Sermon on the what? (Brad Childs)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
6th Sunday after the Epiphany
10:00 am February 13, 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering  as a Worshipping Community
Led by Rev. Bradley Childs, preaching for a Call
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Children’s time: Rev. Bradley Childs
Elder: Jane de Caen

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: Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever
L:  Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: Here I am to worship

Light of the world, You step down into darkness. Opened my eyes let me see. Beauty that made this heart adore you Hope of a life spent with you.

Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that you’re my God, You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, Altogether wonderful to me.

King of all days, oh so highly exalted Glorious in heaven above. Humbly you came to the earth you created. All for love’s sake became poor.

Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that you’re my God, You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, Altogether wonderful to me.

Songwriter: Tim Hughes © 2000 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) 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: From far and wide we come
P: From so many lands and backgrounds and so many different experiences we gather.
L: We come new to the world, making our way through and some celebrating over three quarters of a century.
P: We come together to share, grow and love the God of our salvation.
L: Let us worship together and enjoy Him forever.
P: And all God’s people said, Amen

Prayers of approach and confession

God, we come before you this day as we do every day. We come before you as a part of the wealthiest people that have ever lived.

We come In a world where 80% of people live in substandard housing.

In a world where nearly entire lands of people cannot read or write.

We come In a world where 50% of people are malnourished.

In a world where 1% will die of nothing today but a simple lack of food or water.

We come In a world where 24% of people have no electricity, and 67% have no reliable electricity.

We come In a world where only 1% have a college education: The same percent who have HIV.

We come In a world where earning only $949.00 a year puts us in the top 50% of the world’s wealthiest people.

We come to you from a world where we call ourselves broke, and yet few of us actually worry about where our next meal will come from. Instead of our daily bread, we worry about what our retirement will be like.

We come as a people constantly judging our lives against others but rarely the suitable kinds.

God, we know that there is nothing wrong with being fortunate. But Lord, we too easily forget just how fortunate we are. Remind us of our many blessings and help us to see the face of your son on all those we meet. Give us your eyes for the world.

Forgive us our errors and remind us how blessed we are and thus far have been in life, in Spirit and in health and safety and for those we’ve lost, blessed with every single moment of love. Amen…

Response: Lord I need you

Lord, I come, I confess Bowing here I find my rest Without You I fall apart You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness.
Oh God, how I need You

Songwriters: Christy Nockels / Daniel Carson / Jesse Reeves /Kristian Stanfill / Matt Maher © 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

Assurance of God’s pardon

Our God is a God of Love and Mercy: who gives us infinite chances. This is the excellent news… in Jesus Christ, we can be and have already been forgiven.

Accept this truth and be free of this worry. -Amen .

We listen for the voice of God

Transition Music: 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

Children’s time

Story: Honesty Matters

I read about a high school golfer, Chelsea Richard, of Bloomingdale High School in Brandon, Florida. She was a golfer. But she lost her chance to win the state championship — by being honest. Chelsea hit her golf ball right on the second hole into the thick grass and the cabbage in the finals. Chelsea didn’t see it. She saw another golfer’s ball. She played another golfer’s ball and finished the hole without knowing it.

Now, this happens sometimes; mistakes happen. But you have to report it before putting it. Chelsea was on the fourth hole before she noticed. She had accidentally cheated. And she went right away to turn herself in. When she did, she lost her chance.

What would you have done? For her, it was really hard. But…

Chelsea drew strength from her favourite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She reported her error, a painful ending to her senior season and her dream of going to State.

But On the other hand, instead of being known for hitting a tiny ball into a hole, she’s well known for being a devoted follower of Jesus and a good person.

Repeat after me prayer
Lord,
Help us be honest,
Especially when it’s hard.
Help us to do what is right
And not just what is easy.
Grant us joy
In making the right choices.
… and now we pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray

 

Transition music            

 Song: Blest are they     vrs 1,2,5         624

Blest are they, the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of God. Blest are they, full of sorrow,
they shall be consoled

Refrain: Rejoice and be glad! Blessed are you; holy are you! Rejoice and be glad! Yours is the Kingdom of God!

Blest are they, the lowly ones; they shall inherit the earth. Blest are they, who hunger and thirst;
they shall have their fill.    Refrain

Blest are you who suffer hate all because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, yours is the kingdom, shine for all to see. Refrain

Words: Matther 5:3-1;paraphase, David Haas © G.I.A. publications Inc,1985. Music: David Haas. Arrg. Norma de Waal Malefyt © G.I.A. publications Inc,1985, 1991.Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Scripture readings: Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20; Luke 6:17-26

Response: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet            

Refrain: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (repeat)

Songwriters: Amy Lee Grant / Michael Whitaker Smith Thy Word lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, DistroKid  Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved.  Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Message: “Sermon on the what?”

Sergeant Kenneth E. Neu was stationed with a U.S. Airborne unit in Germany, where the parachute drop zone is located next to a Mercedes-Benz sport test track. One windy day, a gust of wind blew Sergeant Neu’s parachute off course and over the speed track. Knowing how hard landing on asphalt can be, he braced himself in fear. As the rock hard track came up at him faster and faster, he tucked in and prepared to roll, hoping to beak only his legs in the process. Just then, Sergeant Neu landed, rolled and lay sprawled out on the track. Amazingly he felt unharmed… he was fine.

But suddenly, the wind inflated Neu’s parachute once again, and it began dragging him down the length of the track. He hit the chute’s canopy release and dropped again. Once more, he checked himself and felt unharmed. Then the young man looked up just in time to see a car speeding toward him (he couldn’t report which one it was). Acting quickly, he dove out of its path, narrowly escaping death and rolling off the edge of the race track. Out of breath but uninjured, he blurted out, “How lucky can I be?”

Relieved, he turned, stepped into a gopher hole and twisted his ankle.

(Today in the Word, March 19, 1995)

Wayne Sharpton of Georgia is something of an interesting case. In 2005 Wayne won $350,000.00 on a Vegas Nights Scratch Lottery ticket. When asked how he felt about winning the lottery, Wayne said the same kinds of things most people say… like “It’s a blessing,” and, “I’ll still go to work in the morning just like every other morning.” But Wayne did it. And he kept on doing it. He kept his job as a service technician, saying that $350,000.00 wouldn’t be enough to make him leave his job. Then in April of 2006, Wayne stopped in for his morning coffee… and also Wayne bought two more scratch lotto tickets. Only this time, something different happened. This time… he took home 1Million. The reporters always came, and they asked him once again, “what does it feel like to win the lottery?” And just as before, Wayne said, “I’m blessed,” and then, “I’ll still go to work in the morning just like every other morning.” And again, He did. Wayne Sharpton is something of an interesting case. In less than two years, he won the lottery twice. So, you’d think he’d be used to it when he won another 2.5 million three months later.

“Lucky” is what sergeant Neu called it. Wayne Sharpton: “Blessed.” Very few people, I think, would disagree. But what exactly is it to say someone is “blessed”?

The story of the beatitudes is told by two different New Testament authors. As with any account, there are differences and similarities. This could be due to several reasons, including themes being placed together, the imagery being employed that may have been inferred, the possibility that they are translating, and so parts of our “autograph” original text (if we had it) would include translation, the genre bring used of course changes how you feel the story, the kind of audience the gospel author wants to address or even the way the author intends to order the events so that they comment upon one another in new ways. In any case, both Matthew and Luke deliver Jesus’ most familiar statements in these sections, Beatitudes… or Blessings, within their own unique perspective and context. In Matthew, it is the very well-known Sermon the Mount. Luke tells us that Jesus taught something similar in the Sermon on the Plane – We read a section of that today. On the broader view –

Both have in common the Beatitudes or BLESSINGS

Love your enemies

The golden rule

The Speck and the plank in the eye

Don’t judge or be judged,

Blind leading the blind

Good trees produce good fruit

Building on Rock vs Sand

Forgive and be forgiven

And Turn the other cheek

While Matthew lists 8-9 blessings, Luke includes 4 woe’s or, perhaps better put, “curses.”

It’s also worth noting that the Sermon in Matthew might actually be arranged the way it is to fit with the steps of the Lord’s prayer.

Some have also noted that perhaps Jesus is on the offensive here is basically saying that the Pharisees don’t give alms to widows and don’t take care of the mourners they are supposed to care for with the alms box money. AND with this in mind, it may not be general Woe to comfortable people everywhere but a particular attack on the Religious Right of the Day for doing enough.

In Matthew, Jesus pronounces these blessings to the 12 disciples in the very familiar Sermon on the Mount. In Luke, Jesus presents this message in The Sermon on the Flat Plain. In Matthew, he is on the mountain. But in Luke, he is going down the mountain.

When Luke the Physician and Historian recounts the message he has heard, his Jesus on the level plain speaks more about the people’s immediate physical needs. Personally, I agree with the critics that think these accounts in Matthew and Luke are a little too different from being harmonized precisely. But I don’t think that makes them untrue or inaccurate or something. I just think that if Jesus happened to have a few very good sermonettes (and he clearly did), then perhaps he might have used some of the same material, more than just the once.

Perhaps Jesus actually gave both of these sermons in a different context and made adaptations himself? But it’s also possible that This is just the same message told through two different sets of ears. Still, Luke’s Jesus says, “Blessed are the starving, for they will be fed.” And “blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”

But when Matthew tells the story, Jesus speaks in a more spiritual nature. He doesn’t seem concerned about physical health but rather a sense of justice and right, quite frankly, mental health. He tells the disciples, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” and “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

While statements of role reversal (much as with the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus) / (For example, the Last will be first and the first will be last) weren’t uncommon at the time, what is most interesting for me are not the differences in how Jesus and the writers of these gospels used these teachings. Instead, it is the strange case of people today agreeing with these sayings.

If I asked most people what they thought of these blessings, I guess that the vast majority of people would have no difficulty with them. Many people don’t particularly know or like the kind of Jesus who overturns tables and chases people with a whip. The one who appears in Revelation wearing a white robe drenched in blood and has fire in his eyes is not precisely secular friendly.

BUT the Jesus of the Beatitudes? Now that’s a Jesus people can really get behind. That’s Buddy Christ. The Jesus that says, blessed are the poor is cool. He’s friendly, and we think unthreatening and seems sort of like a lovable hippy. The beatitudes have somehow become commonplace and sterile, cute and friendly. But is that how they were received?

See, that is what’s odd about it for me. We think it’s nothing. But For the original audience, these blessings were shocking. They disturbed people. Biblical scholar and author Andrej Kodjak says, “the intent behind these blessings was to provoke offence by his words and to capsize all common understandings of God’s blessed.” And it worked. Perhaps even too well.

Not long after this, as Jesus is preaching, he realizes that he is in some trouble. He feels the anger and unrest of the crowd boiling up so much has to calm his listeners down. He says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish all of the Law of Moses.”

Both Mathew and Luke constantly describe the crowd’s reaction to Jesus’ words in the entirety of these sections as being one of astonishment and shock.

So, if what Jesus says is so offensive, shocking, and astonishing? Why is it that we have such an easy time accepting these blessings? Why do they seem so friendly and easy?

What’s wrong with “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” or “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”?

The first problem is our understanding of what blessing meant to a lot of people at this time. We are not just talking about “happy,” although that could be a part of it. And we are not just talking about being “lucky” either.

You see, Blessed is at its core, the opposite of cursed. Blessed was the intended favour of God visited upon the righteous in the form of wealth, stability, family, a remembered name, land and health. But that’s not who Jesus is talking about?

The people he’s talking about are cursed, Right?

On the one hand, “blessed” is the perfect translation. That’s why almost every translation of the bible uses it. On the other hand, there is really no word in English quite like this “blessed” because it’s kind of like saying fortunate, without need, or lucky but more like “chosen by God to be lucky.”

Today we use this word in a very haphazard sort of way, “I’m so blessed,” but they thought of it as a direct action of God. And the other side to the coin was where God directly cursed you. You know, the poor, the hungry, the ill. The stuff that just happens (not because of Germs or any other number of things – But God’s Will).

The Common English Bible has Jesus using the word “Happy.” So does Young’s Literal Greek Translation.

One other oddity here is that Matthew records these blessings in Greek, and Jesus may have pronounced them in Greek but probably not. Considering the ethnic group listening to Jesus, he may well have spoken these blessings in Aramaic, and then Matthew translated this for his audience. In this case, Jesus would have used the word asher for “blessed,” and asher is closer to gifted or fortunate. But honestly, the term is pretty diverse.

In the Amplified Bible, the Translators write.

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn

“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the [b]gentle

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger

“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises]

“Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature]

“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favour]

“Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love]

“Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness]”

No matter exactly how this word is translated, or if it’s Luke’s Physical descriptions or Matthew’s Spiritualized descriptions, these “blessings” Jesus pronounces upon the downtrodden are said to be the intended will and gift from God for them.

Seeing the lack of proper shock in the reaction of modern-day readers, one commentator tries to put this into a more contemporary context. He says, “You must imagine Jesus saying these words, ‘Without need are those who lose their homes in a flood. Lucky are those who have just lost a loved one in a car accident. Fortunate are those who have been beaten and abused. Blessed…, Blessed are those with cancer”.

I think that’s probably closer to the feeling people got when they first heard these saying.

Jesus’ words here just seem to roll off our tongues and out the door without our ever really thinking about them, but they were far from commonplace. These blessings were shocking. The Sermon of Plain is not for the faint of heart.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor.”

It’s important to note here that Luke also uses this same word “poor” elsewhere in his account, where it is typically translated as “impoverished.” Matthew uses this same word; it’s translated as a complete phrase. It reads “a cringing beggar.” Blessed are the Poor?

We’re not talking about someone short on pocket change here. “Blessed by God is the cringing beggar.”

Jesus says, “Blessed are those who weep” those that lost their wives, husbands, parents, children / “blessed are those who mourn.” He says blessed are the meek, those whose land has been taken from them and whose homes are no longer their own. People who are God and whose scriptures have slowly been replaced by Caesar: People who have been made subjects (without a true King of their own). “Blessed are the meek”: the victims of occupation, war, and poverty paralyzed and unable to react in the face of National Power. Those are blessed people.

The second reason I think that we don’t typically take the proper level of offence at these words is that in some cases, we tend to think of these blessings as a call to become like these people – as in “Blessed are those who to show mercy” or “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Given that idea, we assume we are being told to show mercy or make peace. And, of course, that’s not offensive. But the problem is simple. Here Jesus is not really asking us – to become merciful, and he is not asking us to become peacemakers. What he is doing is simply pronouncing blessings upon those who are already merciful and already are peacemakers. He doesn’t say, “Blessed are you who will soon try to become merciful or peacemakers. Now don’t get me wrong, we should try. But I think think that was the primary intent.

In fact, if these beatitudes were things he was calling us to be, then we would have to say that Jesus is calling us all to be in mourning, to be persecuted and starving. No, these are individual lots in life, casts, and he is turning the tables upside down.

To be blunt. The blessings are not about calling us into action. Our action attempts to be merciful and attempts at peacemaking are a byproduct at best. The beatitudes tell us who is already blessed.

We sometimes want Jesus to tell us what to do so we can do it. We want it to be simple. We want easy rules to follow, so we look for them even where they are not. In reality, these sayings don’t really give us as much to do per se. After all, Reformed, we are not attempting to earn God’s blessings? They simply tell us who is blessed. And the answer is jarring because it is entirely different from what the world tells us.

This is a hard saying of Jesus. Blessed are these… broken ones.

No matter how you feel. No matter what circumstances you face. No matter how beat down you’ve been. Mistreated, you think. No matter what you’ve done, not done or has happened to you. God has blessed you and still has more blessings for you.

Whether you are hungry, living on the streets and poor as in Luke’s gospel, or you are hungry and thirsty for righteousness or poor in Spirit as in Matthew… Whether you are mourning or weeping… whether you are lonely, ill, in financial turmoil, worried about your children, parents, loved ones. grieving… whether you are abused or persecuted… Jesus is saying to you. You will laugh again; you will be comforted again because in Him, You too are blessed, and Yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thanks are to our God. -Amen

Song: Come my way, my truth          565

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life: such a way as gives us breath; such a truth as ends all strife; such a life as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength: such a light as shows a feast; such a feast as mends in length; such a strength as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart: such a joy as none can move; such a love as none can part; such a heart as joys in love.

Words: G. Herbert Music: R. Vaughn Williams. © Stainer and Bell Ltd. 1911 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

We thank you, gracious God, for the blessings of this and all our days. Accept, we pray, not just this money but also our lives freely offered in gratitude for all you have done for us. Use them both, in this place and wherever you might take us. Amen.

Response: Now thank we all our God

Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices Who wondrous things has done in whom God’s world rejoices.

words: Catherine Winkworth; music: J. Cruger public domain for both

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: Be still and know that I am God

Prayer for others and ourselves

We thank you, God, that you do not will affliction or grief for us but are with us in all the circumstances of our lives. You are with us when we seem or feel like we are doing really well and things are working out. And you are with us in the desert when life seems dry, and things are out of place. You are with us in joy and in sorrow, in laughter and in tears, in abundance and in the time of need. Your blessings abound.

Help us be people who embrace the life you give in all circumstances. Help us to be people who root ourselves in your life-giving word and who are open to the refreshing water of your Spirit.

Lord, we pray today for those who are poor and for those who are rich. Every life has difficulties, and every life has beauty.

We pray for those who are poor in Spirit but also for those people that genuinely seem to have it all together. Let none of us stumble in our devotion to you and our dedication to following you in good deeds.

Lord, fill the poor with the riches of your love and with all things necessary to live. Help those living on our streets to embrace the blessings they have, to return to people they’ve been missing.

Lord, we pray today for those who hunger and those who are full. Give the hungry the bread of your love and the bread made by human hands. Teach the filled with sharing the abundance that you have entrusted us with. Remind us that we are blessed in our charity work and when we bow down to become meeker.

Lord, we pray today for those who cry and for those who laugh. Console with your peace to those who grieve and have sorrow this day. Remind us that when we suffer, it is because of the immense worth of what was lost. Remind us how blessed we were to have had those people in our lives and how blessed we remain because of them.

Teach those who laugh to dry the tears of those in need and remind us of our eternal destination.

God grant us all a new awareness and new understanding of blessings. Strengthen us so that we may respond faithfully in every situation as we seek to serve you loyally, no matter what State we might find ourselves in.

We ask these things in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord. -Amen

Song: Sing a new song                    422

Sing a new song unto the Lord; Let your song be sung from mountains high. Sing a new song unto the Lord, Singing alleluia.

For God’s people dance for joy. O come before the Lord. And play for him on glad tambourines,
And let your trumpet sound.

Rise, O children, from your sleep; Your Savior now has come. He has turned your sorrow to joy,
And filled your soul with song.

Glad my soul for I have seen The glory of the Lord. The trumpet sounds; the dead shall be raised. I know my Savior lives.

Words and music: Dan Schutte; © 1979, New Dawn Music 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

May the God of justice challenge us all with a great will to serve.
May the Christ of compassion inspire our hearts to love in measurable ways.
May the Holy Spirit walk with us all in wisdom this day and always. Go, being blessed and blessing others. Amen.

Music postlude

“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

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Bradley Childs retains the copyright (© 2022) on all original material presented by him. As far as Bradley Childs 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.