Living Words



The weekly preaching ministry of Living Word Reformed Episcopal Church in Courtenay, British Columbia


  • A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Easter

    A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Easter


    A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Easter St. John 16:5-15 & St. James 1:17-21 by William Klock Our lessons today continue to carry us through the Easter season.  In our Gospel we see the story moving us gradually from the events of Holy Week and Easter to the Ascension and to Pentecost and in our Epistle St. James points us to the practical outworking, to the implications for the Christian life of what Jesus was explain to his disciples. Our Gospel today isn’t the easiest passage to understand, but it helps to have a sense of where the Jewish people were coming from in the First Century.  There were times when Israel prospered and flourished, but most of her history involved difficult times, whether that was her slavery in Egypt, internal conflicts, conflicts with her pagan neighbours, or her exile to Babylon.  Through these difficult times, God’s people cried out to him, whether it was the nation as a whole crying out for God to give them justice in the face of wicked enemies or the righteous withi

  • A Sermon for the Feast of St. Mark

    A Sermon for the Feast of St. Mark


    A Sermon for the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist Ephesians 4:7-16 & St. John 15:1-11 by William Klock Today the Church remembers St. Mark, according to tradition, the author of the second Gospel—although fairly widely agreed to be the earliest of the four.  Mark travelled with Peter for two or three years as he made his way through Asia Minor and eventually to Rome.  The early Church historian Eusebius says that along the way Mark recorded Peter’s sermons and that these became the basis for his Gospel.  And yet, today, the Scripture passages we read say nothing of St. Mark.  Instead they continue the Easter theme of life in the risen Jesus.  It makes sense.  Mark wouldn’t have wanted us to focus on him today; he’d have wanted us to keep our attention on Jesus—which is why he wrote his Gospel.  And so, in our Epistle, St. Paul urges us to grow into maturity in Christ.  In our Gospel today, Jesus urges his disciples to abide in him.  The weather today isn’t great, so I’ll try to keep thing short and focu

  • A Sermon for the First Sunday after Easter

    A Sermon for the First Sunday after Easter


    A Sermon for the First Sunday after Easter St. John 20:10-23 by William Klock In the Easter acclamation we announce, “He is risen!”  That’s good news, but what does it mean for us?  What’s the application?  What does it have to do with who we are as Christians?  How does it change things for us?  What do we do with it?  Our Gospel today has something to say about all this in that odd scene where Jesus breathed on his friends.  Look again at John 20:22-23: [Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” What does that mean?  Jesus breathes out the Holy Spirit on his friends—which is kind of an odd thing in itself—and he tells them that if they forgive sins those sins are forgiven and that if they withhold forgiveness, forgiveness is withheld.  Did he actually?  Or was it a symbolic act?  A sacramental act?  What do we do with this? Some Christians see Jesus imparting a

  • A Sermon for Easter Day

    A Sermon for Easter Day


    A Sermon for Easter Day Colossians 3:1-4 & St. John 20:1-10 by William Klock There are echoes of John’s prologue in those words telling us that Mary came to the tomb while it was still dark.  In the beginning.  John’s prologue in turn deliberately echoes Genesis.  In the beginning…God spoke into the darkness and called forth light.  John writes, “In the beginning was the word.”  On the sixth day God spoke and called forth man.  John writes that the word became flesh and dwelt among us.  On the sixth day, Pilate presented Jesus to the people and announced, “Behold the man!”  Hanging on the cross, Jesus used his last gasp of breath to declare, “It is finished.”  Again, an echo of Genesis.  Any normal person who counted himself a friend of Jesus would have considered that first Good Friday a very bad day, but that echo from Genesis reverberates through John’s account.  When God had finished the work of creation he declared that it was all very good.  Jesus was laid to rest in the tomb for the sabbath—anoth

  • A Sermon for Good Friday

    A Sermon for Good Friday


    A Sermon for Good Friday St. John 19:1-37 by William Klock In the passion narrative today, St. John describes the agony of Jesus as he was scourged by soldiers, marched out of the city bearing the burden of his own heavy cross, and then crucified.  John tells us his last words as he was hanging there, parched, in the hot sun: “It is finished.”  John writes that on saying those words, Jesus died. But what did Jesus mean?  What was finished?  His life?  His agony and pain?  His sorrow?  His ministry?  We all know the rest of the story.  When we think of the Resurrection that took place on Sunday morning we know that Jesus himself certainly wasn’t “finished” when he died on the cross.  In fact, the story was just beginning that first Good Friday. There is a scene in the movie “The Passion of the Christ”.  I think it’s probably the most powerful and moving scene in that movie.  It takes place as Jesus, beaten, flayed, and bloody struggles to carry his cross down the Via Dolorosa.  At one point he stumbles

  • A Sermon for Maundy Thursday

    A Sermon for Maundy Thursday


    A Sermon for Maundy Thursday 2 Samuel 9:1-13 & St. John 13:1-15 by William Klock In 2 Samuel 9 we read a story about a young man named Mephibosheth.  Mephibosheth was the grandson of King Saul and the son of Jonathan.  Saul saw David as a rival and sought to have him killed more than once, but Jonathan was David’s best friend.  Even when it came to Saul, David treated him with respect and honour.  He could have killed Saul on more than one occasion, but he refused to do so.  For all his faults, Saul was the King.  He’d been anointed for that office by the Lord.  And so David grieved at the fall of Saul and the death of Jonathan.  We read a few chapters earlier about the defeat of Saul by the Philistines.  And that’s where we’re first introduced to Mephibosheth, in a brief note.  When Saul’s capital, Gibeah, fell to the Philistines, one of the palace servants fled, carrying little Mephibosheth.  As she ran, she tripped, fell, and dropped the little boy.  We’re not given the details as to how he was injur

  • A Sermon for Palm Sunday

    A Sermon for Palm Sunday


    A Sermon for Palm Sunday Philippians 2:5-11 by William Klock Our Epistle today, the lesson from the second chapter of Philippians, is the lens through which we read the Gospel.  What’s remarkable to me is that what took Matthew two long chapters to tell—we only read the second of those two chapters this morning—what took Matthew two long chapters to tell, St. Paul summarises in a mere thirty-six Greek words as he tells us about the servant-king.  Most scholars think that verses 6-11 were an early Christian hymn, perhaps even written by St. Paul himself.  Whatever the case, this poem brilliantly and succinctly sums up who Jesus is as it draws on both Israel’s story and the story of the whole fallen human race. What comes to mind when you think of a king?  Today we might think of some of the modern kings of the world—or queens.  Today they’re figureheads and public servants.  A few years ago, when our own Queen turned ninety, the Bible Society published a commemorative book titled “The Servant Queen and th

  • A Sermon for Passion Sunday

    A Sermon for Passion Sunday


    A Sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent Hebrews 9:11-15 & St. John 8:46-57 by William Klock Today, the Fifth Sunday in Lent we enter a sort of “sub-season” within the larger season of Lent.  Historically the Church called it “Passiontide”.  During Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, we recount the passion of Jesus as we prepare for Easter and the celebration of his resurrection.  But today the lessons prepare us for.  Whenever the Church gives us a major feast day, it often gives us a Sunday that explains why the events that feast commemorates are important.  Usually it’s after the feast day, but for Palm Sunday and Holy Week the explanation comes first.  That’s what our lessons are about today—they tell us the theological and the narrative importance of Jesus’ suffering and death. Some of you know that this year I’ve been working on a project, writing some commentary on the Epistles and Gospels, to help fellow preachers to think through them from what’s called a narrative-historical perspective—bas

  • A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

    A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent


    A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent Galatians 4:21-31 & St. John 6:1-14 by William Klock As we walk through the season of Lent and read the lessons set out for us each Sunday, it’s helpful to remember why these specific passages from the Epistle and Gospels were chosen.  Their history goes back about a millennium and a half and sometimes even further than that.  They go back to the days when Lent was a time set aside for preparing new converts for their baptism at Easter.  Committing oneself to Jesus and to the Church was no small thing.  For many the cost was great.  Jewish converts were often kicked out of the synagogues and shunned by their fellow Jews.  Gentile converts were accused of being disloyal and subversive—even of being atheists, because in a world full of gods, to limit your worship to only one might as well have been atheism.  Persecution was not uncommon and when it came, more than a few converts denied their faith in Jesus to save their reputation or status or to save them from marty

  • A Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent

    A Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent


    A Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent Ephesians 5:1-14 & St. Luke 11:14-28 by William Klock In the ancient Church this Sunday marked the beginning of an intensive period of preparation for those to be baptised at Easter.  This was sort of the point from which there was no turning back.  This is what we read in The Apostolic Tradition, dating to the Second or Third Century: They who are to be set apart for baptism shall be chosen after their lives have been examined: whether they have lived soberly, whether they have honoured the widows, whether they have visited the sick, whether they have been active in well-doing. When their sponsors have testified that they have done these things, then let them hear the Gospel. Then from the time that they are separated from the other catechumens, hands shall be laid upon them daily in exorcism and, as the day of their baptism draws near, the bishop himself shall exorcise each one of them that he may be personally assured of their purity. Then, if there is any of