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    • Rev. Dawn Hutchings
    • B.A.(Hon.); M.Div.

      I serve in Team Ministry with Pastor Tom Doherty at Holy Cross Lutheran Church; a small progressive Christian community just north of Toronto in the town of Newmarket. Holy Cross Lutheran Church is a place for seekers of a Christianity that is unconstrained by church dogma, liberated by reason and imagination, and nourished by our passion for peace, justice, and diversity.

Too Often Christianity’s Cross-Eyed Perspective Distorts the Good News that God is LOVE: a sermon for the Second Sunday of Lent – Mark 8:27-38

When someone shares in our suffering, somehow the knowledge that we are not alone, that there is someone out there who knows the pain that we are going through, the knowledge that we are cared for by someone who truly knows our pain comforts us and gives us the strength we need to endure our suffering.

To be alone in our suffering is the most terrible thing that we can imagine. The Good News that God is LOVE means that LOVE will not let us suffer alone because LOVE is determined to suffer with us. Working in, with, and through those who have experienced our pain LOVE is able to enfold us and say, “I know, my child, I know.”

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Transfiguration: Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song

The mythical stories of Jesus’ transfiguration remind me of old-fashioned love songs. You know the kind of songs that were playing on the radio when you first met, and when you hear them, you are instantly taken …

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The Greatest Birth Story Ever?

Luke 1:26-38, a sermon for Advent 4B

Imagine what it must have been like for the early followers of the man Jesus of Nazareth; a peasant, rabbi, radical, and disturber of the peace, executed as a political threat to the Pax Romana. Jesus of Nazareth went to his death insisting that peace through victory was no peace at all. Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed the radical notion that peace, true peace can only be established and maintained through justice.Peace, true peace, is the result of everyone having enough. Distributive justice which ensures that the poor and the powerless, the marginalized and the despised have all they need to live in peace.It was such a radically dangerous notion that the powers that be could not let it live.

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Keeping Christmas Well: a Christmas Resurrection Story

a sermon for Advent 4B

I used to think that A Christmas Carol was the story of Scrooge’s metamorphosis. The scene in the movie were Scrooge realizes that it is Christmas morning and that life doesn’t have to be the way it has always been and he does that wonderful dance and sings: “I don’t know anything! I never did know anything all on a Christmas morning!” I always thought of that wonderful dance as the culmination of Scrooge’s metamorphosis, like a butterfly bursting forth from a cocoon. But now I see it for what it really is. It is a dance of resurrection. For Scrooge was dead. Dead and gazing at his own tombstone, when suddenly, and suddenly for me always indicates the work of the Spirit, suddenly, Scrooge realizes that what he is seeing are only the shadows of things that might be. Suddenly, Scrooge knows “that men’s deeds foreshadow certain ends. But if the deeds be departed from surely the ends will change!” Scrooge is born again and is able to declare with confidence, “I’m not the man I was.” And so, the resurrected Scrooge becomes all that God intended him to be.

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Living Nativity

Several years ago Lesley attended a small church in the suburbs. Every year toward the end of Advent the members of this church would create a living nativity. About a week before Christmas when most people were …

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Preaching Christmas Eve in the Wake of New Testament Scholarship

So, if your struggling over some of the details of the nativity story, if the experts have left you perplexed, cynical or worried, do not be afraid, for I bring you tidings of great joy. The story is true, every last word of it is true. For just like Dom so wisely revealed to us, the story of the nativity is a parable and like all parable’s it represents a truth that cannot be fully expressed in words. Like all good parables the truth is not to be found in the details, but rather in the Spirit of God that breathes life into the parable. It’s a parable about so many things, but most of all it is a parable about peace on earth giving glory to God.

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Keep Watch: John the Baptist, Like Christ Has Many Disguises!

Christ came to me in Karen. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Christ comes to us in the most unlikely of places wearing the most unlikely of faces.

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“Keep awake! Watch for we know not when Christ comes.

Advent is about waiting and watching: waiting and watching for the coming of Christ. We wait for just the right time to celebrate the birth of Christ in our midst and we watch for Christ’s promised return. But how do we wait and where do we watch?

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MARY’s STORY:  Let It Be 

The way you tell the Christmas story, it all sounds so simple. So simple. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I really like it. It’s just that for so long now people have been telling my story and the way they tell it, it all sounds so simple and easy, so neat and tidy, that I hardly recognize myself in the story. It’s not your fault.  It all started a long time ago. Luke and that other fellow Matthew, they started it all.  They wrote my story down and wouldn’t you know it they cleaned it all up. But who can blame them.  Nobody likes messy birth stories. And as birth stories go, my baby’s birth was a really messy one.

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Pregnant with Possibility:  Was Mary a Virgin or Was Mary Raped?

Mary, this enigmatic woman has remained in the shadows for centuries. All too often the epithet “virgin” has been applied to the young woman who fell pregnant so long ago. As her Advent appearance approaches, I this re-post this sermon which I preached a couple of years ago in which I asked some questions about Mary. At the time I was reading Jane Schalberg’s “The Illegitimacy of Jesus”, John Shelby Spong’s “Born of a Woman” and “Jesus for the Non Religious” along with John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s “The First Christmas” and this sermon is laced with their scholarship.

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Shattered Angel

As Christmas draws near, we turn to stories to express the inexpressible. Like the Gospel writers we are at a loss to explain the activity of our God in the world and so we too resort to story telling. Families gather and the reliable old stories are told. And each year new stories are added to our treasure troves as we seek to express the inexpressible and touch the hem of our God who is love. And what better way to touch and be touched by God than to tell stories of God’s love in the world. We all have treasure troves of stories of Christ taking on flesh and dwelling among us. My story took place when I was a young woman determined that my first Christmas living out in the world would be the type of Christmas that dreams are made of.

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Reckless Generosity – a Sermon for Thanksgiving

We are the wealthy ones on this planet. We live lives that are beyond the wildest dreams of 90 percent of the people who share this planet with us. We are richly blessed. We are wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of most of the generations who celebrated Thanksgivings before us. We have much to be thankful for! Yet, when I remember the poverty of the majority of the people on this planet, all too often I begin to feel not gratitude, but guilt.

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We Need New Words to Praise the Silent Night Cosmically!

Silent night, holy night is a perennial favourite! T’is the season for nostalgia. But what if we are serious about providing more than nostalgia in our worship? Can we, or do we even dare to offer worshippers new images that endeavour to engage our reality? Can we touch the spiritual but not religious crowds that wander into our sanctuaries seeking an encounter with the Mystery we call God, with a hint of our unknowing. Or are we content to address only the nostalgia seekers with safe images designed only to warm and not excite the imagination? Dare we beckon the nostalgia seekers beyond their memories toward the future? I wonder? Maybe we can summon up the courage to compromise by simply adding a few new verses? The challenge belongs to all of us to write new words to enable us to sing our praise with integrity.

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Who IS God? – Not One, Not Two – a sermon for Thanksgiving Sunday

YAHWEH: I AM WHO I AM. From backseat somewhere far away, we can be heard to cry, “Who is God?” A legitimate question. Big Bang. Stardust, DNA. Evolution. Expanding universes. Quantum leaps. Higgs Boson. Expanding consciousness. String theory. Black holes. 14 or 26 dimensions of space and time. Metaphysics. Metamorphosis. Meta-literal. YAHWEH: I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE. Who is this God? I AM the bread of life. Give us this bread.

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Big Bang, Darwin, and Evolutionary Images of Divinity

In the words of our ancestors as they grappled to tell the story of the Divine Mystery we call God, it is written. “Then God spoke all these words, and said, “I AM YAHWEH who brought you …

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Teach Us to Pray, with Pastor Dawn- Class #1

Published on Sep 29, 2014
When you no longer believe that God is a cosmic puppeteer, why pray? An exploration of progressive Christian ideas about prayer. In the stories handed down to us from our ancestors, we hear the disciples of Jesus ask, “Lord teach us to pray!” For generations Christians have continued to seek ways to communicate with the ONE we call God. Progressive Christians seek new ways of understanding God and notions of God as a cosmic puppeteer who lives in the sky are being replaced with images which point toward the Reality which lies at the heart of all that is. As we begin to see God as the ONE who lives and breathes in, with, through, and beyond us, our understanding of prayer is evolving. This Keynote presentation includes youtube videos of John Shebly Spong – Honest Prayer Parts I and II, and Fred Plumer on Prayer and Progressive Christianity.

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A Little Self-Involved? Try Looking Outward!

The Gospel writer tells us that Nicodemus addressed Jesus with respect: “Rabbi” he said, “Teacher.” Then Nicodemus discloses his own heart, when he says, “We know you are a teacher come from God, for no one can perform the signs and wonders that you do, unless by the power of God.” Nicodemus heaps upon Jesus the kind of praise that many the Pharisee would have coveted for himself. Could Nicodemus have come under cover of darkness because he too wanted to be just like Jesus; a wonderful teacher capable of great things? Jesus, just like many the wise teacher before him and since him, delivers the blow that teachers all too often must deliver to their ardent admirers, Jesus pushes Nicodemus beyond his child-like ardor, to a vision of a life that is totally transformed. “The truth of the matter is, unless one is born from above, one cannot see the kindom of God.”

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