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
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
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.
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
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.