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Sunday (Zoom) message: A heads-up, with assurances

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Third Sunday after Pentecost, June 21, 2020

Scripture:
Matthew 10:24-39

Dayspring Zoom Connect Worship, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost,

June 21, 2020

Gathering

Music meditation:

God, we praise you for the morning

  1. God, we praise you for the morning;
    hope springs forth with each new day,
    new beginning, prayer and promise,
    joy in work and in play.

    2. God, we praise you for creation,
    mountains, seas and prairie land.
    Waking souls find joy and healing
    in your bountiful hand.

    3. God, we praise you for compassion,
    all the loving that you show;
    human touching, tears and laughter,
    help your children to grow.

    4. God, we praise you for your Spirit,
    Comforter and daily friend;
    restless searcher, gentle teacher,
    strength and courage you send.

    5. God, we praise you for the Saviour,
    come that we may know your ways.
    In his loving, dying, rising,
    Christ is Lord of our days.

    6. Hallelujah, hallelujah,
    Hallelujah, hallelujah!
    Hallelujah, hallelujah!
    Christ is Lord of our days!

Words and music: Jim and Jean Strathdee; © 1985, Desert Flower Music
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved

Greeting: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you…”   Jan Ray Moncada (Welcoming elder)                              

Welcome and announcements:

Call to worship:

L: Gladden the souls of your servants, O God!
P: To you, O Lord, we lift up our hearts.
L: The Lord is good and forgiving, abounding on steadfast love.
P: Listen to our cries, O God, and answer.
L: God is great and does wondrous things,
P: So we come to worship and bow down before you, O Lord.
L: Let us glorify God’s name together.

Music meditation:

Be Thou my Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
 

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art

High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all

Music harmony copyright © 1975, Hope Publishing Co.
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved.

Prayers of approach and for God’s help and of lament:

Lord of grace, you created our minds to grow in wisdom.
You created our hearts to expand with love for you and your world.
You created our voices to sing your praises forever.
Fill us to overflowing with your Holy Spirit,
so we may worship you in spirit and in truth,
bold and unafraid to follow you
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dear Lord of wisdom, by the power of your Holy Spirit, open our minds to your truth, our hearts to your gospel, and our hands so that we can do your will. In the name of Jesus, your Living Word, we pray….

Now let’s continue with a Neighbourhood Psalm of Covid Lament and Gratitude

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majesty is Your Name in all the earth….
You made the scent of flowers and freshly cut grass,
The birds’ sing of your love with cheerful songs at dawn
The sun as she rises and brightens the sky
Reminds us that your mercies are new every morning
And yet there are moments, when we don’t see it…
The clouds, the fog, the grey hide the sun
Like face masks hide our smiles
And You, Lord… are You there, Lord? Do You care?
The smell of pain and loss covers up the freshness of spring
The taste of tears and trauma,
The emptiness of days meant to be spent
With neighbours, at festivals
At the lake, the theatre, travelling
And discovering more of your world, your presence in every place and people
They’re gone like the twilight’s last bright streaks in the evening
Instead we’re here. Just here.
At home. With a sameness, a zoomness that doesn’t seem to have an end
But Lord, did you not hover over the emptiness in the beginning?
Did not the cloud of Your Presence stay with and guide Your people in the wilderness?
Are not You, Lord of heaven and earth moved into the neighbourhood?
Have you not made Your home amongst us?
May we not find You, right next door?
Right where we are, in the places You have sent us to remain?
What might we discover as we are attentive to where You are in this place…?
In this home, on this street, in this neighbourhood.
The God who lives among.

All: What are you up to, Incarnate One?

Is that not You in the neighbour who dropped off the baking?
At my door delivering a package?
Across the street as I exchange stories with my neighbours?
What are You inviting us to notice now that we have slowed down and have ‘nowhere to go’
Your Voice in the laughter (and the screams?!) of the children next door?
Your Creation care in the gentle tending to beauty and bounty of those in their gardens?
And what of the families painting rocks and chalking sidewalks with messages of hope and encouragement?
Or the grace and ‘embrace’ of every neighbour – no matter our age, race, ability or gender– when it’s to time to celebrate birthdays, graduations — or lament…
We’re in this together, we say…
And so we lament
Together…
Our losses – where have our health, our jobs, our school and family connections gone?
What do we do when community events, sports, even serving opportunities– have been diminished, depleted or dumped entirely…
When there is more hurt than we can handle…
More violence, hate and prejudice than we can bear
When every door is locked and every contact virtual—

All: We trust.

And in trusting we seek to discover the good
And pray for it with gratitude…
We declare every day, three things for which we are thankful
For gratitude changes things- changes me. Makes me present. Gives me hope.

Assurance of God’s forgiveness:  Minister

I invite you to embrace the goodness of God in the midst of the pandemic.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.

Children’s time:   Lynn Vaughan                         (Prayer & Lord’s Prayer)

Music meditation: There is a redeemer

There is a redeemer
Jesus, God’s own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
‘Til the work on Earth is done

Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain

When I stand in Glory
I will see His face
And there I’ll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place
 

Words and music: Melody Green; © 1982, BMG Music Publishing Co.
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved.

Scripture reading:

Matthew 10:24-39 (New Revised Standard Version) Reader: Jan Ray Moncada

24 “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

Whom to Fear

26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35 For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Message: “A heads up, with assurances”

“Happy Father’s Day” to all dads, stepdads, dads in heaven and granddads, with all that this may mean to you in your circumstances.

Families and in particular parenthood in all its facets have never been straightforward. Yes, there are many positives, of course, and this is what Father’s Day wants to reinforce.

In our reading, there is something of this theme of parenthood and loyalty woven into the lines of our text.

Perhaps we could imagine that Christ’s relationship with us is also that of a Parent. My son, my daughter, life is beautiful, Christ says to his followers. By following Me you’ll be going on a journey. Have plans, be optimistic, it’s all great. Be opportunistic, full of vim and vigour, grab the proverbial bull by the horns! Life is good for those with courage.

My son, my daughter, I also want you to know that there will certainly be times when people will speak badly about you. If they speak badly about Me, don’t expect it to be easier for you than it was for Me. This journey isn’t for the fainthearted.

Even though you have lots of hope and are full of great plans for this life, I want to give you a heads-up. It will not be all that rosy. Don’t give up, though. Please don’t turn off and get weary, dropping out halfway.

When we approach a project or a career of some sort, it’s always great to have lots of optimism about it. How would it work out if, for example, I go hiking in the mountains and even before I start, I go and sit on a bench and say this is too hard? It’s going to be way too dangerous. There might be bears that will attack me. I don’t think I should embark on this at all. It’s too tough. Let’s take off those boots, they are too heavy, let’s walk with flip-flops, let’s float in a jacuzzi, I don’t want any hardship. Or I take on a marathon. It’s a tough event that I train for over many months and even years. Here too, I could say, oh no, this race is just going to be way too much.

Jesus is speaking to his disciples, and in the same sense to us, saying that this journey of following Him might sound attractive. It is attractive, but don’t become too disillusioned. There will be some challenges, some huge ones. Know that without any doubt.

It is, however, a privilege. It’s a privilege to be counted as part of the followers of the one who was crucified. Part of the followers of the very Son of God, part of the divine God’s costly possession.

Jesus warns that following Him and living for God’s New Reality will go along with lots of resistance. This is to be expected and should never come to us as a surprise.

Now, how many people would want to be part of having trouble while following Christ? Is this something we are cut out for? Do I have enough stamina and energy for this journey? I have a hunch that many would rather give this up as way too much of a commitment. That’s why Christ says to his children. My son, my daughter, there is a flipside. It is the flipside that you need to hold on to. This is what will keep you fighting the good fight.

The flipside of this is that we are assured that God will protect us. The work that is done, is God’s work and it happens according to what God has in mind for us in the larger picture. Even if it’s not going to be easy, please, “…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” What a call to commitment this is! Adhering in faith to Christ means trusting fully in Him.

How many of you have said about the coronavirus “I didn’t sign up for this”? How often does life not throw curve balls at us? We like to be in control, we even prefer to be able to determine our future, plan for it and reach certain outcomes.

Our trust in Jesus Christ is constantly tested. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hair of your head are all counted. So, do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

How do we translate this trust when faced by a global pandemic? I can see how it’s important for each of us to make up our personal view of trust in Christ.

We do want to live in ways that will protect not only ourselves but also others.

Nobody can see a virus, except under a microscope. The only visible part of a virus is the way it affects people’s health when they are contaminated with the virus. Then you see how ill they get.

Our fear of this happening, can, however, overshadow and cloud all our thinking.

How much trust and commitment to our real Parent, Jesus Christ, are we truly willing to give? In our prayer life, are we willing to surrender ourselves to the One who has our best interests in mind?

The warning, the heads-up, becomes even clearer when Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Due to your allegiance with Me, my son and my daughter, family relationships, relationships on earth in general, will become clouded and murky. This too will prove to be a trial to overcome. “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

The theologian and preacher Barbara Brown Taylor [i] calls these words a “burr from Matthew’s Gospel…one of those passages I wish he had never written down.”

However, she wrestles with the text and comes out with an elegant understanding of its claim on us: “I am a daughter,” she writes, “a wife, a sister, an aunt, and each of those identities has shaped my life, but none of them contains me. I am Barbara. I am a Christian. I am a child of God. That is my true identity, and all the others grow out of it.” According to her interpretation, she draws a sharp distinction between our identity as a child of God and any role we may have in life.

Jesus gives us a heads-up that it’s going to be difficult. And He assures us that in the long run, those who lose their life for his sake will find it. No matter what things are happening in your life, keep believing, keep trusting, keep seeking, keep loving, keep praying, keep praising, and leave the rest to God.

Music meditation: I heard the voice of Jesus say

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
Lay down, O weary one, lay down
Your head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
So weary, worn, and sad;
I found him in a resting place,
And he has made me glad.

Take my yoke upon you
And learn of me
For my yoke is easy
And my burdens are light.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
The living water, thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s light;
Look unto me; your morn shall rise,
And all your day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In him my star, my sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk
Till traveling days are done.

Music arrangement Ralph Vaughn Williams; © Oxford University Press
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved.

Prayer of gratitude:

Reflection on givingJan Ray Moncada

We give to support the ministry and mission of our congregation. During this time of COVID-19 restrictions, our members have been generous. However, because we have lost the contributions to our budget from the organizations that use our building, we are running a shortfall. So we all need to dig deep. We do our giving in the various ways described on the screen and in the Dayspring Weekly News.

Closing prayer: Minister

Blessing: Minister

“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)


[i] Kathryn Matthews on “Sermon seeds” at https://www.ucc.org/worship_samuel_sermon_seeds_june_21_2020


Copyright 2020 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church

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