We Cannot be Both Great and Good

A Sermon on the Feast of Pentecost

Jeffrey Metcalfe

Genesis 11:1-9; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Acts 2:1-21; John 14:8-17, 25-27

It’s a story of pride. The belief that when humanity comes together, it can achieve anything.

It can build a tower to heaven.

It can make its own way to salvation.

It can become God.

The Tower of Babel is a story of pride, a story of how quickly pride in our abilities, our technology, our wealth, and our power can lead to idolatry. And how idolatry can leave us scattered, confused, and destroyed. Continue reading

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A Sermon Preached on the Fall of Empire

Jeffrey Metcalfe

(Click here to listen)

James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a

Mark 9:30-37

Nobody knew how the invading army penetrated the city gates.

The idealists, still believing in the invincibility of the eternal city, thought it must have been treachery: some renegades, probably slaves, had let them in.

The realists, decrying recent municipal and national cut backs in infrastructure, were not surprised in the least. After all, hadn’t they been complaining to the magistrate about concrete falling from the gate?

The moralists, denouncing the loss of traditional values, blamed the church. To them it was obvious the country was being divinely punished.

Regardless as to how the gate was taken, no one disputed what happened next: houses burned, storehouses pillaged, captives taken, graves desecrated.

It could not be disputed.

Rome – the centre of the western world – had fallen, and with it, the hopes and dreams of an Empire.

It was at this moment that Augustine, a bishop and theologian of the church, did what bishops and theologians tend to do in troubled times. He wrote a book. Continue reading