CALL TO WORSHIP: (Based on Psalm 100)
ONE: Shout with joy to the Lord! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy! Know that the Lord is God!
ALL: He made us and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
ONE: Enter His gates with thanksgiving, go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name.
ALL: For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.
WELCOME: This is what the Lord God says: I, myself, will search for my sheep. I will take care of them. A shepherd will take care of his scattered flock when it is found. In the same way I will take care of my sheep. I will save them from all the places where they are scattered. (Ezekiel 34:11-12)
PRAYER TO THE GOOD SHEPHERD & THE LORD'S PRAYER: Lord of the 23rd Psalm,
I have known death, and You have refreshed my soul. I have known fear, and You have comforted me. I have known hunger, and You have set a feast before me. In the darkest valley no calamity of humankind or nature has separated us.
Teach me to walk as You walk, beside those in mourning, so they will know joy. Beside those in fear that they will know comfort. Beside those in hunger that they will feast until their cup overflows. As Your goodness and love follow me, may mine follow my neighbour that the threat of the worst terrors may turn to the knowledge of the comforts of the house of the Lord, where You have invited us to dwell forever. And so let me strive to help build on earth what You have promised us in heaven. In the face of all calamity, present and yet to come, let me lead my neighbour beside quiet waters, the quiet waters of the Good Shepherd.
Now let us pray together the prayer Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
As followers of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, we like to help His work of taking care of others. We give You this offering today and with it we worship You and give our whole selves to You. Please take it and use it for Your kingdom and Your glory. Extend and multiply its reach and influence we pray. May it be a great blessing to many. We ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
PRAYER OF INTERCESSION:
Confident that the Lord's love for us has no end, we bring forward our needs and the needs of others, all over the world. We pray for those who serve and lead in the Church, that they may follow the example of Christ, the Good Shepherd. (pause for silent prayer) we pray for all members of the caring professions, that the Lord's compassion may be visible in them. (pause) We pray for young people deciding how they will spend their lives, that they may consider serving God's people. (pause) We pray for farmers and those who work on the land, that they may show respect for all God's creation. (pause) We pray for people who call on the name of the Lord Jesus in their sufferings, that they may experience God's healing power. (pause) We pray for all who have gone on before us in faith, that they may see God, face to face. (pause)
God of beauty and compassion, You love us as a shepherd loves all the flock. Continue to support Your people with Your grace, we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SPECIAL MUSIC: "The Silence Of The Lambs" - Norm
MEDITATION: The Good Shepherd
The Good Shepherd
When I was preparing this morning's meditation, I was reminded of a story. Kevin and Ryan, ages five and three, were waiting for breakfast one Saturday morning. As their mother was preparing some pancakes, the boys began to argue loudly over who would get the first one from the griddle. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson and said, "If Jesus were sitting here, he would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake — I can wait.'" Kevin immediately turned to his younger brother and said, "Okay, Ryan, you be Jesus."
This little story is about sacrifice and for some it's not an easy thing to do. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice by giving His life for us. He paid the ultimate price to save all of us from sin. I guess by now you've figured out that this Sunday has been devoted to the Good Shepherd.
Typically, Good Shepherd Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Easter, but since we're breaking for summer vacation and will be separated from each other for a while, I thought today would be a good day to talk about the Good Shepherd.
We all know who the Good Shepherd is, right? I learned 'way back when I was a little girl in Sunday School that Jesus was the Good Shepherd. But it wasn't until much later that I really understood all that the name stood for.
Let's start with Jesus himself. In the Bible, there are well over 2000 different titles and names used to describe Jesus Christ. Many of these are how Jesus described himself. He was called Lamb of God, Bread of Life, Light of the World, The Way, The Word, The Truth, The Door and the Son Of Man, just to name a few.
In this morning's scripture reading from John 10, Jesus said "I am the Gate (or Door)" and "I am the Good Shepherd." I've talked about this passage before, but I'm talking a slightly different direction this time.
In the time of Jesus, the shepherd was very important. Sheep are totally defenseless and absolutely dependent on the shepherd. Even the sound of running water can frighten them. There were many kinds of dangers and it was really important for the shepherd to keep a watchful eye on his flock. Heavy rains could cause flash floods and sweep the sheep away. Robbers were a constant threat, coming in the night to steal the sheep. Wolves could attack the
flock at any given moment. Remember the story of David, a young shepherd boy, who killed a bear and a lion while watching his father's flock.
Weather also played a part in the shepherd's care of his flock. Driving winter snow and blowing and burning sand in summer. A shepherd's hours were long and lonely, but a good shepherd's main focus was the care of his flock. In fact, many shepherds gave up their lives in face of grave danger just to protect their sheep.
Jesus tells us that a good shepherd does three things: 1) He cares for his sheep; 2) he makes sure the sheep know him and know his voice; and 3) he lays down his life for his flock.
Jesus compares 'caring for his sheep' with the shepherd who is not so caring the one who abandons his sheep when a wild animal comes to prey; the one who abandons his sheep at the first sign of any danger. Jesus tells us that a good shepherd is the one who takes care of his flock even when he is put in harm's way. This is what the Good Shepherd does.
Jesus tells us that a good shepherd is known by his flock. Jesus repeats this several times, emphasizing its importance. This is the point when it should become clear that Jesus isn't talking about actual sheep or actual shepherds. Jesus is talking about himself and each one of us. Jesus is telling us that He has given His life for us so that we may be brought closer to God and truly know and follow His ways.
Jesus gave his life on the cross as the Good Shepherd. Through His willing sacrifice, Jesus made salvation possible for all who come to Him in faith. It is only through Him that we can receive salvation. "I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and they know me."
I'm going to hold up a couple of pictures. First, this is a picture of what? (a crutch). What is a crutch used for? It provides support under the arm to help someone walk if his leg is injured or weak. It can assist a person with balance problems and help him to perform daily activities more easily.
Now, this is a picture of a___________ ? (ladder) What are ladders used for?
Ladders are used for reaching high places: for putting things away in storage; for changing a light bulb; for painting or cleaning walls and ceilings; for cleaning out the eaves troughs, cutting tree branches, and many other uses.
So crutches are used by the lame, injured and weak, and ladders are used by stronger, healthier people to gain access to higher places. Did you ever realize that some people use God as a crutch and others think of God as a ladder? Those who think of God as a crutch go limping through life. However, those who think of Him as a ladder climb up to higher things.
Don't get me wrong. We need crutches. People are always getting hurt and some will never walk like the rest of us do. But we need ladders to do the work of the world. How do you think of God: as a crutch to help you out of trouble, or to lean on when you're hurt; or are you a strong person who regards God as a ladder to climb in order that you may reach the best in life?
God will be a crutch for you to lean on if you should hurt yourself, but you don't want to be a lame Christian all your life and go limping into heaven. We are always answering God's call to walk a great life journey of faith. A journey that will enable our love for God and others to grow. Let God strengthen us and nourish us as we take that journey. It's an easy journey if we follow the Good Shepherd.
I always go back to that part of Jesus' story where He tells us the sheep know him and know His voice. The sheep hear the shepherd's voice and are comforted by it. A voice to which they are irresistibly and powerfully drawn.
God calls to us, too, each one of us. But sometimes we don't hear His voice or even recognize it. No matter what we've done, or how far we've strayed, God calls to us. He wants us to climb the ladder, step by step, as He climbs with us.
We are the sheep and Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He loves us, He takes care of us, He makes sure we have everything we need. He was even willing to give His life so that you and I could live with Him forever. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus really loves His sheep.
Let us pray: Our dear Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, You count us to make sure we are all safe, secure and content. We can't go astray without You knowing and going out to look for us. What a wonderful feeling of security. You always go beyond what is expected in looking after Your children. You see to it that we are refreshed after a hectic day. You restore our emotions. Thank You for that kind of caring love. In Your name we pray, Amen.
SPECIAL MUSIC: "Goin' Up To Heaven To Live In Green Pastures" - Norm
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN:
The Lord takes care of His people like a shepherd. He gathers the people like lambs in His arms. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, always loves us, always takes care of us and always listens to us when we pray to Him. Go now in His care. Trust Him, follow Him
Jesus in Blue Jeans
One of the great mysteries of our faith is the mystery of the Second Coming. There are many passages of scripture referring to it. There are equally as many interpretations of these passages. Will He come again? When will He come again? How will we recognize Him when He comes? Is the second coming a physical, full body representation, or is it to be a spiritual ‘gift’ from God?
Let’s look at some of these passages and think about their meanings:
"Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (NAS, Luke 21:32-33)
This generation will not pass away? This suggests that Christ will return within the lifetimes of the disciples. But in the very same paragraph it also says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not.”
In the letters of Paul, it is very clear that the apostles expected Jesus’ imminent return, in full body form. After all, wasn’t this the Messiah who had performed a bounty of miracles, including raising his friend, Lazarus, from the dead? And did He not promise to do the same to Himself? Well, maybe…and maybe not. You see, Jesus also said this:
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." (NIV, Mark 13:32-33)
So, not only can we not know when this will be. We don’t even know how it will happen, since there is no description of it. Stranger still, Jesus says, not even the Son - meaning Jesus Himself - will know, not even the angels in heaven, but only the Father. Not even Jesus Himself will know when He will return? Certainly, these words are a superb mystery, and they can only have one ultimate meaning. Like everything else Christ has passed on to us, this is something we must accept not on the evidence of our senses. Not by what we have seen, or heard, or physically felt, but by virtue of our faith. We hear the words, or see them written, and we believe, because we have been given the power of the freedom of choice. We believe because we choose to believe. Or, we disbelieve for the same reason, because we choose to disbelieve.
But let’s assume for a moment that Jesus will come again as a complete human being. Let’s assume he came walking from the south across the mountains. Maybe he crossed the border below the First Concession and walked across the fields of Marilyn Partridge’s farm. Is that a serious challenge to your beliefs? Do you really think He will come descending from the sky, fully adult and wearing shining white robes? Or, will he wander into town as a stranger, wearing a denim shirt and blue jeans, with a wild black beard and a huge, heart-warming smile. Maybe he’ll wear a Montreal Canadiens hat? No, no. That’s going too far. Lord knows they need a Messiah, but he’ll have to wear skates.
But with all this speculation, added to a long list of speculations stretching back 2000 years, are we any closer to knowing the reality? Maybe not.
I am calling this message I decided to pass on to you, “Jesus in Blue Jeans.” The title is not mine. I took it from a book by author Laurie Beth Jones. In it, she responds to the question, “Who was Jesus and who would he be today?” I’ll approach it this way.
Since I live in Huntingdon, I’ll approach it from my familiar territory. I’m crossing the Walker Bridge one Sunday afternoon on my way to the Little Green Library to drop a book I borrowed into the return slot, when I see this lean stranger walking towards me from the direction of Athelstan. “Good afternoon,” I say. And I nod. “Hello,” he replies. Then as I’m about to get abreast of him, he stops and gazes deep into my eyes. I stop also and am mesmerized by this gaze. His eyes are a dark chocolate brown, his beard is somewhat wild and unruly, he has a tan worthy of an inhabitant of Calcutta, and his overall expression is that of a Buddhist monk, calm and serene, yet with a kind of underlying nonchalance and humour, as if anything going on around him just doesn’t matter much. He isn’t young, but then he isn’t old either.
“Can I help you?” I ask. “Yes,” he replies. “Come, follow me.”
And with these words, I forget about the library and I go with him. Thus begins a journey I have often formed in my own mind as I attempt to answer the group question, What if Jesus comes again in my lifetime? What if he shows up in Huntingdon? How would he look? What would he wear? Would he come as depicted by artists, wearing a long white robe and descending from the clouds? Or, will he come as he always came, dressed like a common man and mingling with us all. In that scenario, he’d maybe still have a beard, maybe wear sandals or Nikes, maybe be dressed in blue jeans, a bit faded, a bit worn.
So, I turn and walk with him crossing the bridge and talking. And I’m reminded of the song,
“And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own. And the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
As we hit Chateauguay street, he looks up and sees the United Church in front of us. “What building is that?” he enquiries. “Why that’s the United Church, a house of God,” I reply.
“So it is,” he agrees. “Let’s go inside.”
“I’m afraid we can’t.”
“Well, Sunday service is over and the door is locked. I don’t know who has a key.”
“Will I have to wait until the Sabbath?” he asks.
“Today is the Sabbath.”
He looks at me kind of sternly and says. “No. Saturday is the Sabbath.”
That stops me cold and I ask, “What did you say your name was?”
And he says, “Yeshua, or, in your language, Jesus.”
All kinds of crazy thoughts rush through my head. They culminate in this one huge question, “Is this really him?” Nooo way. That’s just crazy. That gaze hits me again. And then he asks, “Still having doubts, Thomas?” And I am crushed.
But wouldn’t you have doubts? Would you refuse to accept the obvious, that this stranger beside you is just that? Just a stranger, just a man? What would it take to convince you that this is Jesus Christ, the son of God, come down to earth again? He sees my confusion and he asks, “Would it take a miracle? Should I walk across your river and back? Would that do it?”
I deflect the question and ask, “Are you hungry?”
“Sure am,” he smiles, “I haven’t eaten for a while.”
I suggest we get a hot dog and continue our conversation, and he agrees. And as we walk towards Pivin’s he looks at the stores and restaurants we pass and he questions me, “I thought this day, Sunday, was your holy day.”
“It is, at least it is to some of us.”
“And yet your stores are open?” He says this more as a question, one he would like me to answer.
“You see, not everyone views this as the day of the Lord. Some people work all week and need the time to buy provisions.”
“But it wasn’t always like this, and people still bought provisions.”
“Yes, that’s true.” I’m floundering, and wishing he wouldn’t carry on in this vein. I’m feeling uncomfortable with all this talk of the Lord’s day, his day.
But he persists. “Has everyone forgotten the ten? 2, do not have idols before me. Isn’t your hungry pursuit of material things much the same as the worship of idols?”
“Some would see it that way.”
I’m getting defensive because we have also participated in Sunday shopping at times.
“And what about 4, remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day?”
“Yes, but you see our governments don’t support religions and their practices.”
“And who said anything about governments or religions. Have you all forgotten how to pray?”
“We, er, tend to do that in church.”
“You mean once a week…for an hour? And from what you’ve been telling me, very few people even attend church…or pray at all.”
“That is a shame,” I admit.
But maybe this isn’t the way it would go at all. Maybe when he does come, it will be in sounds and sights of glory, and it would be such a large, shining event that no one could possible deny him. Do you think it might happen that way? I suppose it could. I don’t know for sure, no one does. After all, he said no one could guess the hour when he would return. It’s even possible that he’s come and gone already. It’s not as if his followers have disappeared. It’s not as if no one understands his message, love God and love your neighbour. He may have come in some unfathomable way.
He may have decided that it’s up to us to keep on track, to carry on with social programs that follow his lead, to show our love by helping kids and the elderly, by providing clothes and housing to our community and to foreign communities. By welcoming strangers in our midst. By forgiving known and perceived slights against us. Yes, his message transcends millenniums. He sends us transmissions daily, if we would just pause long enough to listen, to tune in to his channel, not the hundred or more channels that brainwash us into trading real experience for vicarious experience or, in other words, experience we live through the lives or fantasies of others.
So, we stop at Leblanc’s to enjoy a Pivin hot dog and fries.
And he asks, “Can you tell me why the place where you eat is called Leblanc, but the hot dogs you eat are Pivin’s?”
“It’s a devilish long story,” I say.
“That’s all right,” he says, “I have an eternity of time.”
And so, I begin……
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
(Note to readers: Canada day was celebrated at this date because all our musicians and singers were part of the Branches and Roots Festival the next week)
CANADA DAY SERVICE
PRELUDE: Madrigal Choir
PROCESSIONAL: 0 Canada
INTROIT: Not On This Land Alone Madrigal
CALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: In a world filled with violence and war,
ALL: we gather together to celebrate the promise of peace.
ONE: in a world filled with tyranny and oppression,
ALL: we gather together to celebrate the promise of justice for all.
ONE: In a world filled with hunger and greed,
ALL: we gather together to celebrate the promise of plenty for all.
ONE: Our hope is in the name of the Almighty God,
ALL: the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of heaven and earth.
CANADA DAY PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: Thank you God for this piece of the world, a slice of land broad and wide, blessed with rivers and great lakes, wide skies and great forests, high mountains and gracious plains, beautiful from sea to sea to sea. Thank you for letting us live in this land, even though we do not own it; this land is your land, which we use in trust for future generations. Thank you for its rich history, which includes Aboriginal and Metis and Inuit peoples. We pray for justice and wisdom as we work on relationships with First Peoples.
Thank you for our system of government, for the right to speak freely, and to elect our leaders. Thank you for the freedom of religion and conscience that we enjoy. Thank you for universal health care, and a social safety net, even though not all are caught by it, and not all
dwell in safety.
We want a country that is the best it can be, a home for all, welcoming refugees and newcomers, sharing this wealthy country with the world. Bless our leaders, our Prime Minister and all members of parliament; guide their steps, and help us use our voice to guide them as they make difficult and far-reaching decisions. We thank you today for our home and native land, thank you for giving us a home here, where we live in peace and security. God keep our land, Canada, keep it strong and free, keep it safe and beautiful for future generations.
Now let us pray together the prayer Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
SPECIAL MUSIC: Amazing Grace Madrigal
SPECIAL MUSIC: Montreal Madrigal
OFFERING: Inuit Vignette Madrigal
Generous God, you have blessed us with the resources to share the good news of your love for all creation. We dedicate these gifts and pray that
they may bring healing, wholeness and hope to the world so that future generations may also know your graciousness and love. Amen.
SPECIAL MUSIC: Farewell to NovaScottia Howard Welburn
LITANY: "The Nation"
ONE: 0 my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
ALL: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
ONE: But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the
ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
ALL: But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing
stream. Hate evil, love good.
ONE: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose
for His inheritance.
SPECIAL MUSIC: Une Colombe Elisabeth Churchill
Peace Like A River
Just a few short weeks ago there was flooding in our communities
and surrounding areas. The winter ice melted, the rains came pouring
down, the rivers and lakes swelled and the water came rushing over the
banks. Many people faced the loss of their homes, personal belongings
and irreplaceable memorabilia. To these people, peace is NOT like a
But whenever these rivers and lakes overflow their banks, the
waters always recede and things eventually return to normal. It's a fact
of life that we can always expect trials, hardships, sacrifices and
difficulties. Isaiah tells us that when we go God's way, there is a
beautiful peace which falls over us. God doesn't want us to back away
from the hardships and trials that face us from time to time. They are
part of His plan. When we receive them in the right spirit, they can
increase our desire to do God's will.
God is the source of all peace and His peace is like a river. A river
is constant. God's peace is constant. It keeps flowing no matter what.
God's peace keeps flowing no matter what we do or say.
A river receives fresh supplies of water from springs and small
streams. God's peace is kept by a constant supply of grace from the
At its source a river can be small, but it grows as it moves along its
path. As we grow spiritually, God's peace also grows.
True peace is only found in a relationship with God. There is a
Buddhist saying I'd like to share with you: If there is to be peace in the
world, there must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the
nations, there must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the
cities, there must be peace between neighbours. If there is to be peace
between neighbours, there must be peace in the home. If there is to be
peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.
Whenever I think about peace I think about this beautiful saying.
But there is one thing missing. It doesn't tell us where peace in the
heart comes from. For a Christian the only source for peace in the
human heart comes from God. Each one of us must accept God's truth
and believe in the Lord.
Until each individual is at peace, there can be no peace between
us and the people around us. The lost man has no peace. Man was
made to be in communion with God. When he is separated from God
by his sin, there is only confusion, emptiness and frustration. He is
always seeking contentment and peace, and is never able to find it.
Believe in God. Accept Him as your Saviour. Ask God to forgive
your sins. Then you will be reconciled with Him. Isaiah 48, verse 18,
says: "If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace
would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the
sea." The promise of peace like a river suggests the idea of increase. It
constantly grows stronger and fills us.
When we take our sins to God, the peace that He bestows on us
transforms our life. God never stops loving us. God never gives up on
us. He never stops thinking about us. So we must never give up on God.
We don't always see the obvious. Sometimes we can't see the
forest for the trees. The truth can be as plain as the nose on our face,
but we just don't see it.
There's a story about Batman and Robin going on a trip:
The story goes that Batman and Robin decided to go camping.
They set up their tent and fell asleep. A couple of hours later, Batman
wakes his faithful friend, "Robin, look up at the sky and tell me what
Robin ponders for a minute, and then replies, "Astronomically
speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially
billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.
Chronologically, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, it's evident that God is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Batman?"
Batman is silent for a moment, then speaks: "Robin, you're an
idiot, it means that while we were sleeping, somebody stole our tent."
This funny little story reminds us that we don't always see the
obvious. We can be misled by many things and we sometimes fail to
see what is most important. Along with God's grace, God's peace is one
of the most important things we need to know. By knowing God's
peace we are able to live a valuable Christian life.
Lasting peace only comes from God. "Oh the peace I find in Jesus,
peace no power on earth can shake; peace that makes the Lord so
precious, peace that none from me can take." If you want peace, real
peace, everlasting peace, you can come to the Prince of Peace, the Lord
Jesus Christ, and you can give His peace a chance.
Don't worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell
God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this,
you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the
human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and
minds as you live in Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, this world is crazy, chaotic
and quick. Everything is fast paced, problems compile, issues simmer,
and there seems to be no time to address much of anything, let alone
Evil parades around and takes lives. Terrorism strikes fear in the
hearts of everyone. Please give us peace among the chaos in life. I pray
that in our culture and in the time we have, we would make it a priority to rest in Your peace. To comfort others who are going through a rough time. To take a break from the never-ending transitions we face, to appreciate life to the fullest.
To experience the beauty of creation, the detailed craftsmanship
of others and their relationships, to explore with our senses, and find
joy in the stillness. Your power rejuvenates, Your soft whispers
encourage, Your comfort is warming to the soul, and Your presence is
However, we will miss out if we don't stop to rest and soak it all
up. Please help us to make time to seek You daily. Thank you Lord for
Your love. You are truly amazing and You have gifted us much more
than we deserve. May You be blessed by our lives, as we have been
blessed by Yours, and may peace flow like a river in our hearts. In Jesus
name we pray, Amen.
SPECIAL MUSIC: Peace Like A River 4 members of the Madrigal
BENEDICTION: Let us depart in peace, and in love and charity with our neighbours. May we be joined together in the common goal of service to our God and our Country. Let us drive safely and carefully to our homes, and may God's blessing be with us all.
POSTLUDE: C-A-N-A-D-A Madrigal
"Christ in You, the Hope of Glory"
Text Colossians chapter 1 vs 27
Colossians 1:27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Him we preach warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Last week we looked at who Christ is Image of the invisible God
What He has done
Reconciled all things, presents us holy and blameless
Therefore How should we be? Wanting to please and serve and know him, praying for one another has Paul prayed for the church.
Now I want to look at the context of this verse, it was written to a gentile audience, and Paul uses the word and a theme found throughout many others epistles, that is "the mystery" Christ in you!
Paul's call and purpose and his main goal Was to present every man perfect in Christ! Who in this life does not want to be "whole"? People in this world are turning all kinds of things to ﬁnd meaning and propose,they always have and always will.
Part of what Paul did was to warn people of empty philosophy and legalism. Ch 2 vs 8
Colossians 2:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
Because in the Colossian culture, philosophy was king. Knowledge, and great wisdom was greatly valued.
So notice what Paul says in chapter 2 Encouraged , knit together in love, riches, full assurance, understanding, knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Verse 4 lest anyone deceive you by persuasive words. False hope and prayer for them is that they would see them in "good order "steadfast in their faith in Christ"
Friends…. When we can lay hold, truly lay hold of who Christ is.... and understand what this epistle is saying to us! We will have power. Power to be the kind of people that Christ wants us to be...
And it's so simple, it's right there in front of us. And the answer is this... Chapter 2 verse 6 as you therefore you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him. How did you receive Christ as Lord? ...... rooted and built up in Him and established in your faith. As you have been taught, abounding in it with Thanksgiving.
Faith is only as good as the "object of our faith can be" in other words.. Faith in Jesus! Chapter 2 vs 9-10 Four in the Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. I'm sure no matter what message you gave from the Scriptures, no matter what topic you gave him the Scriptures, it would all be pointless and moot if we do not talk about faith! I'm sorry, but it always comes down to that...
This epistle to the Colossians is a complete document and wants to be read out loud to the church. We need to look at this epistle as a complete document, you need to go home and read it over a couple of times, pray on it, meditate on it. It is a letter to you today.
For today's purpose,,, I'm giving a message from this epistle of which the main point I'm drawing out today. Is "Christ in you the hope of glory" of which part of that hope is. "Complete in him" lacking nothing!
My question for us today is... do you want to be "whole" perfect? Look to Jesus our Lord. Amen
God of all things, source of all blessings; accept the gifts of our hands, the thankfulness of our hearts, the praise of our worship and the bounty of our lives. We pray that this offering will be used for the building up of your kingdom of justice, peace, love and reconciliation and that you bless us and our offerings to be a blessing. Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
God ever creating,
God ever loving,
God ever leading:
Wherever people are unhappy because of their work, overwhelmed by their responsibilities, or anxious about the future,
where people sit idle and feel of no use:
Your kingdom come.
Where people are lonely or searching for love,
where people are trapped in unhealthy, uncaring, or violent relationships, where people are in pain because of the loss of friendship or meaning in life:
Your kingdom come.
Where people feel pain in their bodies, in their minds or spirits,
where people seek healing or help,
where illness has eroded hope and desperation has moved in:
Your kingdom come.
Where people gather to make the world a better place,
where people work with science, medicine, law and the economy to improve the quality of life and society,
where any one person strives to build a better and more beautiful world:
Your kingdom come.
Wherever new life has begun,
where hope flickers,
where the morning light comes after a long period of darkness:
Your kingdom come.
In Jesus name we pray Amen
ALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: Father of all, Mother of each one, thank You for Your love for us.
ALL: You formed us when we were in our mother's womb and Your devotion to us has not failed.
ONE: Your care has followed us our whole life long.
ALL: All we are and all have we owe to You.
ONE: And so on this Mother's Day we give honour to You, Lord.
ALL: Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
In North America we celebrate Mother's Day by pampering our Moms with breakfast in bed, giving her flowers and chocolates and attending to her every need. She's Queen for a day!
In Great Britain, the day is called Mothering Sunday and falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent. This celebration is more spiritual in nature.
The French celebrate Mother's Day on the last Sunday in May, where a family dinner is the norm, and traditionally, the mother being honoured is presented with a cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers.
Mother's Day in Spain is celebrated on December 8th. Spaniards pay tribute not only to their own mothers on this day, but also to the Virgin Mary. The day includes religious celebrations across the country.
PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER:
Thank You, Lord, that You fill a mother's heart with love. That You have instilled in her very being the need to protect her children if at all possible. Thank You for giving her the gift of nurturing her children, of teaching them, of comforting them, for feeding them and making a safe place for them.
Thank You for guiding them to be all that God has created them to be. Fill every mother with love, wisdom and endurance, with strength and patience and joy. Give them the ability to forgive again and again. Enable her to rely on You and call upon You, because will give her all
In Your precious and all powerful name, we say together the prayer Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
CHILDREN'S TIME: "Why? Because She Loves You"
Why? Because She Loves You
As you all know, today is Mother's Day. Today people honour their mothers and tell her how wonderful and special she is. I've brought a couple of things this morning that remind me of my mother. I want to show them to you and tell you about my mother.
Oatmeal! My mother always insisted that I eat a good breakfast every morning before I went to school. I would have rather had a chocolate covered doughnut, but my mother didn't agree with that idea! I always had to eat something like oatmeal, toast and orange juice. Why? Because my mother loved me and wanted me to grow up to be strong and healthy.
Books! Some of my friends went home after school and watched cartoons on TV, but not me! My Mom always insisted that I do my homework before I watched any TV. Why? Because my mother loved me and she knew that a good education was one of the best things she could give me.
Clocks! A clock reminds me of my mother because she always insisted on knowing where I was every minute of the day. If I wanted to go to a friend's house after school, I always had to call my Mom and ask her for permission and tell her where I was going to be and what I was going to be doing. Why did she do that? Because she loved me and wanted me to be safe.
Dishwashing detergent! I guess my Mom never heard about child labour laws. She had this idea that every member of the family should chip in and help with the chores around the house. I had special jobs to do and I was expected to do them without being told. Why? Because my mother loved me and wanted me to learn that a happy family is one where everyone works together.
My Mom isn't here anymore. She's in heaven. She probably has the angels dusting off the pearly gates and sweeping the golden streets! My mother was like that. Sometimes I thought I was being mistreated, but I really wasn't. My mother did the things she did because she loved me and wanted what was best for me.
Let's say a little prayer: Father, we thank You for our mothers. Help us to remember that when we think our mother is mistreating us, she is just showing us how much she loves us. Amen.
MOTHER'S DAY PRAYER: This day we gather with eager hearts, hungry for Your Word, yearning for the joy You promise in love. On this day of celebrating Your love, we lift to You those who have given us life, those who have loved us, those who have blessed us, and those who have taught us, our mothers May Your blessing pour out upon the woman who gave us birth, and those beautiful, strong women of faith who have been mothers to us along our journey.
We praise You, 0 God, for Your gift of motherly love, both strong and humble, both kind and true. We call forth Your compassion upon every mother. We bless our mothers this day, although we cannot fully express our gratitude. Help each one of us to be Your blessing of love, a blessing straight from Your heart. Amen
PRAYER FOR ALL PARENTS:
Great Parent of mankind, help me in my divine task ofparenthood. Help me to see my children's problems through their eyes; keep ever before me my own childhood so that I will not expect too much.
Give me the patience of the silent stars; give me a sense ofhumour; help me to win them through love instead of compelling themthrough fear.
Help me to teach them to see straight and to play the game according to the rules. Help me to teach them that every home is an altar and that every wish is a prayer.
Help me to live my own life above doubt and skepticism and help me to radiate faith in the basic goodness of life. Help me to keep the ideals of youth aglow in my own life.
Help me to teach them to live bravely and to meet defeat courageously. Help me to teach them that the value of their lives will be measured by the service they give.
Help me to teach them that true happiness is found, not in things, but in the unfolding of their minds and their souls. Help me to make my life go on in theirs, bigger, finer, nobler, than I ever dared to be. Amen.
EDITATION: "Hope For The Family"
Worshipping together as a family is rare today, except for Easter, Christmas and perhaps Thanksgiving. Our hectic lifestyle leaves little or no time for family togetherness. This makes me feel sad, and I admit, a little angry. Worship is the most valuable thing a person can do. As a child and during my elementary and high school life, I attended church every Sunday with my family. This means that during that period I attended approximately 650 Sunday worship services. And the result was a solid sense of good and evil, a confidence in myself and a good moral character.
Parents have the responsibility to teach their children by their own example, and this should include worshipping with them. Children should see how Mom and Dad pray together, how they sing praise to God and how they listen to His Word. We welcome children in this church. We know they can easily become bored and restless, but that's okay with us. You see, children unknowingly absorb a tremendous amount if exposed to something on a regular basis. When we sing our hymns every Sunday, the music and words become familiar, and the message of the music starts to sink in. The form of the service starts to feel natural. The choir and the guest musicians allow the children to hear music they may not hear at any other time.
So now the question is: "Is there hope for the Christian family?" Let's start by asking "What is a family?"
Take one husband, one wife, four walls, one small dog or stray cat; mix
well; add a generous portion of time; and you are almost certain to have a family. The dog or cat isn't absolutely necessary for the recipe, but somehow or other it seems to give God the right idea, and He blesses the family with an addition.
The family always seems to start at exactly the wrong time. When the
snow is the deepest or the hour the latest, the traffic the heaviest or the tires the flattest, the wife will whisper, "Honey, I think you'd better get the car." So the husband and wife become a family in an awesome moment and God smiles. Families are His business. "It's over" sighs the husband. "It's here" thinks the wife. "it's just begun" says God.
The family, from Dad's point of view, could be the best collection of people in the whole world — a pretty and efficient wife, a highly intelligent son, and angel of a daughter, a well-behaved dog, and, of course, himself. All is well with the world and life is good
Mother comes to view her family with fatalistic resignation. No matter
how she slaves at cleaning, cooking, washing, polishing, sewing, mending, or ironing, Dad will never notice it. To him, home is a place to relax after a day's work. Then there's Sonny. She spends her life starting him on the right path, and what does he do? He spends his Sunday School money for jelly beans. Sister, the one she has always felt close to, has drifted away and started using makeup and is getting texts from boys! And that four-legged monster! He's tracked up her kitchen floor again. If only the family would appreciate all that Mother does for them.
Sonny thinks his family is awesome, although he thinks Dad could be a little smarter. And trying to get a couple of dollars from him is harder than getting out of piano practice. Mom is an angel, but a strict angel. And Sister! Well, she's better than most girls. The one who has the right idea is Old Spot — he runs likes crazy and just has a good time.
Sister is tolerant of her old-fashioned family. Dad is a lovable old man, he must be 35, at least. Mother is a dear, but so far behind the times and absolutely impossible at times. Sonny likes to tease and get in the way all the time. He and his dog. If Spot could walk on two legs she'd rather have him take her to a dance.
And what does Spot think of the family? We'll never really know but he probably has a better and truer understanding of the family than any of them.
When God made the family He must have meditated a long time. The
family must have food, shelter and clothing, so there must be a father. The family must have care, affection and guidance, so there must be a mother. The family must not be dull or tiresome, so there must be a boy to shout, jump, run, get in the way and hang by his knees from trees. The next family can't be forgotten, so there must be a girl, an' angel who will love them, bewilder them, and make them so very proud.
So all are accounted for except for poor old Spot. Perhaps he was intended to become a member of the family to be a constant example of love and devotion for all the others.
Love, peace, harmony and kind words are the keys to unlocking a happy home. And making God a part of the family is what will keep the family strong and together throughout the years. God believes in the importance of a family. He wants the family to come together to worship Him and to praise Him. It's easy to do this: you can bring your children to church and worship together as a family; you can say grace before a meal; you can teach your child a bedtime prayer; you can read a Bible story or teach a Bible song. There are many ways to worship with your children.
The benefits of worshipping with your children far outweigh any inconvenience you may have to endure. We have the added benefit of living in a time when resources are at our fingertips. All sorts of teaching materials for children can be found online, including printables to encourage your children to learn more about God and Jesus.
Being able to attend church and Sunday School is a wonderful privilege, not available to every child. There are so many Bible stories that get children excited, interested and eager to hear more. And kids love crafts and games, and these can easily be found, and will enhance the learning experience of every story.
As I said earlier, children are always welcome at Rockburn Presbyterian
Church. But even if it's difficult or not possible to bring them, find a little time to worship with them at home. God wants the family to come together to worship Him.
If your parents worshipped with you regularly while you were young,
there's a very good chance that you are worshipping God regularly as an adult. As parents, or even as grandparents, one of your most important ministries is worshipping with your children!
Let us pray: All praise to You, Lord Jesus, lover of children. Bless each family in our congregation, in our community and the world over, and help us to lead our children to You. Give us light and strength and courage when our task is difficult. Let Your Spirit fill us with love and peace, so that we may help our children love You. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN:
Go now in the comfort and peace of the One who gave birth to us. Go in the assurance that the Comforter is with us always. Go to give peace and comfort to others. Divine Wisdom guide us as we go forth on her paths of peace. May we find joy in sharing these blessings with others.
May wisdom empower us to change our world.
CALL TO WORSHIP:
Let us worship God
in the knowledge that just as we have heard God’s call to worship,
so God hears our voices in worship.
Come, let us worship God.
CALL TO WORSHIP Psalm 95:1-3
O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Christ is risen!
Now what? The disciples clung to each other.
They huddled in the upper room, waiting.
Would the authorities come to take them, too?
Instead, Jesus himself appeared, despite the locked door.
Next came doubts and questions, assurances and instructions, and a last word:
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Christ is risen! Now what?
Now we come together to wait for him.
May the risen Christ bless us as we worship what we have not seen, yet believe.
ALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: Christ is risen!
ALL: He is risen indeed!
ONE: Now there is a light instead of darkness.
ALL: Life instead of endless death. Eternal light as God's
ONE: The tomb is open. He lives! He lives!
ALL: Death is dead and night is done.
ONE: Earth shouts with joy and heaven gives its gift of
gold in the risen sun.
ALL: Roll back the clouds of hate and fling apart the
curtains of the night.
ONE: In hearts that love and souls that song,
ALL: Let Christ arise! Let there be light!
PRAYER OF INVOCATION:
This is the day you have made, Lord, and we rejoice!
Come. Let the world know you dwell with us. Stir our
souls with love and hope, and let our feet dance for joy
on Your good earth. Open our eyes to the hopes and
needs of this planet, and all who share its life. Embolden
our hearts to works of justice in Your name. Be present to
us. Empower us with Your resurrection life. Let the world
know, through our lives, that Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
All of creation is God's gift to us, including our very lives.
What we do with our lives and with creation is our gift to
God. Let us be about the business of building God's
realm, a healed Earth where there is enough for all. We
will now receive your offering.
Risen Christ, bless these gifts,
along with our very lives. May gifts and givers alike be
dedicated to Your work of love, hope, justice and peace.
SPECIAL MUSIC: The Holy City - Howard Welburn
CHILDREN'S TIME: "The Real Easter Bunny"
THE REAL EASTER BUNNY
There's no story in the Bible about a long-earred, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. Neither is there a passage about young people painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with delicious Easter goodies. And REAL rabbits don't lay eggs, do they?
Today, I'm going to tell you about Jesus and how we all should try to be like Him.
I'm going to compare Jesus to a real Easter Bunny!
A real Easter Bunny:
Is white as snow because Jesus takes all sin away. Isaiah 1:18b — Your sins are red like deep red cloth, but they can be as white as snow.
Is gentle, kind-hearted and forgiving. Ephesians 4:32 — Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other just as God forgives you.
Has big ears that are quick to listen. James 1:19 — Always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Don't become angry easily.
Has big eyes to look carefully and choose what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 -- Test everything. Keep what is good.
Has no voice for complaining or arguing. Philippians 2:13 — Yes, God is working in you to help you want to do what pleases Him. Then He gives you the power to do it.
Is quiet in prayer, but hops with thanksgiving and rejoicing. Philippians 4:4-6 — Be full of joy in the Lord always. Let all people see that you are gentle and kind. Don't worry about anything. Pray and ask God for everything you need. And when you pray, always give thanks.
Has big feet to go tell others about Jesus so they can be like Easter Bunnies too.
Matthew 28:19-20 — So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have taught you. You can know that I will always be with you.
Eats what is healthy by filling up on God's word. Psalm 119:11 — 1 have taken your words to heart so I would not sin against you.
Luke 24:1-12 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Has Risen
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again. ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28 New International Version (NIV)20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man,the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
ANTHEM: Every Morning Is Easter Morning - Choir
PRAYER: When our faith stands at the grave, grieving for a stone
that's rolled away, forgive us. When our faith is short of understanding though the truth is there to see, forgive us. When our faith, beset by doubt, sees no further than an empty tomb today, forgive us. Bring to mind the cry of Mary, "I have seen the Lord!" and grant us faith to believe.
Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! May this declaration resound not only in these walls but touch the lives of all we meet and forever be the truth of which we speak. Your love, once sown within a garden, tended for Your own people, neglected and rejected, now spreads its sweet perfume in this place and wherever it is shown. Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
RESPONSIVE READING: (Turn to #231 In your hymnal)
ONE: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings.
ALL: In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
All sing verse 1 of When I Survey The Wondrous Cross - #231
1. When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
ONE: And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
ALL: But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
All sing verse 2.
2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
ONE: Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
ALL: And when they had made a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they mocked Him saying, Hail, King of the Jews.
All sing verse 3.
3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
MEDITATION: An Easter Symbol
An Easter Symbol
Who is the Easter Bunny and does she really lay eggs? Now you're
probably asking yourself, "Why in the world is she talking about bunnies on Easter Sunday, and in church?" No, I haven't lost my mind and I will show you that there actually is a religious connection and it will be revealed shortly.
As a Christian, the first thing that comes to mind when we think about Easter might be the cross, or the empty tomb. But for others, who are bombarded with media advertisements and store shelves stacked high with Easter merchandise of all kinds, it's more likely that the Easter Bunny comes to mind. So how did a rabbit distributing eggs become a part of Easter?
Let's begin with the white lily, which has come to capture the glory of
Easter Sunday. The lily is often called the "White-Robed Apostle of Hope." Lilies were sound in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ died on the cross. Now referred to as Easter Lilies, they signify the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hop for eternal life.
Next, let's look at the word Easter. Its name comes from Eastre, the
Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Spring festivals were held in her honour to celebrate new life, rebirth and growth. The date for Easter Sunday is
determined by the first full moon following the vernal equinox, which explains why Easter Sunday can fall anywhere from March 22 to April 25.
Now let's look at the Easter Bunny. In today's world, many children wake up on Easter morning to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets filled with candy and chocolate Easter eggs. So this makes the Easter Bunny a kind of rabbit-spirit, like Santa Claus. Many years ago he was called the 'Easter Hare.'
Hares and rabbits have frequent multiple births, so it's easy to see why they became a symbol of fertility. Easter comes in the Spring and celebrates birth and new life. The Christian meaning of new life is the come through Christ.
The rabbit's warren or burrow also helped it become an Easter symbol.
Believers saw the rabbit coming out of its underground home as a symbol for Jesus coming out of the tomb. This is just another example of taking a pre- existing symbol and giving it a Christian meaning.
The rabbit is often associated with fear, timidity, nervousness and fertility. This reminds us, as Christians, that we must learn to move through the fear, live by our own wits, receive the teachings and messages of Jesus and strengthen our intuition. The rabbit also represents humility, because it is quiet, soft and not self-asserting. The rabbit reminds us not to be afraid. Fearful thoughts reproduce, like rabbits, and bring forward the very thing we fear.
The inspiration for this morning's message comes from a beautiful story
written by Stephanie Williams Hope. My mother was a writer and she collected many short stories she found while researching her own work. I found this story in her collection, entitled "The Easter Symbol" and I believe it is worth sharing on this Resurrection Sunday.
It was the ending of a time and the beginning of a time. It was the
darkness, and it was the light. It was tears, and it was hope. It was the
crucifixion of Christ.
The sky was dark with hatred and prejudice, and mankind seemed to be upon the darkest hour.
Thunder rolled across the sky, and lightning sliced crazily through somber clouds.
Some men rejoiced, others wept, and in the mortal sense all men were at
The forest was alive with beasts, their senses tuned to something far
beyond their realm of understanding. They could smell the shame and error in the air.
The beasts converged upon the meadow. Once a grazing spot of
tranquility, it now embraced the darkness. The rumble of the sky was warning menacingly of a change. They crowded close, each a part of nature's scene.
From field mouse to mountain lion, they herds began to grow in number. They communicated silently, the confusion and the fear always present in their eyes.
Soon it was decided. They must discover why the sky was angry. Could
they be to blame for the holocaust upon the hill? They must send a courier. They would solve the mystery for themselves, but they must send him soon. They must know the reason for all the anger in the sky.
The meadow swiftly filled to its capacity with all God's creatures, and they began to choose. What beast could complete this task? He should not be too large for fear of discovery nor too small to comprehend everything. He must be fleet of foot and have coat that would conceal his presence among the rocks and trees.
A judgement was reached. It was decided that the rabbit would complete the journey. His brown coat would not attract notice, and his speed would bring the answer quickly.
The rabbit set about his mission with the speed granted to him by his
creator. Through the forest, over streams, and down the hills through the heavy air he raced. His nostrils twitched with apprehension. Then, he saw it in the distance, but what were those giant trees? They had no leaves and only one branch across the top. He sped closer; he must get a better look. The scent of death and evil pervaded his senses. He did not like the smell. It was the smell of man, a scent he had grown to fear.
He travelled faster now, he could observe three trees in the distance, but
men were a part of those trees. He was confused; his wonder was intense.
He saw men laughing, women grieving; he saw the sky turn blacker as the thunder attained its peak.
He reached the base of the strange trees and crouched beneath the bush
closest to the middle tree. He gazed upward; there was a gentleness and a sadness in the man's eyes. He did not fear this man. He knew He would cause no harm. He felt the wrong. He knew that mankind had erred, but he could not help. He glanced up again; it may have been beue of an instinct or and inner sense granted to all God's creatures that he knew this special man meant peace and love for all.
He remained motionless; his eyes returned again to the gentle man's gaze, and slowly hsi fur began to lighten from brown to gray to white, until it was as white as pure snow. This was the sign — he knew it was! Man and beast alike could still have hope. Ha paused once more in wonder to look at the face. The eyes could almost speak; the rabbit understood the silent message. It was all to clear, a reminder of man's ignorance and helplessness, and the rabbit would be that reminder throughout all the centuries to come. He would be the special sign; he would represent this day.
He began his journey back to the meadow and the anxious beasts. They
must know what he knew. His coat was now a winter white — this would be the symbol and the proof that man and beast alike would share this day forever.
As I told the children earlier; there is no place in the Bible about a long-earred, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. But the rabbit is gentle and kind-hearted, as is Jesus. Philippians 4:4-6 says "Be full of joy in the Lord always. Let people see that you are gentle and kind."
Let us pray: May the glory and the promise of this joyous time of year,
bring peace happiness and peace to you and your loved ones. May Christ, our Risen Saviour, always be there for you, to bless you most abundantly and to always be your guide. May the blessed Easter story of the Resurrection bring new hopes, new peace, new joy and love, and make your heart — "He Is Risen!"
ONE: Friends, today we have celebrated the glorious mystery of Christ's death and resurrection. Let us go forth, rejoicing in the knowledge that Jesus is alive.
Alleluia! Today, we look to the future-to the new dawn of Eastertide.
ALL: Let us go to live as people bathed in the light of resurrection. Alleluia!
ONE: Today, we remember the day when creation was made new, when God showed humanity its destiny.
ALL: Let us go as people living in the knowledge that through the triumph of Jesus over death the gates of heaven are re-opened. Alleluia!
BENEDICTION: And now may the celebration of resurrected life bring new hope to your being. May the victory over earthly death turn your eyes to the promises of heaven. May the empty tomb help you to leave your sorrows at the foot of the cross, so that God's hope, promises and forgiveness reign in your life forever.
Call to Worship Psalm 111:1-3
Great Are the Lord's Works
One: Praise the Lord!
All: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
One: Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
All: Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
For every Lesson you’ve prepared
The Love of God has been shared.
The Pipers & Nancy “Here I Am Lord”
I’d like to call Nelson to the front…
Nelson at of the beginning of 2017 you retired from Pulpit Lay Ministry…
In which year did you begin preaching…
-which year did you take the lay minister’s course
-do you have any ideas how many different churches you preached at...
Today we would like to dedicate this service to you …to say thank you for all the times you preached your inspirational sermons to us here in Rockburn. As it is printed in the bulletin today:
Nelson :For every Lesson you’ve prepared, the Love of God has been shared.
We want you to know we are truly grateful and thankful for the work of God, You have so graciously created & shared with us & for the way you have strengthened our Church.
Today, We have talented musicians performing lined up, a poem to be read, we are going to sing some of your favourite hymns with coffee & cookies to follow. We would also like to present to you a wee thank you gift. (a framed song of “Great is Thy Faithfulness”)
I found something in the Bible that totally suits this moment: and it reads 1 Thessalonians 3:9
“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you?”
Let us now get this service started by singing Great is Thy Faithfulness
God of all times and places we thank you that there is no place we can go where your spirit is not already there. Long before us, you were. Long after us you will be. Here and now, in the sad and in the joyous, in fear and in confidence, in hope and in despair, in beauty and in distress, you are present. Where you are life is blessed. Love is energized.
Courage is discovered.
As we pray for our world and its people, rekindle our belief, not that you will do our bidding, but that you will purify our prayers making them serve your will. Hear us as we bring before you the people whom we love and care for. (Pause)
Bring the fullness of life to those we love.
We focus our prayer on people in our communities and in our world that are struggling, we call to mind especially those who are lonely, worried or plagued with anxiety. (Pause)
Bring peace of mind to all who live despair.
We pray for places in our world where there is injustice and hatred. (Pause)
Bring your compassion and kindness to places of brokenness.
We bring before you in silence the prayers that have been on our hearts this week. (Pause)
We lift all these prayers to you the name of Jesus who taught us to pray…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Joe's poem dedicated to Nelson
One day I went to church when I wasn’t going to,
and I heard a man with a message,
and I saw him loud and clear.
You see, it wasn’t the content or the way he said it,
it wasn’t the scripture though he knew it well.
It was the man himself, he spoke like a friend
and I saw in his eyes - I see them clear -
I saw a small twinkle like a jolly Kris Kringle
and I knew that this coming to church to just hear him
was the event of my day, this one holy Sunday.
Now, this man made me feel like I’d known him forever,
and yet I’d just seen him a time or two before.
And this day when he spoke he spoke of a whole people
who suffered together beset by the strong.
I turned to my wife,”Do you remember his name?”
“Who? Why him. The one with the beard like the Baptist.
The one up there in the pulpit, speaking of injustice.
Speaking in a way I picture Christ himself might speak,
kindly, and softly, not like a preacher, but drawing a picture,
more like a neighbour speaking of crops, telling a story
of a great man in Africa, one called Mandela,
who suffered in jail a very long time.”
“No,” she replied, “I don’t remember his name.”
But then he kept talking, and he spoke of his subject again,
this Mandela who suffered more than any ten men should,
but survived, and forgave, and showed the world
the profile of a real Christian, one who perseveres like Job
and loves like Christ…and then…and then I remembered.
The man he referred to with whom he shared a name.
And the name, it was Nelson. And I sighed.
I was finally satisfied.
- Joe Hevesy, Apr. 2, 2017
Rob & Gordon: GARDEN SONG (inch by inch, row by row ----)
1 Thessalonians 3:9
“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy
that we feel before our God because of you?”
Hymn: # 98 “It Only Takes A Spark”
Message: “From the desk of God”
From the Desk of God
Please be aware that there are changes you need to make in your life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill my promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. I know, I already gave you the 10 Commandments. Keep them. But follow these guidelines as well...
1. QUIT WORRYING
Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?
2. PUT IT ON THE LIST
Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to me. And, although my to-do-list is long, I am, after all, God. I can take care of anything you put into my hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.
3. TRUST ME
Once you've given your burdens to me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on my list. Problem with finances? Put it on my list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For my sake, put it on my list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.
4. LEAVE IT ALONE
Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with me and forget about them. Just let me do my job.
5. TALK TO ME
I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget. Please don't forget to talk to me - OFTEN! I love you. I want to hear your voice. I want you to include me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with me. I want to be your dearest friend.
6. HAVE FAITH
I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in me that I know what I'm doing. Trust me, you wouldn't want the view from my eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?
You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.
8. BE PATIENT
I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes me a little longer than you expect to handle something on my to-do-list? Trust in my timing, for my timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.
9. BE KIND
Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for my sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please know I love each of your differences.
10. LOVE YOURSELF
As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only - to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes my heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don't ever forget that!
With all my heart, I love you,
Norm & Rob: “You Gotta Walk That Lonesome Valley"
Hymn: # 62 “To God Be The Glory” Mary’s Songbook
Benediction & Choral Amen
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope..
CALL TO WORSHIP
One: The Lord is our Shepherd.
Many: He leads us beside still waters.
One: He restores our souls.
Many: He leads us in right paths.
One: Even though we walk through the darkest valley.
Many: We fear no evil. God is with us.
One: Come, let us worship God.
Finding the Good in the Bad
Knowledge is instant these days.
The other day, I asked one my kids what a word meant, something silly and obscure and useless, like synecdoche or eponymous, I think, and they told me, I can't Dad, my phone's dead.
There followed a long, protracted, and disgruntled lecture about how everything these days was too easy, too complicated, and just plain wrong, and then all of a sudden I became my dad.
We live in a world where the answer to nearly every question is right at our fingertips. All we have to do is log on to Google, type a question, and in a matter of milliseconds, we have hundreds and sometimes even hundreds of millions of answers to our query. Or, if it's a little too inconvenient to get to the computer, turn it on, and navigate to the search engine, we can just press the "Home" button on our smart phones and ask Siri our question. It's quite nice, really. Except for that fact that we are now conditioned to expect a definite answer to all of our questions, and the simple fact of the matter is that there aresome questions for which no good answer exists. This question before us today is perhaps the best example of such a question,
"Why is there suffering and evil?"
The funny thing is; this is not a new question. Humans have been asking this same question for thousands upon thousands of years; probably as long as we have existed! It is to some degree the question that is asked by the disciples in this morning's gospel reading, "Rabbi, who sinned so that he was born blind, this man or his parents?" They are in essence asking, "Why is this man suffering?" What's interesting is that Jesus doesn't really give them a direct answer. But maybe that's because as I mentioned a few moments ago, there's really no one good answer to the question of suffering and evil in the world.
As we seek greater clarity to this question, "Why is there suffering and evil?" I think it best for us to begin by considering why we ask this question in the first place. And for the answer to that question, we have to go all the way back to creation.
Genesis tells us that as God created the universe and each part of it, God called it "good"; this includes the light, the seas, the land, the plants and vegetation, the animals and creatures, and even humans. So throughout history, faithful God-followers have looked at this story of the "good" creation, and leaned upon their faith in a "good God", but that knowledge cannot be reconciled with the fact that there is indeed a great deal of "bad" in the world around us. So we ask, "Why?" And for a long time, humanity had a pretty straightforward answer to this question, which was basically that suffering happened because God was punishing a person or group of people for some specific reason.
The Bible tells us the answer begins with Adam and Eve, the first humans who defied God's instructions and ate of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Their sin broke the relationship of all humanity with God, and subjected us to temptation and sin. We call this original sin. So throughout the Old Testament, we see this sort of cause and effect relationship between humans and God. The humans sin, defy God's law and mandates, God punishes the humans. God sent ten plagues upon the Egyptians because Pharaoh would not release theIsraelites from enslavement. When the Israelites didn't trust God and built idols in the wilderness, God made them wait 40 years before entering the Promised Land. The Israelites were exiled to Babylon according to the prophets because they had not been following God's commands and God's law. So it was for thousands of years. Every earthquake, every disease, every disaster humans explained, was the doing of God, a response to the sin of the people. But over time, two things have happened that make such a simple response to the question of suffering and evil inadequate. For one, Christ has come, the embodiment of God himself. And in his own suffering and death, we see God's immense love for all people, and God's desire to save us, not to harm us. Secondly, science has taught us a lot about theway the natural world works, and with the knowledge we have now, it just doesn't make sense to point to every naturaldisaster and say that it is God's way of punishing humanity (even though some people still like to do this). A good example of this is forest fires. Forest fires sometimes start because of dumb things we humans do, like burning leaves in the middle of a drought, but sometimes they begin with a lightning strike. Often, these fires spread rapidly, they decimate not only forest vegetation, but also animals and birds. They can even force people from their homes. They can cause immense destruction, but forest fires also cleanse the ecology and restore the system to balance, and often the wildlife that returns after a fire is more lush and beautiful than it was before the fire.
So, we have to acknowledge that some of the suffering humanity experiences as a result of natural disasters is not God punishing us for some sin or wrong-doing, but is part of the natural order of things. And these disasters don't make God's creation, or even God, less good. They are in some ways and at some times an unfortunate by-product of keeping creation balanced and healthy. Still, that doesn't answer for all of the suffering that humans experience. What about this question of evil?
Nearly every day the news is filled with war and genocide and terrorist attacks that are causing innocents to suffer around the world. Why doesn't God, who is all-powerful, prevent such evil?
Why doesn't God stop people from doing evil things? To find the answer to this question, we have to consider free will. Going back again to creation, we are reminded that humans are created in God's own image, and we were created with the freedom to choose between good and evil. I suppose that God could have created humanity so that we would always choose to do good, but that's not really freedom, is it? That's more like robots that have been programmed. And devotion or faithfulness to God would be awfully empty if it were something that were coerced rather than chosen.
So God has given us the freedom to make choices for ourselves. As Joshua said, "Choose you this day whom you will serve...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." That's a wonderful choice to make; a life-giving, saving choice; the best choice any person could make. It is the choice God WANTS us to make, but does not coerce us to make. But we also have the freedom to choose to act against God, and it is often such
actions that are evil, harmful, and the cause great suffering. In his infinite power and knowledge, God clearly chose to allow for human freedom even knowing there would be negative consequences. Even still, God does not want to see us suffer, whether by our own doing or for any other reason. God really does want good for us, even when we make bad choices. So it is that suffering, however horrible it may be, provides an opportunity for God's grace to be at work. And it is God's grace we need to lean upon in the midst of suffering. This is especially true when we face illness, disease, even death, which are often the most difficult types of suffering to comprehend. You all know that question that goes, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" As we consider such suffering, let's now take a closer look at our Scripture reading from John.
John tells this story of a blind man. Unlike blind other afflicted people in the gospel stories, this man does not approach Jesus seeking healing. Rather, he is noticed by the disciples as they walk by him in the midst of their work with Jesus. The disciples see this man who has been blind his whole life, and they revert to the common explanation at that time for such affliction original sin. But the disciples want to know now, since this manhas been blind since birth, if his blindness is due to his parents' sin, or his sin. Jesus' answer, as you heard, is neither. "This happened so that God's mighty works might be displayed in him," Jesus tells his disciples. Now, let's make it clear that God doesn't cause suffering and harm so that he can subsequently heroically sweep in to "save the day."
Life happens; we make poor choices, natural disaster strikes, our physical bodies fail us. But God does not wish harm for us, in any way. God does not want us to be sick, or hungry, or lonely. Such an idea is completely contrary to the entire Biblical story. God desires good for us. God loves us. God wants to save us. So it is that in the midst of suffering we can find hope. So it is that in the midst of the bad, we can look for the ways God is still working good. Indeed, that man had been suffering from blindness for many long years, not because of his own sin or that of his parents, not even because someone evil had harmed him. Without giving an answer as to the cause of the man's suffering, Jesus healed the blind man so that his disciples, all of us, can see that God does not leave us alone in our suffering. God is with us and God works to bring good even in the midst of all the bad.
Could you imagine living in this world without such promise and hope, without such faith in a good God? Why is there tragedy? Why suffering? Why evil? These questions can cause us to doubt God and one another. But if a flood comes or a child is born with a heart defect and there is no God, then what answer is there to suffering and evil? What meaning and purpose? Life is nothing but one tragedy after another, and the only thing before us is fear. I would rather live in a world of hope than a world of fear. "I would rather live in the world that has a possibility of God than one that has none, particularly one like ours where evil and suffering" are such a part of our existence. Because "with the possibility of God comes the possibility of
meaning, purpose, and hope being found [even] in the midst of tragedy and suffering." Indeed, we are still left with questions, but at least with faith in the promises of a good God, in the midst of tragedy and suffering, we can always have hope in abetter day. So you're in the coffee shop with your friends and one says, "Okay, I don't want a long, complicated answer, but explain this: If God is so good, how come there is so much bad in the world?"
Why not try something like this: "That's a tough question with no straight answer, but I know that God is loving and works for good in all situations. In the hardest times of my life, I have experienced God's love in so many ways that have helped me make it through. I know there is suffering and evil in this world, but I also know that God is a force for good. And I'm a Christian because I want to be part of God's good work in our world."
CALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: Thank you, God, for Your gift of the Holy Spirit.
ALL: Like the wind that blows across our land, we can't control it.
ONE: But like a ship on the sea, we can lift our sails and journey with it.
ALL: By Your mercy, Lord, move us.
OPENING PRAYER & THE LORD'S PARYER:
Almighty God, You know that in this world we are under great pressure. At times, we cannot cope. We yield to temptation and fall into sin. Stiffen our resolve and make our faith strong, so we may dig in against temptation and, by Your power, overcome it. And now as Jesus taught us: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom came, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Gracious God, accept these gifts, and with them our lives, to be used in Your service, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
"What Is The Bible?" (not available at this time)
PRAYER OF CONFESSION: Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude, the spiritual blindness that prevents us from appreciating the wonder that is this world; the endless cycle of nature, of life and death and rebirth. Forgive us for taking without giving, reaping without sowing. Open our eyes to see, our lips to praise, and our hands to share. May our feet tread lightly on the path we tread, and our footsteps be worthy of following, for they lead to You. This we ask in Your name. Amen.
HE WORD OF GOD:
The Word Of God
The Bible is truly a miracle. There are a total of 66 books, 39 in the
Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The Bible was written by
over 36 different people, and over a period of about 1500 years. The
authors come from many different backgrounds and professions. There
were fishermen, farmers, politicians, teachers, doctors, tentmakers and
even kings. It would be impossible for so many different people over so
many years to write with such accuracy if it were not for the Holy Spirit.
God told these people what to write.
The Bible is more than words communicated to us from God; the
Bible is the Word Of God. Unfortunately, there are people in this world,
in the country and even in our own community, who think the Bible is
just another long, boring book. But all of us gathered here this morning
know that the Bible was given to us from God to Jesus as our Saviour.
All Scripture came from God. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers.
Scripture is used for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training and
equipping. Anyone who doesn't understand the Bible doesn't have the
Holy Spirit to guide them.
Let us pray: Dear Lord, many among us are guilty of trying to get
through life with reading the manual for life. Help us, Lord, to remedy
this. Thank you. Lord, for giving us clear, set directions for our life. Help
us to make more time to be with You in Your word. Amen.
This morning we are going to demonstrate just how useful the
Bible can be. Let's begin by singing "There Is A Book" found in your
bulletin. The tune is the familiar children's song, B-I-N-G-O.
WHAT YOU WILL DO:While singing this song, the * replaces a letter and represents a single hand clap.
There is a book that has Good News, the Bible is its na-me.
B.. I.. B.. L.. E.. B.. I.. B.. L.. E.. B.. I.. B.. L.. E.. the Bible is its na-me.
There is a book that is our guide, the Bible is its na-me.
*.. I.. B.. L.. E.. *.. I.. B.. L.. E.. *.. I.. B.. L.. E.. the Bible is its na-me.
There is a book that gives new life, the Bible is its na-me.
*.. *.. B.. L.. E.. *.. *.. B.. L.. E.. *.. *.. B.. L.. E.. the Bible is its na-me.
There is a book that has the truth, the Bible is its na-me.
*.. *.. *.. L.. E.. *.. *.. *.. L.. E.. *.. *.. *.. L.. E.. the Bible is its na-me.
There is a book that gives us wisdom, the Bible is its na-me.
*.. *.. *.. *.. E.. *.. *.. *.. *.. E.. *.. *.. *.. *.. E.. the Bible is its na-me.
There is a book that talks of Jesus, the Bible is its na-me.
B.. I.. B.. L.. E.. B.. I.. B.. L.. E.. B.. I.. B.. L.. E.. the Bible is its na-me.
The Skit : Cover 2 cover!!!!!!!
SKIT - Cover 2 Cover
© 2010, Sharon Kay Chatwell
SKIT – COVER 2 COVER
[CURTAIN OPENS with SALESMAN and SALESWOMAN standing or seated behind desk.
SPECTATOR ENTERS from STAGE RIGHT.]
(Speaking to SPECTATOR) Good Morning, and welcome to Cover 2 Cover... How may I help you?
I was just walking by and noticed your sign. Cover 2 Cover... What kind of store is this?
Oh, this is a wonderful store!
I’m sure it is. But what do you sell here?
Oh, we don’t sell anything here. The things we have are free to everyone!
That sounds good to me! But what do you give away for free?
Cover 2 Cover is a place where people can get what they really need. Just watch and see!
[WORRIED PERSON ENTERS and speaks to SALESMAN.]
PERSON #1 (Worried Person)
Can you help me? I am so worried! I am afraid of what happen in the future. What if I lose my job? And if I lose my job, what will happen to my family? Or what if I get sick? Or what if my dog runs away? Anything could happen!! Please can you tell me what will happen in the future?
No, I can’t tell you the future. But I know the One who holds the future in His hands. And He has some words for you.
(Calling loudly) Matthew 6:31-34 and 1 Peter 5:7!
[MATTHEW 6:31-32 and MATTHEW 6:33-34 ENTER and say their verses]
So do not worry saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
1 PETER 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on (GOD) because he cares for you.
[PERSON #1 and BIBLE VERSES EXIT TOGETHER.]
Hey, what kind of place is this?
Cover 2 Cover is a place where people can find wisdom to help them with their problems. Just watch and see...
[PERSON #2 ENTERS]
Hello, may we help you?
PERSON #2 (Relationship Issues)
Please help me. I don’t know where else to turn. My family is a mess. My marriage is in trouble. And my children won’t talk to me. I just want to run away and hide. There is this very nice person at work who seems to like me a lot. Is it wrong to run away from such trouble at home? I don’t know what to do. Can you help me? Can you fix my
No, I can’t. But I know the One who has made all things: He gives wisdom freely to anyone who asks. He has some words for you.
(Calling loudly.) PSALM 127:1 and PROVERBS 3:5-6!!
[PSALM 127:1 and PROVERBS 3:5-6 ENTER and say their verses.]
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Hey, what kind of place is this, anyway?
Cover 2 Cover is place where people can find answers to their questions. Just watch and see!
[PERSON #3 ENTERS]
Hello, how may we help you?
PERSON #3 (Unsaved Person)
Can you help me, please? I seem to be lost! I have no direction in my life and no reason for living. Sometimes I don’t even want to go on, but I am afraid of what will happen when I die. Can you help me? Can you tell me what will happen to me after I die?
No, I can’t. But I know the One who will someday judge the living and the dead. And He has some words for you.
(Calling loudly.) John 11:25-26 and John 14:6!
[JOHN 11:25-26 and JOHN 14:6 ENTER and say their verses]
Jesus said... I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even thought he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Jesus said... I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
[PERSON #3 and BIBLE VERSES EXIT TOGETHER.]
Hey, what kind of place is this anyway?
Cover 2 Cover is a place where people can get what they really need, gain wisdom for their problems, and find answers to their questions.
Is this the only store you have?
No, we have many locations all over the world!
And when are you open?
We are open anytime your Bible is open! God’s Word is found in the Bible 24/7…365!
Yes, the Bible. It is where you can get what you really need, gain wisdom for your problems, and find answers to your questions. In it you will find the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
That sounds great. Can I take some of these verses home with me?
Sure, you can take them all!
(Calling loudly.) ALL VERSES!
[ALL VERSES ENTER and say 2 Timothy 3:16-17. They may break up the following verse if you like.]
ALL VERSES (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(To SALESWOMAN) You were right. This is a wonderful store. Come on verses...
(SPECTATOR AND ALL VERSES EXIT WAVING. SALESWOMAN AND SALESMAN EXIT.)
CALL TO WORSHIP: ONE: The pathway is just beginning.
ALL: We have encountered the wilderness.
ONE: Now we are moving rapidly toward Jerusalem.
ALL: Along the way we will witness astonishing acts of
mercy and justice.
Lord of presence and power, be with us on our Lenten
journey to trie cross. Help us to make a commitment of
our lives, our spirits and our hearts. Even though we might
hesitate on this journey, we promise to come with You
through all the trials and fears You will encounter. In this
broken world, so tragically pulled apart and fragmented,
we seek to serve You and do Your work in the world.
Forgive us, we pray, when we insist on our own way above
Your way. Unite us as we can be united in worship or in
service. This we ask in Your name who prayed that we
might be one, as You and He are One. Amen.
You stop us in our tracks, 0 Lord, with Your reminder that
discipleship is not a `sometime' thing. We are called to place our
whole lives in Your care; to follow You; to serve You by caring
for others, not just once in a while, but always. We admit that
we're not always ready to do this. The demand is great; our
energies are limited. Help us to place our trust and our lives in
Your care. You will give us the strength and courage that we will
need for this step of our Lenten journey. Be with us, Lord. Help
us to remember that Your love is poured out for all Your people;
You are never far away. It is in Your name, we pray. Amen
CHILDREN'S TIME with Nancy
Have any of you ever read the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar?" I really love this story. It begins with a tiny egg on a leaf. On a Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and POP! out of the egg came a very small and very hungry caterpillar. He began to eat, and eat, and eat — but he was still very hungry. Finally he had eaten up so much that he got a stomach ache! Now the next day was Sunday again. The caterpillar ate through a nice green leaf and his stomach felt better again. He built a nice house around himself. Do you know what that house is called? That's right! A cocoon. Well the caterpillar stayed in his cocoon for two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon and pushed his way out. Guess what!
He wasn't a caterpillar any more, he was now a beautiful butterfly!
The story of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" reminds me of a story in the Bible about a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a very religious man. He spent a lot of time studying the Scriptures, but there was still a lot he didn't understand.
So late one night, Nicodemus went to see Jesus because he was hungry. He wasn't looking for a midnight snack, but he was hungry for the truth about the kingdom of God. He had questions and he knew Jesus would have all the answers.
Nicodemus said, "Teacher, we all know that God has sent you to teach us. No one could perform the miracles that you do without God's help. And Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you can't see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus was confused and asked Jesus, "How can a man be born again?" Jesus told him that a person is born again when the Spirit of God enters into his heart, saying that the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. And Nicodemus left, scratching his head, and saying
"How are these things possible?"
Think about the story of "The Hungry Caterpillar" again. When he came out of his cocoon, he was an improved caterpillar, wasn't he? He was a totally new creation — a butterfly! That's the way it is when we let Jesus into our heart. He doesn't just make us a better person. He makes us a new creation!
Let's pray together: Heavenly Father, we praise you that in Christ Jesus we are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
A Ruler Came By Night by Nancy
John 3:17 — "Make them ready for your service through your truth. Your
teaching is truth." (ICB)
This verse follows the very well known "For God so loved the world" verse in the third chapter of John. Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, telling him that God didn't send Him into the world to condemn it, but to save it through Him.
We'll start with the beginning of the story of Nicodemus and Jesus.
Nicodemus was a good man. He was a nationally known religious leader. He was rich, well educated and he was a Pharisee. He had a place in the highest council of the Jews, being a member of the body of the seventy rulers called the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus began to believe in Jesus because of the works He did and the lessons He taught.
However, Nicodemus was afraid to confess his faith before others, because he might be put out of the Sanhedrin and be condemned by his fellow Pharisees. So he decided to go to see Jesus at night, when no one would see him. Nicodemus was a teacher in Israel, very highly regarded, and he thought he would have a friendly visit with this young Man from Galilee who showed such promise of becoming a prophet.
Nicodemus thought he might be able to teach Jesus something, so he
opened the conversation with a compliment. He said, "Master, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can show the signs that You do unless God is with him." But Jesus wasn't flattered. He wasn't about to give compliment for compliment. He looked beyond this Pharisee's pride and fear, and He saw a poor soul who was really reaching out for truth. Jesus went right to the point and He said to Nicodemus: :I tell you, no one can get into the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
Jesus knew that Nicodemus understood what He meant, at least, partly,
and He just put it more strongly, with a little explanation: "I tell you, a man must be born again, through baptism by water and by the Spirit of God, or he cannot get into the kingdom of God. There is a natural birth and there is a spiritual birth. Do not wonder at My telling you that you must be born again from above. Listen! You hear the wind blow, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. That is the way with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
What Jesus meant was that just as we can't see the wind, or call it up, or stop it, we are able to see how it waves the grass and rustle the leaves, and how it turns windmills and pushes against the sails of ships, and sometimes cools us and sometimes warms us, and does many other wonderful things beyond our power. Likewise, we can't see the Spirit of God, or control it, but we can see and feel how it moves us and makes us over, and lifts burdens and comforts the sorrowing, and opens minds to the light of truth. We should think of this every time we hear the wind or see what it does. It's through the influence of the Holy Spirit that a man is born again.
Nicodemus was very serious now. Jesus had been telling him things that he ought to have already learned from his teachings and from nature, and he felt humble. But Nicodemus wasn't used to thinking like that and it sounded a little strange to him and he asked, "How can these things be?"
Jesus answered, "You are a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not know
these things I have taught you. I have taught the things I know about, and I have seen the things I teach; but your class turn away from it. No one has been in heaven and come down to teach except the Son of man; but He must be lifted up, as Moses in the wilderness lifted up the brazen serpent. And everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life."
Jesus' reference to Moses referred to when the children of Israel,
journeying through the wilderness, were attacked by fiery serpents, whose bite was poisonous, and many of the people died. God told Moses to make a serpent of brass and lift it up on a pole. Then everyone who looked at it, with faith in God, would be cured of the serpent's bite.
The usual symbol of the Redeemer, the sacrifice for sin, was a lamb, and
that lamb represented Christ's innocence. His freedom from sin. But the brazen serpent represented the Saviour as well. Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful men, yet He was without sin. The brazen serpent was made in the likeness of poisonous snakes which had bitten the people, yet it never bit anyone, and looking upon it in faith cured them.
Here was something for Nicodemus to think about and he went away
thinking very deeply. Still, he didn't have the courage to tell anyone that he believed in Jesus. He just kept it to himself. But twice, in the Sanhedrin, he defended Jesus, and after the Lord was crucified, Nicodemus came forward and helped to bury Him.
Remember the verse, "For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him." Most people don't like to talk about unpleasant things, and unfortunately, there are plenty of unpleasant things going on in the world today: terrorism, hate crimes, missile threats, kidnappings, rape, theft and so much more. But there is one unpleasantness that I will talk about today. It's the sad fact that there so many car accidents, pile-ups and wrecks on roads all over the world. There's hardly a day that passes in which there isn't an accident mentioned in the news. Accidents don't just happen — something or someone is generally to blame. Sometimes we blame Mother Nature, but is it, in reality, carelessness or recklessness or ignorance. It doesn't make much difference what the cause of an
accident is — if things are smashed and broken, they're smashed and broken up, aren't they?
If I had my arm broken in a car accident, it wouldn't heal any faster
whether the accident was caused by carelessness or by ignorance. Even if the person who caused the accident were sorry, that wouldn't make my arm heal any faster. However, I might not feel as angry if they were sorry, but my arm would still hurt just as long.
What would be a good cure for accidents? How could we prevent them? If every person did the right thing, then would there be fewer accidents? Before a person can do the right thing, he must learn what is the right thing to do!
There are people who are wrecks. Have you heard the expression, "He's an
accident waiting to happen?" These peoples' lives have been all smashed to pieces because someone has been careless or reckless or ignorant. It may be that they themselves are to blame, or it may be that someone else is to blame, but it is our business to help prevent these accidents.
Christ came to teach us how to run this earth without wrecking it. He was with God in making it so He should know how to run it. Jesus wants to show us how to run our lives so we don't make a wreck of it. He doesn't want us to be careless or reckless or just plain ignorant. He wants us to use our life in the right way, because once a life is broken or scarred, it can never be repaired so that the mark won't show. Christ knows the safe way to drive; let's learn from Him!
The encounter Nicodemus had with Jesus had a profound effect on him. It changed his life. He became a disciple of Jesus and learned to drive along the road of life using Christ's rules. He acknowledged the work of Jesus and realized that his soul could be awakened with new life by allowing the Holy Spirit into his life.
To be reborn is not allowing ourselves to be careless, reckless or ignorant.
To be reborn is to accept the realities and truths of Christ, follow His ways, and accept the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives. So today, let's accept the reality of a spirit, a Holy Spirit, who surrounds us and immerses us in love, in God and in Christ.
Let us pray: Father, all the riches of life in Your kingdom are ours if we will but open up our lives, our hearts and our souls to the new life that You would have us live. Open our eyes to the truth of Your Word and our hearts to the need of renewal and rebirth. Amen.
Call to Worship
One: Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him
All: Do not fret when people succeed in their ways
One: Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness
All: Let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head
ALL: My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be found in the love of the Lord and of all my neighbours.
Lord, we are in your presence. Let us walk with you knowing we belong entirely to you. We ask that You keep us in the glory, in the joy, and in the stillness of your peace. Let us deflect all gossip, criticism and ill will towards others, whether they be of our own country, creed, gender, or race or any other. In the silence of the womb we were carried and nurtured by our loving mothers. In the silence of Your presence we were conceived in Your image. Help us to reflect Your image, always and with all people.
We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus, who taught us how to pray with these words:
Our Father, Who art in heaven….
Prayer of Confession (In Unison)
God of healing, God of wholeness, we bring our brokenness, our sinfulness, our fears and despair, and lay them at your feet.
God of healing, God of wholeness, we hold out hearts and hands,
minds and souls to feel your touch and know the peace that only you can bring.
God of healing, God of wholeness, this precious moment in your silent presence and power, grant us faith and confidence that, here, broken lives are made whole again.
Assurance of Pardon
We are drawn to your feet in worship,Your creation facing its creator, hearts laid bare by your light humbly asking for your mercy. We come to you as a people in need of assurance and forgiveness. We come to you as a people in need of healing and wholeness. We come dependent upon your love. Draw us close. Enfold us in your arms. Fill us with your silent Spirit that we might reflect your light inside this dark world, and spread openly your Word to draw others to your feet. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, our brother, Amen.
Psalm 23, King James Version (please read together)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Prayer for Illumination
In this world of darkness and strife, in this world of conflict and war, in this world of the slaughter of innocents, we appeal to you, O Lord, to spread Your silence across the land, to quiet the guns, to feed the hungry, to show this material world your spiritual calm and welcome us all into your silent glory.
Scripture Readings: (Joe)
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
L: This is the word of the Lord P: Thanks be to God.
Message: Be Still and Know That I am God
Have you ever taken your TV remote and scrolled through 30 or 40 channels looking for an interesting program, and not found it? “There’s nothing on,” you might say. And maybe you leave the TV on anyway because it’s better to have something, anything, going so you don’t have to be enveloped in perceived nothingness.
But in the end, you finally turn it off, maybe just before bed, and suddenly you stop and listen. You listen to the sound of sudden silence. And maybe you go, “Ahhh. That’s better.” And if you were to sit for a while in the stillness of the night, there in the vacuum of non-sound you might hear - or sense - something you’re not used to. You might hear, or sense, a voice that is no voice at all, but a communication of another kind. There, in that other dimension that only your soul can understand, there is God. And he - or she - is speaking to you.
When I scoured the internet looking for reference to Silence, I came across these notes from a spiritual website. I have taken a summary of these notes and put them into my own everyday language because I found them so interesting.
‘There is an obvious and deep irony in any attempt to talk about silence. It’s like trying to depict the invisible. It is inherently impossible. Silence can only be described by the absence of everything else, not by the presence of anything physical. Silence can only speak for itself: not through words, but through experience. There is a little story in the collection of traditions that have come down to us from the desert fathers of the early Christian church. It is said that one day Theophilus, an archbishop, came to Scetis, a desert wasteland but spiritual paradise, where great numbers of monks carried on their unseen spiritual exercises. Archbishop Theophilus made his way to the cell of Abba Pambo, a man recognized for his humility and wisdom. The brethren who accompanied Theophilus said to Abba Pambo, “Say something to the archbishop, so that he may be edified.” Abba Pambo replied: “If he is not edified by my silence, he will not be edified by my speech.” Silence, it seems, had greater impact to Abba Pambo than any words.
In these few minutes, I will try to speak of silence and stillness in the language of Scripture and the desert tradition, and to elaborate very simply with some personal experiences.
In the beginning there was absolute silence. Through His Word, God spoke into this silence, to create the heavens and the earth. Then, on the cosmic sabbath known as “the seventh day,” God rested. His Word, however, has continued its creative activity throughout human history. As God declares through the prophet Isaiah,
“My Word that goes forth from my mouth will not return to me empty…” (Isa 55:11). In other words,
To say that God creates from nothing is to say that He speaks out of, or from, His silence, to bring all things into existence by the power of His creative Word. Silence, in the most positive sense, is the the sacred space, into which God speaks His Word, both to create the world and to guide it along the right paths.
Silence is where Moses went to receive the 10 Commandments. Silence is where Jesus went for 40 days and nights to receive the confirmation of his mission from his Abba, his father. Silence is where the prophets received their visions. Silence is where David communicated with God via his beautiful psalms, before the physical senses of this world dragged him down, corrupted him, and turned him into a killer. When he left the world of silence behind, he turned his back to God.
Further in Old Testament tradition, silence becomes the medium for divine revelation. In a terrifying vision recounted in the first Book of Kings, God appeared on a mountain to the prophet Elijah. As the Lord passed by, there came a mighty wind, so strong it split the mountain and shattered the rocks in pieces. But, the narrative tells us, “the Lord was not in the wind.” After the wind there came an earthquake, then a fire; but the Lord was in neither. Then, the passage concludes, “after the fire a still, small voice” (1 Ki 19:12). The New Revised Standard Version states this more forcefully: “after the fire, the sound of sheer silence.” It is in this sound of sheer silence where God spoke to Elijah. God was not in the physical displays of force. God was present only afterwards, in the “sound of sheer silence.”
Through the ages, mystics and holy men withdrew into silence in order to hear God. Even Muhammed dwelt in a cave somewhere in the mountains to receive his messages from God. So, it becomes a universal truth, to hear the Word of God, go to Silence and listen in that Silence to hear what He has to say. Oh, you may pray to Him, communicate to Him in any language and in any location. You may speak to Him in church with your fellow worshippers, at home while doing your chores, in the depth of the forest, or in your car on the way to work. But if you want to hear his response, you must go to Silence and listen in Silence.
Jesus rebukes the wind and the sea by saying: “Peace! Be still!” And, St Mark continues, “the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mk 4:39). Whether on the open sea or in the human heart, peace requires stillness. In the midst of our own storms and turmoil, Jesus speaks these same words, “Peace, be still!” For those who have ears to hear, who can listen to this commandment which is also an invitation, the wind of noise, confusion and tumult ceases, and there comes a great calm.
“Be still and know that I am God.” This means that in stillness, you will have the power to recognize where God resides. Speak to Him wherever you are, but listen to Him in silence blocking out all the distractions of the world’s senses.
A certain St Diodochos, a 5th century bishop, explained the purpose and fruit of silence in these words. “Spiritual knowledge comes through prayer, deep stillness and complete detachment….“A brother came to Scetis to visit Abba Moses, a monastic mystic, and asked him for a word. The old man said to him, “Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.” In other words, the silence of your cell will teach you everything. Perhaps the greatest challenge in Christian life is to transform the heart and mind, our inner being, into a place of silence and solitude, an interior monastic cell in which the Spirit of Truth dwells, to teach us everything we need for our journey towards God.
Mother Theresa dedicated her entire life to the poor of Calcutta, the so-called Untouchables. But she herself lived her entire life wrestling with many doubts about God and His presence in the world.
In one of her books she says these things about silence:
“We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence.
Listen in silence because if your heart is full of other things you cannot hear the voice of God. But when you have listened to the voice of God in the stillness of your heart, then your heart is filled with God.
Some of you may know that once a year I attend a weekend retreat in a place called Manresa, a Jesuit retreat centre in Pickering, Ontario. The retreat begins on Friday evening and concludes on Sunday noon. It consists of a theme that changes each time you attend, it includes 4 gatherings in a conference room to hear the retreat director’s guidance, time for formal prayer, and personal time for meditation or reading in your room or to silently walk the 38 acres of woods and streams. Oh, and by the way, this is all done in silence by the participants. All 3 days in silence. Let me tell you, when you get back to the so-called real world, it is a rude awakening. Where you had 3 days of God invading your every being, you are suddenly flooded by the sights and sound of technology and the bustle of business.
The act of creation by God moves us out of His silence, His rich eternity, into the physical world with all its tapestry of our 5 senses. But when our sojourn is done - some sooner, others later - we return enfolded into the arms of God once again. So, why has God done this? I believe, and I have mentioned this in the past, that He really has no choice. He is an all-loving, all-giving, continually creating God. What He has done by creating us in the physical universe, is to give us a gift, one that He himself does not exercise or possess. He has given us the gift of free will. Our purpose is to acknowledge His gift, and use it according to our values of unselfish love and our values of creative energy that we received from God, as best we can.
In conclusion, let me leave you with a small poem that formed in my mind during one of my silent walks on the grounds of Manresa. I call it ‘Trails’.
Trails June 3, 2013
Behind the seven arms of the menorah tree
the sun breaks up into rays of hope
for a new day. And I am called
by my spirit wind to reflect on all
that God has shown by acts of love,
where ferns grow in the shade,
where tumbling brook carries seeds of life
to a mossy shore, where the cardinal leaves
his evening call, where my journey bends,
where the white lilacs fall
And to the world outside I bring
a soul refreshed by prayer in psalm
and offer praise to you, my God,
for life, for love, for sight to recognize
your gentle unrelenting call
wherever on this earth I bide
in work, in sport, in weekend caterwaul,
where all my paths turn into one,
where my journeys bend,
where the white lilacs fall
Silence can reward you with creation, at least it does that for me. And I am totally convinced that the creation is not really mine, but flows through me from my God who remains silent only on the human plane, but speaks volumes honing my instincts, my 6th sense, my faith.
In the final silence experienced by everyone throughout time who has gone before us, we merge in the silent exultation of God, in a place that has no need of our physical senses, and that rewards us with an experience so rich that it is unending and beyond all imagination.
Let us now bow our heads and take 30 seconds of silence to listen to the voice of God within us.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Offering And now, in our offerings, let us return to God a small portion of his blessings to us.
Lord, we offer you these our gifts freely and without reservation. Please accept them as a sign of our bond to others of your children, our brothers and sisters. Amen
Prayer of Thanksgiving We thank you, Lord, for all we have received at Your hands. Our family, our neighbours, our material wealth, our good friends. We indeed are 1000 times blest. May we always recognize our debt to you by also recognizing how little others have throughout this world. Amen.
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. And may God give you His peace in your going out and in your coming in, in your lying down and in your rising up, in your labor and in your leisure, in your laughter and in your tears… Until you come to stand before Jesus in that day in which there is no sunset and no dawning. Amen.
CALL TO WORSHIP: (based on Mark 9:2-9)
L: We do not know what to say,
A: For we are afraid.
L: But a cloud overshadows us,
A: And a voice comes to us--
L: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
A: Lord, we listen today!
Awaiting Text from Stewart