The BEST we can be (Worship on ZOOM led by Lydia Calder)

Dayspring Sunday July 18/21 (Lydia Calder)

We Gather to Worship

Music Prelude

Greeting

L: The grace of the 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: Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.
P: God hems us in, behind and before, and lays hands of blessing upon us.
L: Rejoice, for we are in the house of God.
P:  Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

 Opening Praise: Here I am to worship

Light of the world, You step down into darkness. Opened my eyes let me see. Beauty that made this heart adore you Hope of a life spent with you.

Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that you’re my God, You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me.

 King of all days, oh so highly exalted Glorious in heaven above.

Humbly you came to the earth you created. All for love’s sake became poor.

Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that you’re my God, You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me.

Songwriter: Tim Hughes © 2000 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) 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: O magnify the Lord with me
P: Let us exalt God’s name together
L: We join with multitudes from every nation in praise to God and to the Lamb;
P: Glory and honour and power and might, be to our God forever and ever.

Prayers of Approach and Confession

Alpha and Omega You are great beyond our knowing and fitting praise is beyond our capacity.  May our praises mingle with those who have come before us and those yet to come that all generations might tell of your mighty works and proclaim your wondrous love.

We confess, Lord,  that we do not always represent you well. Too often we make excuses for our poor behaviour, instead of accepting responsibility for our actions.

We are pathetic. Yet still you call us to come to you and offer us forgiveness.

And so Lord God, in turn, teach us forgiveness. Teach us how to show the same love to others that you have shown to us.  ((Where we have anger, bring peace. Where we have hatred, bring love. Where we have greed, help us to give generously. Where we have helped to destroy, show us how to rebuild.))

We ask forgiveness in the name of the Saviour. Amen

 Response: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God

 Assurance of Forgiveness: Friends, hear the good news. When Jesus was nailed to the cross our sins were nailed there with him. Through faith in him we are forgiven. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

 Response: Be still and know

Prayers for God’s help and guidance

God of heaven and earth, you are full of  mercy and grace, strength and power. Your love for us has no bounds. We come before you conscious of our deep need and the needs in the world around us. Hear us as we pray.

We think of those who are sick, whether in mind or body.  Touch them with your healing hand. Help them to sense your presence.

We remember those who have experienced losses of any kind. Some have lost loved ones through death or divorce. Others have lost jobs, income or reputation. Comfort them Lord and help them toward a brighter future.

We pray for those in our community who have special needs: the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill. It is so easy to overlook them, Lord. Give us an awareness that leads us to action.

Lord, of all nations, there are so many places in the world that are in crisis. Countries where war and violence are constant threats; nations where human rights are ignored and people live in poverty and oppression.  Please bring peace and reconciliation to them. We ask also for healing and reconciliation within our own country for the wrongs done to our indigenous peoples.

As the Summer Olympic Games begin this week in Tokyo, please keep all the participants safe and healthy. May this be a time for bridge-building amongst the world’s peoples.

We remember your creation, this amazing world in which we live and ask that you would inspire humankind to greater care of it. Heat warnings in Canada and massive flooding in Germany remind us that this world is a fragile place. Help us to be responsible stewards ever mindful that the efforts of one person can make a difference.

Please bless this congregation. Help them as they look to their future. Lord, please give each one enthusiasm and commitment and a fresh vision to reach out and touch others with the love of Jesus Christ.

In this silence, Lord, we bring to you our individual thoughts and concerns.

We ask all of these prayers in the name of Jesus.   Amen.

Music Interlude: Jesus we are gathered

 Children’s Story

A special event starts this Friday in Tokyo.  I wonder if any of you know what it is?  If you thought, “The Summer Olympics” you would be correct. In non-Covid times the Summer Olympic Games happen every 4 years to respect the ancient origins of the Olympic Games, which were held every four years at Olympia, Greece.

The months leading up to an Olympic Games are usually full of anticipation and excitement, especially in the country where the games are being held.  Several months before the Games begin, the Olympic flame is lit at Olympia. This ceremony starts the Olympic torch relay, which ends in the host city with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The host country decides how the torch travels through their country and who gets to carry it.  Of course, it’s usually a very special person who has the privilege of lighting the big cauldron that shines for the whole time the games are on.

I brought something to show you – a book from the 1988 Olympic Torch Relay. My name is in it. In teeny tiny letters, about this big.  In 1988 when the Winter Olympics were in Calgary there was a contest people could enter if they wanted to carry the torch for 1 kilometre as it traveled through Canada. I entered 169 times, writing every entry by hand. I really wanted to run with the torch.

On my scheduled day I waited in my spot and the person before me ran up and passed it to me. I ran my 1 kilometre, mostly uphill, then passed it to the next person.  On and on it went like that, all across Canada.

On the day of the Opening Ceremonies, I got to be in Calgary on the field when the big cauldron was lit. That was so amazing!

For hours afterward people celebrated in the streets with singing, and cheering and waving flags and at midnight there were fireworks. I had never been to such a huge party nor have I been to one since.

Jesus said that there is something that brings rejoicing and celebration in heaven. What do you think that might be?

The thing that brings the most celebrating in heaven is when somebody decides to love and follow Jesus.  It is as though all the angels and all the people that have gone to heaven from past generations are up there cheering and waving flags and singing and dancing.  Every time some body decides to love and follow Jesus.

The Olympic flame is passed from person to person to person and there is much celebrating. In the same way, God depends on us to pass the good news of Jesus love from person to person to person. Whether we are young or old, if we love Jesus, we too can pass his love to someone else. And when someone comes to love and follow Jesus, its party time in heaven!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord for the celebrations of life.  Help us to share the good news of Jesus’ love with others.

We join together now, saying the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples…

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name; your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen

 Song: Jesus bids us shine       773

Jesus bids us shine with a pure, clear light,
like a little candle burning in the night.
In the world is darkness, so we must shine,
you in your small corner, and I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine, first of all for him;
well he sees and knows it if our light grows dim.
He looks down from heaven to see us shine,
you in your small corner, and I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine, then, for all around;
many kinds of darkness in this world abound:
sin and want and sorrow; so we must shine,
you in your small corner, and I in mine.

 Words: Susan Warner © public domain; Music: Edwin Excell © public domain

Scripture Readings

OT – Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 25:1-10

NT: Phil 2:12-18

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message – The BEST we can be

I am the only Bible some people will ever read.  You are the only Bible some people will ever read.

David Kinnaman of the Barna survey group wrote that in virtually every study they conducted, representing thousands of interviews every year, Christians failed to display much attitudinal or behaviourial evidence of transformed lives.

That is so sad.

How can we impact the world if we don’t show evidence of being different?

How can we encourage people to look at Jesus if we behave the same as everybody else?

Friends, if we want to change things in this world, if we want to be the kind of Christians that attract people to our churches, then we need to stand out as being different. We need to be the best we can be.

The 32nd Summer Olympic Games begin on Friday July 23, only one year late.  I’m always in awe of the skill and commitment of the Olympic competitors. Whether they get a gold medal or finish last each athlete is determined to do their best.  We’re going to take a few minutes today to look at the word best as an acrostic – B-E-S-T and how it can be applied to the Christian life.

B– is for  BALANCE

Olympic athletes accomplish things that we ordinary folk can never hope to do. Gymnasts, for instance. The way those young athletes twist and turn and jump and fly through the air is beyond my comprehension. ((alt: blows me away))

I don’t have a good sense of balance. I don’t need to attempt a Double salto layout with a half-twist in order to sprain my ankle – I can do that walking down the sidewalk. Good balance does not come naturally for me.

Balance doesn’t come naturally for me in other parts of my life either. I wake up in the morning. I’m at peace with the world. I give the cat her breakfast. Five minutes later she throws up all over the carpet. I am no longer at peace with the world. I’ve lost my balance. I’m sure there are things that upset your balance too:  a tax assessment notice; results from the latest medical tests; a traffic jam that makes you late for work; a job list that’s too long, a day that’s too short; a disgruntled customer, a difficult boss, a gossipy co-worker, a crying 3 year old, a grumpy spouse.

Jesus didn’t have an easy life either. He was pressed by crowds, wearied by demands; frustrated by petty arguments. He got hungry and thirsty and tired. But he managed to keep his balance. We never read of Jesus rushing through a miracle or running from village to village or gulping down his dinner so he could race off to his next appointment.

The Bible gives us an image of a man whose life was well-paced.

In Matt 14:22 we read “After he had dismissed the crowd he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”  Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning while it was still dark he went off to a solitary place where he prayed.” Matt 26:36 “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

Jesus kept his equilibrium because he spent quality time with his heavenly Father. His purposes and priorities were so clear that when things happened that would throw most of us off balance he was able to stay centred.

This world is full of harried and hurried people. The person that can stay calm in the midst of the chaos is noticeable. That calm person can be you or me. The more time we spend with God the easier it is to live a life that’s balanced, the easier it is to be the best we can be.

E stands for  ENTHUSIASM

I was watching TV when Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe realized she had won the gold medal in the moguls competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She screamed, she laughed, she jumped, she hugged her sisters.  You couldn’t help but to be caught up in her moment of joy.

In Colossians 3 we read, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Allan, was the youth leader in my church.  He was a geyser of enthusiasm with a laugh you could hear 3 rooms away. That man, who was the age of my father, had such a zest for life that he could make even the most boring activity seem interesting. Being with Allan was an experience. He made me want to be a Christian.

The word Enthusiasm is  rooted in ancient Greek – en Theo, which literally means In God.  Allan epitomized the word enthusiasm because he was truly in God.

Enthusiasm is a rare commodity.

Most people are too overwhelmed to live with enthusiasm.  Life is a grind. Work is drudgery. Relationships are tough. The individual who is en Theos makes an impression.

Someone wrote, “Enthusiasm is that certain something that pulls us out of the mediocre and commonplace.  ENTHUSIASM glows and shines and lights up our faces. It tells all that our job is a good job—that our house suits us—and that we’re content with what God has given us. ENTHUSIASM—the inspiration that makes us “wake up and live.”

Enthusiasm – If we have it, we should thank God for it. If we don’t have it, then we should get down on our knees and pray for it.

S is for  SINCERITY

At the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games a representative athlete, coach and judge will vow to compete in fairness and with good sportsmanship.  The world hopes that they and all their compatriots are sincere.

During the Italian Renaissance, when the art of sculpture was at its height it became a practice among inferior sculptors to wax their works. A thin layer of clear wax was smoothed across the marble to disguise any imperfections. The finest sculptors however, didn’t deceive with wax. Michelangelo’s David, for instance, had a pure finish, and was known in the Latin to be sine cera – without wax. From that we derive our word sincere.

The 21st century world  revolves around advertising. This toothpaste will make your teeth white, and that one will make your breath fresher. This car will go Zoom-zoom and that pick-up truck can knock a house over. But of course, none ever reveal any faults they might have. Their negatives have all been waxed over to make the product  more appealing.

Christians ought to be sine cera – without wax. But we too can fall into the phoniness trap.

We would rather impress people than make ourselves vulnerable. Penelope Stokes writes, “People are not drawn to perfection, they are drawn to reality. People need to witness – from us, with all our faults and failings – how God’s power can work in real people whose struggles and hardships mirror their own.”

Being a Christian does not mean that we have it all together. It means that we are relying on God to help us become the people he designed us to be.

We have faults and failings, the same as everybody else. We are riddled with doubt, paralyzed by fears, and nagged by bad habits.  Some days our faith is deep and other days its as shallow as the water in a kiddy pool. It’s okay to admit we struggle. Those are the things that make us authentic, genuine, sincere.

T is for  TOLERANCE

To be tolerant is to recognize and respect other people’s beliefs and practices without sharing them.

We don’t need to look  far to see intolerance. It’s in our neighbourhoods, our schools, our work places.

One of the things I like most about the Olympics is that in it’s purest form politics and intolerance do not take centre stage. While each athlete represents a particular country and the competition is very real there is also a sense of camaraderie and common purpose.

Canadian cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth had wandered toward the finish line after all his own athletes had been eliminated earlier in the day.

As he watched the end of the semifinal in the men’s free sprint he spotted Russian Anton Gafarov coming over a rise. Gafarov, who had been an early medal favourite, was struggling. He’d crashed twice and broken a ski, which was dangling from his foot.

In a race typically decided by tenths-of-a-second, Gafarov was three minutes behind the pack. He was trying to make it the last 200 metres, but he was not ‘skiing’ to the finish. He was dragging himself.

While everyone else was staring at this picture of misery Justin Wadsworth knew he had to do something so he grabbed a spare ski and ran onto the track.

Gafarov stopped and nodded as Wadsworth knelt beside him. No words passed between them. Wadsworth pulled off the broken equipment and replaced it.

Gafarov crossed the finish line with dignity.

When I look at myself I see a fairly tolerant person. I am tolerant of people of other religions, nationalities, cultures and sexual orientations. I am tolerant of alcoholics and drug addicts and street kids as long as they don’t accost me.

Your list is probably similar to mine. But if we’re truthful we will admit that we’re intolerant of some people. I am intolerant of drivers who don’t use their turn signals and people who don’t clean up after their dogs.

I am also intolerant of people who don’t think logically; of people who are indecisive; of people who choose ignorance. I am intolerant of anti-vaxers.

Friends, it is important that we approach those around us with love rather than judgement.

And that doesn’t just mean the poor sinners outside of the church. It also means the poor sinners inside the church.

The church is not a place where perfect people gather. It is a place where sinners gather to worship their perfect God.

When we reach out to our community seeking to include newcomers we are not inviting them to a place of perfection, we are inviting them to join a community full of imperfect people working together to become better people.

As Presbyterians we believe in sanctification: God at work within us to help us to become more like Jesus.

And exactly how does God work in us? Do we have to strive to look like Jesus? I certainly hope not. Some mornings I can barely get out of bed, let alone strive to be like Jesus.

Listen to verse 13 of Phil 2 once again, “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  We do not have to strive to be balanced, enthusiastic, sincere, or tolerant.

But we do need to give God the freedom to work in and through us. We do need a genuine desire to be like Jesus. We do need to be in tune with Christ’s Spirit.

Few of us have an hour each day to read the Bible and meditate and pray. But, we can get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning for a quick devotional; we can sing praises in the shower; we can take a deep breath and calm our spirits when we’re about to lose our cool; we can memorize Scripture verses; we can turn the car radio off and listen for the voice of God instead.

((Our days are full of brief opportunities that can be used to connect with God. As we take advantage of those opportunities we become more like Jesus – as part of a naturel process.  A flower doesn’t force itself to grow.  It just sits still and allows the sun and the rain and the earth to do their work. As we grab moments of stillness we are more receptive to God.))

Probably most of you have heard of the Battle of the Alamo. It was fought during in early 1836 in what is now San Antonio, Texas. Mexican forces attacked the Alamo with the hope that it would be the first step in a march to capture Texas. After holding off the Mexicans for days, the Texan forces were defeated. More 200 Texans sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom.

One of them was a man named James Butler Bonham. On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo is a portrait with the following inscription: “James Butler Bonham—no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom.”

No literal portrait of Jesus exists either. But the likeness of the Son who makes us free can be seen in the lives of His followers.

Satsuki Shibuya  (SeeBOOya) wrote,  “We are not perfect human beings, nor do we have to pretend to be, but it is necessary for us to be the best version of ourselves.”   May we all live in such a way that people can see Jesus.

 Prayer Lord, help us to be the Best we can be. May our lights so shine before others that they may see our good deeds and give praise to you.

 Song: Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord to thee.    637 v 1,2,5,6

1.Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee; take my moments and my days: let them flow in ceaseless praise.

2.Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love; take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.

5.Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine; take my heart: it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne.

6.Take my love; my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store; take myself and I will be ever, only, all for thee.

Words Francis Havergal © public domain; Music: Freylinghausen’s Geistreiches Gesangbuch © public domain

Prayer of Gratitude

Generous God, thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon us. For family and friends, for the energy to get out of bed in the morning and the sustenance to make it through the day. Thank you for the homes in which we dwell, the communities in which we reside and the country in which we live.  Thank you for allowing us to draw near to you, for accepting us, even in our weakness and sin. Thank you for sacrificing your only son, that we might be able to receive your forgiveness.  In his name we pray, Amen.

Response: Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Reflection on Giving

We have been giving faithfully even though there is no offering plate being passed in the sanctuary. It may be a while before we return to the sanctuary, but we are still able to continue the ministry and mission that define Dayspring using the various ways described on the screen and in Dayspring Weekly News. Thank you all for your contribution, which comes freely from hearts full of gratitude.

Song: Lord of all Power

  1. Lord of all power, I give you my will, in joyful obedience your tasks to fulfil. Your bondage is freedom, your service is song, and, held in your keeping, my weakness is strong.

    2. Lord of all wisdom, I give you my mind,
    rich truth that surpasses our knowledge to find. What eye has not seen and what ear has not heard is taught by your Spirit and shines from your word.

    4. Lord of all being, I give you my all. If e’er I disown you, I stumble and fall, but, sworn in glad service your word to obey, I walk in your freedom to the end of the way.

 Words: Jack Winslow Music: Irish traditional; harmony Erik Routley © Words: Mrs Tyrrell, Music: harmony © 1983 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

 Sending out with God’s blessing

Go forth into this week, running the race with perseverance carrying the light of Christ for the world to see, sharing his message of love and hope. And be ever confident that the God of Grace embraces us and empowers us.

 Response: Amen, we praise your name O God


Some of this material may have been previously published by Lydia Calder. Lydia Calder retains the copyright on all original material.
As far as the writer is aware, the illustrations used are public domain.
Reference sources are available on request.

Posted in Recent Sermons.