Here are the texts of some of the sermons (or “reflections”) recently offered in our Sunday worship times. If they are part of a series on a theme, they are grouped by that theme. Otherwise, they are listed in order of date, starting with the most recent.
Bullseye: Aiming to Follow Jesus (Winter 2020)
January 12 Aiming at the Bullseye
January 19 Using Spiritual Practices
January 26 Worshiping Together Weekly
February 2 Discovering Authentic Community
February 9 Serving with Our Gifts
February 16 Giving Generously
February 23 Sharing Christ
Christmas Season (December-January 2019/20)
December 24 Joy Intrudes (Christmas Eve Communion)
December 29 Lessons & Carols service
January 5 A Price on His Head
Advent Begins in the Dark (December 2019)
Christmas creeps toward us in the darkness of December. And Jesus comes to us in our dark places: our souls, our communities, our world.
December 1 Waiting in the Dark
December 8 Getting Ready for Christ(mas)
December 15 The Disappointing Invasion
December 22 Adult Choir Christmas Cantata
November 24 The Presence Project (A United Church of Canada initiative)
November 17 A Bible Bunch (Resources for reading the Bible better)
November 10 Victory in the Valley (For our annual Memorial service)
A Season of Gratitude (October-November 2019)
Gratitude deserves much more than a single day. So we’re having a month of thanksgiving!
October 6 Rev. Dave Jagger, Stewardship Officer for our region, led us in worship. Audio
October 13 An Uprising of Gratitude
October 20 Cries and Celebrations
October 27 Jeff Smith from our congregation led worship
November 3 Trusting the One Who
Amazed in God’s Grace (September 2019)
We live every moment held within God’s love. God’s love is active. God’s love is grace. Which is a way of saying that God’s love is unexpected, generous, undeserved, surprising, overflowing, dependable and trustworthy. We are all caught up in God’s grace, and when we realize that we are amazed.
September 8 God’s Amazing ‘Going-Out-to-Get-Us-In’ Grace
September 15 God’s Amazing ‘Making-Us-Right’ Grace Audio with Images
September 22 God’s Amazing ‘Starting-Us-Fresh’ Grace
September 29 God’s Amazing ‘Cleaning-Us-Up’ Grace Audio with Images
Living Stones (Summer 2019)
In 1998 Westminster Abbey added new statues to the many that are already in and around that iconic church. These commemorate 10 Christians who, in the 20th century, gave their lives in witness to their faith in Christ Jesus. This summer we heard some of their stories. Some of the reflections were offered by Rev. Susan Clarke of Knox Presbyterian Church in Elora. You can read brief biographies of all of them here.
July 7 Manche Masemola
July 14 Maximilian Kolbe
July 21 Esther John
July 28 Martin Luther King Jr (by Susan Clarke)
August 4 Grand Duchess Elizabeth (by Susan Clarke)
August 11 Guest worship leader Rev. Jan MacInnis
August 18 Worship for Riverfest Sunday led by The Martin Brother’s Collective
August 25 Wang Zhiming (by Greg Smith-Young at Bethany UC)
August 25 Janani Luwum (by Susan Clarke)
September 1 Oscar Romero
The Wisdom of Solomon (Spring 2019)
April 28 What Shall I Give You?
May 5 . . . worship led by Caleb and Sarah, participants in Two Countries One World.
May 12 The Wisdom of Good Government
May 19 We had a multi-cultural music service.
May 26 Worship was led by a member of our congregation.
June 2 A Holy House for God
June 9 The One Place About Every Place
June 16 The Why of Wisdom
June 23 A Split Decision
June 30 Faithless Love
Easter Sunday 2019
April 21 Easter Unfinished (for the Sunday of the Resurrection!)
A Grain of Wheat (Lent 2019)
March 10 What’s that Smell? Audio with Images
March 17 Following to Friday Audio with Images
March 24 Disgracefully Glorious Audio with Images
March 31 Seeing is Not (Necessarily) Believing
April 7 Transparency of Jesus Audio with Images
April 14 The Donkey King Audio with Images
Peforming Humans (Winter 2019)
February 10 Humans are Wonderfully Written Audio with Images
February 17 Humans are Trashing the Scene Audio with Images
February 24 The Writer Sneaks Onstage Audio with Images
March 3 The Grand Finale
Being Attentive to God’s Presence (Winter 2019)
January 13 Hearts Aflame (sensing)
January 20 Taste and See (savouring)
February 3 Joined in Awe (sharing) Audio with Images
Christmas & Epiphany 2018-19
December 24 Silent Night
January 6 Star of Wonder
Advent 2018 (from the Book of Hosea)
December 2 A Mis-Match Made in Heaven
December 9 The Lioness Cries
December 16 God’s Idea of a Romantic Getaway
December 23 Nativity Garden
Loving God | Loving Neighbour | Loving Each Other
October 7 An Overflowing of Thanksgiving
October 14 When Did We See You?
October 28 Peace-People for our Neighbourhoods
November 18 Sharing in Our Overflowing
November 25 Throne Amid the Turmoil (Reign of Christ Sunday)
Come and See
September 9 Where Are You Staying?
September 16 Can Anything Good Come?
September 23 Could This Man Be?
September 30 Where Have You Laid Him?
Other Fall 2018
October 21 Remember Them (for Bethany United Church’s 175th Anniversary)
November 4 Hope in the Middle (for our All Saints Memorial Sunday)
November 11 Rev. Greg’s reflection for the Elora-Salem Cenotaph services
Psalms for the Summer
June 30 Why Do the Nations Rage? Psalm 2 (for a special evening service before Canada Day)
July 8 Amazed in the Midst Psalm 8
July 15 Arising Against Lying Psalm 12
July 22 Our Friend at the Centre Psalm 25
July 29 Waiting and Waiting Psalm 40
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (on baptism)
June 10 Signed
June 17 Sealed
June 24 Delivered
Easter 2018 (including reflections from John 11)
April 1 The First Laugh
April 8 Waiting
April 15 no service (ice storm!)
April 22 If Only You Had Been Here
April 29 Greg away
May 6 The Weeping Resurrection
May 13 But on the Other Side of the Stone
May 20 Our Mother Tongues (Pentecost)
Lent 2018 (including reflections from John 10)
Feb 18 We’re All In This Together
Feb 25 Lying Down on the Job
Mar 4 The Fight with the Wolf
Mar 11 Gripped
Mar 18 Rev. Dr. Donna Mann led worship
Mar 25 They Got Jesus
Winter 2018 (including reflections based on John 9)
Jan 7 Surely the Presence
Jan 14 Invading the Darkness
Jan 21 Interrogating the Light
Jan 28 All I Know
Feb 4 Brought Into Focus
Feb 11 Your Good News
Advent & Christmas 2017: Stepping into the Waves
Listening to the events around Jesus’ birth, we ask how God called people to “step into the waves.”
Dec 3 Stepping . . . When Things Haven’t Turned Out Right
Dec 10 Stepping . . . Into the Extraordinary Ordinary
Dec 17 Stepping . . . When You’re Already Doing the Right Thing
and for Christmas Eve: Singing Adoration
Oct 22 Called to Be a Temple (for our 182nd Anniversary)
Oct 29 Celebrating What Luther Celebrated (Protestant Reformation’s 500th anniversary)
Nov 5 Okay, But Not Okay, and That’s Okay
Nov 12 Ready for the Long Wait
Nov 19 Risky Investments
Practicing God’s Presence (2017) Exploring how prayer and the Lord’s Supper help us know the presence of Jesus
September 10: Praying in Jesus’ Presence (also the skit “Our Father“)
September 17: Praying with Jesus Around Our Neighbourhoods
September 24: They Were Not Strong Enough
October 1: Formed for Jesus’ Presence by Broken Bread
October 8: Jesus’ Thanksgiving Table
October 15: Supper at Simon’s
A Ruler for God’s People (2017) More reflections on the times of King David
April 30: A Daring and Costly Choice
May 14: Escaping the Cave
May 21: Your Splendour Lies Slain
June 4: Dangerous and Delightful
June 11: Building the House
June 18: The Thing David Did
June 25: The Grace of Not Getting Away with It
July 2: A Wise Woman for a Broken King
July 9: The Agony of Victory
July 16: Why David?
July 16: Great David’s Greater Son
Easter Season 2017
April 16: They Knew
May 7: Showing Up Early
The Gospel of John (2017) Continuing our look at this early record of Jesus.
January 15: Following Jesus UnSuccessfully
January 22: Challenging Authority
January 29: Knowing the One Who was Sent
February 5: Come Thirsty and Drink
February 12: Divided, Dismissive and Dumbfounded
February 19: Rock of Mercy
March 5: Seeing the Light
March 12: The Light Across the Ice
March 26: Our Noxious Burden
April 9: The Last Enemy
February 26: Tending to the Time
(the Sunday of Elora UC’s annual finance & property meeting)
Advent & Christmas 2016: Getting Ready for Jesus by Worshiping with the Canticles
A canticle is a song found in the Bible. Canticles have often been given a
title that is their first word in Latin. Luke’s account of Jesus’ arrival includes some
well-known canticles. This Advent and Christmas, we’ll be listening as these canticles
draw us closer to the Saviour.
Nov 27 Singing after the Silent Treatment (Zecharias’ Benedictus)
Dec 4 Singing after the Quickening (Elizabeth’s Ave Maria)
Dec 11 Singing after the Blessing (Mary’s Magnificat)
Dec 18 Singing after the Consolation (Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis)
Christmas Eve Celebration Excelsis (The Angels’ Gloria)
Christmas Eve Communion Singing after God’s Pleasure (The Angels’ Gloria)
Oct 30 Yet I Will Wait (Annual Memorial Service)
Oct 27 Refugees’ Rage (St. John’s Anglican Church Evensong service)
Oct 23 Jesus’ Family (for our 181st Anniversary)
Sept 25 Calling and Celebrating Together (Touchstones)
Oct 2 Really, Really Big Meal (World Communion)
A Ruler for God’s People (2016) Reflections on the times of King David
June 19 What’s It All About?
June 26 Can We Sing with Hannah?
July 3 Ichabod: God’s Glory, Gone!
July 10 Ichabod: Glory in the Dark
July 17 Ichabod: Glory on a Cow-Cart
Aug 14 Your Servant is Listening
Aug 21 Everyone Else
Aug 28 The Broken King
Sep 4 The Lord Sees
Sep 11 The Loving God! . . . Remember?
Sep 18 Washing Away the Dust of the Soul
Various reflections (2016)
May 8 (Ascension Sunday): What do we mean when we . . . Pray in Jesus’ Name?
May 15 (Pentecost): We took part in a pulpit exchange.
May 22 (Trinity): The Audacity of Experiencing God
May 29: What do we mean when . . . We Call the Bible ‘God’s Word’
June 5: Deep Roots of Happiness
The Gospel of John (2016) Continuing our look at this early record of Jesus. (Earlier reflections are further down this page)
February 21: More That We Can Handle
February 28: Taking Him Into the Boat
March 6: Held in Trust
March 13 Greg was away.
March 20: Hard to Take
March 27: Rushin’ To-and-Fro and His Suggestive Absence
April 3: Magdalenic Faithfulness
April 10: People Breathing Peace
April 17: Praising Thomas
April 24 Greg Smith-Young was away.
May 1: Reading for Life
February 14 (First Sunday of Lent): What do we mean when we . . . Confess our Sins?
February 10: Church People Need Ashes: Rev. Greg preached during the Ash Wednesday service held at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Elora
January 2016: The Story of Esther
An orphan in exile becomes the most powerful woman in the empire. A
condemned man becomes prime minister. A hateful fool does himself
in. A humiliated and endangered minority comes to be saved and respected. It’s all in
the Book of Esther!
January 17: Who Knows?
January 24: Pop Goes the Weasel
January 17: Saved to Stay
February 7: We celebrated the festival of Purim. No sermon this week. Just lots of silliness!
Christmas Eve Communion Keeping Company with Shepherds (Angels We Have Heard on High)
Advent 2015: When We Centre on Christ . . .
What difference does it make when we find Jesus at the centre of
our lives? This Advent, we explore how the Baby in a manger changes how we see everything.
November 29 . . . We See God Differently
December 6 . . . We See the World Differently
December 13 . . . We See Humanity Differently
December 20 . . . We See Love Differently
September 6 New and Renewing The Work of the United Church’s 42nd General Council
September 13 We Still Believe!
September 20 I Still Believe! My Un-Apologetic Apology
September 27 We had a congregation meeting during worship.
October 4 Reconciliation Journey: Legacy of the Indian Residential Schools
October 11 Carole Kennedy reflected on her recent pilgrimmage along El Camino de Santiago in Spain
October 25 Guest preacher: Debbie McMillan
November 1 The Gospel in Miniature (guest preacher: Paul Miller)
Called to be the Church . . . An Embassy (different versions on different occasions)
October 18 Elora United Church’s 180th anniversary
November 1 United United Church’s 7th anniversary (near Midland, Ontario)
November 8 Bethany United Church’s 172nd anniversary
November 8 Walking with My Black Dog (a personal reflection about depression)
November 15 Stay With Us (for our annual memorial service)
November 22 Guest preacher: Rabbi Cory Weiss
The Gospel of John (2014-2015)
The earliest Christian records include 4 different accounts of Jesus. One of these is called “The Gospel of John.” “Gospel” means good news. The word’s roots are in public celebrations of great events. John, who was perhaps one of the first followers of Jesus, tells us about his experience of the Lord. This is Good News, for us all!
September 7, 2014 Someone You Do Not Know
September 21, 2014 The Lamb Soaking Wet
September 28, 2014 Seeking, Staying, Seeing
October 5, 2014 The Ladder
November 30, 2014 Advent 1 The Beginning Word
December 7, 2014 Advent 2 Rejected and Received
December 14, 2014 Advent 3 Down and Dirty
January 25 A Wedding Saved
February 1 Contemplating Cana
February 8 Crashing the Temple
February 22 God Loves Making Babies
March 1 Snake on a Stick
March 8 Out of Darkness
March 15 Popularity Contest(ed)
May 3 Come Thirsty
May 17 Worship for Wounds
May 24 Being the Well
July 5 Hearing is Believing
July 12 Do You Want to be Well?
July 19 Like Father, Like Son
July 26 Jesus’ Witnesses
Loving God Many Ways (2014-2015)
We are all made to love God. A relationship with God is at the core of our spiritual DNA. However, just as our genetic DNA is different from person to person, so too is our spiritual DNA. We have different ways of living and expressing our love for God. Through the year, we’ll be looking at the different “spiritual pathways” we can follow as we love God. Which ones fit you?
September 14, 2014 Loving God Many Ways
October 12, 2014 Care Givers: Loving God by Loving Others
November 16, 2014 Traditionalists: Loving God with Our Ancestors
January 18 Activists: Loving God through Seeking Justice
February 15 Contemplatives: Loving God through Adoration
March 22 Ascetics: Loving God in Solitude and Simplicity
April 19 Enthusiasts: Loving God Emotionally, Creatively and Expectantly
June 14 Naturalists: Loving God Outside
June 21 Intellectuals: Loving God with our Minds
June 28 Sensates: Loving God by Engaging Our Senses
United Church’s 90th Anniversary
We were part of a shared worship service with 7 other congregations. My reflection was the middle of 3.
June 7 Flowing Life
Palm Sunday and Easter
Palm Sunday March 29 Singing at Both Ends of the Week
Easter Sunday April 5 Catching Up to Resurrection
April 12 Breathing Out Resurrection
Christmas Season 2014
December 21, 2014 Waiting for God (reflections on “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel)
December 24, 2014 Christmas Eve Communion: Iesus Ahatonnia (reflections on “The Huron Carol”)
December 28, 2014 ‘Tis the Season
What Can I Say? (Fall 2014)
We’ve all had the experience of being with someone who is grieving. We wonder what we can say to help. And we don’t want to say something that hurts.
November 2, 2014 Okay, But Not Okay, and That’s Okay
November 9, 2014 Sitting by the Sandcastle
November 23, 2014 Sitting with the Unanswered Question
Other Fall 2014 Sermons
August 31, 2014 God’s People at Work — for Labour Day Weekend (Bethany only)
October 19, 2014 The Heavenly Choir — for the final service with our music director, Louise Elder
November 2, 2014 Rock Solid — for Bethany United Church’s anniversary service
From May to August, Greg Smith-Young was away on a sabbatical, and also some vacation time. We hosted various guest preachers, and also worshiped at Knox Presbyterian Church.
Holy Week (Spring 2014)
April 13, 2014 Wales Window (Palm & Passion Sunday)
April 20, 2014 Seeing Things (Easter Sunday)
Learning to See: The Letter to the Ephesians (Winter-Spring 2014)
Even on the darkest night, we can see . . . if we have something to help us. We are using the Letter to the Ephesians to help us see better. Who is God? Who are we? What sort of world are we living in? How is Jesus changing things? What does all this mean for our daily lives? . . . all questions this letter wrestles with.
January 12, 2014 Flares in Our Dark Sky
January 19, 2014 Power Shift
January 26, 2014 A Most Unlikely Turn of Events
February 2, 2014 Walls Broken Down
February 9, 2014 A Most Blessed Failure
February 16, 2014 Walking in Balance
February 23, 2014 Walking in Step
March 2, 2014 Walking Well
March 9, 2014 Walking in Love
March 16, 2014 Walking in Marriage
March 23, 2014 Jesus Gets Married
April 6, 2014 Slaves and Masters: Rewriting the Code
April 27, 2014 Gearing Up