Sunday (Zoom) message: Persistence and faith can make a powerful pair

Dayspring ZOOM Connect Worship, Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost,

August 16, 2020, 10 am MDT

Minister: The Rev. Dr. Heinrich Grosskopf 

Welcoming Elder: Gina Kottke

Worship Arts Coordinator (Guitarist): Gord McCrostie            

Pianist: Binu Kapadia

Instrumental Soloist: Kathleen de Caen

Gathering

Music:  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

Words and music: Irish traditional
Music harmony copyright © 1975, Hope Publishing Co.
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved
Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

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

Welcome and announcements

Call to Worship

L: Let the people praise You, dear Lord;
P: let all the people praise You!
L: Let the nations be glad and sing with joy,
P: for You guide the nations upon earth.
L: Let the people praise You, dear Lord;
P: let all the people praise You!

Music:  I waited on you, Lord

I waited, I waited on you, Lord
I waited, I waited on you, Lord

You bent down low and remembered me
When you heard my prayer

words: Psalm 40
music: J. Bell; © WGRG 1987 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

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

Dear Lord, we come into your presence with praise and thanksgiving. You have searched us, known us, cared for us, and welcomed us as daughters and sons. In You, we find our home. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, and the inspiration of your Word, continue to work in us and through us. Transform us into your image. Make us signs of grace and hospitality to the world around us, so that your kingdom would come and your will would be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. We pray for an end to the waste and desecration of God’s creation, for access to the fruits of creation to be shared equally among all people,
and for communities and nations to find sustenance in the fruits of the earth and the water God has given us. We pray for all nations and people who already enjoy the abundance of creation and the blessings of prosperity, that their hearts may be lifted up to the needs of the poor and afflicted, and partnerships between rich and poor for the reconciliation of the world may flourish and grow.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

God of all the ages, as we gather to listen to your Word today, silence the thoughts that distract us. Open our hearts to hear the challenge and the comfort You offer us in the name of Jesus Christ, your Living Word.

Hear our cry, Almighty God.
Listen to our prayer.

How long will we have to hide in our homes from this invisible enemy? Where will it strike next? And whom? And what if…? Our screens relay a continuous escalation of suffering and death around the world. Panic and anxiety abounds. Our souls are weary from the strain of the life-altering unknowns. Heavenly Father, from the depths of our pain and confusion, we cry out to You. From fear-filled hearts and anxious minds, we plead with You. Rescue us, Father of compassion and grace. We lift up our eyes to You, Lord God, the One who sits enthroned in heaven. 

On all who have contracted the virus,
Lord have mercy 

On all who have lost loved ones to this sickness and are in mourning and anguish, 
Lord have mercy 

On all who are unable to earn an income because their jobs have been suspended 
Lord have mercy

Assurance of God’s faithfulness

Nothing can separate us from the Lord’s unfailing love and kindness, not even sickness or the fear of tomorrow. The Lord is our Light as we walk in this darkness. We will remember to celebrate the beautiful gifts the Lord has given us in this present moment.

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

Music: Open our eyes, Lord

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

Music offering: Prelude from J.S. Bach’s unaccompanied cello suite #1   Kathleen de Caen

Scripture reading: Matthew 15:10-28

Things That Defile

10 Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12 Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.[a] And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

The Canaanite Woman’s Faith

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Music: His truth is marching on

Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
His truth is marching on

African American spiritual
public domain

Message: “Persistence and faith can make a powerful pair”

In a world where almost every single thing has changed due to a tiny virus, we might do well to know that there is One who hasn’t changed and never will change. It seems clear that admitting that God, our creator has and never will change.

We might feel like things have changed irreversibly, or something along these lines. God, I still believe, as believers have done throughout the centuries, will not change. God still remains faithful and almighty.

What does it mean to have faith in this faithful God? “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” This is what the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said in the 11th chapter. Looking closer at it, there are three words in this statement that jump out at me. They are “assurance”, “hoped” and “conviction.” These are strong words.

When you’re in dire trouble as most of us are at this point in history, and you are being assured, of things hoped for, right there you have a lot!

And then to have a “conviction” of things not seen, this too makes a person able to persist. The best is that this type of faith is given to each believer by God. There is no way in which we can muster it up.

Jan Koum is the founder of WhatsApp which sold to Facebook for 19 billion dollars. He grew up very poor in Ukraine and didn’t even have running water. After finding his skills in Silicon Valley he was almost hired at Facebook but got passed over in the last interview. Instead of sulking, Jan went on to found WhatsApp. Jan is quite the epitome of hard work and never giving up.

What I learn from this is: Don’t take no for an answer. If you believe in yourself keep going towards your goal. Know that once you complete it you will have the satisfaction of succeeding when others doubted you or told you it was impossible. [i]

This is just one example. There are many more. Just page through the Old Testament of the Bible, and Moses persisting in getting the Israelites freed from Egypt’s Pharaoh. It took persisting through ten plagues. Ruth is another one. When her mother-in-law, Naomi, lost her husband and both sons she just didn’t give up. Naomi told her to stay in the country of Moab. But Ruth persisted. She ended up becoming the grandmother of King David and therefore became part of the lineage of Jesus.

The Canaanite woman that we read about in the gospel reading from Matthew, is one more example of a woman with persistence.

Just in the previous piece Jesus had been teaching the crowds and the Pharisees, along with the disciples that a person becomes polluted not by what she puts in her stomach, but by that which comes from inside her heart and which shows up in her life. The implication of what Jesus said, is that one’s race, ethnicity, gender, disability or class doesn’t make a person unclean or defiled. We might be surprised by Jesus’ silence and his response to the Canaanite woman. First, Jesus lets the Canaanite woman down by not acknowledging her plea for mercy.

There is something interesting that happens in our reading. Jesus’ response to the disciples’ urging to send her away, seems to affirm the disciples’ desire to dismiss her. He says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” What? How can Jesus be saying this?

Mitzi Smith from Columbia Theological Seminary [ii] speculates that Jesus is taking the disciples up on their view so that the Canaanite woman needs to struggle against the statement. This way she can demonstrate her persistence and faith against all the odds.

Life is never a straight and easy road. It’s complicated and often tough.

But so many anonymous women like the Canaanite woman have persisted as lone minority voices among a majority of authoritative and powerful men. She persisted!

Here at Dayspring, we too are invited to persist, especially from a place of weakness. It is God who will equip us with faith. Is it perhaps the other way around? That faith brings about persistence, or maybe persistence feeds faith. You see, whichever way we do it, persistence and faith make a powerful pair.

Whether it’s someone who is disenfranchised in whichever way, in trouble, struggling against impossibilities, persistence can take us to the opening up of new possibilities.

It doesn’t matter which congregation finds themselves in dire straits, the chances are that we will be like a seed that goes into a crack in a rock, with the sun blazing from above. Under normal circumstances, we might not make it. But with God’s help in nurturing our faith and persistence, we could still forge through and come out on the other side with renewed strength.

Nobody ever said it would be easy. In fact, it is going to be hard, it is going to be very much against all odds. Let’s leave aside complaints and moaning. Let’s live the love that Christ brought into this world. Let us be grateful and responsible for what we have. We are invited to look after each other and the communities we live in.

These times are uncertain and totally unpredictable. Nobody has it easy. Let’s support each other by spending locally. Help your friends’ businesses whenever possible. Help keep small businesses in your community going.

We may have limited chances to live out Christian love, and there may actually only be now to do it. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Today is the time to let our light and our love shine.

Amen

Music: Come my way, my truth, my life

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

Prayer of gratitude:

Reflection on giving………….

We give because we are the recipients of God’s overflowing love. We give because our givings support our minister and the church staff who enable us to be a community of Faith and Care. We give in order to take care our building – an inheritance from those who have gone before us and from the Presbyterian Church in Canada – and the means by which we offer care to our community. We give in order to be able to meet together for worship via the internet. We give in order to support the ministry and mission of the Presbyterian Church in Canada across our nation and throughout the world. And in these days of COVID-19 distancing, we do our giving in the various ways described in the Dayspring Weekly News. Thank you all for your generosity.

Music: In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful

In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful
In the Lord I will rejoice
Look to God, do not be afraid
Lift up your voices, the Lord is near

composer: Jacques Berthier; 1991 © Taize 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

Prayer and blessing: Minister

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


[i] 8 Inspiring Perseverance Stories to Make You Never Give Up, at https://www.inspireyoursuccess.com/inspiring-perseverance-stories/

[ii] Mitzi J. Smith, (2020) Commentary on Matthew 15:[10-20] 21-28, at workingpreacher.org


Copyright 2020 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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