Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am 12 November 2023
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia Guest Pianist: Yvonne Boon
Vocalist: Linda F-B Elder: Gina Kottke
We gather to worship God
L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: and also with you.
Lighting of the Christ candle
Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship
Call to Worship
L: We gather to worship on this, the Lord’s Day.
P: What will God accomplish among us in this time?
L: We have come together for Sabbath rest and renewal.
P: What will God accomplish among us in this place?
L: We are here to offer our praise and thanksgiving.
P: What will God accomplish among us in our hearts?
L: Confident of God’s work among us at all times and in all places, let us worship God.
Opening praise: Great are you, Lord
Prayer of Lament
O God, we cry out to you from the depths.
Hear our prayers and our longings.
Lord, have mercy.
We are tired with grief, a sorrow sometimes too deep for words.
Christ, have mercy.
We see conflict and devastation all around us, on a scale that we can’t comprehend.
Spirit, have mercy.
The poor and needy cry for help.
The love of God and neighbor has grown cold.
Mothers and fathers weep for their children.
Power and division maim the Body of Christ.
Lord, have mercy.
Nations are rocked with war and violence.
Christ, have mercy.
Disease and destruction plague our world.
Spirit, have mercy.
How long, O Lord? Hear us as we silently lift our prayers to you.
O God, we believe that you are our shelter and strength.
You never leave us in our time of need.
Grant us your peace.
Your love is compassionate and faithful, never-ending.
You are near to the broken-hearted.
You comfort those who mourn and work justice for those who are oppressed.
Grant us your peace.
We put our whole trust in you.
Full redemption is in your hands.
Make us instruments of your peace.
You teach us to walk humbly with you,
following faithfully where you lead.
Send your Holy Spirit to renew us to proclaim the gospel with word and action.
O God, we cry out to you from the depths.
Have mercy on us, grant us the peace of Christ, and transform us by your Spirit to follow in Christ-like service to the world.
Make us instruments of your peace. – Amen.
Response: I waited, I waited on you, Lord
Assurance of God’s love: To turn to God is to trust. In His word, it says that when we confess our sins become as far away from us as the east is from the west. In Christ, we are forgiven. Amen.
Special Music: This little light of mine (Clare Johnson)
We listen for the voice of God
Response: Open our eyes, Lord (445)
Story: John was a boy about the age of some of you. One day he was playing with a friend who let him ride his new bicycle. It was a very nice bicycle — probably a lot like this one that we have here today. After riding the bicycle for a while, John got off and parked it behind a car in the driveway. John and his friend got so busy playing that they forgot all about the bicycle. After a while, the woman who owned the car came out of the house and got into the car. She started the engine and began to back out of the driveway. You can probably guess what happened. “CRUNCH!” The sound was unmistakable. Without looking, both boys knew what had happened. The woman had backed over the bicycle. All that remained was a pile of twisted metal.
The woman jumped out of her car and began to apologize. “I am so sorry. I didn’t see the bicycle. I will gladly pay for a new one.”
What a relief! John’s worries were over—except for having to tell his father. John didn’t want to tell his father what had happened, but he knew he would find out anyway. When he told his father what had happened, he forgot to mention that he had left the bike in the driveway. He just said that the woman had run over the bicycle, and she was going to buy his friend a new one. When his dad asked him where the bicycle was when the lady ran over it, he confessed that he had left it in the driveway. “No way is she going to buy a new bike” John’s father said. “She didn’t do anything wrong. You are the one who left the bicycle in the driveway, so you are the one who is responsible.”
John’s heart sank. He didn’t have the money to pay for the bicycle. He only had a couple of dollars in his piggy bank.
John’s father looked at him and said, “Son, we all make mistakes. I know you are sorry for what you have done and that you don’t have the money to buy your friend a new bicycle. I will pay for the bicycle.”
John ran to his daddy, put his arms around his neck, and with tears running down his cheeks, he whispered in his daddy’s ear, “Thank you, daddy. I love you!”
That is a good picture of what our Heavenly Father has done for us. We all make mistakes—it is always a mistake to disobey God’s Word. The Bible calls that sin, but the Bible tells us that our Father loved us so much that he sent his only Son to die on the cross to pay for our sin. There is no way that we could ever repay him for what he has done for us. All we can do is say, “Thank you” and try to show him how much we love him.
That is what today’s Bible lesson teaches us. (Luke 7:41-47)
How often do you tell your heavenly Father that you love him? How do you show it?
Prayer: Dear Father, we love you and we just want to say, “Thank you.” You paid a debt we can never repay. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer (535)
Song: Give me oil in my lamp (655)
Scripture reading: John 10:1-10 & I Thessalonians 4:13-18
Response: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
Message: Danny’s ears
Guy Dowd tells this story I really love. It could be an elaborate parable for all I know but I love it and I tell it with this caveat.
Danny was born with no ears. He could hear all right, but he didn’t have ears like most people. Times were a little different even just a few years ago. All his life, Danny endured ridicule and rejection because of his deformity, but he learned to live with it. Thankfully, he had loving parents and a strong family to sustain him.
When Danny was in high school, his doctor told him of a new procedure that made it possible to transplant ears from one person to another. While today a person can actually grow their own ears on the forearm with the help of stem cells that certainly wasn’t always the case. That meant Danny could get new ears, but only if someone who was compatible with his physical make-up donated theirs.
Still, this was exciting news! After all, people donate body parts to science all the time—hearts, lungs, kidneys… whatever. However, Danny soon found that donors for ears were extremely scarce. Danny didn’t give up hope, however. He believed that someday he would get new ears.
Danny didn’t really have friends, but he had time to study. He graduated from high school with honors and was accepted to a private university thousands of miles away from home. And so when the day came, he kissed his parents good-bye and began his life as a college student. He got to start over in a whole new place. But again, Danny found it hard to make friends and fit in because of his ears, or lack thereof. It’s not that the other students were rude; it’s that they generally seemed uncomfortable and so just pretended not to see him.
One day he got a phone call from his father. “Go to the hospital tomorrow, Danny. A donor has been found. And it’s all set up.”
The very next day Danny checked into the university hospital where doctors were ready to perform the surgery. A few hours later, Danny had new ears. When the bandages came off, Danny gazed into the mirror for hours. He finally had ears like everyone else. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t ashamed of the way he looked. He felt like a whole person. He not only had new ears, he had a new life.
A few weeks later, Danny received another phone call from his father. “Son, your mom was in a car accident today, and she may not live through the night.”
Danny was on the first plane home. But when he arrived, his father gave him the sad news that his mom had died just after Danny had boarded the plane. Together they cried at the airport gate. Later that night the father and son pair went to the funeral home, where Danny was able to see his mother for the last time. She’d never seen him with his new ears. He knew she wasn’t really there, but he wanted to “show her” anyway.
In just a few weeks Danny had experienced the highest pleasure of his life and now he felt the lowest depths. With tears in his eyes, he showed his mother his new ears and told her about the procedure. And then he leaned over to kiss her cheek and say goodbye. And brushing her hair back from her face, he noticed that she had no ears.
It was a mother’s incredible love that provided Danny with a suitable match and a new life, and it is our Heavenly Father’s incredible love that provided us with our new life. (Hot ill. Red 178) And it should never be wasted.
Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Our God would literally do anything for us and has. He would give up not just his ears but his life so that we might know what it is to live.
The simple fact of life is that – Life is not always easy. It’s filled with amazing highs and devastating lows alike. Much of this is out of our control. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, what storm will come, what car will run a stop sign or what illness we might get or find out we’ve already had for some time. And when hard times come there are reasons to be sad. But not everything is beyond our control.
The islands around Indonesia are among the most beautiful in the world – crystalline tropical water, beautiful reefs with fish colored in every hue of the rainbow, powerful waves, and tranquil bays.
Tourists, surfers and most popular of all – scuba divers from around the world have discovered these hidden jewels and pay massive sums of money to enjoy this unspoiled aquatic playground.
But most of the locals won’t swim. Neither will they dive, surf, wade, bathe, or do anything else that places their bodies in the warm, inviting water. Their fear of the water is so powerful that even though they are surrounded by amazing oceanic scenes, they despise even the fishing that must be done on their waters as a necessary evil to sustain life. Although things are starting to change, almost none of the native islanders ever learn to swim.
Why do they deny themselves the pleasure of exploring the natural wonders all around them? Because a long time ago, someone told them a lie. Someone told them that the ocean was full of demons and that swimming in it would bring hardships and curses upon them and their families. To this day many of the Indonesian islanders still believe it. (H Ill.114)
For centuries the island people have missed out on the joys of ocean water, the surf and exploring the underwater world that surrounds them. The kind of life most people can only dream of is right before their eyes but they are too afraid to accept it.
So too do many Christians today live in fear rather than in the freedom we are called to live in. Many believe the old lie that God is some kind of cosmic killjoy who wants to take away our fun and make our lives dull and boring and put steal in our veins where blood and life should be.
Don’t believe the lie. Nothing could be further from the truth. In 1 Peter 1:8 it says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and this is why you are so filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” Christians are in fact, supposed to be joyful. John (10:10) in his all-too-familiar letter writes that God wants us to “have life” and to what? “Have it abundantly”.
Is that the life you’re living today? One filled with abundant joy? Not are you problem-free. That’s a whole different thing. But Are you living a life filled with abundant joy? If not… Why not? What’s stopping you? What takes away your joy? And more importantly, why do you let it?
Don’t let it. That’s not how we are called to live.
My grandmother (My Dad’s mother – Grace Childs) died back in 2013. She lived in the same town of about 100 people for her entire life but in three different houses. The third house was a trailer which was put up right next to the second house (which was also a trailer). The reason? Grandma Grace’s second house was filled to the top with her very “special treasures”. Boxes and cases of Diet Pepsi lined the walls as tall as me. She had three terrifying old dolls with thinning hair that stood 4 feet tall, and knickknacks and magazines along with many other things. Especially treasured though were two things, a strange collection of frog figurines (a tribute to her family Maiden name “Hopper” as she was born Golie Grace Hopper) and of course… She loved jewelry.
And although she never had much money, she did have a significant amount of costume jewelry. It was everywhere. Most every year since I’ve been in Canada I’ve bought both grandmothers a piece of jewelry for Christmas. Grandma Childs would always say (or write to say) thank you and she always added that she “planned to wear it for some special occasion”. And so she would carefully take it out to admire it and then place it back in the box and put it away in one of her drawers, filled with similar little items in similar little boxes, for that special occasion.
When my aunt went through her bedroom after the funeral she found box after box of bracelets, necklaces, and broaches… and I guarantee that everyone was a “special treasure” that she truly cherished. But almost none of them had ever been warn. Most boxes had gift receipts inside the boxes or still had price tags on them. Though I am completely certain that she dearly loved each one. But after that first glance, she had probably never looked at them again.
All those boxes… They all just sat there, hidden inside a drawer waiting for some imaginary “special occasion” that never came.
This is a short story about the Wells family.
After Jan Wells died, her husband found a box in her top drawer. It was a beautiful article of clothing she had bought on a trip to New York, 9 years before she died. But she’d never wore it. Like Grandma Grace, she was waiting for a special occasion, but for whatever reason, nothing was ever quite “special” enough.
After finding that box her husband gave this pointed statement to Jan’s sister, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”
Jan’s sister never forgot that. It changed her life. Ann writes, Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good China and crystal for every special event–such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first fall of snow or the first flower blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market. My husband and I wear a suit and a fine dress to MacDonald’s for date night. You can’t imagine how much fun that is!
Since my sister died, I’ve stopped saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. “Someday” and “one of these days” are fighting a losing battle to stay in my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now while I can. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes I tell myself that this is a special occasion.”
Christians, hear this: Christ didn’t die for us so that we can all be sinless and living forever in paradise. That may be a part of it but that’s not the here and now of it. Christ didn’t die for the dead. He said he “came for the living”. He said he died so that we might “have life and have it abundantly;” full of meaning and purpose and joy. TODAY.
Christ didn’t give his life up just so we could all walk around being dull and miserable all the time. Frowny face on Sunday Morning like we don’t know the God of the universe who rescued and still cares for us. He gave it up to show us a new way to live… a joyful way.
That’s the life we were called to.
But while we should be living joyfully, we tend to let troubles get the better of us.
We worry about all manner of things. But the truth is pretty simple. If it’s out of your control then worrying about it isn’t going to change it. And if it’s in your control, stop letting it steal your joy away! It doesn’t have that power.
Stop letting whatever it is that steals your joy, dictate who you are, or who you are being called to be… and LIVE a new life; not tomorrow TODAY! This the day!
We were called to live lives full of meaning and purpose and to do so with joy.
He gave us ears. So let’s hear his words.
Jesus said, “I came that they [that’s every one of you] might have life and have it abundantly.” So, let’s do it. Amen.
Song: May the God of hope (726(
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!
Praise: Praise God from whom all blessings flow (830)
Prayer of thanksgiving
God of infinite mercy, we offer thanksgiving for your goodness. You have not forsaken your people. When our tables are laden, it is due to your grace. Our lungs are filled with the life you breathe into us’ our limbs move with purpose because of the strength you impart. When anxieties engulf us, you hide no compassion from us. If we are afflicted with pain you are present.
We give you thanks for Christ Jesus who fulfills all that you promised. In him, we have confidence that you accept who we are. It is he who redeems us despite our rebellions and offers salvation when we stray from your will. He tempers judgement and brings intercession and stays His anger. We approach you Lord with the assurance that you hear.
We give thanks to our loved ones who are now at rest with you. Their faith in Christ helped transform ours. We thank you as well for saints of each age and prophets of old. We join their pilgrimage. Thank you for your kindness and commitment to us. Aid us as we continue our journeys in obedience and in Joy with a story for of love to tell. Amen.
Song: Who’s goin’ to tell the story (761)
Sending out with God’s blessing
Let us depart in peace, and in love and charity with our neighbors. May we be joined together in the common goal of service to God and Country. Let us drive safely and carefully to our homes and may God’s blessing be with us all and forever. Amen.
Response: God to enfold you
Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).
The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2023) 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.