Who is this girl and why is she singing? (Bob Calder)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Second Sunday of Advent
10:00 am December 05, 2021
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering
as a Worshipping Community (on ZOOM and in the Sanctuary)
Led by the Rev. Bob Calder          Children’s Time: The Rev. Bob Calder
Music director: Binu Kapadia    Vocalists: Lynn Vaughan & Lydia Calder
Elder: Iris Routledge

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

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

Welcome and announcements

Silent preparation for worship

Opening words
L: Oh God who spoke to Mary,
P: speak your Word to us now.
L: Oh God who blessed her with new life,
P: bless us with great expectation.
L: Oh God who gave her songs of praise to sing,
P: receive our joyful praise.
L: Oh God who loves beyond all measure,
P: we are here to worship you with hearts full of love.

Opening praise: Hope is a star   vs 2

Peace Is a ribbon that circles the earth, giving a promise of safety and worth.

Refrain: When God is a child there’s joy in our song. The last shall be first and the weak shall be strong, and none shall be afraid.

Words: Brian A. Wren Music: Joan C Fogg © 1989 Hope Publishing Group For music and words. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​. All rights reserved Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

*Call to worship:
L: Peace is the light that sheds understanding.
P: Peace is the promise of God.
L: Peace is found when God’s order and justice are brought to the world.
P: We await the birth of the Prince of Peace.
(The candle is lit.)
L: Let us pray:
P: Source of light, shine in our lives and in your world with your everlasting peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen

Prayers of approach and confession

God of all hope and joy, open our hearts to welcome your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

May He find in us a dwelling prepared for him, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit.

May your Holy Spirit touch us in a special way this morning.

Lord Christ, we confess our willingness to be loved but also our reluctance to love.

We confess our readiness to accept your forgiving love but also our refusal to forgive others.

We confess our eagerness to grasp your offer of redeeming love but also our resistance to follow you without question.

In this time of Advent, forgive our failure to respond as we should.

Come to us, and by your grace, assist us to receive you:

with joy, like the shepherds;

with gratitude, like Simeon;

with obedience, like Mary;

with love, like  you have loved us.

In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Response: I will trust in the Lord

I will trust in the Lord, I will trust in the Lord, I will trust in the Lord, ‘til I die

African American spiritual public domain

Assurance of forgiveness

The good news of the Advent season is forgiveness of sins and new life. With faith in Christ we are forgiven.

Gradual: 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 CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time: Story, Prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer

Song: Come on, ring those bells

Everybody likes to take a holiday Everybody likes to take a rest Spending time together with the family Sharing lots of love and happiness.

Come on, ring those bells, Light the Christmas tree, Jesus is the king Born for you and me. Come on, ring those bells, Every-body say, Jesus, we remember This your birthday.

Celebrations come because of something good. Celebrations we love to recall Mary had a baby boy in Bethlehem The greatest celebration of all.

Come on, ring those bells, Light the Christmas tree, Jesus is the King Born for you and me. Come on, ring those bells, Every-body say, Jesus, we remember This your birthday.

Words and music: Andrew R. Culverwell © 1976 Manna Music, Inc. (Admin. by Gaither Copyright Management) Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI        

Scripture reading:    Luke 1:46-56                   NT(NRSV)

Response: My Lord, he is a comin’ soon

My Lord He is a comin’ soon, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, get everything ready for that day prepare ye the way of the Lord

Words and music: Laura Winnen and Jeff Cothran © Hope Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI           

Message: “Who is this girl and why is she singing?”

“All the Whos down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville did not.”

So begins the classic tale “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Theodore Geisel, a. k. a. Dr. Seuss. I’m sure you know the story.

High above the small town of Whoville, where people joyfully celebrate Christmas, lives a creature known as the Grinch.

He can’t understand what all this noise and singing and feasting and giving of presents is all about.

Even after he sneaks into Who-ville dressed as St. Nick and steals all the presents from the Whos, he is dumbfounded to find them still singing and celebrating.

While the Grinch experiences a sort of conversion, Dr. Seuss still leaves the question largely unanswered: Why is everybody so happy at Christmas?

as this question ever crossed your mind?

Do you ever find yourself surrounded by people full of holiday cheer, but you don’t feel much like singing?

Everybody around you is smiling and laughing, but you feel like crying.

They’re all so carefree while your mind is full of worry, stress and pain.

Maybe you’re on the Grinch’s side: why is everybody else so happy?
In the Bible there is a story of a young girl who had a lot of reasons to be a Grinch at Christmas.

She is a member of the poorest class of her people having no political power or rights.

She is young and female in a culture that treats women as little more than property.

She’s an unwed mother, which is often an automatic death sentence in her community.

Her fiancé is seriously considering calling off the marriage, which could mean she would never find a husband who would have her.

The very first Christmas is coming- and in spite of all she can be worried and sad about, the Bible tells us in Luke 1:46-56 that she is so happy she is singing a song, known as the “Magnificat”, which means “glorifies”.

Mary’s song is a recital of what God had done for her and for others in the past.

Here are 4 ways Mary’s song can set your heart singing this Christmas:

First of all, BECAUSE GOD MAKES YOU HAPPY. (v 46-47)

What makes you happy?

There may be more than a million answers to that question.

Some say money can make you happy, that marriage can make you happy, that divorce can make you happy, that a new house/car/boat, can make you happy, that family can make you happy, that religion can make you happy.

What or Who would you say makes you happy?
Mary’s song makes it clear the reason she’s singing is because God makes her happy.

She sings: “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour…” [vs. 47]

There are a couple of things we notice about the opening verse of Mary’s hymn of happiness.

First, Mary knows God personally.

God, she says, is “my Saviour”.

She’s not one of these people who store up a lot of religious trivia about God.

Her relationship is real and personal.

Secondly we notice that Mary doesn’t claim to be sinless.

She knows she is a sinner who needs God as her Saviour just as anybody else does.

Mary is a special young lady, but she is human, just as we are.

Thirdly, did you notice how she feels about her relationship with God?

She is full of joy.

The Greek word literally means to jump up and down for joy.

Think of a child, so happy he literally leaps for joy.

This is how Mary describes her relationship with God.

Watch “Wheel of Fortune” or “The Price is Right” and you will see people jump for joy over a new car, or a new house or a fabulous vacation for two to Cancun Mexico.

People experience happiness and joy when they get married, when a baby is born, when they get a Christmas bonus.

Its not hard to be happy when things go well. But Mary’s song was produced by a deeper joy than this.

She was happy even though she didn’t have much money.

She sang for joy even when it seemed she was numbered among the losers in life.

She found her joy in the Lord and it was a joy that couldn’t be shaken nor taken away by anyone or anything else.

This joy is available to you too.

It does not depend on your bank account or what’s in your garage.

It is a joy that flows even through tears and suffering.

It is the joy Jesus Himself promises to anyone who will hear His Word and believe it.

In John 15:11, we read:  “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

One wise man put it this way: “Happiness of heart can no more be attained without God than light and sunshine can be had without the sun.

On every side, in every part of the universe, men and women are seeking happiness and cannot find it because they do not seek it from God.”

Friends, let me guarantee you this: unless you find your happiness in God, you will never truly be happy.

Who is this girl and why is she singing?

She is Mary, mother of Jesus, who finds her happiness in God.

Her song calls you to find your happiness in God, too.

Mary’s Song also describes another reason you and I can sing for joy:

BECAUSE GOD HAS A SPECIAL PART FOR YOU TO PLAY (v. 48-50)

Two of the most amazing discoveries you will ever in life come when you realize:
1) God is working out His plan for this world, and
2) He has chosen a special part for you to play in accomplishing His plan.

Mary’s song celebrates the part God has for her to play in His plan for the world.

The angel Gabriel has already revealed in vs. 26-38 that she will be privileged to be the mother of God’s Messiah.

God gives her a very important part to play in His plan and it excites her that she can do this for Him.

But pause for a moment and remember: this opportunity will cost Mary.

She knows the truth about her pregnancy, but her story might be a little hard for others to swallow.

In spite of the challenges and problems, Mary is glad to be chosen for this special part to play in God’s plan.

She sees beyond her own struggle and pain to God’s power, mercy, and holiness.

Mary sings for joy that a God so great not only notices a poor nobody like her but actually invites her to be a part of His plan to save the world.

Have you discovered your part to play in God’s plan?

John Powell writes: “I have a sign in the mirror of my room. I see it every morning in my groggy condition, when I first wake up. It reads:

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT GOING TODAY, GOD? I’D LIKE TO BE A PART OF IT.   THANKS FOR LOVING ME.”

We have to find our place in God’s plans, rather than make our own little plans and then ask God to support them: “Come on, God, give me a raise in my pension plan for the coming year or a new car. Come on, God, do this for me.”

Instead, we need to pray, “What have you got going today, God?

You love this world and the people in it.

What part do you want me to play in this drama?

I will play any part you say. ”My friends, this is the recipe for joy: find your part to play in God’s plan.”

In spite of the mess people make out of this sad, sinful world, God is still working out His incredible, glorious plan to change the world.

Just like Mary, He has a part for you to play in His plan; but also like Mary, you have to say “Yes” to God’s plan in your life.

Will it cost you? Yes.

But then anything you do that makes a real difference is costly.

The question is, do you just want to fritter time away, or do you want your life to count for something?

Who is this girl and why is she singing?

She is Mary, mother of Jesus, and she gladly plays her part in God’s plan.

Her song calls you and me to find our part in His plan and play it, too.

But Mary’s song is not done.

She continues to sing about God’s plans to instigate a revolution.

The third reason for joyful singing is that

GOD TURNS THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN (v. 51-53)

So many misunderstand Christmas because they misunderstand what God did when He sent His Son to earth.

Jesus was not born to make us more respectable, or to help us learn how to play nice with one another.

He came to usher in God’s kingdom.

He came to turn everything on its head, and show us that reality is not defined by human reasoning.

Mary recognizes this revolutionary way of thinking in these verses.
Even though God is spirit, the image here is God flexing His muscle to use His power.

This figuratively describes His activity and power as Saviour of His people.

He has scattered the proud and lifted up the humble.

Those who sit on thrones of pride God pulls down and lays low.

Those who humble themselves, He lifts up.

No matter how high the proud sit, they are headed for a tumble;

no matter how low the humble stoop, they are destined for higher ground.

God turns the world of the proud and the humble upside down.

The images here in Mary’s song of praise celebrate God’s power to change the status quo.

People like to think that selfishness and pride are what it takes to get to the top; but God says that is just a detour to the bottom.

The real way to climb higher is to humble yourself before God.

People like to think that the self- satisfied and self-sufficient are those who have it made in life; but God says it is those who hunger and thirst for righteousness that will find real satisfaction in life.

The world says the happiest people are those who serve and satisfy themselves, but God says these are the real failures.

The truly successful people in life are those who are humble and hungry enough to be used by God.

Mary celebrates the fact that God’s power can put this upside down world right-side up again.

It is strange to think that the road to joy is open only if you are humble and hungry, but that’s what Mary is telling us. Only when you step off the throne and fall at the feet of Jesus will you ever find true joy.

Are you bowed at the feet of Jesus this morning?

Are you hungry and thirsty to know Him more?

Who is this girl and why is she singing?

She’s Mary, mother of Jesus, glad that God is turning this world upside down.

Her song calls you and me to let God turn our world upside down too.

Finally, Mary’s song celebrates the fact of God’s faithfulness and that He ALWAYS KEEPS HIS PROMISES (v. 54-56)

It was the day after Christmas at a church when the pastor noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from the manger scene set up inside the church.

He hurried outside and saw a little boy with a red wagon and in the wagon was the figure of the infant Jesus.

He walked up to the boy and asked, “Where did you get your passenger?”

The little boy replied, “I got him from the church.”

“And why did you take him out of the church?”

The boy explained, “Well, a week before Christmas I prayed to the Lord Jesus and I told him if he would bring me a red wagon for Christmas, I would give him a ride around the block in it.” Kids know the importance of keeping your promises, even if we adults sometimes forget. Christmas is the fulfillment of God’s promises made over 1900 years earlier to an old man named Abraham.

Wrapped up in His Word to the father of the faithful was this pledge:
Genesis 12:3 “all people on earth will be blessed through you.”
For almost 2000 years, Israel would hold on to God’s promise through their stormy history.

They would go into slavery, be liberated from bondage, only to rebel against God and almost be destroyed.

He would forgive them, and give them a king, but then their unfaithfulness would lead them into exile.

Some would wonder if God has forgotten His promise.

But Mary sings about God’s remembrance of His mercy,

to Abraham and to his descendants forever. (v. 54, 55)

Mary believes in the God Who keeps His promises.

Her song proclaims God will not forget His mercy.

God will not forget His people.

God will not forget His promise.

His Son will be the proof that God always keeps His promises.

What a marvelous thing a promise is!

When a person makes a promise, she reaches out into an unpredictable future and makes one thing predictable: she will be there even when being there costs her more than she wants to pay.

When a person makes a promise, he stretches himself out into circumstances that no one can control and controls at least one thing: he will be there no matter what the circumstances turn out to be.

With one simple word of promise, a person creates an island of certainty in a sea of uncertainty.

That’s what a promise is supposed to be.

But too often, people don’t keep their promises and we end up wondering if anybody ever keeps them.

Mary sings out loud and clear for everyone to hear:

God always keeps His promises.

The Bible is full of God’s promises to you and me: promises of His love, promises of eternal, abundant life, promises that He will never leave nor forsake us, promises that He cares about you, no matter who you are.

Who is this girl, and why is she singing?

She’s Mary, mother of Jesus, a woman who affirms that God always keeps His promises.

Who are you, and what do you have to sing about this morning?

Many of us are stressed out and anxious during the holidays, especially about Covid-19.

Many of us have aches and longings that won’t go away.

It would be so easy for you and me to live at the top of

Mt. Crumpet with the Grinch instead down in Who-ville with all those joyful, singing Whos.

But still there is this song, sung by this young girl who had her own plate loaded down with trouble and uncertainty, and yet she could sing.

She sang because God had made her heart happy and full of joy;

she sang because she knew she had a special part to play in God’s plan.

She sang because God was turning her world upside down.

She sang because God always keeps His promises.

 My friends, this Christmas, let God put a song in your heart.

*Song: Hail to the Lord’s anointed vs 1,2,5

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, great David’s greater Son; hail, in the time appointed, his reign on earth begun! He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free, to take away transgression, and rule in equity.

He brings salvation speedy to those who suffer wrong; he saves the poor and needy, and helps the weak be strong; they sing who once were sighing, their darkness turned to light, for they, who once were dying, are precious in his sight.

O’er every foe victorious, Christ on his throne shall rest, from age to age more glorious, all blessing and all blest: the tide of time shall never his covenant remove; his name shall stand for ever: that name to us is Love.

Words: James Montgomery; Music: alt, Melchior Teschner. Public domain for both

We respond to serve God

Prayer of gratitude

O Lord,
From the bulb there comes a flower
from the desert rock a flow of water
from the rainbow there come the hope of life
from the Bible there comes the Word of truth
from the cross there comes the love of God
from the tomb there comes the resurrection
from the prophet comes the vision of new earth.

We are grateful for these and so much more.

In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Response: Now thank we all our God

Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices Who wondrous things has done in whom God’s world rejoices

words: Catherine Winkworth; music: J. Cruger public domain for both

Reflection on giving: We have been giving faithfully even though we have not been passing the Offering Plate sin the beginning of the pandemic. It may be a while before most of us return to the sanctuary, but we are all committed to continuing 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 contributions, which come freely from hearts full of gratitude. For those in the sanctuary, if you have offering envelopes with you, simply put them in the offering plate at the back of the sanctuary as you leave the service  today.

Response: Be still and know

Prayers for others and ourselves

Communion

Song   Here is bread, here is wine

Here is bread;, here is wine: Christ is with us:, he is with us. Break the bread;, taste the wine Christ is with us here.

Here is grace;, here is peace: Christ is with us: he is with us. Know his grace; find his peace: feast on Jesus here.

In this bread there is healing; in this cup there’s life forever. In this moment, by the Spirit Christ is with us here.

Here we are, joined in one: Christ is with us;, he is with us. We’ll proclaim, till he comes Jesus crucified.

In this bread there is healing; in this cup there’s life forever. In this moment, by the Spirit Christ is with us here.

Words and music: Graham Kendrick © 1992 Make Way Music/ Integrity’s Hosanna! Music. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Affirmation of our faith: The Apostles’ Creed

Sharing of the Elements

The prayer after communion

God of the future, you are coming in power to bring all nations and all peoples under the rule of your lordship through Jesus Christ. We know about, believe in, and hope for that future advent of the kingdom because we know about, believe in, and find as the source of all hope your first advent in Bethlehem.

Help us to be expectant people.

Bend our thoughts and aspirations beyond the moment, beyond what we can see in front of us at any given time.

Although we want to do our daily tasks well and to your glory right now, help us to be people who also look ahead, who peer around various cosmic corners, and who know that the ultimate things of existence in this universe are the things that have been secured for us through Jesus and that are real already now in the kingdom he established.

In Advent we sing about our having open hearts for you to enter in. May we, by the grace of your Spirit, be open indeed, Father. Make us open to the ways your kingdom can influence our decision making at work, at school, and at home.

Make us open toward the others in our midst, enabling us to see each and every person we meet as Jesus in our midst.

Make us open to opportunities to serve those other people, to serve your whole creation out of devotion to you and to your Son, who showed us what true service is all about when he came down into a virgin’s womb to salvage the universe you fashioned in the beginning.

As people whose hearts are open, we pray this morning for your needy world. This Advent season sees once again a world of war and rumors of war, a world of violence and terrorism that strikes the unsuspecting. A world still in the midst of Covid-19.

It is easy, O God, for us to see why this world needs saving, but sometimes it is not so easy to believe that, in Christ, it has already been saved.

Beyond the glitter and goodwill and cozy warmth of the Christmas season, Father, help us as Christians to find in Jesus’ birth long ago a true reason for hope in this present moment.

And then lead us to be workers for peace, bearers of shalom, agents of healing in this world gone mad.

We pray for those who are not well at this time, especially those affected by Covid. We pray that healing will take place very quickly in their lives.

Be with those who are lonely especially as they think about the upcoming Christmas season. Help them to find comfort and warmth in your loving arms.

Be with those who will be traveling over the holiday season. Help them to get to and return home safely.

Be with those who have recently lost a loved one. We pray especially for the families of John Ross and Lance Secret. Help them to feel Your love and comfort in their lives.

Hear us now as we bring to you our personal thots and prayers in a moment of silent prayer.

May the Holy Spirit touch all of us this morning and thru-out the advent season. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, Master and Lord. Amen.

Song: Hark the glad sound

Hark the glad sound! The Saviour comes, the Saviour promised long; let every heart prepare a throne, and every voice a song!

You come the prisoners to release in Satan’s bondage held; the gates of brass before you burst, the iron fetters yield.

You come the broken heart to bind, the wounded soul to cure, to bring the treasures of God’s grace, good tidings for the poor.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace, your welcome shall proclaim, and heaven’s eternal arches ring with your most honoured name.

Words: Philip Doddridge, Music: Thomas Haweis, Arrangement: Samuel Webbe. Both public domain

Sending out with God’s blessing

Response: 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

Music postlude

“I don’t praise God because all is right in my world. I praise Him because of who He is” -Dionna Sanchez

——————————————————————————-

Bob Calder retains the copyright on all original material presented by him. As far as the author is aware, all of the material presented (except for material for which other authorship is assigned) 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.