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David Ewart
Vancouver, BC CANADA
Husband, father of two grown sons, United Church of Canada minister
Interests: brain-mind research, physics, cosmology, process theology, evolution, leadership
Recent Activity
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To deny the physicality of the resurrection is to deny that God vindicated the words and deeds of Jesus which are embodied in his flesh. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Holy Textures
Holy Textures is a spot for my musings on the various Biblical texts that come our way through the Revised Common Lectionary. My goal is to provide timely, short, easy to use and thought-provoking background commentary for your sermon or bible study preparation. Please click on the heading of any post or "Continue reading" to see the full post. By entering your email and clicking "Subscribe," you can receive all new posts by email. You will only receive new posts, nothing else - no spam, nada, zip. Year A - Season of Easter - 2014 This year, Easter is almost as late as it can possibly be. It has given me time to give a close reading of the Holy Week texts and background information. I come away even more amazed at the courage of Jesus to voluntarily face the torture and humiliation of Roman execution on a cross, in order to remain faith to God's calling - God's purpose - for him: To proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. As usual with the Season of Easter, we get to spend time with the Gospel of John. I like to think of John as like a good day at the spa: Soaking in the swirling eddies and quiet back pools of his repetitive, non-sequitor, images and stories. John wants us to really GET the life that is Jesus. What could be more refreshing than that? Easter Vigil April... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Holy Textures
There are so many texts from Palm / Passion Sunday through the rest of Holy Week and Easter, that I am including links to them all in a single post. Blessings to you all in this most holy of times. Holy Week Lent 6 April 13, 2014 Liturgy of the Palms: Matthew 21:1-11 "Now Jerusalem is not a large city. And what the authors of the Bible take for granted and fail to mention is that while Jesus is parading in on a donkey through one of the back gates, on the other side of the city Pilate is parading in on a war horse accompanied by a squadron or two of battle-hardened Roman soldiers. Do you think anyone at Pilate's parade heard about Jesus' parade? Heard what the crowd had shouted? Let's see what unfolds in the week ahead." Sermon: "Entrances." Liturgy of the Passion: Matthew 26:14 -- 27:66, Alternate Reading 1. Matthew 27:11-54, Alternate Reading 2. "The Jesus who died on Good Friday was still dead on Easter Sunday. But the embodied passion of Jesus that did not hesitate in the face of humiliating, torturous death did not die on Good Friday, and was seen to be actually, factually, really alive on Easter Sunday." Sermon "To be added." Holy Monday John 12:1-11 "Lazarus' presence with Jesus fills the room with the unfinished sentence: Just as Lazarus, the one whom Jesus loves, has been raised from the dead by... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Holy Textures
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This story about Lazarus shares much in common with that of the Samaritan woman at the well. With the Samaritan woman the issue was seeing Jesus as the source of living water as compared to ordinary water. Here the issue is to see Jesus as the source of living life as compared to ordinary life. Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2014 at Holy Textures
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Jeremiah 5:21 would be a good text to introduce this story: 'Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but do not see, who have ears, but do not hear.' Jesus can cure the blind. Getting us to see past our own self-interest - to see the glory of God in the lowest and the least - now THAT would be a real miracle. Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at Holy Textures
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A good title for a sermon this week would be, "The Other Good Samaritan." The unnamed woman who grows from a shunned outsider to an evangelist. Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at Holy Textures
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Being born anew / from above is a huge transformation, since it means quite literally starting over with a new "family of origin.'"... It relocates our identity and resets possibilities for our character and life choices / opportunities. Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2014 at Holy Textures
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In this passage Jesus begins to demonstrate in words and deeds that he is indeed worthy of the high honour ascribed to him by angels and voices from Heaven - the Messiah, God's Son, the Beloved. Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2014 at Holy Textures
Holy Textures is a spot for my musings on the various Biblical texts that come our way through the Revised Common Lectionary. My goal is to provide timely, short, easy to use and thought-provoking background commentary for your sermon or bible study preparation. Please click on the heading of any post or "Continue reading" to see the full post. By entering your email and clicking "Subscribe," you can receive all new posts by email. You will only receive new posts, nothing else - no spam, nada, zip. Year A - Season of Lent and Holy Week - 2014 The 40 days of Lent actually do NOT include the Sundays. So the Sundays are referred to as being "in" Lent. For example, "Lent 2," means, "The second Sunday in Lent." This means the Sundays are always a mini-celebration of the resurrection - even in Lent. So, while we are preparing ourselves for the walk to Jerusalem and all that will happen during Holy Week, there is no need to pretend that we don't know about, and are not already celebrating, Jesus' resurrection. The fact that Lent began so late this year has given me time to give a close reading of the Holy Week texts and background information. I come away even more amazed at the courage of Jesus to voluntarily face the torture and humiliation of Roman execution on a cross, in order to remain faith to God's calling -... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2014 at Holy Textures
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I wonder how much in our heart of hearts, we are still cheering for Jesus as the triumphant Victor, and still longing for a Messiah, when God has already given us all that God has to give: the Beloved? Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2014 at Holy Textures
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One thing is clear, the boom from 1945 to 1958 did not result in people making a solid, life-changing, life-long experience of participating in a community of faith. The connection between being personally spiritual and collectively religious was not made. Whatever our future is, it cannot be a repeat of the boom years, 1945 to 1958. Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2014 at David Ewart
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Matthew 5:38-41 has a tragic history of poor translations and even worse interpretations. This passage is NOT recommending becoming a doormat; nor does it tolerate domestic violence. The translation, 'Do not resist an evildoer' fails to convey the full meaning of the underlying Greek. It would be better translated as, 'Do not violently resist an evildoer.' Thus the teaching is primarily about non-violence. It is not about acquiescing to evil. Jesus then goes on to offer three quick examples of how to non-violently resist an evildoer. Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2014 at Holy Textures
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Why not take Jesus at his word? Take your offering home this week, and carry it to remind you to take safe, practical steps toward reconciliation and peace wherever there is brokenness in your life. Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2014 at Holy Textures
Don't think that my teachings replace or reduce the law and the prophets. And don't think you can skip the details. Details count. But something more than the details is also needed. You must align your whole self with what God desires - that is what those in Heaven are like. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2014 at Holy Textures
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The poor, the hungry, and the sorrowing will never confuse these things as being their salvation. And THAT is the blessing. They KNOW their need of God. Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2014 at Holy Textures
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The command / invitation to Peter, Andrew, James and John to "Come, follow me," is not: "I wonder if you would consider the possibility of tagging along if you have the time, and it's not too inconvenient." Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2014 at Holy Textures
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BY DAVID EWART American author and social critic James Howard Kunstler coined the phrase “long emergency” to describe the effect of decades of small changes. For example, if your congregation were to lose half its members in one year, that would be an emergency. But if it were to halve its membership over two decades, losing maybe three of four per year, you would adjust and carry on. But, says Kunstler, it’s still an emergency – a long emergency. Here’s how it looks on a national scale. In 1977, when the United Church began recording average weekly attendance, 378,000 people went to church. That number peaked at 404,000 in 1984. Since then, attendance has gradually declined by 2.5 percent each year, so that in 2011 the number was 167,000. And if the rate of decline for only the past 10 years does not change, attendance will drop to 25,000 by 2025. But here is the really bad news: It’s not your fault. The decline in worship attendance is not because you need a better minister, cheerier music, more small groups or jazzier youth programs. It’s not because you need read one more church-improvement book or to attend one more workshop. It’s not because the United Church is too liberal or too political. The simple fact is that Canadians are not going to church like they used to. In fact, Canadians aren’t going to synagogues, mosques, temples, or Kiwanis either. Volunteer... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at David Ewart
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Click here for an easy to print or email Adobe PDF version of this post, "The Room Has Left the Building." Hi. My name is David Ewart. I was 3 years old in 1948. And in the next 7 minutes I want to show you that when I am 103, Protestant denominations in North America will be radically restructured, or non-existent. Unfortunately, I have learned the hard way that If you don’t ask the right questions, you end up trying to solve the wrong problems. And every congregation I’ve met always asks me: What can we do to get more young families to come to church? I have shelves full of books and have attended countless conferences and workshops to answer that question. But all of these books, workshops, and conferences have focussed on the church in splendid isolation. They all had great ideas. But what I didn’t notice was that none of these ever seriously discussed the reality that congregations do not exist in isolation. Congregations function within a larger society with its own culture and values. And its own competing salvation stories. Now no congregation can survive from one generation to the next by having babies. It just can’t have babies fast enough to regenerate itself that way. Congregations must depend on society having babies who will go to church. But here’s the catch. What if the society is producing babies who don’t go to church like they... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at David Ewart
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This text has two questions and an invitation that are at the heart of the Gospel of John: What are you looking for? Where are you staying? Come and see. Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Holy Textures
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Fulfilling of righteousness requires letting go of our personal sense of what is right and proper in order to let it be God's will that is fulfilled. For Jesus, as at the end, so too at the beginning: a deep and profound aligning of his heart and will with the will and Spirit of God. Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2014 at Holy Textures
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That this comet is understood to be a sign of the birth of a "child who has been born King of the Jews" is particularly frightening to Herod since HE is King of the Jews and this unknown child is a threat to him and his heirs. Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2013 at Holy Textures
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Just as in Genesis the Word was God's original self-revelation as Creator of all; in the Gospel of John, the Son is the revelation of God's heart as Lover of all. Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2013 at Holy Textures
This year, Easter is almost as late as it can possibly be. Which means that the Season of Epiphany is as long as it can be. This is two pieces of good news for working preachers. Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2013 at Holy Textures
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Matthew wants us to trust that ... God can and does protect, guide, warn, and keep alive from generation to generation the alternative "Jesus" vision of what is really real: God is love and love is the only response that will ultimately end violence. Year A Christmas 1 December 29, 2013 Sunday between December 26 and January 1 inclusive And / Or Year A, B, C Holy Innocents December 28 Read the passage at the bottom of this post: Matthew 2:13-23, The Message or Matthew 2:13-23, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Click here for an easy to print or email Adobe PDF version of this note. Sermon by The Rev. Dr. George Hermanson, "to be added." My friend and colleague, the Rev. Dr. Brian Thorpe, preached an excellent sermon, "Christmas Interrupted," on this text at Ryerson United Church, Vancouver, BC, www.RyersonUnited.ca. He has given me permission to post a copy of it here. It is difficult to be confident of the actual historicity of the events recorded in Matthew and Luke about the birth of Jesus. Like our own family stories, they are recalled by second and third generations as a way of informing responses to questions of their identity: Who are we? How did we get to be here? Who were our ancestors and how were their lives formed? What events in their lives resulted in us being the people we have become? What honour and mandate have... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2013 at Holy Textures
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The quality of the relationship that John is wanting us to have with Jesus is all-or-nothing. Year A, B, C Christmas Eve / Day December 24 / 25 Click here to read the complete Holy Textures background commentary on John 1:1-14. Click here for an easy to print or email Adobe PDF version of this note. Sermon by The Rev. Dr. George Hermanson, "." God bless the preacher who tries to say something sensible about this text in 20 minutes or less. Perhaps the best approach is to read it; then prop the Bible open in a visible place; then lie face down in silent, abject humility before the text; then, after 20 minutes - or twenty years - stand up and say, "Amen." But let's start with a direct quote from historians, Bruce Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh (See footnote below.): These verses have caused both wonder and controversy throughout Christian history. ... When read as ordinary language, they are majestic and profound yet bristling with interpretive and theological difficulties. ... Our (the authors, Malina and Rohrbaugh) interest is in the way these verses introduce the cosmic Messiah and describe his mission on behalf of those who "believe into him." Pages 29-30 In pre-literate societies, creating and memorizing poetry was highly esteemed and gave great honour to the subject of the poem. Thus, the form of John 1:1-14 as a majestic poem gives notice of the honour and glory with... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2013 at Holy Textures