Sunday (Zoom) message: Our call to stewardship

Dayspring ZOOM Connect Worship, Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost,

October 4, 2020, 10 am MDT

Gathering

Music:  All things bright and beautiful

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The lord god made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their little wings.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day.

words: Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander; English folk melody
public domain

Greeting: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you…”

Welcome and announcements

Call to Worship

L: The banqueting table is prepared and God calls us to the feast.
P: We have come from east and west, from north and south, to sit at Christ’s table.
L: Compassion, love and grace pour out like fine wine.
P: We taste the bread of life, bread for our journey.
L: These are gifts of God for all the people of God.
P: Let us taste and see that the Lord is good!

Music:  Glory, glory hallelujah

Glory, glory hallelujah
Since I laid my burden down
Glory, glory hallelujah
Since I laid my burden down

African American spiritual
public domain

Prayers of Approach and for God’s Help and Prayer of Confession

Holy God, Creator, Christ, and Spirit; when we hunger for fulfillment, You meet all our needs. You give us the bread of Life. When we thirst for your presence, You draw near to us in every place, at any time. You fill our cup to overflowing. You alone are truth,

You alone are love, for You are the One who was, who is, and who ever shall be. Holy One, You are our hunger filled, and our thirst quenched, You are our deepest desire fulfilled, so to You, O God, Creator, Christ and Spirit, we give praise with all your people, here and everywhere, now and always.

Dear Lord, by your Word and the gift of your Spirit, open our minds to greater understanding, our hearts to deeper love, and our wills for greater service.

Out of a desire to be free of past mistakes and start again with You and with one another, we join our voices in confession:

God of mercy, we confess that we have often failed to speak and act with kindness. We have not always cared for others as You care for us. We have not welcomed others as we have been welcomed to your table, nor have we forgiven others as we have been forgiven. We remember the good not done, kind words not spoken, and things we regret. If only we could make these things right! Hear our silent confession: …

Assurance of God’s faithfulness:

Friends believe the good news! Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation; the old life is fading; the new life has started to emerge—in us. Know that we are forgiven, and so let’s have the courage to forgive one another.

Music:  Open our eyes, Lord

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 ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved.

Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Children’s time: Heather Tansem

Music:  To show by touch and word

To show by touch and word
devotion to the earth,
to hold in high regard
all life that comes to birth,
we need, O God, the will to find
the good you had of old in mind.

Inspire our hearts to choose
the things that matter most,
to speak and do the truth,
creating peace and trust.
For every challenge that we face
we need your guidance and your grace.

Let love from day to day
be touchstone, guide and norm,
and let our lives portray
your Word in human form.
Now come with us that we may have
your wits about us where we live.

Words: F. Kaan, Music: R. Klusmeier; © 1975, Hope Publishing Co.; WorshipArts
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved

Scripture reading: Matthew 21:33–46 (New Revised Standard Version – NRSV)

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Music:  Glory to the Father

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning
is now, and will be forever
Amen, amen, amen

words: trad.; music: J. Weaver 1978
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved.
Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Message: “Our call to stewardship” Theresia Ndofor

One thing that is common about most humans is their love for nature. A lot of people feel relaxed, comfortable and secured when they are out there hanging around nature. Nature is not only soothing but comes with healing both to the soul and body. I remember at the time when I felt so much grieve for the loss of my husband, the therapist who was helping me through the process always encouraged me to take a walk outside whenever I could; so as to be able to feel that magic that nature has in bringing peace to the soul. I know a lot of us enjoy the beauty and sweet smell of flowers; the shed and beautiful breeze that blows around trees on a hot and may be distressful day. At summer, we notice that so many people rush to natural environments like lakes, beaches, hills, forests, etc. etc.  just so they can savour the beauty of nature as they enjoy God’s creation.

Talking about trees, I don’t know how many of us have experienced the beauty and freshness of the air we breathe each time we find ourselves around a forest or group of trees. It usually feels like the air around such areas is super refined and the feeling at such moments is usually like the best in the entire universe. Going beyond the beauty of the air we breathe around trees, I know also that we all love to eat the fruits or pick up the flowers that fall from the trees. One thing I have learnt about tress is their generosity to humanity. They do not only provide all these beautiful things to humanity, but also serves as food and shelter to birds and other animals out there. The willingness of the tree to serve creation demonstrates to us how much God wants us to be of service to one another and to the entire creation.

The tree is a selfless creature that, produces food, shelter and clothing for others. Yes, we just harvest from their hard work of digging their roots deep into the earth so as to stand up strong us, enduring harsh weather conditions just so that you and I will have enough oxygen breath in and good food to eat.

In our text this morning, we read a parable that falls within the narrative of what has been described as the parables of the Kingdom. Jesus Christ was in his last days when he came to Jerusalem and felt the need to warn his own people of the need to be faithful in their service of the vineyard of the Kingdom. This parable is told after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and is one of the three parables found in all synoptic gospels, demonstrating how important it is.

It is obvious that Matthew uses this parable as an allegory as the landowner represents God, the vineyard representing the Kingdom of God; the tenants representing the chief priests and Pharisees and the slaves representing the prophets and those sent to Jerusalem by God. The son, of course, is Jesus and the new tenants will be the new creation Christ came to establish.

When we read Mathew 23:37ff; we get a clear understanding of what Jesus is trying to communicate in this parable when he lamented over Jerusalem. Jerusalem had diverted the course of God for them and even went on to destroy the prophets whom God had sent to try to correct them. Most of the people did not listen to the prophets and finally, God decided to send his son Jesus to make clear God’s message to them and who was eventually killed like the other prophets that had come before him. Most of the people refused to accept Christ and as such the kingdom was given to a new people, the church of Christ.

Relating this text to our today’s context, I will like us to see this as a call or a reminder to our stewardship to God; Our call to servanthood as God’s own people. When we plant a fruit tree, we spend our time and resources taking care of the tree. All this we do just so that this tree produces good fruit for us at harvest time. Just like the fig tree that was cursed by Jesus for not producing fruit, when we spend our resources and energy on a fruit tree and it yields no result, we end up probably destroying that tree in favour of a better specie.

Dear friends in the vineyard, God has called us all for service in the kingdom and his expectation is that we yield good fruits so that like that beautiful tree we are able to feed the owner and the world. As responsible stewards who stand like that tree planted by streams of water, whose leaves never goes dry, and which produces fruits in and out of season, we have been equipped by God for service in the kingdom. We are therefore charged to honour the authority of the Landowner and by so doing we will realize that we are not only working for the owner but for ourselves. Like the selfless tree, we must be able to gather God’s own people together as our acts of faith and commitment to the Lord.

I did not only observe that the tenants were wicked, but greed pushed them to the extent that they had to kill the heir thinking they will own everything. How foolish is wickedness and selfishness. I wonder how they forgot so quickly that the landowner was still alive and could will his property to whosoever he desired.

One thing I like about this parable is the fact that though the tenants were portrayed as wicked, their hard work did not go unnoticed. In fact, without their effective service, the landowner would not have sent the slaves to come collect the harvest. The landowner was surely pleased with the work they did, but at the end of the day, because of the wicked attitude portrayed by these tenants, they lost the reward they deserved for their hard work and others had to reap from their rewards.

Dear congregation, this tells us that there is a possibility of rendering effective service in the vineyard and losing it up all at the end of the day just because of a stupid act of wickedness. This morning I admonish us all with the words of the apostle Paul who said, “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us looking up to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. God has blessed us with various gifts and graces. Don’t tell yourself ‘my gifts and talents are meant for me alone;’ no; you have been blessed to be a blessing. That is our call to a responsible stewardship., we are called to be a blessing to a lost a dying world. As the light in the midst of darkness, let us be like that city built on a hill that cannot be hidden as we continue to shine as the light of the world. Like the selfless tree may we step out this day, ready to feed, shelter and offer a safety to creation. May we be selfless stewards in the vineyard of God as we extend the love of God to humanity and to the entire creation.

God bless us all and to him be the glory.

Amen

Music:  One bread one body
One bread, one body,
one Lord of all
One cup of blessing

which we bless
And we, though many,

throughout the earth
We are one body

in this one Lord

Songwriter: John B. Foley; 1978 © 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

The Lord’s Supper

Prayer

Communion

Prayer of gratitude

Music:  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: M. Rinkart; music: J. Cruger
public domain

Reflection on giving

We give to support the ministry and mission of our congregation.
During this time of COVID-19 restrictions, our members have been generous.
Thank you for that generosity. 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.

Prayer

Blessing

Music:  God to enfold you

God to enfold you, Christ to uphold you
Spirit to keep you in heaven’s sight
So may God grace you, heal and embrace you
Lead you through darkness into the light

Words: J. Bell, G. Maule; © WGRG Iona Community, GIA Publications Inc.
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved.
Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE


Minister: The Rev. Dr Heinrich Grosskopf

Welcoming Elder: Jan Ray Moncada

Ministry Student: The Rev. Theresia Ndofor

Worship Arts Coordinator (Guitarist): Gord McCrostie

Pianist: Binu Kapadia


Copyright 2020 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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