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Bobbi Salkeld

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 1

Bonus Material

The beauty of the psalms is that they invite us to be honest with ourselves about everything we are feeling because that’s the only way our anger and frustration with the world can be transformed into motivation and hope to change it.


Psalm 13

Bonus Material

Sometimes we have a tendency to universalize the particular moment we are experiencing. ie. "This is all I will ever feel again." The chance to reset and reform our perspective is as important for us as it is for the author of Psalm 13.


Psalm 14

Bonus Material

There is a kind of beauty that we notice instinctively and then there is a beauty that we need to see through someone else's eyes. We need their perspective and background and story to help us notice the beauty that is around us always.


Psalm 26

Bonus Material

When you read the opening of Psalm 26 you can see the author lose sight of his objectivity as he recounts his blamelessness before God. And that's okay. There's a time to objective and then there's a time to be honest about how we feel. Remember that.


Psalm 32

Bonus Material

Part of the reason poetry is so vital to the scriptural narrative is that it reminds us how limited literal language really is.


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 - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion notes
This week we are talking about how relationships, worship and prophetic voices can ground us in our experience of change.


Part 2 - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion notes

This week we are talking about what can guide us through change.


Part 3 - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion notes

Today we are exploring what guards us in change and what it could look like to be guarding each other.


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.

Groups Discussion Notes

Bonus Material

Some thoughts on the “injustice” of grace.


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?


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.

Discussion notes

Bonus Material


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


Lent

Ash Wednesday is the traditional beginning of Lent, the six week season which precedes Easter. For generations now, Christians have sought to deepen their connection to Christ’s death and resurrection by journeying through a season of preparation. We give something up–we create space and lack–in order to participate fully in the moment of resurrection.


On Lost Sheep

We talk about extravagant love that leaves the ninety-nine to look for the lost one, and how when it touches our hearts we want to at least try living in the way of Jesus; to love in the way that does not make sense.

Discussion Notes

Bonus Material

Part 1: Jesus has this remarkable ability to spot the Divine everywhere. We could certainly learn a lesson from his creativity.
Part 2: Grace calls us to live toward a world we can’t quite grasp yet.


The Good Samaritan

This week we are looking at the story of the Good Samaritan and how grace invites us to transcend our categories and see ourselves in the person across from us right now.

Discussion Notes

Bonus Material

Sunday was the parable of the Good Samaritan and one of the really intriguing elements of this story is the question that precedes it: Who is my neighbour?


The Unmerciful Servant

This week were are talking about how our experience of grace allows us to extend it to others.

Discussion notes

Bonus Materials

The parables aren't designed to give you black and white answers, they are meant to help learn how to think theologically.


The Unhelpful Friend

Today we are looking at one more story that explores the dynamics of grace in our lives and shows what prayer is about.

Discussion Notes

Bonus Material

There are a couple clues that push toward my reading of this parable.


Mustard Seeds

This week we are looking at the mustard seeds and how Jesus challenges the assumptions of the religious establishment of what the kingdom of God is like.

Discussion Notes

Bonus Material

I think René Girard can add a new layer to our understanding of the mustard seed parable.


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.


Why Friends? - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Today we look at the place friendship occupies in our social world and the role it played in the life of Jesus.

Bonus Material

Sometimes the Gospels invite us to read between the pages in order to encounter the fullness of Jesus.

We’ve also created a page with links to some of the research cited in the sermon.


Vulnerability - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes
Today we are talking about vulnerability and how it shapes both us and our friendships.

Bonus Material

The fact that Jesus has to learn who he is, speaks to the fact that your journey of self-discovery is holy and sacred as well.


Forgiveness - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes
Today we are talking about what to do when you are sorry and why it matters.


Unfriending - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes
Last week we talked about Peter’s denial, today we will see Peter’s transformation and talk about new chapters in friendship and the option to unfriend. 

Bonus Material

Forgiveness is what we do for our own health. Holding on to bitterness and anger eventually becomes toxic. Reconciliation though, requires both people to come to the table and when the other person isn’t willing to do that you need to remember that you can’t control that.