Sermon: Follow Me (John 1:43-51), Jan 14, 2018

John 1:43-51 Introduction to the story:  Today, we will listen to a ‘calling’ story. In the Gospel of John, chapter one, Jesus met two disciples of John the Baptist: an unnamed disciple and Andrew. These two were with their teacher at that time, John the Baptist, when he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” Jesus turns and sees the unnamed disciple and Andrew following him. Jesus asks them, “What are you looking for?” Andrew then goes out and calls Peter. On that day, the unnamed disciple, Andrew and Peter remain with Jesus.  The next day, Jesus travels to Galilee with them. This calling story continues in today’s Gospel: 
Message: Follow Me… The Philip of today’s story, perhaps a fisherman in the town, was the fourth person who became Jesus’ disciple. In the earlier story, the unnamed disciple and Andrew were the first to find Jesus. In today’s story, Jesus found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Then Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, “We have found the Messiah. He is Jes…

The Star... Moves (Epiphany Sermon, 2018), Jan 7

Epiphany sermon, 2018 The Star… Moves
Matthew 2:1-12

In the season of Epiphany, we reflect on the light of God that is manifested to different people in different places. Traditionally, we imagine that the love of God – reflected in the beautiful light of the Christmas star – is so big and so wonderful that it dissolves the boundaries between the insiders and the outsiders and ethnic and religious differences. The light is shown to the Magi and the shepherds. In Epiphany, we remember and we celebrate the revelation of the Christ child “To the gentiles”, meaning, ethnic outcasts or any who are not considered ‘insiders’ due to cultural origins, racial differences, faith and other identities.
In our era, light is plentiful; even at night we possess an abundance of light. The nights in Winnipeg are soberly lit, I would say, compared to larger cities like Seoul, where I come from, whose nights dazzle with glaring neon signs that stay ablaze until the break of dawn.  I watched the 2018 New Ye…

The Message of Hope... In the Beginning (Christmas Eve 9 pm service), 2017

We don’t live in the best of all possible worlds. The television flares with images of despicable political louts. We cannot look away from the pictures of enraged nature, hurricanes, and fires, from the footage of the too-familiar mass murders committed by gunmen burning with rage. We are made more anxious by flickering threats of nuclear war. We mourn for the violation of the ancestral land of the First Nations people. We pray for peace as we see the protests of the Palestinians and others who fight for the dignity of their lives and the right to live on their land. Countless people migrate between continents seeking refuge, fleeing from wars and violence. So many children in the world grow up only knowing hunger and violence due to living within the confinement of walls and wires in their lives, or on the dangerous roads. We pray with all who struggle toward peace for all. 
When I asked some people at Immanuel what Christmas message they wish to hear most, they responded unanimously…

Advent Message: Mary in the World (3) - Latin America (Luke 1:26-35)

Advent Message: Mary in the World (3)

In today’s Gospel story, Mary is perplexed by the greetings of the angel and the announcement of her pregnancy. She asks, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 
Through the Advent, we have been exploring all the worlds within our own world to meet Mary in our own terms, at the margins and in the everyday lives of people. We met Mary in the struggles of Asian women who create their own definition of their authentic self and liberation, finding power within themselves. We also found Mary in the Two-Spirit Metis woman who passed tobacco to elder after elder until she found the untold teachings from the knowledge holders who had retained the memory of the creation story in which Two-Spirt people featured and existed. Then, the Christian indigenous people’s journey of creative and decolonizing synthesis of their traditional ways and Christian spirituality. Today, I invite you to hold my hand and take an imaginary flight with me to meet Mary on the hill…

Advent Message: Passing Tobacco, Inseparable Truths (Luke 1:39-56) Dec 10, 2017

Advent Message: Passing Tobacco, Inseparable Truths      Luke 1: 39-56
Last October, I attended a Red Rising Magazine event at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, featuring the theme of Two-Spirits. One of the speakers, Chantal Fiola, told us the story of how she started passing tobacco to seek out and find elders and traditional knowledge holders across Canada. She grew up just like many other Red River Metis people. She wasn’t raised going to Indigenous ceremonies; she was raised Catholic. She was once an active youth at her church - singing in the choir, etc. However, she began to feel something was missing and that she would need to answer the deeper yearning in herself to connect to her roots and identity. Through the journey of finding her way to the ceremony, (sharing circles, smudging, women’s drumming circle, full moon ceremony, a Two-Spirit sweat in downtown Toronto) she learned that being female, Two-Spirit, and Michif (Metis) are gifts from the Creator. When Fiola chose Indigenous Stu…

Advent One: Mary in the World (1) "Struggle to be the Sun Again", Dec 3, 2017

Advent Message (1)  Struggle to be the Sun Again Matthew 1:18-25 

When I was in grade two or three, (I don’t remember exactly when) my parents decided to become Roman Catholics, and I was baptized with my brother. My aunt became my godmother, and she picked Maria Angela (Mary Angel) for my Christian name from a book she liked. Since then, Mary’s statues or sacred paintings were everywhere in my family home - in the living room, in the dining room, in my parent’s room. Mary wore a white garment, her feet gently stepping on red and pink roses, the same colour as her apple cheeks and thin pink lips. She had a high nose, eyes downcast in meditation in her beautiful, European face. I was taught to revere her even though she was in the form of a plastic statue; an image, not a real person. I gave my respect, with fear and awe - wondering and worrying, what if a miracle happens right now just because I was looking at her. This is my background, one that has made me really yearn for a way to sea…