Awaken Bowness Podcast

Our Pastor, Nikayla Reize is a vibrant preacher and Old Testament scholar. She leads at Awaken Church and Teaches at Ambrose University. Awaken Church is a small parish in Bowness, Calgary. At Awaken we really value wrestling with, engaging in, and being unravelled by Scripture, together around the Table, in the Neighbourhood. This podcast is a collection of sermons, lectures, and interviews.

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Wednesday May 31, 2023

The Sabbath laws in scripture are insistent that a true Sabbath rest is not just for the head of the household, not just for the wealthy who can afford it, but for everyone, and everything. If the rest isn't for everyone, it isn't Sabbath. The Scriptures also constantly remind us that God is deeply concerned with they way we treat animals. No small part of the law is dedicated to what animals can be eaten, and how they can be eaten, as our God is not the God only of humans, but of all living things.
So as we continue to discover in this series how Sabbath and Jubilee express God's dream for our neighbourhood and the flourishing of the world in which we live we discover this week what God's instruction to us to care for the animals - and the animals themselves - can teach us about the vision we are building for the flourishing of all creation.

Friday May 19, 2023

We've considered so far in this series that man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath made for man. This week, Michelle Edworthy impresses upon us that the Sabbath wasn't made only for human beings, but for the land itself. The Sabbath is a sacred symbol of rest, and that rest is commanded not just for the people who live on the land, but for the land itself. 
This week we are reminded that God's Jubilee dream is one of rest, wholeness, and thriving for the land itself. The land is holy, the land has agency, and the land is worthy in the eyes of God of this sacred rest. We imagine together what this can mean in our lives and our neighbourhood to honour God's commands that we give freedom and release to the land in which we live.

Wednesday May 17, 2023

Jubilee is the antithesis to Capitalism. Jubilee is only possible in a gift economy. Jubilee is only possible among a people who have repented of their idolatry, who have denounced their allegiance to Mammon, and turned towards one another, viewing image bearers as being worth more than our possessions. Jubilee is only possible in a community that sees a God who made the world, loved the world, and on the seventh day delighted in the world, a creator among beloved creatures. Jubilee is only possible in a community that sees the labourer as an image bearer. Jubilee affirms the value of each human being regardless of their ability or efficiency, or productivity.
Mammon says that your value to society is dependent on your ability to serve the economy. In Mammon’s economy, disabled, queer, immigrant people are treated as burdens on society, and the able-bodied citizen is the most valuable. The able bodied father who works 50 hours a week at a job he hates, that is destroying his own body and destroying the world is a hero and his wife who is at home ensuring he is free to serve Mammon and not be distracted by things like laundry, meal planning and diapers is a virtuous wife. The son inherits the business. Sabbath stops mattering then because we can’t actually rest – we can only check out because we are bored or comfortably numb or we find work so degrading and meaningless to ourselves and to others that we can’t wait to be done with it. Sabbath rest isn’t possible in Mammon’s world or Pharoah’s world or Ceasar’s world or Jeff Bezos' world. Sabbath rest comes from a place of delight, of loving what God loves. Mammon creates death-dealing gender roles and hierarchies and everything comes down to how hard you can work, how much capital you can generate, and how successfully you can protect and defend your assets and the assets of your employer and your nation. Countless men have died fighting Mammon’s wars. Countless women have gone numb under the tyranny of Mammon’s womanhood. Everybody else is othered and then either murdered or swept under the rug.  But Jubilee – Jubilee spins the wheel the other direction and releases us from Mammon’s grip – brings us towards one another.
St Ambrose of Milan once criticized Christians for their charity work saying, “You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor, you are handing over to him what is his.” (340-397).

Monday May 15, 2023

As we continue our journey of exploration through God's dream of rest for the community of God, we are joined this Sunday by Wayne and Lydia Nelson, who will speak on Sabbath as Addiction Recovery. What does it mean to find rest and freedom from the bondage and burden of living with addiction. What is God's dream for us when we struggle with addiction, and what does Sabbath mean in this context?

Trauma-Informed Sabbath

Friday May 05, 2023

Friday May 05, 2023

God's sacred dream for rest and wholeness in our world does not mean rest from labour only, but rest from trauma, from indignity, and from the cycles of fear and ostracization that keep people from flourishing in the community of God. Christ offers a Sabbath rest that wraps us up in safety, empowerment, and connection. 
The week pastor James Wheeler joins us to preach on the Trauma-Informed Sabbath.

Sabbath and Jubilee

Monday May 01, 2023

Monday May 01, 2023

Every seventh year the community of God is meant to set aside an entire year for the work of entering into Sabbath rest, together. Every 50th year was called the Jubilee Year and was meant to radically reconfigure the neighbourhood according to God’s dream. Jubilee safeguards against intergenerational poverty and intergenerational wealth so that we can choose love, experience peace, and delight in God, together. At the onset of his ministry, Jesus proclaimed the inauguration of the final Jubilee and began forming a community that would join him in the ongoing work of Sabbath in the neighbourhood.  

He is not Here, He is Risen

Friday Apr 28, 2023

Friday Apr 28, 2023

He's not here? Where is he?!?
He’s out there. He’s gone ahead. He’s in the garden of the future. He is binding the strong man and getting ready to plunder the house. He is melting weapons down this very moment; He has the big mask on and there are sparks flying and he’s melting down steel and shaping them into gardening tools.
He’s washing shame from the face of every child and the tears from the eyes of all parents who’ve prayed through clenched teeth for their babies and he’s digging wells and planting the bulbs of purple irises – he’s breaking prisoners out of jail – expunging records – he’s at the bank, he found the record of your debt and he’s setting them to flame right now.
He’s got a jar full of every tear you’ve ever shed and he’s gone forward 10 generations and he’s planting those tears on the pillows of your anxious great great great great grandson – to whisper in his dreams that he’s the dream of his ancestors. He’s setting the table of tomorrow with the harvest he gathered from gardens that haven’t been planted yet. He’s singing – he’s marching – he’s dancing barefoot – he’s preparing little bowls of milk and grain and sweet wine. He knows the Kingdom of Heaven is a furred creature that lives inside of your chest and every morning he’s putting out those small offerings – he’s going to lure you outside of yourself. He's clearing away the debris and making it safe so you can come out into the streets and dance with your friends. He’s putting new wine in new wine skins. He’s singing, “let’s eat, drink, and be merry, for yesterday we were dead”.
He’s gone back to visit your grandmother’s mother and your mother’s mother’s mother’s father’s father’s parent’s parent’s all the way back to when we were sitting around the fire and looking at the stars and wondering about the future and he’s telling them about us and they’re cheering and they’re dancing – he’s gone back to tell them we made it and he’s gone forward a hundred years and he’s telling them that we’re on our way – that we’re doing the work – we’re noticing our wounds and the hope that comes from there - and we’re talking about what hurts and exploring the very convincing evidence that the parts of us that are hurting are the same parts that call forth change. We are at the library of life together like Hermione and her boys and we’re figuring out that hope is an action – faith is an action – humility is an act of resistance and asking for help is the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
The future is coming like a dog at the offleash park -- it's bounding over the horizon, tail wagging, mud-covered, catching up but running past us, ahead, and turning back with an ear cocked to the side, "you coming?"
Our only mantra now is, "who knows? Everything is possible."

Wednesday Apr 12, 2023

We know that the crucifixion was designed to publicly shame and brutalize political opponents but we also know the Romans understood political victory within a sexual framework. The Romans would use sexual metaphors to portray their military victories - they imagined themselves as dominating and emasculating their opponents and crucifixion was designed for this purpose. When we consider the context, we suddenly realize Jesus likely experienced sexual humiliation and sexual assault as a part of state terror and execution. When we realized God truly descended into hell, we realize we aren't alone in our hellish moments. Jesus endured the shame of the cross and rises to dignity and honour. This should inform how we understand our own trauma and how we respond to sexual assault survivors who dare to tell their untold stories.

Wednesday Apr 12, 2023

Nostalgia makes us want to fight to go back to how things were and idealism makes us want to fight to rush ahead into how things should be. Privilege makes us want to just stay exactly as we are - status quo. Here we find ourselves having to choose between our religious authorities, our violent insurrectionists, and our comfort with how things are.

Friday Apr 07, 2023

Who has the power? Pilate? Rome? Or the Crowd? This is a sermon and meditation about power, people pleasing, and silence as a gesture of resignation version courageous resistance.


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