Dunsford United Church – Transcript Service – January 31, 2021

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Kevin Fitzpatrick and Brenda Shield

Mission Statement: We are a diverse, intentional, inclusive, compassionate, hope-filled Christian family of faith, seeking to respect everyone’s individuality and dignity as Jesus modelled, creating safe space, to demonstrate the spirit of God’s love through worship, work, growth, and respect for all creation. We celebrate and value people of every age, health, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, family configuration, background, ability, interest, culture, economic circumstance and faith journey. All are encouraged to be in full participation in the life and work of all ministries. We endeavor to be aware of, and responsive to, the needs in our community and beyond.

WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS

In the name of a message of love and compassion in the world we know as Jesus Christ, we are guided by the Holy Spirit. God leads us here.

Wherever you are, God is with you, God is with me and God is in creation in all forms, everything good. God is where God needs to be.

We come and celebrate together, our milestones, our successes, anniversaries, birthdays, and God celebrates with us!

LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES

If you have a candle, I invite you to

light it, or hold the light of God in your heart, knowing, that the light of God, burns brightly inside of you and glows and shines on those around you, when you are the hands and feet of God in the world.

We come today, knowing our Light has come, we light the Christ Candle, representing Christ in our lives, and that light that shines in our community. We take that light into our community and carry that light and do Gods work here as the light and the hands of God. And we carry our light out into the world, looking for other messages of love and light in the world, our neighbours, and the light shines brighter, to mend the world.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LANDS

We acknowledge, honour and respect this land and the Anishnabeg/Mississauga peoples with whom Treaty 20, Williams treaty, was signed, on the lands where we are, and we acknowledge also and give thanks for the lands and people of treaties and unceded territories of all who are worshiping. It is up to all of us to live into truth, respect, reconciliation and right relations.

PRAYER OF APPROACH

Come, and praise God!  In the company of the God’s people, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.  Great are the works of God, full of glory and majesty.  Our God is gracious and compassionate; our God is merciful and forgiving; our God is faithful and trustworthy; our God is just and good.  So come, let’s worship God together.  God’s praise will last forever!

HYMN: “Healer of Our Every Ill” VU #619 v. 1 (Words: Marty Haugen)

Healer of our every ill, light of each tomorrow, give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow. 

You who know our fears and sadness, grace us with your peace and gladness. Spirit of all comfort, fill our hearts.

OPENING PRAYER

We gather, letting the Holy Spirit move around us. And we gather our hearts in prayer.

We are standing in our lives, in faith.

We can see the sacred in the extraordinary.

Sometimes we struggle to see sacred in the ordinary.

It takes faith to have courage, courage to have faith, and believe that we are enough.

Even the commonplace of our lives is filled with grace, the not quite right, not as intended, not as was hoped, and the imperfect moments are Holy.

A Gracious Creator lives in us and fills us with love, and our acts of faith done with empathy, love and compassion even though mundane in the everyday is enough.

Our faith is enough. Our love is enough. Our compassion is enough. We are enough. Amen

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “What A Faithful God” (Robert Critchley) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fo1UV9pfrs

WE HEAR GOD’S WORD

Deuteronomy 18:15–20 God will raise up a prophet after Moses.

Living Bible Translation

“Instead, God will raise up for you a prophet like me, an Israeli, a man to whom you must listen and whom you must obey. For this is what you yourselves begged of God at Mount Horeb. There at the foot of the mountain you begged that you might not have to listen to the terrifying voice of God again, or see the awesome fire on the mountain, lest you die.

“‘All right,’ the Lord said to me, ‘I will do as they have requested.  I will raise up from among them a prophet, an Israeli like you. I will tell him what to say, and he shall be my spokesman to the people. I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to him and heed his messages from me.  But any prophet who falsely claims that his message is from me shall die. And any prophet who claims to give a message from other gods must die.’

Mark 1:21–28 A man with an unclean spirit is healed in Capernaum.

Living Bible Translation

Jesus and his companions now arrived at the town of Capernaum and on Saturday morning went into the Jewish place of worship—the synagogue—where he preached. The congregation was surprised at his sermon because he spoke as an authority and didn’t try to prove his points by quoting others—quite unlike what they were used to hearing!

A man possessed by a demon was present and began shouting, “Why are you bothering us, Jesus of Nazareth—have you come to destroy us demons? I know who you are—the holy Son of God!”

Jesus curtly commanded the demon to say no more and to come out of the man. At that the evil spirit screamed and convulsed the man violently and left him. Amazement gripped the audience and they began discussing what had happened.

“What sort of new religion is this?” they asked excitedly. “Why, even evil spirits obey his orders!”

The news of what he had done spread quickly through that entire area of Galilee.

Questions for Reflection:

How do we offer a prophetic voice in our day?

How are we prophets in our faith?

Reflection: The Prophet in You

Ever had a dream?

I imagine you probably have. Ever had a dream that is so vivid, you can see it when you close your eyes, or it seemed like a real memory?

I had a dream, and I have talked about it many times, and I re-evaluated it this week as the scriptures talk this week about prophets.

To me this dream has always been a prophetic dream

In the dream, I am a child again, I am standing on our roofed front porch at home, and it was a clear night.

And as I looked off the porch into the sky, I could see all the stars and planets as if they were as close to the moon.

And I could see the nebulas and galaxies.

And I could see what looked like a “figure 8” on its side and I could see what my mind told me was a train.

But it was something else, only my mind couldn’t interpret what it was.

That ‘train’ was travelling on that figure 8 and it kept going around and around it, never stopping.

I have tried to interpret it, but not very well, and I do not even want to make a guess at what it means, from the different symbols the message I am getting, is:

Porch: your personality, the more open the porch, the more outgoing you are to the world.

Stars:  symbolize excellence, success, aspirations or high ideals You are putting some decision in the hands of fate and luck.

Planets: To see a planet in your dream signifies creativity, exploration, and new adventures. You are trying to align yourself with untapped energies that you never knew you had.

Nebula:  in your dream symbolizes an outburst of creative energy and possibilities.

The infinity symbol (figure 8): in your dream represents time and longevity.

Galaxy: in your dream represents your creativity. It also means that you are looking at the broader picture and are more aware of your surroundings.

Train: be a metaphor that you are “in training” for some event, job or goal.

Our scriptures this morning talk of false prophets and unclean spirits.

Moses talks about the promise of a prophet who will come and be like him, and God will make the prophet speak the words of God, and Moses instructs the people to listen and obey the words the prophet has, and trust in those words.

But Moses warns the people, not to listen to false prophets or follow their words.

Jesus cleans a man who has an unclean spirit and calls the spirit out of the man.

And he takes authority over the spirit, and this gets everyone talking about him.

Jesus starts taking on his authority and really pursuing his ministry as God is calling him to do.

What is Moses speaking about when he talks of false prophets?

And where do we see people in our lives who have unclean spirits?

We can look at the message that God gives us and measure up to our lives what that means.

Jesus came talking about God’s love to the world and that love is an inclusive love, that includes the marginalized of the world and meant for all God’s creation.

That’s the first lesson we must learn.

 We know that God created all things, and so God’s love for all things large and small is great and must be respected.

It was an interesting experience to Google search “false prophets” on the internet.

Among the search results, there were listed there, a long list of ‘prophets’ appeared that who had attempted to predict the end of the world, or who had started a movement that gathered followers and ended in disaster, or simply the prophesies not coming to fruition.

Also on some of the searches, the list of false prophets include:

Religious leaders of different faith traditions

Different World governments

News networks and media outlets

And different individuals linked to humanitarian efforts, who were described “as wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

I don’t want to name any names in particular, because I would like to think that intentions are for good when individuals step up into a leadership position.

That being said, I am not naive either, there are those who have ulterior motives to have power, but for purposes for this message, I want to remain positive.

How can we distinguish a message of false prophecy from someone who is God’s prophet to us?

We can measure it with what Jesus is teaching and what the Bible shows us is good.

We can ask ourselves if the message we are receiving contains love and compassion?

Does it condone gentleness and kindness?

Does it benefit all of humanity?

Does the message that the prophet speaks, a message that strives for social justice?

And is it humane and self- sacrificing?

We know these values are held in our heart if we truly follow the ways of Jesus.

There are those “gods” that control our lives and lead us down a path that can harm us in many ways, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

We know certain elements that can make us unclean and trap us in prisons of our own making.

Greed, ignorance, and intolerance have taken their toll on many people, taking control of their lives, it corrupts them, and can make them unhappy.

Addictions can be another deity in our lives that have control, and distorts our judgments and contaminates our lives, and those around us who love us, and they can destroy us and our relationships.

We are bombarded by the media every day, giving us stories of our world leaders, superstars, sports figures, and common people that make poor choices.

And the media sometimes paints a picture of “unclean” on these individuals, holding them to a place of judgment and suspicion, and labeling them as such.

We can be persuaded by the media to paint them with the same brush and sometimes it’s not fair to those individuals, and we might be lulled into treating the media as our “god” and or the people who the media covers on a daily basis.

Other things that might control our lives and make us unclean, thoughts or feelings of fear, or guilt or worry that plague us, memories from past experiences, or decisions that we made that did not turn out well for us or those involved, notions of regret, or any ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ that only would have made a difference if you can go back and change the situation.

God knows our feelings, God knows our fears, God knows our regrets, and does not want us to live there.

God loves us and wants us to feel loved and calls the unclean spirit out of us, makes us clean.

Jesus comes as the one who cleanses us, makes us whole again.

How can we a prophetic voice in our day?

A prophet is one who hears God’s word, speaks out against injustice, exploitation, and inequity in the world in all forms and is loyal, honest, innocent, trustworthy and holds God’s wisdom to the highest standard against the world’s wisdom.

Those who take on these qualities and speak as a prophet will stand alone many times in the face of persecution, ridicule and be ostracized for their beliefs.

It is a lonely place to be.

But our faith tells us, we have God’s acceptance and love as our guide in this pursuit of righteousness for all creation.

We are not alone in this pursuit, God is with us, and we know the teachings of God’s love through Jesus as our guide to bring us into that place where we can be the voice of the prophet speaking out against the culture of the world.

It is a self-sacrifice on our part, we will face many challenges that will weigh on our spirit and will seem like we are alone in our cause, but if we look at the lessons of the life of Jesus, we know our cause is just.

If we look at the lessons Jesus teaches, we know the path we take by following him, loving ourselves, loving others, loving our enemies.

Jesus tells us not to judge others, and to forgive others, to look to God’s love for guidance, to pray and pray often, to do what we do in the name of God’s love.

Jesus stresses humility in His teaching, selflessness in His actions, love and compassion for all rule His heart, and He challenges us to eat and drink, walk and talk, whatever we do, because even the simple things we do are ordained of God.

Our prophetic voice is ordained of God to be witnesses to God’s love in the world, God is our rock and our refuge, and we can cling to that protection when the world is against us.

And as witnesses we have each other for support to be united in our purpose as modern-day prophets.

Moses once declared that he wished all God’s people were prophets (Numbers 11:29).

We don’t have to fear the random words or try to distinguish false from true. We must discern our way, watching over our own words, speaking justice, acting on equity and equality, and speaking as God’s witnesses, and that all God’s people are prophets like Moses!

AMEN!

HYMN: “Like A Rock” MV #92 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv-Qe3zqzNE

Like a rock, like a rock, God is under our feet. Like the starry night sky,

God is over our head.  Like the sun on the horizon God is ever before.

Like the river runs to ocean, our home is in God evermore. 
(Words: Keri K. Wehlander)

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Compassionate God, hear us as we pray for all those who are burdened.  Those who suffer oppression, those who suffer violence, those who suffer illness, those who suffer loss.  Show those who suffer, that You are there with them, in their time of trouble You are there to lift their burden. 

Covenant God, we pray for the church, in all its forms around the world.  We are your people.  Your laws are written on our hearts.  Help us to show others your love, and your grace, and your peace.  Today and every day. 

Gracious God, we remember the names for prayers today, we hold them up to you.

May your healing, presence surround them, and may your love and compassion raise them up.

Living God, you give us hope for eternal life through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lead us out of the bleak and gloom, and guide us, as you walk with us on our journey

Teach us to be who you are calling us to be. Let us learn from the prayer that Jesus taught us to say:

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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.

WE ARE SENT OUT IN FAITH TO SERVE

“May the Grace” (Mark Bradford)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INPoOfjFJ5s

May the grace of Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Spirit be with us.

The Lord bless us and keep us.  His face shine upon us.  His Grace and His Peace rest on us. 

Scripture for next week

Isaiah 40:21–31 Those who wait upon God shall renew their strength.

Psalm 147:1–11, 20c (VU pp. 868–869 Part One) God heals the broken-hearted.

1 Corinthians 9:16–23 I have become all things to all people for the gospel’s sake.

Mark 1:29–39 Simon’s mother-in-law and many others healed.

Resources:

A Big Thank You to Brenda Shield for music and videos

Bible passages : https://www.biblegateway.com/

Prayer of Approach: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/

Pastoral Prayer: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH

Church Office Hours: Wed. 9-5

Tel: 705-793-2511

Email: dunsfordunitedchurch@bellnet.ca 

Visit our new website: www.dunsfordunitedchurch.com

Worship Minister (Supply): Kevin Fitzpatrick 705-340-0973 / mk.fitzy@sympatico.ca

Music Director: Brenda Shield 1-705-748-9875 or bshield@cogeco.ca


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