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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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.

Friday Mar 17, 2023

This week the story moves from the garden to the house of the high priest in Mark 14:53-72. Jesus is carried there under arrest while Peter follows close behind. Over the course of the night both Jesus and Peter are asked three questions. 

Friday Mar 10, 2023

This week we focus on Mark 14:43-52, and the story of Jesus' arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. We meditate on what the love of Jesus looks like in the midst of betrayal, resistance, violence, and desertion.

Falling in Love: Stay Awake

Friday Mar 03, 2023

Friday Mar 03, 2023

As we enter into Lent we will not lose sight of the Love we’ve learned from our series on 1 Corinthians 13. Paul has invited the Church to rise in love – to be patient and kind and humble and hopeful. With this challenge in view, we will spend the 40 days of Lent moving slowly through the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life and watching Jesus fall in love. Is it possible to rise to the call of Love even if Love brings us down?
This series will carry us through Mark 14:32-15:31. We begin in the first week of this series with a reflection on Jesus' plea to STAY AWAKE and keep watch in Gethsemane with him while he prepares for the painful 24 hours ahead and his final act of love.  We will stay awake and strive to notice, together, what love incarnate looks like and why Jesus is entirely trustworthy.

Friday Dec 23, 2022

At Awaken we enjoy focusing on Mary's "yes" to God but this Sunday we turn to focus on Joseph. If we only had Matthew's account of the birth narrative, we would never hear Mary speak. There would be no angels, no shepherds keeping watch, no census and no need for "room at the inn". The Joseph story in Matthew's telling involves four dreams and a brave father who must say yes. Joseph could have chosen to follow the scriptures and divorce Mary but instead, he offers a wild and costly yes to a better way - he marries the God-Bearer and becomes the God-protector. This story invites us to also choose a better way when faced with loving each other and loving our neighbours. 
The sermon series is based on the Advent Package created by A Sanctified Art LLC, and is shared with permission. Find more information on their liturgical packages at

Friday Dec 09, 2022

Do not be afraid is the most common command in the bible, it is a phrase offered to God's people over and over again in times of distress and trouble. When the angel appears before Mary and she is troubled, confused, and afraid, this phrase is given again. In this sermon Kara talks us through how we experience the voice of fear, and what we can learn from Mary's response about how we can respond to the voice of fear.
The sermon series is based on the Advent Package created by A Sanctified Art LLC, and is shared with permission. Find more information on their liturgical packages at

Wednesday Nov 30, 2022

In Mary's song she says, "His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation." We reflect, on this first Sunday of Advent, on the ways Mary is pregnant with both the past and the future. The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke tell us that it's not about he bloodline of Jesus, but the story that shaped the people that shaped the story that shaped the people. So we are here, in this moment, between what came before and what come next. The light comes to us from the past and it comes fro the future so we pray with the grandparents who've gone before us and the grandparents yet to come.
The sermon series is based on the Advent Package created by A Sanctified Art LLC, and is shared with permission. Find more information on their liturgical packages at


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