Ascribe to the Lord (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
10:00 am July 17, 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Vivian Houg
Elder: Heather Tansem

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

Greeting
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: The Lord is our light and our salvation! Whom shall we fear?
P: The Lord is our stronghold. Of whom shall we be afraid?
L: As we wait on the Lord, let us be strong and of good courage.
P: God has called us together, and we have come.
L: Let us thank God forever, because of what God has done.
P: We will proclaim God’s holy name, for God is good.
Let us worship God!

Opening praise: Here’s my heart Lord

Prayers of approach and confession

God of majesty and mystery, your love and purpose embrace the whole world.

You set us in a world of beauty and bounty and invite us to meet you in the midst of its wonders.

You call us to love each other in the example of Jesus to make your world a place of justice and compassion.

In this hour of worship, send us your Spirit of wisdom and grace so that we can live out the praise on our lips in our day to day living, which we offer to you, our one and only God.

Lord Jesus Christ, you were born one of us to show us God’s love for us.

You came to teach us God’s truth and touch us with God’s mercy.

We confess we sometimes try to push you away.

We cling to what we think, and resist your challenge to open our lives to others.

We limit our generosity, convinced we can’t give any more.

Forgive us, Lord Jesus, when we turn away from the example you set for us.

Response: Glory, glory hallelujah

Assurance of God’s grace

Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ –

And Christ died for us; Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us.

Friends believe the good news of the gospel.

In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and set free by God’s generous grace.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Jesus we are gathered  (514)

Learning to sing The Lord’s Prayer

Transition music

Song: Holy, holy ,holy (299)

Today’s Message

Scripture readings: Philippians 2:5-11 and Psalm 29

Response: Thy word is a lamp

Sermon: “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name”

The creature, known scientifically as Turritopsis nutricula – sometimes referred to as “The immortal being”, (a kind of jellyfish) was discovered in the Mediterranean Sea in 1883.  It’s unique. If injured or starving, for example — it attaches itself to a surface in warm ocean waters and converts itself into a blob. From that state, its cells undergo transdifferentiation, in which the cells transform into different types of cells. Muscle cells can become sperm and eggs; nerve cells can change into muscle cells. In other words it starts its own life over again from a baby, without ever dying.

While it is often joked that “cats have nine lives”, this jellyfish has been deemed “immortal” by scientists. As far as anyone can tell, as long as the Turritopsis isn’t fully consumed by another creature it potentially has an infinite number of lives to live. For all we know, the very first Turritopsis that ever came into being… is still alive.

Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet? Or that goats have regional accents. Or that dolphins in a community together, all address each individual dolphin with its own unique sound, meaning – they appear to name each other. Did you know sea lions dance to the beat of music when it’s played and often “clap” along with the beat of the drum? Macaque monkeys in Japan have begun stealing coins from tourist and using them to buy goods from the local vending machines. They also make snowballs and have snowball fights with each other for fun in the winter.

The world is amazing. And nature is amazingly powerful.

There is a place in Venezuela over the Catatumbo River that storms in the most unique and frightening way. It storms there on average, just over half the year. The storms last an average of 10 hours per day about every two days. The lighting strikes in collections of hundreds of flashes simultaneously and a collection of strikes occur an average of 280 times an hour.

The sky literally fills from edge to edge with thousands of blasts of lighting all exploding through the ski at once and it goes on for hours and hours at a time. (392,000 lightning strikes a year). Can you imagine that power and the fear that most invoke?

In 1958 an earthquake loosened 40 million cubic meters of rock near Alaska’s Panhandle and then it dropped 3000 feet into the water. That caused a Tsunami that hit the shore with a 1,720 foot wave wiping the land of absolutely everything in sight: living or not. That’s more than twice as tall as Sky Tower in Toronto the tallest skyscraper in the country.

The only things left were dirt and rock.

The beach front has permanently moved three miles in. May 31st of 2014, about 5 hours from my home town an F5 tornado crossed highway 81 with 550 kilometer per hour winds and with a base (the thin part touching the ground) 2.5 miles wide. The top of the funnel covered more space than the entire city of Edmonton.

There is a great video on Youtube as well of a small Nebraska storm from last year (with a fully intact house circling the outside). It was set down a few miles away, on it’s foundation and fully intact.

The power of nature is astounding.

Natural wonders are nothing new of course we just see a lot more of them because of new forms of communication and because of cameras. But people have always noticed this.

Mentioned in the book of Daniel, the Eternal Fire is a gapping crater in Iraq where gas escapes the earth’s crust. It’s like a giant section of burning sand that won’t go out. In many ways it is a mystery today. And it must have been extremely confusing for people in Daniel’s time. But this site was around long before Daniel. Scientists agree that it has been on fire for at least 4000 years (not far from the very beginning of written language) and it has no signs of stopping anytime soon.

The world is incredibly amazing and incredibly powerful.

But is it really the world that’s powerful?

In the words of David (Psalm 29)

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;

the voice of the Lord is majestic.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;

the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,

Sirion[b] like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord strikes

with flashes of lightning.

8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert ground;

the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks[c]

and strips the forests bare.

Is the natural world powerful? David thinks so. He’s talking about the amazing power of nature that he sees in his time. But he won’t leave it at that.

Sirion is Mount Hermon (really a collection of mountains). It is called the Chief of Mountains and is the most important geographic site in the land (if for no other reason than its three tallest summits remain snow toped year round) while the rest of the snow feeds nearly every stream or spring in the region. It was the source of water and thus life.

The cedars of Lebanon were giant trees that could grow to 120 feet tall and many of them were 30 feet in circumference. These are the Giant Red Woods of the region. And like those, you could drive your cars right through them; two at a time.

But for David these things were not just thing unto themselves. Their power was not something they controlled.

The famous cedars of Lebanon he says, (as impressive as they are) are easily broken by the mere voice of the Lord (the word for voice and the word for wind being closely related); the immobile mountains of Lebanon, that provide water for the people, skip like calves or a baby ox that’s frightened at the sound of his voice. They tower over everything but are twigs to the one who creates them.

David looks out at his world and declares the amazing power of nature; all those famous things that impressed the people from far and wide and about them says… all that is impressive to the people – is under God’s complete control. The raging of the wind we see, is but the whisper of divine power. He says, these things are not powerful. He is powerful.  They are not impressive. The Creator is impressive.

For David, the reality that God is in charge of all things is simple. And he could never have imagined a world where that was not the case. He reminds the people that all the heavenly beings (meaning both the angels and also all the stars in the heavens – all praise God for his strength and cry out “glory” as they do God’s will.

In David’s mind it is simple: Creation lives and breathes and even bows to its creator, God. What baffles him is not the question of seeming randomness of Nature. It’s not the question of Could God stop this storm or that event. What baffles David is that while all creation bows to its creator, some people will not.

He writes,

“Ascribe to the Lord, all the heavenly beings, (The angels and unseen, the mysterious, the powerful, the stars, the Sun, the Everything…) ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name”.

A few years ago a couple of adventurers tried to become the first to circle the globe in a hot air balloon. They took off from St. Louis Missouri, rose to 24,000 feet, and started eastward across the Atlantic Ocean toward Africa. (IN A BALLOON)

The prevailing winds carried the balloonists on a direct course for Libya, which was a big problem. At the time Libya was ruled by a certain fella who didn’t much care for Westerners and certainly didn’t want an American balloon flying over his country with a couple of crazy yahoo’s in it. With no way for the balloonists to communicate with the ground there was a good change they would be shot down if they crossed into Libyan air space, and especially so without permission.

This brings up another big problem. Hot air balloons aren’t easy to turn. In fact they can’t be turned at all – they’re at the mercy of the wind.

But they can find different winds. This is done by changing altitude. At a higher or lower altitude, a balloonist can usually find a crosswind blowing in a different direction.

So the quick thinking adventurers started letting hot air out of their balloon and quickly dropped 6,000 some feet. At that altitude, they found a wind that was blowing south rather than east. Once they were safely to the south of Libya and its airspace, they heated to the balloon again, rose 10,000 feet and caught another wind that was blowing eastward towards their destination.

Balloonists are at the mercy of the wind and can go only in the direction that the wind is blowing. Similarly, some people believe that they are at the mercy of mere circumstances. “Stuff happens” they say, “and there’s nothing you can do about it”.

But that’s not always the case. Just as balloonists can change their altitude, so we can all change our attitudes.  And when we change our attitudes, we can often catch new winds and change our direction too.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that we have control over everything that happens to us. But I am saying that sometimes we do. And more importantly, even when we don’t, we can at least put our ultimate trust in the One who does.

Throughout history God has shown his power in nature. And He promises to continue to reveal His power. Paul urged us to understand how great God’s power is in Ephesians 1:18-21 saying “Don’t lose hope in any circumstances. He writes, “18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power given for us who believe. [And remember] That same power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”

Paul says that the power of God, the power that knocks the cedars of Lebanon down like twigs, is the same power that raised Christ from the dead, and that power is the same power that is available to help us with our daily lives.

It’s a whole new phase of life and often that means a whole new set of joys, challenges and problems for many if not all of us. Maybe you went more than a little over budget this vacation. Maybe you’re investments are doing just the opposite of “paying off”. Maybe someone you love is heading off in the wrong direction. Maybe your marriage is not exactly what it should be. Maybe addiction is getting the best of you or someone you love. Maybe you’re starting to worry too much, judge too much, and complain too much. Maybe the doctors have told you that you have something and that there is nothing they can do about it.

I don’t know what you can do when certain kinds of storms come, but I know that God’s power is demonstrated all around us. That it’s there. I know that there well may be a jellyfish somewhere out there that was around before the first human being ever came into being and that it’s possible that that same jellyfish may well still be here when the earth’s last day comes. I know that at His word the earth can shake, thousands of flashes of lighting can strike at once and a fire can last a hundred lifetimes. I know that I’ve seen hundreds of tornado’s in my lifetime, that I’ve seen soft little pieces of straw shoved through solid wood posts and yet that this is ultimately nothing compared to the God that commands the wind into being.

I know that if He so choses, the strongest trees on earth with fall like cut grass, the highest mountains on the planet will leap like deer and the oceans will roar in terrifying strength, but that they aren’t powerful – He is. And I believe like King David before me, that all these things are ascribed to the Lord for his glory, that He is in control of the great and the small alike… and that same power… the same power that moves mountains and that made a man climb up out of his tomb… that that same power is available to all of you; through him in pray.

This is our God.

And so I say, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name”. Amen

Song: Great are you, Lord (X2)

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

Transition Music: Be still and know that I am God

Prayer for others and ourselves

Song: God of grace and God of glory (vss 1, 2, and 5 of 490)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Response: God to enfold you

Music postlude

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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 specified licenses with One Licence and CLC.

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.

 

Posted in Recent Sermons.