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


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

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.


The Habits of Rich Young Rulers

Discussion notes

Today we’re talking about the primacy of patterns, how deeply they shape us and what they reveal about our trust.

Bonus Material

We all know we're saved by grace but the truth is we are also changed by grace. Knowing ourselves as God knows us, as loved and welcomed and forgiven is the only thing that can actually transform us.


The Habit of Confession

Discussion notes

Today we are talking about confession and how it impacts us on both personal and communal levels.

Bonus Materials

Confession is a far more important category than we realize–even for Protestants.


The Habit of Singing

Discussion notes

Today we are talking about how our singing is about more than our songs.

Bonus Material

There is room for us to bring all kinds of emotion and experience into our corporate singing. But a big part of what we are doing when we gather to sing is declaring where we believe the story is going.


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.

Bonus Material

Sometimes wealth is as much about perspective as it is about bank accounts.


Generosity and Justice

Discussion Notes
Today we are looking at the relationship between generosity and justice.

Bonus Material

A scarcity mindset can make it hard to celebrate with those we love but it can also steal from us our motivation to change the world for the better.


The Pursuit of Happiness

Discussion notes
Today we’re looking at wealth and our experience of happiness.

Bonus MaterialS


This weekend was also Pentecost Sunday. You can read through the liturgy we created for the day here.

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.