Fools for Christ (Bob Calder)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
4th Sunday of Lent
10:00 am          March 27, 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering  as a Worshipping Community
Message and Children’s time: The Rev. Bob Calder
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Sam Malayang
Elder: Darlene Eerkes

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

Greeting
L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you
P: and also with you

Lighting of the Christ candle
Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Opening words
L: During Lent, we remember that even  when we disobey and turn away, we are still loved by God
P: God does not give up on us.
L: God breaks our stubbornness and calls us back from our wandering, so we can experience the joy and peace that comes from following Christ.
P: May we have the courage to hear, to change and to align ourselves with Christ.

Opening praise: Holy is the Lord

We stand and lift up our hands
For the joy of the Lord is our strength
We bow down and worship Him now
How great, how awesome is He
And together we sing

Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
The earth is filled with His glory

Songwriter: Chris Tomlin © Universal Music Publishing Group. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Call to worship
L: If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation!
P: Thanks be to God for such great mercy.
L: Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
P. Thanks be to God for new beginnings!
L.
God has given us the ministry of reconciliation through Christ Jesus.
P: Together we will make a new beginning in Christ!
L: Let us worship God with joyful hearts, trusting God to renew us and all things.

Prayers of approach and lament

God of Mystery and Mercy, we gather to worship you in humility and hope because we believe you have the power  to change the world for the better with your love.

We gather to worship you

trusting that no one or situation is beyond your concern, or your embrace.

Such love astonishes us.

Without your grace we cannot imagine such love.

Inspire us with a vision of love which will change the world and our lives hrough the love and mercy we meet in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Saviour.

God of love and mercy, the daily details of our lives press in on us.

We recall things left undone, opportunities ignored.

We remember careless words spoken, disappointments that trouble our souls. Forgive us we pray.

In Jesus’ name. Amen

Response: Lord Jesus Christ, son of God

 Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me (X3) A sinner

Words and music © 1995, GIA/Iona Community / WGRG  and arranged by Gord McCrostie. Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE License.

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

With faith in Jesus we have: hope which is our anchor; peace which is our rock; and grace which is our refuge.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Open our eyes, Lord (445)

Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus, to reach out and touch him and say that we love him, Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen. Open our eyes, Lord We want to see Jesus

Words and music: Bob Cull; © Maranatha! Music 1976; The Copyright Company Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Story: Bob Calder used short and long red strings to communicate that, however much time we have left to live, god loves us and we can love God and each other.

Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: King of Kings (266)

King of kings and Lord of lords, glory, hallelujah! Jesus, Prince of Peace, glory, hallelujah!

Words: Naomi Batya and Sophie Conty © Marantha! Music, 1980,1983. Music Jewish traditional © public domain

Today’s Message

Scripture readings: Psalm 32 and I Corinthians 3:18-23 (NRSV)

Response: His truth is marching on

Glory, glory hallelujah Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah His truth is marching on

 Words: Public Domain; Music: 1986 Curb Word Music (Admin. by WC Music Corp.) Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Homily: “Fools for Christ”

In honour of April Fools day, I asked my computer to do a search for April Fools Day sites.

The search engine said that there are 2.3 million sites that have something to do with April Fools Day. Clearly millions of people have way too much time on their hands.

There are Guide Books on line — The History of April Fools Day, A Guide to April Fools Day, The Top 100 April Fools Hoaxes.

My favourite April fools hoax is one called: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

In 1957 the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop.

It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees.

Huge numbers of viewers were taken in.

Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree.

To this the BBC diplomatically replied that they should “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

In 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed people.

According to the ad, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers.

The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich.

Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right handed’ version.”

Prank-playing during the days following the Spring Equinox goes way back in many cultures and many lands.

Some have suggested human beings play jokes on each other at this time of the year because this is the time of year when nature plays jokes on humankind– +18 degrees C. one April 1st and eighteen inches of snow the next year.

Historians know that April Fool’s jokes took a quantum leap in the sixteenth century when France switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar and New Year’s Day moved from the traditional April 1 to the novel January 1. Those who were too uneducated to hear the news or too stubborn to make the switch became known as April Fools.

Perhaps the greatest prank ever was not played on April 1st but on Oct. 30, 1938, when Orson Wells aired his famous broadcast of the “War of the Worlds.”

As most of you know, Wells did a mock broadcast of breaking news that Martians had landed in New Jersey and began an interplanetary war.

And of course, a number of people believed the program and panicked.
Christianity has a bit of foolishness built into it.

It requires a little bit of foolishness to believe it, especially to all of us who live in this modern, scientific, technological age. The truth is that an Alien has come our planet.

He came, not to New Jersey, where the “Martians” landed, but to Bethlehem.

He came not to make war, but to make heaven’s peace with humanity.

Instead of saying, “Take me to your leader,” he said, “I want to be your Leader.

Come, follow Me. So he went about the task of looking for those foolish enough to believe him and to follow him.

In fact, one of his most famous followers, the Apostle Paul, called himself a “fool for Christ.”

I Cor. 3: 18 says that “we are to become fools for Christ.”

I’d like you to think about the fact that there is a built in foolishness to our faith. In the wisdom of God, foolishness is a part of our faith.

Now, in using this word “foolish,” Paul isn’t insulting our faith.

He’s saying that God’s ways are often not our ways.

And that God’s ways will often appear foolish in the world’s eyes.
Think of Jesus’ most distinctive teachings:
– if someone strikes you, turn the other cheek
– if someone asks you to walk a mile with them, go two
– if someone asks you for your shirt, give him your jacket, too
– love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, and bless them
All of those are from the Sermon on the Mount, and they sounded as foolish in the first Century as they do now.

Only a fool would believe those things!

And only a Fool for Christ would try to live them!
And there’s more!
– if you lose your life for God’s sake, you’ll gain it
– there is salvation from a man dying on a Cross
– there is assurance of heaven because over 2000 years ago that Man got up again.
– and finally there is a feast that you are invited to whose menu is simply bread and the fruit of the vine, and yet it’s a feast.

In verses 18-20 of I Corinthians 3 we begin to understand the frailty of our foolishness. Paul begins this section with an exhortation about self-deception.

He does this because he understands our weakness in this regard.
We do not always have a firm grasp of reality when it comes to developing proper priorities.
Far too often, we listen to the deceptive voices of the world that encourage us to have things, seek prestige and desire significance among our peers.

The Church could be in danger today, because too often we attempt to blend worldly wisdom into the life and witness of our church.

We think that if we run the church like a business then we will be financially secure. But the church is not a business.

The fundamental nature of the church is family.
We are also off center when we implement church growth techniques developed by people not familiar with our particular situation or our country.

We could think that if we will just apply these certain principles, we will grow like crazy.

I remember the Canadian speaker Don Posterski saying at a conference in reference to the formula that Bill Hybels used to found Willow Creek church: “You are not Bill Hybels, you don’t live in Willow Creek and this is not 1970.”

The church does not necessarily grow by using a prescribed formula.

It is a living organism that is given growth by the Holy Spirit.

We are, in essence, a spiritual community, dependent on our relationship with the Holy Spirit.

From time to time we all do dumb or foolish things.
Wouldn’t be great if someone would stop us when we are being foolish?

Have you noticed it never seems to happen in time!
You know, we are absolute fools if we do not becomes fools for God.

But we must also recognize that with God, everything is turned upside down.
Wisdom is foolishness.
Foolishness is wisdom.
Weakness is power.
Power is weakness.
Leaders are servants.
Servants are leaders.

With God, people are nobodies who have nothing, yet possess all things.
To get this right, then, we must be fully dependent on God for revelation.

When we wander from Scripture, we could be unwittingly making a corner for ourselves in which we will eventually be trapped, because we are following the wisdom of the world as opposed to God’s.

Paul encourages us to be “Fools for Christ.” So your assignment this week is to be a fool.

In fact, if we’re doing it right, a person without faith, should look at our lives and occasionally say, “Boy, that doesn’t make sense. Why do they do that? That’s foolish.”

So go out this week, and strive  to fight against all your Presbyterian Reasonableness, and do something foolish, such as:
– forgive someone who doesn’t even ask for forgiveness.
– be kind to someone who doesn’t really deserve it.
-love an enemy instead of fighting fire with fire.
– pray for someone’s salvation, for them to come to know God
– believe that a Carpenter’s Death upon a Cross is your salvation.
– Pray and give thanks to Him for his sacrifice.
Maybe that’s another foolish act of God, to believe that we are worthy of the presence and power of Jesus Christ.

But God’s willing to take the chance.

God just needs a few fools ready and willing to receive and follow.
“I’m a fool for Christ.  Who are you a fool for?”

Song: Take up your cross (vs 1,4,5)  (211)

Take up your cross, the Saviour said, if my disciple you would be; deny yourself, the world forsake, and humbly follow after me.

Take up your cross, then, in Christ’s strength,
and every danger calmly brave; ’twill guide you to a heavenly home, and lead to victory o’er the grave.

Take up your cross and follow Christ, nor think till death to lay it down, for only those who bear the cross may hope to wear the glorious crown.

Words: C.W. Everest: public domain Music: H. Baker; public domain

We respond to serve God

Prayer of gratitude

May we and our offerings can be used as seeds, planted faithfully and nurtured lovingly so that God’s word may be spread in new ways in our world. Grant us the humility we need to plant and then tend your valuable garden. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Response: Give thanks to the Lord

Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One; give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his Son. And now let the weak say, I am strong! Let the poor say, I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us.

Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One; give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his Son. And now let the weak say, I am strong! Let the poor say, I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us.

Words and music: Henry Smith ©1978 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Reflection on giving: We have been giving faithfully since the beginning of the pandemic and we are committed to continuing the ministry and mission that define Dayspring – using the various ways described on the screen and in Dayspring Weekly News. Thank you all for your support of our shared vision and mission. For those in the sanctuary, if you have offering envelopes with you, simply put them in the offering plate at the back of the sanctuary as you leave the service today.

Transition Music: Be still and know that I am God

Prayer for others and ourselves

Heavenly Father, you call us to be your friends and to make friends of others  to recognize in them your family in Christ. So we pray for ourselves and for the world and its people:

We pray for all areas in the world where deep divisions run between ethnic groups because of race, religion or past history. Lord, help your people to be your friends and to make friends with those who we may not always agree with, with those who look at things differently than we do.

We pray for our communities where different traditions shape different outlooks on things. Lord, help your people to listen to each other that we may learn to live together knowing that though different we are your family in Christ.

We pray for our own families where growing up is difficult, where harsh words spoken in anger are not easily taken back, and hurtful or thoughtless actions are endangering relationships. Lord, empower your children to be patient, slow to anger and to become wise in their speaking and acting as your family in Christ.

God of justice we are distressed by the violence and the threats of violence and destruction in the world, and especially by acts of war and brutality that people experience in Ukraine.
In solidarity with them, we pray for those who are suffering and in danger, who live in fear and anxiety, who fear what tomorrow will bring, who are anxious for their lives and the lives of those they love and care for, and who mourn the dead.

We pray that those with power over war will lay down weapons, and that those who have power to accomplish peace will have wisdom and compassion.

God of Grace send your Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, to sustain the hope of all those who seek justice and peace and to inspire the leaders of nations to do what is right.

Be with those who are sick, whether at home or in the hospital. Give them encouragement and help those who are ministering to them to know exactly what to do.

Hear us now as we come before your throne of justice and peace in a moment of silent prayer.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, Master and Lord. Amen.

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

I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. All who dwell in dark and sin, my hand will save. I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. who will bear my light to them? whom shall I send?

Refrain: Here I am Lord, is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have borne my people’s pain. I have wept for love of them, they turn away. I will break their hearts of stone, give them hearts for love alone. I will speak my word to them, whom shall I send? Refrain

I, the Lord of wind and flame I will tend the poor and lame. I will set a feast for them, my hand will save finest bread I will provide, till their hearts be satisfied. I will give my life to them, whom shall I send? Refrain

Words and music: D. Schutte; © D. Schutte and New Dawn Music 1983 Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Sending out with God’s blessing

Just as God’s Word was sent into the world to heal and redeem, so God sends you into the world today to be light and love, healing and hope.

Go now to be light for the world! And now may the grace and peace of God the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer be with you all both now and forever more. Amen.

Response: Go forth into the world

Go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit, thanks be to God, thanks be to God, thanks be God, Amen. X2

Words: traditional. Music: Natalie Sleeth. Arr: Gord McCrostie.

Music postlude

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Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specified licenses with One Licence and CLC. Bob Calder retains the copyright (© 2022) on all original material presented by him.

As far as Bob Calder is aware, all of the material presented that has not been attributed to others is his own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.

Posted in Recent Sermons.