Sermon on the Mount

Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most famous speeches ever given. This is Jesus at his most accessible.

The intriguing phenomenon is, however, that the closer one looks the more one becomes fascinated with the beauty through which Jesus addresses each topic.

“The experience can be compared with visiting famous old castles or cathedrals.
Tourists may put in thirty minutes to walk through, just to get an impression, and that is what they get.
But if one begins to study such buildings with the help of a good guidebook, visions of whole worlds open up.
Whether it is the architecture, the symbols and images, the statues and paintings, or the history that took place in and around the buildings, under closer examination things are bound to become more and more complicated, diverse, and intriguing, with no end in sight.” – Hans Dieter Betz

Our hope is that this familiar sermon can become just as intriguing again if we take the time to look closer.


Matthew 5:1-10

Discussion Notes
This week we are talking about finding a story in a story, the nature of cumulative grace, and a whole lot of paradox, when it comes to us not being able to do anything to receive the life Jesus imagines for us and for the world, yet being able to make choices to live that life out.


Matthew 5:11-16

Discussion Notes

This week we are looking at what it means to be salt and light.


Summer with the Psalms

Summer with the Psalms

Prayer is a pretty big deal. After all, at Commons we opened this year with prayer and we’re closing the year with prayer. From the Lord’s Prayer in the fall, to the Psalms prayer book in the summer, we’ve got instructions and illustrations to shape our prayerful souls in all seasons.

So what’s prayer to you? Is it the recitation of prayers you learned as a kid? Is prayer the words that spring up inside you like “thank you,” “help me,” and “I’m so sorry”? Maybe prayer is becoming less wordy and more connected to deep breaths, centred contemplation, and heart-soaring awe.

There are Christians in all kinds of traditions that pray the Psalms every day, morning and night. And sure, the prayerful poems are more familiar year after year, but they never stop speaking and shaping the human heart before God. Dive into the Psalms with us this summer and find yourself refreshed with honesty, lament, and praise.

Discussion notes for the summer series.


Psalm 13


Psalm 1


Psalm 26


Psalm 14


Psalm 32


Psalm 65


Psalm 99+100


Psalm 42

Change

Change

Are you one of those people who loves change or hates change? Maybe somewhere in the middle? Maybe you see the necessity of change but you don’t like the discomfort it brings. Maybe you rage against change and then, when you finally give in, you realize you need it.

Everything in life is touched by change. Our bodies change and age, our relationships struggle and grow, and our world is full of change and instability too. But what about our relationship with God? Can our dance with the sacred withstand significant change?

Let’s look at a time in ancient Israel’s history when change rocked God’s people. Israel was exiled by Babylon, and when they slowly made their way back home they discovered that home wasn’t quite what they hoped it would be. Change can do that - it can upend you.

The Ezra and Nehemiah stories call us to prepare, rebuild, and intentionally choose healthy change. So if change is going to happen, let’s at least be ready.


Part 1

Discussion notes

Today we’re looking at what grounds us in change, what stabilizes and helps us feel secure in transitions. 

Bonus Material

Scott reflecting on some of the ideas from Bobbi's sermon in Inglewood on Sunday.


Part 2

Discussion notes

Today we are talking about what guides us in change.


Part 3

Habit

Habit

For better or worse, we’re more or less a collection of the things we do repeatedly.

For some of us, this is something we approach strategically, crafting our schedules to produce the best version of ourselves. For others, our patterns and tendencies leave us feeling like they control us.

In talking about these realities, David Brooks says that somewhere between our ‘resume virtues’ and our ‘eulogy virtues’—between our pursuit of wealth,significance, success and our desire forkindness, bravery, integrity—there is a need for an intentionally formed inner life.

Which means that, wherever we findourselves, there’s always an opportunity to start something new.

A new approach. A new tradition. A new practice.

Join us as we consider how the scriptures can be an unexpected guide on this journey.


Part 1 - Scott Wall

Discussion notes
Today we are looking at habit formation as an invitation to wholeness


Part 2

Discussion Notes
Today we’re exploring spirituality of habit formation and its connection with desire.


Part 3


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

Discussion notes

Today we’re paying attention to where Jesus encourages us to ground our happiness and how it relates to wealth.

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