Awaiting text ....reminder to Stewart...
CALL TO WORSHIP:
We gather together
in the name of the One who bids us come.
We gather together
to hear the words of the One who is Love.
We gather together
to sing praises of the One who teaches peace.
Come, let us worship together.
CALL TO WORSHIP:
Come, bless the Lord with me!
For the Lord is like a father to his children
compassionate and merciful,
filled with endless love.
He forgives our sins,
and heals the sickness inside us;
he surrounds us with love and mercy
and fills our lives with good things!
Let’s worship God together!
PRAYER, CANDLELIGHTING & MEMORIES OF KEVIN’S MOM
Meditation. This is my Fathers world.
My mother from a very young age instilled in me, To believe in God Almighty. She taught me how to say my prayers at night. Many of the things that people from our generation did, she did. And as I said earlier, and that she showed me God's creation all around us.
Today is Father's Day, and I would like to focus a little bit on our Heavenly Father. And my inspiration comes from the Hymn ....This is my father's world. Through Creation we see.
A. The glory of God Ps 19 vs 1-2...The heavens declare the glory of God, The skies proclaim the work of his hands. day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. Ps 50 vs 6... And the heavens shall declare His righteousness, for God himself is judge. Examples...
B. The nature of God Romans 1 vs 20... For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Examples... For myself personally, when I was very young, in my own conscience I would hear the truth about God, or what He wants from me and doesn't want from me. I could take that still quiet voice of God, and by sure will. I could staple that voice. And that is what we all are capable of. So it is up to us to listen to the still quiet voice of God.
C. A warning from God concerning creation Romans 1 vs 25... The exchange truth of God for lie and worship and served created things rather than the Creator, who is forever praised. Amen Example... I love nature, and I know that in this community most of us love nature. You don't have to be a farmer to appreciate the growing season. Planting and harvesting. You don't have to be a naturalist to appreciate all the bio diversity. All the animals birds etc. And it is The duty of man, to take care of nature. To be a Stewart of creation. But we should never let our "love of nature" replace our love for the Creator.
The New Testament gives us a little more insight into the nature our Heavenly Father. And what kind of relationship we can have with Him. Romans 8 vs 15... For you did not receive the spirit that makes you a slave again do fear, but you receive the spirit of Sonship.
And by him we cry, Abba father. Mark 14 vs 36... Abba, father, He said, "everything is possible for you to. Take this cup from me, but not what I will, but what you will. " Example... Abba is equal to Daddy. Reach out and Pray to you Dad this Father's Day, He loves you and wants your worship!
CALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: God of grace, we come with all we have;
ALL: bodies, souls, minds; all here to worship You.
ONE: A world where enemies embrace, distinctions between friend and foe evaporating in the light of Your love.
ALL: We dedicate this hour of worship to You and to Your kingdom come.
OPENING PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: In peace, let us pray to the Lord: for all people of all faith traditions, that we may enjoy relationships built on mutual respect and trust. Lord, we pray. Renew your peace in our hearts, and give us the courage of faith in our daily lives. Lord, we pray. Free us from all prejudice and fear, deepen our understanding and love. Lord, we pray. Show us the way to bring Your love and compassion to the poor, the sick, the lonely, the unloved and the forgotten. Lord, we pray.
For those who seek to be bearers of friendship to young and old, across all ages and race barriers. Lord, we pray. For all who serve and protect our nation; for all who are currently in harm's way, may they be kept safe, wrapped in the mantle of Your love. Lord, we pray. For all parents and teachers, and all those entrusted with the care of children and young people. Lord, we pray. Forgive those who hurt us or distort our best intentions;
forgive us also and remedy our acts of injustice. Lord, we pray. Console those who are bereaved or in sorrow. Lord, we pray. Loving God, you care for us all and know all our needs. May we always rest in You love, as we continue to pray, saying: 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.
Offertory Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have provided us with a family, friends, a home and food to eat for each day. As You have been generous to us, we offer You these gifts as symbols of our utmost gratitude for Your kindness. Bless us, Father, with continued blessings. Forever in Your glory, Lord, in Jesus' name we pray. Amen
SPECIAL MUSIC: "Paul And Silas Bound In Jail" & "I Shall Not Be Moved" Hugh Wallis
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Exodus 28:1-5 — reading from the New King James Version Psalm 1 Page 843
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
The life You give us in Christ is so very real, God. Who are we
to receive such goodness? Yes, we have come to church today, but we confess that we have not been all that faithful throughout the past week. There were moments when we acted in love, but more often our actions were powered by other motives. Forgive us, and help us to forgive ourselves.
We did remember You upon occasion, but too easily we forgot You amid the daily grind. Forgive us and help us to live in You. Every now and then an "Amen" did come out of us in word or action. But like the father who came to Jesus with his dying son, we more often cried out, "I believe, help my unbelief." Forgive us and empower us with Your Spirit.
Who are we to profess the life You freely give? Who are we to claim Your daily goodness? Who are we to receive Your healing presence? Thank you, Father God, for Your forgiveness. Thank you, Christ Jesus, for Your life. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for
Your power. We open ourselves to You, anew, today. Live now in us, we pray. In Jesus' name. Amen.
MEDITATION: Priestly Vestments
Back in the beginning, long before the time of Moses, each man was his own priest. It was each man's own responsibility to offer God sacrifices. Adam, Cain, Abel, Noah and Abram are among those men who showed their love and faith in God by offering sacrifices. Then, when we get to Exodus 12, we find, that in Egypt, it has become the head of the household who officiates these sacrifices. And then it evolved so that the head of each tribe was chosen for the position of the 'high priest.'
There are three different kinds of priests mentioned in the Bible. There were the sons of Levi who were priests doing the work of the Lord. Then there was the High Priest. Aaron was the first High Priest and his son succeeded him, and so followed generation after generation. Only one High Priest held the office at a time. The third priest mentioned in the Bible is the "Great High Priest", Jesus Christ. He isn't from the Levi family, nor was He a son of Aaron. He didn't inherit the position and He didn't pass it on to anyone. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, remains the Great High Priest.
Among the heathen nations, the priests were appointed by popular election, and inevitably, this meant that ambition alone rules their appointment. But God wasn't going to have any of that. He would only acknowledge those who were appointed by Him. To show that He, God, is the only one who can name a true priest, God commands Aaron and his sons to be separated from the other eleven tribes. God instructs Moses to make sure this is done.
Exodus 28:1: "Consecrate Aaron, your brother, and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazer and Ithamer to be priests, to minister to me." This was a divine calling. It was not a position any person from any other tribe could simply apply for. No indeed! It was a position for the children of Levi only. Each person desiring the position had to prove he was a descendant of Aaron. Not only that, they had had to prove that they were pure and clean, without any bodily defect or blemish.
Leviticus, chapter 21, tells us exactly how rigorous this test was. It says: "No priest who is a leper or who has a running sore may eat the holy sacrifices until he is healed. And any priest who touches a dead person, or is defiled by a seminal emission, or who touches any reptile or other forbidden thing — that priest shall be defiled until evening and shall not eat of the holy sacraments until after he has bathed that evening and is purified again. Warn the priests to follow these instructions carefully, unless they be declared guilty and die for violating these rules. I am the Lord who sacrifices them."
As we can see, becoming a priest was a tremendously important calling. Only the highest standard was acceptable. The priests had only one function to fulfil, and that was to minister to God. They made sacrifices to Him, they were in charge of the altar and the sanctuary. They kept a fire on the altar, lighted candles and burned incense. They were responsible for conducting all the sacred services of worship in the tabernacle. They were also responsible for the religious instruction of all the people of the nation, imparting the knowledge of the Lord.
Now, let's go back to Aaron. The chapter in Exodus continues saying: "make special clothes for Aaron, to indicate his separation to God — beautiful garments that will lend dignity to his work. Instruct those to whom I have given special skill as tailors to make the garments that will set him apart from others, so that he may minister to me in the priest's office. This is the wardrobe they shall make: a chestpiece, an ephod (a sleeveless tunic reaching from the shoulders to below the knee), a robe, a checkered tunic, a turban and a sash. They shall also make special garments for Aaron's sons."
These external ornaments showed the want of those who are true and wholly spiritual. If a priest had been absolutely perfect, these accessories would have been superfluous. By having Aaron adorned in these priestly vestments, he was showing more than an angelic show of virtues. Aaron had already been defiled by his own corruption and therefore unworthy to appear in the presence of God. In order for him to become a peacemaker between God and the people, he had to discard his ordinary clothes and present himself as a new man. The holy garments were, first of all, supposed to hide all of his faults. Secondly, they were to represent the supreme purity and wondrous glory of God.
If we were to continue reading Exodus, we would come upon the cleansing of Aaron. This is the ceremony for Aaron and his sons as priests. Exodus 29:4: "Bathe Aaron and his sons there at the entrance. Then put Aaron's robes on him. Then take the anointing oil and pour it on his head. They will then be priests forever." The whole process of Aaron becoming High Priest took two chapters to describe.
Aaron and his sons had been especially chosen by God. They had been chosen above all the other tribes of Israel to serve God in the worship of His name. He had called them into His work. He adorned them and cleansed them in order to make them fit for the work and it was a privilege for them to serve Him. This holds true today, for every believer is born again by the work of God's grace, because we know God has taken away all our faults and blemishes. For all God has done for us, He expects us to obediently carry out His work.
When you're at an airport, or back in the day, a train or bus station, do you ever notice the luggage and carry-ons that people are carrying or pulling along behind them? Do you ever wonder how expensive they are? Are they hard to carry around? Do people ever get tired of looking after them? If they're so much trouble, why don't people just leave them at home? Well, of course they can't do that. There are items in those bags and cases which the owners are going to need. They carefully pack their bags and get everything ready before they leave.
Think about this: does someone who is going to the Yukon pack the same kind of clothing as the person who is headed for Arizona? Does the one who is going to Greenland pack the same clothing as the one who is bound for Africa? Does the one who is going to visit the royal court of a king or a queen take the same things as the one who is going to the harvest fields to work?
Now let's think about packing clothing for the soul, the part of us which never dies. Your soul is the real you, and you are packing your soul-clothing for a journey into a far country. There are two of these countries which your soul has an invitation to enter. God invites you to take the one we call heaven. The powers of evil invite you to enter the other, called hell.
The one invitation is the royal court of the King of heaven, and the other is to a dark prison. The time to pack your soul's travelling bag is now, before it starts on the journey. Just as you can easily tell by the things which are packed in a person's suitcase whether that person is heading toward the northlands or the southlands, for the harvest-fields or the king's court, so you can tell by the things which you pack into your life which way you are heading your soul.
Habits and characteristics are the clothing of the soul. Remember, your soul has an invitation to join a King's court. It may cost you something to get the right habits, because good habits, like good clothing, are expensive. You may get tired of looking after your luggage, but you'll need it later, so keep holding on to it.
Is the clothing for your soul ready to wear in heaven, or are you packing your life with the cheap, prison clothing of bad habits and weak principles? We don't want to be ashamed of the clothing we have provided for our soul to wear in eternity. Aaron made mistakes, but God chose him to wear the priestly vestments and honour His glory. God wants you to adorn the priestly vestments, too. He wants us to honour Him, live by His word, because when God saves you by His grace, He calls you into full-time service for Him.
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN: Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are
created and by whose love we are redeemed; guide and strengthen us by Your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to Your service, and live this day in love to one another and to You, through Jesus Christ, Your Son,
"If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies. It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it."
- Albert Einstein
ALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: God’s rainbow arches over us; we fear nothing anymore
For what can conquer God?
ALL: Before the beginning, and after the end, God will be.
ONE: Everything works together for God’s goals.
ALL: If God is with us, nothing we do is wasted.
ONE: Like sunbeams dancing on a lake, even our weakest
efforts will gather into the glory of God.
ALL: Gales may buffet, and storms clouds may shadow,
but God will never give up on us.
ONE: A new day has dawned.
ALL: This is the day God gave us-- we will rejoice and be glad in it.
THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH John 14: 15-21
We all know the deeper the bond with people the MORE PAINFUL THE SEPARATION.
Think how mothers feel that first day of daycare-leaving your little bundle of joy with others for the first time—then there’s the first day of school—left in the hands of the school bus driver and the teachers--another separation.
How about when friends move:
Two little girls have been friends, next-door neighbors, since they were three. They played together, slept each other's beds, ate at each others’ tables. Now they were nine, and they are still tight. And the father of one of the girls is TRANSFERRED TO VANCOUVER. Suddenly there is the ugliest thing in the world, a big old moving van is hauling them away. The deeper the bond, the more painfully is separation --it's a terrible thing.
***And there is one SEPARATION that is always waiting in the wings—DEATH!!
Just think, death is seen on the highway everyday—death can take away your lifetime partner -- Death can even slip into a nursery and claim a little child. You read in the newspaper or watch on TV - she was just 16 years old--he was 17 years old -- they're just teenagers. You see those wreaths and the flowers by the side of the road. You see those students embracing each other how long will it take them to lose pain of separation?
*** Once in God’s time, there was a man in the little country of Galilee from the town Nazareth named Jesus-who was DIFFERENT! There was just something about him--He didn't shine in the night-- he didn't dress in unusual clothes -- he didn't go around saying a lot of religious things all the time. It was the way he related to people caused them to say, “he is a revelation of God and in him we have seen God!” He had charisma that attracted people to follow him.
***The painful side of it however, is he had to LEAVE this world. During his brief life a here on earth, he bonded with a lot of people —the poor –the sick—some religious leaders but especially his disciples.
It seems Jesus’ earthly Ministry was quickly coming to a close he knew the depth of pain his death would cause. In the Gospel of John, we find him talking to the disciples. He's trying to soften the blow-- trying to get them ready for their pending separation.
Picture Jesus sitting on a huge rock surrounded by his disciples—he is attempting to put their minds at ease:--- let’s listen in on their conversation:
—Jesus tells them-“don ‘t be troubled, I am going away but I will be back—just remember the WAY to God that I showed you.”
—Thomas answers “Where are you going? We don’t know the WAY?
Jesus says “Follow my teachings that is the WAY to know God.”
Philip asks, “Show us God---then we will be satisfied.”
Jesus responds, “He who has seen me, has seen the Father-- BELIEVE ME--I AM IN THE FATHER AND THE FATHER IS IN ME.” –but that didn’t work.
Then Jesus says, “Look, if you can’t believe my WORDS, then believe me because of my WORKS. “ you saw me feeding the hungry -- healing the sick –teachings about God’s love---and treating women, children and men with equal compassion.
By this time I imagine Jesus is getting a little frustrated, but He wants them to know that He will always be with them no matter what happens. He ends the conversation with an even more amazing proposition!
He says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.—Love God & do to others as you would like them to do to you.” If you keep these commandments I WILL BE “IN” YOU AND YOU “IN” ME hangs out.
--This morning I would like us to think about this “IN US” for a few minute!
”IN” is such a tiny word. It doesn’t seem too important. Nonetheless Jesus is promising to be “IN” the people who keep his commandments.
Now that doesn’t sound too complicated after all Jesus gave us just two commandments; Love God and do unto other and if we follow his teachings—do we will feel his SPIRIT working IN us.
And today--we who think ourselves as the heirs to those disciples some are wondering is Jesus actually “IN” us? How would we know?
That “IN” Jesus talked about is “the Spirit of Truth, Jesus has promised would be with us. regardless what happens to him. It's easy for most of us when we hear talk of the “Spirit” we immediately think of warm, personal feelings, feelings of security, of connection with God.
It’s like SINGING THOSE OLD GOSPEL HYMNS especially with the Franklin Assemble they give us a good feeling and a sense of security as we come together to sing our hearts out. Many of our hymns seem to focus on the Spirit offering us comfort especially when the world around us seems to be spinning out of control.
The scripture tells us having the SPIRIT IN US is not always a warm cozy feeling—but, Jesus tells us the spirit can be easily recognized when we put “LOVE OF GOD AND SERVING OTHERS” into practice. Not thinking about how we feel.
In her diary, Mother Teresa of Calcutta recorded her lifetime of struggle, with the darkness that plagued her because, FOR MORE THAN HALF HER LIFE SHE DID NOT FEEL THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST’S SPIRIT. Some consider her even greater saint because in spite of the dark, she continued to be faithful, she steadfastly pursued the mission to which she believed she had been called. She did as she pictured what JESUS would DO!!
Her story suggests that the presence of the Spirit doesn’t necessarily have to do with how one feels.
Some like to think the Spirit “IN” us is some kind of mystical cosmic union?-- An abstract notion? And I can understand this--sometimes the feelings of the Spirit can be allusive.
--The IN- house-love Jesus wants his hearers to embrace is not an abstract philosophical concept but LIVED REALITY.
This LIVED REALITY is revealed in his life—his actions—and his relationship with the people he lived among.
Think of the meals with outcasts and sinners-- Think of the money changers in the Temple-- Think of the healing and the preaching-- the travels between Galilee and Jerusalem. Jesus was certainly a force on the move!
We will come to understand the “LIVE REALITY” of the SPIRIT when it moves us to a life of Loving God and serving others.
Jesus knew it is hard to understand such a strange teaching So Jesus gave us an example we will all remember his point about love when he took up a basin of water-a towel and he washed the feet of those who called him teacher and Lord
There's a scene in Alan Paton's novel AH, BUT YOUR LAND IS BEAUTIFUL, that may illustrate this life-giving power of love and the assurance that God's love discloses what is most true.
Paton describes a situation in South Africa during apartheid, when laws prevented blacks South Africans from mixing with the whites. A white OFFICIAL JUDGE who had worked with the blacks to achieve a better life died. The white judge’s family invited members of the black community to his funeral, but the black were turned away from the funeral by the white officials. It was a terrible insult!
Sometime later, Isaiah Buti a black pastor, visited a white justice of peace, a friend of the dead judge, and a friend of the black South Africans.
He invited the judge to participate in the Good Friday service where the congregation would observe. Jesus’ practice of WASHING THE DISCIPLES FEET. He asked the chief justice to wash the feet of the member who had been a servant in the dead judge's home and at cared for his children. The justice chief readily agreed.
When the time came for the judge to wash Martha Fortuin’s feet, the judge came forward and washed and dried her feet. Before he rose to return to his seat, he took her feet and gently kissed them both. It was a gesture that set healing in motion, because in that simple extra expression of care, he disclosed that truthfulness and the life-giving power of God's love.
This was the SPIRIT OF TRUTH living within the very fiber of his being-- the judge's career was adversely affected, but he had no regrets, because he too experienced the life-giving power of love helping us recognize we are all equal in the eyes of God.
This may seem rather radical for most of us but there is another interpretation to the words IN YOU which might give each of us a way to begin trusting THE SPIRIT THAT DWELLS IN US.
** The Greek words usually translated “IN YOU” can be also translated “AMONG YOU.” How might it affect our ability to receive Jesus promise-- if we put less emphasis on our individual lives and more on the COMMUNAL LIFE OF OUR CONGREGATION
Look around in our community, our church community as well as the greater community in which we live and serve-- see where we can recognize the picture --of Jesus on the move. See where, in the familiar life of our community, we can detect the presence of the Spirit of Truth and have it captivate our very hearts and draw us into acts of love.
It might reduce our anxiety whether we are really right with God? It might in fact, lead us to focus our energy on an active life of faithful service.
AND THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE!!