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,  fill your obligations, do your job), but private life is mostly unstructured (free time to use as you see it). 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.

We have talked about spiritual formation, how our spiritual identities are shaped through sustained commitments to gracious practices: practices of time like honoring sabbath, practices of stewardship like generous giving, practices of self-forgetfulness like service.

In this series we intend to focus on four specific areas of faith practice: singing, confession, prayer, and use of spiritual gifts.


Singing - Kevin Borst

Discussion Notes: Singing

In the act of creating, we are reflecting God's image and therefore we are giving glory to God. We were all meant to be creative - this is worship to God.


Prayer - Joel Braun

Discussion Notes

We are invited to pray because the one who invites us is inviting us to know the heights and depths of a character that is made from the deepest of all Love… and that God of all love wants so badly for us to find out how much we’re worth to him.


Confession - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

True confession leads to true community which means vulnerability and trust - none of which are easy, but all of which we are called to.


Gifts - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

There is so much to be said about gifts in the church and so many different ways to approach this conversation. There are the specific manifestations of worship we see in a church like Corinth, there are the practical contributions it takes to run a church like Commons… but the founding, grounding principle is that are no such things as spiritual gifts. Only that every thing is gift and every gift is spiritual.

When in Rome: Year One

When in Rome: Year One

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 form Paul’s agenda in Romans—an agenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes.

The salvation issue, with all its various facets, was at the center of the early Christian movement as it sought to defend itself over against both Judaism and paganism. Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians in Rome had very different opinions on these matters. So Paul uses his rhetorical skill to tackle such fundamental theological issues with such a deft touch that it the letter to the Romans it has left an enduring and vital contribution to Christians’ understanding of who they are and what they believe.

As Luther therefore said:
[Romans] is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.

To do justice to the scale of Romans we will be spreading it out over the next few years.


Romans 1:1 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Paul introduces himself as both a slave and an apostle. It is a profound awareness of both humility and divine purpose all at the same time.


Romans 1:2-6 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Even as Paul is about to launch into his letter to the Romans, one of the great theological treatise of the Christian tradition, he begins by very simply laying out how he understands “gospel”. And at its core, gospel for Paul is not an intellectual enterprise, it is, very simply, the story of Jesus.


Romans 1:7-15 -Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

There is a radical reinvention of humanity that Paul imagines in Jesus. When someone else’s win can become your celebration; when serving another — becomes a blessing for you; when we learn to see others as brothers and sisters and mothers and friends; and finally recognizing that we won’t find peace by beating, or defeating, or measuring yourself against anyone else.


Romans 1:16-32 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

God’s righteousness and wrath are two sides of the same coin; righteousness is the active posture that we see in God’s faithful pursuit of us, wrath is the passive posture where God finally, allows us to walk away - but this is not some angry, vindictive, vengeful God - it is wrath because God is angry when he sees sin damage and hurt and disconnect us from the source of life…


Romans 2:1-4 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

The fixation we have to scapegoat, to shift the focus and point at others; this desire we have to say: “we are better than them” - what this does is short circuit the redemptive work God wants to do inside of us. That instinct to shift the focus is part a self preservation mechanism that comes from your old self that does not want to be changed.


Romans 2:5-29 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

In regards to faithfulness - Paul says that the question is not whether you are good enough - the question is: when you jump, who are picturing there to catch you?


Death and All His Friends

Death and All His Friends

Life is good… for the most part that is. Until some intruder, some interloper, called confusion or despair, lament or grief, loss or (gulp) death comes crashing in. And then there is no telling where the mind and heart can travel. Like the proverbial fly in the ointment, life’s apparent setbacks can threaten the whole. Has everything come undone? How can I know the meaning of such things? Does life even have a meaning?

The ancient book of Lamentations wrestled with just such questions. In daring fashion, it pulls no punches, considers no realm of human questioning out of bounds. Some people are surprised by this. Some assume that faith is thinking happy thoughts, adopting a positive attitude, having con dence that things will turn out well. How could this book of poems be included in our Scriptures? Why is it there? Faith, to be sure, is confidence, but not a false or untested confidence. Faith is willing to expose itself to the full gamut of questions. And that is why we need Lament.

In this series we would like to take the wrapper off our cultural tendency to avoid. We want to be more honest about the tougher parts of life, and actually, the Bible tends to rub our noses in the harder parts, because the Bible is a whole lot more honest about life than we tend to be.

Lamentations may not provide the complete answer we need, but it does ask a lot of the right questions. In this series we are going to look at some of those questions, knowing with confidence that our faith is better for it.

Vision Sunday

Vision Sunday

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 re-orient 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 work places, for Calgary and our world. This is a day to find alignment as a community around some of our most exciting possibilities…

…until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other,
efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son,

fully mature adults,
fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

[Ephesians 4:13, MSG]


Vision Sunday - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Somehow, in some way, resurrection needs to become a personal story for us. We see this in John. The story isn’t just a story about Jesus anymore it’s a story about him and that’s beautiful. That’s the kind of community e want to become at Commons. Stripped down enough that we can each add our own stories into the mix.

Holy Week 2016

Holy Week 2016

This is the centre. This is the hinge-point of Christian faith. This is the moment we stop and watch, realizing that what we witness is on our behalf, for our life and hope and future.
Every year we realize that we need to tell and hear the story once more. Every year we  nd ourselves surprised by it, overwhelmed, and yet comforted in a way thats hard to explain. Every year we are drawn back to humble worship, and the pledge of renewed commitment.


Palm Sunday - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

The coming of Jesus on Palm Sunday is a direct contrast to the idea of peace through victory. Instead Jesus shows us that the way to peace is the way of peace; of forgiveness and non-violence; of absorbing hurt and refusing to pass it along.


Easter Sunday - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

The resurrection was physical not because it bypassed this life, it was physical so that this life, in all its pock marked beauty, could be caught up in the divine. Resurrection is the ultimate affirmation that this life is good and worth saving.