Things known

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Remembrance Sunday     05 November 2023    10:00 am
The Sacrament of Holy Communion
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev. Brad Childs
Music Director: Binu Kapadia    Guest Pianist: Yvonne Boon     Vocalist: Linda F-B
Elder: Darlene Eerkes

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: and also with you.
Lighting of the Christ candle

Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Procession of Veterans’ pictures and laying of wreath

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. (John McCrae)

Prayer:  O God, we remember . . .

We remember today that you are the giver of every good gift, and one of your gifts is peace. You have blessed us with freedom, and you have met all our needs. We live in a country where we are not judged for our beliefs, where we may gather without fear, where we have mutual respect, shared rights.

O God, help us never to forget your gifts. They have not always come so easily.

We remember those who gave their lives in two world wars, the Korean War, and other countless conflicts. We remember them and also the families they left behind.

O God, help us never to forget the prices paid.

Lord, your son, said that people have no greater love than to lay down their life for their friends. You laid down your life for us, and you call us your friends. Those who were killed or maimed or scarred in wars laid down they’re or the pieces of their lives for us.

O God, help us to live lives worthy of their sacrifices and also yours.

We remember that you alone are the source of peace and justice. We pray with all our hearts for peace in our times. Bring true peace to those places where conflicts continue to smolder.

God, we beg you that you may find ways bring an end to hatred and senseless violence and give peace in our time that last long after we are gone.

We remember, God, that homes and workplaces, schools and streets are not always places of peace. Yet you have offered us the way of peace through the love of Jesus Christ.

God, help us to accept your offer and to find another way, the way of Love, the way of the Healer and Great Physician – Jesus Your son.

We hold up before you, all those who work for peace: For you have said, “Blessed are the peacekeepers”.

O God, help us to be peacemakers in our homes, our communities, and our world.

. . . may we ever pray: Lord God of Hosts.

be with us yet,

Lest we forget; Lest we forget. Amen.

Each day, a bugle was sounded in military camps to begin and end the day;
this was called the “last post” and was also sounded for those who had died.
We will now hear the “Last Post” and have a minute’s silence to remember.

Last Post

Silent Reflection


Call to Worship
L: Let us bless the Lord at all times.
P: God’s praise will always be on our lips.
L: Magnify the Lord in all ways.
P: We will lift up God’s name together in worship and in service.
L: God, send your light and your truth as we gather to worship.
P: May they lead us into your holy presence.

Opening praise: O come to the Altar

Prayers of approach and confession

God, we come before you this day as we do every day. Many of us come before you as one of the wealthiest, and safest people that have ever lived.

We come to you not from substandard housing or a place of malnourishment.

We have reliable electricity and public services.

We come to you from many places but also from a shared world where the same number of people have HIV as a university education.

God, we know that there is nothing wrong with being fortunate. But Lord we to easily forget just how fortunate we are. Remind us of our many blessings and help us to see the face of your son on all those we meet just as we ask you to help others see his face in us.

For our errors we seek forgiveness. For ignoring the blessing, we have. For a world and people taken for granted.

Forgive us for our errors and remind us how blessed we are in you.

Response: I waited, I waited on you, Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Our God is a God of Love and Mercy: who gives us infinite chances. This is the good news… in Jesus Christ we can be forgiven. -Amen

Song: Blest are they (624)

We listen for the voice of God

Scripture readings (NRSV): I John 2:1-3 and Matthew5:1-12

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message: Things known

Sergeant Kenneth E. Neu was stationed with a U.S. Airborne unit in Germany, where the parachute drop zone is located right next to a Mercedes-Benz sport test track. One windy day, a gust of wind blew Sergeant Neu’s parachute off course and over the speed track. Knowing how hard landing on asphalt can be, he braced himself in fear. As the rock-hard track came up at him faster and faster, he tucked in and prepared to roll hoping to break only his legs in the process. Just then Sergeant Neu landed, rolled, and lay sprawled out on the track. Amazingly he felt unharmed… he was fine.

But suddenly the wind inflated Neu’s parachute once again and it began dragging him down the length of the track. He hit the chute’s canopy release and dropped again. Once more he checked himself and felt unharmed.  Then the young man looked up just in time to see a car speeding toward him (he couldn’t report on which one it was). Acting quickly, he dove out of its path; narrowly escaping death and rolled of the edge of the racetrack. Out of breath but uninjured, he blurted out, “How lucky can I be?”

Relieved, he turned, stepped into a gopher hole, and twisted his ankle.

(Today in the Word, March 19, 1995)

Wayne Sharpton of Georgia is something of an interesting case. In 2005 Wayne won $350,000.00 on a Vegas Nights Scratch Lottery ticket. When asked how he felt about winning the lottery Wayne said the same kinds of things most people say… like “It’s a blessing” and, “I’ll still go to work in the morning just like every other morning”. But Wayne did it. And he kept on doing it. He kept his job as a service technician saying that $350,000.00 wouldn’t be enough to make him leave his job.

Then in April of 2006 Wayne stopped in for his morning coffee… and also Wayne bought two more scratch lotto-tickets. Only this time something different happened. This time… he took home 1Million. As always, the reporters came and they asked him once again, “what does it feel like to win the lottery?” And just as before Wayne said, “I’m blessed” and then, “I’ll still go to work in the morning just like every other morning”. And again, He did.

Wayne Sharpton is something of an interesting case. In less than two years he won the lottery twice. So… You’d think he’d be used to it when three months later he won another 2.5 million.

“Lucky” is what sergeant Neu called it. Wayne Sharpton: “Blessed”. Very few people, I think, would disagree. But what exactly is it to say someone is “blessed”?

The story of the beatitudes is told by two different New Testament authors. People (particularly non-Christian people) love to point out the differences between the two descriptions Luke and Matthew make. As with any account this could be due to several reasons including themes, imagery being employed, the genre being used, the kind of audience the gospel wants to address or even the way the author wants to order the events. In any case both Matthew and Luke deliver Jesus’ Beatitudes… or Blessings within their own unique perspective and context.

In Luke Jesus presents this message in The Sermon on the Flat Plain. In Matthew however, Jesus pronounces these blessing to the 12 disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. When Luke the Physician and Historian recounts the message, he has heard, his Jesus on the level plain speaks more about the immediate physical needs of the people saying, “Blessed are the starving, for they will be feed”. And “blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”. But when Matthew tells the story, Jesus speaks in a more spiritual nature. He tells the disciples “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” and “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Personally, I agree with the critics that think these accounts in Matthew and Luke are a little too different to be harmonized. But I don’t think that makes them untrue. I just think that that if Jesus happened to have a few very good sermons then perhaps he might have used some of the same material more than once.

What is most interesting for me though are not the differences in how Jesus and the writers of these gospels used these teachings. Rather it is the commonality and agreeability one finds regarding these sayings. If I asked most people what they thought of these blessings, my guess is that most people would have no difficulty with them. The people outside those doors having brunch today don’t particularly know or like the Jesus who overturns tables and chases people with a whip (reference?). The one who appears in Revelation wearing a robe that’s drenched in blood and has fire in his eyes is not exactly secular friendly. BUT the Jesus of the Beatitudes? Now that’s a Jesus people can really get behind. The Jesus that says, blessed are the poor is cool. He’s nice and unthreatening and seems sort of like a lovable hippy. The beatitudes have somehow become commonplace, and sterile; cute and friendly.

But that is what’s odd about it. For the original audience these blessings were shocking. They disturbed people. Biblical scholar and author Andrej Kodjak says, “the intent behind these blessing was to provoke offence by his words and to capsize all common understandings of God”.  And it worked, not long after this as Jesus is preaching, he feels anger and unrest of the crowd boiling up so much he begins an attempt to calm his listeners down and says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish all of the Law of Moses”. In fact, both Mathew and Luke constantly describe the crowd’s reaction to Jesus’ words as being one of astonishment and shock.

If what Jesus says is so offensive, so shocking so astonishing? Why is it that we have such an easy time accepting these blessings? Why do they seem so nice?

What’s wrong with “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” or “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”?

Well, the first problem is our understanding of what blessing meant to the Jews at this time. We are not just talking about “happy” although that could be a part of it. And we are not just talking about being “lucky” either.

You see, Blessed is at its core, the opposite of cursed. Blessed was the intended favor of God visited upon the righteous in the form of wealth, stability, family, and health. But that’s not who Jesus is talking about?

The people he’s talking about are cursed. Right?

On the one hand “blessed is the perfect translation” that’s why almost every translation of the bible uses it. On the other hand, there is really no word in English quite like this “blessed” because it’s kind of like saying fortunate, without need, or lucky but more like “chosen by God to be lucky”.

Today we use this word in a very haphazard sort of way “I’m so blessed”, but they thought of it is a direct action of God. And the other side to the coin was where God directly cursed you. You know, the poor, the hungry, the ill.

The Common English Bible has Jesus using the word, “Happy”. So does Young’s Literal Translation.

Once oddity here is that Matthew records these blessings in Greek and Jesus may have pronounced them in Greek but probably not. Considering the ethnic group listening to Jesus, he may well have spoken these blessings in Aramaic and then Matthew translated this for his audience. In this case Jesus would have used the word Asher for “blessed” and Asher is closer to gifted or fortunate.

In the Amplified Bible the Translators write:

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor.

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn.

“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle.

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger.

“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises].

“Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature].

“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor].

“Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love].

“Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness].”

No matter exactly how this word is translated, this “blessing” Jesus pronounces upon the downtrodden is said to be the intended will of God for them.

Seeing the lack of proper shock in the reaction of modern-day readers, one commentator tries to put this into a more contemporary context. He says, “You must imagine Jesus saying these words, ‘Without need are those who lose their homes in a flood. Lucky are those who have just lost a loved one. Fortunate are those who have been beaten and abused. Blessed…, Blessed are those with cancer.”

Jesus’ words here just seem to roll off our tongues and out the door without our ever really thinking about them, but they were far from commonplace. These blessings were shocking.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor”.

It’s important to note here that Luke also uses this same word “poor” in his account and that it is used elsewhere in Luke where it is translated “impoverished”. In one place where Matthew uses this same word it’s translated as “a cringing beggar”. We’re not talking about someone who’s short on pocket change here. “Blessed by God is the cringing beggar”. He says, “blessed are those who weep” those that lost their wives, husbands, parents, children / “blessed are those who morn”. He says, blessed are the meek, those whose land has been taken from them; whose homes are no longer truly their own. People whose God and who’s scriptures are slowly been replaced by Caesar: People who have been made subjects (without a true King of their own). “Blessed are the meek”: the victims of war and poverty paralyzed and unable to react in the face of troubles.

The second reason why we don’t take proper offense at these words, is that in some cases we tend to think of these blessings as a call to become like these people, as in “Blessed are those who show mercy” or “Blessed are the peacemakers”. And then we assume that we are being told to show mercy or make peace. And of course, that’s not offensive. But the problem is simple. Here Jesus is not asking us to become merciful and he is not asking us to become peacemakers. What he is doing is simply pronouncing blessings upon those who are already merciful and already are peacemakers. He doesn’t say, “blessed are you who will soon try to become merciful or peacemakers.”

In fact, if these beatitudes were things, he was calling us to be, then we would have to say that Jesus is calling us all to be in mourning, to be persecuted and starving.

To be blunt. The blessings are not about calling us into action. Our actions, our attempts to be merciful and our attempts at peacemaking are a byproduct at best. The beatitudes tell us who is already blessed.

We sometimes want Jesus to tell us what to do so we can do it. We want it to be simple. We want easy rules to follow and so we look for them even where they are not. In reality these sayings don’t really give us anything to do. They are not a way for us to earn God’s blessings. They simply tell us who is blessed. And the answer is jarring, because it is completely different from what the world tells us.

They tell us that lucky, that fortunate, that being “blessed” is not what we think it is.

No matter how you feel. No matter what circumstances you face. No matter how beat down you’ve been. No matter what you’ve done, not done, or has happened to you. God has blessed you and still have more blessings for you.

Whether you are hungry, living on the streets and poor as in Luke’s gospel or you are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, or poor in spirit as in Matthew… Whether you are mourning or weeping… whether you are lonely, ill, in financial turmoil, worried about you children, parents, loved ones. grieving… whether you are abused or persecuted… Jesus is saying to you. You will laugh again, you will be comforted again, because in Him, you too are blessed and Yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thanks be to our God.  -Amen

Song: Shall we gather at the river (797)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Praise: Praise God from whom all blessings flow (830)

Dedication of Offerings: For the blessings of this and all our days, we thank you, gracious God. Accept, we pray, not just this money but also our lives freely offered in gratitude for all you have done for us. Use them both, in this place and wherever you might take us. Amen.

Prayer for the persecuted

We pray for those suffering because of their Christian faith; that the Holy Spirit will guide and protect them and nurture courage and faith, giving them the grace to forgive those who persecute them.

We pray also for those who follow your Son in bearing their cross, that they may, in every trial, glory in the name of Christ and that they may be given courage, hope, and perseverance.

For our sisters and brothers who, like your Son our lord, had to flee persecution from dangerous political powers, we pray for safety, strength, and guidance. Let those who flee persecution and war in [name of place] find safety and protection, and the ability to rebuild their lives in dignity and contentment.

For those who provide assistance to refugees and people suffering persecution and violence, we pray that they may be safe and see the face of Christ in the most vulnerable people in your world. We pray also for guidance for those who help refugees. We recognize that people who have experienced trauma often have pressing physical and mental health needs.

We pray that those assisting refugees and people suffering persecution and violence find the necessary resources to help address and care for the trauma that the people they help have faced.

We pray for those who persecute Christians and other religious minorities, that Love, and mercy will illuminate their hearts, that they will come to see the common humanity of all peoples, and that they will cease committing acts of hatred.

We pray for government leaders around the world, that they may recognize the grave responsibility that comes with power, and form and keep just laws that protect the persecuted and work for an end to violence and war.

We pray also recognizing we have at times limited the religious freedom of others and have failed to protect others from religious persecution.

God of mercy and of grace, we confess that we have not protected others when they have faced religious persecution.

God of the migrant, the minority, the oppressed, and the outcast, we humbly confess our silence, our ignorance, and our complicity in the plight of religious minorities in Canada and around the world. We pray that people everywhere will respond to the work of your Holy Spirit to build better communities and nations for all people, not just the majority or the powerful. It is in this work that we meet Christ and his reconciling love. Amen.

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

We are all guests invited to this table.
This is the Lord’s Table
and it belongs by right to all his people.
It is the gift of God for the people of God.

Song: Put peace into each other’s hands (560: vss. 1,3,4,5)

We affirm our faith: The Apostles Creed (539)

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Communion Prayer

Our Compassionate Father we thank you for existence; for the creation of all that is and more importantly for your continued creative acts.

Your involvement in the world has not ended. You continue to create with constant collisions in space, in the expansion of our universe, by providing rain and seeds, and in the birth of each new child.

You continue to create in us: new ideas, new identities, new ways of growing and learning, new connections, new marriages, new disciples, new friendships.

Isaiah the Prophet wrote, “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy Lord: God of Power and Might. Heaven and earth are full of his glory.”

God is Hosannah in the highest. (The one to be praised above all others)

Precious Lord, we thank you for the gift of salvation sent through your son Jesus Christ. We thank you that you loved us so much that you came to be not just with us, but one of us. You the God of all power became infleshed, skinned knees, learned, grew, suffered, witnessed the deaths of those you loved and even gave your own life up in our place.

Now God, we ask – Pour out Your Spirit here and now in new ways on Your people. Let none of us remain in conflict with one another, none eat or drink in judgment upon one another, but instead bring us peace that passed understanding… both now and forever. Amen

Sharing of the bread and wine

Institution (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ESV) “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

The Fraction: Minister breaks the bread.

When we break the bread, it is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The Pouring of the Wine: Minister pours the wine.

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” When we bless the cup, it is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

The Revelation: Minister holds up the bread and cup.

“The gifts of God for the people of God”.

Song: One bread, one body (540)

Serving of the Bread and Wine

The prayer after Communion: Make us always aware of our abundant blessings. And so, make us ready and willing to bless others. And be with us always on our way, no matter where our journeys take us. – Amen

Hymn: Crown him with many crowns (274: vss. 1,2,4,5)

Sending out with God’s blessing: In this place, we have met the God who will never abandon us.

Now we go out into a world where it can be easy to feel alone. As we go out, we carry with us the promise that God is with us always. In the laughter and tears of life, in our triumphs and our struggles, God is there. Indeed, when we walk through the storms of life we never walk alone.

And now,

May God the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer of all that is, be with you on all the paths of life and strengthen you as you go.

Response: The Blessing

Music postlude


Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2023) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material that has not been attributed to others is his own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.

Posted in Recent Sermons.