Sunday (Zoom) message: Small starts, surprising force

Dayspring ZOOM Connect Worship, 8th Sunday after Pentecost,

July 26, 2020 10 am MDT

Minister: The Rev. Dr. Heinrich Grosskopf 

Welcoming Elder: Heather Tansem

Worship Arts Coordinator (Guitarist): Gord McCrostie 

Pianist: Binu Kapadia

Gathering

Music:           God we praise you

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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: Give thanks to the Lord and call on God’s name!
P: We will praise our God and tell of all God’s wonderful works.
L: Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
P: We will give glory to God’s holy name!
L: Seek the Lord, God’s strength and presence continually.
P: We will remember God’s mercy and justice in worship and praise.

Music:           God of the sparrow

God of the sparrow
God of the whale
God of the swirling stars
How does the creature say Awe
How does the creature say Praise

God of the earthquake
God of the storm
God of the trumpet blast
How does the creature cry Woe
How does the creature cry Save

God of the rainbow
God of the cross
God of the empty grave
How does the creature say Grace
How does the creature say Thanks

God of the hungry
God of the sick
God of the prodigal
How does the creature say Care
How does the creature say Life

God of the neighbour
God of the foe
God of the pruning hook
How does the creature say Love
How does the creature say Peace

God of the ages
God near at hand
God of the loving heart
How do your children say Joy
How do your children say Home

Words: J Vajda, music: C Schalk; © 1983, 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 Confession

Prayer of Approach

God of the past, present and future, we marvel at the wonder of your creation.
We praise You for the blessings of this season, for gardens growing, birds singing,
shouts of joy in times of play and restful evening sunsets.
Such good gifts all around us remind us of your faithfulness to us.
You promise us a life beyond anything we can hope or imagine,
a kingdom marked by grace, love and justice for all.
In Jesus’ name, by the power of the Spirit breathing within us,
We praise You for your loving kindness and the hope it brings to us day by day.

Prayer for help

God of wisdom, you teach us with your love, you touch us with your mercy, and you challenge us with your truth. Send us your Holy Spirit to help us understand the depths of your Word speaking to us through the scriptures this day.

Prayer of confession

As we consider your faithfulness to us,
we cannot but help think about the ways we have not lived faithfully.
So we confess together:

Merciful God, we confess that we feel more comfortable with the way things are,
rather than live out the challenges we meet in Jesus.
Tempted by the promises of our culture,
we rely on the status quo to protect and prosper some but not all.
Turning away from the cries of the hurting,
we fail to stand up for the justice they seek.
Afraid to speak of our faith and hope in you,
we remain silent and complacent.
Forgive us all the ways we let you down.

Assurance of God’s forgiveness:  Minister

Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn us? Only Christ— And Christ died for us; Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Friends, believe the good news of the gospel. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and set free by God’s generous grace. Thanks be to God!

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

Music:           Sing a new song

Sing a new song unto the Lord;
Let your song be sung from mountains high.
Sing a new song unto the Lord,
Singing alleluia.

For God’s people dance for joy.
O come before the Lord.
And play for him on glad tambourines,
And let your trumpet sound.

Rise, O children, from your sleep;
Your Savior now has come.
He has turned your sorrow to joy,
And filled your soul with song.

Glad my soul for I have seen
The glory of the Lord.
The trumpet sounds; the dead shall be raised.
I know my Savior lives.

Words and music: Dan Schutte; © 1979, 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

Scripture reading: Matthew 13:31–33, 44–52 (New Revised Standard Version)

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast

33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in withthree measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” …

Three More Parables

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Treasures New and Old

51 “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Message: “Small starts, surprising force”

Last weekend my dear better-half, Carina, decided to bake the equivalent to bannock on our new barbecue. She started out with some flour and prepared some dough in a wide plastic dish. Then she added in a tiny bit of yeast and kneaded it. I was upstairs and went down, and she was on her way up. I remarked “wow, you had quite a workout” upon which she said “yup” and continued walking upstairs.

After a little while, the leavened dough had expanded beyond any reasonable expectation and Carina was hard at it, rolling out pieces, cutting them up and carefully putting them on cookie sheets.

Wow, there were a lot of pieces to bake! She asked me to get the barbecue ready and sure enough, these risen pieces of dough were a lot and we all had about a week’s supply of “roosterkoek”, the Afrikaans word for “bannock” as we call it here, yumm! They’re the very best when they are fresh off the grill. It started off with a little flour which became just a little bit of dough, but when the tiny bits of yeast were mixed in thoroughly, it multiplied immensely into a huge amount of leavened dough!

According to the 33rd verse, Jesus told them another parable among the many: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in (or, actually literally, “hid in”) with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how something so small that it is invisible to the eye can grow rapidly and exponentially into a destructive force that consumes all our attention and resources, as individuals, communities, nations, and as a world.

As Holly Hearon puts it, “…the passage from our Scripture reading offers an image that counters this destructive force. The parables describe how the kingdom of heaven emerges from something almost invisible to the eye and grows exponentially, offering us sustenance. It’s a treasure worthy of all our attention and resources. [i]

Looking at this passage, we find it hard to pick up a specific focus. The first two parables in 13:31-33, about the mustard seed and the yeast both point towards enormous growth coming from tiny beginnings. Also, in a likewise fashion, the two parables in 13:44-46 both describe how discovering something of such great value would cause us to be willing to sell everything we have, to possess it. To top all of this, the two pairs of parables are linked by the word “hide” (krupto), because in the parable of the yeast the woman hides the yeast in the flour, while in the parable following this, the treasure is hidden in a field, Hearon continues. [ii]

So, guess what, in a very similar way, aren’t we at Dayspring the same in God’s eyes? It’s not up to us. In God’s eyes we are more than worthwhile. Through small beginnings, this parable teaches us, as Barclay puts it, “that with Jesus Christ and his gospel, a new force has been let loose in the world. Silently, but inevitably, that force is working for justness in the world. Isn’t God working God’s purpose out as year upon year follows up on one another?” [iii]

What does this perhaps mean for us as a congregation? We don’t know what the future holds. However, there is promise in the leaven. What we do know from the negativity of Covid-19, is that things that are small, can not be stopped or contained. What we do know from the growth of Good News, is that it too can not be stopped or reined in. This is a form of wonderful hope that the parable of the yeast in the dough brings to us.

As William Barclay puts it, “The whole point of the parable lies in one thing — the transforming power of the leaven. Leaven changed the character of a whole baking. Unleavened bread, bread baked without leaven, is like a water biscuit, hard, dry, unappetising and uninteresting. Bread baked with leaven is soft and porous and spongy, and tasty and good to eat. Introducing leaven causes a transformation in the dough. The coming of the Kingdom causes a transformation in life.[iv] Interesting that this is a pastime that so many are rediscovering during this time of the pandemic. Let’s take note of this reality of God. Let’s observe how God works in spite of us. While we can’t just sit over backwards and wait for things to happen, so much of micro-managing, we have learned lately, also has very little guaranteed results.

We can plough, till and clean out the rocks in the soil, but it is indeed God who causes the miraculous growing process.

It’s indeed small starts, which we might be foreseeing in the future, that can bounce back with surprising force. Never underestimate God’s power. Never look down upon the work of God in a congregation with so much going for us.

Also, perhaps we need to allow God to do what is realistic for who we are.

William Barclay, in his The Daily Study Bible (on Matthew), also says, “The Kingdom, the power of Christ, the purpose of God is like a great river, which for much of its course glides on beneath the ground unsee, but which ever and again comes to the surface in all its power and its greatness, plain for all to see in its action. The parable teaches both that the Kingdom is for ever working unseen, and that there are times in every individual life and in history when the work of the Kingdom is so obvious, and so manifestly powerful, that all can see it.”[v]

We can dream small, and God might cause the surprisingly forceful new beginnings.

The glory will always belong to God.

Amen

Music:           Lord Jesus you shall be my song

 Lord Jesus, you shall be my song as I journey.
I’ll tell everybody about you wherever I go.
You alone are our life and our peace and our love.

Lord Jesus, you shall be my song as I journey.

Lord Jesus, I’ll praise you as long as I journey.
May all of my joy be a faithful reflection of you.

May the earth and the sea and the sky join my song.
Lord Jesus, I’ll praise you as long as I journey.

 As long as I live, Jesus, make me your servant.
To carry your cross and to share all your burdens and tears.

For you saved me by giving your body and blood.
As long as I live, Jesus, make me your servant.

 I fear in the dark and the doubt of my journey;
but courage will come with the sound of your steps by my side.

And with all of the family you saved by your love,
we’ll sing to your dawn at the end of your journey.

Words and music: © 1987 Les Petites Soeurs de Jesus
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 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:  Minister

Blessing: Minister


[i] Hearon, H. (2020) Commentary on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52, July 26, 2020. From http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=4512
[ii] Hearon, H. (2020) Commentary on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52, July 26, 2020. From
http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=4512
[iii] Barclay, W. (1965) Gospel of Matthew Volume 2 – The Daily Study Bible, p. 91-92.
[iv] Barclay, W. (1965) Gospel of Matthew Volume 2 – The Daily Study Bible, p. 88.
[v] Barclay, W. (1965) Gospel of Matthew Volume 2 – The Daily Study Bible, p. 93.


Copyright 2020 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
Use back button to return to main page.

 

Posted in Recent Sermons.