CALL TO WORSHIP:
For the freedom we enjoy to worship you
WE THANK YOU GOD
for your Word that brings us knowledge
WE THANK YOU GOD
For your gift that brings us life
WE THANK YOU GOD
For the salvation we have in Jesus
WE THANK YOU GOD
Praise Him Praise Him #103
To God Be the Glory #62
We Are One in the Spirit #80
Scripture Reading: John 13:1-17
New International Version
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
"WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE ANYWAY?"
I usually wake up early, and often listen to the radio. On Sunday mornings at 5 am there is a program from Ireland called Doc on One, which is simply documentaries about Irish people, of all types, basically telling their stories.
A few weeks ago, the story was of 2 Irish girls who became involved in the Hare Krishna sect. The way they told it, at the age of 15 or 16, they were just hanging around, bored when they were approached by members of the sect. They thought it was silly, but they showed up at the
celebration they had been invited to. They said they first thought the idea of all the candles and chanting and the bowing down to dolls or images was again, silly. But they went again. And again. Until gradually they became members of the sect and ended up going to India, where they stayed for 2 or 3 years before returning to Ireland, married to Indian men from the sect, and each with a baby.
Another day I was driving and listening to CBC to an interview with a young person who was talking about Wicca. Wicca is the whitewashed modern name for witchcraft worship. The interviewer was asking if the situation of the pandemic had brought more people than usual to the doors of the Wiccans. The answer was yes, it had.
I thought back to the bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York City. At that time the western world went into a crisis of fear, and the churches filled up with people seeking comfort and solace from God or their otherwise ignored religion. I haven't heard of the same kind of response this time. For one thing, we have not been allowed to gather together, the doors of the churches have been closed, and most group activities have been shifted to online meetings.
But my question was, after hearing about the Irish girls and the young person interviewed on CBC, why did they turn to these non-Christian groups? Could they not find what they were seeking in the Christian Church?
The Irish girls said they were bored, there was nothing to do, and they were attracted to the liveliness and passion of the Hare Krishna group. They also said, more importantly, they were made to feel welcome, like part of a family. They were embraced and enfolded into a family group, a private world of all-encompassing support.
The other young person divulged that he, or she, was transgender, and though wished to be in a church, was not welcomed anywhere in the traditional faith groups. He didn't feel like he belonged and felt cast out. He then explored other ways to practice his "spirituality" and to make the story short, had, under the banner of Wicca, essentially developed his own belief and ritual system tailor-made to himself.
Where was the church? Where were the Christians around them who could have had an influence on these lives? Both Ireland and Quebec are places where the church has had a huge presence. Was there truly no-one who shone the light of truth, or no church where they felt at home, embraced in a loving family?
Jesus said he came to save the LOST, not the ones who had it together and who already knew God. He came for those who needed Him, who were in crisis in their lives and saw no hope or redemption anywhere. He talked about how the good shepherd leaves all the rest of the "safe" sheep to go out on a special search for that one lost one.
He tells us that He is the light of the world and we are to reflect that light. He tells us that we are the salt of the earth, the salt that brings out the true flavour of life. Speaking of salt, it truly is an amazing substance. As a cheese maker I learned to appreciate salt like never before. Salt is a preservative, because it kills bacteria. Salt when dosed correctly enhances flavour. Salt dehydrates, and also absorbs moisture and creates texture. At one point Health Canada decided to inform Canadians about the dangers of over consumption of salt, and scheduled meetings with cheese makers to tell them they had to reduce the salt content of cheese. Cheese makers just rolled their eyes and laughed. Because the salt used in cheese making has to be dosed exactly. You cannot use too much or the bacteria that helps create the cheese dies, and using too little allows unwelcome bacteria to grow. Salting in cheese making is an exact science. Needless to say, the meetings were cancelled and Health Canada acted like it had never been a topic. Anyway back to salt.. if salt loses its saltiness, it's no longer good for anything except to be thrown out in the dirt. If Christian's lose their influence on the world around them, they are of no use to the Kingdom of God. We are the salt of the earth. We are called to enhance life fight the negative and work for the best result in lives of others. Matt 5:13)
New International VersionSalt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
How do we become that salt, how do we reflect the light of Christ? How do we be there when a 15 year old girl needs to know she is loved, or someone on the fringes of our society seeks acceptance and support?
We know that Jesus told us the main job is to
1. Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and soul and mind, and
2. 2. Love your neighbour as yourself.
3. Sounds easy but it is not. Our hearts are divided, we love ourselves more than anyone or anything else, we like our comfort and our own circle of friends and customs.
When I was widowed in Switzerland I decided to move back to Canada so my girls could have extended family and grow up surrounded by that love. I moved to BC where my sister and family lived. It is a small town, a couple thousand people with a few churches. I went one Sunday to a local church. No one greeted me. Noone welcomed me, asked who I was or offered me a coffee that they were all lined up for after the service. If I hadn't already been a believer, I could very well have turned my back on Christianity that day. So what was that all about?? Where in those hearts was the message from Jesus to love your neighbour as yourself? And loving God first means following His directives.
How do we put that love into action? It seems like it's more than donating to the Red Cross or World Vision, or filling a shoebox for Christmas gifts for poor kids somewhere.
How does a daily life of living for Christ look?
Php 2:14-16 "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.
In this passage Paul tells us we are to shine like the stars. People in the dark see the light, are attracted to it, and when they approach, they are given the word of life.
You are the light fo the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light so shine before others that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.
Many people live in darkness, fear and loss of all kinds. We as Christians know that God has given us the gift of life through Jesus, and because we know Him, we glow from inside with that love and peace. People see that.
1 Thess 5:15-22 says Make sure nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you"
So in these couple of passages only we have a few directives on how to be the light
-pray (that is, ask God to act whether in our own hearts or those of others)
-be thankful (in all things)
"Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age"
In past ages, this call went out and many responded by becoming missionaries, travelling out all over the world. But becoming a missionary to a foreign land is not the only or even perhaps the best way to bring light and the word of hope and life to people.
Think again of people who have influenced your life in a positive way, who perhaps convinced you that following Jesus was the answer.
Were they fair? Were they kind? Were they joyful? Were they thankful? Or were they whiners, selfish and unkind, complainers or backstabbers? I doubt it. In short did they exhibit the love of God in their daily lives? Ultimately it boils down to our every day lives, how we live them, how we are there for others in need, how we surrender daily, or even every second of every day to the authority of Jesus in our lives, the Giver of true life, the one who loves us most. The one who exhibited that love by His ultimate sacrifice for us, for me for you, in that He gave His own life so that we could know the salvation, peace and joy of knowing God.
Let us be that light, let us be the one who is there for a young person who feels like they don't belong, or for someone who needs to know there is indeed goodness in the world. Let us be the one who says, "here, I can help you carry that" or "is there something that I can do for you?" Or simply, "hello, my name is xxx, can I get you a coffee?" It doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to be a sharing of the gift, a reflection of the light, expression of the joy of life we have been given.
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