Perfect Love (Sarah Ball)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am        18 September 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering  as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Message: Sarah E. Ball
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: We are called to be God’s children.
P: God’s love has been poured on us through Jesus Christ!
L: Fear and doubt are gone!
P: Joy and Celebration ring in our hearts!
L: Come, let us raise our voices in song!
P: Let us offer our hearts and souls to  God in prayer and praise. AMEN

Opening praise: Reckless love

Prayers of lament and thanksgiving

Lamentation: For the pain and suffering caused by Covid-19…(pause for reflection and beg you to move in people’s lives)

For systemic racism and injustice woven into our culture and institutions which people often do not intend or even notice…(we pause for reflection and ask that if and when we see these things we will confront them. Lord give us eyes.)

For climate change – fires, floods drought and more, (we pause for a moment and ask you to speak to us and provide us with direction so that we might truly “care for” the earth as we were intended to.)

For upended norms of our daily lives, things “back to normal” but “not quite”…(we pause for reflection and we ask you to make us brave, wise, cautious and prepared and make a a community however you can.)

For transitions and relationship changes, including friends and colleagues, schools, cities and more. We pause and reflect on changes, which we may not like, do not want, or are unsure about. We pause for reflection and ask for guidance, peace and nerves of steel who have left our Dayspring community over the spring and summer months… (pause for reflection. Lord prepare us with your love that we might know, not that we are worthy, but that we are loved – and that, that is more than enough.)

Lord we lament a world not quite right. And we ask for intervention.

Thanksgiving: Yet Lord, at times the world is exactly right, or feels that way to us. Moments of joy are perfection and foretastes of what is to come.

For all essential workers – health care providers, teachers, first responders, farmers and grocers, students, and student aids – working for our wellbeing and the betterment of the nations around us…(we pause and say thank you)

For the rallying cry and invitation to seek racial justice for others and for our leaning about each other and love for each other. …(we pause and say thank you that even when we push apart, you bind together all)

For firefighters, disaster relief workers, social service agencies, mental health workers, non-profits, and scientists working to address the effects and causes of climate change…(we pause and say thank you for a world where people devote themselves to the wellbeing of others) And LORD we also pray that you would remind us that the caregivers also sometimes need caregivers!

Lord, For new patterns and rhythms found, technologies that connect us, for children, friends, families, water and food we say thank you. Just as we thank you for the neighbours we find ourselves sitting with today.

Bless us, Lord, as you always have for you are the same yesterday today and tomorrow and what you have done, is what you will do. Amen.

Response: I waited, I waited on you, Lord

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Jesus loves me (373)

Story: Once upon a time a farmer’s mule fell in an old dry well. When the farmer heard the mule’s braying she realize what had likely happened. She went out to see and sadly she discovered exactly what she thought she might. The mule had fallen in the well.

The old farmer didn’t really know what to do. So she called her neighbours together. When they arrived they all had the same idea. The poor mule could not be rescued and it would have to stay in the well.

They could not dig it out.

So, they decided that they would put the animal down and burry it as they filled in the old dry well.

The neighbours went home and all got shovels and then they came back and started throwing dirt into the old well.

The Mule however did not find this to be a satisfactory idea.

But shovels of dirt started dropping on him none the less. We cannot always help what happens to us, he thought.

But then the mule started to think. And he decided that every time a shovel of dirt landed on his back, he would just “Taylor Swift” that thing and “Shake it off”.

And that’s what he did. With every shovel full that dropped, he shook it off and stood up nice and tall. And with each shovel full the ground got higher and the sun got closer.

In fact, just a couple hours later and the mule stepped over the wall of the well, shook that dirt off and gave the old farmer a good talking to.

What was meant to bury him, actually helped him. In James 1 in The Message Bible it says, “know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors”.

The next time you find yourself trapped in a seemingly awful situation, not this,

Maybe you just gotta “shake it off”.

Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (535 or 469)

Transition music

Song: A new commandment (225)

Today’s Message

Scripture readings:     Ephesians 3:4; 2 Corinthians 2:5; 1 John 4:7-11, 18     NT(NRSV)

Response: Glory to the Father

Message: Perfect Love (Sarah Ball)

Two Scriptures that led me to freedom

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

2 Corinthians 10:5  – Taking thoughts captive: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

  • Argument definition: a reason or set of reasons given to persuade others that an action or idea is right or wrong.
  • Pretension definition: a claim or assertion of a claim to something.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  

1 John 4: 7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows GodAnyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Every thought coming into my head that caused anxiety and depression was an argument and pretension, trying to convince me that God didn’t love me enough.

How many times do we fear failure, sickness (COVID), fear for our children, our finances, our businesses, and our lives as a whole? How often do we feel this hopelessness that nothing will get better, that our circumstances will remain the same, that we’re never good enough, that we are unworthy, that there is tragedy around every corner?

These fears and anxieties are symptoms of not being made perfect in His Love.

Perfect Love

It’s His Perfect Love that makes us perfect. Not the perfection that makes Him Love Us.

1 Corinthians 13: Love is Patient – God is not in a rush for us to “fix” our lives. He has the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Love is Kind – God is friendly, generous, and considerate.

Love is Not Easily Angered – God is calm amidst our chaos and storms.

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs – He is not keeping the same list you have. The list of failures, sins, mistakes and offences. Every morning he sees you as a clean slate!

Love does not delight in evil – He does not sit back and enjoy seeing your life fall apart.

Love always protects – God is on your side and wants to keep you safe.

Love Perseveres –  God’s love doesn’t have an expiry date.

Love Never Fails –  God will never fail you, ever.

Life will have troubles; we will suffer loss, conflict, trials and, unfortunately, even traumas.  Jesus said, in this world, we will have troubles…

However, when we fully “grasp how deep, how high and how long” God’s love for us is, there is a peace that overtakes us.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

For every ‘what if’ thought I battled, I learnt to say out loud, “No, but God loves me” Every negative thought I had about myself, I could minister to myself and declare, “That’s not true; God loves me.”

There is a shame that keeps us hidden from receiving the fullness of God’s love. A shame that we are not perfect; we are to the core flawed, to the core sinful, to the core unworthy. We all battle with this to some degree.

But God says: Be made perfect IN my love. Let MY love heal your mind. No perfection is required.

Next time we battle with an intrusive thought that triggers fear, depression, insecurity, or self-doubt. Just say out loud, “Nope, not true… ‘Cause God loves me.”

Song: There is a balm in Gilead (747)

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

Prayer for others and ourselves

Ever seeking God, we come before you in prayer, for you have sought us out and claimed us as your own.

Thank you showing us how we are precious to you through the life and love of Jesus Christ.

In our prayers we name before you other precious souls and situations.

With your Spirit, seek them out.

God of mercy, Draw near to all who need you.

We pray for those who feel lost in life: those who are frightened or anxious, those who are struggling with addiction or mental illness, and those who are lonely or despairing.

(Silent pause for 10 seconds)

May your reassurance and comfort find them.

God of mercy, Draw near to all who need you.

We pray for those who have wandered away: for those separated from their families by conflict or distance; for those whose relationship with the church is broken or forgotten; and for those who have given up on the future in despair.

(Silent pause for 10 seconds)

May your healing and mercy find them.

God of mercy, Draw near to all who need you.

We pray for those who feel forgotten: for those who think that they are worthless or unloved; for those who believe that their sins are too great to forgive; and for those who are convinced that not even God can love them.

(Silent pause for 10 seconds)

May your love and grace find them.

God of mercy, Draw near to all who need you.

Ever watchful God, you keep seeking out wandering sheep and lost coins, lives of all who are precious to you.

Thank you for your attentive love and your patient compassion for us all.

May we rejoice with you when any lost soul is embraced, and never substitute our judgment of them for yours.

Make us servants of your mercy. Amen.

Song: Song: Lord of all hopefulness (748)

Sending out with God’s blessing
Go in joy, knowing God rejoices over you. And care for others, knowing God rejoices over them, too!

May the blessing of the God who made us, the Christ who mends us, and the Spirit who gives us life be with you now and always. Amen.

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 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.

Golden Calves (Brad Childs)

Worship on the LORD’s Day
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
10:00 am Sept 11, 2022
Onsite & Online (Mixed Presence) Gathering
as a Worshipping Community led by the Rev. Bradley Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia   Vocalist: Glynnis McCrostie
Elder: Jane de Caen

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: As we gather, let us welcome one another as God welcomes each one of us.
(Exchange the peace of Christ)
P: It is not always easy to feel welcome in a world full of barriers
P: Barriers to gender
P: Barriers to social class
P: Barriers to age
P: Barriers to race and nationality
L: Let us rejoice in our God who breaks down these barriers so that all are welcome.

Opening praise: Everlasting God

Prayers of approach and confession (Unison)
Shepherding God,
What a blessing it is to come to worship you this morning!
Here we discover your true character, and your greatest hopes for the world.
Here we find that we are sought after and welcomed, loved and forgiven,
and invited to rest in your care.
Let this hour of worship fill us with grace,
renewing us and transforming us,
so that we are made ready to go out into the world again.
Move among us.
Lord God,
We come to worship today, and the week just past falls away behind us.
We know that there were mistakes and failures,
stresses and worries, disappointments, and poor choices.
We didn’t follow the ways of your son exactly like we meant to.
We didn’t love others as well as we could have.
Forgive all the ways that our lives did not reflect your love and mercy.
And set us free into forgiveness so we can start again with blank slate.
In the power of your grace and in the knowledge of your redeeming love set us free.  And let us know it with every fiber of our being.
Storytelling God,
we gather in your presence this day,
called by the stories of your people over the centuries.
You are the source of wisdom we seek,
Your mercy eases the troubles that stir our hearts.
And we come to praise you,
for your stories have the power to challenge us and change us.
Draw near to us as we draw near to you this day.
Tell us the stories that will change our lives,
through the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now we pray in unison together
We gather in Jesus’ name to hear the
stories he told, to gain wisdom and to
know your Spirit’s guidance. Yet we
confess that pride prevents us from
hearing the good news and we resist
the power of your WORD to change us.
Forgive what we have been, help us
amend who we are and set us free to be
who you have called us to be.

Response: We come to ask your forgiveness, O God

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

1 John 1:9   (Unison):  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our errors and purify us from all that stains us.  Do you believe these words of the Bible. I hope so. Because it says, if you have truly confessed. You are forgiven in Christ. Amen.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Open our eyes, LORD (445)

Story: Superheroes, Superman, Costumes, Shield, Sword, Shoes

Ephesians 6: 10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s WORD is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

19-20 And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.

10 Finally, be strong in the LORD and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the LORD’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (The Message)

Prayer

The LORD’s Prayer (535 or 469)

Transition music

Song: Lead on, O King Eternal (742)

Today’s Message

Scripture readings: Exodus 32:7-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10  (NRSV)

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message: “Golden Calves”

Is this golden calf story familiar to most people here? Are you sure?

On September 4th, 1807, Robert Morrison of the London Missionary Society was the Modern Worlds first Protestant missionary to China. Morrison himself was an impressive man with an almost impossible mission. With a deep love for mankind and an intense desire to see the Gospel preached in China, Morrison remains today a figure of great dispute. Loved by many, Robert Morrison spent 12 years learning and then reproducing the entire Bible in Cantonese.

Morrison also compiled the extremely important Chinese/English dictionary which remains today one of the most important pieces of translational history ever to be produced.

Robert worked diligently for his God, but that does not mean that everything he ever did was done properly or that things came to their most desired end.

You see, early on in his career, Morrison translated from various section of the bible. After sections were completed, he would then make hundreds of copies, fold them into tiny boats and launch them down the rivers (like tiny Moses in his basket) in the hopes that someone might find them and read them.

After recovering several different portions of scripture on the banks (including small sections of Matthew, Exodus and parts of Leviticus), Hong (Wi-Jan) become obsessed with these scriptures and created a kind of Qusi-Christian movement. His group grew quickly. They were called the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace.

But that is not what they were.

Soon they had traveled all over southern China.

The theocratic and (?)militaristic(?) regime instituted several social reforms, including great things like the abolition of slavery, (questionable things like) the socialization of land, and (not great things like) the replacement of Confucianism (by forced conversion with his new religion). Hong, feeling fully dedicated to his interpretation of the texts declared himself a “new messiah and younger brother to Jesus”.

The rebellion was eventually put down by the Qing (Ching) army aided by French and British forces but not before the death toll had reached just over 20 million people (more than three times the number killed in the Holocaust).

Today the Tai-ping Rebellion is recorded as being the 5th largest war in all of known history, but it began with tiny pieces of paper with bible passages written on them, floating down the rivers.

Never before had the children of Abraham been so privileged. They had just been liberated; set free after 400 years of slavery. Their nation was being born. God had done great things for them. God had promised to be with them and to lead them. He would provide food for them in the desert and water for them where no water could be found. He promised them a home. And most importantly he began a relationship with them. He said, “I will be your God and you will be my people.

And then God called for Moses.

Moses went up the mountain for 40 days which may be an exact number and may not be. In Hebrew using the number 40 is a figure of speech for “a really long time”. And so, the people were getting fidgety. In their impatience and forgetfulness, they turned to Aaron (who is Moses’ biological brother) to create a god/gods for them.

And thus, we have the sad tragedy of the golden calf.

Now there is a lot going on here.

The people have no idea where their leader is so they go to Aaron and ask for him to make them a god. Next everyone (male and female) hand over their golden earrings.  And Aaron when offered them takes their jewelry to fashion for them an god. Now slaves don’t really have this kind of stuff. So, this is most certainly plunder that the Hebrews had stolen from their former masters when they fled from Egypt.

Next Aaron carves a wooden calf and plates it with the gold.

Now it may be that this calf has something to do with a god worshiped in ancient Egypt called Pis. Pis was a bull god worshiped at the time. But really Pis is a Bull and not a calf. Still some people believe that the Hebrew people had reverted back to a former god they used to worship. But that is quite unlikely.

So why make a golden calf? Well, the single most commonly found idols in the ancient world from this time period are calves and bulls. The fact is, it was a common practice (when the people didn’t know exactly what their god might look like) that they would make for their god an animal to act as a chair for the god to sit upon. In fact, even the ark of the covenant (containing the ten commandments and Arron’s staff) has two bird like creatures on it’s top, with out-stretched wings forming what was called the “mercy seat”. The ark was for God to sit on.

The calf is almost certainly the same thing. When Moses did not return with YHWH (the Lord) the people wanted Aaron to make a chair for Him as a welcoming gift, so that god would be enticed to come and sit with them. They wanted more than anything to be with the god/gods who brought them out of Egypt. In other words, it less likely that they are worshiping some foreign God and much more likely that they are desperately trying to thank our very same God.

I’m going to ask you to open your pew bibles to check something out on page 78 (New Revised Standard Version).

Now in the Bible there are a lot of different ways that God is described. He is called Elohim quite a bit. When this word appears in English translations, they write the word “god” or “gods” (it’s both singular and plural).

But the word Elohim (“god/s”) could really refer to any god or gods in addition to our own.

There is also a very special word for God that appears in the Hebrew Bible. It’s described as being the “actual name of God” given to Moses at the burning bush. (When we are told not to take the Lord’s name in vain. This word is the name that we’re to not take in vain.)

This word thought now to be pronounced YaHWeH (and which was previously wrongly pronounced “Jehovah”) is the personal name of God given to Moses.

Why is this important? Well, it’s because whenever this word (YHWH) appears in the Hebrew Bible it can only mean one thing (the God of Moses). Y… H… W… H…  can never mean anything else. And whenever it appears in English translations of the Bible, they write it in all Capital letters… with a larger “L” and a smaller “ord” but still in all capitals “Lord” (so that English readers will know that this word is YHWH the personal name of God).

Okay so on page 78 verse 4, it says, He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “these are your Elohim who brought you up out of Egypt.” And in response to this in verse 5 it says that when Aaron sees the golden calf completed, he builds an alter in front of it and says, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to… who? The Lord.” YHWH the personal God of Israel!!!

And the people are cool with this. There is no disagreement. They get up the next day and prepare offerings and worship. Why? Because they think that YHWH is the Elohim who brought them up out of Egypt and the one they made the calf for. They do not believe they are doing anything wrong. They think they are doing exactly what their God wants them to be doing.

And so, they get up the next day and they sacrifice offerings together to YHWH the Lord.

And then it gets worse.

After this, the scripture says that they eat, drink and indulge in “revelry.”

What is that? Essentially this Hebrew word suggests a massive orgy. This is the “festival to the Lord,” our Elohim. And the people believe they are worshiping our God by this.

Now again I’m going to say that a lot is going on here.

For example, the people break the first two commandments in this act (which had just been given to them). In Exodus 20:2 God starts the ten commandments off with these words, “I am the Lord (YHWH) YOUR God (Elohim) who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other (Elohim) Gods before me. You shall make no graven images.

Now at this point God sends Charlton Heston (in the movie The Ten Commandments) down the mountain to stop the chaos. Moses smashes the tablets, and the people feel remorse and turn back to God. Right? And that’s how it all ends.

Well, not so much.

This is probably the story most of us know. But it keeps going.

Next there is a strange parental argument. In response Moses starts arguing with God and calling the people YHWH’s people.

Like a mother saying, “those are your kids” when they are bad, and a father responding, “no they’re Your kids,” God and Moses go back and forth.  If you would please follow along once more on page 78 from verse 7-14 with me…

Verse 7 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt. (I DON”T WANT THESE KIDS ANYMORE) “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “LORD,” YHWH he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom YOU brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”

And that is where the prescribed reading for the church ends. But what happens next? 

The people are safe. God has been calmed down.

But then Moses goes down the mountain and when he sees what has been going on with his own eyes, he is perhaps angrier than God seemed to be. And so, he takes the tablets of the 10 commandments, and he breaks them in half in the same way that the Hebrews have broken the laws behind them already. In modern terms the ink wasn’t yet dry on the marriage licence before the people cheated on their God. As a result, Moses literally tears up the contract.

Now things are about to get very messy.

Once more I would like you to open your bibles… this time it’s at the top of page 83? Exodus 32:20 And I suspect this is the part of the story most people aren’t all that familiar with.

Moses took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

The famous Rabbi Ramban around the year 1250 (AD/CE) suggests that by making the people drink the water with powdered ashes of the calf this is the symbolic act that degrades this ungodly thing (the idol) to how God saw it in the first place – to what will soon be – human waste.

But did God ask Moses to do that?

And it gets worse.

Next Moses asks for all the innocent people to come forward and the Levites step up. And in verse 27 it says, (and you might want to read along with me here) Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’”

And again, I ask you… Did God actually say that?

Verse 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”

Moses puts words in God’s mouth that God hasn’t actually said (at least as far as we have any proof). And although the Lord YHWH had already been persuaded to “relent” as shown in V14 where it says “Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. Moses still wants to punish the wrong doers.

It is important to note that while Moses claims this act in God’s name there is no evidence that this is the case. If fact I would argue that the opposite is true, God rejects Moses’ attempt to appease his anger. In verse 20 Moses goes back up the mountain and offers his own life as well and God says, no I am the judge, not you.

In John Durham’s beautiful commentary on the book of Exodus he states, “As Moses’ first response, upon hearing what Israel has done, is to plead with Yahweh to spare the lives of Israel; his second response, upon seeing what Israel is doing, is outraged anger… and to bring Israel under control by the slaughter of a large number of them. In contrast, Yahweh’s first response is anger, his second response is mercy.

Robert Morrison believed that he was doing everything he could to worship his Lord… but he accidentally ended up fashioning a golden calf. I believe that Hong (Wi-Jan) of the Tai-ping wars in China believed that he was worshiping his Lord but he had really made of himself a golden calf. I believe the Israelites were attempting to worship the very same YHWH Elohim that they declared had brought them up out of Egypt, but they just ended up with a golden calf.  And I think Moses thought he was worshiping his God by the slaughter of these 3000 people, but it turns out that wasn’t really what God wanted either.

Today we live in a world filled to the brim with golden calves. People doing and saying all kinds of things in the name of God that ultimately would not please Him. People that believe they are worshiping the Father… but really who have actually fashioned for themselves golden calves.

We see them everywhere we turn. And while it’s easy to see it cases of religious extremists, the saddest thing about golden calves, is that while we all seem to have no trouble finding them in everyone else’s lives, we can never seem to find them in our own. And that’s just it. That is what makes them golden calves. We think what we’re doing is right.

And so, I leave you this morning with this thought… What might you say or do or believe in the name of God that does not please him? What might be your golden calves?

Song: LORD Jesus, you shall be my song (665)

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

Lord God, receive our gifts offered in a spirit of generosity and humility. Bless and use them for the work that you long to do in the world in Jesus name. Amen.

Response: Now thank we all, our God

Prayer for others and ourselves
Ever seeking God,
we come before you in prayer,
for you have sought us out and claimed us as your own.
Thank you showing us how we are precious to you
through the life and love of Jesus Christ.
In our prayers we name before you other precious souls and situations.
With your Spirit, seek them out:
God of mercy,
P: Draw near to all who need you.

We pray for those who feel lost in life:
those who are frightened or anxious,
those who are struggling with addiction or mental illness,
and those who are lonely or dispairing:
(Silent pause for 10 seconds)
May your reassurance and comfort find them.
God of mercy,
P: Draw near to all who need you.

We pray for those who have wandered away:
for those separated from their families by conflict or distance;
for those whose relationship with the church is broken or forgotten;
and for those who have given up on the future in despair.
(Silent pause for 10 seconds)
May your healing and mercy find them.
God of mercy,
P: Draw near to all who need you.

We pray for those who feel forgotten:
for those who think that they are worthless or unloved;
for those who believe that their sins are too great to forgive;
and for those who are convinced that not even God can love them.
(Silent pause for 10 seconds)
May your love and grace find them.
God of mercy,
P: Draw near to all who need you.

Ever watchful God,
you keep seeking out wandering sheep and lost coins,
lives of all who are precious to you.
Thank you for your attentive love
and your patient compassion for us all.
May we rejoice with you when any lost soul is embraced,
and never substitute our judgment of them for yours.
Make us servants of the mercy we meet in Jesus Christ. Amen

Song: You are Holy, you are whole (828)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Jude 2424 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

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 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.

Choose Life (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 04 Sep 2022 10:00 am
The Sacrament of Holy Communion
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev. Brad Childs
Music Director: Binu Kapadia (assisted by Cohen and Logan)
Elder: Iris Routledge

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

Our church building, and the community of faith and care that gathers in that building, as well as the source of our online activity, takes place on the unseeded traditional land of several different First Nation peoples – a land known as Treaty 6, 7, and 8 territory – and further, also the homeland of the Métis nation.

The Dayspring Presbyterian Church Session and Staff laments the pain that has been inflicted on the land’s original peoples and the pain that has been experienced in their homelands by many of those who have sought refuge here since. Additionally, we deplore the fact that some Canadian people continue to manifest underserved hostility towards Canada’s original peoples, Métis people, as well as many current immigrants and refugees.

A gathering of Christian, we seek to affirm a welcoming community of faith and care – supporting all those who have come to worship and serve in our midst. May God speak to all who gather here. May we admit the errors of our past, deal with what is, and strive for better. 

Call to Worship
L: God says, “I am the fountain of living water. I will feed you with the finest of wheat, with honey from the rock. You who have wandered far from me, return to me, return to me. You who have gathered close, stay near, stay near. I am the fountain of living water.“
P: You are our strength. You are our helper. You are our life. You are our joy!

Opening praise: Bless the Lord, oh my soul

Prayers of approach and confession

God of all creation,

you have opened the world around us

and filled it with creatures of your love and purpose.

Each one declares your praise –

the mountain states your majesty;

the ripened field, your generosity.

Birds flying aloft sing of your freedom;

the tiny ant works with your persistence.

And what do we declare about you in our lives?

We pray that our work will honour your justice and mercy;

may our relationships speak of your love and compassion.

So may we praise you, O God, not just in this hour of worship,

but in all our waking and our working.

Challenge us today to live out the praise we offer you

through the grace of Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

God of justice and mercy,

we offer you our love and loyalty in worship

yet we admit we do not live out that love and loyalty.

We don’t always act on our good intentions,

we fail to keep our promises,

we hurt each other,

and then refuse to seek or offer forgiveness.

People must look at us and wonder if this is what means to follow Jesus.

Response: I will trust in the Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness
From now on, St Paul declared, we regard no one from a human point of view.
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.
Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Thanks be to God that we can make a new start this very day!

We listen for the voice of God

Scripture readings (NRSV): Philemon 1:1-2 ; Psalm 1; Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Response: Thy word is a lamp

Message: “Choose life”

Michael was the kind of guy who had such a positive outlook that you either loved him or hated him. He was sort of the Real Lie Truman from the Truman show (always upbeat). Good morning, and if I don’t see you again, good afternoon and goodnight. When someone would ask Michael how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a natural motivator. If a co-worker was having a bad day, Michael would encourage them and help them to see the positive side of the situation. He always seemed to be smiling.

Once, a friend asked Michael how he could be so positive all the time. After all, it seemed so unnatural compared to the rest of the world. Michael replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or… you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be only a victim or… I can choose to learn and grow from it. I choose to learn and grow from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or … I can point out the positive side of life. I know it seems black and white but get up and intentionally choose the positive side of life.”

The friend protested that even though it sounded great in theory it would be hard to live out. We do not have that much control over ourselves or our environment. We can’t always simply choose to feel this way or that!

Michael responded, “You’re right. But life is also about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation still has is a choice for you. Yeah, you can’t control what comes and you can’t control your gut reactions, emotions aren’t evil, but most of the time, you can actually choose how you react to situations.

It’s not all or nothing but a lot of the time, You choose how other people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood. The bottom line is: It’s your choice how you live your life, not what happens but how you respond.”

A few years ago I heard a story about a new teacher who was led into her new classroom by the principal. The room was filled with students. But before she left the principle made a point to whisper something in the new teacher’s ear. She said, “The boy in the back row on the far left is the blind child.” After which came a loud voice from the back of the class. “First: Just became I can’t see, doesn’t mean I can’t hear. And Second: I’m not the blind child. Blind is not what I am. I’m a Child (that happens to be blind.”

Experience, Emotion, Response. Ultimately our choices in life determine who we are and whose we are. It’s not just what happens to us but also how we handle it that matters.

Similarly, I once had a professor found of saying, “Ethics are what others see us do. Morals are what we do when no one else is watching.” It’s an interesting thought. And to be honest – as humans we’ve really never been all that good with – nobody is watching. We’ve never been that good with choices or at living with the consequences of our choices. In fact the first two people in the Bible messed this one up. Adam and Even were given a choice in the garden.

If you’ve ever read this story carefully you might have noticed that everybody just blames everybody else. Do you remember how the story goes?

God points to Adam and says, “Adam have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?” Adam chose to eat the fruit. But just like any “good husband” Adam (right away) mmm. does what??? He blames his wife. Yeah, great role model for partners, right?

He says, “Yes Lord”, “but it was that woman you gave me who brought it to me” – Nice! Adam manages to blame both his wife and God. And this wont be the last time an “adam,” a person, will do this.

So what happens next?

God asks “that woman” what she did; saying, “Eve, how could you do such a thing.”

But what does Eve do?

Straight away Eve blames somebody else too. Accept there’s nobody around.

So “No” she replied, “It was not me! It was that serpent that tricked me”.

Truth be told, we often make the wrong choices and then when we do we’re more likely to try and cover them up than to live with them. I do. It’s so embarrassing but I do. Do you?

Adam and Eve are not alone. Choices are all over and have an impact on our lives as well. Sometimes are choices seems unimportant. Should I eat celery for lunch, (I don’t like celery – it’s like eating wet string) or a BigMac? What shirt should I wear to church? Some choices are huge: where to go to college, what to do for a living, how much money to put away for retirement, should you buy a house – which one – where, should you get that surgery, is it time to get married?

In our reading today from Deuteronomy, the nomadic Israelites wandering in the desert were given a choice. Moses and the freed Israelites were in Moab, just where the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea. Which might seem like it’s unimportant, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Here’s the thing, when the bible says they hit the place where Jordan flows into the Dead Sea, it means, they have reached the very edge of the desert. Just like today, the waters were often the boarders. The long journey is over. But before they enter the promise land, they have a choice – Choose life or choose death. Follow a law that keeps everyone safe, or break the laws and ruin your people.

The leadership of the people had just been handed over from Moses to Joshua, and Moses knows that he is dying and that he will never enter the Promised Land.

Joshua is now to lead the people and Moses is giving a Farwell speech to his people.

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

40 years has gone by since the people escaped slavery in Egypt and it has been hard. Moses takes this one last moment to remind the people of all the things that God has done for them. Although the people have been rescued from the brink of death repeatedly and are now about to receive the blessing they have waited a lifetime for, they once again have begun to complain and to turn away from God.

The days ahead for the Israelites would not be easy. Making the right choice isn’t always easy. Moses reminds them of everything God has done for them, how he got them out of Egypt, how he fed them in the desert how he found them water, how he fed them with manna, how they organized a society, how they prospered.

These verses from Deuteronomy sum up a series of sermons delivered by Moses in which he explains his vision for the Israelites future. And he’s worried.

He says, keep the faith.  Don’t complain – turn to God. Don’t choose to wallow in doubt and darkness. He says, Why choose death? Our God has seen us through so much. Choose trust… choose His ways… choose life!

Before the children of Israel went into the land of Promise, Moses delivered an important message about the choices we all make.

He speaks these words for God. He says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life-” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

Choosing life is about choosing to follow God and not just ourselves. It’s about choosing a higher road; about not dwelling on the little things, not lettings our circumstances control how we will react to them. True disciples are those who have consciously chosen to follow God and God’s paradigm for their lives; people who aren’t afraid to make choices for Him.

Our lives are full of choices. And you know what? We can’t always control what happens to us but we can choose how we will react. We need to choose wisely, because we are all living and dying with the choices we make. Our choices have consequences. Our choices determine the quality and sometimes even the quantity of our lives. Ultimately our choices in life determine who we are and whose we are. Ethics are what others see us do. Morals are what we do when no one else is watching.

Deut 30:19—“life and death I set before you, the blessing and the curse, so choose life.”

Michael is incredibly upbeat. He chooses life. But several years later, Michael would be tested. He was involved in a serious accident. While working on a communications tower Michael’s belt strap came undone and his safety harness tore. Michael grasped at the air but found nothing and he fell sixty feet to hard cold ground below. As hours went by, Michael slipped in and out of consciousness unnoticed by others. As he lay on the ground the first thing he thought of was the well-being of his soon-to-be-born daughter and what it would be like for his wife to be a pregnant widow. Then he remembered that he had two choices: He could choose to live or… he could choose to die. Michael chose to live.

Eventually when Michael didn’t come home, people got moving.

The paramedics arrived and went to work. They kept telling Michael that he was going to be fine. But when they wheeled him into the ER, he saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses. He knew it was bad.

Michael began to feel fear overcoming his body and he could read their eyes “He’s a dead man” was written all over their faces. Michael knew he needed to take action too.

Just then, a big blurry nurse began shouting questions. She asked Michael if he was allergic to anything. He replied as loudly as he could, “Stop! Yes!” the doctors and nurses stopped working, the stopped the gurney as they waited for Michael to fill in the missing blank of his allergy. Michael took a deep breath and yelled, “I am allergic to Gravity.”

Over their laughter, Michael also said one last thing, “I am choosing to live… Operate on me with that in mind.”

After eighteen hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in this back. And he lived. He lived, thanks to the skill of the medical staff and his own choice of determination. Years later, when asked about his health, Michael would respond, “If I were any better, I’d be twins.”

Each day as we rise we are faced with choices. We can stand at the bank of the Jordan River, peer over into the promise land and say, “it’s to hard” or “it’s not worth it”. Or we can choose to face the things that happen to us with determination and say, “I choose life”.

Song: A mighty fortress is our God (315)

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

God of all times and all people,

on this Labour Day Weekend,

we thank you for all the skill and talent with which you bless your people.

Thank you for what we have accomplished through the work we do,

and for what each one of us contributes to the wellbeing of our community.

Inspire us to work together on the challenges we face

and surprise us with the solutions to problems that once seemed overwhelming.

God, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Transitional music: Be still and know that I am God

Prayer for others and ourselves

Today we pray for all those who labour in difficult situations:

for children who work in terrible conditions and are paid very little.;

for migrant workers who must labour far away from their families;

and for all those who are underpaid or unjustly treated in their workplace.

God, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who cannot labour:

for those who are unemployed or underemployed;

for those who have become injured on the job or too sick to keep working;

for those who are denied the opportunity to earn a living because of war or discrimination.

God, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who labour in our community; for those who must work today and tomorrow instead of enjoying this long weekend; for those who must work several jobs in order to care for their families; for those who work at jobs we wouldn’t to do ourselves because they are messy or unpleasant.

God, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

And on this Labour Day, O God, we offer gratitude for laws that protect children,

for health and safety practices that prevent tragedies in the workplace, and for generations before us who advocated for vulnerable employees, fair wages and equal opportunities.

Thank you for the work that goes on behind the scenes, delivering things we enjoy and services we rely on.

Help us to look beyond these things to picture the faces of those whose work provides for all our needs.

Through their faces, let us see your face, Creator and Sustainer of all that is.

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

Invitation

Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God!

They will come from east and west,

and from north and south,

and sit at table in the kingdom of God.

According to Luke,

when our risen Lord was at table with his disciples,

he took the bread, and blessed and broke it,

and gave it to them.

Then their eyes were opened

and they recognized him.

This is the Lord’s table.

Our Savior invites those who trust him

to share the feast which he has prepared.

Song: Love divine all loves’ excelling (371)

We affirm our faith: The Apostles Creed (539)

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit

and born of the virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to hell.

The third day he rose again from the dead.

He ascended to heaven

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.

From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer (469)

Communion Prayer

Eternal God, our creator.

You have given us life and second birth in your Spirit.

Once we were no people, but now we are your people.

You claimed Israel as your chosen nation

and raised up the church as a witness to the resurrection,

breathing into it your life and power.

From worlds apart, you gathered us together.

When we go astray, you welcome us home.

Always, your love has been steadfast.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with the choirs of heaven

and with all the faithful of every time and place

who forever sing to the glory of your name:

You are holy, O God of majesty,

and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.

In love with you and in compassion for all, Jesus healed and taught, challenged and comforted, welcomed and saved.

He formed a community,

promising to be with his disciples wherever two or three were gathered,

and sending them on his mission of hope and healing in the world.

Jesus trusted his life to you, and went freely to his death,

so the world might be set free from suffering and sin.

You raised him from death and raise us also to live a new life with him.

In the power of the Holy Spirit,

you send us out to make disciples as he commanded.

Remembering all your mighty and merciful acts,

we take this bread and this wine from the gifts you have given us

and celebrate with joy the redemption won for us in Jesus Christ.

Accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving

as a living and holy offering of ourselves,

that our lives may proclaim the One crucified and risen.

Great is the mystery of faith.

Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us

and upon these your gifts of bread and wine,

that the bread we break and the cup we bless

may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.

By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ

and with all who are baptized in his name,

that we may be one in ministry in every place.

As this bread is Christ’s body for us,

send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

O God, today you have called us together to be the church.

Unite us now at your table, and in one loaf and a common cup, make us

one in Christ Jesus.

Amen.

Sharing of the bread and wine

The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread,

and after giving thanks to God,

he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:

Take, eat.

This is my body, given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way he took the cup, saying:

This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood,

shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.

Whenever you drink it,

do this in remembrance of me.

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup

you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord,

until he comes.

Song: One bread, one body (540)

The prayer after Communion

Gracious God,

may we who have received this sacrament

live in the unity of your Holy Spirit,

that we may show forth your gifts to all the world.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Hymn: Oh freedom, freedom is coming (725)

Accompanied by: Cohen Childs and Logan Kapadia-Pfob

Sending out with God’s blessing

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord make his face shine upon you. and be gracious unto you.

May the Lord lift his countenance upon you and show you his grace.

Response: Go forth into the world

Music postlude

————————————————————————-

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 relevant licences provided by One Licence and CLC. The Communion liturgy is based on the liturgy of the 1981 Book of Common Worship of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

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.

Not easy, but worth it (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am, 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia
Guest Pianist: Dorothy Beyer    Vocalist: Lynn Vaughan
Elder: Gina Kottke

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: Jesus said, “Love one another, even as I have loved you”.
P: Love is more powerful than fear; it is  mightier than hatred.
L: Let the love which God has lavished upon us be poured out to those in need.
P: Help us, O Lord, to witness to you by the ways in which we care for others.
L: Remind us, Lord, that we are called to be your disciples.
P: As we worship this morning, heal our hearts and spirits and prepare us for service. Amen

Opening praise: Come, now is the time to worship

Prayers of approach and confession

God of all generations, you are the Source of all life and the strength of our lives.

You know us through and through.

In Jesus Christ, you entered our lives and showed us how to live with hope and generosity.

Through the Holy Spirit, you nourish us each day to inspire acts of hospitality and kindness to those we meet.

As we worship you, fill us with your living water to refresh our faith and make us a blessing to others as we serve you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Welcoming God, we confess we too often fall short of the kindness and compassion we meet in Jesus.

You have welcomed us like guests to a banquet, yet we find it hard to welcome a stranger in church.

You have shown us what matters most in life, but we are distracted by worries,

busy with things that really do not matter.

Forgive us, O God.

Teach us to honour you and those we meet in all we do and say, for the sake of Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Dear friends, while it is true that we have sinned and fallen short of God’s hope for us, it is a greater truth that we are forgiven through God’s amazing love.

To all who humbly seek the mercy of God I say, in Jesus Christ our sin is forgiven.

So be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Jesus loves me (373)

Story: Saving the starfish
We just have to do our best even if it doesn’t seem to be enough. It will matter to the starfish we save.

Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (535 or 469)

Transition music

Song: Lord of all power (626)

Today’s Message

Scripture readings: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 and Luke 14:1, 7-14 (NRSV)

Message: “Not easy but worth it”

The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was a genius, and he wrote many a biting tale to challenge his Christian brothers and sisters. He once told this story. It was titled: “And I looked around and nobody was laughing”.

He writes, “I went into church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained-glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, marked it with a silk bookmark and said, ‘If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and then follow me.’ And I looked around and nobody was laughing”. Ouch. That’s how I feel when I see a wealthy celebrity asking me to donate to their cause. Reactionary, maybe, but it’s how I feel.

I don’t know about you but when the world calls out Christians for being too comfortable. I really don’t pay it much attention. After all, Jesus said “the world would hate us because of him”. But when one of our own (and insider) does it, I tend to stand up and pay attention.

There is a trend in Christianity these days towards a very cheap form of grace that demands nothing of us. I guess faith in Christ is all happy days, motivational calendars and pretty rainbows. It seems you can be a disciple (ma-thA-tAse – a word for student) and yet never go to class or talk to the teacher? That seems odd. Many a Christian has made Christianity look a lot like secularism.

But the truth is very different. Sometimes real faith requires, thought, study, questions, hard passages, difficult answers and even (dare I say) action. Sometimes real faith requires a bit of sacrifice. But turn on the TV or Read a Chicken Soup book and it seems that kind of faith is becoming old fashioned. Faith in Jesus, it seems these days, is supposed to be easy.

But here’s the thing, Nobody ever said following Jesus would be easy. (Nobody in the Bible anyway). But I can tell you this… It may not always be easy. But it is worth it. With the destruction of the Jewish state, and the consequent changing status of the Jewish people from a nation to a religious group complicated life. And at the time, Jews and Christians were really considered the same thing. But at the certain point, tension ran high, and the Christians felt more and more compelled to decide whether they would continue to be a branch of Judaism or whether they would create their own society.

While the first generation of Christians rose up from Jews believing they had found the Jewish Messiah, the second generation came from all walks of life. The consequential transition from Judaic Christianity to a freer and more independent expression of messianic faith is part of what the book of Hebrews wrestles with. The major question at hand is this: How does one worship the Jewish Messiah, if one is not Jewish. How does one worship the Saviour of the Jews, apart from the Jews, and apart from the Jewish temple and practices?

Hebrews was written for that second-generation Christian, possibly at Rome, who had already suffered the plundering of their personal property and who might be required to resist persecution (possibly even to the point of bloodshed as suggested in Hebrews 12:4).

The people were being compelled to choose whether they would stay within the bounds of Judaism or assert some type of special independence.

To declare themselves boldly to be Christians (unique in some way) would be an increasingly difficult thing. It would mean subjecting yourselves to public ridicule and more importantly it would be to forfeit all the political and social privileges (though quickly shrinking) that the traditional Jews had amassed over the years. The traditional Jews too, didn’t want to be lumped in with these Jesus following Jews. The Romans thought of them as counter culture and troublemaking. Life was getting dangerous.

In the light of Nero’s savage though brief persecution, these new followers of Jesus would naturally hesitate to declare themselves Christ followers or “Followers of The Way” as they called themselves. Since the siege of Jerusalem was progressing under Vespasian and Titus, and while Rome itself was at the mercy of the soldiers, the Christian congregation at Rome would naturally feel that their status as “being tolerated” was dangerously unstable. And it was.

Being too open about your faith just wasn’t safe anymore.

The writer of Hebrews however did not share the current doubt and pessimism of his age. The vanishing of the old order was for him, merely the introduction of a new covenant which was in his mind clearly the point of the old. Hebrews author assured his readers that Christ had taken away the final Sting of death and that the removal of the old priesthood (something that brought tears to the people’s eyes) merely cleared the way for a new enduring priesthood with Christ as the New High Priest and every one of you a new kind of king or Priest under him. The whole system was changing. And that is never easy.

In a way, they were being thrust into a similar kind of environment that we are in today – an increasingly post-religious (or post-traditionally religious world). It would be a very different country for them, then the world of their parents.

Difficult questions still loomed over them. The temple, once thought to be the only place on earth where God would rest his feet) now lay in ruins. The Romans had it torn down.

The altar (the only place where the people believed they could find forgiveness from their sins) was now nothing but rubble.

The old traditions, the old forms of worship, the things that held the deepest meaning for them, were not only no longer fitting the mold, but without a temple, without the priests and without an altar… they were literally impossible. You can’t make a sacrifice at the altar of a temple that isn’t there!

In this new world what might worship look like? They had no idea.

They know that it would look nothing like the worship of their youth or their parents. Almost 2000 years of religious practice… (snap) was gone forever.

To address the pressing issues, the Author of Hebrews writes, 15 let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

But what does that mean?

That’s a very odd statement don’t you think?

The Altar… the place to take your sacrifice too – is gone. The priest (the one you give your sacrifice to) too make the sacrifice… is gone. Moreover, the people had multiple offerings they were supposed to give. They had burnt offerings, meal offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings and trespass offerings. They even had additional offerings they could bring if they wanted to give more, but which weren’t required to give (like the Free Will offering). But do you know what kind of offering they didn’t have? What they didn’t have was a “praise offering”. It didn’t exist.

The people must have wondered. What exactly is a “sacrifice of praise”? And just how exactly can we possibly afford to do it (?), is it a pigeon, and where, by the way do we take this sacrifice, and to what officials to we present it?

For most of us when we think about worshipping together, we probably think about music, offering, a sermon, hearing the scriptures read and prayers prayed, but I doubt very many of us think about worship in terms of a sacrifice. Unless it’s SuperBowl Sunday and your spouse dragged you in the door kicking and screaming it’s not much of a sacrifice to give one hour every 168 of them.

Now you could say that not being able to sleep in past 9:30 or not doing as many camping trips as you might like too is an inconvenience perhaps. Teens often think that everything is like the end of the world (I know I did) and so having to give up a whole hour (out of 168 in the week) to spend with your family in church could be seen as a bit of a difficulty I suppose- but “sacrifice”? seems a tad strong. Sure, giving an offering seems like a sacrifice (though I think of it as thanksgiving), still I can sort of understand that, but the problem is that – that’s not really what the Author is talking about.  In fact, the Author is very specific as to what’s being talked about.

Hebrews 13:15 says, it is “—the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.”

And that’s when it hits us. That’s when it sort of hits home. That’s when we start to realize what this sacrifice is. “Openly” professing his name. The sacrifice of praise isn’t just about giving your time, but also about being counted among targeted people.

When confronted with the question of how one worships in this new “Christian” world we’re told, what God requires is the sacrifice of “openly” professing his name. And doing it as the Author states… “continuously”

To the late first-century Jewish-Christians this would be a hard one to swallow.

For a while the Christians pretty much everywhere had done just that. They were very open about their faith. They shared the good news with everybody, boldly, and it was never really a safe thing to do… but as time went on, the people saw more and more death as a result of it. Because of this, the peoples worship became something that was done less and less in the open synagogues and more and more, done in the house church; behind closed doors, and hidden from the world.

But somewhere along the lines, sharing the you-on-gellion (literally the “good news”) became something Christians only wanted to share with other Christians. Because it’s safe.

We are told in the scriptures that the people came together for worship. We’re told that they shared in “the common meal”. They joined in the singing of hymns, that they offered traditional prayers, read from the Hebrew Bible, read the letters of what would become the New Testament, sang psalms and “devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching.”

But something was nagging at them. Where was the sacrifice? What did it cost them. Loving always has a cost.

The Author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to say that Christ had already offered the perfect sacrifice and so the altar was no longer needed. Jesus fulfilled the law. Why sacrifice again if it’s already done. The author then spends a huge about of time talking about the supremacy of Christ and going so far as to describe how even the furniture in the Temple predicted the coming of Jesus. And yet at the same time it seems quite clear that he (like the German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer) didn’t believe in what he referred to as “cheap grace.”

For him sacrifice still had a place in worship… a prominent place.

And yet absolutely everything about the sacrifice was different now. Now a sacrifice wasn’t and couldn’t be something you did to become right with God, it was something you did because you were already made right with God.

It isn’t something you do to please God. It’s something you do to say thank you to God.

For him, in this new world, if you wanted to worship God… it couldn’t be safe.

You had to be willing to take a chance, to really risk something. You had to be willing to profess the name of Christ – in public, and to be know as a Christ Follower.

Now I know what you’re thinking… that’s easy to say but it’s not always so easy to do. It can be uncomfortable, feel odd, that’s not really our way of doing things. Live and let live right? Be Canadian and polite and multicultural. And I agree. But that’s kind my point. We are a part of that multiculturalism. We are one of the voices!

We get to share what we are too, share what we believe!

Speaking the name of Jesus in Public… If you think it’s a tall order for you then I’ve got news for you – you’re right. But just think about how hard it was for the second-generation Christians that Hebrews was first addressed to. For them, it could be the difference between life and death. About all we can say is that it makes us feel nervous. Is it awkward and hard for you to profess the name of Christ continually and in public? Well, yeah. That’s why they called it a sacrifice of Praise. It’s not supposed to always be easy. What is?

Wayne Rice is a wonderful writer and theologian. He’s a professor at North American Baptist Seminary and a professor at Bethel in San Diego, California. He’s also the founder of the UYT Network (a group that helps parents and teens learn how to communicate better). His specialty is with engaging preteens and teens in Christian dialogue. And he is a wonderful communicator.

At one of his conferences Dr. Rice was talking to a group of a few thousand kids and during the question-and-answer period of his talk someone asked him “Why is my church not growing”. The kid actually said this and it’s something that has really stuck with me over the years. He said, “My church is over 100 years old and it’s had about 100 people in it since day one, and it still has about 100 people in it. Shouldn’t it have grown at least by one person per year? Why is my church not growing?”

Dr. Rice answered with a story. He said, “Once upon a time some visitors took a tour of an oil refinery. The tour guide showed them all the intricacies of the refining process. The vast catalyst chambers, the pipes, the heating vats—everything that went into the refining of oil. As the tour ended, one of the visitors asked the tour guide a simple question. “Sir, you showed us everything except the shipping department. This size oil refinery processes a huge amount of petroleum, turning it into gasoline and lubricants. But you haven’t showed us where it’s all put into containers and shipped out to the world.” “Well, you see,” said the tour guide, “we don’t have a shipping department. Everything that is produced in this refinery is used up as energy to keep the refinery going.”

Dr. Rice continued, “The church has to understand that what it does, is for the world, not just to keep itself going. Too many churches appear to exist for no other purpose than to keep the church going. The purpose of the church is not to sustain itself, but to give what it has away to the world. The irony is… when we work just to stay open, we end up closing. BUT when we share what we have, we grow.” (See Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15.) (Hot Ill. Kindle ed. 1610-12)

As it turns out, the exact same thing that grows a church is the same thing the Author of Hebrew says defines the Church because it is what he says defines Christian worship. It is by “continually offering to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” that we are the Church. Or as Paul puts it in Romans 9 “How can they call on his name unless they believe in him? And how can they believe if they have never heard of him? And how they can hear of him unless you tell them?”

But the Author of Hebrews is not quite done.

See, it doesn’t do any good to go out and tell people that God loves them and (not only would but has) died for them and then just leave it at nothing but empty words. Let’s face it, if you give a bible to a starving child, the child will be more likely to try and boil it and eat it than read it. It makes no sense to give people the “good news” if it’s not really good news to them.

The Author of Hebrews says that if we want to worship God then we need to proclaim His name openly and then he adds a little something extra to that.

He writes, 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices (the proclaiming of God’s name and the sharing with others) God is pleased.”

According to the scriptures, our God came to provide us with spiritual and physical food and then charged us to do the same. If you are like me, you are probably far better at one than the other. This week the author of Hebrews suggests we strive to do both. Are you brave enough to try?

If you are – it will look different for everyone in this room. To proclaim in word and deed will mean something unique for each follower of The Way.

But one thing is for sure. It won’t always be easy. It can’t always be easy. It shouldn’t always be easy. That’s why it’s called a sacrifice.

But then again… nobody ever said following Jesus would be easy. But it is worth it.

Amen.

Song: One more step along the world vss. 1-3 (641)

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

O God, bless the gifts we bring today, as well as the time, talent, and concern we will offer you this week. We trust that, through the power of your Spirit, these gifts will accomplish more than we can ask or imagine, for Christ’s sake.

Good and generous God, in Jesus Christ you came to us, promising us life in abundance.

We give you thanks today for the abundant gifts we receive in him – assurance of your love day by day; relief of mercy when we recognize our own failings; hope when things seem bleak; energy to make a difference through our work and our witness; peace that comes when we trust ourselves in you.

These are the gifts that matter, O God, especially when the future seems uncertain:

So we pray – Fill our lives with what matters, O God

Prayer for others and ourselves

Generous God, today we pray for all whose lives seem empty:
For those whose lives are empty of joy because the going is tough and friends seem far away…
because sorrow surrounds them…
because hearts are filled with anger or disappointment…

A moment of silent prayer

Fill our lives with what matters, O God. Fill our lives with you.

Generous God, we remember before you those whose lives are empty of purpose
and those who do not know the respect of their neighbours:
because they are without work…
because they face discrimination in their communities…
because they have made poor choices and cannot find a way forward…

A moment of silent prayer

Fill our lives with what matters, O God. Fill our lives with you.

Generous God, we remember before you those who lives are empty of peace & hope:
because they struggle with illness or disability…
because they are powerless in the face of violence…
because old animosities rankle & opportunity for reconciliation is elusive…

A moment of silent prayer

Fill our lives with what matters, O God. Fill our lives with you.

Good and generous God,
fill us with the energy & compassion of your Spirit
to reach out to those whose lives seem empty.
May we become the gift we have received in Jesus.

Amen.

Song: Will you come and follow me (634)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Response: Amen, we praise your name, O God

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 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.

Offensive (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost    10:00 am August 21, 2022
Onsite & Online (Mixed Presence) Gathering  as a Worshipping Community
Led by Rev. Bradley Childs         Elder: Iris Routledge
Music director: Binu Kapadia                      Vocalists: Peter and Cheryl Sheridan

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: With all your strength, sing aloud to the Lord, who has brought you here and blessed you.
P: Our voices shall shout forth praise and thanksgiving to God.
L: With all your heart, reach out in service to those in need, remembering God’s mercy in your own life.
P: Our lives shall be witnesses to the love of God which has been lavished upon us.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord with great joy!
P: Let us bring all that we have and all that we are to God in gratitude. Amen

Opening praise: How great is our God

Prayers of approach and confession
O God, our strength and refuge,
We come together to worship you and praise your loving kindness.
In your presence, we rest from what distracts us,
to focus on your truth and goodness.
You call us to live in relationship with you.
Through the love of Jesus Christ, you repair our lives.
Through the power of your Spirit, you engage us to serve you in the world.
Receive our prayers and our praise this day,
Creator, Christ, and Spirit,
revive our hope and our energy
and make us ready to answer your call.
O God, our judge and our hope,
we confess we often turn away from your truth,
and ignore your call to do justice.
Forgive us when we say one thing in worship
but do another in the ways we live.
Forgive us when we ignore how others are treated
and think only of ourselves.
Let your judgment awaken us and your mercy refresh us.

Response: How great is our God

Assurance of God’s forgiveness
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Believe the good news of the Gospel. In Christ, God has offered us mercy and love. Receive God’s forgiveness this day and share it with each other for Christ’s sake.

Musical offering: Good, good father

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Open our eyes, Lord  (445)

Story
The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small an uninhabited island. Lost and alone with almost nothing the man prayed tirelessly for God to come and rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon seeking help but no one was coming. Exhausted he eventually managed to build a small little Hut out of driftwood to protect him from the rain and store his few possessions. But then one day after scavenging for food he arrived at home to find the worst possible thing that could have ever happened to him. His small little Hut had somehow become lit on fire. The little Hut burst into flames and the smoke rolled up into the sky. All was lost. In anger and in tears the man cried God how could you do this to me, how could you do this to me God.

Early the next morning the man was awakened by the sound of a loud blowing horn. A ship was approaching it had come to rescue him. How did you know I was here as the man to his rescuers. We saw your smoke signal they replied.

It’s really easy to get discouraged when things seem like they’re going badly. But we shouldn’t lose heart because God is always at work in our lives. The apostle Paul wrote I’ve learned the secret of being content in every situation whether well fed or still hungry, weather living in riches, or in poverty. Philippians 412. Paul had confidence that good would come out of every situation. He learned to expect that God knows what he’s doing.

The next time things seem to be going very badly, and your little Hut his burning and you feel like you’ve lost everything, just remember it might just be a smoke signal that God is using to rescue you.

Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (535 or 469)

Transition music

Song: Deep in the shadows (510)

Today’s Message

Scripture readings (NRSV):
2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 5:17-20

Response: Behold the lamb of God

Homily: “Offensive”

As most of you know I have never really shied away from the more difficult and even portions often thought of as being some of today’s more offensive potions of the Bible. In fact, I take a certain amount of pride in showing people the parts of the Bible that most people might not otherwise know are there. But why?

Part of it is because like most of us, I have heard the same sermons on the same 80 or so verses my entire life and I yearn to go a little deeper.

Part of it is because when I was a teen, I was once confronted by a person that absolutely despised Christianity and who showed me this very offensive verse in the Bible that I had really never noticed before… and I simply cannot escape this feeling that both I and my church had failed to properly prepare me for that difficult experience.

Part of it is because I believe the bible actually demands that we examine it in full. In 2Timothy (3:16-17) it says “All scripture is God-Breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and for training in righteousness, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In short, I have not run away from the more difficult and offensive portions of scripture because… while it’s true that not every verse in the bible will make for a good and inspiring sermon, each verse is important to the gospel message.

Living Faith, a statement that says what Presbyterians believe: “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.”

And while our denomination proudly states that the whole of scripture is the “infallible word of God, sixty-six books in Old and New Testaments, forming a complete and unified witness to God’s redemptive acts” most of us behave functionally as if we follow just the Red Letter words or Jesus, or just the gospels and relegate the majority of our sacred text to some kind of lower teir of value. But that’s not how this thing works.

Each verse has its own story to tell; has its own irreplaceable value. For the Christian, each verse is sacred. No matter how difficult to understand, how complex or how unpleasant it appeals to our modern sensibilities, the scripture tell us that each line God-breathed and profitable to the people of God.

With that said, understanding the significance of certain verses is far easier than others sections might be. After all it’s a lot easier to see the importance of Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” than it is to see the importance of Deuteronomy 28:27 where Moses warns the Israelites that God will punish their disobedience with “hemorrhoids”. (Deuteronomy 28:27)

In 2 Chronicles 21:14-15 it’s diarrhea they’ll get for punishment (which was until pretty recently in history, deadly).

In Deuteronomy 23:13-14 the bible gives us ever important information about what to do with solid waste when camping. In Nahum 3:5-6 God tells the women of corrupt Nineveh that their actions embarrass him and so he is going to (metaphorically we assume) lift up their skirts above their heads in front of the whole kingdom and embarrass them right back. That’s not a story you here every day. But I promise you, it has value.

At times the bible is like a tragic comedy, In 2 Kings 2:23-24 a group of bothersome teenagers are mauled by a bear as a curse… the reason, because they mocked God’s prophet by calling out at him “bald-head”, “bald-head”. An important lesson to you young people about respecting your elders (especially if they happen to be prophets, or balding).

In Isaiah 16:11 Isaiah says that he is so saddened for the people that his inward parts and his bowls “sound out like a harp for the people”. That’s a phrase you don’t hear to often, “I feel so bad for you that I… have loud gas”. That’s an odd one.

The bible also has some verses that are shockingly suggestive. In I Samuel 20:30 Saul yells at Jonathan and calls him the “son of a perverse and rebellious woman!” – I’m sure there’s a slightly more modern way of translating that phrase.

In 1 Kings 16:11 the evil king Zimri commands the death of everyone in the old kings family who can (as the King James Version says) “all who pisseith against the wall”) – presumably he means all the men, though I’m sure some rather creative women might also fit that criteria.

And in Song of Solomon 7:11-13 the writer asks his female companion to come to the vineyard and eat pomegranates and mandrakes with him (something that doesn’t seem that special unless you know that pomegranates were considered a form of birth control and mandrakes were used as an ancient form of Viagra.

It bears mentioning as well, that just before this in verses 7-8 the same writer declares to his beloved “You are like a tall palm tree and your chest like a cluster of fruit, I said to myself I will climb this palm tree and I will grab your fruit” (Yikes!). A pretty racing allegory for God and his love for his people isn’t it? Or, maybe, just possibly, the only book in the bible that doesn’t really mention God, isn’t so much about Him, as it is about Love in general – and specifically romance.

In our Bible there are also things that seem so contradictory to modern readers that we just don’t know what to do with them. A good example of this can be found in Proverbs 31:6 it says, “Give strong beer and hard liquor to those in pain and suffering to relieve them of their burdens.” And while this verse may originally have had to do with calming individuals down before civil executions, the truth is we don’t really have any context for this verse or any of the proverbs at all. They are short and stand alone, meaning it’s perfectly within your right to interpret this verse as saying, it’s alright to give liquor to street workers and homeless people (though I wouldn’t advise it). I wonder how different the world would be if all the Christians were handing our beers on Whyte Ave? I’m sure that would make us a few new friends and a lot more enemies.

But what is the most difficult or offensive thing in the whole Bible?

Well, a good case could be made that it is 2 Kings 18:27. That verse says that the people will be starved until they “eat of there own filth and drink of there own urine”. That doesn’t seem like a loving God. But the larger picture explains well this text, though it doesn’t really smooth things over completely. Here God is punishing a sinful nation. As they starve to death they resort to doing anything that might keep them alive. Because God is the God of all, nothing is random. Thus, when natural disaster or famine strike, it must be attributed to the divine.

Perhaps the most offensive thing in the Bible comes from 2Kings 6:28-29. That this story there are two starving women during a period of exile who become so desperate that they make a pact. To avoid death they will eat each other’s infant sons. One of the women’s sons will be eaten first and when he is all gone they will eat the other woman’s son. Pretty awful. But to make matters worst, it’s only a trick and the second woman hides her child after she has had her fill eating the first child.

That’s pretty bad. But it’s not like everything every person does in the bible is endorsed by it. In fact, the buety of narrative is that it almost never tells you straight out what the lesson is. You have to struggle with it.

Some might suggest that in 2022, the most offensive part of the Bible comes from the very graphic chapter 23 in the book of Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 23:19-21 the prophet explicitly depicts a sinful Israel and Judah as if they are two sisters (a couple of verses, I’m really not comfortable reading aloud in church).

So, at this point I’ll ask you to pick up your pew Bibles and read this one to yourself silently. Ezekiel 23:19-20 can be found on page 790 in your pew Bibles. I’ll wait… (it reads: “Yet she increased her whoreings, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emissions was like that of a stallion. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians fondled your bosom and caressed your young breasts.”)

Now, to be fair, Ezekiel is simply trying to convince an evil and desensitized nation that they have turned from God. He is trying to save them from the path of destruction they are on. Because he believes they have distanced themselves so much from their values he uses the most explicit of language in order to shock them back into correct action.

Others might suggest that Isaiah 64:6 is the most difficult or offensive verse in the Bible. It can be found on page 694 OT in your pew Bibles. I’ll read this one with you. “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

What’s that? Well that’s not that bad you might say. Well… that’s not that bad, until you understand just what a “filthy cloth” is. You see, most commentators agree that this “filthy cloth” or “behg-ed” is more specifically translated “menstrual rag”. In other words, it’s a tampon. And just what does Isaiah say is a “filthy rag”… Well, it’s “all our righteous deeds”. He says, if you’re trying to earn God’s favour, everything you do, no matter how good is less than nothing to God. In fact, the things we call good deed or “righteousness” are sickening to God… just filthy rags. So is this the most offensive thing in the Bible. I don’t think so… In the end no matter how dramatic his statements, Isaiah is simply explaining to the people that good deeds do not cover up bad ones. That even a persons good works are contaminated by the wrongs they have done if they do not seek forgiveness. No, no… that’s not bad. That is not the most offensive thing in the Bible.

There’s no shortage of candidates. From Levitical codes to death sentences, to mass murder, to just war, to Sodom or the great flood God used to start the world over again.

But… I can show you the most difficult and offensive thing in the entire Bible. I can show you the most disturbing and offensive thing in all of Christianity.

And I can do this because the apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians tells us exactly what it is. He says, it outright. He even uses the word “offense” when describing it. He says that there is something in God’s word so offensive to everyone, that it will be our greatest downfall as Christians and our biggest obstacle.

He says, that it is so bad that it is a stumbling block to the Jews and complete foolishness to everyone else. (1 Cor. 1:18) He says it is the reason he is persecuted, whey people are being killed. In Galatians 5:11 he tells us that the most offensive thing in all of creation is “the offense of the cross” and it is the most important thing in all our faith.

There is a lot to be offended by in our Bibles. But the idea that God became a human, like a kid who wanted to save a colony of roaches and lowered himself down to their level because he loved them, to live like bugs in the dirt and violence. The most offensive thing is that the people he loved defiled him and killed him in the most offensive manner in which they could conceive. (John 1:14) that the word of God became mere flesh and died at our hands. That through sin, we killed God and yet he used that very thing for our salvation.

When someone says, “Jesus was just a man and he died”. That is not offensive. What the world believes is not offensive. There is nothing remotely offensive about that. That he was a good man or a prophet or a teacher. Nothing in that is an offense.

What we believe is the offence. Anyone can die. The offense is that God became one of us, died and then climbed up out of the grave! That is the stumbling block. That is the most offensive thing.

The most offensive thing in all of Scripture and all of Christianity is that which we Proudly proclaim here each and every Sunday. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!

Thanks be to God, Amen.

Song: What wondrous love is this (242)

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

Gracious and all-giving God, may your Spirit of abundance, which gives to us all more than we could ask or imagine, harness our life for your purposes and bless the gifts we bring for the building up of your kingdom in your world. Amen.

Transition Music: In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful

Prayer for others and ourselves

Here is what is happening in our world.

  • War in Ukraine
  • Polio spreading in the West
  • Elections
  • Haitian Earthquake
  • Water Shortages, Even the Jordan River is nearly gone
  • Farmers and Regulations
  • Floods Northern India
  • Youth Mental Health Crisis
  • Inflation in central America and Zimbabwe
  • 2 million migrants cross the border without ID in the US southern border.

Lord God, Loving God, gather us into your presence as we pray.

Silence our hearts and minds in these moments

so that we may listen for the movement of your Holy Spirit

who prays within us through our sighs too deep for words:

O God, we lay before you our thanks and our concerns

as we remember those who have come to our attention through conversations

or chance encounters this week.

We offer gratitude for moments of joy and goodness,

and remembered pleasures stirred by your Spirit;

We remember all those whose situations are very close to our hearts today,

those facing stress or sorrow,

those challenged by pain or illness,

those making a new beginning or searching for a new path.

We remember the things in the news lately that concern us deeply:

the stress on the environment and worries about its future,

the pressures on those who have lost jobs or cannot find work,

the pain of those who meet discrimination or hatred in daily life,

tensions among nations who threaten each other

And we remember one another, and needs known and unknown in this community.

Bless us as we make a new beginning together as summer turns to autumn.

Show us the paths of ministry you are opening before us.

We believe you hear our prayers and will be faithful to answer according to your will. Amen.

Song: I danced in the morning (250)

Sending out with God’s blessing

May you be blessed every step of your path by the great God of light. May the sun shine upon you; may the moon move the tide of your emotions with every grace and magic; may your hearts sing; may your hearth be warm; and may your every blessed day be filled with joy. Amen.

Response: God to enfold you

Music postlude

————————————————————————-

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.

Eric the Eel (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
10:00 am  August 14, 2022
Onsite & Online (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
led by the Rev. Bradley Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia                 Vocalist: Sam Malayang
Elder: Darlene Eerkes

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: Long ago, a vineyard was planted. The ground was prepared, and all was made ready.
P: But the vines grew wild, the ground was unable to support the wild grapes.
L: What happened in that place of promise?
P: People forgot the One who planted the vineyard. They chose their own ways and failed.
L: Let us again turn to the Lord, who will again plant, prune, and cause us to grow in faithfulness.
P: Let us open our hearts to God, trusting in God’s ways and God’s word. Amen.

Opening praise: Bless the Lord, O My soul

Prayers of approach and confession

God of majesty and mystery,

we gather today in the presence of that great cloud of witnesses

who have worshiped you in song and service for centuries.

Our praise joins theirs as we fix our eyes on Jesus

and wait for your Spirit to guide us.

We praise you for your tremendous love and mercy,

revealed in Christ, at work in us through the Spirit.

Holy One, we offer you all glory and honour in our worship,

seeking to renew our faith and commitment

to serve you in the world that belongs to you. Amen.

Attentive God,

you care for us like a gardener tending a beautiful vineyard,

blessing us with what we need to be fruitful.

Yet we confess we fail to live up to your hopes for us.

Instead of love and kindness, we produce anger and resentment.

Instead of generosity, we produce greed and jealousy.

We get upset. We say things we don’t mean. Like Paul before us, We do things we don’t want to do. And we don’t do all the things we should.

Forgive us, O God.

In your mercy, renew in us the fruit of the Spirit

through the grace of Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Response: We come to ask your forgiveness

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Hear the good news! Although we have not always been faithful to God, God remains loyal to us. In Jesus Christ, God offers us forgiveness. Through the gift of the Spirit, God renews us to live faithfully in Jesus’ name. Thanks be to God!

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Jesus, we are gathered (514)

Story: Once upon a time there was a boy named Jimmy who was walking in the desert when he found a magic Lantern on a pile of old rocks. Jimmy thought to himself, maybe if I rub the Lantern, the genie will come out and grant me 3 wishes. He tried it and sure enough a genie appeared. Jimmy was really excited and ask the genie for three wishes.

But the genie replied I’m not that kind of genie. I give advice.new paragraph oh said Jimmy then give me some advice. Pick up as many rocks as you can and take them home with you said the genie before he disappeared. This is ridiculous said Jimmy have a long way to go in these rocks are heavy I’m not gonna pick up any rocks. He did pick up one small rock however and stuck it in his pocket.

But Jimmy finally got home he took off his dirty clothes to be washed. His mother went in picked up the pants went through the pockets and found the rock. After looking at it closely she asked Jimmy where he got it. Oh let Jeannie told me to pick up a bunch of these things but I just got the one. Jimmy his mother cried this isn’t a rock this is a diamond. It’s worth thousands of dollars. But unfortunately Jimmy was never able to find that pile of rocks again.

There are many things in life that seem like rocks, but in reality, their diamonds. The classes you take in school for example sometimes feel like ordinary rocks but the things you learn or more like diamonds. Although things are sometimes hard now that education will someday become extremely valuable to you.

Being a Christian is much the same. When we serve Jesus, a lot of what we do hardly seems like it’s worth much time or effort. Sometimes being obedient to God is hard and might even be painful. But it’s worth it. We not only are blessed by God now but someday all these rocks we see around us will become diamonds in a heavenly crown. First Corinthians 9 verse 25

Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: Open My Eyes (500)

Today’s Message

Scripture readings: Isaiah 5:1-7 and Hebrews 11:29-12:2 (NRSV)

Response: Jesus remember me

Homily: “Eric the Eeel”

One of the most exciting moments in the Sydney Olympics was when Eric “The eel” Moussambani swam in the 100-meter freestyle race. There he stood, the 22-year-old, very fit-looking, crouched in his position, ready to dive into the water. And when the gun rang out, he dove in and began to swim as fast as he had ever done. The crowd cheered; almost uncontrollably, but there was clearly something off about this race.

Eric moved from one edge of his lane to the other edge as he swam. His head barely ever went under the water as if he couldn’t hold his breath. Unlike other Olympic swimmers, his feet almost never kicked above the water, making it look as if he’d just learned how to swim. His turn at the end of the pool was a bit awkward, and he was visibly tired and out of breath.

Fifteen meters from the end of the race and he stalled for a moment making the crowd wonder if he could even finish. The announcer for the BBC can actually be heard on tape saying, “he’s not going to make it.” But the crowd roared like mad. And it seemed to make a difference.

The author of the book of Hebrews writes to encourage the followers of Jesus not to get too bogged down with the troubles of this world. That’s not to say that this letter argues there are no troubles. In fact, it’s just the opposite. But what it does say is that no matter what your problems are… you’re not alone.

The thing is… it doesn’t always feel like it.

This world of ours can be a challenging and lonely place. When hard times hit, more often than not, we feel like we are on our own.

As one might expect, the letter points to Jesus’ crucifixion as proof that hard times fall on all of us. He writes, “look to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” And when it says that, it means to look to Christ not just as an example of suffering (saying Even Jesus suffered so you’re in good company) but also as an example of faithfulness and ultimately redemption by seeing things to the end. So it’s not just “you’re not alone”; it’s also “you can get through this.”

As one translation puts it, “Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus the architect and the builder.” And that’s a pretty good rendering. The word sometimes translated as “author” is Archegos (R-Ka-Gos) which strictly speaking means “prince” or “leader”, but it’s also where the word “architect” comes from.

There is something extraordinary about that line… if you’re worried about how things are going to work out in life…

why not go to the architect – why not look to the guy that designed the plan in the first place.

But while that is undoubtedly true… let’s not pretend that that’s easy: things are rarely that simple.

Enter Thomas Carlyle: Carlyle was a Scottish philosopher, a social commentator, a writer and a historian. He also had some very famous friends like Charles Dickens and John Stuart Mill (one of the most influential voices for freedom of speech, anti-slavery and a women’s right to vote). But what most people don’t know is that when Carlyle finally finished his most important work (The French Revolution – the basis for Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities) and after two years of intense struggle, Carlyle gave the manuscript to his friend John Stuart Mill to read and critique. Then the unthinkable occurred. One of Mill’s employees used the entirety of Carlyle’s only manuscript as kindling to start a fire.

As Mill reported the devastating news, Carlyle’s face paled. Two years of his life lost, literally “up in smoke.” Thousands of long, lonely hours spent writing had been wasted. He could not imagine writing the entire book over again. And he lapsed into a deep depression.

Carlyle quit writing and pretty much just wandered the streets to fill his time. That is – until one day, while walking the city streets, Carlyle noticed a massive stone wall under construction. He later wrote in his journal that he became transfixed on this wall, unable to move. That tall, sweeping wall was being raised one brick at a time. It was a “eureka” for him. If he just did one thing at a time, wrote one page, one day at a time, he could write the book again. And that is precisely what he did.

Carlyle re-wrote a masterpiece… one page at a time.

Author Rich Christian observes, “When faced with seemingly impossible situations in life, we often see the wall and not the individual bricks…but taken day by day, task by task, one sees that it’s all just done one brick at a time. (Perfect Ill. Pg206)

There is no doubt that we will face hardships. But with the help of God, we can meet them one step at a time. The author of Hebrews says the same. It ain’t always easy, but you’re not alone. Instead of dwelling on the things that threaten to stop you, God says, “drop ’em”.

In Hebrews it says, “let us also lay aside every weight.” And the word he uses means something burdensome and heavy is agkos (Ag-Kos). We have examples of this word being used to describe a “travellers bag.” It’s not the stuff one wears, the purse one keeps, the tunic one has, or even the outer coat. It’s the “agkos”; it’s an extra bag someone took on a long trip. It’s the extra stuff

Don’t carry all that extra stuff!

One commentator writes for this section of Hebrews 12:1, “when things get hard, don’t give up hope, give up the baggage.”

A while back, National Geographic aired a special about how eagles catch fish in lakes. They fly high above the water, but their eyesight is so good they can spot fish in the water below. When they see one, they fold back their wings and aim directly for the water, going as fast as 200 Km/ph. When they reach the water, they spread their wings, reach their talons, grab the fish, and begin flying back to the shore.

On this particular special, they showed a film of a very unusual occurrence. An eagle made a dive for a fish and grabbed it in its talons. But the fish was much larger than the eagle realized. As it began to fly to the shore, you could see the strain as the eagle barely hovered over the face of the water. It was not going to make it to the beach with this giant fish. In the footage you see the bird then tried to drop the fish, to let go of it. But the eagle’s talons had dug into the flesh of the fish so profoundly that it could not pull them out. It struggled but to no avail.

Slowly the eagle begins descending into the lake and captured on film, it drowned, unable to let loose its catch.

Our reading says to cast off every sin but also that other stuff. Cast off that extra baggage (whatever it might be that keeps you down). Like the eagle, many times in life, we grab on to something that seems normal but can be dangerous. We weigh ourselves down with a lot of guilt and extra stuff that we don’t need. And that stuff weights us down, weakens our faith, and kills our hope. But the scripture says, “Don’t give up hope; give up the baggage.” (Ht Ill Blue)

Of course, I understand that that can be hard. Even figuiing out what’s carry on and what’s better left at home can be hard. But our passage says that even though it’s hard, no matter what else happens, “You are not alone.”

We can make it through the race “since so great a cloud of witnesses surrounds us.”

Now the writer of Hebrews packs the 11th chapter of this letter with examples of people who overcame significant challenges. He or she wants everyone to remember.

The text says, remember Abel, Enoch and Noah and Abraham. Remember Isaac and Jacob and Joseph. Remember Moses and even Moses’ parents, who we don’t know anything about but who acted “in faith.” Remember the people who passed through the sea and Rahab at the wall, and the people that entered the holy land from the desert. Remember Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets, the people who watched lions shut their mouths, and the people who saw the furnace flams go out and “escaped the edge of the sword.”

On and On it goes.

In other words, the great cloud of witnesses are all those who have lived before us – who have lived lives of faith, leaving us a rich spiritual legacy.

And just because they die don’t mean that ends. Not only are we not alone, but we can’t ever be.

And while I find comfort in that, I think that list is just a taste. I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In reality, that “Great cloud of witness” includes any person of faith that helped or inspired you along the way. And it consists of the people that still do that. That verse says, “we ARE [right now] surrounded” by them. The word is here Neph-os, and it’s a common word, but it’s also the word the Greeks used to use to describe the people who filled the amphitheatre. Like a cloud, it is this vast mass that’s actually made up of little individual parts. It’s the great cloud of witnesses watching us and cheering us on and we become more and more like Jesus’ example to us.

And what more it says these fans of our are “Echo”. In language studies that’s Present, Active, Participle. In other words, it’s occurring now, in actual time; there is an actor and an acted upon. Our scripture says, we, here in this room, right now, are surrounded by a great cloud of witness (each of us with an invisible amphitheatre full of fans cheering us on in our walk of faith). And while that’s amazing to me that – Moses is cheering me on – it’s way more impressive and humbling for me to know that so is my old Sunday school teacher from second grade.

While it’s great to hear that the Apostle Paul is cheering you on, I think it’s absolutely tear-jerking to believe that so are the parents and grandparents that guided you and the spouse that supported you and the long lost friend that cried with you. And perhaps just as unique as that is that this list also includes the person sitting next to you today just as much as it does any other person who ever lived.

This is not “a witness” or “some witness.” This is “that great cloud of witnesses beyond all time and space.” And just as much as that person next to you is meant to cheer you on, you too are a part of that great cloud of witnesses for them and meant to cheer them on.

You might feel alone sometimes, but you are not – You are surrounded by support.

When Eric the eel finished the race, he did so with a final race time nearly three times slower than any other qualifying athlete. His 100 meter time was slower than the winner of the 200-meter race… … the slowest time for his event in Olympic history. But the crowd… and the camera crew… went absolutely crazy.

Though for a moment there, with 15 meters left, Eric thought he was going to drown, until he heard them cheer, and he mustered enough strength to finish the race.

Despite everything I just Eric won the race.

Eric was the only swimmer not to be disqualified due to an early start. Eric was the fastest that day and Eric won that race, because he was the only person racing.

Honestly, being the fastest was never really Eric’s goal anyway. Finishing the race was what Eric came to do.

See, Eric is from a small Spanish-speaking nation in West Central Africa called Equatorial Guinea, and truth be told… he didn’t even make the qualifying time that earns a swimmer a spot in the race at the Olympics. Eric only got to race that day because of a special “wildcard” program designed to help developing countries compete on the world stage.

Eight months before the Olympics, Eric had barely ever tried to swim before. Three months before the Olympics (when Eric showed up at a hotel swimming pool to compete for the opportunity to represent his country), he got the job… because he was the only person to show up. All Eric had to do was prove that he wouldn’t sink in order to win… so he doggy paddled. When Eric got to Sydney, he’d still never raced a single lap in a pool with lines. He’d never even seen an Olympic-sized pool before. He practiced in a lake. And he had never raced anyone more than 50 meters in all his life.

So when Eric won his round of the 100-meter freestyle, quite frankly, the crowd didn’t care one bit that he was slower than the others. From the moment Eric jumped into the water, that crowd went absolutely crazy for him! They didn’t need him to be perfect to be proud of him.

Before Eric collapsed in the changing room, he said through his interpreter, “I want to send hugs and kisses to the crowd. It was their cheering that kept me going.”

I don’t know… I don’t know what all of your personal struggles are. Even if I did, I can’t say I could ever possibly understand them. I don’t know what weights you down. I don’t know what battles you are fighting. But I know this in the very depths of my being. I understand that the author, finisher, architect, and builder knows your struggles. I know that when things get tough, it helps to keep your eyes fixed on him. I know that it’s not always easy. That life has bumps and pains and sorrow. But I also know that many of our troubles come from holding on to things we shouldn’t.

I know it’s better to keep your hope and give up the baggage. I know your past is filled with people who love you and still cheer you on. That is true today, whether near or far, alive or on the other side of paradise. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that no matter what… you are not alone. You never can be. Because I know that not only do you have a great cloud of witness beyond all time and space… but also that… you… are great cloud of witnesses for everyone else in this room, just as they are a part of that great cloud of witnesses for you… and we are all cheering each other on. Keep going.

Amen.

Song: Let all things now living (338)

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.

Thankful for the good gifts God gives us in Christ and creation, let us present to God the fruit of our labour for God’s work in the church and the world.

Prayer of gratitude

Faithful God, bless the gifts we offer to you today. Use them to plant seeds of faith, hope and love in the world, so that your goodness will grow among your people, and your name be honoured for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Transition Music: Be still and know that I am God

Prayer for others and ourselves

God in whom we live and move and have our being:

As we gather in your presence today, we give you thanks for your faithfulness to your people across many generations and in so many situations.

Thank you for the commitment we meet in the world around us,

  • In friendships that endure,
  • In communities that pitch in when someone is in trouble,
  • In workers who go that extra mile,
  • In countries who offer safety or sustenance when disaster strikes
  • and strangers are in desperate need.

Faithful God, hear our prayer, and renew our faithfulness.

Compassionate God, we are aware of many challenges in our own lives, in the lives of those we care about and in the world around us.

Show us how our care and concern can respond to the prayers of those we love: in faithful silence, we lay before you the concerns on our hearts this day:

We pray for those who have been in the headlines lately, whose situations concern us deeply, whose lives cry out to you for help…..

… silence …

Faithful God, hear our prayer, and renew our faithfulness.

We pray for those who are suffering behind the scenes in our community:

  • those who are ill or waiting on treatment;
  • those who are bereaved;
  • those struggling to make ends meet or find the right job;
  • those who are lonely,
  • those who are moving this summer & will need new friends. …

… silence …

Faithful God, hear our prayer, and renew our faithfulness.

  • We pray for those looking forward to a new beginning this coming Fall:
  • those starting at a new school or in a new College or University program;
  • those beginning new work or new activities;
  • those settling into a new home and neighbourhood;
  • those welcoming new members into the family through birth, adoption or marriage

…  silence …

Faithful God, hear our prayer, and renew our faithfulness.

We pray for our congregation and for a time of reorganizing after being distanced from each other.

Gather us into new and renewed friendships.

Show us how to reach out with your love and generosity.

Equip us to meet every challenge we face with faithfulness and commitment. Amen.

Song: Take time to be holy (638)

Sending out with God’s blessing

May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Response: Go forth into the world

Music postlude

————————————————————————-

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.

Your cheque book (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost    07 Aug 2022    10:00 am
The Sacrament of Holy Communion
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev. Brad Childs
Music Director: Binu Kapadia           Vocalist: Fionna McCrostie
Elder: Sam Malayang

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 call us today to be people of justice and mercy.
P: Our worship is hollow if it focuses only on our own gratification.
L: The Lord asks that our words of hope become actions of peace.
P: Thanks be to God who challenges us and calls us.
L: Let our ministry together bring peace and justice.
P: Let our lives reflect God’s love and mercy. Amen

Opening praise: Great are You, Lord

Prayers of approach and confession

God of the yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we come before you with reverence and in awe. We come in sorrow and we come in joy. Each of us comes here from different places in life, from a different head space, from different lives – yet we, all of us, come together here as one body. We come learn-ed and also ready to learn (from you and from each other). We come as equals and we come as servants to the servant.

As the Psalmist says, “How magnificent is your creation”; you created a galaxy-studded universe and still remember the yearnings of our hearts.  Ongoing creation, goodness, beauty, joy and peace all belong to you. A new kind of Kingdom is being made if only we will open our eyes to it and open our lives to help see it come to fruition. We come to worship you and we come with a great desire to walk with you into our future and into the mysterious plans you prepared for us. But before we move forward we seek to make ourselves right with you. And so we come boldly admitting that we are redeemed sinners, imperfect and flawed (though you choose to see us in a better light).

God of mercy, you call us to serve others, but we often serve only ourselves. Not always – but too often. You call us to seek justice and rescue the oppressed, but we are overwhelmed by the challenge and a lot of the time just too fearful and too busy to take action.  We forget the power our contributions make when we pile them together. You beg us to defend the orphan and plead for the widow, (your scripture pounds it home literally hundreds of times but our human laws often allow the corrupt and powerful to prosper at the expense of the poor and marginalized. And as for your word we tend to focus more on our favorite sins which always coincidentally belong to others and not our selves. We see the speck in another’s eyes while painstakingly we ignore the plank in our own.

God, you know the darkest secrets of our hearts, truths that we are reluctant to admit even to ourselves. Lord for the sins and offences of our past, the ones previously confessed let us know in the depths of our being that we need not ever remember them. But for the sins unconfused let us know guilt for this important moment.

So that in this moment of silence we might strive to remember our misdeeds.

[silence]

And now Lord we offer all those things up to you, and ask that you forgive, cleanse and renew us just as you have promised to do… Amen.

Response: I will trust in the Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

I believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord. I believe in the empowering Spirit. And I believe in a Father that is the God of unconditional love. So I believe when our God said through the prophets “Though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”  Know, with every fibre of your being, that God loves you, God forgives you, and God sees you as an innocent child. Thank be to God; Amen.

We listen for the voice of God

Hymn: For the beauty of the earth (434)

Scripture readings: Genesis 15:1-6 and Luke 12:32-40

Response: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet

Message: “Your cheque book”

As the story goes, on a very hot and humid Atlanta Georgia afternoon (that is to say – a typical one), a young man had just been involved in an incredibly terrible accident; while driving his brand new Mercedes SLK AMG… once a quite spectacular thing of beauty. When the policewoman arrived, she found the young man standing next to a $225,000 scrap heap; mumbling to himself: “My Mercedes, Oh my Mercedes!”

Looking at the young man the policewoman knew right away there was a much, much bigger problem. “Sir you’re in shock”, she said trying her best to calm him down. And then she leaned in and said five words she never in her life thought she was ever utter… “Your… left… arm… is… missing.” At that, (once again) as the story goes… the young man stopped and looked down where his left arm should have been. “No!” he screamed. “My Rolex, to my Rolex”.

It’s funny because it’s true… and it’s sad because it’s true. Sometimes our priorities get a little messed up.

For those of you that are book people – I love Joseph Heller (and I love David Sedaris). Getting signed copy of a first edition from either is on my bucket list (God Knows and Catch 22 are at the top). But Walden (thoughts on Walden Pound) is probably the most amazing book ever written (outside of Genesis – I love the Toledoth formula of the first 12 chapters in Hebrew – there is nothing as complex to have ever existed).

But Walden… In it, Henry David Thoreau writes, “It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” For me – that is one of the most simplistic and yet poignant sentences in all of literature. Its right up there with Shakespeare’s fictional Caesar saying of his betrayers “et tu brute” “and [even] you too Brutus”. But oddly enough I think Chuck Pal-ahn-iuk’s fictional character Tyler Durden said it best in the book and later the film Fight Club when he said, “The things you own – end up owning you.”

In our reading from Luke today Jesus tells the people not to worry too much about earthly things which ultimately cannot last. The portion read today directly follows a story about a man that had so much he had to build more barns to hold it. His plan was the often misquoted “eat, drink and be merry”. Which in the Bible (despite popular use) is actually a bad thing. In response God basically just says to the man, “You can’t take it with you.”

Here Jesus says basically the same thing. He begins, 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” He’s about to tell them something they are going to have difficulty with. And he wants to reassure them that everything’s going to be alright.

Then he gets right down to it. The left hook. He says, 33 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

F.F. Bruce of Princeton Theological Seminary has called this one of the “Hard Sayings” of Jesus. As he puts it, when someone preaches about this passage it’s just as important to let people know what this verse doesn’t mean as it is to let them know what it does mean.

So what doesn’t it mean? Well, first off, it doesn’t mean that in God’s kingdom the lazy get to live off the fat of the middle class. The translation I read from says simply “give to the poor” but the Greek is more specific than that. It says to pay El-Eh-Ma-Soon-Eh ἐλεημοσύνη [eleēmosynē] which is a gift given at the Temple and is meant primarily to be given to care for widows and orphans or farmers struck by famine.

In fact, 2Thess. 3:10 says “If a man shall not work, neither shall he eat.” In other words it’s not just – randomly – give to the poor. It’s help people in real need. And strangely enough most theologians agree that Jesus’ words here are less about taking care of the poor (though he says that elsewhere and often) but more about getting into the practice of habitually paying alms as a way of self-denial and showing one’s trust for God’s future provision. That’s why he starts by saying “Don’t be afraid”. What he means is… don’t be afraid to give to people with real needs and they won’t be afraid to give to you when you really need it.

This passage also doesn’t mean that Christians should be all about bashing the rich. Hopefully this isn’t a surprise for you but God is not anti-wealth. Think about that for a second. Solomon was the richest man who had ever lived. David (the man “after God’s own heart”) was rich. Abraham (or Abram – from our reading today) was rich. Let’s face it money is morally neutral.  When people talk about dirty money – they have no idea what they are talking about! It’s what we do with it that makes it good or dirty.

And just as a side note… I know people say “Money doesn’t buy happiness”… Well maybe – I’ll tell you a little secrete. Money buys Ferrari’s and I’ve never in my life seen a person in a million dollar supercar with a sad look on their face! God is not anti-money. Contrary to what people think the Bible never says money doesn’t buy happiness. And it doesn’t say “money is the root of all evil” either. It does say, “The love of money is the root of all evil” or as one translation puts it “The obsession with money is the root of all evil.” But God’s not anti-money.

But what God is?… God is anti-greed. That’s why he says, “pay alms.”

God is also anti idol-worship. That’s why Jesus starts this whole speech with “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”

And God never says, “Hey Everybody, Sell Everything You Have.” That’s not what this passage says. This is not the story of the Rich young ruler. That story is told in chapter 18. You might remember it. The Rich Young Ruler comes to Jesus and says that he wants to be a disciple. That’s what he said. He said he wanted to be a follower of Jesus but it turned out that what he really wanted was to be a rich follower of Jesus and when it came right down to it (and he had to choose what was most important to him) he decided that what he Really Really Wanted to be rich more than he wanted to follow Jesus.

But again, that story is not an indictment of people with money. It’s an indictment of idol worship. It’s an indictment of idol worship… choosing money over God.

And that’s what Jesus is talking about here. Priorities. Instead Jesus says 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Now it’s important to note that this is not “For where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” It’s “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. It’s not Where your heart is – is where you will put your money. It’s the things you spend most of your money on will… be… the things…

you most love. They will threaten to replace me (God says).

F.F. Bruce is right. This is a “hard saying.” No, Jesus isn’t saying “money is evil”. But what he is saying is just as hard to swallow. What he is saying is “Show.. me… your cheque book… Show me your credit card statement…. And I’ll show you… what you really…. love.”

Ouch!

As it turns out I… I don’t think I want Jesus looking over my books.

As it turns out… my treasure isn’t always where it should be.

As it turns out… following Jesus isn’t as easy as T.V. preachers make it out to be.

In his book Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy put it well. He wrote, “If you prefer to spend all your spare time growing roses or playing with your kids, I like you better as a person, but don’t complain to me that you’re not being promoted fast enough.”

In short when you choose one thing… you choose not the other.

Sometimes following Jesus means putting my priorities straight. Sometimes it means making sacrifices. It means choosing one thing over another.

Because I can’t afford to do everything I want to do. I have to choose where my devotions lie.

I don’t know about you but I can’t afford a Mercedes SLK AMG. I can’t afford a Rolex. But despite that… I don’t think “The things you own – ALWAYS end up owning you.” And even if I did have $225,000 supercar – I’d like to think that I’ve got my priorities straight enough… to notice a missing left arm.

So what about those of us in the middle? Not quite penniless; not quite the Rich Young Ruler?

I think… What I can do… is I…I can accept that God wants me to be a part of a new kind of Kingdom; that’s not just focused on “me and mine” and the “here and now”. I think what I can do is that I can accept that whether I’m as rich as Solomon or Poor as the pauper I CAN still afford to “give of myself” and “pay my alms” even if it means I miss out on some other things from time to time. And I think I can always try and do just a little better in the future so I’m not quite so scared to show Jesus my cheque book.

… … … What about you? Do you want to be the kind of person that’s happy to show Jesus your cheque book? Or do you wanna be the person that’s worried about your watch… when you are missing your left arm?

Amen.

Song: Seek ye first …

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

God of the Universe, thank you that your promises are sure, you are faithful, I can rely on you. Your word says that we will find joy in offering our time, talents, and money to meet the needs of others. Help us to give freely, sacrificially and cheerfully towards the work of your kingdom. May you cause the seeds that we sow to grow into well-watered, fruitful trees of life. Lord, bless us and keep us, make your face shine upon us. Turn your face towards us and give us peace. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Response: In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful

Prayer for others and ourselves

Awesome God, we are grateful for the opportunity to worship you together this day.  We are united with and pray for the church universal – men, women and children around the world who yearn to know you better and to bring about Christ’s reign on Earth.  May we serve, encourage and invite others to experience your presence within and among us.

We pray for the neighbourhoods and nations of the world God, and we are especially thinking of those who are seeking a homeland, by faith.  We pray for people who have no country to call “home” and who are confined for decades to refugee camps.  God, bring them the necessities of life, peace and a future with hope.

We pray for our own country, this land of many blessings.  We are grateful, God; may we never take our blessings for granted.  God, we also know that even within this land of plenty, there are those who live in wretched conditions and who struggle each day because of poverty, politics, and apathy.  We pray for all of us, God, as we struggle with complex challenges.

God of community, we pray for our own congregation; help us as a gathering of the faithful to remain centred in you and to discern your will for us.  You know all things, God; help us to make wise decisions among complex issues.

For those who are struggling with their faith, we ask for an increasing awareness of your presence in their lives.

For those who are experiencing major changes in their lives, we pray for your guidance and encouragement.

For those who are sick, grieving, lonely or anxious, we ask for your comforting and healing touch.

Lord, As we journey through life, grant us the grace to conform evermore closely to your purpose.  Help us to hold evermore to you.

We pray for our neighbours in this building and everywhere else.

May we see Christ in those around us and may Christ be glimpsed in our actions and our words.

We pray in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour; bring love to our neighbors and make us neighbors to all people. amen.

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

Invitation

In breaking bread and drinking wine Jesus told us to remember him. In this action called the Holy Communion, Christ offers himself to us and we present ourselves to him in worship and adoration.

The Lord’s Supper is a joyful mystery whereby Jesus takes the bread and wine to represent his atoning sacrifice, deepening our union with himself and with each other, giving us of his life and strength and providing spiritual food for our journey.

Here Christ is present in his world proclaiming salvation; lifting us up into the heavenly kingdom. It is a symbol of hope and peace in a troubled time. Those who belong to Christ, gather gladly to his table to make a memorial of his life and death to celebrate his presence and together as his Church offer him thanks.

Song: The power of the Cross

We affirm our faith: The Apostles Creed (539)
I believe in God the father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son our Lord
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the Virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilot
Was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven.
He is seated at the right hand of the Father.
And he will come to judge the living and the dead
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer (469)

Declaration

This is the Lord’s Table. I am here as a guest just as you are. This is not our church’s table, and it is not our denomination’s table. It is not even a church table at all. It is a gift, and it is the table of God.

The Communion Prayer

Creating father we thank you for the gift of life and for the gift of all creation. All that is praises your name. Providing one, we are forever grateful to you for the unending gifts you bestow upon us and entrusted to us. Your faithfulness and mercy astound us. God of sacrifice, You are our rock and our shield. Your compassion and grace know no end.

We thank you, Almighty God, for the salvation you offer and we give complete control of ourselves to you and call You “Lord”. Help us to know your ways, To share them with others and to forever seek after your divinely hidden face.

Precious Lord, we thank you for the gift of salvation sent through your son Jesus Christ. We thank you for the incarnation, as you made yourself low and brought yourself down to be a vulnerable human being. And from this blessing we were given instruction but also freedom. Our god it is completely beyond our understanding how you could send Christ to live among us, love us, and know that he would die at our hands. Such love is too far above us. And through him you the author of salvation have also shown us what it means to rise to new life.

Father God, we also thank you for the gift of your spirit. It is by your Spirit of glory that we find comfort and council. We praise you also for the works of the divine Spirit in both creation and our holy scriptures. We praise you for that the same Spirit which empowered the holy conception of our Lord also empowers us today. By your spirit we are called to service for your divine will. Let none of us remain in conflict with one another but instead bring as peace that passed understanding… both now and forever. Amen.

Sharing of the bread and wine

Institution
Breaking of the Bread (Fraction)
“Therefore I received from the lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took the bread and when he and given thanks, he broke it and said This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Pouring and Revelation of the Cup
“In the same way after supper he took the top saying “this is the new covenant in my blood do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me”        , “for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
The distribution of the elements
Bread: The gifts of god for the people of god “take eat”
Wine: The gifts of god for the people of god “take eat”

Song: One bread, one body (540)

The prayer after Communion

Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world, in the strength of Your Spirit, to do just as you have done, to give ourselves for others. In the name of Jesus Christ of Lord . Amen.

Hymn: Now let us from this table rise (536)

Sending out with God’s blessing

As you leave this place and move out into the new week and the community, “be dressed for action and have your lamps lit”!

You carry the Spirit of God within you, and from you will spread… the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship and community of the Holy Spirit.

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.

Devoted Disciples (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
8th Sunday after Pentecost
10:00 am  , 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering  as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Lynn Vaughan
Elder: Gina Kottke

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: Friends, let us worship God today, for God is great-
P: God has blessed us with life, with faith, and with community.
L: Let us worship God today, for God is good-
P: God forgives us, and encourages us, and loves us.
L: Let us worship God today-
P: Because we are God’s people. Let us worship God.

Opening praise: This is amazing grace

Prayers of approach and confession

Loving and holy God,
with expectancy and joy
we gather – confident that you alone speak the words of life;
that in you alone we have found our hearts’ desire;
and that by your grace alone we have been rescued.

When the way forward is unclear, you will shed light as long as we seek it,
when the way ahead is uncertain, you will give peace as long as we seek you,
when the times are challenging, you will stir hope as long as we understand that You yourself are our hope.

Deep is our need for you.

Deep is our longing to know you and your purposes.

Deep is our desire to be nurtured by your grace.

You alone are worthy of our trust, praise and worship and in spirit and in truth we bow and proclaim, not us Lords of our live, but rather You the Lord of all our lives.

Despite the joy that is ours, we confess that there are times when we find the ways of faith hard.

You created us for goodness but there are times when we would settle for much less.

There are times when others suggest an easier life are more attractive and we are easily turned around.

There are times we would substitute self-interest for loving others.

There are times when we chose anger rather than forgiveness.

There are times when we do harm to those we love and ignore the needs even of those we care for.

Forgive us for being so fickle. When our footsteps waver may your grasp our hands. In dark times feed the embers of our faithfulness with the flames of your love.  May your kingdom’s power strengthen our determination and give us energy to follow your lead. We offer our prayers through Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Response: We come to ask Your forgiveness, O Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

We are justified by grace as a gift through the redemption that is found in Jesus Christ and an empty tomb. He renews us over and over again. No matter what may soil us, He give us clean hands. Thanks be to God.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: He’s got the whole world in His hand (339)
Story: Life moves on. People leave. But Jesus is always present.
Prayer: Are you broken hearted, do you know someone who needs prayer.
Let’s ask God to heal their broken hearts and bandage up their wounds.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Musical Offering (Binu, Brad & Lynn): The Power of the Cross

Today’s Message

Scripture readings: Mark 8:31-38

Response: Glory to the Father

Homily: “Devoted Disciples”

There’s this story of a soldier who is frantically digging-in during battle. Smoke fills the air and shells fall all around him. Suddenly he hears a huge blast and ducks down to into a ball as fast as he possible can with his face in the mud. As he attempts to get up, his hand feels something odd beneath it. Its metal but it’s not a shell.

He grabs it. As he looks down into his mud covered hands he sees a small silver cross. Another shell explodes and he buries his head in his arms. Just then the soldier feels someone jump in the foxhole just to his side. He looks over to his surprise and sees an army chaplain. Immediately the soldier thrusts the cross into the chaplain’s face and cries out, “How do you work this thing?”

In this morning’s scripture when Jesus talks about bearing our cross, we could ask the same question: “How do you work this thing?” The reality is that this is not a new question. Even the first disciples asked that very same query. The Apostle Peter was a rather brash man. And he didn’t really know the answer to that question either.

It’s been said that the only reason the Apostle Peter ever took his foot out of his mouth was to switch feet. It was here in Caesarea Philippi just outside of country region of Galilee; in the shadow of Ancient Palestine, where Caesar was a god, (and officially titled “Son of God”) that Peter discovered that his wandering teacher from Nazareth, wasn’t going where he thought he was going. Peter had in mind some great political upheaval where Israel would become a great world superpower lead by the Messiah (or Christ in Greek – a word meaning: Savior).

The messiah/king’s was rule not only over Hebrew people, but the world. This is the image Peter has in mind. How could Jesus be the Savior if he’d come for any other reason but to save the people from political oppression? But instead, Jesus tells his friends that he’s heading for a cross. He’s not safe. And he doesn’t want what Peter wants.

The revelation is astounding. The savior Peter expected, was about to be put on trial and condemned to capital punishment. That’s not what Peter signed up for. He was the lead student of the days greatest revolutionary. He was in line for a job in this New Kingdom Jesus was describing, not in line for torture.

With this as our backdrop, Peter starts with the right idea but he’s confused and he’s defiant. First he blurts out, “You are the Messiah”. And he’s right. But Jesus says, that the story starts there. It doesn’t end there. And so Jesus explains how being the savior is about to translate into everyday life. And it’s not what Peter wants for Jesus or for himself. If Jesus is going to be killed, surely Peter will be killed as well.

But Jesus doesn’t mean for his people to believe he’s about to be crowed the new Caesar. “Son of God” for Jesus means something very different. Instead, it means that he about to suffer and die. And then in what is perhaps the most arrogant move one could ever imagine, Peter the fisherman takes Jesus the Son of God aside and scolds him.

Now just think about that for a second. Peter takes Jesus aside to correct him (like a mom taking her disruptive kid out to the car for misbehaving in the supermarket). “No way will our great Messiah die.” As Mark writes this down, “Peter took Jesus aside to rebuke him”. In Konie Greek the word “rebuke” here that Mark uses is also the same word he uses to describe how Jesus speaks the Legion of evil within the possessed man.

The word is ἐπιτιμάω epitimaō (Ep-E-Tee-Ma-O) and it means, to tax with great fault, to berate, chide, reprove, censure severely or to admonish or charge sharply. Jesus, Ep-E-Tee-Ma-O’ed the evil spirits to cast them out. It’s the same thing here. In the Wycliffe Bible it says, Peter took him aside “to blame Jesus”. More recently Eugene Peterson’s Message renders this, “Peter grabbed Jesus in protest”. This is no small feet. This is a serious talking-to Peter is giving the same person he has just declared to be God’s one and only.

But we can’t be too hard of Peter. He’s brash that’s just his nature. And he’s shocked! But at the heart of his anger is confusion and sorrow. Peter had just made his greatest proclamation. He has identified Jesus as the Messiah. He just went out on a limb and said something very dangerous that could get him killed (by the Romans or by his own people). And now Jesus, his leader and his best friend tells him that he is the Messiah. But that he’s also nearing a time of suffering and defeat. Peter is in disbelief. He doesn’t want his friend to die. And he does what we all do. Peter tells God that his own plans are better than God’s plan!

Peter is us. Peter’s mind is on the here and now. He’s thinking only of what he will loose, not about what he will gain or what God intends for his people.

In response to Peters chastising we get this very strange comment from Jesus. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Peter and Jesus are having a fight! This is no small disagreement.

Jesus looks at Peter and calls him (Sat-un-oss), Satan a word that literally means “adversary” or “enemy”. In this instance Peter is so out of line, he is label with a word used to describe the personification of evil. And though we like to picture Jesus as being somehow permanently calm and unflinchingly humble, in this instance he’s not what we expect either. And he shouldn’t be. Peter’s place, like mine, like yours, is not up in Jesus’ face. Our place is behind him, following in Jesus’ footsteps, not out front trying to lead the charge.

The Messiah that Jesus was prepared to be, was not the Messiah Peter was expecting and Peter didn’t have a clue how that was going to work.

Now, we’ve all been in that position. I guarantee it. We all (myself included) have this image of who Jesus is and we tend to think of him in terms of that alone. When he appears to be something outside the little box we’ve made for him we tend to get more than a little uncomfortable.

How does this thing work?

We ignore certain things that he’s said, or try and explain them away. In short we try to make our Savoir look just like us, think just like us, agree with us, instead of trying to do what we’re supposed to do and make ourselves look like Him, our acts look like His, our thoughts follow His!

How many of us have had the same experience, where at some point during our faith journey, we didn’t meet the Messiah we expected and so whether we realized it or not… we changed Him to make Him fit us?

Perhaps you’ve heard this story: Two young brothers came downstairs for breakfast on a Saturday morning to find their mother cooking pancakes. As she’s starting to pull them off the griddle the boys start arguing about whose going get the biggest one. Their mother seizes this teachable moment and says, “Now boys, what would Jesus say if he were here?” They stopped, looked a little confused, and then their mother continued, “Jesus would say, “My brother, you take the biggest pancake.” The older brother being more adult then the younger looked at his wonderful little brother and very wisely said, “You be Jesus today Jack, I really want the big one.”

Winston Churchill, once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Being like Jesus isn’t easy. Following him can be hard. And while he heals the broken heated and bandages up their wounds, he also calls us to take up a cross and follow Him up that hill.

Billy Graham put it this way. He said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have” [–Edythe Draper, Drapers Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992)].

Like the mother making pancakes, Jesus too used this occasion as a teachable moment. Mark writes, “34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

“Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have”. Graham takes this line from the great German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who paid the personal cost of discipleship in execution at age 39 on April 9, 1945. Bonhoeffer had bravely resisted Hitler and the Nazi State when most of Germany’s clergy supported the Third Reich. In 1943 he (a Christian minister) was part of a very controversial group that tried twice but failed to assassinate Hitler.

The word “fuehrer” in German literally means “leader or guide.” Standing up as Christ’s disciple on a radio broadcast all throughout Berlin, Bonhoeffer had bravely rebuked the entire German Church for having allied itself with the Nazi party. Bonhoeffer spoke into the microphone bravely broadcasting his every word saying, “There can only be one Fuehrer for Christians, and it isn’t Adolf Hitler.”

Whatever we might think about everything Bonhoeffer did in order to try and live out his calling as a discipleship in difficult times, what is of no doubt is that discipleship didn’t mean an easy road for Bonhoeffer. He took up this cross to follow Jesus despite what the rest of the world said. His cross was struggle and eventually death. [–Ron Walters, General Manger KFAX Am 1100 in “Pastor’s Letter,” August 15, 2002; http://www.kfax.com/pastorsletter.asp?ID=24]

But he was a disciple.

If you were to sit inside the cockpit of an airplane just before liftoff, you would hear the pilot call out V1 which means “point of no return”. As the airplane accelerates towards the end of the runway, the pilot must decide if the plane is moving fast enough for a safe takeoff. This speed must be determined preflight based on several factors including the air pressure, temperature, speed of the wind, and weight of the craft. The pilot holds the throttle as the plane approaches the carefully calculated V1 speed so that the takeoff can be aborted at a moments notice, just in case something goes wrong. However… after the pilot calls out “V1”, the plane must take off. It is going to fast to stop and remain on the runway. It must keep going. There is no other choice.

As Christians, we also have a V1 moment. We have a commitment we make to Christ. Once we have [placed our faith in Christ alone, proclaimed him Lord and called ourselves disciples, we have reached the point of no return. We need to adjust our sights, apply throttle and take off. (1001 Illustrations #79) There is no backtracking.

If Peter wants to be Jesus’ disciple then he needs to know where this might all go.

Today when we read this line it was pretty easy to just skim over it. We really don’t often consider the weight of what’s being said.

I once heard a lady say that not having enough money to buy a new car for another year was her “cross to bear.”

Well, to be fair… Maybe… but that’s not how Jesus used that phrase.

When Jesus said to his first disciples that they should be prepaid to take up their cross and follow him, he meant a real cross. He meant, IF you follow me – you may just share in my death too.

In North American society today this is not a real concern for us the way it was for them. But when Jesus said, “35 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37” he meant it literally. He meant – if you keep following me, you are not going to win any popularity contests.

The disciples would not have let those words go by lightly. They would have stood there with their jaws dropped down into the dirt. Jesus didn’t fit in their box. They wanted all the benefits and none of the risk. But that’s not how this thing works!

Jesus says, you have to be willing to give it all up, to be last, to give the pancake to your brother and take the lesser path.

Native hunters in the jungles of India are reported to have a clever and simple way of trapping monkeys. They slice a coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey’s hand to pass through. Then they place an orange or other fruit in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the shell. Finally, they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the jungle, and wait.

Sooner or later, an unsuspecting monkey swings by, smells the delicious orange, and discovers its location inside the coconut. The monkey then slips his hand through the small hole, grasps the orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the orange won’t come out; it’s too big for the hole. To no avail the persistent monkey continues to pull and pull. While the monkey struggles with the orange, the hunters simply stroll in and throw a net over him. As long as the monkey keeps his fist wrapped around that orange, the monkey is trapped. It doesn’t know it, but it is.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Peter and the other disciples thought they knew who the Messiah was. They had him placed in a nice neat little box and they didn’t like him proving them wrong. When he climbed out of their cage or stepped over the lines of their parameters, they didn’t know what to do. They had no idea how this thing worked.

Jesus didn’t fit into their boxes (or ours?) and he needed everyone to know it.

The trouble was and still is for us, that, it wasn’t the Jesus they wanted that they needed to follow, it was the real Jesus that they needed.

Jesus continues, “38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

There are penalties for not taking up your cross. More to the point, when we take up our crosses, not only are we being faithful but we are also making the world a better place for others.

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires that we live a sacrificial life following in the steps of our Lord. Now to be clear – This does not mean that a disciple seeks to suffer; but it does mean that we should not be surprised when it comes. After all, Jesus in John 16:33 says: “In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Discipleship is worth it.

Many years ago “General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was asked the secret of his amazing Christian life. Booth answered, ‘I told the Lord that He could have all that there is of William Booth” [–James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1988), 98.].

That’s taking up a cross. That’s how this thing works.

Better said in Calvin Miller’s The Taste of Joy who said, “There is no automatic joy. Christ is not a happiness capsule; He is the way to the Father. But the way to the Father is not a carnival ride in which we sit and do nothing while we are whisked through various spiritual sensations” [–Calvin Miller in The Taste of Joy. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 17].

The cost of discipleship can at times be high.

Eventually Peter did take up his cross. And it was about as true a test as one could ever have.

oday, it’s unlikely that taking up our cross to follow Him means that we, like him, will be executed by our government. But the idea that following Christ isn’t always easy still remains. That is how this thing works.

May we all come to know Jesus, not as we want him to be, but rather just as he is.

May we understand the cross and how it works in our lives for both salvation and in discipleship.

May we proclaim him the Savior and give our lives fully over to him.

May we pass the point of no return without fear, knowing that ultimately our victory has already been won.

May we find ways to bear the very real crosses we have to bear.

And when we bow to Him and see His way… may we get behind Him (our leader), no matter what it might mean.

That’s discipleship.

That’s how this thing works.

Amen

Musical Offering: Man of sorrows (210)

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

The Lord our God often gives us so many wonderful things that makes our life worth living. He gives us the gift of family and friends, the gift of love and laughter. As humble servants, we should show gratitude and give something back to the Father.

Transition Music: Be still and know that I am God

Prayer for others and ourselves

Lord God: we thank you now for all that you have given us. For the changing beauty of the world; the beauties of cloud and sunshine, night and day. We thank you for the talents and powers you have given to your people; and for all the use to which these talents have been put. We thank you for showing us your love for all people; for teaching us to love each other; and for all the love that we give and receive each day. Most of all we thank you for Jesus; for his life of love; for his teaching and example; for his death on the cross; and for the new life we receive through his resurrection.

We bring to you now in prayer our concerns for others. We pray for those who are ill. We ask that you minister to the sick through our concern for them and through doctors and nurses who add their healing skills. We pray for those in our church whose family circle has been divided by death. Comfort them in their grief and grant them the peace and hope they need at this time.

Finally, we pray that the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ may be known and accepted by increasing numbers of people. Draw to yourself all seekers after truth and goodness; may they find the unlimited riches which can be found in you alone. We pray these things through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Song: We are marching (639)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Go out into the world in peace, and in Christ’s name be –
the humble who make others proud
the poor who have riches to share
the weak who help others be strong
the empty who overflow with loving kindness.
And the largess of the love of God,
and the treasure of the grace of Christ Jesus,
and the buoyant health of the Holy Spirit
will be with you now and forever. Amen.

Response: Go forth into the world

Music postlude

————————————————————————-

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.

Musical offering: The power of the cross
Keith Getty | Stuart Townend © 2005 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com. Used with permission under CCLI, License #3095377.

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.

Somewhere over the rainbow (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am  , 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering  as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Glynnis McCrostie
Elder: Jane de Caen

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: We see light, hope, joy;
P: We bring heart, soul, mind and body; we share blessings and fears;
L: We bring faith and doubt.
P: With all that we are and all that we have, let us worship God.

Opening praise: O come to the altar

Prayers of approach and confession

Lord God, you are the one true God. To know you is life eternal, and to serve you is joy and peace. You have created all that is, and the whole universe rejoices in your majesty and power as its maker. Your glory is above the earth and the heavens, and yet you have chosen to live among us, and to raise up your Son for our salvation. For this we give you praise and adoration, not perhaps as we ought, but as we are able.

God of love, your son gave his disciples one commandment: that they should love one another as he loved them. We claim to love you, but we struggle with loving the people we see around us each day, not to mention those far away. On the one hand your command sounds easy. But it is not. We struggle to forgive; let alone “love” those who have hurt us. We expect so much from others, but little from ourselves. And quite frankly some of our “neighbors” in this world are actually much harder to love than others. But that shouldn’t really matter.

Sin fills the alleyways here and abroad. People seek war, torture, violence of every kind. Women are held under violence, violators and oppressors. How does one “love” these neighbors? Too often we have to admit that we don’t really know. That kind of love eludes us. And that is why we ask for help. Because, our care is often shallow but our desire for love is deep, our concern for others is thin but our wants great, and demands for patience endless but our tempers short.

So, forgive us and help us to grow in love for you and one another. Help us even to love those who seem unlovable. Perhaps that is how we end circles of violence. Forgive us and make us anew.

Response: We come to ask Your forgiveness

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Hear and believe the good news, anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, the old life is gone and the new life has come.  We do not need to be perfect. We cannot be. And so he had to be perfect for us. In Him, You are forgiven… forgive one another, and be the new creation you were called to be.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: He’s got the whole world in His hands

Story: God has the world in God’s hands but God does that by using our hands to do the good work that needs to be done.

Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: Great is Thy faithfulness

Today’s Message

Scripture readings: Psalm 147 and  Revelation 21: 1-6

Response: He heals the broken-hearted

Homily: “Somewhere over the rainbow”

When it was released during Hollywood’s golden year of 1939, The Wizard of OZ was not the perennial classic it has since become. The film did respectable business. It received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, but only won two: Best Song and Musical Score. It wasn’t until its debut on television that this family favorite saw its popularity soar. The (AFI) American Film Institute recently ranked the adaptation of the L. Frank Baum’s novel as the sixth best move of all time. Part of the film’s allure is the simple, yet fantastic, story.

In the story, Eleven year old Dorothy Gale (an orphan from Omaha, Nebraska) goes to live with her Aunt and Uncle in Kansas. There she becomes understandably dissatisfied with her dull grey life. After a run in with a local woman (Miss Gultch), Dorothy dreams of some place “over the rainbow” where life is better than her current situation. Her auntie Emily encourages her by saying, “Why don’t you find a place where there isn’t any trouble” Talking to her dog, Dorothy replies, “A place where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? Oh, there must be. But it’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train or a car. It’s far, far away; behind the moon, beyond the rain.”

Because of all the turmoil in her life, Dorothy decides to run away. But after a change of mind she gets caught up by a tornado before she can reach the storm cellar doors. When she awakens, she finds that she, Toto, and the farmhouse have landed in a faraway place called “Munchkin Land”. And that is when you notice it. It: the dull grey of the black and white film has gone. Now the movie is bright and bursting with vibrant colors.

From there on I would bet that most of us know the story. In her quest to return home, Dorothy sets off for the Emerald City to meet the mysterious miracle worker, the Wizard of OZ. Along her journey down the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy meets the Tim Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow. All are dissatisfied with their own lives as well and believe they can find what they are looking for in the Emerald City. Of course everything works out for the best in the end and they all find what they were seeking after.

Is there a place called OZ? Is there really an Emerald City… A city made of precious gems with golden streets? This is the true theme of the Baum’s book. Whether or not Dorothy actually traveled there in the film or if she just experiences a dream is left up to the audience. At the films end we are supposed to wonder if there is such a place… a place where there isn’t any trouble.

A couple of months ago, my friend Ross Lockhart was here. He’s at Vancouver School of Theology. And he made a joke that I found a little odd. I’ve heard him tell it before. He said that it’s hard to preach heaven in Vancouver because people in Vancouver think they already live there. On the one hand there is a lot of truth in that statement. On the other… I’m not so sure. Yeah there are bright flowers everywhere, but there’s also a lot of grey. And really no matter where we live: Vancouver or the North West Territories, Hawaii or Alaska, the world will always have it’s dark days. More to the point, so will the lives of all the people that live there. Pain, loss, financial woes, disease, age, death, tears… we can’t escape these things. The cold hard truth is that we all live in L Baum’s picture of the real world made all the more real by the image of a monochromatic grey Kansas.

We tend to live in the grey. And we too, often long for The Emerald City – a place with where there isn’t any trouble. A place where every tear will be wiped away forever and death and mourning and pain are gone.

Somewhere around 65AD John of Patmos found himself in exile from Rome. Tacitus had taken him and many others perceived as political threats, out to the three largely uninhabited Sporades, (Northern Greek Islands). John was left stranded on one of these three. It was called Patmos. There he stayed on a tiny island feeling hungry and lost; imprisoned for his faith with a few others. Elsewhere Christians were being hunted down and killed. They had turned to Christ to find love and forgiveness and because of that they also found hatred and intolerance and death.

Confused, in hiding or on the run Christian people were terrified. And they needed a word of encouragement. They too were looking for “a place where there isn’t any trouble”. John wrote specifically to the Christian communities. But it wasn’t all encouraging. He addressed his letter to 7 ancient churches. He has kind and harsh words to speak. But in it too he reminds them all that the suffering that they face in this grey world is not the end… he tells them that someday they will find themselves standing in a city like no other; made of precious stone. He told them they would walk streets of gold, and that tears and pain would be nothing but a fuzzy memory of some far off place lost and never to be found again. He tells them of a place where even “death would be no more”.

John tells them that God will provide a place of solace; “a new heaven and a new earth”… a holy city, and a new Jerusalem to replace the one of smoldering ashes.

Now it bears mentioning that John has a vision of heaven given to him by God, but we would be mistaken if we were to take what he says exactly at face value. Now that might sound strange coming from my lips but there is good reason for saying so. You see, John doesn’t mean all of this to be taken exactly at face value. Most of his images aren’t meant to be taken literally.  In fact, he’s not really sure what he’s talking about either. See John has a vision of heaven but… he admits freely that it’s beyond explanation.

Repeatedly he writes, “it seemed like” and “something similar too” and “what looked like”. Yes, he talks about gates of pearl and precious stones (emerald city anyone) and golden streets (yellow brick road anyone), but he does so because he lacks the ability to describe the full and true beauty he sees. It seems the Apostle Paul was correct 20 years earlier when he wrote that “no mind can possibly fathom what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Last year I came across this story. It’s about a Christian who somehow got obsessed with the idea of taking some of his wealth to heaven. Now he knew the Bible clearly teaches that you can’t take it with you. But so obsessed was he with this desire, that he just prayed & prayed & prayed that God would give him permission to take some of his wealth to heaven with him.

Finally, his persistence in prayer paid off. God spoke to him & said, “Okay, enough already! You can take one suitcase with you into heaven.”
Next the man finds himself in deep thought. “What do I take?” he thought. “What are the most valuable things that I can put into my suitcase?”
Well, he finally decided, & filled his suitcase full. Then one day he died, & when next we see him, he is slowly approaching the pearly gates dragging his suitcase behind him.

Peter met him there at the gate & said, “Wait a minute. What do you think you’re doing? You’re not allowed to take anything into heaven.” But the man answered, “You don’t understand. I have special permission from God Himself to take this suitcase and its contents into heaven with me.” Paul just happened to be walking by and stopped to listen to this curious conversation.

Peter rubbed his beard & said, “Well, that’s very unusual. I can’t imagine God letting you do that. Let me look inside your suitcase & see what’s there.” So the man dragged the suitcase over, & Peter opened it to see that it was filled with gold bars.

Peter said, “Well, all right. If God said so, I suppose you can take that in if you want.” Peter looked over at Paul and shrugged as the man began to drag his heavy suitcase towards the gate. Curious Paul shouted out to Peter, “Well… what is it? What’s he got in there” To which Peter replied, “Pavement”.

John assures his readers that there is a heaven, a place where there isn’t any trouble and that it is unimaginably better than anyone could ever describe. Where it’s so good that Gold is like dirt. The reality is that… Heaven is far greater than Dorothy or the author L Frank Baum could possibly dream it to be, and far greater even than John can possible fathom as he attempts to describe the indescribable.

John’s vision of Heaven is beyond the imagination… even his. And he’s seen it.

 

He says things like, “there is no longer a sea”. Now while that might sound odd for us today, that was a huge statement for him. Often the sea in the scriptures represents evil or at least the way evil entered into the world. It’s often a stand in for chaos. And it’s also the thing that keeps John stuck on that island in exile. It’s the thing that causes him most pain and keeps him from the people he loves.

John essentially says, nothing will taint this new city. And it’s there that God will “wipe away every tear”. It’s there that death and mourning will no longer be.

For literally two thousand years, people have read John’s words (usually in places or persecution or at funerals) and dreamed of a land beyond the rainbow… beyond the rain. For two thousand years people have dreamt about what it might be like to leave the dull and the grey behind and enter into a perfect heaven beyond description.

It is a wonderful gift God gave the church through John. It is a dream worth having. It’s the reality that somewhere out there, God has built a perfect home for us. But here’s the twist.

John writes, “I saw” this “coming down out of heaven” … “out” of heaven; “down”… to earth.

See John’s vision is not just some distant heaven – somewhere beyond the rainbow; eternally beyond reach. John’s vision is of a new heaven and new earth – together as one. That’s the end game. That’s the ultimate plan. It’s never been about perfection out there somewhere. It’s always been about perfection here. That was the whole point of Eden. And we messed it up in the very first few pages of the scriptures and the whole rest of the book is about this one things… how do we get in?

Now I’m not saying don’t look forward to a bright and colorful world beyond – somewhere in the heavenly realms. I’m not telling you to forget about that place out there where God is perfectly present and tears and pain are no more. I’m telling you just the opposite. I’m telling you, yes, dream of that place.

But I’m also saying this, lets it make happen here. Even if it’s just on some small scale, some foretaste of what’s to come. Let’s create that place here today. Let’s build that kind of city here. Let’s build that place where Heaven comes down to Earth now. That’s where God is going with all of this anyway. So, let’s make that place where heaven and earth collide happen.

And now is when I get really honest.

I don’t have a clue what that might mean for you. I don’t know how you might do that. But I know that you can. Maybe it’s really complicated. I know a guy (he used to the CEO of San Stores Canada. After the death of his wife, he invested in the stock market only to give the interest away to charities each year. I know this rather odd guy that goes out during rush hour, just so he can let other drivers in when other people aren’t. I know a lady that carries subway sandwich cards with her wherever she goes so that if someone asks her for change she can feed them without concern. I know a woman that when she goes to a coffee shop she puts up a little sign that says, Available For Prayer.

Now we may not know what Heaven looks like exactly… but that seems like a pretty good start to me.

Maybe you find some way to provide a smile this week for someone that cries. Maybe you find some way to momentarily turn someone’s mourning into dancing (even if just for a moment). Maybe you just smile a little more, or let someone in line in front of you at the store, or leave $5 for the lady coming up after you at the drive through, maybe you decide today to do something really big! Or maybe you just determine call someone you care about to remind them that their loved.

I don’t know what it might look like for you. It will no doubt look different for all of us. But this week, I’d like to challenge you to do one thing each day to make Dorothy’s dream, John’s vision, real and present in the here and now, this side of yellow brink road.

This week may we all praise the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. May we hold with certitude, the presence of Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven set aside for those who love him. And may we strive not just to reach that heaven someday, but also to bring some small piece of that heaven, down here to earth. Amen.

Song: There’s a spirit in the air

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

Lord, let our congregation be a witness to you:

  • immersed in scripture,
  • onstant in prayer,
  • joyful in worship,
  • generous in giving.
  • A loving, supportive community reaching out to those in need.

You have been a blessing to us and have blessed us beyond measure,

Held us to remember that we are called to be a blessing to others.

Lord Accept these gifts we offer to your Bride the Church that we might use all that we have in accordance with your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Transition Music

Prayer for others and ourselves

Loving God, in Jesus Christ you teach us to pray and to present our petitions to you in his name.  Guide us by your Holy Spirit, that our prayers for others may

  • serve your will
  • and show your love for all.

Gracious God, you have called together a people to be the church of Jesus Christ.

May your people be one in faith and discipleship, breaking bread together, and telling good news to everyone we meet so that the world may believe you are love, turn to your ways, and live in the light of your truth as we build your kingdom here on earth.

Creator God, you made all things and called them good.  May your planet earth be held in reverence by all people.  May its resources be used wisely and its fragile balance between life and death respected.

Eternal Ruler, in your mighty realm the nations rise and fall.  Hear our prayers for those who rule the nations, that they may learn wisdom and truth, establish justice and mercy, and seek the ways of peace even when it seems impossible to do so.

Ever faithful, you have knit us together as one body in Christ, those who have been your people in all times and places.  Keep us in communion with your saints following the examples of faith and life which they set before us, and help us to do the same for the next generation of believers.

Bring us to the joy which you have prepared for us.

Eternal God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, we now take a moment from the business of the world and we rest in silence. As we do, Lord bring the names and the faces of those most in need of our prayers to mind. Let us see them and think on them and pray for them now.

Perfect Father, we lift up those most dear to us. We present them to you. And we ask much in your name. Stregthen your people, show us which paths to follow, which people need our care and provide us with the gifts needed to affect their lives.

Lord, please accept the prayers of your people, and strengthen us to do your will and bring heaven and earth together; through Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Song: Love divine all loves excelling

Sending out with God’s blessing

“May the Father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own time and way everlastingly happy.”

Response: Amen! We praise your name, O God

Music postlude

————————————————————————-

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.