Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am, 23 October 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia Instrumentalists: Lorraine Wheatley & Brad Childs
Elder: Gina Kottke
We gather to worship God
L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: and also with you.
Lighting of the Christ candle
Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship
Call to Worship
L: From the routines of work and school, home and play,
P: we have come to worship God.
L: With the weight of the world heavy on our hearts,
P: we have come to worship God.
L: In the midst of our fears and our hopes,
P: we offer our prayer and praise in Jesus’ name.
L: For we trust in God’s power and presence,
P: so let us worship God with heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Opening praise: Revelation Song
Prayers of approach and confession
Creating God, the mountains you raised reflect your strength.
Sunrise and sunset frame the day.
Fields bursting with grain and trees colored with autumn glory sing of your power.
Pictures from the depth of space give a glimpse of your infinity, yet in Christ you have walked the humble earth like and with us.
You are worthy of our praise.
And we admit that we are not the pinnacle of all that is.
You, as described and experienced by normal people just like us but in ancient words of old, give us hope for what is to come.
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of Life, we praise you, and join our voices to those of every precious thing to wonder at your deeds, explore your mysteries and experience you in daily lives.
Merciful God, You created human beings with gifts of intelligence and imagination.
Yet we confess we often use these gifts to exploit your creation and put others in their place. We use and abuse your Word and the written love story of your people.
So often we think that we are great when we are small.
So often we think that our view in our times are the end all and be all of truth.
We judge by limited understanding.
We believe ourselves to be so smart.
We reject too quickly, think too slowly, consider only what we can handle and reject what we cannot.
We claim smallness when you set a challenge before us. But otherwise, we act so big and so strong.
We convince ourselves that our sin is not nearly as great as others,
yet, every sin offends your purpose for us.
And every single one of us has made mistakes both small and considerable.
We are not evil, but we are sometimes ignorant and often arrogant.
Lord, Forgive us, we pray, and grant us a truer picture of ourselves.
Help us to see what is right and what is not.
Help us to be better and do better.
Help us to take upon us your eyes – to see the world and your children just as you do – worth dying for. Amen.
Response: I will trust in the Lord
Assurance of God’s forgiveness
Friends in Christ, God is gracious. Christ has promised that those who humble themselves will be exalted. Having confessed our sin, let us trust the good news of the Gospel. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. And more than that, worth dying for.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
Special Music: Thief (Brad and Lorraine)
by Brad Avery, David Carr, Mac Powell, Mark D. Lee, Tai Anderson © 1995 Gray Dot Inc. (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) New Spring (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) Kobalt Music Copyrights SARL (Admin. by Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc.)
We listen for the voice of God
Gradual: Jesus loves me (373)
Story: Here’s the Church and Here is the Steeple
There is a story about a Sunday School teacher who was teaching the kids in her class the rhymes about the church, the steeple, and the people. However, there was a young boy in the class who had only one arm. How was he going to do the actions associated with the rhyme? She was quite concerned. However, she needn’t have been. One of the young girls in the class, when they came to the point of learning the actions, put her hand up against the one hand of the boy and they did the actions associated with the rhyme together. The girl wanted to make sure that the boy understood that we are all included in the family of God.
Song: Blest are they (624)
Scripture readings: Genesis 3:17-19; 1 Corinthians 14:34; Luke 8:1-3
Message: “A Woman’s Place”
Three Interesting Readings Today and, I think, three fairly difficult ones at that.
Now let’s be clear. Difficult doesn’t mean they aren’t inspired. It doesn’t mean they aren’t a part of our sacred texts. And it doesn’t mean that we can just get rid of them because they don’t seem to fit into our present belief systems just right.
In line with this, our church (The Presbyterian Church in Canada) has a couple of really important statements which are central to who we are as “people of the book”.
One comes from the Westminster Confession of Faith. It says:
“The Bible has been given to us by the inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life. It is the standard of all doctrine by which we must test any word that comes to us from church, world, or inner experience. We subject to its judgment all we believe and do. Through the Scriptures the church is bound only to Jesus Christ its King and Head. He is the living Word of God to whom the written word bears witness.”
I would also be remiss if I did not include this statement from Living Faith. It reads, “We look at the biblical material as a canonical whole. The dangers of quoting isolated proof texts are well known. We look for the underlying unity and diversity, con-ti-nuity and dis-con-ti-nuity in Scripture, paying particular attention to the relationships between the Old and New Testaments.”
There are two more phrases I’d like you to consider. The first is this: “Where the bible screams, we scream and where it whispers, we whisper”.
It’s true, if the bible had one single verse restricting the position of women in the church it would deserve attention. But we would also do very well to remember that one phrase does not a whole bible make. The whole of the Old and New Testament provide the context for every verse. The second phrase I’d like you to consider is this: “The bible is the best interpreter of itself”. If you want to know what a verse means, look at some other verses. When one verse is unclean, there are guaranteed to be a few others that can help explain it.
Now let me tell you about my Gramma Grace. Gramma Grace’s church was a small country church and had a lot of turnover from itinerant preachers who would serve a number of far flung congregations and farming communities. Because of that her church was Lutheran, then Baptist, United and just about everything else. But when she was about 80 or so the Non-Denominational leadership of the congregation determined that not only were women not allowed to be ministers in the church, but she was also told that after about 30 years of it, she was no longer allowed to teach Sunday School if there were boys past the age of 13 in it.
The reason: Well, it looks like Paul told us that he wouldn’t allow a woman to hold a position over him.
In the North American Baptist Conference of Churches, when I left the denomination, there was just one ordained women in the denomination and that was a bit of a fiasco. It also colored my view of women in ministry within that organization.
Now I’m going to be really blunt here. My personal view is that the denomination has a biblical view as do our Catholic friends. They have a fair reading of the text. I may disagree with it but it’s not without evidence.
However, and with that said, I don’t believe that the denomination rejected female ministers due to sexism. To me, this smacks of racism.
Here is why.
In the NAB the only women ordained was an overseas missionary.
See, the denomination will let you into school, they will take your money and even give you a degree but they won’t ordain you to ministry. They train you but won’t ordain you.
There was one exception.
The first ordained women was given a “field ordination” because she was the only person left in the mission field in central Africa. There it was considered a necessity.
Now, when she returned to Canada, she was allowed to teach at the denominational school, but not serve a congregation. So what does that mean?
Well, to me, it means that it’s fine to ordain a woman just so long as she works with dark skinned people. The second she returned home to pale white Canada, she wasn’t good enough anymore. Now maybe that’s sexist but honestly it seem more like racism to me.
Paul is unsurpassed. He was a key figure in the first Churches spreading outside the Holy Land.
But I could be wrong.
Paul does say: “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.” (First letter to the Corinthians)
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” (First letter to Timothy).
Now some suggest these passages aren’t original to Paul. The problem is that since the earliest days there has been no external manuscript evidence whatsoever to indicate that it’s not genuine. All of the earliest manuscripts support the standard translation.
With that said, if Paul meant that women were supposed to be silent in all church in all places for all time then why does he earlier in that exact same letter (Verse 14:34) ask the women to cover their heads while prophesying?
It makes no sense that they not talk but also speak as prophets? So something is going on here.
It’s worth noting that the Church in Corinth is chaotic to say the least.
The city was essentially Sin-City of the ancient world. It was fraught with division and disruptive behavior. Its worship was generally of Aphrodite and associated with a prostitution cult.
First Timothy is written to Timothy as he served in Ephesus. And the vast majority of people in the city were aligned with the prostitution cult with thousands of attendees. In many of the ancient temples, men were silent. Only the women spoke, and the High Priest was female.
Into this world Paul plants a new congregation for Christian Worship and the minister there is constantly challenged. The services are disruptive and Paul seeks order.
Perhaps what Paul is doing is saying to this particularly disruptive group of women in this one congregation that – This is not the worship you are used to. Here the minister happens to be a man. (Or something akin to this in intent.)
So what does Paul say elsewhere?
Romans is Paul’s pure theological thesis. It’s the book where he isn’t writing to correct a lot of errors. He’s just preaching gospel.
So it’s worth noting that in Romans chapter 16 there are 30 some active ministers listed in the early church, and 8 of the people on Paul’s list are women.
There are more clues as well. For example, when Paul lists certain women, he does what Greek writers never did, he places the woman’s name before her husband. Pricilla for example is given Top Billing and her husband Aquila is listed second. Clearly Paul thinks very highly of her.
Now for a quick history lesson. The bible is full of women leaders.
There is Proverb 31 is about Lymur’s wife The Perfect Women.
Jael (Ya-el) who rescues the nation from impending violence!
1 Samuel 25 gives us Abigail who is distinctively described not only as “lovely” as per usual but also “intelligent” which is unique to her only.
There’s Ascah the daughter of Caleb who chooses the wisest purchase of land, none of the men seem to recognize but her.
There’s Hogla and the daughters of Zelophehad who fought and won the right to inherit their deceased father’s property Numbers 26:33. This is about as feminist a story as had ever existed at the time. It is almost unbelievable what she accomplished. She’s a hero.
What about Eunice from 2 Timothy 1:5 who is responsible for the faith of Timothy, Paul’s young protégé. Paul admits that she is the reason that faith lives on in his family and in the church that Timothy works with.
Jochebed the Mother of Moses, Aaron and Miriam from Exodus 1 – she is the reason for and end to slavery but generally gets little credit.
Joanna is one of the women who went to prepare the body of Jesus for burial in Luke 8:2-3 but often gets ignored.
Tamar from Genesis 38 who is righteous more so than her father-in-law does what is fair and refuses to let him get away with condescending actions towards her. Instead, she successfully petitions for a fair inheritance otherwise unheard of in the ancient world.
There’s Hannah who is a prophetess and worshiper at Jerusalem.
Ruth was a symbol of faithfulness who has an entire book of the bible that bears her name.
There’s Mary the mother of Jesus and her songs
There’s Elizabeth’s song.
Martha and Mary both receive scrutiny and yet, both are noble and both are friends of Jesus – evidence shows he stayed with them and his friend Lazarus regularly.
Deborah (Judges 4-5) saves the kingdom.
Azariah is a revolutionary, demanding reforms to the government and it’s systems.
Huldah is the largely ignored female prophet (2 Kings 22) who speaks about the lost book of the Jewish bible and helps restore order to the kingdom.
Noadiah is another female prophet (Nehemiah 6:14).
Hagar (Genesis 16) who is slighted but is also the first woman to speak specifically with God after Eve. There is a lot of meaning in that.
There’s the Shunammite woman in 2 kings 4 who negotiates with the king for the legal return of lost land.
There is also Eve, the “mother of all people”.
And Athaliah queen of Judah for 5 years 2 Chron.
Candace was an Ethiopian queen who along with Philip brings good news to a new convert in Acts 8:27
Ludia of Thyatirea was he first convert believer following the resurrection and first person to introduce Jesus to her “entire household”. There are no doubt people still alive today that owe their faith to her. She was a successful business woman and pivotal figure in the spread of Christianity if not the most pivotal for certain parts of the world. She is found in Acts 16.
Ever heard of Ester who foiled a political plot for the upheaval of the nation!
What about, Rahab who saved the spies in the promise land by lowering them down her window and deceiving the guards.
Or perhaps, Anna the female prophet who prophesied about who Jesus was at the temple (as a boy) – something that would take the disciples of the adult Jesus at least a year and possible 3 years to finally understand.
When Paul says women be silent, surely he doesn’t mean them.
And now for some fun.
I need everyone to open up your bibles. Open to Romans 16:7. And this is where things get odd
“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my brethren, who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles and were in Christ before I was.”
Now here’s the thing. Junia called “prominent among the apostles” which could mean well respected by but more likely means “a prominent one of” is a female name.
Let me say that again – it appears that Paul calls this women Junia not only one of the Apostles (Apostle Junia) but also One of the most esteemed apostles!
Ever hear about the female apostle before???
Well, there’s a reason for that. At some point in translation a scribe along the way felt that something was wrong. There can’t be a female apostle. And so, probably meaning well and trying to fix what they thought was an error, someone changed the name to Junius to make it a male name. This happened somewhere in the early 1300’s. Until then, nobody questioned her. Here’s the problem. There is no such male name. It’s a woman.
So it’s kind of hard to see Paul rejecting all women from ministry now isn’t it?
And now for something completely different.
For me, there is one text of scripture that really sorts things out for me.
That scripture is from the creation narrative of Genesis 2:3-chapter 4. It’s the story of Adam and Eve read from today. In it just after the man, woman and serpent play the blame game on who’s most at fault for eating the fruit, there is what’s called the Curse of Man.
The text reads like this:
To the serpent: “cursed are you above all the livestock and animals of wild. You will crawl on your belly and eat the dust the rest of your days”
To the woman: “I will put enmity between you and the serpent and between your offspring and it’s.” As well as… “I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing, with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and He will rule over you.”
And this very has been used for generation and generations to say that the man is the ruler of the house.
But listen what God says to the man:
17 To Adam he said… “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Now here is the big question. Is this curse the way the world is supposed to be? Or does it simply describe the way the world will be – now that sin has corrupted and ruined everything?
In other words, is this curse (where the man rules over the women) the way God wants it to be. Or did God want them working as partners living in paradise forever?
Is this prescriptive? Does it describe the way God wants the world to be?
OR is this descriptive? Does it describe the now broken world as it is.
See, if you believe that this verse is prescriptive and that the man is meant to rule over the women, then sure, that means that the man is to forever rule over the woman. But if the curse on her is something we should be subjugating women to forever, than the curse on the man is also prescriptive too.
If that’s true fellas, then men can’t use tractors! It’s supposed to be hard to work the ground. This would mean that women can’t use epidurals. Because childbirth is supposed to be hard. Men, we can’t use pesticides! Farming is supposed to be hard by God’s decree!
BUT on the other hand – if this curse is Descriptive of the way the world is now that it’s broken, then the curse is actually something we are supposed to be trying to fight against. Because it represents the world of sin; things gone amiss. If that’s true, then the curse is something to overcome. And what we are supposed to do is live as if we are still in the garden because that’s how God actually intended for us to live.
What is a woman’s place?
I think I’ll just leave you with that question.
But I think you know where I generally stand.
Praise God, and may His word direct your hearts while mine fall away leaving but His and His alone. Amen.
Song: For the healing of the nations (736)
We respond to serve God
Reflection on giving: We have been giving faithfully since the beginning of the pandemic and we are committed to continuing the ministry and mission that define Dayspring – using the various ways described on the screen and in Dayspring Weekly News. Thank you all for your support of our shared vision and mission. For those in the sanctuary, if you have offering envelopes with you, simply put them in the offering plate at the back of the sanctuary as you leave the service today.
Prayer of gratitude
Good and generous God, receive our humble gifts, offered in hope and gratitude. Make something of them – and of us, so that the world will be surprised by your love and what we can offer them in Jesus’ name.
Just and merciful God, we lift our eyes to you in hope and gratitude.
When the world around us seems troubling, we are grateful for your steadfast love.
Thank you for your Spirit at work in all times and places, calling out the best in your people, showing us when we must repent, opening paths to reconciliation where we have offended.
Prayer for others and ourselves
We pray for justice for the earth:
Protect those creatures and habitats that our way of life is threatening.
Protect those communities and island nations at risk from climate change.
We pray for justice among the nations:
Create more generous sharing of resources between countries with good harvests and those depleted by famine.
Where resources are extracted for export, protect brave advocates for fair wages and environmental protection.
And where there is aggression and intimidation between nations, raise up the willingness to make peace and settle differences fairly.
We pray for justice in our court systems:
Guide those who judge and those who defend to serve with integrity, that those who are accused may receive fair trials, and that those who have been wronged or harmed are restored to fullness of life.
Grant those who are convicted humane treatment so that your Spirit may lead them to rehabilitated potential.
We pray for justice in the workplace:
May those who work for others be treated with dignity and earn a fair wage.
May all who create that work earn a fair return.
Create equity and respect between those of different backgrounds and identities and guide young people to opportunities to develop their gifts.
God, we all need some kinds of healing in our lives:
We remember before you those struggling with illness of body, mind or spirit, those waiting for diagnosis or treatment, and all whose health challenges are invisible to others.
Your Spirit prays within us, O God, even when we cannot find the right words. So hear us this day and answer us in ways that encourage our faith and change the world for the good, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Song: Amazing grace, my chains are gone
Sending out with God’s blessing
Go in humble confidence, trusting in God’s love for you, yet sure you have still more to learn and to give.
And may grace, mercy and peace from God who creates, redeems, and saves us be with you this day and every day, now and always. Amen.
Response: God to enfold you
Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specifications of Dayspring licensing with One Licence (3095377 and CLC (A735555).
The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2022) on all original material presented by him. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material presented that has not been attributed to others is his own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.