On the horizon:

Welcome to St. John, a small Lutheran Church that welcomes everybody. St. John has some exciting events planned for the next week. Read on to get the low-down, or check out our calendar.

Ottawa Centre poster IISing

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Who Are We Called To Shepherd?

UnknownJesus says: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down their life for the sheep….No one takes it from me, I lay it down of my own accord. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again.”

Reading this gospel this week, these last words jumped out at me in particular – for they emphasize the choice involved. Both the free will choice that Jesus exercised throughout his ministry, and the free will choice Jesus made on Easter weekend. And sometimes that is lost in our notion of the shepherd and the sheep, for we see sheep as docile, and meek, hustling into the corral out of fear while the sheep dog nips at their heels. Continue reading

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The Wilderness of Freedom

UnknownIn the summer of 2012, Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins visited a bakery in Colorado to order a cake for their wedding. The owner, a man named Jack Phillips, refused to make them one, arguing that as a Christian, he couldn’t decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding. It was against his religion, he said. The couple filed a discrimination case, and that case, all these years later, has now landed before the Supreme Court of the United States.

The case has prompted many churches and religious groups to weigh in, including our sister church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Continue reading

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Righteous Resisters

440px-Gedenkkranz_im_Bendler-BlockToday, as we approach a week of remembrance, as we consider loved ones lost on this All Saints Sunday, we are presented with the Beatitudes in our Gospel. We are given a divine version of what makes a person powerful and worthy: not strength, and ambition, but humility, and peacemaking, and a willingness to lose for the sake of a greater good. It is a timely gospel, as we look ahead to Nov 11, where that lesson of sacrifice – and the warning for humanity of the alternative – looms large.

For Lutherans, the timing might feel even more complicated. We have just celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – where Martin Continue reading

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Come and join us for a special Reformation Event this Sunday.

R500 Flyer

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The Cloak of Character

Unknown-2This week, a King of sorts fell. Unlike the king in our gospel, if Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein hosted a party, all the A-listers came. He was thanked in Oscar speeches, as one writer put it, even more often than God. Famous actresses called him “Uncle Harvey,” until, Continue reading

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Thanks and Giving

UnknownSitting here this morning, I imagine we all have a lot of reasons to be grateful. That we are able to enjoy this morning. That we have family or friends to spend time with. That we live in Ottawa, in Canada. That we are alive.  We are here. Or perhaps we are grateful for what we are not. We do not live in Puerto Rico, or a refugee camp. We were not attending a country music concert in Las Vegas. We will not spend the afternoon in chemotherapy. We are not alone. We are not there, whatever there we would rather not be. Continue reading

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The work you do. The person you are.

Our kids are packing their school bags. The people of St. John have returned to their pews. The summer is slipping away, and life is speeding up again. It is time to get down to business. But what kind of business? And whose? Will our focus be human things? Or divine things?

This summer, I read a short essay by Toni Morrison, the prestigious African-American writer. Continue reading

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