Rahab (Joshua 2:1-21; 6:22-25) (The Rev Annabelle Wallace)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Presbyterian Sharing Sunday
10:00 am September 26, 2021
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Message, Prayers , and Children’s Time: The Rev. Annabelle Wallace
Music director: Binu Kapadia              Vocalist: Linda Farrah-Basford
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
Opening words
L: From you, Lord, and through You, and to You, are all things
P: To Christ be the glory forever
L: Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: I lift my eyes up
I lift my eyes up to the mountains.
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from You, Maker of heaven
Creator of the earth.

Oh, how I need You, Lord You are my only hope.
You’re my only prayer.

So I will wait for You
to come and rescue me.

Come and give me life.

Written and performed by Brian Doerksen ©1990 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music, David C Cook) License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Call to worship
L: Come people of God. Let us gather with hearts overflowing with delight and thankfulness.
P: We are a company of faith blessed by God.
L: God’s name is to be celebrated in all generations.
P: With joy and gladness we praise God forever and ever.

Prayers of approach and confession

God of grace and glory, make your presence known to us as we worship this morning. Jesus our Christ, may your name be praised from the rising of the sun to the midnight hour. Spirit of holiness, breath on us all and bind us in Christian love and servanthood.  O God, Creator; Christ and Holy Spirit, be known to us today. Gracious God, in acknowledging your great love for us we realize our failure to live in your image.

We acknowledge a desire to be faithful as well as a reluctance to follow faith’s course and calling. We yearn for a strong faith and strive to be instruments of your spirit, yet we often believe sparingly and burden ourselves with inflexible notions. Challenge us to stretch ourselves to grow in new directions. Forgive us for times when we have rejected our neighbour, times when we have taken upon ourselves the role of judge. Lord in your mercy forgive us and instill in us an ever growing devotion to you, grant us the courage to follow wherever that devotion leads us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Response: I waited, I waited on you Lord

Assurance of God’s Grace

The Good News for all who walk the earth is that God wills our lives to be liberated from sin and aimlessness. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. As people forgiven and called, let us journey in the joy and love we receive as disciples of Jesus Christ.

 We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Jesus loves me                           373

Sometimes people are disliked because they are different.

Have you heard people say, and maybe even you have said “that person is a nerd or a goof or whatever”  There are kids that are picked on because of the way they look, or the clothes they wear, or their manners, habits or other behaviour.

Often these people are treated cruelly and mean things are said to them – they become victims.

If we find ourselves caught up in this kind of attitude I have three questions we could ask ourselves.

Is it right.  No! Just because a person might seem odd to us this does not give us the right to be mean or cruel. Jesus met all kinds of people – he was a friend to all, many people who he helped were disliked by others. He was even criticised for his behaviour. We need to follow his example.  Every person is a child of God.

How does my action make the other person feel? Terrible! How do we know? We know how we feel when someone treats us badly. Jesus said treat others as you would have others treat you.Is there any good in this Person? YES.

A slang phrase that has been around is “God doesn’t make no junk” Jesus helped disliked rejected people to find new life by being the person God wants them to be.  We must do the same for everyone we meet.

Love, encourage, help.

Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer 535

Song: Jesu, Jesu                             229

Refrain: Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love,
show us how to serve
the neighbors we have from you.

Kneels at the feet of his friends,
silently washes their feet,
Master who acts as a slave to them..    Refrain

Neighbors are rich and poor,
varied in colour and race,
neighbors are nearby and far away.      Refrain

These are the ones we should serve,
these are the ones we should love;
all are neighbors to us and you.            Refrain

Kneel at the feet of our friends,
silently washing their feet;
this is the way we should live with you.  Refrain

 Words and music: Tom Colvin © 1969 by Hope Publishing Co. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Scripture readings: Acts 8: 9 – 13            NT(NRSV)
John 4:24 – 26          NT(NRSV)

Response: Jesus, remember me                         

Message: “Rahab” (Joshua 2:1-21; 6:22-25)

Our story this morning comes from the book of Joshua.  Historically it tells of the return of the Israelites from Egypt.  Joshua is now the leader and the people are about to enter the land – they have come to Jericho – and they are about to meet a woman named Rahab.

Rahab was a prostitute who lived and worked in Jericho.  Her house, in fact, was built into the thick city wall.  She was located in a place and in a profession that enabled her to hear gossip and to assess the thinking of the people.  Over the past several months, she had learned enough to know that the people of Jericho, even of the entire land of Canaan, were terrified of a man named Joshua and his army of followers.  They had heard about Joshua’s God and how he had dried up the Red Sea so that the Israelites could leave Egypt.  This God was a mighty God, and Joshua’s men were God’s men.  What would these men do to Jericho?

One night two spies from Joshua’s camp arrived in Jericho.  To avoid suspicion, they took lodging in Rahab’s place of business.  But Rahab knew immediately who they were and what they were about.  In her mind she weighed the evidence – reports of Joshua’s strength and of the power of his God, against the limited preparations of the people of Jericho, plus her love and concern for her own family – and she made a decision.  Rahab would protect Joshua’s spies and become a spy herself.

During the night, the king of Jericho got word that there were spies in his city and that they were likely the two strangers lodging at Rahab’s house.  He sent word to Rahab:  “The men in your house have come to spy out the whole country!  Bring them out”

“Some men did come to my house”, she answered, “but I don’t know where they were from.  They left at sundown before the city gate was closed.  I didn’t find out where they were going, but if you start after them quickly, you can catch them.”

The truth was, Rahab had already hidden the spies.  They were under some stalks of flax on her roof!

So the King’s men, following Rahab’s false lead, left the city in search of the spies, and Rahab went up to the roof to get a few things straight.  She wanted protection, as she had given protection, not only for herself but for her entire family – a very large family.  She told the spies how much the people were frightened because of all the mighty deeds that their God had done.  She said to them:  “I know that the Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.”

One of the spies said, “If you do not tell anyone what we have been doing, we promise you that when the Lord gives us this land, we will treat you well.”

They told her that when the invasion came, she should gather all of her family into her house, that they would not be responsible for anyone left outside.  And, she was to tie a red cord to her window, which would be a signal to the invaders.  No one in that house would be harmed.

Then Rahab let them down by a crimson rope through the window in the wall.  She instructed them to go to the hill country, so that the pursuers would not find them.  “Hide yourselves there for three days, until the pursuers have returned; then after that you may go your way”.

When Joshua’s army finally arrived, Rahab did exactly as she had been instructed.  Quickly, she rounded up her family – mother, father, brothers, sisters, and all their families.  Then she tied a red cord to her window, making sure it was in plain sight.

Joshua sent the two spies to go and bring Rahab and all her family to the edge of the camp.  It was a good thing they did this, for the walls of Jericho collapsed and the city was burned to the ground!  Rahab and her family, however, were in the safety of the Israelite camp.  In this way she was rewarded for her service to God.  Rahab, God’s spy, and her descendants continued to live in the Israel community from that day forward.

We do not hear anything more about Rahab until the Gospel of Matthew is written.  The first chapter of Matthew contains a genealogy of Jesus.  A searching of the family tree for roots.  This genealogy follows the usual practice of the day and lists the fathers of the families.  But four times the norm is interrupted with the names of mothers.

The second interruption is the woman Rahab – the prostitute from Jericho – she is the mother of Boaz, who marries Ruth, who has a child, Obed, who is the father of Jesse, who is the father of King David.  Imagine the prostitute from Jericho – a forbearer of Jesus Christ.  God does work in mysterious ways!

Our story from the New Testament also reminds us that God works in mysterious ways – In acts we learn of Simon the magician – a hero in his own right, he had the people of Samaria in the palm of his hand.  He proclaimed himself as great, and the people claimed “This man is the power of God that is called Great.  After Phillip preaches the Good News of Jesus Christ all these people are converted by the real power of God.  Simon who had it all is also converted – he becomes a new person – dependent on the power of God rather than his own deceiving magic to wow the people.  He stays with Phillip and becomes transformed by the power of God at work in the world.  Who would have believed that he would let go of such a great scam.

Then there is the story from the Gospel of John about the Samaritan woman. It was the common understanding of those who saw themselves as the true believers that the Samaritans were not true believers, everyone knew that their religious observances were inferior – yet Jesus chooses to dialogue with this quick witted woman, with an assumed dark past, she is converted by the power of God and becomes a catalysts for others to come to faith.  She becomes a proclaimer of God’s good news.

A prostitute, a magician and a Samaritan all instruments of God.  Three very unlikely people chosen to fulfill God’s purposes.  Not, likely the people we would choose.  But that is just it – we are reminded by today’s stories not to be too quick in making human judgements.  We the Christian Church of today, have from our experience, developed preconceived ideas of who is a potential hearer of the Word of God.  We approach those who we think are acceptable candidates to join the Kingdom of God here on earth.  Proper people.  People who will enjoy coming and joining us on the comfortable pew and do things our way.  But God works in mysterious ways.  God uses people beyond our expectations and preconceived notions.

Rahab heard of the mighty acts of God and believed.  Having heard, she converted to the God who was Lord of heaven and earth.  Simon, saw the mighty acts of God in action.  Having seen, he converted to the God who worked beyond magic and illusion.  The woman of Samaria, discussed the theologies, philosophies and understandings of the day, then after experiencing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, she is converted into a life of pointing to Jesus Christ as the source of life and hope.

Our task is one of evangelism.  Our task is to proclaim the mighty acts of God in word and deed to all sorts and conditions of people.  Our task is not to judge the receptiveness or worry about the potential outcome of our proclamation or measure the possible growth for our church but simply to proclaim in word and deed the power of God, who is Lord of heaven and earth.  These stories have much to say to us about our behaviour.  It means that we can never write anyone off as unworthy of our care and compassion or as a waste of our time.

I have worked in two downtown churches. People of all sorts and conditions come to the door for help in one form or another.  There is always a wrestling in these encounters.  Weighing the truth, the reality of the need, the genuineness of the request.  It is always a struggle between wisdom and compassion because; as scripture tells us we are to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.   We are called to discern, and not be foolish.  This is one of the cutting edges of ministry.  But in the end – the balance is always swayed by a preference for responsive grace and mercy because God does work in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

Where are the cutting edges of your ministry in your everyday life?  Where do your presumptions come in conflict to God’s call to live mercy, grace and justice?  Is it with the neighbour who refuses to co-operate, the workmate who is a thorn in the flesh, the relative who has broken down the relationship, the person of colour who does not in fit with our cultural traditions, the person of sexual orientation that differs from us?  Always remember that God can and will work beyond our expectations – these people also are potential instruments of God’s work.

Our acts of mercy and grace can become means of conversion in the hands of our God.  Our task is to proclaim in deed the mighty acts of God – God’s power will convert.

 

Song: We have this ministry              590

We have this ministry
and we are not discouraged;
it is by God’s own power
that we may live and serve.
Openly we share God’s word,
speaking truth as we believe,
praying that the shadowed world
may healing light receive.
We have this ministry; O God, receive our living.

O Christ, the tree of life,
our end and our beginning,
we grow to fullest flower
when rooted in your love.
Brothers, sisters, clergy, lay,
called to service by your grace,
different cultures, different gifts,
the young and old a place.
We have this ministry, O God, receive our giving.

The yoke of Christ is ours:
the whole world is our parish;
we daily take the cross,
the burden and the joy.
Bearing hurts of those we serve,
wounded, bruised and bowed with pain,
Holy Spirit, bread and wine,
we die and raise again.
We have this ministry; O God, receive our loving.

Words and music: Jim Strathdee © Deseet flower Music, 1979. Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

 We respond to serve God

Prayer of gratitude

Gracious, everlasting, ever-loving God you have bestowed gifts upon your creation that ae beyond our every expectation. So we pause now to set before you are thanks – symbolized by our offerings. We have opened our hands to release the gifts that now come before you as a way of bringing glory to your name through service Throughout you world. God of glory we offer this money to further the work of your church. We offer ourselves too, as we strive to be your people on earth. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

Response: Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Reflection on giving

We have been giving faithfully throughout the pandemic. This reflects our commitment to continue 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 contribution, which comes freely from hearts full of gratitude. For those of you in the sanctuary, if you have offering envelops with you— simply put them in the offering plate at the back of the sanctuary as you leave the service  today.

Response: Be still and know

Prayer for Others and Ourselves

God of the entire universe, we give you thanks for this day. You have filled it with the sounds and feel and smell of autumn for our enjoyment and pleasure.God of every time and place, you have chosen people throughout the ages to be bearers of your love, definers of your justice, witnesses of your mercy, builders of your peace.

We pray this morning that you sharpen our awareness of what it means to be chosen – chosen not by merit or for privilege but because you have drawn us near by grace. Fill us with that same sense of passion for living your grace, justice and mercy.

We come to pray for your world.

We pray for those who have experienced personal tragedies – send your comfort and peace upon them.

We pray for those whose safety and support systems have failed – those who are living in isolation – those who have no home or food – those who feel no sense of purpose and direction – those filled with useless anger. Lord use us to bring about wholeness and justice to these your people.

We remember the victims of wars – we pray for refugees. We pray for those who cannot find their loved ones, for those who grief for those who are still tortured and oppressed. Open leaders and people alike to the call of your ways of forgiveness and peace.

God of compassion and mercy we pray for those who are ill – may they know your healing presence.  And we pray for those who are suffering from this pandemic, especially we pray for all those who are serving so diligently to heal and save and comfort – despite exhaustion and feelings of despair and anger. We pray for those who are living in care homes – grant them the peace of your presence.

Lord there is so much need – it is overwhelming – we place our trust in you to help us find ways to bring about answers to these prayers in our small corner of the world.

Lord hear our prayers and use us to answer. Amen

Song: Give me oil in my lamp         655

Give me oil in my lamp; keep me burning;
give me oil in my lamp, I pray.
Give me oil in my lamp; keep me burning;
keep me burning till the break of day.

Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the Servant King;
sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna, let us sing!

Give me joy in my heart; keep me praising;
give me joy in my heart, I pray.
Give me joy in my heart; keep me praising;
keep me praising till the break of day.  Refrain

Give me peace in my heart; keep me loving;
give me peace in my heart, I pray.
Give me peace in my heart; keep me loving;
keep me loving till the break of day.     Refrain

Give me love in my heart; keep me serving;
give me love in my heart, I pray.
Give me love in my heart; keep me serving;
keep me serving till the break of day.    Refrain

Words: Anonymous © public domain; Music: Christian Strover © 1988 by Hope Publishing Co.

Sending out with God’s blessing

Response: Amen, we praise your name, O God

 “The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought children; but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
Jesus


Annabelle Wallace retains the copyright (©2021) on all original material presented by her. As far as we are aware, all of the unattributed material presented herewith is Annabelle Wallace’s 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.