Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am 16 July 2023 7th Sunday of Pentecost
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia Elder: Heather Tansem
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: To know the warmth of love,
P: To have the assurance that someone cares,
L: To be confident of our worth,
P: To be bold to love in return,
L: To be washed over with grace,
P: To be accepted as we are:
L: This is to know a bit of God.
P: Then let us worship our God.
Opening praise: I lift my hands up
Prayers of approach and confession
Our God, we come to you this morning as your own beloved. We come as those who’s lives are in your hands. We come and we do what nobody seems to want to do these days – we admit our mistakes. Lord we admit then, own them and wish to be rid of them.
Our God we aren’t perfect and we have taken time, places, and worst of all people for granted. We have simply not cultivated love and friendship in all the ways we should.
Father forgive us when we waste energy on things that don’t really matter and for when we ignore the things that really do.
Forgive and push us on tomorrow to remedy whatever has been done wrong. Amen.
Response: I will trust in the Lord
Assurance of God’s forgiveness
Who is in a position to condemn us – Only Christ. And it is in Him we are forgiven and sent out to begin again. Know Christ and Know what it is to be forgiven. Amen.
Music Offering (Vocal Solo by Clare Johnson): I have decided to follow Jesus
We listen for the voice of God
Response: Open our eyes, Lord (445)
Old Jungle Book Cartoon
We’re your friends
We’re your friends
We’re your friends to the bitter end
When you’re alone
Who comes around
To pluck you up
When you are down
And when you’re outside, looking in
Who’s there to open the door?
That’s what friends are for!
Do you have a friend who is always there for you? One who cheers you up when you’re feeling sad. One who stands by you no matter what. We could all use a friend like that, couldn’t we?
The things is, if you want to have a friend like that, then you need to be a friend like that!
Proverb 17:17 says, A true friend loves at all times and siblings are made in hard times.
It’s one thing to love a friend that will be there for you in hard times – it’s another thing to be the one to come along beside them and be there for them.
But – That’s what friends are for.
Let’s take a moment to thank God for our friends.
Prayer: Our God, we thank you for all of our friends. For all of the people who stand by us. And Lord, we pray that you would help us to be there to stand by them. And now we pray the words that you taught us to pray.
The Lord’s Prayer (535)
Song: He’s got the whole world in his hands (339)
Scripture reading: Proverbs 15:13-25
Response: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
Message: Don’t take life too seriously … You’ll never make it out alive.
You will notice in these passages read from today that there are some fairly negative words…
vs. 13 says sorrow, 15 afflicted, 16 trouble, 17 hatred, 18 strife, 22 disappointed.
It sounds to me as if things were rather difficult in I don’t know – THREE THOUSAND YEARS AGO.
Psalm 15 (that part of the Bible that we just heard from), was NOT CREATED on the spot – but was likely from a far-far earlier time in the people’s history. It is a “proverb” or specifically, a “generally true statement of wisdom.”
Psalm 15 was RECORDED for the first time in this way, in or near 900BCE. Maybe, just maybe billions of people can’t be completely wrong and there is great value in these words.
Not to lose the plot:
The book of proverbs is set of wise sayings and was likely shared for generations and generations verbally, even before the “written word” ever existed. The intended audience at the time is maybe not what most people think. It was originally a “young adult” book. It was meant specifically for boys around the age of 13. And the first part of the book is pretty sultry.
Let me stress that these words were eventually recorded some 2983 years ago (give or take). Let’s not be silly. If there is nothing to learn from wisdom people have been following for 3,000 years – then we are doomed as a species – DOOMED!!!
Things were apparently pretty difficult back in the day.
But as Shakespeare said, “Here’s the rub,” things both are and are not getting much easier.
These are still very stressful times we live in as well. And “no” – maybe clean water isn’t our first concern lately but then again, I’m not interested in any kind of geographical or chronological snobbery where any one group of people believes themselves to be not only different but better. It isn’t true.
People are people. And LIFE has never been easy for anyone, no matter what the details might be.
Is anyone in this room without something knocking at the door which you don’t want around?
Isn’t there someone knocking at your door? And you just want to say, “We already Love Jesus. School Fundraisers are a scam with very little going to the intended cause, but we already donate. We don’t buy magazines (nobody does). We already know who we are voting for and seriously, who on earth still sells vacuum cleaners’ door to door these days?
Life is messy – if you aren’t convinced make sure to look up the Penrose Triangle. I’ll save that one again – it’s called the Penrose Triangle. I wont explain it. But I will talk for just a very brief moment about something a little bit less complex. So there are so many variations of this they are hard to count but basically a massive amount of philosophical arguments come from one place. It’s referred to as the Liar’s Paradox. The first clearly recorded example of this was found in 600 BCE in Greece.
I honestly spent hours trying to find a simplified way of saying this and that – after it took me a while to wrap my head around it first —
And then I found what I should have much sooner. It’s an example of the paradox refined by St. Jerome in 363 AD, in Rome. as he delivered a sermon still quotable today.
I shall still paraphrase as best I can: “All people are liars.”
Is the narrator trustworthy?
Is it true? If all people are liars, then is not also the narrator of this quotation a liar as well? What arguments might follow?
And that’s my take on the classic liar paradox. Now why did I just spend three minutes talking about the Liar Paradox when my point is just to say that we live in a time where many things and even truth are not always clear.
Here’s the thing: We used to hear about “road rage.” Now it’s airline rage.
The knee defender is a little gadget sold for just $22. If you have never heard of this, it’s a little plastic clasp that you place on the back of the airplane seat in front of you. It prevents the person in that seat from reclining. The creators say it’s to protect computers and other gadgets from being damaged by surprised reclining. Others say it’s just a rude way to covet 3 precious inches of space in a cramped environment and rob paying customers of what they paid for.
On August 24th James Beach used his knee defender on a Boeing 737 flight to Chicago. An argument ensued. Beach simply wanted to protect his computer and presentation he was working on. The man in the seat ahead of him saw it a different way. A fight broke out and the plane had to be diverted to a different airport. Flights had to be rearranged, people lost connections, and it cost the airline thousands of dollars in extra fees. In the week that followed, two other flights were diverted because of similar disagreements.
Stress is rising and patience is falling. We’re becoming like guitar strings slowly being tightened – until all of the sudden: Pop! We snap. Every parent has been there, I’m sure. And every friend. Every spouse too. In fact, did you know that 13% of all murders committed in North America last year were committed by the victims’ spouse? So I’m just going to say this publicly… if I ever go missing…
Stress in life is like sand in machinery. And we do it to ourselves. Increasingly I think, we do it to our kids. Another father I was talking to told me that his kids will each start 3 new activities next Monday.
Somewhere along the line we went from play to programs. And adults went from watching kids play to screaming at volunteer coaches. Stress is eating us alive.
So, how do we reduce the tension (besides not wearing busyness like it’s some kind of a badge of honor)?
Well, the writer and compiler of proverb 15 has a few suggestions. The first one…
1. Learn to Laugh
13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
but sorrow crushes the spirit.
15 All the days of the afflicted are wretched,
but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Medical science has repeatedly shown that when you laugh, chemicals are released in the brain which are extremely important not just for mental health but also to the health of our vital organs.
Listen to part of an article from the magazine Executive Digest: “Scientists have been studying the effects of laughter on human beings and have found, among other things, that laughter has a profound and instantaneous effect on virtually every important organ of the human body. Laughter reduces unhealthy tensions, and relaxes the tissues, as well as exercising the most vital organs our bodies have. Laughter, even when forced, results in beneficial effect on us, both mentally and physically. So, the next time you feel nervous and jittery, indulge in a good laugh.”
In 2009 Scientific America published an article where Psychiatrists had done a study on people suffering from mild to moderate depression. Part of the experiment involved replacing ones medication with a five minute forced-smile in the mirror each morning. The results: The group that gave up their meds reported feeling better, for longer and more often throughout the day.
A similar study suggested that fake laughing produces real laughter.
If you haven’t laughed in a while. Try it. A lot of our stress stems from trying to be so serious all the time.
In Psalm 2:4 the bible says “Even the One (the Lord) enthroned in the heavens, laughs.” Learn to laugh again.
The writer of proverbs has a another suggestion.
He or she (this is vast collection of wise sayings. In this one the author says,
2. Cultivate Contentment
16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth with trouble.
17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred.
By the way if you didn’t pick up on that, this means that even God admits that vegetables are gross and also that fatty meat is delicious. I just thought I should point that out.
Sorry vegetarians, it’s the word of God, what are you gonna do?
17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred.
Who can deny that? Picture it. Mom comes home to a little house and kids run and hug her and they sit down to eat some stone soup and talk about their day. Or Mom pulls into the garage in her Ferrari and sits down at a giant; long dining room table as reluctant kids put down their phones to ignore her while she eats at break neck speed so she can get back to work.
Which one is better? I’ll take a table with love and vegetables, thank you… even celery if I have to. As someone once said, “If you have love, you want for nothing.”
I loved Robinson Crusoe. If you’ve never read it, read it. Crusoe is the man that lost everything. But at a certain point Daniel Defoe’s character comes to a new perspective on life. He writes, “I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted: and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something that he has not given them. All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.”
If you’re tired of being stressed out, if you feel like pressure is building. If your husband had better start picking up his socks or your wife has recently taken out a strangely-sizable insurance package on you… Maybe you need to smile a bit more. If your friends think you have a scowl, Maybe you need to focus on people you have to love, rather than the things you’d love to have.
The author of Proverbs has more to offer. It says here, get a hold of anger, and watch your mouth. (Perhaps the author of this proverb is a grandmother. This seems like grandmotherly advice). There would be a lot less airplane brawls and soccer mom yelling matches if people followed this rule.
The proverb says 18 A hot-tempered person stirs up more strife, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
The clear lesson here: the way to control anger is to control your mouth! I have a friend that always says, “I fight with my wife a lot but in the end I always get the last words… Yes dear.”
Nothing will reduce stress and tension in life like getting control of your words. When you are mad, angry, upset (and those times will come) keep your mouth shut! Your grandma was right, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
3. Learn to laugh. Cultivate contentment. Watch your tongue.
Our author has one more piece of advice. Walk in Wisdom.
21 Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,
but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.
22 The disappointed fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
The Bible says that God is not the author of confusion…if your home is characterized by confusion, understand that God is not in that! Strife and tension result when there’s confusion, when we’re not on the same page, when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing…the result isn’t unity and harmony, it’s division, strife, tension, and stress!
Problems WILL arise on a daily basis, that’s normal, but wisdom begs us to stop attacking each other and instead start attacking the problems, together, in unity (with man advisers).
If you want a stress-free life, (keep waiting – it will never fully happen) But if you want a lot less stress, then you need people to talk to people you can trust and respect.
Listen to these words from Matthew 7
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
You can build your life on 1 of 2 foundations: rock or sand. Let’s choose the Rock. Let’s choose to build our parenting skills, our marriages, our friendships our families on the Rock.
There is a lot of good advice out there and a lot of confidants and mentors and friends that can help you get through tuff times. Find them. Invest in them. But know this, the most important counsel you will find is Christ, the firm foundation. Walking with Christ is walking with wisdom itself.
Stress will come. It’s a messy life. It’s a busy one too. But it’s also beautiful.
And as the old saying goes, don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never make it out alive.
As the kids and I head off to camp, I just want to say. Even in trying times you can find moments of bliss.
In the coming weeks – Have some fun. Ditch the stress. Drop the things you cannot change. You are in His hands.
Tackle the things you can. Learn to laugh. Cultivate contentment. Watch your tongue. Seek good counsel. And above all, make sure to have the right foundation and trust in Him. Amen
Song: Seek ye first the kingdom of God (625)
We respond to serve God
Prayer of Gratitude and for others and ourselves
Tender and loving God, you formed the earth to be a place of joy and abundance for all your creatures.
For food in all its variety and the people who grow it, transport it, market it and prepare it, we give you thanks.
We pray for those who cannot afford enough food,
and for those whose agricultural supply is at risk through extreme weather, uncertain prices and social upheaval.
Help us care for the earth and its fruitfulness and for each other in our common need of its fruits.
God, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
God of all the nations,
You gather people together in communities to care for each other and enjoy each other’s company and creativity.
Thank you for the support we find in our congregation, and for the difference volunteers make in our community.
Wherever there is division in the world, bring unity and peace with justice;
Where people dispute opinions, give wisdom to see what is important;
Where people are tired and anxious, bring strength and courage.
God, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
God of compassion,
You call us to be communities held together by prayer and love for our neighbours.
Thank you for the ministry that has blessed us through the concern others showed us.
Where people mourn loss of any kind, provide comfort;
Where there is illness and pain, bring healing;
Where there is distress or discouragement, transform fear into hope.
By your Spirit, equip us to serve one another in Christ’s name, so that your compassion touches lives with love and mercy.
God, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Loving God, we lay before you now our personal concerns in this time of silence:
We offer you our prayers, spoken and unspoken, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Song: Lord of all power (626)
Sending out with God’s blessing
Walk in the light of God’s Word as you leave our worship. Look around at the seeds bearing fruit around you and consider how you bear the fruit of God’s Word in your life.
May God the Spirit bring you growth.
May God the Son tend you with wisdom.
And God the Source of all life bless you with all you need to thrive.
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.