The Unseen PLayer

Worship on the Third Sunday of Lent
03 March 2024    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: Rom Rhoad
Elder: Lynn Vaughan

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: On this third Sunday of Lent, we see Jesus, overturning the tables of the money changers as he drove them out of the temple.
P: We are surprised by his actions.
L: Yet there is much in our lives and the world that needs to be overturned and driven out.
P: In the name of Jesus, we work to overcome oppression, poverty, and injustice in our local communities and with partners around the world.

Opening praise: Here’s my heart, Lord.

Prayers of approach and confession

Faithful God, we give you thanks and praise because you are near to us.

It’s honestly hard to look up at the mountains and not see your handiwork and yet each sees it in a new way. For me, the fields of sunflowers and the violent storms of Kansas made it clear. For some, it is the ocean view, for others the stars and for many the first laugh of a new baby.

It’s hard not to see the flowers open and the peddles blooming and not feel like our world is Your canvas and you are the only painter to create something original. All else is a copy.

It’s hard to see a laughing child before us and not feel like we need to bow down and give you your due for created such a pure expression of innocent joy!

Life is far from perfect, and suffering is present, but You clearly are too.

You give so much and Lord we just want to return to you some portion of that.

But God like all people we get mixed up and confused and we try to do things by our own rules, or we misunderstand what you want for us.

For the most part, we are struggling through.

But if we really look at ourselves, we must admit that there are things we have done in the last few days that we knew weren’t right.

There are things that we suspect weren’t right.

There are things we feel sorrow about.

There are things we did wrong that hurt others… and hurt you.

And there are things we would like to do over.

God of second chances, help us to find the people we’ve wronged and set things right. Give us courage. Help us to be honest and gracious and to seek resolution. Help us to build better relationships. Help us bring down the barriers we’ve put up. Help us with the things we have done that we shouldn’t have. And point out to us the things we should have done but neglected to do.

Lord, we want to be your people. Perfect your image in us. Work on us and refine us. But first, in your great mercy, forgive our sins. Amen.

Response: We come to ask your forgiveness, O Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Hear the good news!

God knows you and loves you and God wants your life to overflow      with love and joy for everyone around you to see.

Believe that you are forgiven, and let God’s Spirit live within you, equipping you to share that belief with everyone else who needs to hear it too. Amen.

Song: This is a story full of love (504, vss1-4)

We listen for the voice of God

Scripture readings (NRSV): 1 John:10-18 & John 14:6-12

Response: Jesus, remember me

Short video : Click here

Message: The unseen player

In the video, Dan is portrayed as “bad” –  the worst!

We live in a bit of tension of course. Scripture says repeatedly that we are “saved by grace through faith.” The idea is that God has already done the work and all we have to do is accept it. BUT at the same time: how we live, the things we do or don’t do… still matter. Even the first generation of Christians dealt with this idea. It’s called antinominalism. The idea is that if we are saved by grace through faith as scripture says, the law no longer matters. But this is a false gospel. Even some in Paul’s time suggested that if we are already forgiven, we are free to sin more. But this is an obvious error in judgment. Romans 6:1 says, “Well then if God is shown to be gracious by forgiveness, then why should people not simply keep on sinning so that God can show us ever more of God’s wonderful grace and forgiveness?” Paul asks the question but immediately addresses it. His answer is “by no means” for “if we are baptized in Christ we have been pronounced cleansed and ‘buried’ with Christ just as we come out of the water as if resurrected with Christ.

The Old Testament is not to be discarded nor are principled implications of acts. Ethics, morality, and law; all still exist. It is just that they can’t save us. We already are saved. We just need to embrace it or rather He who brings it.

Law gives context to grace and grace fulfills the law. Without law, grace isn’t grace from anything. Without Grace, the law can only condemn. The Old Testament Law served a point. It told us that we are guilty of wrong things. But Grace takes that all away. But while we might be “free from the law” that doesn’t mean Christians can do whatever they want.

Moreover, as followers of Jesus, we are still meant to reflect the divine image. We are meant to be as the story of Genesis’ creation tells us, reflections of the true ruler of all things. We are meant to serve as God would over the world we inherited. And as the active body of Christ in the world today, we are still meant, not just to go to church but to Be the church. We cannot just come and worship and leave. Worship is deeper than that. And as my old article title from when I wrote for the Record states, “What about the other 6 days? Being a Christian is not a one-hour-a-week commitment. Our workplaces are also His realm.

While it’s true that our deeds cannot save us and take us to heaven, deeds do still need to reflect a spirit of thanksgiving, for our salvation. WHAT WE DO MATTERS.

Being, as some say, “saved” is about knowing God’s grace. But being a Christ follower is deeper yet.

The problem (or perhaps the opportunity) we face in Edmonton and indeed in Canada is that it’s a largely secular culture.

It is certainly true that if you drive through Abbotsford or Oklahoma you will find a church full of people on every corner. And that’s very 1958 (the height of “church attendance” in the Presbyterian Church in Canada) – the time when my former congregation in Regina built an education wing and a full court gymnasium for the 805 children registered for Sunday School.

Christians today often lament the loss of Christendom when Christianity was an accepted part of Canadian culture. We look around at a non-Christian world and wonder how we’re supposed to live out as lives devoted to Jesus in this context. But really, was John’s community any different? We are simply closer to the original context of the Bible now than we were 10 years ago.

John writes, “No one has ever seen God” (by which he means THE FATHER) “but if we love one another,”, then he continues, “God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us.”

Several years ago, I heard this story about a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. And to them in their tiny piano world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. At first, the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was Someone/Something who made the beautiful music — though invisible to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see.

Then one day a daring mouse climbed up part of the piano to the highest position and then the little mouse returned very thoughtfully. See, the little mouse had found how the music was made. He saw science. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths and width which trembled and vibrated; each making a sound of its own. They must revise all their old beliefs: only the most conservative could any longer believe in the Great Unseen Player.

Later, another explorer carried the explanation further. This mouse too traveled the furthest realms of the piano world. Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires – they made the sounds by striking the wires. This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. After some time, the Great Unseen Player came to be thought of as something of a myth. But the great pianist continued to play anyway, and the beautiful music continued to fill their tiny world with wonder, nevertheless. (The Mice in the Piano Blue 117)

We live in a world that largely believes it’s eliminated the need for the Great Unseen Player (or as Tillich might say, “the great Ground of all being”). No one has seen the God, is not the calling card of the skeptic. And fair enough so. For as the scripture says, “for God is spirit”.

In the context of the early Church both John and Jesus argued that the Father could be seen, just in a unique way.

In the book of John, Jesus’ disciple Philip asks him a very blunt question any regular BC or Alberta or Ontario person might ask about God. He demands of Jesus, “Show us the Father”; to which Jesus responds, “Phillip, how can you ask me to show you the Father, if you have seen me, you have seen the father.”

Now I hope I’m not speaking too much out of turn here but if I’m being honest, I bet that answer didn’t really and fully satisfy Philip. In hindsight, I get it and he probably did too but it’s not exactly what he asked for.

 

I believe what Jesus said to be true, but I also know that even today people want to see God. And I also know that offering up anything other than exactly what is expected falls on deaf ears. It’s that way for the average person and sometimes it’s that way for us too.

John writes, “But if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us.”

Further, he writes to say that by this love for one another we, “testify that the father has sent his son into the world for its salvation.”

The point here is that Christ makes the Father visible, and we are supposed to make Christ visible. But do we even see Christ?

This certainly apocryphal tale was told long ago and is fairly well known.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_drowning_man)
One year there was a terrible flood that deluged a small Midwestern town located in a valley between two rivers. Both rivers had overflowed their banks and the rains continued to fall day and night. There was no relief in sight as the town slowly but surely was being flooded. Everyone was evacuated, except for one old man who refused to leave his house—which would soon become completely submerged.

“I have faith that God will save me,” the old man shouted at everyone who implored him to leave and flee to higher ground. The man believed in the power of prayer, and he trusted that God would somehow save him.

As the water covered the roads, making them impassable for the average car, a man in a very large four-wheel-drive truck stopped at the old man’s house and banged on the door. “Hurry,” he cried out. “Come with me and I’ll drive you to safety! You haven’t much time!” But the old man continued to pray. Hands folded… He would not leave his house.

Within hours, the water had risen several feet, completely flooding his home. The rain continued. The old man climbed up on the kitchen table and continued to pray. As the water was lapping at his heels, a man in a rowboat paddled up to the old man’s kitchen window and shouted, “Sir, get in my boat! I’ll take you to safety!”

“No,” the old man shouted back. “God will deliver me from this flood!”

The water got deeper and soon the old man had no choice but to climb up on his roof. The torrential rains persisted. While he was praying, he heard the chop-chop-chop of a helicopter in the sky. He looked up and saw the helicopter hovering over his house. A ladder had been lowered for him to climb.

“Go away,” yelled the man at the helicopter. “You will blow me off my roof! God is going to save me! You go save someone else. Find someone of no faith!”

The helicopter couldn’t wait forever, so it left the old man on his rooftop, still praying. Eventually, the water engulfed the house and the old man perished in the flood.

When the old man arrived at the gates of heaven, he asked immediately if he could talk with the Big Guy in Charge. Soon he stood before the throne of grace.

He was in awe, and he could not help but fall to his knees. But he also couldn’t contain his mouth and he blurted out loudly “Oh Lord, I prayed earnestly for the rains to stop and for your deliverance from the

But you left me there to drown. Why!

“My child,” God said, “I heard your prayers even before I sent the rain. That’s why 3 years ago I nudged Mr. Daniels to buy that silly oversized off-road truck he kept on the clean streets. I came for you in a four-wheel-drive, and you sent me away. I heard your prayer before the rain began. That’s why I got Denise to teach her husband to row a boat last year. He needed exercise, she needed the quiet, they needed the calm. And so, I came in a rowboat, and you waved me on. And finally, you should understand that I heard your cry before you were born. And not just you. I instilled in that retired helicopter pilot you glimpsed a great compassion and love for flight before you moved into that house down the street. Later I even came in a helicopter and dangled a ladder right before your eyes. The question is why did I not save you? The true question is, why did you not recognize me… when I came to save you?

While we may not always realize it, and while we may refuse to see God in certain people, God is here working in the lives of people all around us. In the lives of devoted and faithful Christians, Christ is showing us amazing miracles each day and showing his face in the lives of everyday people just like us… if only we take the time to recognize Him. (Help is on the Way Blue 84)

One of my all-time favourite quotes comes from Presbyterian minister and all-around wonderful person Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

Fred once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” When people ask where God is (be it in ancient Greece or Present-day Alberta), that’s the answer to where God is. In a time of crisis or a school shooting or a natural disaster I always think back to that statement.

If you want to know where God is when a school shooting takes place… “look for the helpers”. God is clearly at work in the helpers. And when we look back on life we do see those “footsteps in the sand” and “where God moved” before. And that’s not just from afar. We see it most clearly in our own lives – where God moved.

Many see no evidence. But I do. Do you?

Do you believe in the Great Piano Player? Is it just some strings out there that came from nothing: some hammers with nothing behind them? Are there no keys at work?

Have you “seen” the son, and so know the previously unknown player?

It’s not exactly the world’s greatest story but it does make an important point and so I’ll tell it.

Once upon a time, a little candle stood in a room filled with other candles, most of them much larger and much more beautiful than she was. Some were ornate, and some were rather simple, like herself. Some were white, some were blue, some were pink, and some were green. The little candle had no idea why she was there, and the other candles made her feel rather small and insignificant by comparison.

When the sun went down and the room began to get dark, she noticed a large figure, walking toward her with a ball of fire on a stick. She suddenly realized that the stick was getting closer to her, and the figure was a very large man. He was becoming clearer and clearer.

When the man backed away, the stick of fire was gone but the room filled with light and revealed the very clear face of the large man. She wondered where this light came from since the glowing stick was gone. And to her delight, she realized that the light now came from herself.

Then the large man struck another fire stick and, one by one, lit the other candles in the room. Each one gave out the same light that she did, each one coming from the same source.

During the next few hours, she noticed that, slowly, her wax began to flow. She was getting smaller and smaller. The little candle became aware that she would soon run out of wax altogether and she would no longer be. With this realization came a sense of why she had been created in the first place. “Perhaps my purpose here,” she thought, “is to give out light until I die.” And that’s exactly what she did.

Have you “seen the father”? Have your friends? Have the people down the street? If they see Jesus in you do they see the Father?

God created you to produce light in an often very dark world. Like that little candle, we can all produce the same amount of light, no matter how small we are or what color we might be or how old or young. Jesus Christ is the true source of the light of the World. Christ is the match that lights the many flames. And if we let him light the flames within us, we too can produce great light and share the face of the Large Man with those around us. (The Littlest Candle, Green 43)

The church is not a building. Church is, can do, and means nothing without every one of you. You are the church called into being by the Father and through the Son.

May you know the Great Unseen Player revealed in Jesus Christ.

May you see not just the strings and hammers but all the beauty that fills our tiny world – and the One behind its intricate designs.

May you recognize Him when He appears to hold a door for you, or carry a bag for you, or donate blood for you, or share a smile with you.

May others get a glimpse of Him because of you!

And may you recognize the light he lit inside of you and reflect that out for all the world to see.

It is by grace you have been saved. But… still… our deeds matter. And besides, nobody wants to be like Dan. Dan’s the worst. Amen.

Song: Lord of all power (626)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves (partially re-constructed from the ZOOM transcript)

God of all creation, we praise you. We give you thanks. For all of the experiences that we have, glimpsing your glory and love.

We thank you for the many resources and gifts that we have and for the opportunities to share those gifts with others.

Bless our offerings that we make this week. So that everything we give will grow love in this world.

And help others to see you through us.

Lord, today we also pray especially for Kara and for Sylvia.and for those close friends and family as they struggle through a difficult time.

We also pray for Saima who has lost 3 different uncles in the last 14 months. For a family that must be suffering greatly. And for the kids that are left behind. We also pray for her and the others like her.

And we pray for all people who have lost someone and haven’t been able to see them first to say goodbye. Amen.

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: I come with joy (530)

The Lord’s Prayer (469)

Communion Prayer

Loving God, through your goodness we have this bread and wine to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made.

May we know your presence in the sharing of this bread, so that we may know your touch in all bread, all matter.

We celebrate the life that Jesus has shared among his community through the centuries, and shares with us now.

Made one in Christ, and one with each other, we offer these gifts and with them ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Amen.

L: The Lord be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: Lift up your hearts.
P: We lift them to the Lord.
L: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
P: It is right to give our thanks and praise.

We offer you praise, dear God, and hearts lifted high, for in the communion of your love Christ comes close to us and we come close to Christ.

Therefore with the whole realm of nature around us, with earth, sea, and sky, we sing to you.

With the angels of light who envelop us, with all the saints before and beside us, with brothers and sisters, east and west, we sing to you.

And with our loved ones, separate from us now, who yet in this mystery are close to us, we join in the song of your unending greatness:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is our brother Jesus, who walks with us the road of our world’s suffering,

and who is known to us in the breaking of bread.

Hear us, O Christ, and breathe your Spirit upon us, and upon this bread and wine.

May they become for us your body, vibrant with your life, healing, renewing, and make us whole.

And as the bread and wine which we now eat and drink are changed into us, may we be changed again into you, bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, loving and caring in the world. Amen.

Offering

On the night of his arrest Jesus took bread and having blessed it he broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying,

This is my body, given for you.

In the same way he took wine and having given thanks for it, he poured it out and gave the cup to his disciples, saying,

This cup is the new relationship with God, sealed with my blood.

He whose table was open to all is now present in this bread.

He whose word welcomed friend and stranger offers friendship through this cup.

With people everywhere we affirm God’s goodness at the heart of humanity, planted more deeply than all that is wrong.

The gifts of God for the people of God …

Thanks be to God.

Sharing of the bread and wine

Song: One bread, one body (540)

The prayer after Communion

Living God, in this sacrament we have shared in your eternal kingdom. May we who taste this mystery forever serve you in faith, hope, and love. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Hymn: Shout for joy! (557)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Go out in the strength and wisdom of God accompanied by the Holy Spirit willing and empowered to reveal the face of God wherever you go… and may the blessing of God, Creator, Redeemer, and holy Spirit be yours in all you are and all you do.

Response: The Blessing

Music postlude

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The Communion liturgy is based on the liturgies of the PCC’s 1991 Book of Common Worship. 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’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material 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

Aeroplanes and Happy Meals

Worship on Lent 2
10:00 am       25 February 2024
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Rom Rhoad
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: On this second Sunday of Lent, we hear Jesus teaching about the suffering and rejection that he would endure on his way to the cross.
P: Like Peter, we resist this teaching. We prefer an easier way without struggle and suffering.
L: But Jesus does not hold back. He tells us that to become his followers we need to deny ourselves and take up our cross.
P: May God help us as we learn more of what it means to be friends and followers of Jesus.

Opening praise: Lord, I need you

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 life 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: Send me, Jesus / Thuma Mina

Assurance of God’s love

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, Jesus Loves us. Thanks be to God.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: Jesus loves me (373)

Story

Do you like to play board games? Some of the most popular board games are Checkers, Chess, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and Clue just to name a few. One of the most popular board games of all time is called “The Game of Life.” It was first introduced in 1860. Wow! That’s more than 150 years ago!

The “Game of Life” is played very much like real life. At the beginning of the game, each player must choose what path he or she is going to take in their journey through life. They choose whether they are going to go to college or go out and get a job. As the game goes on, each player spins the wheel and moves his car the number of spaces on which the spinner stops. The space where your car lands gives you directions on what to do. On some spaces, you MUST follow the directions. On other spaces you only have to follow the directions if you want to. Just as in real life, you have many choices along the way, but what happens to you in the “Game of Life” depends on the choices you make. At the end of the game, the player with the most money wins.

Is that true in real life? Do you think that when life is over, the one with the most money wins? Today we will see what Jesus had to say about that.

In our Bible reading today, Jesus was teaching his followers about life. He said to them, “If you want to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, you will save it. After all, what good is it if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your own soul?”

Some people live as if the most important thing in life is getting more stuff: big houses, fancy cars, and pretty clothes. Others live as if the most important thing in life is following Jesus and serving him. How do they do that? By loving other people and doing good things for them. When Jesus lived on earth, everything he did was for others. If we follow his example, he promised that we will be the winners in “The Game of Life.”

How about you? Do you want to be a winner in the “Game of Life?” Then stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about others.

Prayer

Dear Father, we want to follow the example that Jesus set. We want to give up our selfish ways and give our lives in love and service to others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

 

Transition music

Song: This is my Father’s world (328)

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: Romans 4:13-25 and Mark 8:31-38

Response: Jesus, remember me

Message: Aeroplanes and Happy Meals

Near the beginning of Mark’s gospel, Jesus reveals to his very disappointed disciples, that His life and His way are not going to be all puppy dogs and sunshine. He takes his closest friends aside and tells them that he will not be overthrowing the rulers of Rome and setting himself up as King. Instead, he tells them, that the people in power are going to take him and torture him and kill him.

His friends aren’t particularly happy about this idea as one may expect. And Peter, who’s sort of the “right-hand man” and probably expecting a cushy new job at the palace, actually takes Jesus off to the side and essentially tells Jesus he’d better knock off the bleak stuff and get back to the happy stuff the crowd likes.

Jesus responds like we might expect him to. Here Jesus says to Peter, “Get back behind me Satanous” (Satan). Or another way to put it might be “Get back in line Satanous” meaning literally – my adversary. One translator puts it this way, “You are not supposed to be my adversary. You’re supposed to be my student. Get back to class”.

At this point Jesus calls the crowd back to him and puts a twist on two popular sayings of the Rabbis of his time.

The first was this: “If you want to be my disciples you must take up my Yoke and Follow me.” Here Jesus puts a dark twist on it saying instead, “Whoever wants to be my disciples must take up your cross and follow me.” In other words, it won’t just be hard following my way; it may just be fatal.

Many years ago, I was on more than one committee of the national church. For several years I also served on the Board of Presbyterian College and Montreal School of Theology at McGill. At this point, I was flying to Montreal five times a year and to Toronto twice a year.

I should say that flights don’t bother me (I sort of like flying) but I would never make a very good pilot. I previously studied to be an arson investigator. I have logic and writing skills sure – But Math… Physics… Not my thing.

Anyway… as I understand it, if you were inside the cockpit of an airplane just before liftoff, you would hear the copilot or captain call out, “V1 say again V1,” (which means – the “point of no return”).

As the airplane accelerates toward the end of the runway, the pilot has to decide if the plane is moving fast enough for a safe takeoff. There is all kinds of math involved in this. Anyway, the pilot holds the throttle tight as the plane approaches the V1 speed so that the takeoff can be aborted if something goes wrong. But after V1, the plane must take off. It doesn’t matter if you’ve accidentally run someone over; it doesn’t matter if you just got struck by lightning. Nothing matters. It’s the point of no return. You can’t stop without crashing.

Christians also have a “V1” commitment. (HT ILL. 1001, 79) Once we’ve chosen to follow Him there’s really no going back. And it won’t always be fun.

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciples must take up your cross and follow me”.

The crowd, that had gathered heard. The 77 followers heard, the inner circle of the 12 that would become apostles heard, the yet more inner circle of his three closest three friends Peter James and John heard. Jesus’ closest friend John heard. They all heard it. Everybody hears it. “Following me” might not just be gain, it might also mean loss.

I bet they didn’t want to hear that. I bet you don’t wanna hear that. I don’t wanna hear that.

Following Jesus might mean giving something up. Or more to the point – it always means that!

When we take our kids to the shrine of the Golden Arches, they always lust for the meal that comes with a cheap little prize. It’s that solemn combination, christened in a moment of marketing-genius: that is the Happy Meal. You’re not just buying fries, McNuggets, and a dinosaur stamp; you’re buying happiness. Their advertisements have convinced most children and countless others that they have a little McDonald-Happy-Meal-shaped vacuum in their little souls.

I used to attempt to buy off the kids sometimes. I tell them to order only the main items of food and I’d give them a dollar to buy a little toy on their own. But the cry goes up to the heavens like the smoke of the ancient altar, “I want a Happy Meal.” All over the restaurant, people crane their necks to look at the tight-fisted, penny-pinching cheapskate-of-a-father who would dare deny his dear children that afore-mentioned Meal-of-Great-Joy.

The problem with the Happy Meal is of course, that the “happy” wears off.

You ever wondered why Ronald McDonald wears that huge grin? Twenty billion Happy Meals are sold each year, that’s why. More than anything, Happy Meals brings happiness to McDonald’s bottom line.

The crazy thing is… When we get older, we don’t get any smarter; our happy meals just get bigger, shinier or more expensive.

We are constantly filling our lives with things that don’t matter thinking that we can be happy or that we’ll be worthwhile if we can just get the right stuff.

But what if we were actually called to give up all that stuff? What if true happiness and True Life for that matter comes not in collecting things but rather in giving them up? Maybe, maybe it’s not just stuff we can give but ourselves too?

It’s at this point that Jesus gets to the second one of those Rabbinic Quotes quite common at the time. What people were used to hearing was this: “Everyone who preserves one thing from the Torah preserves his life, and everyone who loses one thing from the Torah will lose his life.” The Apostle John will use this quote later in his book of Revelation. But here again, Jesus puts a little dark interpolatory twist on it saying, “The Son of Man must suffer. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Interestingly, Jesus replaces the “Word of God”- THE Torah, with Himself). And then Jesus adds, “For what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

In 2006 the stock market bragged that it had 150 “Socially responsible” mutual funds that invested in companies meeting the ethical standards of fund managers. But a new investment fund quietly surfaced around that same time, which didn’t garner a lot of widespread attention. It was called “the Vice Fund”.

According to its prospectus, the Vice Fund “favours products and services often considered socially irresponsible.” These include companies linked to alcohol, military weapons contracts, pornography, tobacco, and gambling”. The Vice Fund and another fund called the “Gaming and Casino Fund,” exploit the darker side of human nature, which is a “great investment even during times of economic downturn.” Dan Ahrens, former manager of the Vice Fund and founder of the Gaming and Casino fund, believes that bad habits don’t change, even in bad economies. “People still indulge in vices. Regardless of what happens in the stock market, they will continue to smoke, drink and gamble.”

Investors in the Vice Fund have profited. For a time, the fund returned beyond the 20% mark. (HT Ill., 490).

People made money. They made “easy money” and they never had to give anything up for it. They counted on others not to give up things.

But does that sound like the kind of life Christ called his disciples to?

To follow Jesus, that is, to be his disciple, one must (in Christ’s own words) “deny oneself” and “take up” the cross. In other words, the true disciple of Jesus must be prepared to take the hard road, the slow path, and the rocky ground. And though it’s unlikely to happen to us; like it is today in many other parts of the world… it is to share Jesus’ own gruesome fate if necessary. Jesus might be speaking figuratively to us. But that’s not what his friends and followers first heard. They heard about the cross.

That’s a hard calling. No doubt about it. That’s a very hard calling.

Carrying a cross is not easy… and guess what? – it’s not supposed to be.

A German Christian writer in the 13th century by the name of Thomas à Kempis said this: “Jesus now has many lovers of his heavenly kingdom, but very few bearers of his cross.”

At the end of this periscope, Jesus throws out a fastball that must have absolutely shocked his first listeners. First, he says that they should be willing (Note: not that they have to take up a cross – but are to be willing to) take up a cross and be killed for his sake (many of whom were). But then he adds this, “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.”

Wow! Ouch!

He’s saying, ‘Even when they come to kill you… don’t deny me.’

Lucky for us, we don’t live in Yemen or North Korea, Samolis or Sudan. We are blessed not to be found in a land where to be Christian means to flee your homeland, family and more. Most of us in this room will never be forced to face a choice between denying our faith and facing a firing squad. But… make… no… mistake… someone is doing that right this very second.

But don’t worry, there are other crosses for us to carry and other ways of denying Christ.

Curtis Eastman is a Youth Director and author. In his book titled Raising Heaven-Bound Kids in a Hell-Bent World, Curtis writes,

As a youth pastor, I’d just entered a convenience store with a teenager named Jeff to pay for fuel for the church van. It was apparent that the woman behind the counter had been crying. I looked at her and said the first thing that came to mind, ‘I bet you’ve heard this before ma’am but it looks like hearing it again couldn’t possibly hurt. I believe that Jesus loves you. Are you going to be Okay?’

Jeff, the young man; turned so red he looked purple and then he bolted out the door and dove into the van as if he were trying to evade a firefight in an action movie.

The clerk and I spoke for a few minutes and when I got back to the van Jeff angrily blurted out ‘Don’t ever do that to me again!’ ‘I didn’t do anything to you’ I responded with a deep look of confusion on my face. ‘Yes you did’ said Jeff, ‘you embarrassed me and you embarrassed her and you embarrassed yourself too.’

‘Jeff,’ I said, ‘She told me what was wrong and I told her that was a hard situation to be in. Then she asked me if I was religious and when I said “yes”. She asked me if I would pray for her. So I prayed for her / with her. She took my phone number and she said she wanted to visit the church next Sunday.’ ‘Jeff, I’m not embarrassed, and she’s not embarrassed. Jeff… you are the only one embarrassed.’ (HT Ill., 65)

“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.”

No we won’t face a death sentence in Canada for denying Jesus or being too uncomfortable to pray in a crowded restaurant.

Never be ashamed of your faith in Jesus. And if the only trouble we get in is the stink eye from that waiter that’s a cross we should be happy with. We should be proud of it.

We all have a cross (or more than one) to carry. And while you are carrying it please remember this… Whatever happy meal looks particularly enticing today will ultimately not satisfy. We are called not just to joy but also to do something totally contrary to what comes naturally… to deny ourselves. We are called to live lives of giving, to invest in His Kingdom not the Vice Fund. And though you may never have to be nailed to that cross… Never, Ever be ashamed to carry it. Aft4er all, Jesus carried his cross for us. Amen.

Song: Brother, Sister, let me serve you (635: vss. 1-5)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

We pause now loving God, to remember with gratitude:

  • a way our life has been enriched by our faith journey (silence)
  • to remember with gratitude: a moment of serving or following you that makes us smile (silence)
  • to remember with gratitude: a particular moment when your support was clear (silence)
  • to remember with gratitude: a time when we have overcome a particular temptation with your help (silence)
  • to remember, with gratitude, the people you have given us to love

(silence)

For these signs that you love us we are grateful.  For the hope they give us as we continue to mature as your holy people together thank you.  For the greatness you have yet to create within us, we thank you.

In hope we pray for continued healing and recreation of the world that is our home.

We ask that your grace continue to work within us. May our love become stronger and braver.  May our wisdom become sharper.  May we be able to bring the light and love of your Kingdom to our relationships and our work.

Lord be with your people and with your church.

We offer our prayers through Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Song: Guide me, O thou great Redeemer (651)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Now to him who is able to strengthen you, according to the gospel and the preaching of Christ Jesus; according to the revelation and the mystery kept secret from long ago and now disclosed; may He be with you today and forever, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Response: Amen, we praise your name, O Lord

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 specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material 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.

 

Morse Code Calling

Worship on the First Sunday of Lent
10:00 am       18 February 2024
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalists: Lynn Vaughan & Linda F-B
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

Call to Worship
L: On this first Sunday of Lent, we find Jesus in the wilderness, facing temptation. And forty days in the wilderness is a long time.
P: We too experience wilderness times of temptation, challenge and change.
L: Yet even in the wilderness and among the wild beasts, the angels cared for Jesus.
P: As we make our way in the wilderness, we hear the good news that we are not alone – that God has come near in Christ.

Opening praise: I give You my heart

Prayers of approach and confession

God of Great Wisdom, You are beyond our imagining, beyond our control, and sometimes beyond our comfort zone.

You amaze us.

You have given us more than we could ever earn or deserve, and in response, we are not only grateful but determined to be faithful stewards.

Receive our worship this day, O God.

Speak to us in the sounds and silence of this hour and amaze us once again in your presence.

God of Goodness,

You share your abundance with us and shower us with gifts.

But we confess that we have squandered those gifts.

We have wasted knowledge, friendship, beauty and wealth; we have squandered our time and energy, sometimes even our trust and love.

Forgive our foolishness.

Have mercy on us.

Teach us new ways of living out your love in the world today and every day, with the help of Jesus Christ, our Friend and Saviour. Amen.

Response: I waited, I waited on You, Lord

Assurance of God’s grace

While it is true that we have sinned and squandered God’s gifts at times, it is a greater truth that we are forgiven through God’s love in Jesus Christ.
To all who humbly seek the mercy of God I say,
In Jesus Christ our sin is forgiven.
Be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: My Lighthouse

Story

Q: What does the word Lent mean?

A: 40

Q: What is Lent?

A: 40 days of Jesus in the desert

Q:  Why is Lent?

A: Because Jesus wandered in the desert and was tempted for 40 days, we do the same for the 40 days (with Sundays breaks) in preparation for Easter.

Q: How do we celebrate Lent?

A: To “celebrate” Lent may Christians give up some type or food in solidarity with Jesus. It’s about denying what you want and living with what you need.

Q: What do you do for Lent?

A: Glad you asked – In the past I have done both successfully and not so successfully 40 days without solid food which I’ve done a few times. But not this year for health reasons. Maddie often gives up Chocolate.

Q: What can you do for Lent.

A: Well, it’s not too late. You can start today, and it doesn’t have to be something you subtract from your life.

Instead of giving up an item of food I’d like you to try something new for Lent.

When you get home have your parents write the words

For Lent I Give Up and they decide on one thing.

  • Maybe For Lent I Give Up grumbling or complaining
  • Maybe for Lent I Give Up 15 minutes of sleep by getting up early to help make breakfast or pack your lunch.
  • Maybe get up 10 minutes early to read a few pages of the proverbs or ask to help with leftover dishes.
  • Maybe for the month you give up being first in line for something or give up getting mad. Give up saying saying “I’ll do that later” and just do things.
  • Maybe you decide you are going to give up name calling or pushing or caring who plays with what toy or a half hour of your screen time.

The point is that you can still participate in Lent. You can give something up. And your parents can help. Just decide together and who knows, they might just join you.

Prayer

God as we go through Lent, help us to prepare for Easter help us to understand what it is to not have. Help us to understand the difference between want and need. And God help us to do something with our time to focus on the world around us that is much bigger than just ourselves.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: Forty days and forty nights (197)

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: Psalm 25:1-10 and I Samuel 3:1-20

Response: Jesus, remember me

Message: Morse Code Calling

Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including (as one might expect) the sound of the telegraph clicking away in the background. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed the numerous job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.

The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally, the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves about how rude and how arrogant the young man was that he thought he could just jump to the front of the line.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.”

The other applicants began grumbling at each other, and finally one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. That’s not fair!”

But then they got their answer. The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph in my office has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. He did. “The job is his.”

1 Samuel 3:1-20

During the time of the Judges when Israel was partially ruled by the Philistines and as the Bible says, “everyone did only what was right in their own eyes.” Or as Samuel himself puts it, “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.”

Anyway, a woman named Hannah wanted desperately to have a child but couldn’t conceive. She went to the Temple to pray. As the book of Samuel says, she prayed silently. At the time it was unheard of to pray silently. If you were going to pray then you might as well do it out loud because God might choose to work through people around you that might hear. And so when the High Priest Eli first entered the Temple, he thought Hannah was stooped over drunk. But when they spoke, he was moved by her tears and promised her that God is just and would surely grant her prayers.

As it happens this came true. Hannah had a son and named him Samuel. In devotion and in thanksgiving Hannah brought her son Samuel to the temple when he was only a few years old to train with Eli to be a Nazirite. Eventually, the boy Samuel would anoint a new king for the people and remove them from the rule of the Philistines. Samuels’s anointed was King David.

But before all that happened Samuel was just a boy. In fact, in this story, Samuel is probably between the ages of 6-9 and certainly no more than 12 years old. He’s not some great man or powerful figure. He is just little Sammy, a kid who lives with the high priest and sleeps in a corner on the floor.

By this time Eli had become quite a bit older. He tired easily and his eyes were beginning to fail him. Well, one fateful night old Eli does what a lot of us do… he goes to lie down in his favourite easy chair for a sleep. And as he slips off into a world of dreams the voice of God calls out to little Sammy in the other room “Samuel, Samuel”.

Like a good little boy, Samuel gets up and goes to see the only other person in the Temple. He goes to Eli. “Here I am, you called me,” he says. Eli has been awakened. “I didn’t call you” and so Sam goes back to lie down again. But again the Lord calls “Samuel, Samuel” and again little Sammy runs to Eli’s side. “Here I am, you called me”. By this time Eli must be more than a little annoyed. No one likes being awakened just after you’ve fallen asleep.

A lot of us have been there. The story might as well have little Sammy say, “Can I get a drink of water” or “I forgot to brush my teeth” or “Can I sleep with you?”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” And like a good boy, Sam does just as he is told.

But again God calls out to Samuel, “Samuel, Samuel” and once more, little Sammy runs to Eli. “Here I am, you called me”.

And suddenly Eli is hit with the sudden realization that however unlikely and strange it may sound. God must be speaking to Samuel.

So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So our bible says that little Sam “went and lay down in his place.”

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

It’s interesting for me that it takes the High Priest’s uncomfortable awakenings before he realizes what’s going on. I mean, he’s supposed to be the guy in the know. He’s the High Priest. But then again people probably think that about me sometimes too. “He’s the minister.” But it’s hard to hear God sometimes. Sometimes it’s the furthest thing from your mind.

Now remember that in reference to this time in Israel’s history, the Bible says, “Everyone did only what was right in their own eyes.” Or, as Samuel himself puts it, “In those days the word of the LORD was rare.” I find those two verses so pointed. More to the point, I wonder if they’re not deeply connected. I wonder if what this means is that “everyone did only what was right in their own eyes” and because of that “the word of the LORD was rare”. I wonder if, in fact, the word of the LORD wasn’t so much rare, as it was rarely heard.

I read this story a few months back.

A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, the Native American said to his friend, “I hear a cricket.”

At first, the friend thought he was crazy. “You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!”

“No, I’m sure of it,” the Native man said. “I heard a cricket.”
Then he put his hand to his ear carefully listening for another moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he picked up a small grey cricket to show his friend. “That’s incredible,” said his friend. “You must have super-human ears!”

“No,” said the man. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for. I’ll show you.”

Then the Native American man reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. With the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that bounced along the pavement was worth picking up. “It all depends on what you’re listening for.”

Our lives are hectic. The seasons seem to go by so quickly and it’s easy, hey it’s just plain human to get caught up in the allure of busy-ness. Our society teaches us that it’s noble to be overworked. That someone must be really important if they always have to be on the move, always filling every possible second with more, more, more.

I think perhaps in our time, it’s not so much that the word of the Lord is rare. I tend to think that God is often shouting at us and we’re just too busy to notice.

May you go to the Temple to pray. May you know the Shepherd when he calls. May you know the voice of God in your life. May you know what you’re listening for and listen for the right things. May you hear Him call you from His office even if those around you refuse to hear. And when he calls, may you answer… just like little Sammy: “Here I am, you called me.” Amen.

Song: Take my life and let it be consecrated (637)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

The season of Lent takes us on a journey with Jesus to prepare us for the day he gave his life for our sake. Consider what he has given as you offer your gifts to God in his name.

God of courage and compassion, we bring our gifts to you in Jesus’ name. This year the world badly needs both his courage and compassion. Bless our gifts so that they bring hope to others in these challenging times. Amen.

As we enter this holy season, Lord God, we give you thanks for your promise of new life that sustains us, encouraging us when news is difficult.

We thank you

  • For tiny signs of hope, even in a bleak landscape or on challenging days;
  • For glimpses of beauty in a smile or a ray of sunshine;
  • For the people who support others in times of difficulty;
  • For the chance to recover from mistakes, to begin again.

Keep silent for 10 seconds.

Lord of life, sustain us with your presence and give us patience and perseverance as we await the future with you. Trusting your promise of new life, it is with hope that we pray:

  • For anyone we have hurt by harsh words or careless deeds;
  • [Silence]
  • For those known to us who are carrying heavy burdens but keep relatively close to the heart with all news;
  • [Silence]
  • For those we work with, those who need rest, those who need to find themselves again, those who used to seek you but currently feel lost, those who know you but need support and those who don’t know you and don’t search for you;
  • [Silence]
  • For all who are seeking employment or worry about their businesses as well as all those who feel unfulfilled by what they do to support themselves and those they love;
  • [Silence]
  • For troubled places in our world and those who work for reconciliation and understanding;
  • [Silence]
  • For churches seeking new ways to minister in changing times;
  • [Silence]
  • For all those on our hearts this day;
  • [Silence]

Renew our hope for the future you will bring us and our desire to live out the courage and compassion of Christ our Lord. Amen.

Song: Oh sing to your God (453)

Sending out with God’s blessing

“May the eternal God bless us and keep us, guard our bodies, save our souls, direct our thoughts, and bring us safe to the heavenly country, our eternal home, where Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ever reign, one God forever and ever.  Amen.”    –Sarum Breviary

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 specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material 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.

 

 

Neo is the one

Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am       11 February 2024     Transfiguration Sunday
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalists: Peter & Cheryl Sheridan. Sabir Aziz, Marilyn Nebat, Corrie Magdalene      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: All God’s children gather gladly
P: We gather to worship the Lord
L: We come from many times and places
P: We come together as one family
L: We gather with our joys and sorrows
P: We gather to share and grow
L: All God’s children gather gladly
P: We gather to worship the Lord

Opening praise: Here I am to worship

Prayers of approach and confession

Almighty God. You are the source of all good things. On this day where we see Jesus transfigured on a mountain we are remained of your glory and majesty. As we enter this sanctuary to draw upon your strength and wisdom we recall that you are greater than any mountain and higher than any hill. You uphold our lives; you hear our prayers, you know our needs before we even ask. We come to you today to praise your name and to open our hearts to receive your many blessings.

Most merciful God, we confess the things we try to hide from you; the things we try to hide from others; and the things we try to hide from ourselves. We confess that there are times when we fail to love you with our whole heart. There are times when we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves and we have not heard the cry of the needy. We pray for your mercy, dear God. Forgive us for what we have been and help us to become what you would want us to be so that we might serve you in newness of life to the glory of your name. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Response: Glory, glory, hallelujah

Assurance of God’s grace

In 1 John 1:9, we are reminded that “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Through Christ, God has promised the forgiveness of sins to all who turn to him in faith. In His name we are pardoned and set free for all our sins for which we give glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen

Ordination and Induction as Elders

Renita MacCallum, Romulus Rhoad, Shirley Simpson, and Lynn Vaughan

Narration of Steps

Following two weeks notice and a ballot of qualified individuals 4 have been chosen as elders. I invite the elders-elect to come forward.

Moderator, on behalf of the Session and the people of this congregation, I present to you Lynn Vaughan and Romulus Rhoad, Shirley Simpson, and Renita MacCallum in order to proceed to ordination and induction as is the will of the congregation.

Listen to what The Presbyterian Church in Canada believes concerning the ministry of ruling elders.

Preamble

All ministries of the Church proceed from and are sustained by the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is our Prophet, Priest and King, the Minister of the covenant of grace.  By the operation of God’s Word and Spirit, the Church is gathered, equipped, and sent out to participate in this ministry.  All members of the Church are called to share the Gospel with the world, and to offer to the Father the worship and service that are due to the Creator from the creation, through Christ, the only Mediator, until he comes again.  That the Church may be continually renewed and nurtured for ministry, Christ furnishes the Church with pastors and teachers.  He requires and enables the Church to discern and to confirm by ordination those whom he calls to this pastoral and teaching office.  The standards of his Church he entrusts in a special degree of responsibility to their care.

The Form of Presbyterial Church Government of the Westminster Assembly reminds us that Christ has furnished some in the Church, beside the Ministers of the Word, with gifts for government and with commission to execute the same, when called thereunto, who are to join with the Minister in the government of the church, which officers reformed churches commonly call Elders.

The Presbyterian Church in Canada is bound only to Jesus Christ, the Church’s King and Head.  The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as the written Word of God, testifying to Christ the living Word, are the canon of all doctrine, by which Christ rules our faith and life.  We acknowledge our historic continuity with the Holy Catholic Church and our doctrinal heritage in the ecumenical creeds, and the confessions of the Reformation.  Our subordinate standards are the Westminster Confession of Faith as adopted in 1875 and 1889, the Declaration of Faith Concerning Church and Nation of 1954, Living Faith (Foi Vivant) as adopted in 1998, and such doctrine as the Church, in obedience to Scripture and under the promised guidance of the Holy Spirit, may yet confess in the Church’s continuing function of reformulating the faith. (1971 Revised, 1992, 1998)

Ordination Vows

Romulus Rhoad, Shirley Simpson, and Renita MacCallum – that your faith in God and your integrity of purpose may be declared before God and all people, you are required in terms of this preamble to answer the questions appointed for all who would enter the office of the Ruling Elder.

  1. Do you believe in God the Father, made known in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom the Holy Spirit witnesses in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments?
  2. Do you accept the subordinate standards of this Church, promising to uphold its doctrine under the continual illumination and correction of the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures and to be guided thereby in fostering Christian belief, worship and service among the people?
  3. Do you accept the government of this Church by sessions, presbyteries, synods, and general assemblies, and do you promise to share in and submit yourself to all lawful oversight therein, and to follow no divisive course, but to seek the peace and unity of Christ among your people and throughout the Holy Catholic Church?
  4. In accepting the office of Elder, do you promise to perform your duties in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, striving to build up his Church and to strengthen its mission in the world?

May the Lord bless you and give you grace to keep these vows.

Induction Vows

Lynn Vaughan being previously ordained to this office and now inducted once again into active service and that your faith in God and your integrity of purpose may be declared before God and all people, you are required in terms of this preamble to answer the questions appointed for all who would enter the office of the Ruling Elder.

  1. Do you believe in God the Father, made known in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom the Holy Spirit witnesses in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments?
  2. Do you accept the subordinate standards of this Church, promising to uphold its doctrine under the continual illumination and correction of the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures and to be guided thereby in fostering Christian belief, worship and service among the people?
  3. Do you accept the government of this Church by sessions, presbyteries, synods, and general assemblies, and do you promise to share in and submit yourself to all lawful oversight therein, and to follow no divisive course, but to seek the peace and unity of Christ among your people and throughout the Holy Catholic Church?
  4. In accepting the office of Elder, do you promise to perform your duties in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, striving to build up his Church and to strengthen its mission in the world?

May the Lord bless you and give you grace to keep these vows.

Congregational Response

The ordination of elders in a congregation, if their leadership and ministry are to be fruitful, involves responsibilities for both the elders and the people of the church.  These questions therefore I direct to you, the members and adherents of this congregation, so that you may renew your obligations to this shared ministry.

  1. Do you confess your faith in God as creator and ruler of the world, in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, and in the Holy Spirit as your inspiration and strength?
  2. Do you receive Lynn Vaughan and Romulus Rhoad, Shirley Simpson, and Renita MacCallum as elders, chosen by God through the voice of this congregation to lead you in the way of Christ?
  3. Do you agree to encourage them, to respect their decisions as they guide you, serving Jesus Christ, who alone is head of the church?

May the Lord bless you and give you grace to keep these promises.   Amen.

Ordination Prayer

We praise and glorify you, Lord God Almighty, for you have created us and called us to yourself; you have redeemed us in Jesus Christ your Son; you sustain our lives and our works through the presence and power of your Holy Spirit.

Almighty God: in every age you have chosen servants to speak your word and lead your people. We thank you for these Your Children, whom you have called to serve you as ruling elders. By the power of your Spirit, develop in them the gifts of ministry; may they have the same mind that was in Christ, serving you in the world as long as they shall live; through Jesus Christ the Lord.     Amen.

Declaration

In the name of Jesus Christ, the only king and head of the church, and by the authority invested in me by the Presbytery, I now declare you to have been ordained, inducted, and admitted as a ruling elder within Dayspring Presbyterian Church, Edmonton Alberta, and admit you to the Session of this congregation.  Whatever you do, in word or action, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God through him.     Amen.

Right Hand of Fellowship: the Minister and other members of the Session

Incidental Music

Musical Offering: Taili & Ram Rhoad (piano & cornet): Ode to Joy (Beethoven)

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: My lighthouse

Story: That which is small can become large (object lesson based on the parables of the mustard seed and yeast). The kingdom of God starts with tiny little grains like these tiny little pieces of yeast.

Prayer: Our God, we thank you that Big things come from small things because we’re little still, but we know that big things await and that the kingdom of God starts with little, little grains.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

 

Transition music

Song: We have come at Christ’s own bidding (187)

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: 2 Cor 4:3-6 & Mark 9:2-9

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message: Neo is the one

I loved the original Matrix movie. I also love the not so hidden messages. Neo is the hero and Neo is the One backwards. He is grabbed up in something new by this John the Baptist type who believes Neo is The One. Neo serves on a ship called the Nebuchadnezzar (a biblical king) which is stamped with a commemorative launch date on the kitchen wall but also including a bible verse from the book of Matthew. His love interested in named Trinity, he works miracles and comes back from the dead through a combination of choice, predestination, love and faith.

Neo is a post platonic figure. He is a dash Jesus and a pinch of Buddah. In later years the writer/directors claimed it was also about gender. But one thing was true from that first film. Neo was The One and he had a lot of difficulties because of it.

Transfiguration Sunday is one of those odd days in the church calendar. We sort of have some idea what it’s about, we kind of have a handle on it, but every year, we pretty much all show up here wondering the same thing. “What’s that story about again?”

Transfiguration Sunday is something we celebrate every year and then quickly forget about. And there’s a reason for that. It’s confusing. It’s a wired story. God interrupts someone.

There are some weird stories in the Bible; trust me, I know. Did you know Samson ties three hundred foxes’ tails together in pairs of two and then lights their tails on fire and sends them into a village to burn it down? Yeah. That’s in the Bible. You didn’t learn that one in Sunday School, did you? Did you know the prophet Elisha curses a pair of teenagers for calling him a “bald head,” and a bear comes out of the woods and kills them? Yep… that’s in the Bible. Did you know in order to pay their taxes, Jesus has Peter go fishing so he can catch a fish that miraculously has a four-drachma coin in its mouth? That’s right. It’s in there. The truth is there are some stories in the bible that are just a little odd. That’s okay. And I believe as the Bible affirms, “all scripture is God-breathed and useful”. Some people try to explain them away. Our prescribed lectionary readings won’t ever include them, but they won’t go away. And that doesn’t bother me. We don’t have to understand them all. I’m at peace with that.

This Transfiguration Sunday is one of those days where we actually do read an odd story. Though, this is mainly because people don’t generally stop to think about how odd it is. First off, the story is very similar to Moses’ story at Mt. Sinai. The six days of waiting, the cloud of God’s presence, the glory glowing all around him, the voice of God speaks, the descent from the mountain and instructions to build the Tabernacle or Tent just like Peter wants to make. This doesn’t happen like this by accident. Clearly, for Mark and for God, there’s more to this story than meets the eye. But what is it all about?

Mark writes, “After six days, Jesus took Peter, James and John (his three best friends) with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone.

There, he (Jesus) was transfigured before them.

In Luke 9:29 it says, “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” Matthew describes the transformation as “his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light.” (Matt. 17:2). It’s hard for us to imagine. Scripture says it was a good experience, but it was also frightening to them. Mark’s gospel comes off as slightly funny to me. He writes, “His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.” Sorry, that makes me laugh. What a strange way to put it: “The best Laundromat in the world couldn’t get your clothes that white.” It’s like Jesus is a laundry detergent commercial. What’s odd about the story here is that it didn’t even make sense to the disciples. They had no idea what was happening. You can practically see the frustration on Mark’s face as he attempts to describe the indescribable.

I read this a while back and put it in a little box just for today:

A brilliant magician was performing on an ocean liner. But every time he did a trick, the Captain’s parrot would yell, “It’s a trick. He’s a phony. That’s not magic.” He cut a woman in half. Tah-dah! “It’s a trick. He’s a phony. That’s not magic.” He made a girl levitate. Tah-dah! “It’s a trick. He’s a phony. That’s not magic.” He made a rabbit disappear. Tah-dah! “It’s a trick. He’s a phony. That’s not magic.” The magician hated that parrot. Then, one evening during a massive storm, the ship was toppled over and sank. The parrot and the magician ended up in the same lifeboat. For several days, they just sat at opposite ends of the lifeboat and glared at each other, neither saying a word to the other. Finally, on day 5, the parrot spoke up, “OK, I give up. What did you do with the ship?”

Sometimes, the things we see, the kinds of things God can do, just don’t make sense to us. They seem so odd because “His ways are not our ways.” They seem weird because, quite frankly, they’re bigger than us. We just can’t explain them.

The disciples didn’t know what to make of the transfiguration either. It was real, but at that point, they hadn’t quite figured it out.

What they saw on that night would later help them to understand what happened at the resurrection–Matthew, in chapter 28:3, remembers this event on the mountain with Jesus, and he uses the exact same words to describe the resurrected Christ, “His clothes were DAZZLING White.” He appeared once more in glory. But when it happened… they had no idea.

Whatever it was precisely that they experienced, we’ll never really know because even they have trouble explaining it. But what we do know is that God gave them an extraordinary gift. God gave them a glimpse into Christ’s true glory.

Even though we live on the other side of the resurrection, we don’t often look at Jesus in all of His glory. Too often, we see Jesus as only our loving and tender babe in a manger. These days, we like our Jesus meek and mild (not overturning the tables of the money changers, chasing people with a whip, or dripping in blood like he’s described in the book of Revelation). The weird and the odd tend to get under our skin like a sliver. We like to explain them away or ignore them altogether. But I like the odd. It’s the weird and the odd that shows us God in all of his glory. It lets us know that a first-century Jewish guy with dirty feet is also the God of the universe who hung the very stars in their place.

But that’s not the end of the “odd” in this story. Like I said, it’s a weird story. Mark continues, “And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.” Now, Moses and Elijah represent the past. They are what people expected. They were expected to return at the appointed time of the Messiah. Their appearance showed Jesus as the fulfillment of both the Old Testament law (Moses) and the prophetic promises of a coming Messiah (Elijah). It showed the disciples definitively that Jesus was (without a doubt) the one they were waiting on.

Just then, Peter, being his usual self, is so excited he just blurts out the first thing that comes to mind. Like a giddy little schoolboy, he says, “Hey guys, let’s have a sleepover.” Peter is so excited to see the heroes of the past that he forgets he’s been hanging out with the son of God for three years now. He says, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three tabernacles —one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Now, this has always confused me. This is just more of the weird in the story. Just how does Peter know what these guys look like? Elijah would have been over 500 years old, and Moses would have been dead for over 1,500. Could they have been two guys named Moshe and Eliyahu? I doubt it. None of the gospel writers tell it that way. They’re pretty straightforward: Somehow, Peter suddenly realized these two men were Moses and Elijah –the two greatest heroes of the Hebrew faith: The Law and the Prophets right there in front of them, and they are the real deal. This is The Moshe and The Eliyahu.

And so he does what all of us would do. He tries to set up camp.

But that’s not what we need to do. Catherine Booth (mother of the Salvation Army) once wrote, “If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present.” Peter was focused too much on the past and the present and not enough on the future. In doing so, he missed that Jesus was the most important guy there, and he was standing right in front of him all along. Peter was confused.

Mark beats us over the head with this. He writes, “He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.But God knew what to say.

The transfiguration is an odd story. It’s one of those strange ones. And some of the things in it are just going to have to remain strange. They’re going to have to stay a mystery to us. But in the end, the transfiguration is about Christ’s divine glory being revealed.

Like he often does, Peter just kind of blurts out the first thing that comes to mind. But we all do what Peter did. We all get excited about our faith and want to pitch a tent and live in that moment forever.  The Church is continually trying to plant itself down like Peter.

But God simply will not allow for this to happen. The voice of God interrupts Peter. “While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; Listen to him!

Like Peter, we have all been in that place. We’ve all been excited about our faith and our traditions, and we’ve all tried to plant roots. As Christians, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of our faith, in the way we do our service, the kinds of music we use or the specific traditions we have, and these things are essential. But here in the Transfiguration, God reminds us all that, amidst all of it, Jesus is standing right in front of our faces and what we are called to do above all else… is listen to Him.

May you come to enjoy those parts of God’s word that seem odd.

May you delve into those things that seem hard to understand and riddled with mystery?

May you struggle and grow as you study your Bible.

And may God interrupt us all, any time we take our eyes off of his son. -Amen

Song: We are marching / Siyahamba

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

Our Creator and our God, we come to you now with humble hearts full of thanksgiving. We are grateful for all your blessings and your gifts. We give you thanks for those mountaintop experiences in life. Those special moments that happen in our lives can never be repeated, yet they remain with us for years to come. We thank you for the reminder that you transform our lives and make all things new. We are forever grateful for the many ways that you continue to show your love for each of us and for all people; you teach us to love one another, and you teach us to love all creation.

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 which we receive through the resurrection. We bring to you in prayer our concerns for others. We pray for those who are ill and for those who mourn; for those people who are lonely, and people who are hungry and homeless; for those who are afraid, or puzzled or anxious.

Lord we also pray for those who suffer.

Personal Dayspring Prayers: Lord we bring before you those known and unknown and ask for grace. But above all may your will be done, here and everywhere, now and always and may we come to understand it in some small way even when it is difficult to take. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Song: Give me oil in my lamp (655)

Sending out with God’s blessing

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord;

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.

Response: Sing Amen

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’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).
The Elder Ordination /Induction liturgy is from the 1991 Book of Common Worship of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material 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.

My fellow Ducks

Worship on the Lord’s Day
04 February 2024    10:00 am     PWS&D Sunday
The Sacrament of Holy Communion
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev. Brad Childs
Music Director: Binu Kapadia           Vocalists: Sam & Ann May 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: We see light, hope, and joy;
P: We bring heart, soul, mind, and body;
L: We share blessings and fears;
P: We bring doubts that are real and faith that triumphs over them.
L: With all that we are, and all that we have, let us worship God: Father, Saviour, Companion. Amen.

PWS&D (Presbyterian World Service) is not just a charity; it’s a beacon of hope, a testament to the power of compassion and collective action. Rooted in the Presbyterian faith, our mission transcends boundaries, embracing people of all ages and faiths in a shared commitment to combat poverty, injustice, and oppression worldwide.

We are more than an organization; we are a force for sustainable transformation, partnering with churches and organizations to promote compassion, justice, and genuine partnership. Our approach is holistic, encompassing development, emergency relief, and refugee activities that not only alleviate immediate needs but also empower communities to stand on their own.

Inspired by the teachings of Jesus, we believe in doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. Our work is a symphony of love and action, echoing across diverse regions:

Through education, income generation, and women’s empowerment, we are crafting success stories that resonate through communities, fostering resilience and sustainable growth in **Guatemala:**.

In the face of malnutrition and climate change, we stand with communities, offering not just aid but awareness, education, and resources for a future of sustainable development in **Haiti:**.

In **Nicaragua:** Our focus on adolescents in urban markets is a commitment to holistic growth, where families are engaged in nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, and rights, ensuring a brighter future for all.

In **Ghana:** Advocating for human rights, we empower marginalized women and those with disabilities, imparting essential skills for a life of dignity and fulfillment.

Addressing hunger, climate change, and health issues, our programs go beyond immediate relief, addressing root causes through agricultural training, healthcare, and unwavering community support in **Malawi:**.

Despite challenges, our commitment to empowering vulnerable communities, especially women and girls, shines through, providing essential services, education, and economic opportunities within **Afghanistan:**.

In **India and Nepal:** Partnering with CMAI and INF, we become the agents of change, supporting hospitals, promoting health education, and empowering communities affected by tuberculosis and leprosy.

In the face of climate change impacts, our project in Sindh province **Pakistan:** is a testament to resilience, offering humanitarian assistance, early recovery, and development to support food-insecure populations.

In 2022, the heartwarming success of PWS&D, fueled by $3.7 million in YOUR contributions, resulted in $8.2 million worth of development and relief programs. This success story, made possible by the generous donations from the people of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, speaks to the transformative power of love in action. Together, we are not just changing lives; we are weaving a tapestry of hope that stretches across the globe. Thank you to anyone who has ever even considered making an additional donation to PWS&D.

Opening praise: Love the Lord you God

Prayers of adoration and confession

Gracious Creator, the Source of all life, in your infinite wisdom, all creatures find connection, and every aspect of creation is redeemed and made new. Each day, you unveil yourself to us, revealing your glory in the beauty of the heavens, expressing your generosity through the bounty of the earth, and infusing our bodies and minds with your energy. As we delight in all that we have seen, heard, and known, we gather in worship before you – one God, encompassing Creator, Christ, and Spirit, eternally holy and loving.

In our busyness, we confess our shortcomings to you, O Source of love and mercy. At times, the rush of our lives causes us to overlook those we hold dear. Sometimes, we allow ourselves to become so occupied that we neglect essential commitments and make excuses. In these moments, we may even forsake the quiet spaces where we find you. Forgive us, and in your mercy, calm our minds and hearts. Grant us the clarity to set priorities that honor both those we love and, most importantly, you.

O Lord our God, Creator and Ruler of the universe, your greatness surpasses all things. Clothed in honor and majesty, wrapped in light as a garment, you stretch out the heavens like a tent. Your chambers rest on the waters; clouds become your chariot, and the wind carries you on wings. The winds themselves become your messengers, while fire and flame serve as your ministers. We lift our voices in praise, giving glory, honor, and eternal praise for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Messiah, and the Holy Spirit, our Helper and Comforter.

Compassionate and merciful God, who sent Jesus Christ to free us from injustices and inequalities, we confess our failure to love our neighbors as ourselves. We have, at times, looked down on others due to their race, class, or color. Forgive us for these transgressions, and in your grace, mold within us new hearts and minds. Grant us enlarged visions to recognize your image in everyone, irrespective of background, race, or ethnicity. Help us love as Jesus loved and foster communities where humanity flourishes in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Response: I will trust in the Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Beloved friends, immerse yourself in the profound truth echoing through the ages: while we were still sinners, Christ, the embodiment of divine love, sacrificed for us. In Christ, forgiveness flows abundantly — let us not only accept this boundless grace but become vessels of it, extending the transformative power of forgiveness to others. Thanks be to God for this incomprehensible gift.

We listen for the voice of God

Hymn: The Church is wherever God’s people are praising (484)

Scripture readings (NRSV): Isaiah 40:21-31 & I Cor 9:16-23

Response: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

Message: My fellow Ducks

The book of Isaiah is divided into two parts. The first 39 chapters deal with impending judgment, and the second part deals with forgiveness and deliverance.

There is a distinctly different tone and message beginning here in chapter 40. The first 39 chapters had warned of the destruction of the nation and the deportment of the people to foreign lands. The people had abandoned their God and he would now abandon them (at least, that’s what they thought). The first part of the book is heavy and plodding, but the second part beginning with this chapter read today, the language soars with majestic eloquence and wondrous hope.  Because of this and a few other reasons many scholars believe the book of Isaiah to originally have been two or perhaps three books written by a school of prophets comprised of Isaiah and his students. In the first part of Isaiah, disaster had not yet come to the nation. People had grown tired of Isaiah’s warnings and his constant talk of their need of repentance and a return to God. No one listened.

But when the second half of Isaiah was written it was written to the people of Israel and Judah in exile — taken away to Babylon by its massive army. Jerusalem and its beautiful temple were lying in ruins, and the people were in captivity. In captivity they wouldn’t need to hear about impending judgment: they would be living it. By chapter 40 Isaiah is largely done talking about judgement. If you read his book, you know he’s rude, he’s blunt and he uses very colourful language. But one thing he doesn’t really do is gloat. By chapter 39, everything Isaiah said would happen – did. But you’ll never stubble across him saying “I told you so”. What the people needed to hear… was grace. They needed to know that they weren’t alone, that God was still with them, that He wasn’t done with them yet. They just needed to be patient.

When I was 13 years old, Dennis Byrd was an up and coming defensive superstar for the New York Jets. He was expected to help turn the team around. He was supposed to be a game changer. But on November 29, 1992 when the Jets were playing the Kansas City Chiefs, Byrd was about to sack the quarterback when he collided with his own teammate unexpectedly. His spinal cord snapped.

Dennis Byrd awoke in the middle of the night at Lenox Hospital in a halo brace, not knowing where he was, why he couldn’t move, or what had happened. Suddenly lying on that hard bed in that hospital room with the smell of disinfectant all around, he went from dreaming of making the Pro Bowl and living in a mansion; to just hoping he might be able to hold his daughter again some day.

From a worldly perspective Byrd was no longer able to reach his potential. He’d peaked. He’d done all he was ever going to do. As the world watched and listened, the very recently injured Byrd gave an interview stating, “Jesus Christ is my source of comfort in this tragedy. For now, we just have to wait and see what God will do”. The Doctors told Byrd the bad news. He would never walk again. (355 1001 ill).

For Dennis it wasn’t that simple. His career, his body, his life as he knew it was over. But he just knew God wasn’t done with him yet. He just said, “For now we just have to wait and see what God will do”. But he didn’t wait alone. Bryd had a lot of encouragement from his friends and family. Sometimes life is hard and we all need that push.

It’s hard to take that help sometimes. For some people it doesn’t matter how much people encourage them. They know things are bad and that’s that. And you could tell them everything that is good and true in this world and it would just never sink in.

Tony Campolo tells this great story about churches. He said: Every Sunday the ducks in a certain town waddle out of their houses down Main Street to the duck church. They waddle into the sanctuary and squat in their proper duck pews. The duck choir waddles in and takes its place, and the duck minister comes forward and opens the duck Bible. He reads to them, ‘Ducks! God has given you wings! With wings you can fly! With wings you can mount up and soar! No walls can confine you! No fences can hold you! You have wings. God has given you wings and you can fly!’ And at that all the ducks shout ‘amen’. And then they all waddle home again.”

Some people just cannot seem to believe the truth … and even if they did believe it, they still wouldn’t reach out and claim it. Others just need a little nudge.

A young boy once asked his father (an ex paratrooper) how many times he had jumped out of the plane while he was in the military. The father said, “None.” “What do you mean, ‘none,’ ” said the son. “I thought you were a paratrooper?” “I was” said the father, “but I never jumped. Not even once. I never had the option. I was pushed several times… but I never jumped.” That is what the United States military calls giving paratroopers “encouragement”.

The truth is that the world is often a cold dark place that breaks your back and shatters your spirit. The truth is that the first 39 chapters of Isaiah are not just something of the past but often something of the present. But the truth is also that we have a chapter 40 too. We are not at all a people without hope. And sometimes we all just need that little push to see it.

Sometimes we all just need a little shove in the right direction.

In life you can be that duck with wings to fly that screams “amen” and then waddles home with wings unused, or you can take that little push and use it.

Back in Babylon the Israelites had lost everything they had ever known. It was all gone. Imagine a foreign country coming in a taking over Canada and demolishing all your homes and tarring down every place of worship and then shipping the few survivors of the lost war off to every far corner of the world. That’s what happened to them.

Those in exile lost hope, and because of that they lost their strength and desire to go on. They just fell into their own sadness. Even the youngest among them were beaten down, weary and defeated. There was no joy left. And it’s understandable. They had legitimate reasons for their sorrows and their worries, just as we do. But God was not done with them yet, and he sent Isaiah to remind them of that (and through them – us as well).

He said, Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. (not just Israel)

He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

but those who wait in the LORD will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31)

The Hebrew word used here is Qavah (Ka-Vah) and it means “to wait” or “to look for” or “to wait on” or “to expect” or “to hope for”. See it doesn’t just mean to wait. It means “to anticipate” and to “hope”. It means to be prepared… not because things can change, but because things will change.

In verse 31 it say, but those who Ka-Vah in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. Those who “hope.” Those who anticipate his action! Those who trust in Him, will be renewed in strength!

I don’t know what’s going on in everyone lives. But I know I have had some of those moments in life that felt like the first 39 chapters in Isaiah. We all have those “39-chapter” moments when the writing is on the wall and things are at the bleakest. I don’t know all the details of what’s happening in your life. But I’m going to go out on a limb though and say not every single second of it is going perfectly.

Pain and frustrations happen. Life is hard. For some it is seemingly unbearably hard.

The Israelites had been massacred. Their homes were torn down and burnt, their Temple was turned to rubble. It was horrible.

But in the end, they would go home. They would not be forgotten. They would rebuild the Temple; they would build new homes, start new families. They would start again. They would flourish because they would hope in the one worth hoping in. They just needed a little encouragement first. They needed someone to remind them about their hope and where it truly lay. They needed someone to remind them… to say “put your hope [not in the things you want to happen] but in the Lord” [who ultimately controls all things that can happen]. They needed someone to say “we just have to wait and see what God will do” with the expectation that God does move.

The doctors told Byrd that he would never walk again. But on opening day of the 1993 football season, less than a year after his injury, Byrd walked to the middle of the Meadowlands Stadium without assistance; to the cheers of 75,000 fans.

A miracle happened. He waited on the Lord and God worked an absolute miracle. But it’s not what you might think. I think … the miracle in Byrd’s life is not that he broke his spine and walked again. It’s not that he defied all odds.  It’s not that he got his life back. It’s not even that he got what he wanted. For me, the miracle – the true; undeniable miracle is clear… it’s that the injury that destroyed Byrd’s career didn’t destroy his hope, his patience or his faith. Why? Because his hope was not in the power of his back or in his ability to move his legs. He put his hope in the God heaven and earth; waited on the Lord.  (355 1001 ill).

Maybe God will renew your strength the other side of paradise. Maybe God will renew your strength tomorrow. But first you need to put your trust in Him.

Whatever you do today my fellow ducks, no matter what you face in life or death… do not ever waddle home from this place. With your faith firmly fixed on Him, wait on the Lord to renew your strength, stretch your wings and soar just like you are supposed to. – Amen.

Song: Seek ye first the kingdom of God )625)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

Eternal and ever-present God; You are beyond the confines of time and place….yet intimately involved in and concerned for all that happens.

We have become increasingly aware of the generous blessings given to us. Hear our prayers of thanksgiving: For the gift of time, and the possibilities of each new day;  For the give and take of a relationship that revealed to us our hurtful behavior; the slow recovery that taught us trust; the death that led us to appreciate life: the challenge that affirmed our beliefs: the habit overcome that led us to new self-respect; the answer to the question that changed our lives; the friend who will never stop praying for us. Lord thank you. For good time and bad, for hard times and easy. Thank you in all we do and all we have for every good gift comes from you.

As others have prayed for us, we offer to You our prayers for others; for those having difficulty choosing the right path; for those dominated by guilt or shame; for those lost in sin; for those overcoming grief; for those suffering from pain or loneliness or alienation, or the darkness of depression; for all those experiencing illness and disease.

Remind us Lord. You are not just the God of Earth Your are the God of Heaven and You are not just the God of Heaven, You are the God of Earth.

For all who trust and wait and hope in you. You will heal the broken hearted and you will bind all wounds.

Lord we also pray for those who are doing well. May your blessing continue to show through their lives. May all of us, this day and every day, be shaped by Your love; may our hearts be sensitive to Your spirit’s leading in this time and place; and may we keep our eyes on Your son Jesus our Savior.

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

Invitation

This communion is not just a ritual; it is a celebration of our shared journey, a moment where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. As we break bread together and share the cup, let us reflect on the profound mystery of God’s love and the unifying power of Christ’s sacrifice.

Whether you have been with us for years or are joining our community for the first time, your presence enriches the tapestry of our fellowship. Bring your joys, your burdens, and your gratitude to the table, for here, in communion, we find solace, strength, and a deep connection with our Lord.

Song: Let us break bread together (548)

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.

Communion Prayer

Gracious and loving God, as we gather around this table of communion, we come with humble hearts and grateful spirits. We thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice binds us together in the bonds of love.

In partaking of this bread and cup, may we be reminded of the depth of your grace and the unity we share as one body in Christ. May this sacred act nourish our souls and strengthen our commitment to love and serve one another.

As we remember the words spoken at that last supper, we echo them now in our hearts: “Take, eat; this is my body. Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the new covenant.”

May this communion deepen our connection with you and with each other. In partaking, may we experience the transformative power of your love and leave this table renewed, forgiven, and filled with your peace.

We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Sharing of the bread and wine

Song: The Communion Song (Bj Collins – used with permission)

Take Eat, The Body of Christ given for You

Take Drink, The Blood of Christ given for You.

The prayer after Communion

Gracious and merciful God, we bow in gratitude for the sacred moments we’ve shared at this communion table. As the taste of bread and cup lingers on our lips, may the essence of your love linger in our hearts.

In partaking of this holy feast, we have glimpsed the profound mystery of your presence. May this experience resonate within us, shaping our actions, thoughts, and interactions in the days ahead.

As we depart from this sacred space, may the communion we’ve shared be a catalyst for compassion, understanding, and unity. Let the spirit of Christ, whose sacrifice we’ve remembered, guide us in extending grace to others and living out the principles of love and forgiveness.

Empower us to be living testimonies of your transformative grace, echoing the profound truth that we are one family bound by the threads of faith and love. In the name of Jesus Christ, who unites us, we pray. Amen.

Hymn: Lord, the light of your love is shining (376)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Go now to will and to work for God’s purposes.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
Be filled with the same love and look to the interests of others.
With reverence for God, work out your salvation.

Response: The Blessing

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 specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material 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.

Princess Alice

Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am       28 January 2024
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Linda F-B
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: God’s praise endures forever, and eternity meets us in fleeting moments.
P: God’s praise endures forever, and glory bursts into ordinary activities.
L: God’s praise endures forever, and faith is steadfast in the midst of change and challenge.
P: Let us worship the Eternal God who calls us to this time and place.

Opening praise: Forever God is faithful

Prayers of approach and confession

Loving God, you are the wisdom behind all mystery, the glory hidden in all that makes us wonder, the strength in all that nourishes.

With eyes open and spirits alert, we experience your glory around us.

Scattered throughout the earth, smoldering deep inside us and radiating in acts of love, sparks of your glory reside.

We feel joy each time we encounter you.

So, we gather to express our praise and gratitude for all the good we have experienced, knowing it all comes from your hand, for you are Creator, Christ and Spirit, Ever Three and Ever One.

Gracious God, we confess there are many times we forget you.

We focus on what troubles us and ignore the help you offer.

We seek wisdom and meaning in the wrong places.

In thoughtless moments, we harm the earth and each another.

Forgive us.

Remind us to live each day focused on your purposes revealed in Christ who loves us. Amen.

Response: We come to ask your Forgiveness, O Lord

Assurance of God’s grace: Hear the good news: Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life has gone. New life has begun. Thanks be to God that we can make a new start, forgiven and set free.

Music Offering: Pie Jesus (Binu & Linda)

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: Jesus, we are gathered (514)

Story: Is it True or False

Quiz

  1. A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building will embed itself in the pavement. (F)
  2. The bubbles in bubble wrap contain a toxic gas. (F)
  3. You can send a coconut through the mail without wrapping it. (T)
  4. If the entire population of all of China jumped up and down at the same time, the Earth’s orbit would be disturbed. (F)
  5. Welding while wearing contact lenses will cause the lenses to stick to your eyeballs, semi permanently. (F)
  6. Unless marked “dairy,” all fast-food shakes are not made of milk but contain a cardarine gel. (T)
  7. Albert Einstein did badly in math. F)
  8. A woman adopted a tiny dog in Tijuana, Mexico later to discover it was a very large sewer rat, true or false. (F)
  9. Some Oregon highway workers blew up a whale and showered the town with whale blubber in order to get rid of it. (T)
  10. A mime, my once had a heart attack in France in the middle of his act. The audience thought it was a part of the act did nothing and the mime died. (F)
  11. Bubble gum is made with spider eggs. (F)
  12. You can tell if a big operation is underway at the White House by the number of pizza deliveries there are. (F)
  13. Twice in the state of Kansas in the last 200 years it has rained small frogs. (According to the Harvard professor who wrote Do Fish Drink Water? and the Library of Congress in the US, what happens is that small tornadoes can pick up small ponds. They can move them to a certain level of the atmosphere. Larger winds can then pick them up and carry them a distance. So, they’ll carry these light little tadpoles or small frogs for 100 miles and then drop them and all of a sudden it looks like it’s raining frogs.) (T)

Truth: “The word of the LORD is perfect, reviving our souls.” (Psalm 19:7)

The testimony of the Lord is sure and it is trustworthy. We get confused a lot of the times and we may not even always understand what’s in the Bible or read it correctly. But I dare you to say otherwise. It is trustworthy and true. And it will keep you on a good path all through life.

Is that True or False? … It’s True.

Prayer: Help us accept the Truth and reject lies and give us the ability to know the difference.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: To show by touch and word (763)

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: Mark 1:21-28 and Mark 1:40-45

Response: Jesus, remember me

Message: Princess Alice

Princess Alice (Alice Maud Mary – the second daughter of Queen Victoria) was born on April 25th, 1843. Considering her family, of course, it would be silly to assume that she had a normal childhood, but from the stories that have survived of her, she is often described as being the kindest and most sensitive of all the children in the family. By 19, little Alice had grown up and married Prince Louis. After leaving Buckingham Palace, the two took up residence in Hesse and started their own family. The couple had seven children. Alice was happy, but her compassionate nature led her down a new path beyond homemaking, and by her 33rd birthday, she had become exceedingly concerned about the nursing conditions of wounded soldiers.

Seeking to make a difference in people’s lives, Alice founded The Women’s Union to train nurses to care for the needs of injured soldiers. But one year later, tragedy struck. Alice’s husband, Prince Louis, and all but one of their seven children fell ill with Black Diphtheria. In only a few days, the deadly disease tightened its grip on the life of the youngest child, Marie. Diphtheria closed her throat (literally taking her breath away). The tiny girl died. For a time, Alice attempted to keep Marie’s death a secret from the other sick children. But after much questioning from the youngest boy, Ernest, Alice eventually broke down and told her son that his sister had died from the very same illness that had struck his father, himself and all but one of his sisters.

Being a nurse herself, Alice knew full well the massive rate of infection caused by diphtheria. But at a time when many communities lost up to 80% of their children from the disease, the tears of her son compelled her to cast off all sense of self-concern. When young Earnest cried out to his mother for a hug, Alice grasped the boy tightly, kissing his cheerless face until his cries subsided.

No amount of knowledge, no amount of doctors and no amount of warnings would keep her from her child in need. The boy needed to feel his mother’s gentle touch, and Alice had to touch him.

Three days later, on December 14th, 1878, the 35-year-old princess died. Earnest, as well as all of the other children except for Marie, survived. It was later recorded that Alice never regretted reaching out to touch her son. How could she have done any different?

In reading our Bibles, we sometimes forget that they had many writers and compilers and that they span a huge amount of time and locations. Often, we think rather naively as we read it (and take for granted that it is plain and simple). While a word may appear 50 times in the bible, the meaning of that word might be slightly different in each occurrence. Our language (just as the language used in the bible) always evolves with our culture and understanding.

Simply because Moses is said to have contracted leprosy around 1,400 BC, this does not mean that this is the same thing that the 10 lepers in Luke are said to have. In reality, the word leprosy in the bible meant very different things at very different times as people slowly began to see other types of skin diseases and determine which were serious and which were not. As such, the word “leprosy” in the bible can include a massive variety of skin and flesh diseases (including everything from ringworm to what modern science defines to be Hanson’s disease – the deadly form of leprosy we know today).

By the time of Jesus, however, many commentators believed that the word “leprosy” was used only in the most serious of conditions. Doctors had long since discovered the signs of more critical cases. The catholic encyclopedia tells us that leprosy (in the case of today’s reading) would most likely be “any case whereby the exposure of raw flesh spread through the body.” In other words, this is a terrible affliction. While we cannot give an exact concrete and modern medical diagnosis to the individual in Marks’s gospel, we can assume that it is horrific in nature and similar, if not precisely, to what we think of as modern leprosy.

Leprosy is a nervous system disease that causes its victim to lose all sense of touch and pain; initially, this is the case in only the fingers and toes, but then it spreads up the arms and legs. Without a sense of touch, a person eventually damages his toes, fingers, and feet. When I stub my toe, I jump back in pain, preventing further damage, but when someone with leprosy stubs their toe, they continue with full force, unaware that they have broken it or worse. If a person sawing a board cuts her hand only slightly, she will stop, but a person with leprosy will not notice until she has dismembered himself. She will knock body parts off accidentally, cut them, get infections — and not notice.

Dr Paul Brand, a Christian missionary who conducted some of the most influential research on the disease, relates his investigation of why lepers in his colony in India were missing so many fingers and toes. There were isolated incidents of these digits being knocked off or lost — but many seemed to lose them at night with no explanation for what had happened. When one of his attendants volunteered to stay up all night to observe this mystery, he found that rats were chewing off fingers and toes while the victims slept. They did not wake up; they did not feel anything.

As leprosy spreads, many lepers go blind — not because of the disease itself, but because, without feeling in their eyes, the body loses even its uncontrolled responses like blinking and finally breathing. So, as leprosy advances, the leper begins to look less and less human. No fingers. No toes. Face disappearing. Isolated from others, no one wants to draw near; no one would come even close. It is perhaps the loneliest existence a human being can suffer.

The Old Testament law required a kind of quarantine to protect the people from catching the disease. It demanded that a leprous person stay away from the temple, from the public and even from the city’s outer gate (with only a few exceptions). Leprosy causes the person to live outside the camp to be cut off from the congregation. Many times, the person would not only be evicted from their church, family and home but would have their house burned to the ground as well (in a time where no one understood just exactly how the disease spread, this was deemed the safest course of action).

Lepers could approach no one, touch no one, could barely speak with anyone but fellow lepers. By the start of the first century, some rabbis even taught that leprosy was a curse from God for heresy and said that even the shadow of a leper could make a person unclean and unfit to worship with the congregation. They were outcasts and vagrants. Between this man in Mark and the rest of the world was a six-foot chasm of contaminated space across which no person would pass. He would have no job, home, family, money, or food – no place to buy food and no friends. While his body was wasted away, he would beg for scraps at a distance, which people might throw at him or roll to him on the filthy ground. Even the most straightforward task, such as drinking water, would be challenging.

And so begins the story of the leper from our reading today. It is only a few sentences long, but it is powerful. Isolated and alone, dying and rejected by his people, this unnamed man defies all social order as he storms into the presence of Christ. No doubt, sending the crowd running in fear, casting off all doubt and rejection, this lonely and disfigured cast away came to Jesus.

No longer would he be looked down on, pitied, belittled, or talked down to. No longer would he be rejected and alone. And as he appears before Christ, he falls to his knees. And the first words to come upon his lips, the first words he can bear to speak, are not “Why me?”; they are not even “Can you heal me?”; … they are “If you are willing.”

Interestingly, this leper/this man never strayed… he didn’t burst onto the scene because he was unsure of Christ’s ability or who Jesus was. Instead, he emerges in humility and shame. And as he looks to the Christ he had heard of in anticipation, he says one critical and compelling word…“if.” Feeling the judging eyes all around him, the gazing eyes of the world upon him and seeing himself with the same loathing the world has taught him to feel (his self-worth in bankruptcy), he begs and cries out, “IF you choose to, make me clean.”

And that is when Jesus does something interesting, something unheard of, unfathomable. I look down at a man who is literally falling apart, begging on his knees. He does what no one in the world would ever do. Verse 41 says he reached out his hand and “touched” him.  Like Princess Alice, Jesus saw a child needing the most simplest form of care. No amount of knowledge, no amount of doctors and no amount of warnings or laws would keep him from this child in need. The man wanted to be clean, yes, but more than that, he needed to be treated like a human being.

When Angus Darcy first began his famous mission to street people in Inner-City Detroit, he heard a loud commotion as he walked along the wall handing out sandwiches. An intoxicated man, it seems, had intentionally broken a jar of mustard over his head, leaving him bleeding and covered in yellow. When Angus asked the man what he was doing, he screamed, “You walk around here acting as you care about us, but in six weeks, you haven’t once looked me in the eye, and you dropped that food in our hands as quickly as possible like you’re trying to keep our stink off of you… I can get food anywhere… I came here to get dignity”. Fifteen years later, both Angus and his now fully sober Director of Missions hand out sandwiches together each day, pausing to look each person in the eye and gently placing the food in their hands, utterly unafraid of touch.

May you reach out your hand to others as He has reached out and touched your lives. Amen.

Song: Jesu, Jesu, fill is with your love (229)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

Holy God, Lord of heaven and earth,
Your energy fills the cosmos and enlivens every cell of our bodies.
You are around us, within us, and beyond us.
Thank you for the simple pleasures of each day,
and for the strength to meet the challenges that arise.
When it feels like we have come to the end of our own resources,
replenish us with the energy of your Spirit
so that we know you are there for us.

In these uncertain times,
we are grateful for prayer in its many forms
which lead us to communion with you –
through word and silence, music, and movement,
feeling the Spirit’s breath within us.

Draw close to us whenever we need you,
and renew our spirits to continue serving you as best we can.

Hear us now as we pray for the earth, this precious, fragile home to all living things:
For declining species of plant and animal life;
For the earth’s climate and places with too much or too little water;
For the oceans and rainforests, the skies and the air we breathe.
Teach us how to be more faithful stewards of your earth and live more respectfully in your creation.

Hear us as we pray for the economy:
For those whose decisions shape it;
For employers and business owners;
For workers and those who cannot find work’
For all who seek economic justice, fairness and the common good,
and those who struggle to discern what this means in a complex world.

Teach us how to care for our neighbours in these days of economic uncertainty.
We pray for our own circle of family and friends.
Heal, bless, lead and encourage them.

We pray for neighbours and strangers in our community
who face struggles and sorrows we can’t even imagine.

Remind us that we belong to each other and to you and help us respond to one another with compassion and kindness.

Finally, in silence, we bring to you the cares and hopes on our minds today. [Silence]

Thank you for hearing the prayers of every heart. Amen.

Song: To God be the glory (350)

Sending out with God’s blessing
The season of Epiphany celebrates God’s light breaking into the world in Christ Jesus, and so:
May the light of the Father lead you,
the light of Christ embrace you,
and the light of the Holy Spirit enliven you
So that you know both peace and hope
this day and all eternity.

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 specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material 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.

Welcome to Dayspring

Even though some people feel comfortable about in-person participation in worship services and other activities, Dayspring will continue to livestream our services on ZOOM and make other meetings and activities (e.g. Bible study) available online.

That is, we envision an ongoing “Mixed Presence” community for our worship, faith formation activities, community service, and governance.

For access to the livestream of our Sunday Worship Services, click here.

Smelly FIshermen

Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am       21 January     2024
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Vivian Houg
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: I will give thanks with my whole heart.
P: Your work is full of honour and endures forever.
L: The works of Your hands are just.
P: Let us worship the Lord.

Opening praise: Her I am to worship

Prayers of adoration and confession

Gracious and loving God, we are drawn by your presence in this place and time of worship. You are our strong rock and our refuge. You are our hope and our salvation. All power and greatness belong to you alone. With humble and obedient hearts, we place our trust in you alone. You encircle us with your love. You bless us with your presence and surround us with your grace. We gather this day to honour your name and proclaim your greatness.

God of grace and mercy, and hear us as we confess. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, you have called us to repent of our sins. You call us to believe the good news and celebrate your kingdom’s coming. We confess that there are times when we hear Christ’s call, but we fail to respond. We say we obey you, but our actions betray us. We cling to our old ways instead of immediately dropping our nets and following Jesus. Forgive us for not listening and responding to your invitations to follow you. Forgive us for the doubts and problems we do not take to you and for not reaching out to the world’s needs with the good news of Jesus Christ. We pray all these things in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. –Amen

Response: I waited, I waited in you, Lord

Assurance of God’s love

Hear the good news: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Hear then the word of grace and the assurance of pardon: “Your sins are forgiven.”

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: My lighthouse

Story: The Lighthouse

Do you guys know that song? The original is Irish and they play a banjo in it. I love that song. Where does it come from? Do you know?

No? Does anybody?

Well, what’s the song about?

The lighthouse. Who’s the lighthouse? What does that mean?

You do know? No? Well, what is a lighthouse? I mean, it’s something that shines a light out and it gives direction and tells people where to go.

There, but also it’s the safe harbor. It actually comes from Psalm 46.

I have a version of it here. But I’m going to read this one, I think. It goes like this, and most of you will probably know some of it.

The Lord is our refuge and strength. Always ready to help us in times of trouble. So I won’t fear even if there are earthquakes that come. Or mountains crumble into the sea. Just let the oceans roar and foam, let the mountains tremble, the waters surge. The rivers flow. God Himself lives in the holy city and cannot be destroyed God protects those to the break of day even though nations are in uproar and fall and crumble. God thunders the earth. He is here and then it’s Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am God. The song My Lighthouse and the psalm are about the same thing It’s about where you turn to when there’s nowhere to turn.

And where do you turn? You follow the light to the lighthouse. Let’s say a little prayer.

Prayer

Lord, we thank you for our wonderful time together for our families and our teachers. We ask that You would help us remember that you’re the lighthouse that you’re the ever-present help.

In our times of trouble and that when the world seems to be falling apart we can still turn to you and trust.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: I rest in God alone (36)

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; Mark 1:14-20

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message: Smelly Fishermen

Before joining the Presbyterian Church in Canada, I served at Millwoods Community Church, Moravian. Although there are few Moravian churches in existence today (9, in fact, in all of Canada), they are actually the oldest living protestant denomination in the world. The Moravian Seal features a lamb encircled by a Latin phrase, “Noster Agnus Vincit; Sequamur Eum.” In English, it says, Our Lamb Has Conquered; Let Us Follow Him.

As Joseph Jay once wrote, “The church is not a sheltered sanctuary for the saints. Rather, it is a survival station for sinners.”

Once celebrated English preacher Charles Spurgeon was asked by a woman in his congregation about how one might find the “perfect church”. Reportedly, Spurgeon replied, “You will not find it, Madam, this side of heaven, and if you do find it, don’t go near it; you’ll spoil it.”

North America has become a very different place spiritually in the last few years. Most people think Christianity is an old, outdated religion.

But as it turns out, it is neither outdated nor a religion.

It’s safe to say that when most of us read words like “Christianity” or “Church,” we read “religious institution.”

Many young people these days hear “Church” and think of “organization” or “crusty,” “old,” “outdated,” or “arrogant religious institution,” and a lot of other things that come to mind as well.

For a lot of people, those words “Church” and “Christianity” scream out visions of the crusades, power or war-hungry men, inflexibility, fundamentalism, the Vatican machinery, pews, steeples, organs, praise bands, cheesy evangelists with too much makeup, or moneygrubbers with personal jets.

That is what people say is Christianity. That they define as the “Church”.

But to truly understand Christianity… to honestly know the Church, we have to go way back to the beginning to put first things first.

For starters, Jesus the Christ was not a Christian.

What’s more, Jesus never asked anyone to become a Christian, never built a steepled building, never drew up a theological statement, never personally took an offering, never wore priestly religious garments, never incorporated his faith for tax purposes… and never indented to create a new Religion (to explain one).

He called people to follow him. That’s it. That, despite its simplicity… is it. He called people to follow him.

The first two were the ones we read about this morning… two brothers, Simon and Andrew.

Regular guys. Simply fishermen. The first two Christians ever. Those brothers didn’t consider becoming Christians or adopting a new religion.

Here was this thrity-year-old man (son of a carpenter) who said “follow me”.

And they did. They believed he was something special. They believed in him. So, they followed him. Not his rules or tradition or way of doing things or even his beliefs but Him. Honestly and physically, with their hands and work and words and dust-covered soar, callused, blistered feet – They followed him.

Our heritage had begun. What was handed down to the person who shared faith with you has either a miracle of revelation (hearing about Jesus through a dream, for example) or else it’s an absolute direct line from person to person, through countless others and yet always and ultimately leading back to this one moment with these two Labradors.

In faith, these two brothers gave their lives to him, literally, putting down their family-owned fishing nets and following him. They left home, a solid family company, security, a mother and father, probably marital prospects, extended relationships, practices, and their whole lives so that they might be this one thing (His follower) more than they had been before or ever would be anything else again – the choice that defined everything forever after.

Here was the birthplace of the way of life, a reality that would change the world forever. It was on the edge of the water, with the drying catch of the day, crisping in the sun with the flies. As Is. the prophet said, “How beautiful are the feet of the one who brings peace and good news.” How true that is to a world with a sinful, sick soul and where medicine is scarce and illnesses abound.

The passing momentary fear of what we think could happen, trembling and yet, much more closely aligned with the lives His first followers lived within. In the coming weeks, there will be chances for us all to serve others. Remember that the tired and aching foot of the follower of Jesus, worn out from her work, is the apple of God’s eye.

Before hurrying on with words and centuries of theology, we should pause at the cradle of what we call the Church, which is actually a gathering of people called into a relationship with one man, struggling to care for the world like Him.

It was then and has never been more than that. Not a building, not a faith, not a just tradition… but a simple relationship between the one who loves and the one being loved.

Jesus called, “Follow me”. And people respond by dropping familiar nets and following, in faith, a sandaled Jewish man.

Two thousand years of words can do nothing to that simple fundamental reality – this is true Christianity. This is the Church.

Our beginnings lay with two blue-coloured, dirty, finger-nailed brothers who probably never quite shook the smell of fish from their skin. And if all this topples to the ground, we can still be that again, which we perhaps most are.

Those first steps, dropping nets and following Jesus, are the birth of Christianity, not choirs or praise bands, Bible studies, prayer, and it’s long before Peter will ever declare “Jesus is Lord.” But he follows, nevertheless.

Like those first few men long, long ago, to us, Jesus too said, “Follow me,” and we did. Everything else has come out of that. Some are good, some are bad, some are neither.

But it all goes back to that one moment in time (not frozen or static but living and moving just as we do).

From there, they (a gathering of people called) went about a new kind of ministry  As Jesus went about his business, people responded to him in many ways: many crowds became intrigued by him and his healing and miracles. Some became dead-set against him and his teachings. But a few, hearing something undeniable in his call, left their lives to walk with him…  to follow.

People sometimes reverently use the word “disciples.” But disciple means follower. The first were a tax collector, a revolutionary guerrilla, a kind of lawyer and a bunch of fishermen. Yet, all of them people who left their homes to walk some dust-covered streets in a small section of the Middle East all because… they believed in Him.

Those we call disciples with great admiration were nothing more or less than simple people (like us) responding to Jesus’ call. They were just as the authorities accused of being… “Untrained, ordinary men”.

At times, they followed, listened, questioned, obeyed, walked with, learned from, doubted, and yet ultimately gave their lives to and, according to tradition also, all gave their lives FOR Him as well. However, I would argue that it should be tough to differentiate between them.

If, after all, one has entirely given their life over to their God, then what possible area of life could not be changed by that?

This following of Jesus proved to be such a thrilling adventure, proved to be so worth it that the initial Jesus followers couldn’t help but tell others all about it. And it didn’t matter that they didn’t fully understand it or have all the answers to go with it.

It had been news to them (what they heard from Jesus), But once they realized just how good that good news really was, they just had to tell someone else. They had to say to others; they had to share the εὐαγγέλιον euangélion  (evangelism) good news. It spilled out from them, and they couldn’t help but do it. It was done with no malice, judgment, or contempt but because they were excited and simply because they couldn’t help but do it.

And so this first band of followers told others, and when those folks believed and followed Him, they too told others. “Follow Him,” they said.

When the small band became larger, people had to refer to them somehow.

People started calling them “the Way” because the first followers of Jesus claimed to follow The Way, The Truth and The Life. It was He they followed.

To the surprise of others, The Way was to abandon themselves to drop their literal safety nets (they used to make a living) to follow this Jesus, who they unflinchingly believed was the long-awaited Messiah their people had hoped for.

Since the Greeks translated the word Messiah as Christ, some Greeks in Antioch started calling the followers of “the way,” “Christ-ones,” or “Little Christs’” as an insult. But when followers of The Way heard this taunt, they didn’t take offence. It was, for them, an honour to be likened to Christ (even a little version of the one they followed was a term of great joy to hear). They started calling themselves that, and the name stuck.

Still, Christianity… the Church was not a set of dogmatic principles, not a life philosophy, not an outdated religious institution, just a people… a people that followed Christ.

The Greek word Ekklesia (Ek-Lay-Sea-A) appears 118 times in the New Testament in 115 different verses. We translated the word “Church”. The references range from the Church being reminded that they are built on Christ, to them being told that they are the Temple, to being asked for funds to help gatherings of Christians in other cities. But not once… not one single time out of 118 mentions does the word “Church” in the New Testament ever refer directly to a literal building or even a structure of any kind… not once.

The word Ekklesia or Church literally means “Gathered ones.” The church is and always has been a gathering of believers and nothing more. This is why our Lord himself said, “Wherever two or three gather in my name, I am there.”

For the authors of the New Testament, a Church could never be anything more than that. We are intended to be the Temple. There are no longer special Holy Places; there is instead a Holy People called to be like Him.

When Paul writes to the church (the gathering in Corinth), he writes, “The gathered ones in the province of Asia send you greetings from our group. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.” The Church isn’t the house. The Church… meets at their house. Because the Church is a collection of people trying to follow “The Way.”

Over the years, we have built great things of beauty: cathedrals and chapels, comfortable sanctuaries, liturgies and traditions, beautiful and worshipful art, music and many other great things that aid us in our worship, but these things are not themselves the church. The wood, the brick, the strings, the sounds the font – They never will be. They are expressions of The Church. The church has always been and always will be those who heard Jesus’ call and dropped our nets to Follow Him: a people.

As my friend, the Rev. Jared Miller, is fond of joking, “The church would be perfect if it weren’t for all the people.” It’s a clever take on Groucho Marc’s famous resignation from the Friers club, where he sent a wire reading, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

And they are both very suitable. The Church is the last place you find hypocrites. This is the first place you will see where everybody admits openly to being a sinner, a mistake maker and a trying to do better attitude. We are imperfect, but He is not, so we’re here. Besides, the people are the only Church we have. There is no other. Yes, that means it’s sometimes messy. But it’s always been messy. The Presbyterian Church in Canada defines the Church as “Christ together with His people.” I will be a little more forthcoming to put a bit of spin on it. I say, “The church is Christ together with his screwups.” Of course, we don’t do him justice. We are aiming at perfection. But… we try, don’t we?

When the Church first began on earth, its first Minister was being executed as a criminal; the Clerk of Session (the Great Apostle Peter) was swearing he’d never been a part of the organization. Most Session members were missing or hiding. His Treasurer had just committed suicide. The rest of the congregation just went running away. The only two people who showed up on Sunday morning were a few dear women from the church support group, covered in tears.

Are you trying to follow him but abandoning him for easy outs and self-preservation sometimes? Probably the answer is yes but. If not, you should know you may be tested in the coming weeks. Your day is coming. We all have them.

Chances to follow Him are everywhere, even if we aren’t sure how best to do it. And that means chances to miss following him also abound.

It, us, and life are messy, and the Church is imperfect because we are the Church, and let’s face it, we’re all messy sometimes. The Church isn’t perfect, and how could it be? The church is the people, and people are not perfect. Although just like Will Smith in the film I Am Legend, we might respond to such comments likewise with “Well, you know, there was once this One Guy.”

It may sound odd and sometimes hard to remember, but you did not attend church today. You have never come to church. And you never will. If you follow Jesus, then You are the church.

This week, as the days go by, remember that you are the church in all you do. As you gather together after the service… You are the Church. As you walk across the street together… You are the Church. As you gather with friends for a meal… You are the Church. When the people in the booth next to you at the restaurant overhear you talking… You are the Church. As you gather with friends, talk to friends between classes, pay your taxes… or drive the frozen roads with people who probably shouldn’t arrive here “on time.” And when you are dealing with something painfully big, trying to, or sitting patiently with someone who needs nothing from you but your presence. You are always part of the Church. And every moment can become a “gathering of the imperfect.” As you ride the bus, visit your physician, stand in line for groceries at the store… whatever you do, good or bad. “Noster Agnus Vincit; Sequamur Eum” “Our Lamb Has Conquered; Let Us Follow Him.”

Because to all who follow Him, here or away… You are, and forever will be The Church. All you need to do is act like some old, smelly fishermen did years ago. Follow Him! -Amen.

Song: Lord of the dance (250)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

Creator God, since the beginning of time, You have called Your people to repent. We thank          You for giving Jonah a second chance, and time and time again, You also give us a second chance.

We thank You for Your saving grace that came into   the world through Your Son, Jesus Christ, for the promise that if we turn from our sinful ways and follow Him that we will be given new life.

God, our rock and our salvation, give us a heart to love and serve You and help us show our gratefulness for the many ways in which we have been blessed by You.

Bless our congregation gathered here today. Give us a   sense of purpose and a deep desire to worship You. Strengthen us and help each of us to become more faithful.

Lord, bless also those who are not able to be with us here today. We lift up our prayers of intercession for those who are in the hospital; we pray for those who are sick and unwell at home. We remember in prayer those who mourn and grieve the death of a loved one.

We pray for people who are lonely, and people who are hungry and homeless, for those who are afraid, puzzled or anxious. We pray also for those who cannot believe that they matter or that anyone cares about them.

We want them to know Your love, and we ask You to use us to bring assurance of your hope to all in need.

Guide us by Your Holy Spirit.

Grant us wisdom when we lead.

Grant us strength when we serve. – Amen

Song: Who’s goin’ to tell the story (761)

Sending out with God’s blessing

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

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’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material 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.

Signs from God (Jennifer de Combe)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
14 January 2024     10:00 am
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Minister: The Rev Brad Childs
Today’s Worship Leader: Lynn Vaughan     Message by: Jennifer deCombe
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Rom Rhoad
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: God of all times and places, we gather to worship you.
P: We turn our eyes to you and rejoice in your presence.
L: God of all life and love, we gather to sing your praise.
P: We turn our eyes to you and marvel at your power and your promise.
L: God of all wisdom and wonder, we gather to learn from your Son.
P: We turn our eyes toward Christ and wait for your Word to lead us.

Opening praise: I lift my eyes up

Prayers of Adoration and Confession
God ever creating, ever loving, ever leading,
You are stillness when we are frantic.
You are truth when we are perplexed,
You are warmth when we are cold!
You give us freedom when fear takes hold.
You send light when we have lost our way.
You are love when we feel lonely and empty.
You give us energy when we are ready to reach out.

We praise you, Creator, Christ, Spirit, for all that you are, all that you have been, and all that you will be for us. In our worship, we offer you our love and loyalty, here and now, now and always. Amen.

Assurance of God’s Grace
Believe the good news! In Christ, God has offered us forgiveness for all our sins and shortcomings. Trust that this forgiveness is for you and know that God’s steadfast love and grace endure forever.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: Jesus loves me (737)

Story: I need help from the congregation today. I would like everyone here, including the kids, to holler or shout about something. I want you to keep going until I wave at you. If you don’t know what to shout, then read the bible or a hymn and shout it real loud. If there is someone on the sidewalk outside, I want them to hear your noise. That’s how loud I’d like you to be.

When the people start shouting, start talking with the kids and tell them a story. Use the story of God calling Samuel; maybe 10 seconds long.  Wave at the people to quiet down.

To the kids; what was my story about? Kids respond, hopefully indicating they didn’t hear it. But I was saying it loud. Why couldn’t you hear me? Kids respond. (Everyone was making so much noise.)

It was kind of noisy in here, wasn’t it? It was hard to hear anything. Sometimes, listening to God can be the same way. Are you wondering what I mean by noise making it hard to hear God? Well, let me explain.

There are a lot of things that make it hard to listen to God.

There are people who tell us that God isn’t real. There are people that tell us we don’t ever need to go to church. There are people that tell us we are wrong in the way we worship God. There are TV shows that show kids who believe in God being pushed around. There are TV shows that show us being tough and strong is better than living like God wants us to.

Sometimes, we can’t hear when God is trying to tell us something.
Sometimes, we hear things and don’t quite understand them. Then, we ignore them and go and play.

The story I told you this morning was hard to hear because of all the noise. Let me tell you the story again now that everyone is quiet.

In Sunday School today, you’ll be learning about a young boy named Samuel who was personally called by God. Luckily, he was listening and not distracted by other things. He was able to hear the messages and, eventually, grew up to become a great and respected prophet.

In our sermon today, we will hear about a group of people who heard what God was telling them to do, but they didn’t quite understand the instructions. They took some convincing to believe that it would work. They had to listen to God and trust that He knew what was best for them.

Basically, we need to listen to God. We know that God does exist. We know we are going to a good church and are worshiping God in a way that pleases Him. We know that living like God instructs us to is the best way to live. So, we need to ensure that we are ready to hear from God and put all our faith and our trust in Him to follow the best path for our lives.

Prayer
Dear God – We live in a noisy world. Help us to always listen for you. Help us to trust in you.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: Guide me. O thou great Redeemer (651)

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: Psalm 78:1-7 & Joshua 3:1-17

Response: Glory to the Father

Message: Signs from God (Jennifer de Combe on video: Click here.)

Video Sermon Preamble: For this morning’s worship we have a special guest: Jen de Combe, who was the Associate Secretary for Canadian Ministries with the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Jen led a workshop for the Presbytery last fall right here at Dayspring. For today’s sermon, Jen will preach for us about the moment the Israelites cross the Jordan River in Joshua, chapter 3.

Some question for reflection as you watch this video: what are some moments in your life where the way ahead looked terrifying and you didn’t know what you would do, but somehow, by the grace of God, you got through it to the other side? How did that moment shape you? How do you tell that story and share it with others? As you’ll hear from Jen in today’s sermon, the Israelites were facing that sort of moment. How they remember it and how they retell it was an essential part in their formation as the people of God.

Song: Will you come and follow me (634:1,2,4,5)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talents, and treasures. We ask God to use us and the gifts we offer to create new possibilities for those who are uncertain about what the future holds, just as He holds the future for us all. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

God of all life and each life, each week our prayers combine with those of others in many different places.

We face different challenges and yet we long for many of the same things, things you offer in your grace and mercy. Thank you for honouring all our prayers with the gift of your Spirit, so that we can find both strength and wisdom to serve you.

Today we remember before you people living face to face with war and violence,  in places where hatred has been stirred up and fear stalks people on their own streets.

We pray for all those displaced by conflict, seeking refuge among us or in camps and communities around the world.
God, speak to us a word of peace.
Embrace us with your love.

We remember before you people struggling in these uncertain economic times, those who have lost their jobs or worry about making ends meet.

God, speak to us a word of reassurance.
Embrace us with your love.

We remember before you people facing discrimination and social prejudice every day, those who are bullied at school, at work or at home, and those who are made ashamed of who they are.

God, speak to us a word of dignity.
Embrace us with your love.

We remember before you people facing illness and suffering in their lives or in the lives of those they love: those struggling with disability and lack of access or needed resources, and those who know grief or anxiety.

God, speak to us a word of healing.
Embrace us with your love.

We remember before you your whole creation and its many vulnerable facets and faces.
Teach us how to care for the world you love, so we may live together wisely.

God, speak to us a word of wisdom:
Embrace us with your love. Amen

Song: I, the Lord of sea and sky (592)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Thank you for joining us in worship today. I hope the Holy Spirit spoke to you in some way.

And as you go forward this week, keep your eyes open. Stay alert for signs of God’s Spirit at work and invitations to share in the work of the Spirit wherever you find yourself. And may the God who made us, the Christ who mends us, and the Spirit who brings us life bless you and sustain you in every challenge and commitment.

Response: Go forth into the world

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’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

Jennifer deCombe and Lynn Vaughan retain the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as they are aware, all of the material that has not been attributed to others is their own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.