Sunday (ZOOM from the Sanctuary) Message: “Christ in all things”

Worship on the Lord’s Day
3rd Sunday of Easter
10:00 am April 18, 2021
led by Rev. Bob Calder and Lydia Calder
Elder: Gina Kottke
children’s time: Bob and Lydia Calder
soloist: Linda Farrah-Basford
music director: Binaifer (Binu) Kapadia

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: 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: The Lord our God is clothed with honour and majesty.
P: In wisdom God has made all things. The earth is his creation.
L: I will sing to the Lord as long as I live, I will rejoice in my God as long as I have being.
P: Bless the name of the Lord with praise and thanksgiving.

Prayers of adoration and confession

Eternal God – when we truly pause and consider the universe in which we dwell – when we calm our hearts and our minds and gaze about us – we are filled with awe and wonder, and we feel your Holy Spirit, gathering about us, brooding over us, reaching out to us.

In the silence, O Lord, your voice becomes clearer.  We remember that your voice brings to life all that is – and how it is good.  Today, most Gracious God, we pray that we might truly sense the wonder of who you are and the worlds that you have created. And we pray that in our worship and in all that we do we will bless your holy name and be united with you and our brothers and sisters in a holy love.

Breath of Life, you are the Creator of all, maker of the sky and the air and seas, you are the God of all that is.  We are your servant people, created out of the clay of the earth itself. But we forget that we are your creatures and we play at being gods. We neglect the work of stewardship that you have provided for our occupation and our joy. We have used, abused, and abandoned those things that you created for your delight and for our sustenance and pleasure. You created a fragile world in a perfect and delicate balance. Thinking too much of our own importance we have upset the balance.

We ask your forgiveness, Holy and Righteous God. We yearn to join with the mountains and valleys, the rushing rivers and the wild ocean waters in singing your praises. We long to trust you for all the details of our lives and stop striving for the material things that contribute to the destruction of the beauty you have created. Help us to live as faithful stewards.  We pray in the name of Jesus, the risen Lord.

Response: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God

Assurance of Pardon

God the Creator brings new life not just to the world in Springtime, but to all who seek to follow his way. Take hold of the forgiveness God offers and live your life in the Spirit of Jesus.

Response: Be still and know

Prayers for God’s help and guidance

Creator God, Give us reverence for life in your world. We pray for those who make decisions about the resources of the earth, that all may use your gifts responsibly. We pray for those who work on the land and sea, in city and in the countryside, in offices, factories, and farms, that all may enjoy the fruits of their labors and marvel at your creation. We pray for artists, scientists, and visionaries, that through their work we may see creation afresh.

We pray for all creatures and plants that have been put in peril by human actions or ignorance or indifference. We remember those places in the world where the lands and the resources are being sacrificed without thought for the environment or the people who make their living from the earth.

May those of us who are blessed to live in a country of great wealth see the needs of others wherever they may live. Lord, we would ask for fullness of life for all people, for the poor, the prisoners, the refugees, the disabled, the sick.  Please bless those who work in medicine and social work, on mission fields and for relief agencies.  Give light and guidance to all who seek to bring life to others.

We come to you on behalf of all the peoples of the world as we struggle to manage Covid 19. We remember those who are ill; those who have lost loved ones; those who work in health care, education and service industries that you will keep them safe and strong as they cope with the extra demands upon them.  Lastly, we pray for those elected officials and government representatives that they will make wise decisions on our behalf.

Blessed are you, God of growth and discovery; yours is the inspiration that has altered and changed our lives; yours is the power that has brought us to new risks and opportunities. Set us, your new creation, to walk through this new world, watching and learning, loving and trusting, until your kingdom comes.   Amen.

We listen for the voice of God

 Children’s time (Open our eyes, Lord 445; Lord’s Prayer 535)

Intro: It’s nice to be at Dayspring…

LYDIA: So Bob, I’ve been thinking.

BOB: Oh no.  That’s not a good thing!

LYDIA: Very funny.  I’ve been thinking about how amazing human beings are.  Think about it,  every person in the world is different.

BOB: That’s true.  Even identical twins have some differences in they way they look and in their personalities.

LYDIA: Exactly.  Like you’re tall.

BOB: And you’re short – er.

LYDIA: I like pizza and you like roast beef.

BOB: You’re old.     And I’m older.

LYDIA: I like to be alone.

BOB: And I like to be with people.

LYDIA: Kids at home, look at the person next to you and think about not just the ways you look different, but how your personalities and interests are different too.   Some of you love to read.  Others would rather play video games.  Some are good at sports while others are good at music or drama or art.  Some of you are probably very skilled at the computer.

BOB: I am not one of those people!

LYDIA: I have an interesting diagram here.  It shows a person, well a balloon man, really.

BOB: Hey that looks like someone I went to school with.

LYDIA: The heading at the top says, “Percentages of Various Elements in a human body.”  Here is the interesting thing; even though ever person in the world is different, every human being is made up of exactly the same elements in exactly the same proportions.  For instance, did you know that the human body is made up of 61% oxygen?

BOB: I didn’t know that.  What else does it say?

LYDIA: 23 % of our body is made of carbon and 10 % is hydrogen.  Then there is Nitrogen and calcium.

BOB: That’s like teeth and bones.

LYDIA: Right.  Then phosphorous at 1.1 %

  1. Does that mean we can glow in the dark?

LYDIA: No..   At the very top of the head there is Other at 1%.

BOB: So no matter how big or small we are all bodies are made up of those percentage of Elements.

LYDIA: Right.  So, my next thought is, if I went and got all those things and mixed them together could I create a human being?

BOB: No.

LYDIA: What if I stirred it for 10 hours?

BOB: All you’d end up with is a really sore arm.

LYDIA: For a hundred hours?

BOB: You could stir for a hundred years and it wouldn’t work.

LYDIA: What if I heated it?

BOB: No. And before you ask, cooling it won’t work either.

LYDIA: Oh. Well, I don’t want to do it anyway. I was just wondering.

BOB: You’re forgotten one very important detail.  God.

LYDIA: Yeah.  You’re right.  Only God can create at that level.

BOB: Exactly.

LYDIA:    Kids, as you grow up you will meet people who will tell you that there is no God, that the earth and heavens and the plants and the animals and the people all just kind of happened.  Like some stuff just kinda got all mixed together at some point and after a long, long time it became a fish or a wolf or a tree or a mountain or a person.

These things did not come to be by chance. People did not come to be by chance.  As Christians we believe that God created this universe and the planet earth and everything on it.

There is a Creator and Creator is the Lord our God.  And you are one of God’s most special creations.

Song: Who made the earth?  vss 1,3,6                        – Book of Praise #339

Who made the earth and the heaven

Who made the earth and the heave? Mighty hands! Who made the man and the woman? Awesome hands. Who made the tree and the garden? Loving hands! Who’s got the world in mighty hands?

Who made the swan and the swallow? Mighty hands! Who made the wind and the willow? Awesome hands! Who makes today and tomorrow? Loving hands! Who’s got the world in mighty hands?

 You’ve got the whole world, Mighty God! You’ve got the whole world, Awesome God! You’ve got the whole world, Loving God! You’ve got the whole world in your hands!

Words and music Andrew Donaldson © Andrew Donaldson 1997,1996 License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Scripture readings:                    
Genesis 2:15                         OT(NRSV)
Psalm 104: 24-33
John 3:16                              NT(NRSV)
Response: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

Message: “Christ in all things”

A woman took her grandson on his first flight in an airplane.

As the plane soared higher and higher, the child was in awe of the never-ending

blue-ness above and the billowing white clouds below.

He turned to his grandmother and in a hushed voice, said “Grandma, now we are with God.”

That brings to mind the question, Where do we need to be in order to be with God?

Where is God?

For Christians, God is in the church.  God is in our homes.

Through the Holy Spirit God is within us. God also lives in nature, and is present in creation itself.

No one understood this more deeply than the apostle Paul.

In Colossians 1:15 & 16 he quoted an early Christian hymn, that was composed only thirty years after Jesus’ death:

“Christ is the image of the invisible God, The first-born of all creation;  For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—All things have been created through him and for him.  He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together”.

This tells us that the risen Christ is the source and sustainer of all things.  This means that the rivers, mountains, salmon, and fir trees all have their beginning in Christ and have life through him.

The implication for Christians is that we should show reverence toward nature. The church needs to proclaim this message,  to surprise people into responding reverentially to the whole creation.

How different that is from the daily world as we know it.

We know that air, water, soil are polluted.  We read and watch stories about the destruction of forests and prairies and rivers, to such an extent that plants and animals and fish are becoming extinct.  Many of us spend our lives in areas that were once home to many more of God’s creatures.  We know all too well that there are environmental problems on planet earth.

Can faith be of practical use in this crisis?

Yes.

There need not be competition between our love of God and our love for the whole of creation. We are most Christian when we do not let our vanity dream up unbridgeable distances between our species and those with more fur and more legs. Central to Christ’s ministry is teaching on the love of God, God loves all.

And God in Christ suffered to bring all of Creation back to wholeness, reconciled in one spirit. That includes eagles, otters, whales; prairies lands and mountain tops; jungles and deserts, rivers and oceans and their creatures. They too are connected to a spirit of suffering, reconciling love through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Creation is astounding, which helps us to appreciate anew how astounding the God is who created it. For instance, take what we now know about objects; they are not solid as they look and seem, but rather are made up of waves and particles in constant motion.

Creation is astounding.  The discoveries that the love of God the creator and redeemer can lead us to are no less astounding.  God’s love for us, and our love in return, should inspire us to care for creation. The Spirit is within it in ways far beyond our understanding.

There are also very strong Biblical directives to care for God’s earth.

Psalm 24:1 says, “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.”

This is a statement of divine ownership. John 1:3 asserts Christ’s full right to reign, “ Through him  all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made”.

God is the One who made the world; who gathered the waters together in one place and made the dry land appear; who formed the rivers, some on the surface of the earth and some beneath the ground.

Even the worms of the earth are not below God’s awareness, nor are they exempt from God’s authority.

Most of the Biblical teachings on creation care have to do with three principles: earth-keeping, fruitfulness, and Sabbath.

The idea of earth-keeping comes from the first three chapters of Genesis, that people are charged with keeping the Earth.

It comes mainly from Genesis 2:15, where Adam is asked to serve and protect the garden. That’s the basis for earth-keeping, the emergence of the idea that we have responsibility.

God put Adam there to look after the Garden. Paradise was not a place of exemption from work. None of us are sent into the world to be idle.

We have all been given abilities to work with; and God who gave us this earth for our habitation has made us something to work on. God has given us an activity: to serve him and each other, to serve Him because of our faith in Jesus Christ.

The gardener’s calling is an ancient and honourable one; it was needed even in paradise. The garden of Eden, though it didn’t need to be weeded, still needed to be maintained. This gave Adam an opportunity to admire the Creator and acknowledge his destiny; while his hands were working with his trees, his heart was with his God.

The fruitfulness principle says that we may utilize  the fruit of creation, but we may not destroy its capacity to produce fruit. Genesis 6-9, which is the story of Noah and the ark, is the centerpiece for that, and is called in many places the “World’s First Endangered Species Act.”

The Noah account, which at one time was just used as an interesting children’s story in Sunday School, is rather essential to the whole idea of fruitfulness — that the lineages of the creatures are to be preserved, or, using modern terms, that the species must be preserved.

We have earth-keeping, fruitfulness and the third principle — Sabbath, in which everything has to have its time of rest – this had been embedded into early Christian society by setting Sunday aside as a day of rest.  But the Biblical mandate is also: you have to do that for the land.

The land has to rest every seventh year. This took on prominence in O.T. times.

It was not only practiced directly by farmers, but it was seen as a metaphor for how we have to take care of our rivers, our lakes, streams, soil. Everything should have its time for rest, and not be relentlessly pressed.

We also have to be careful that we aren’t focusing only on the human family, to the neglect of our wider community, which is eventually the whole of the biosphere and the whole of creation. Focusing on humans only, will likely bring an end to all species, including us. We need wider focus.

We need to incorporate the whole household of life, the whole biosphere, the whole creation, without which family and individuals really can’t function at all.

Early in his career as a professor of biology at the University of Michigan, Cal DeWitt found that, across the country and around the world, the animals he was studying were losing their habitats. One day he sat alone in his office reading the Gospel of John. He had read John 3:16 countless times in his Christian life, but this time he noticed something different in the statement, “God so loved the world.”

“That day, it bowled me over,” DeWitt recalls.

He suddenly realized that Jesus’ death had eternal significance not only for human beings, but for all of creation, including the plants and animals, the air, the earth and the oceans.

That day he understood that the Bible teaches that God cares for every part of his creation and that we should also. Cal DeWitt has spent the last 50 years teaching and writing and encouraging other Christians to become aware of environmental issues and to become active in helping to care for the earth. He is a Christian who has made the world a better place because of his love for all creation.

As we approach Earth Day on Thursday, I would like you to consider:

How can Christians be involved in environmental issues?

How can you be involved in environmental issues?

What kinds of things can we do in our homes to help the environment?

In what ways can we teach our children and grandchildren to be repsonsible citizens?

How can we make our elected officials and business executives more aware of the necessity of proper earth stewardship?

What can you do as your response to the statement “For God so loved the world.”

Song: This is my Father’s world –                   Book of Praise #328

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought; of rocks and trees, of skies and seas Gods hands the wonders wrought.

This is my Maker’s world: the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, Declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Maker’s world: God shines in all that’s fair; in the rustling grass God’s footsteps pass; God  speaks to me everywhere.

 This is my Saviour’s world; oh let me not forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. This is my Saviour’s world; the battle is not done; Jesus, who died, shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one. Why should my heart be sad?

Words: this version © The presbyterian Church in Canada,1997. Music: public domain

We respond to serve God

Prayer of gratitude

Response: Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Reflection on giving

We have been giving faithfully even though there is no offering plate being passed around the sanctuary. It may be a while before we all return to the sanctuary – but what a wonder it is to continue the precious ministry that defines Dayspring. Thank you for your contribution, which comes freely from hearts full of gratitude.

Song: How great thou art    vss 1,4                          – Book of Praise #332        

Oh Lord, my God! When I, in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed,

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee,
How great thou art! how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee
How great thou art! how great thou art!

 When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, and there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee,
How great thou art! how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee
How great thou art! how great thou art!

Words: Carl Boberg © Manna Music Inc 1955,1981.Used by permission (ASCAP) Music: © Manna Music Inc 1955,1981. Used by permission (ASCAP) License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Sending out with God’s blessing

Response: God to enfold you

(Zoom breakout rooms)

“There is not one square inch in all creation over which Jesus Christ does not cry out: This is Mine!”             -Abraham Kuyper

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