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Bobbi Salkeld

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.


Advent 1: The With-ness of God - Jeremy Duncan

DIscussion Notes

Today we are looking at how in the birth narratives both Luke and Matthew draw inspiration from and transform the text of Isaiah.


Advent 2: The Magnificate - Bobbi Salkeld

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.


Acts ch2 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This week we are diving into a summer series on the book of Acts. The Acts of the Apostles is a collection of stories about how the followers of Jesus became what we know as the Church.


Acts ch4 - Devon Scott

Discussion Notes

This week’s texts are located in what is known as the Jerusalem passage, and they record some of the earliest persecution that the church experienced.


Acts ch5 - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

This week we looked at two stories we find at the beginning of Acts— both these stories are intense and strange and full of drama. And these stories don’t wrap up nicely or end tidily — they are confusing, and we can be a bit uncomfortable with having them in our Bibles.


Acts ch10 - Jim Cresswell

Discussion Notes

It’s been a while since the feast of Pentecost, where this series started. The church in Acts has continued to grow, but with that growth has come serious and deadly persecution. The story of Jesus has started moving outward, and two main protagonists move this narrative forward— Paul and Peter. Today, we focus in on part of Peter’s story.


Acts ch16 - Maddie McBlain

Discussion Notes

This week, we look at part of Paul’s story. Acts 16 shows us what it looks like for people from vastly different walks of life to encounter the good news. We meet a wealthy business woman, a girl in slavery, and a man who works in a prison.


Acts ch17 - Yelena Pakhomova

Discussion Notes

In his speech at the Areopagus, Paul adapts the way he presents the story of Jesus— he puts this story of grace into a language that connects with those he is speaking to. In Athens, Paul finds that the God he worships has been at work in places he didn’t expect. While the city is filled with idols, it is also filled with the Holy Spirit, working through those who worship God.


Acts ch19 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen Paul in Philippi and Athens, and this week we follow him to Ephesus. These were the three major cities in the ancient world with their own flavour and customs. Each of the cities presented their own challenges to Paul and early Jesus story. One could tell a lot about the culture of each city based on that city’s particular temple to a particular god of the Greco-Roman pantheon around which the life of that city and its commerce was built. Philippi had Pan, Athens had Athena, and Ephesus was built around the temple of Artemis.


Acts ch27 - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

We are nearing the finale of the book of Acts. This summer through the Acts sermons we’ve covered topics like the forward-facing journey in faith, the complicated struggles that come when you start something new, the serious business of being the temples of the Spirit, and so much more. Today, we come to the shorter, colder days for the Apostle Paul. Paul leaves prison after two years. And still as a prisoner, Paul is put on a ship for Rome.


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.


Part 1 - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

This week we talked about wisdom and isolation. The text we read in Proverbs depicts a young man who chooses the path of folly instead of that of wisdom. Through these poems we find that the path of foolishness leads to isolation— from God and from those around us. The path of wisdom, on the other hand, leads to life and blessing.


Part 2 - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

This week we dove into what Proverbs has to say about wisdom and decision making, and we discussed what the path of wisdom might look like in our relationships to our family, ourself, our friends, society, and God. The proverbs that speak to us in the ways we need will open life up, so that we can see God’s presence in the most every day and ordinary things.


Part 3 - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

The truth is, wisdom isn’t always our default— As much as we want to make great decisions and live well, we mess up all the time, in big and little ways, when we take a path that brings trouble. And this sort of foolishness doesn’t happen overnight… foolishness happens slowly. In our conversation this week we turned to the appendices of Proverbs, contained in chapters 30 and 31, to talk about the contrast between wisdom and domination. Wisdom calls us to use our power to honour those around us, and to use our voice to speak up against injustice.

Holy Week

Holy Week

Palm Sunday - Jeremy Duncan

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

Good Friday - Jeremy Duncan

The Roman soldiers joined in with the taunt, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”
Luke 23:36

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?

Join us to remember Good Friday on March 30. We will have three services at 9AM and 1030AM and 12PM at the Kensington Parish that day. Childcare available.

Resurrection Sunday - Bobbi Salkeld

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 suffer 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 remains in the tomb!
–St. John Chrysostom (d. 407CE)

DISCUSSION NOTES

Easter Sunday


Audio

Truth to Power

Truth to Power

Every culture and time needs a good prophet or two. We’re not talking about people who can predict the future, but people who can speak truth to power in creative, vibrant, and life-giving ways. People who look out for the purposes of God and the integrity of all humanity. Prophets paint a picture of what life should look like in the economy of God’s generosity and love.

Amos is one such prophet. He worked from Judah with a message for Israel thirty years before its fall. The tradition says that in his day, he spoke warnings to the wealthy who built their kingdoms on the backs of the poor. This was an unsustainable arrangement with power and Amos was charged by the Divine to deliver that message.

Let’s wonder together what it looks like to regain a prophetic edge. We are empowered to speak truth to the power of anything that holds more sway in our lives than it should. In this identifying and naming, we’ll nd ourselves living towards a vision like that in the last words of Amos – where we enjoy the generosity and the abundance of God.