured (show up on time, fulfill your obligations, do your job), but private life is mostly unstructured (free time to use as you see fit). But what happens then when spiritual life is relegated to the unstructured part of life, to our private“off work” world where there are few obligations? Well, it tends to exist in emotional spurts, through momentary impulses. It tends to lose focus. You know what I am talking about.

And so the recovery we need is the wisdom of basic spiritual ritual. Grace is not only a gift, grace is also a way of being. Grace is the life we are called to enter, the life of form and formation.

It’s been said that we don’t so much think our way into new life but instead live our way into new thinking. In this way, our spiritual identities are shaped through sustained commitments to gracious practices: practices of time like honouring sabbath, practices of stewardship like generous giving, practices of self-forgetfulness like service.

This is a series about some of our central rituals: work, rest and play.

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*you can use the menu icon in the top left corner of the video to jump to any message in the series.

DISCUSSION NOTES

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

When in Rome III

When in Rome III

What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can they experience it? What will it mean for their future? And what does the good news have to do with everyday life? These large and basic questions from Paul’s agenda in Romans—anagenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes.

Two years ago we started into the book of Romans, working our way verse-by-verse through the letter. This year, we pick up where we left off and keep moving forward into chapters 5 to 8.

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*you can use the menu icon in the top left corner of the video to jump to any message in the series.

Holy Week

Holy Week

Palm Sunday

We are approaching Easter, the centre, the hinge-point of the Christian faith. The moment we stop and watch, realizing that what we witness is on our behalf, for our life and hope and future. And yet every year we realize that we need to tell and hear the story once more. Every year we find ourselves surprised by it, overwhelmed, and yet comforted in a way that’s hard to explain. Every year we are drawn back to humble worship, and the pledge of renewed commitment. We invite you to take time to embrace the story this year. After Palm Sunday join us for the Stations of the Cross on Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28. The Kensington Parish will be open from 9AM to 9PM each day with a special booklet to walk you through the stations and guide your reflection and prayer.

DISCUSSION NOTES

Palm Sunday

Resurrection Sunday

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant day. If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of the Lord. If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.

If anyone has laboured from the first hour, let them today receive their just reward. If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast. If anyone has arrived at the sixth, let them have no misgivings, for they shall sffuer no loss. If anyone has delayed until the ninth, let them draw near without hesitation. If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour let them not fear on account of tardiness.

For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.

For Christ is risen, and not one dead remainsin the tomb!
–St. John Chrysostom (d. 407CE)

DISCUSSION NOTES

Easter Sunday

One Last Thing

One Last Thing

Jesus’ last meal with his disciples and friends. The Synoptics offer a brief description of this event, but we’ll turn our attention instead to John’s gospel which extends the scene to five chapters. Here, the writer tells of how feet were washed, bread and wine were offered, and then Jesus began to speak. It was just hours until his arrest, and by noon of the next day he would be executed. And his disciples had no idea.

What makes Jesus’ sayings here so compelling is the sense that he is pulling no punches. He’s laying it all out... he’s re-emphasizing his most important talking points...he’s promising that they’ll be okay...and then he prays for them.

As we get ready for Easter this year, let’s delve into this final conversation and explore what mattered most to Jesus as he said goodbye and prepared for his passion.


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