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Pentecost Ponderings VIII

Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”Genesis 21:6

I cracked a joke to a friend of mine who is visiting Calgary. I had offered him the opportunity to look through my telescope while he is visiting, but the weather isn’t currently cooperating. I told him that rain was guaranteed this week because it’s the Stampede. Fortunately he laughed, but in my years in town more often than not rain does seem to be in the forecast when the Stampede rolls in. God, as I’ve often said, does seem to have a sense of humour.

I remember once when I was doing my internship in my 3rd year of seminary, that an elderly retired minister once took me to task for including humour in my sermons. He felt that preaching was serious business, and that “jocularity” (his word) didn’t have a place in sermons. He would then go on to tell me with a straight face that the ideal sermon length was 45 minutes. I had to do my best not to laugh, but I immediately though of those poor people so bored during such a sermon they were drooling on their hymnbooks, accompanied by not-so-quiet thunks as people fell forward, hitting their heads on the pews as they drifted off mid-drone.

As well-meaning as my erstwhile mentor wanted to be, I think he missed the point that in fact powerful points can be made through humour, and that the Bible has many jokes, puns, and funny stories that don’t really translate well. Even in a modern example, I know that there are plenty of jokes in French that fall completely flat in English because they rely on a pun or a play on words. Sarah herself is caught laughing at the absurdity of having a child at an advanced age, Balaam has a donkey that talks! Pretending that these stories aren’t supposed to be funny ignores that we do find purpose and meaning in life by enjoying it.

Stampede week here in Calgary is about having fun and enjoying one another’s company. My hope is to share some of that at the short outdoor worship service following our Stampede Breakfast this coming Sunday. As in previous years we welcome Brad and Lance in their cowboy livery offering their songs to the community during the breakfast and during the worship service. We look forward to seeing you there!

Yours in Christ,




Upcoming Events

  • Stampede Breakfast – July 17th, 2016 -9:00am to 10:30am.
    • Starting at 9am, we are holding our Stampede Breakfast AND worship service outside at 10:30am! Watch this space for more information!
    • Please bring lawn chairs if you have them. While we will have hay bales and some chairs from downstairs for people to sit on, please bring lawn chairs so that you may enjoy the morning in customized comfort!


  • Congregational Membership Classes
    • If you or someone you know would like to formalize membership with St. Matthew’s, I am hoping to run a membership class in the next few months. If you are interested, please email me, call me at the church, or speak with me directly on Sunday mornings.

Church Office Hours

Wendy’s regular office hours are Mondays, 11am-3pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday from 9am-3pm.

My regular office hours are Sunday through Thursdays from 9:00 to 12:30. While I am likely to be in the office in the afternoons Monday through Thursday, I may also be out on pastorals visits or meetings.

Upcoming Vacation Times

Wendy will be taking vacation time from July 29 to August 14th

John will be taking vacation time from July 31st to August 14th.

Marco will take a short vacation from July 20-22.

Pulpit Supply

John will be leading worship for most of the summer except for these dates:

  • July 31st – Rev. Clint Mooney preaching
  • August 7th – Rev. Clint Mooney Preaching
  • August 14th – Wendy Knudson Preaching



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