When God sang

Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am, 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Children’s time:
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Sam Malayang
Special Music Guest: Rob Hryciw (Violin)
Elder: Iris Routledge

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

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

Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Call to Worship and Lighting of the Advent Candles
L: The light shines in the darkness,
P: We come to worship, seeking the joy Mary sang to welcome her Saviour.
L: Source of light, shine into our lives and your world this Advent.
P: Renew in us the joy of our salvation.

Opening praise: Hope is a star (119)

Prayers of approach and confession

Creator God, Maker of heaven and earth, with the sea and the stars, and everything in between, we praise you for the wonders of this world and beyond it.

You set all creation in relationships both fruitful and fragile.

You make deserts bloom and refresh the earth with seasonal rain.

With your care for the vulnerable in our hearts, we praise you with joyous songs this day, our God, who is the Source, Saviour and Spirit of life, perfect in unity, splendor and truth.

Gracious Judge, we look around us and we are not proud of what we see.

People criticize each other and listen only to those who agree with them.

We grumble and think the past holds the solutions, forgetting its inequities and iniquities.

We are impatient for things to improve but we do not want to change our ways.

Forgive us for sharing in the unhappy mood of our times, and renew in us the joy and gratitude we once knew.

Thank you for your gifts to us in Christ Jesus.

Response: I waited, I waited on you, Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Receive the Good News in joy. With great mercy, God forgives what we have confessed and offers us new life in Christ. Rejoice that you can make a new beginning and share the joy in mercy and forgiveness with others.

Special Music: Concerto in A Minor (2nd Movement) by J. S. Bach: (Rob Hryciw and Binu Kapadia)

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Gradual: Open our eyes, Lord (445)

Story in song: One day … (a Hasidic, Jewish, Reggae artist song). See the following URL. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRmBChQjZPs

Prayer: Lord, we look forward, to a day where you return, and the world has true peace. We look forward to a day when nations will no longer build tanks, but instead, build playgrounds.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: Oh come, Oh Come, Emmanuel (vss 1-3) (122)

Today’s Message

Scripture readings: Zephaniah 3:17 and Matthew 11:2-11

Gradual: Prepare ye the way of the Lord

Message: “When God sang”

“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

It’s not often that we think of our God as singing, is it?

Jonathan was a large man like his father. He was 6ft.2in. tall and as thick as a wall. In high school before he hurt his knees, he had the Nebraska cornhuskers scouting him nearly every game day. After college Jonathan returned home to the farm to work for the summer while he looked for a job in the city. After only a few months Jonathan came in for dinner and found his father lying on the ground. He had suffered a massive heart attack.

In the hospital a few days later Jonathan would later recall having the most meaningful conversation with his father than he had ever had. As his father began drifting off to sleep Jonathan heard him quietly singing. “I’ll always be with you, I’m as strong as an ox. I love to see you smile”.

A few days later Jonathan’s father passed away.  Alone at the farmJonathan decided to stay and work the land. For years he worked hard, and the farm prospered. And each weekend Jonathan had lunch with a group of people following church (the same church he had attended his whole life). One day, a new smiling face appeared. His old neighbor was home from school as well. No longer the gangly, awkward girl with braces – she had become quite a beautiful young woman and it didn’t take Jonathan long to ask to out for dinner.

For years they dated and when Emily finally found a job as a nurse at the local community hospital Jonathan finally got up the nerve to propose to her. Life was beautiful on the farm and the newly married couple sat on the porch each morning – Emily with a coffee in hand and Jonathan holding the paper in his large and battered hands.

Life was quiet on the farm and not much new ever happened – that is until the day when Nathan was born. At the hospital Jonathan looked down at the tiny baby and thought “he looks just like my dad”.

The years passed by and the family grew older, and Nathan and his cousins played all day long on the farm while Jonathan worked hard to provide for his family. On the farm there can be little time for fathers and sons to play – so most of their time together was spent together at labor. At five years old, Nathan was proud of his work on the farm and would often tell the ladies at church “Daddy says, I am the best flashlight holder on earth.”

Though the work was hard and time often short, the two boys did manage to get away for a hiking trip each year. Jonathan had purchased a carrier and he would pick Nathan up in his big strong hands and place him in the carrier on his back and the two would go out into nature and walk along the river. Truth be told the hike was only a mile or so from the cabin, but the boy’s retreat would not be the same without their famous “walk through the wilderness” as Jonathan called it.

It started out fine enough. The sun was shining through the clouds and so the days was sunny but cool. A slight breeze blew the leaves about and the two started their walk just after breakfast.

By the time the two began to near halfway point at the river the sky had turned dark. All of a sudden, the ten-minute walk back to camp began to seem like a fairly long adventure. Jonathan stopped to tell his son that they would be heading back right away and then he pulled the boy’s hood over his head, gave him a quick smile and started quickly marching back to the cabin with Nathan on his back, safely in the carrier.

Boom, the thunder crashed, and lightning struck somewhere off in the distance. It was one of those occasions where the sprinkles build very quickly and soon it was like a wall of water had fallen from the sky as they opened up and poured down rain like a waterfall or a broken dam.

Nathan quickly became upset, and nothing seemed to calm him down. The only thing that would get them back faster was the speed at which they traveled, but each time Jonathan sped up the boy began to feel more and more like things were slipping through his father’s hands. In the hurry the hood had slipped off Nathan’s head and the rain was falling directly onto his face and into his eyes.

A couple of minutes from the camp the boy’s crying became unbearable and Jonathan felt a burst of heartache with each new cry. When he finally noticed that little Nathan’s hood had come off. and when the boy’s cries had become so loud his father could no longer think, Jonathan suddenly stopped and took the boy from the carrier. The father felt the fear his son felt. He felt his heartbeat and he knew his worries. Later Jonathan would claim this to be the most painful experience of his life because he could see in Nathan’s tear-soaked eyes that he did not believe his father was strong enough to carry him the rest of the way.

It was in that moment that Jonathan told his son the same words his father had shared with him. “I’ll always be with you, I’m as strong as an ox. I’d love to see you smile”. He pulled the boy close to his heart and folded his large arms around his son. And as he huged his little boy, he sang the words “I’ll always be with you, I’m as strong as an ox. I love to see you smile”. Almost immediately Nathan began to calm down. He looked up at his father and knew that he had been wrong. He knew the words were true and as they walked through the cold and blowing rain the boy stared at his father in wonder with a smile on his face that stretched from ear to ear.

The next day the two returned home and Nathan burst through the front door to see his mother sitting on the couch with a large family Bible in hand. As Nathan eagerly told his mother the story of their famous “walk through the wilderness,” Jonathan picked up the bible to mark the page where his wife had left off. But when he did so he saw the words of his father singing to him again this time from the pages of God’s word. There, at the top of the page, was Zephaniah 3:17 and the title read “The Heavenly Father Sings.”

The verse reads,

“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Jonathan took his son again, held him tight and sang, “I’ll always be with you, I’m as strong as an ox. I’d love to see you smile.”

Blessings this day and everyday as God holds you in his big strong hands, sings to you his children, quiets you with his love, and tells you he is with you, and that he will make you smile.

“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

Song:  Comfort, comfort you my people (113)

We respond to serve God

Reflection on giving: We have been giving faithfully since the beginning of the pandemic and we are committed to continuing the ministry and mission that define Dayspring – using the ways described below. Thank you all for your support of our shared vision and mission.

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

This Sunday we celebrate the Advent of Joy, rising in us through in Jesus Christ. Think of your gifts as seeds of that joy which we can plant in the world God loves for Christ’s sake.

God, our Judge and our Joy, receive our gifts as seeds of gratitude for your gift to us in Christ Jesus. Bless these seeds with growth so that joy will blossom for people depleted by challenges, and places overwhelmed by scarce resources. Be their justice and their joy, through Christ our Lord.

God of all creation, every creature finds its way to rejoice in your presence.

The desert blooms, a mountain top glisten, a stream makes music flowing over rocks.

We give you thanks for the joy in nature which can lift our hearts.

Thank you for the joy we can share with each other,

for familiar songs on our lips,

for greetings from old friends,

for the excitement of children in this season, and for the promise born again in us as we anticipate Jesus’ birth.

God who makes all things new, Renew our life together.

God of the world, its wonders and its woes, we know there are many people and places who cannot rejoice this year, so, we open our concerns for the world before you this day.

We remember those who have been silenced

by oppressive regimes

by shocking tragedy

by bullying and threats

or by illness that takes away speech.

Keep silence for 10-15 seconds.

Help us listen with care when words are not easy to find, and show us when and how to speak when others cannot.

God who makes all things new, Renew our life together.

We remember those who have grown weaker

Through months of isolation

Through changing economic circumstances

Through ageing or illness

Through hunger and homelessness.

Keep silence for 10-15 seconds.

Renew their strength and courage to engage life as they are able, and show us when and how to offer our support and encouragement.

God who makes all things new, Renew our life together.

We remember those whose days are filled with fear because of war and conflict on their streets, because of intimidation and discrimination, because the security they relied on has disappeared.

Keep silence for 10-15 seconds.

Bring them protection and comfort in uncertain situations, and make us wise and generous neighbours who can offer relief.

God who makes all things new, Renew our life together.

We remember those whose lives seem empty

because their cupboards are bare while others shop for the season

because someone precious is absent

because choices made have not been fulfilling

Keep silence for 10-15 seconds.

Fill empty lives with meaning and purpose.

Show us how to share what we have in ways that are generous and dignified, and let joy dawn again where it has died.

God who makes all things new, Renew our life together. Amen.

Song: Immortal, invisible, God only wise (290)

Sending out with God’s blessing: Go with joy renewed this day, energized to share that joy with justice and generosity in the world God loves. And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Response: God to enfold you

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 licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2022) on all original material presented by him. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material presented 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.