Sunday (Zoom from the sanctuary) message: Seeking wisdom on our Lenten journey – through the eyes of Proverbs

Worship on the Lord’s Day

 

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: I lift up my eyes to the hills –
from where will my help come?
P: My help comes from the Lord,   
    who made heaven and earth.
L: Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: Forever God is faithful

Give thanks to the Lord our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good, He is above all things
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise

With a mighty hand and outstretched arm
His love endures forever
For the life that’s been reborn
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise; sing praise, sing praise

Forever God is faithful, forever God is strong
Forever God is with us, forever and ever; forever

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: We gather together,
seeking life in all its fullness.
P: We gather in God’s name,
    longing for what is real and true.
L: We gather, drawn by the words
of our Creator and Redeemer.
P: We gather to worship our Lord,
    who is worthy of all glory and praise.

Prayers of approach and lament:

Loving and Holy God, Our Creator, Christ, and Guide, You speak the words of life to us. In You we find our hearts’ desire; by your grace, we are saved. When the way forward is unclear, You shed light. When we are troubled, You give peace. When times are difficult, You stir courage and hope. Our deepest longing is to know You and to be known by You. In these difficult days, we praise You for your faithfulness to us. Draw near to us in our time of worship, dear Lord, and open the way before us, so that we may follow Jesus without wavering, trusting Him to lead us.

Although following You brings joy, dear Lord, we have things about which we have some lament. When we look at the times we live in, the unpredictable part, the tough conditions in which we are thrust, we bring to You our questions. How long, o Lord, how long is this going to continue? Our hearts yearn to see our loved ones. There were times during which we took it for granted that we could pick a date and go on a long-awaited vacation. Now it’s out of the picture. Why, o why, Lord? There are those who have no other option than to die alone, and their loved ones are stuck with grieving alone. Lord, why do these hurtful experiences have to be part of our lives?

Response: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God

Assurance of God’s faithfulness:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Amen

Response: Be still and know

Prayers for God’s help and guidance:

Dear Lord, where would we be without the knowledge that You are here in our midst? How could we even breathe, think or move? We need You, Lord! We ask for your presence and your active healing power in the many instances either known or unknown to us. You know who is in the hospital, would You touch each person in their various difficulties. We also pray for Dennis Z, Cheryl’s brother who is suffering from Covid in the hospital. Would You hold your hand over him. Would You strengthen all his family and friends in this time. Then again, we are aware that many others are under financial pressure, emotional stress, would You also journey along in those instances.

Now we pray, gracious Lord, send your Holy Spirit to move in us and among us, so that we may hear your voice speaking in the scriptures. Open our minds and hearts to encounter your Living Word, and give us the courage to follow, no matter the cost. Amen.

 

We listen for the voice of God

 

Children’s time:

Song: Will you come and follow me        634   

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same? Will you let my love be shown; will you let my name be known; will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name? Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same? Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare? Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name? Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same? Will you kiss the leper clean, and do such as this unseen, and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name? Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same? Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around, through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name. Let me turn and follow you and never be the same. In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show. Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

Words: Iona Community; © 1987, WGRG, c/o Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc., agent
Music: John Bell; © GIA Publications, 1987
License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission
to stream the music in this service obtained from
ONE LICENSE

Scripture readings:

Proverbs 1:1-7 — Old Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

Prologue


For learning about wisdom and instruction,
for understanding words of insight,

for gaining instruction in wise dealing,
righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 
to teach shrewdness to the simple,
knowledge and prudence to the young—

let the wise also hear and gain in learning,
and the discerning acquire skill,

to understand a proverb and a figure,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Mark 8:31-38 — New Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Response: Jesus, remember me

Message: “Seeking wisdom on our Lenten journey – through the eyes of Proverbs”

When realtors accompany clients in buying a home, they like saying, “It’s all about location, location, location.” You’ll get a cheaper house when buying right beside a big highway and right next to power lines. That’s because you’re buying without thinking about location.

The same applies to understanding the Scriptures. Here it’s about “context, context, context.” The story of Mark needs to be read with a context in mind, otherwise, you’ll get a cheap view that makes very little sense. When we read Mark 8, which Ransford read today, within its narrative context, we come to see that the mission of Jesus and his disciples is to give life.

What is so amazing is that the book of Proverbs walks a similar line. Wisdom, in Hebrew, is called “hokmah” which is a female noun, which appears 149 times in the Old Testament. She is Lady Wisdom. Now, this Lady wants to give us wisdom to be good at life. Because life is complex, we need wisdom. There is a lot of pain and sadness in this world because we aren’t making wise decisions. What is so comforting is that Jesus came to this world to help us to be good at life by following his example and teachings. Jesus wants us to enjoy life, to have life and that in abundance, as Jesus said it according to John 10:10.

It is important to know that there is a huge difference between being steeped in knowledge and having wisdom. Knowledge can be found by using Google, reading books and by studying. “Hokmah” which is from God is often opposed by many in the world as foolishness. A Christian boxer made a comment about life, that it is always better to give than to receive. Unfortunately, in today’s society, almost everything is driven by greed where people prefer to have more.

God’s wisdom became human in Jesus Christ. As we hear it in 1 Corinthians 1, “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.” Humankind, as hard as we try, finds it hard to fathom God’s wisdom.

When Lady Wisdom does her word in the Book of Proverbs, she is smart and well-versed. She speaks for times of peace as well as for times of turmoil and uncertainty. She speaks so many wise words into the times we live in. Just as the words of Jesus are wisdom for all people throughout history, Lady Wisdom, “hokmah” has words worth listening to.

Her advice comes like words of a loving and caring parent to a child. She is this invisible creative force in the universe that guides us to make wise choices. In chapter 4 for example we hear her say, “Listen, children, to a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight; for I give you good precepts: do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, and my mother’s favourite, he taught me, and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.’”

Jesus came so that we can have life, He gave up his life so that we can live.

Do the instructions according to Proverbs guarantee that we will never have anything go wrong? Do they keep us from falling into snares? The wisdom that we learn from “hokmah”, from Lady Wisdom, or as the Greeks would say, Sophia, are great instructions that we are told to pay heed to, but they don’t safeguard us against our own foolish mistakes.

It is, for example, wise to ensure that one’s car is fitted with winter tires so that in the winter we won’t slide on the snow, but winter tires won’t prevent us from having an accident or from landing in the ditch.

This is why last week’s Book of Job showed us how a person can live wisely and carefully, and life can still turn horribly wrong.

Next week, we’ll also see how Ecclesiastes will turn out to portray how wisdom is a nice attribute to have, but “no I don’t always think so.” It is as if “hokmah” in Proverbs has reached maturity, but that Ecclesiastes points out that in old age, it is discovered how life can make one cynical. Senior years can often make one look at life with less optimism, and even with a greater measure of disillusionment.

I have one more question this morning: Have the past 12 months only been bad? Or have we acquired more wisdom? I want to dare say that before the pandemic we took many things for granted such as going to the mall and visiting friends just when we wanted to. We have learned a lot more about many deeper things. How about more patience in the face of our hurried natures? Or even less flimsy, light, and unimportant priorities, and more thought put into those things that really matter, like relationships, being less selfish.

Caring to listen more closely to one another could also not hurt all that much. Would we have been doing as much of this during our rat-race existence?

These are the things that make life worthwhile. Deeper thought into how we do our daily living. Admire the little things. Count your blessings. Don’t take anything for granted. And above all: Put your mental health first.

Indeed: Sometimes a healing word is comfort,
easing the grieved or anxious heart,
giving assurance of our caring,
treasuring each and every part.
Come, break the silence! Let us tell
the Word that makes us free and well.

Let us use wisdom to spread life and be life-giving towards one another.

Jesus implored his disciples so that, “those who lose their life for (his) sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” Amen

Song: Sometimes a healing word           768   

Sometimes a healing word is comfort:
easing the grieved or anxious heart,
giving assurance of our caring,
treasuring each and every part.
Come, break the silence! Let us tell
the Word that makes us free and well.

Sometimes a healing word remembers:
calling up days of joy or pain,
letting the past renew the present,
till hope can mend and move again.
Come, break the silence! Let us tell
the Word that makes us free and well.

Sometimes a healing word is angry:
giving a name to discontent,
shining a light on sin or grievance,
calling a people to repent.
Come, break the silence! Let us tell
the Word that makes us free and well.

Sometimes a healing word takes chances:
going where no one yet has been,
facing the dangers of the desert,
hoping for shelter at the inn.
Come, break the silence! Let us tell
the Word that makes us free and well.

Sometimes a healing word will listen:
hearing the voiceless into speech,
letting the pattern of the story
move us to learn what it can teach.
Come, break the silence! Let us tell
the Word that makes us free and well.

Words and © Pat Michaels,1992
Music: George Neumark, public domain  

 

We respond to serve God

 

Prayer of gratitude:

Thank You Lord, for all the good that we are learning during these times. Even when there’s a reluctance to be grateful and to acknowledge it, we know deep down that You are being kind to us and You are tending to us. Thank You Lord.

Response: In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful

Reflection on giving:

We have been giving faithfully even though there is no offering plate going around the sanctuary. It may be a while before we return to that 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: We lay our broken world             202

We lay our broken world in sorrow at your feet,
haunted by hunger, war and fear, oppressed by power and hate.

Here human life seems less than profit, might and pride, though to unite us all in you,
you lived and loved and died.

We bring our broken towns, our neighbours hurt and bruised; you show us how old pain and wounds for new life can be used.

We bring our broken loves, friends parted, families torn; then in your life and death we see
that love must be reborn.

Words: Anna Briggs © Iona Community (Scotland) used by permission of GIA Publication, Inc
Music: Kenneth Finlay © Broomhill Church of Scotland, Glasgow. License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission
to stream the music in this service obtained from
ONE LICENSE            

Sending out with God’s blessing:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:13)

Response: God to enfold you


2nd Sunday of Lent

10:00 am February 28, 2021

led by Rev. Heinrich Grosskopf

Elder: Ransford Kusi-Menkah

children’s time: Rev. Theresia Ndofor


Copyright 2021 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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