Viewing entries in
Bobbi Salkeld

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 look at how Jesus upends our understanding of what it means to be blessed and invites us to see ourselves as already beloved.

Bonus Materials

Here's a a quick series looking at each of the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5 in more detail than we were able to on Sunday. We’ll be adding videos over the next few weeks until we cover all 8 Beatitudes.


Matthew 5:11-16

Discussion Notes

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

Bonus Material

We looked at each of the beatitudes but what do we do with them now. How do you use them to orient ourselves with Jesus mission?


Matthew 5:17-48

Discussion Notes
Today we are looking at how the law is part of a larger story and how we are invited to be participate in it.

Bonus Material

Jesus' approach to the law is instructive on a number of levels. We all have guidelines we have put in place in our lives but sometimes those rules need to re-interpreted so that we can faithfully live out the original intent.


Matthew 6:1-13

Discussion Notes
Today we are talking about intent and how to move from performing to living.

Bonus Material

I'll never achieve humility, but being aware of that and asking myself the right questions about my intentions is what keeps me moving in the right direction.


Matthew 6:19-34

Discussion Notes
Today we’re looking at what Jesus has to say about worrying.


Matthew 7:1-5

Discussion Notes

Today we are talking about what happens when we start to judge each other and how our judgement can be a gift.

Bonus Material

Humility is not about downplaying our contributions to those around us, it is about not believing that our contributions entitle us to some kind of special or privileged treatment.


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

Bonus Material

There is sometimes a very fine line between being honest with our grief and allowing it to be honoured, and then slipping over the edge into self-destructive, self-pity.


Psalm 65

Bonus Material

All of our ideas about God are just ideas. None of our concepts can actually contain the Divine. And so unless we intentionally create room for humility, and silence and mystery in our worship we are really just worshiping our own ideas. And that's idolatry.


Psalm 99+100

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.