WORDS OF WELCOME:
So Jesus came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. Welcome to worship! Jesus calls us here from far and near to hear a message of peace. Whether you feel far from God, or near to Him, this peace can be yours this morning, a gift from the God of grace,
Let us pray: God of grace, you know are hearts, you know what we need even when we ourselves don't know what it is. This morning, fill us with peace; peace that passes understanding, peace that bubbles over, peace that needs to be shared, so that we can be Your disciples with good news for our neighbours near at hand, and our neighbours far away.
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 gory. Amen.
King James Version (KJV)
72 Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son.
2 He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
4 He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
5 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
PRAYER FOR CANADA DAY:
O Lord, we gather in Your presence on this Sunday before Canada Day. We read of Your "dominion" in Psalm 72, and claim this promise-that Your will would prevail in this land. We pray for the movement of Your Holy Spirit across this nation and for the work of Your church in every city and village.
O Lord, make us mindful of Your generosity, and glad to do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honourable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride, arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Make us, who come from many different backgrounds and cultures, a united people-one in purpose and vision. Give our government a spirit of wisdom and compassion, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, lead us to thanksgiving, and when times are troubled, lead us to a deepening trust in You.
All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
QUOTES FROM CANADIANS (and others):
"Canada is an interesting place, the rest of the world thinks so, even if Canadians don't" Terence M. Green
"Canadians are generally indistinguishable from Americans, and the surest way of telling the two apart is to make the observation to a Canadian." Richard Staines
"There are no limits to the majestic future which lies before the mighty expanse of Canada with its virile, aspiring, cultured, and generous-hearted people."
Sir Winston Churchill
"In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect." Bill Clinton
"I don't even know what street Canada is on."
"When I'm in Canada, I feel like this is what the world should be like." Jane Fonda
"Canadian girls are so pretty it's a relief now and then to see a plain one."
"Canada is the greatest nation in this country."
Former Toronto Mayor Allan Lamport
"Canada is a country whose main exports are hockey players and cold fronts. Our main imports are baseball players and acid rain." Pierre Elliot Trudeau
"Your Majesty, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and Madame Houde thanks you from her bottom too."
Montreal Mayor Camillien Houde in 1939 to King George VI
SKIT: "Knowing You"
The theme of "Knowing You" is how well God knows us. The characters are a loving husband, who's a nice guy, with a sense of humour, and quiet at times, and his loving wife, who also has a sense of humour and is somewhat of a talker.
The scripture reference is from Psalm 139:1-6. "0 Lord, You have searched me and known me; You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, 0 Lord, You know it all."
Nancy- Loving wife, sense of humour and somewhat of a talker
Randy- Loving husband, nice guy, sense of humour, quiet at times
Selection From Mary's songbook with Gordon Rennie
So What Do Canadian Have To Be Proud Of?
compiled by Nancy Campbell
I'm going to start with a short poem written by Anastasios especially for Canada Day.
Red and white flooded the streets.
Tears flowed down the faces of many.
As cries, yelled out of victory. It was truly an emotional sight, Even for the strongest of us. Who broke down with tears, On this day, on July 1, 1867;
When we became a nation. When we became Canada!
So what do Canadians have to be proud of? I found a list of 24 reasons on the internet that I'd like to share with you.
2. Crispy Crunch & Coffee Crisp
3. The size of our football fields and one less down
4. Baseball is Canadian
5. Lacrosse is Canadian
6. Hockey is Canadian
7. Basketball is Canadian
8. Apple pie is Canadian
9. Mr. Dress Up kicks Mr Rogers butt
10. Tim Hortons kicks Dunkin' Donuts butt
11. In the war of 1812, started by America, Canadians pushed the Americans back. .. past their White House. Then we burned it...and most of Washington, under the command of William Lyon McKenzie who was insane and hammered all the time. We got bored because they ran away, so we came home and partied ... go figure!
12. Canada has the largest French population that never surrendered to Germany
13. We have the largest English population that never ever surrendered or withdrew during any war to anyone, anywhere
14. Our civil war was a bar fight that lasted a little over an hour
15. The only person who was arrested in our civil war was an American mercenary, who slept in and missed the whole thing ... but showed up just in time to get caught
16. We knew plaid was cool far before Seattle caught on
17. The Hudsons Bay Company once owned over 10% of the earth's surface and is still around as the worlds oldest company
18. The average dog sled team can kill and devour a full grown human in under 3
19 . We still know what to do with all parts of a buffalo
20. We don't marry our kin-folk
21. We invented skidoos, jet-skis, Velcro, zippers, insulin, penicillin, zambonis, the
telephone and short-wave radios that save countless lives every year
22. We all have frozen our tongues to something metal and lived to tell about it
23. A Canadian invented Superman, BUT MOST IMPORTANT
24. The handles on our beer cases are big enough to fit your hands with mitts on.
"In the Moment." "Give me a moment. " "Just a moment, please. " We live our lives "in the moment' from moment to moment. For some of us moments flee by without a second thought. We have habits, routines, and schedules that keep us moving through life quite literally "without a moment's notice. "
In relationships withfamily and friends, we live moment to moment. 'Time to get up. " "Does this dress make me look fat?" "I love you. " A moment can be a seemingly insignificant span of time. The light changes from red to green. Waitingfor the commercial to end The time it takes for a web page to load
Many moments require us to make choices: "Mom, can I go to the movies?" "Do you wantfries with that?" "Are you going to church today?"
A moment can also change our lives forever: "Will you marry me?"
"That car came from out of nowhere. " Congratulations, it's a boy!"
Skits can create great moments. Moments of laughter. Moments of tears. Hopefully they will entertain the audience and create memorable moments that cause you to stop, and think, and ponder. Ponder what? Well, each skit is different-but hopefully each one will make you think about how you spend your moments. Your moments in life alone, with family and friends, with strangers ... your moments with God. I hope our two skits today make your moments count!
SKIT: "The Impertinence of Being Emestine"
There are three themes in "The Impertinence of Being Ernestine"; loving your neighbour, prayer and living at peace. Ernestine is an elderly Christian lady with a short temper and no patience. Lionel is a young Christian man who is generally likeable and tries hard to get along with others and who is patient to a point.
The scripture reference is taken from Galatians 5:14; "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself""; and from Proverbs 3:29, "Do not devise harm Against your neighbour while he lives securely beside you. "
O God of people, we pause to acknowledge You again. Your sovereignty over our lives and our country. We remember before You our comrades now departed this life. We honour them for their loyalty to God and country,for their good deeds, andfor their friendship. Make us reverent in the use of freedom, just in the exercise of power, and generous in the protection of weakness. Inspire the men and women who direct our nation, that they may guide it wisely and well. May the good works You have begun ns us be brought to perfection, that our nation may be strong and our people secure and happy. Let us depart in peace and may God's blessing be with us all.
You’re greater than you think
(Hebrews 11:32 – 12:2; John 15:1-4; 9-15)
Scholars widely believe that the book of Hebrews was written by a preacher with the intention that it be preached to the faithful in the new and growing church of Jesus Christ. His goal was to inform the people that they are not alone and because of this, they have a responsibility to keep the faith – and to pass it on to the next generations.
So I will preach it as part of this sermon.
The section I am about to read follows the more familiar section on faith – where the preacher not only gives a definition for what faith is, 11:1 “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”; but he also gives a detailed list of men and women of the Old Testament who proved faithful to God through impossible circumstances and against all odds.
As I read, I want you to imagine that everyone I mention is here with us today, marching up the street even as we speak, see them lining up outside the door and coming down the aisles. Imagine them all standing around the walls inside this sanctuary and up in the balcony looking down. Even if you do not know the stories, listen attentively and let your hearts be open to their steadfastness and faith.
Now, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses and even Rahab the prostitute. All of them heroes of faith who were righteous before God and suffered for their faith are already here. They were detailed in Hebrews 11:1-31.
Now let’s hear about the others from the preacher himself...
32And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms,
shut the mouths of lions,
34quenched raging fire,
escaped the edge of the sword,
won strength out of weakness,
became mighty in war,
put foreign armies to flight.
35Women received their dead by resurrection.
Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection.
And now hear of how they suffered...
36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
37They were stoned to death,
they were sawn in two,
they were killed by the sword;
they went about in skins of sheep and goats,
tormented— 38of whom the world was not worthy.
They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
Can you see them now? Filling the sanctuary; surrounding us; watching us; praying for us...?
See this whole assembly of faithful ancestors line up as far as the eye can see...
All the men and women of old who trusted in the promises of God... Consider what they went through; feel their strength of character and courage...
39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith,
did not receive what was promised,
40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.
There it is – that statement that connects all the faithful from generations before to each one of us.
He encourages us to remain faithful as they were faithful – because we are all linked to one another and to Christ – who is the ‘something better’ with the ‘better resurrection’.
We are part of a great unbroken cord of salvation that stretches from the beginning of human history right up to heaven where it is anchored by Jesus.
There is a big gap in the line and that’s for all those who hear and respond to the gospel today and in the generations who come after us.
We are to step up to the cord and join with those who through the ages have held on by faith. This is what the preacher means when he says that “they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.”
They need us!
So now this great cord is passing through the sanctuary and it is your turn to form the human links of faith that join the whole chain to Jesus in the City of God – heaven to earth and earth to heaven.
And now the preacher changes the metaphor. It is not a cord or chain that we have in our hands but a baton –
12Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,* and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
who for the sake of* the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
disregarding its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are now runners in a race begun by our ancestors; maintained by us and continued by our descendants to come. All of us important players in this race; each one necessary for the safety of the other.
The baton has been passed from Abel to Enoch to Noah to Abraham, each runner handing it on to the next. Now it’s your turn to run! The previous runners, that great cloud of witnesses are all here and all are watching to see how we will perform.
The preacher knows that it is late in the day and that we have already run several sprints and dashes. We are winded and tired, but this is the race that counts, so we are to strip off anything that would slow us down – all the binding weights and shackling sins – all the disappointments that threaten to make us quit; all the angry moments that would paralyze us if we let them; we’ve got to overcome all of that and run our portion of the race with endurance.
The path of the race has already been forged by Jesus.
He is the lead runner!
As the pioneer, he sets the course and shows us where to go. He also shows us how to run – since he is the one who runs the race with perfection – the ‘perfecter of our faith’. In fact, it is Christ who makes it possible for us to run at all.
Jesus kept his eye on the prize – the Kingdom of God; and he calls for us to do the same.
Many congregations today – especially here in North America are suffering with a decrease in numbers and in stamina; some are closing; others merging; some have just given up and are slowly dying – paralyzed by fear and hopelessness.
If ever we find ourselves feeling despondent about our small numbers, let us remember that chain; let us remember that we have the baton and we’ve got to pass it on. You are part of something much bigger than your individual lives.
You’re greater than you think!
And, as in today’s reading, let us remember Jesus who said, “I am the true vine...4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.”
We need to stay connected to Jesus – we need to always keep him in mind when we make our decisions; when we work and when we are at leisure; we need to constantly be refreshed and nourished by the living word of God.
All we need do is follow him.
But, following Jesus sometimes means going against modern culture; sometimes means sacrifice and suffering; sometimes means taking risks and being labeled as naïve or weird. And for many today, following Jesus is dangerous.
If I had time, I would tell of many heroes of faith and courage, since biblical times, who stand as shining examples for us. But the one who comes immediately to mind is one whose fight for justice threatened his life many times and, like Paul, landed him in prison for many years.
I am thinking of Nelson Mandela – a man who never backed down in his non-violent fight against apartheid; never gave up even under overwhelming circumstances. He is just one of thousands of examples – still living – who can inspire and encourage us to keep moving forward and run our race.
If ever you feel insignificant or worry about the size of your congregation, remember to stay faithful to God.
You are greater than you think because you possess the power and the strength of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.
And as we run, let’s remember that his goal is to ‘bring many children to glory’ (2:10) – he’s running to heaven with all of us and all those who went before right back to Abel – running and rejoicing right up to heaven proclaiming (2:13)
‘Here am I and the children whom God has given me.’
“Look, Father! See them all here with me – runners in this race – enduring all the suffering and pain but holding onto their faith. Father, receive them into your kingdom even as you have received me.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
The prayer for our newest member:
Please let us pray for Yvonne now…
O Lord, uphold Yvonne by your Holy Spirit.
Increase in her from day to day
your gifts of grace:
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord,
the spirit of joy in your presence,
both now and forever.
Commissioning: (by Harley Bye)
Go out into the world in peace;
be of good courage;
hold fast to that which is good;
return to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the faint hearted;
support the weak;
help the afflicted;
honour all people;
love and serve the Lord;
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
THE ORIGIN OF FATHER'S DAY
written by Nancy Campbell, Read by Eric Pritchard
Father's Day is the day set aside on which fathers are honoured by their children. It's a day to express feelings of gratitude and thankfulness. Fathers receive gifts, are treated to a special meal and are given special attention on this day. ( Eric added that he can't wait for the special meal!)
However, Father's day had a modest beginning only a century ago. Thanks to the hard work and struggle of Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, the wheels to create a day to honour fathers was set in motion. Over the years it received consideration by several government committees, but it wasn't until 1972 that a bill was passed establishing the 3rd Sunday of June as a permanent observance of Father's Day. The white and red rose were made the official flower; the white commemorates gratitude for a father who is deceased, and the red rose expresses thankfulness to one who is living.
Father's Day helps in strengthening the father and child relationship. Just as a mother is regarded as the sole nurturer of a child, the father helps in the development and emotional well being of the child. A father plays the role of a guide, supporter, motivator and protector in any child's life.
Father's Day has become a day to not only honour your father, but all men who act as a father: step fathers, foster fathers, uncles, grandfathers and other male figures are all honoured on Father's Day.
written by Nancy Campbell, read by Robert Waller
His name was Fleming and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer . Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you", said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life". ''No, I can't accept payment for what I did", the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.
At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family'S hovel. "Is that your son?' the nobleman asked. "Yes", the farmer replied proudly. "I'll make you a deal," said the noblemen. "Let me take him and give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll grow to be a man you can be proud of'. And that he did.
In time, Farmer Fleming's son graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.
Years afterward, the nobleman's son was stricken with pneumonia. What saved him? Penicillin. The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill, the father of Sir Winston ChurchilL
Someone once said: "What goes around comes around!" Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like nobody's watching!
A STORY OF LIFE
written by Nancy Campbell, read by Randy Campbell
One day, little Jim was taking a walk with his father in the rugged roads of the mountains near their home. Suddenly, he slipped and hurt himself: Jim screamed. "AAAhhhh!" Immediately he heard a voice from the mountains saying "AAAhhhh!" Jim forgot his hurt and shouted, "Who are you?" Once again he heard that voice saying, "Who are you?" Jim was amused and he shouted, saying, "I like you!" The voice immediately answered back, saying, "I like you!"
Finding the voice repeating everything that he said, Jim got annoyed and said, "You're a coward! Come in front!" Once again, like every other time, that voice from the mountain repeated exactly what Jim had shouted its way.
Jim got flabbergasted. He looked at his father and asked, "Dad, what's going on? Who is that?" His father smiled and said, "Son, that is called an echo." And then he added, "Now listen to this." Jim's father then shouted towards the mountains, saying, "Hey, you're a champion!" The voice answered back, "Hey, you're a champion!" Jim got puzzled.
Jim's father then looked at him and said, "Son, although people call it an echo, it is, in reality, Life. It gives you back everything that you give to it. Our life reflects our actions. If you give out love, then life rewards you back with it. If you want happiness from the world, spread happiness first and then you get your return."
Jim kept listening to his father as he continued, "Life is not a coincidence, son. It is your reflection ~ the reflection of your deeds, acts and beliefs!"
A Father and Son
by Rob Ireland
I am going to depart a little bit from a script here. I could not find anything that I was comfortable reading so I decided to say a little bit about my own father. It started off with me doing a search on the Internet, for something that I was comfortable with and what a found is a quotation that is attributed to Mark Twain even though there is some dispute over though if he said it or not. It was in the Old Time in Mississippi in Reader’s digest.
The quote is: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant; I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in 7 years.” Well this Twain reminiscence struck a familiar chord in myself, because, like many sons, I went through a similar stage with my own father.
I will tell you a little bit about my Dad first.
In 1939, when he was 18 years old, he volunteered with the RCAF. Of course, we were starting WWII, and it was the thing to do if you were a farm boy. So he did that. By 1944, he had gone far enough in his career that he was spitfire pilot, and he saw action in D day and afterwards over in countries like France, Belgium, Holland and Germany towards the end of the war. During that time, he was in mortal combat with German pilots who were determined to kill him. He managed to avoid that, fortunately for me. He managed to avoid that, but he had some very narrow escapes. He himself shut down several Messerschmitt 109s and Focke-Wulf 190s, piloted by German, but managed to avoid the same thing himself.
Now after the war, he continued in his career, he did not retire and go into civilian life. He stayed as a pilot and came back to Canada and started flying Jets. Well by 1961, he had gone far enough up in the ranks, that he was a commanding officer of an airbase on Vancouver Island, and on that airbase, he was a pilot of the squadron and leader of a squadron of fire pilots who flew Voodoo Jets; those were called CF-101s. For those who do not know what a CF101 look like, I brought in a little tribute book that my father received when he left the airbase.
Now you will have to remember that this was in the cold war era and there was dire threat at that time. This was the Cuban Missile crisis and this was Russian Bombers flying over the Arctic circle intruding on our air space to see what we were prepared to deal with them or not. It was my father's job to stop them. He was first line of defense. Canada and the US were concerned as well because that was how they would get to the US by flying over Canada.
So he was first line of defense. These jets that he was flying were armed with missiles that had atomic warheads on them. Most people do not realize that we had atomic warheads here in Canada back in the 60’s but we did. They were stored on the airbase and he was responsible for making sure that these atomic warheads were not mishandled, not abused. Terrorism was not a big treat then as it is now. But it was still a very big responsibility.
Now at 14, that is how old I was when my father was the commanding officer of this airbase; at 14, I, like Mark Twain did not see eye to eye with my father on many things: politics, attitudes. Of course in the 60's, things were changing rapidly for my generation and so my father's and my points of views diverged on many many many, many assets; and I thought the old man was ignorant many times. He certainly did not believe in the things I believed in. I did not understand his world at all. I did not want to go in the military and that was not a popular choice on my part when I did that. Of course I had been groomed for it and it would be cool that his son followed in his footsteps but I didn’t.
So we had our differences. 7 years later, though, like Mark Twain, when I was 21, the old man had learned a lot. My attitudes had changed somewhat. I had realized I was living in the comfort and the security that was afforded to me by the sacrifices that my father and men of his generation…. sacrifices they have made for us, were responsible for me being able to indulge myself and do what I wanted to do: go and live in the country and grow vegetables and learn the values and walk through the woods; things like that. And it was at that point that I came to the realization that my father when I was that age was up in the air with people trying to shoot him dead and he was doing things that I just couldn’t imagine.
And it was at that point that I really became proud of my father, started to realize that any of these diverging attitudes where just nothing, they were just nothing compared to what he did for us. More than that, he and my mother somehow managed to hold the family of 5 kids together through 30 years of moving from airbase to airbase to airbase every 2 years. I myself went through 10 moves with my parents before I moved to a flat on my own. And somehow they managed to hold all of us together through this. The 50 's, the 60 's, the 70's and on. So I am in awe of that. I only hope that my own children and yours can have similar feelings about us as parents as they go through these changes.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE - IT'S SO EASY
written by Nancy Campbell, read by Ian Gill
Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet one father's son, Shay, couldn't learn things as other children do. He couldn't understand things as other children do. Where is God's plan reflected in that father's son? It is possibly that when God brings a child like Shay into the world, an opportunity to realize the Divine plan presents itself. And it comes in the way people treat that child.
Shay and I walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that the boys wouldn't want him on their tern, but he understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much needed sense of belonging. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by 6 runs, and the game is in the 8th inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the 9th."
Although no his came his way, Shay was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the 9th inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with 2 outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base. Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps closer to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown it to 1 st base. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the 1 st baseman. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" By the time Shay was rounding I st base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown it to the 2nd baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over the 3rd baseman's head. Shay ran towards 2nd base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases home. As Shay reached 2nd base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of 3rd base and shouted, "Run to 3rd!" As Shay rounded 3rd, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay! Run home!" Shay ran home, stepped on the plate and was cheered as the hero for hitting a grand slam and winning the game for the team.
"That day," said the father softly, with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the Divine Plan into this world!"
A TRIBUTE TO FATHERS
written by Nancy Campbell, read by Thornton and Kerry Westley
1. For the young son, Dad stands for all he wants to be in life when he grows up. He watches with eyes and ears that record how Dad lives, whether it be in the home, on the job, or in their time of recreation as a family. This recording takes place on a daily basis in his life, as one day he will push "play", and become a Dad himself.
2. For the young daughter, Dadis her knight in shining armour with the responsibility to protect her, yet tender enough to shower her with his unconditional love when she needs to know he's there. For her, Dad remains "Daddy" through the turbulent years of teenage trials, then with a falling tear and trembling lips she kisses "Daddy" on the cheek at her wedding in hopes she is marrying someone who will love and protect her just like Daddy did.
3. Some Dads have become the leaders of their family without a godly example in their home as they grew up, yet have determined in their own hearts to start a legacy of love so their own children will have a good example to follow. Like Joshua of old challenged the people, saying these words, then does all he can to live up to the commitment: "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
4. The godly father recognizes his shortcomings and failures from time to time as he shepherds his family, and will be humble enough to draw upon the strength of his Heavenly Father for help and guidance. The godly father is not ashamed to admit to times of weakness and in sufficiency, and yes, even shed a tear or two at times as he faces the challenges of life and leadership of his family. He looks forward to looking up to God and confessing his need to the one who is all suffucient and all-knowing.
5. We applaud you Dad, as you sacrifice for your family in so many ways, yet also encourage you to give your most valuable asset to your children as much as possible, which is, of course, your time. Those special times of playing catch in the back yard may provide some wear and tear for the lawn, yet will grow a great relationship. Those early mornings of fishing together may not yield musch for the dinner table, but the conversations while fishing will be quite a catch for both Dad and child. Taking time for "date with your daughter" will provide her an example of what to look for in manners and actions when she begins to date.
6. There is a statement that says, "Time is of the essence," and yes, learning about being the best Dad you can possibly be. In a world that says "can't", thanks for saying "can too!" Most of all, thanks for being a Dad and trusting your Heavenly Father to guide you in the journey.
"Blessed in deed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father"
FORGIVE - OF COURSE I DO!
I recently heard a sermon that offended me. The topic was on forgiveness and it asked as a Christian if forgiveness was something that 1 practice? My back went up, as a Christian, -of course I do. It spoke of forgiveness as God practices it not as man practices it. It went on to explain that man's forgiveness touches only the manward effects of sin. Christ’s, forgiveness bears on the individual's my relationship, to God. The whole subject is dealt with in many ways all saying the same thing in the Bible, but Jesus says it as plain as it can be expressed in Matt. 6: 14 & 15, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins."
Through the thick, soupy fog of my annoyance suggesting that I might not practice this, a barbed hook snagged on my forgiveness nerve which next to the tithing nerve is one of the most sensitive in the human body. Why is this? Perhaps because we use phrases such as,
Let's go into God's word and see how He handles it.
Ps.103:2-4,"Praise the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion ... "
Ps.103:12 , "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
Isa. 43:24-25," ... But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences. I, even I, am He who blots out our transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."
John 20:23,"If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
That is just a sampling but I did notice one very important phrase that God uttered that should imprint the seriousness of this whole exercise of forgiveness on our hearts and minds. God himself says in Isa.43 vs. 25. He blots out our transgressions " ... for my sake ... " God is all powerful, and He blots out, chooses not to remember, and removes as far as possible all our sins, why? For His sake. That says to me that sin that is not forgiven will taint, fester, and fatally wound me. If Almighty God forgives 'for His sake' why should I not extend forgiveness? What thought allows me to put myself above God by not forgiving?
"Now I can argue. I am not putting myself above God. I am just saying that I have "my God given" rights and I am only exercising them." The hook was working deeper and hurting more. I did a very thorough search, and the rights are just not there. The rights are not God given but man originated. Saying that I am a Christian is easy. It seems that the follow-up, becoming one, is the difficult part. I stated that I have rights, they are mine.
Let me cite some rights I must give up so those strongholds can be torn down in my life by practice and by prayer:
How can I give up any of those rights?
Let me ask again, how can I not give up any and all of those rights and be a Christian? Remember the meaning of Christian, it is being 'Christ like' or 'Christ ones.'
Have you ever really considered Jesus' character and attitude? Let us look at Phil. Chap.2, the first 11 verses tell me who
Christ is and what He was. These verses urge me to adopt and use His mind. These verses tell me to get out of myself and look to others. Then I get onto the attitude that Jesus had when He came to earth, I have never lowered myself to become a man I never had a higher station and I rarely humble myself. I most certainly haven't died much less sacrificed for my fellow man. I think that Paul summed it up very well when He called me 'mere man.'
By what right then, by what thought process, under what guise can I say that I won't or can't forgive anyone? Because if I stay stuck in my present frame of mind, in my unforgiving state of mind I am not a Christian no matter how much I protest, no matter what excuse I use.
My forgiveness nerve is twanging like a bowstring, I am thinking of all the times that I have been hurt, insulted, rejected, slandered, corrected, criticized, and rebuked. I have cases I won't forget that have been built up for years; I can't throw out all that material. If I don't then I shall die the most agonizing of all deaths, that of anger and bitterness and of separation from God.
There is a presumption that I must tell each person that I forgive him/her for everything that they have done to me. This is probably one of the most hurtful things that I can do. Let me give an example, several weeks after an event I am still carrying 'my wrong' for something that someone has said to me. I go and tell them "I forgive you." My pride and my feelings are mine to deal with in front of and with God not when I am harbouring my hurt because of my pride. Did this person come and tell me he/she is sorry? Then, I forgive them. Did God lay it on their heart that they had offended or hurt me and they came to apologize? In these two instances I have to forgive them. Otherwise in the 'Rights' list numbers one and four cover this. I am offended and I am wallowing in self-pity, 'my rights. '
I am the one who engineers my forgiveness. I am the one who states the terms and when it comes into effect. "Will you please forgive me for ... ?" Or "I beg you to please forgive me for ... " are not expressing regret, I am demanding or manipulating them to forgive me no matter how sincere my words sound. My forgiveness is mine to give I am not in charge of other's forgiveness. Can I demand that anyone forgive me? Can I demand that they accept my forgiveness? Can I demand they accept my apology? If any of the foregoing is in my mind I have just negated God's love and I have put 'my' demands above His. As a man, a human, I cannot forgive it is not' in me, only when the Holy Spirit lives in me can I forgive and remember no more. "Forgive them Father for they do not know what they are doing." The most loving forgiveness extended from man and God to man.
My twanging forgiveness nerve has a throbbing pain I can't relieve. The hook has worked to my very heart and to live I must have it removed.
Whatever is necessary for me to have the same attitude as Jesus, has to come from God and I must choose not to remember if I choose to forgive. To do less is to deny my being a Christian. I am not as good as I will be but the process of 'start' is in place.
Again these rights are brought to mind,
I couple this with the verses of Paul from Phil.2: 1-5, "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."
The simplicity of Jesus attitude comes to us in His words in John 20:23 "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."
"Forgive them Father for they do not know what they are doing."
God, because of and with His love, removes the hook
The Sweetest gift with Norm Rennie and Rob Ireland
Songwriters: COATS, JAMES B.
One day a mother
Come to a prison
To see an 'erring
But precious son
She told the warden
How much she loved him
It did not matter
What he had done
She did not bring to him
(Bring to him)
Parole or pardon
She brought no silver
(Brought no gold)
No pomp nor style
(Him to see)
It was a halo
Sent down from heaven
The sweetest gift
(A mother's smile)
Her boy had wandered
Far from the far side
Though she had pleaded
With him each night
But not a word did
She ever utter
That told her heartaches
Her smile was bright
She left a smile
You can remember
She's gone to heaven
From heartache's free
Them bars around you
Will never change her
He was her baby
An error will be
It was a halo bright
Sent down from heaven's light
The sweetest gift
A mother's smile
2 Kings 5:1-14
New International Version (NIV)
Naaman Healed of Leprosy
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents[b] of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God?Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
Mark 1:40-45New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy40 A man with leprosy[a] came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41 Jesus was indignant.[b] He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,”he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
A guy suffering from a miserable cold begs his doctor for relief. The doctor prescribes pills. But after a week, the guy’s still sick. So the doctor gives him a shot. But that doesn’t help his condition either.
"Okay, this is what I want you to do," says the doctor on the third visit. "Go home and take a hot bath. Then throw open all the windows and stand in the draft."
"I’ll get pneumonia!" protests the patient.
"I know. That I can cure."
Leprosy is a chronic disease of the skin, peripheral nerves, and mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and eyes, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. In tuberculoid leprosy, cells of the immune system crowd into infected areas of the skin, forming hard nodules, or tubercles, that spread along nerve fibres. This type of reaction commonly leads to claw hand, gross deformity of the foot, and paralysis of muscles of the face, eye, and neck. (Which is the one that was most common during the Biblical era). In the first type, bacilli multiply freely in deep layers of the skin and spread widely through lymphatic channels and along nerve fibres, causing thickening and corrugation of the skin, raising soft nodules on the ears, nose, and cheeks, and sometimes destroying the septum of the nose and the palate. Leprosy has a long history. Until the 20th century, infected people were ostracized from society or at best segregated and cared for in isolated leper colonies. Today the disease is entirely curable through multidrug therapy, though tissue damage caused before drug treatment cannot be reversed. Some 600,000 new cases arise every year, mostly in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands. About 60 percent of new cases occur in India.
At many points during the Bible there are references to leprosy and other various forms of mental and physical afflictions. That is because if one reads into the New Testament there is an important theme of “healing”. Moreover there is a distinct to be able to help others whenever the opportunity arises. I believe there are several reasons why leprosy is used in the frequency that it is. However there are also a few passages that bring out some other themes that I would like to touch upon.
Firstly, in Second Kings Namaan was clearly upset about being asked to dip himself completely seven times in the Jordan which one might say would be the Chateauguay river of the rivers in the province of Judaea. He listened to Elisha, and his “rage” subsided. So, he listened to the prophet/servant of God and he was calmed, healed. Secondly, Namaan had expected Elisha could pray to God and heal him because he was a prophet. Um, that’s not how healing or even miracles work, at least not in my opinion. I think that listening carefully and taking initiative is essential in understanding and finding peace. Thirdly, his flesh became like new, smooth like a newborn baby. Since there was no baby powder around we cannot attribute the silky smoothness to any skin care product but the healing grace of God. So I would like to suggest that he was “born again”, or made into a new man, once again through following the instructions of Elisha. Also, I believe that the mentioning of the skin like a child is important, represents a new beginning, an honest or a naïve feeling if you will. Since children are arguably more prone to taking advice eventually, no matter how much of a fuss they put up they do eventually come to their senses. No matter how many times I am told to go kiss Aunt Gertrude on the lips and refuse I will make my way over at some point through the somewhat delicate coaching of my father. Similarly, Namaan eventually swallowed his pride, displayed his courage and dunked himself in the river.
Let us for a minute, take a bit of a closer look at when Namaan listened to Elisha and had his anger then his sickness healed… Yes, at first he was a little upset to say the least. He refuted Elisha and probably caused a scene similar to a toddler in Toys R Us who wants a new toy, But he DID listen eventually. And I think this is very similar to use as everyday Christians. I’m not suggesting that we’re all modern day Namaan’s or at least like his train of thought but the way he was unsure, even doubting the word of a prominent prophet. I do not think we need to be shocked about what we need to do in order to find comfort or become closer to God. And along the same train of thought, do we need to have something wrong in order to seek out healing or God’s help? Absolutely not. I think that there are many people, myself included that could use some prodding or guidance from God from time to time. In that respect, we are like Namaan sometimes as well. We do not always seek God when everything would appear to be well and good. Although leprosy only shows on the outside and we may not have it, it does not mean that we are “clean” and all is dandy.
The second item I would like to analyze and talk about is the expectation of Namaan going to see Elisha. Being a prophet and arguably believed to be one of the closest to God at that time Namaan believed that he would be absolved of this affliction. Not only was that a misnomer then but it is also one now. It is very wrong for us to simply assume to see a man of God and be healed, cured or comforted. Yes, believe that it is necessary to go through the act of consulting a minister in the church or a lay preacher but we cannot expect to be healed right there and then, it is not fair to them or to ourselves. What do I mean? I would like to suggest that going to see a religious/holy man is but the first of many steps to find inner and therefore outer peace. I do applaud Namaan for seeking out Elisha and asking for his help being the noble man that he was and asking for help… But as we read, it took Namaan following through with the instructions to be healed. Healing is a journey, it is not an overnight trip where all you need is a pillow, pyjamas some homemade food *cough cough mom*. But it something like the leper Namaan that we must seek out and heed the word of God, and through following his instructions or Jesus’ teachings we can find ourselves free from the burden of sickness.
To wrap up the chapter of 2 Kings I would, for a moment, like to delve into the qualities of Namaan’s skin post- 7 dips in the Jordan. He comes out with the skin of Marilyn Monroe or those E-Trade babies you may have seen on TV. Smooth, clean and child-like or “newborn” depending on one’s translation of the Bible. Yes it’s a miracle, or at least a feat of some medical phenomena but that’s not necessarily as important as his skin. (No, im not promoting skin care products but do head to Uniprix for the best in… whoops, sorry I got off track). Namaan is healed after following Elisha’s instructions and his skin is like that of a young, innocent child eager to explore and learn from this wild world. That is the genre of healing we need to and should and probably do go through more often than we think. The healing grace of God, if I may be so bold turned back the clock on not only his skin but also of his faith. He now has faith and trust in God. Like a young child heading to school, or being homeschooled he is now free to mould and be taught in a new way…
Personally, I do not believe that stories of sickness and affliction should be the one’s that drive us to seek out God more and more. I don’t know that is a good, let alone healthy idea to rely upon sickness to help us find God, but that there is a lot we can do through simply going to church, speaking with a minister or reading a book. Faith, it sure is fickle.
If I may continue on this same vein of healing, leprosy and what we may have to learn from the lepers in the Bible readings this morning I would like to look at the verses from Mark for a little while. The reading starts off by the man saying “if you are willing, can you make me clean?”. In one translation the next line if you will says Jesus was filled with compassion, he was touched by this sick man and replied that indeed, yes he is willing. Of course, to us this comes as no surprise, or does it? Are we sometimes hesitant to approach someone when we are afflicted? Maybe embarrassed, when we’re not ourselves? Or is it the opposite? Do we only approach when we are harmed or prohibited from doing something? Continuing on in the scripture lesson … So this healed man, filled to the brim with happiness goes on telling everyone after Jesus asks him not to. He was only supposed to tell the Rabbi what had been done so he could then make the proper sacrifice (which was the normal ritual at that time). So, this man ended up spreading the good news all over that region over the miracle that had happened. As a result Jesus now had to limit himself to the outskirts so he would not be swarmed by people asking for healing of one sort or another. Now, we could draw several conclusions here I believe so there is no really “right answer”. My interpretation is not one of disappointment towards the man because that is not the way. No, I think that Jesus knew that this man would spread the word, and inadvertently led to the increasing in quote unquote fame of Jesus. In that same regard I think the being limited to places outside the larger metropolis areas allowed Jesus to teach and be as successful as he was. And the people came from everywhere. From the butcher, the corner store, the saloon and who knows maybe the birds and the bees even came.
Furthermore I believe this story is a lesson that can and really should be applied to us as Christians. God isn’t asking nor does he require for one to put up posters everywhere looking for more congregation members or letters urging people to come to church. I think that the human beings that he chose to heal is important. More often than not it was people where you could tell that something was clearly wrong with them. So everyday people like for example you and I could tell people. Is it that we as healthy people were not relied upon to spread the word? Is it that we needed to see these miracles in order to believe? I’m not sure, but I think that it is on the backs of healing the sick and helping the poor that Jesus becomes such a prominent figure. I mean, it is through them that he kind of becomes who he is. The middle class, upper middle class and others who were going through the motions weren’t necessarily the ones who were going to spread what he was teaching and follow him. Yes, many did but the numbers of those who had been touched by Him, who had sought him out are much higher than those who had a fairly decent life did.
In conclusion, I think we as a Christian people, as human beings can learn something from the lepers and the sick in the New Testament. They found Jesus, they spread the word… And, that Jesus made followers out of non-believers and the sick and lowly before hitting up suburban Bethlehem is a sign. A sign that there perhaps are those who have a better grip on life and what is important than we day. That is just my opinion. But, I believe if anyone can change the way we think, rather if anything can help us to realize our full potential that not only do we have to look within ourselves to find that spark, but look around…Don’t look down, don’t look away. For we are ALL equal in the eyes of the Lord.
- A leper, can change our spots…
- Thank you.