Dunsford United Church – Transcript Service – February 7, 2021

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Kevin Fitzpatrick – Liturgy

Brenda Shield – Liturgical Music and Media

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

Gracious God, hear our songs.

Gather us in as one people, that we may worship you as one body.

Heal our broken hearts and bind up our wound that we may come into your presence healthy and whole.  As we seek your wisdom, help us to discern your greatness.  As we honor the power and glory of your love.

Amen.

Written by Mary J. Scifres and posted on the Ministry Matters website.

HYMN: “I Feel the Winds of God Today” VU #625 (Words: Jessie Adams)

I feel the winds of God today; today my sail I lift, though heavy oft with drenching spray and torn with many a rift; if hope but light the water’s crest, and Christ my bark will use, I’ll seek the seas at his behest, and brave another cruise.

OPENING PRAYER (based upon Psalm 147)

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

We come in adoration of our Creator God; we sing in praise of that divine presence with us!

Our Holy Helper, You create the sacred places; You reconcile the people, gathering them together. Healing hearts, consoling sorrows, You uphold all who are humble, our companion in the journey through triumphs and hardships. Maker of the Heavens, you count the stars, 

You know each one by name. You cover the heavens with clouds, showering the earth with rain, the green grass, the mountain meadows, You care and feed all living things, we thank You for all blessings of life, You take joy in our reverence of your presence, and reward us in Your loving kindness.  We are your witnesses, singing your praises. We give you thanks in everything you do in our lives. AMEN!

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “Mend This Broken Heart” Lifebreakthrough 

Broken pieces, broken wings. Jesus, mend my broken dreams. Empty space ruined by doubts. Jesus mend this broken heart.  Tears within, tears like rain. Jesus, mend my endless pain. Fill the space, take the doubts. Jesus mend this broken heart.

Refrain: Jesus mend these broken dreams. Hear my plea, Oh wounded wings. Take the doubt for a brand-new start. Jesus mend this broken heart.

Mold this vessel and purify. Jesus bless Your name on High. My healed spirit magnifies. O sweet Jesus reigns on High.


Refrain

WE HEAR GOD’S WORD

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

Are you so ignorant? Are you so deaf to the words of God—the words he gave before the world began? Have you never heard nor understood? It is God who sits above the circle of the earth. (The people below must seem to him like grasshoppers!) God is the one who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. God dooms the great men of the world and brings them all to naught. They hardly get started, barely take root, when God blows on them and their work withers, and the wind carries them off like straw. “With whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.

Look up into the heavens! Who created all these stars? As a shepherd leads his sheep, calling each by its pet name, and counts them to see that none are lost or strayed, so God does with stars and planets!

O Jacob, O Israel, how can you say that the Lord doesn’t see your troubles and isn’t being fair?  Don’t you yet understand? Don’t you know by now that the everlasting God, the Creator of the farthest parts of the earth, never grows faint or weary? No one can fathom the depths of his understanding. God gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up.  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

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

Then, leaving the synagogue, he and his disciples went over to Simon and Andrew’s home, where they found Simon’s mother-in-law sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. He went to her bedside, and as he took her by the hand and helped her to sit up, the fever suddenly left, and she got up and prepared dinner for them!

By sunset the courtyard was filled with the sick and demon-possessed, brought to him for healing; and a huge crowd of people from all over the city of Capernaum gathered outside the door to watch. o Jesus healed great numbers of sick folk that evening and ordered many demons to come out of their victims. (But he refused to allow the demons to speak, because they knew who he was.)

The next morning, he was up long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray.  Later, Simon and the others went out to find him, and told him, “Everyone is asking for you.” But he replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and give my message to them too, for that is why I came.” So he traveled throughout the province of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and releasing many from the power of demons.

Questions for Reflection:

What words or scripture sentences call to your heart or your faith?

When have you been a healing presence to someone?

Where in your life have you felt healing?

HYMN: “Open My Eyes, That I May See” VU #371 (Words: Clara H. Scott)

Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me;

place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.

Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.

Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!          

MESSAGE:      

As I write this message on ‘healing’ today, I think of my Chaplaincy role at Ross Memorial Hospital.  I visit patients on a regular basis, bringing a sense of calmness and comfort. (I hope I bring that presence with each visit).  And those visits maybe accepted fully by the patient or with hesitancy or denied, I never know until I walk into a room what I am going to face.  When I identify myself as a Chaplain, I have had many expressions of recognition by the patient in front of me.  Most are accepting, with gratitude of my presence there and are willing to welcome me into their space and we share some time together, in conversation, opening up to each other.

Some tolerate my visit, with niceties, pleasant and polite, in novel conversation, looking at my presence as trivial to their situation and their needs.  And a few do reject my visits, the look on their face tells me if I am not their doctor, my business is not needed in front of them.  On one occasion, I was told “Thanks, but no thanks, you can just move along.”

Sometimes I wished I could heal as Jesus did, the stories we hear in the Gospels of him casting out demons, restoring the sick to full health, these stories amaze us.  In the Gospel scripture of Mark, we hear Jesus and his disciples come to the house of Simon (Peter) and after being at the synagogue and the healing of the man with demons, they come looking for a meal.  They enter the house to find Simon’s mother who is sick with fever, and Jesus goes to her and raises her up and she serves them.  And many come to the doorstep of the house to see Jesus and Jesus receives them and heals many who have come to see him.

The scripture tells us that after that long night, in the morning Jesus goes off to seek God, in refuge, in prayer.  Isaiah’s words speak to a weary people who are weary, captives of the Babylonians, exiled from their homeland, longing to be home, and may have given up on God to come to their rescue.  And yet Isaiah reminds them, who God is!

Isaiah questions how it is that the people do not recognize God’s creative power and then give examples of this power that would be difficult to miss.  God is the one who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.

Who created all these stars? As a shepherd leads his sheep, calling each by its pet name, and counts them to see that none are lost or strayed, so God does with stars and planets!  How can you say that the Lord doesn’t see your troubles and isn’t being fair? Don’t you yet understand? Don’t you know by now that the everlasting God, the Creator of the farthest parts of the earth, never grows faint or weary? No one can fathom the depths of his understanding. God gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak.

Maybe you are weary and feel weak.  Maybe you look for God in the midst of your day but are having a hard time because troubles and worries plague you.

We all stand in this bleak and miserable spot sometimes, and as the worries, concerns, anxieties, and fears close around us, we cry out to God to show us that presence.

We look to Jesus to be a healing touch in our lives, to call out our demons, to break our fever.  Or we long to be the healers, to provide that touch our faith speaks so highly of, to bring peace, comfort, health to our loved ones, or the world who are suffering in front of us.

Sometimes I wish for that healing touch, to provide a healing presence for all who look to me for such a purpose.  But God has given me all I need to be a healing presence to those I stand in front of in my daily journey of faith.  God has given me Hope.

Hope is what Isaiah provides to the people in the scripture we read today, as God has provided for the people the goodness in creation, God has not forsaken them, or forgotten them, God continually provides.

Hope is living in our faith, that we thank God for the daily blessings in our lives, that expectation of God will provide for us in the midst of sometimes the sufferings of our lives.

Hope is the nurturing an optimistic state of mind that creates a space for purpose or meaning for life, by supporting the individual and enhancing “The Good” or “Spirituality/Faith” beyond the circumstances the individual is facing. Helping the individual gain a sense of connectedness and a part of a loving community even through suffering, promoting healing and coping rather than cure.

That is a statement that I created for my final paper for my Master of Divinity. I was reading it the other day as I was looking for some hope.

Interacting with those who look to me for hope, I provide comfort and peace, try to be a calming presence, connecting with the individual in front of me, sharing our stories, becoming community, accepting them for who they are, and in a sense ‘heal’ the individual by helping them cope, I may heal the soul, if I can’t heal the body.

Jesus interacted with his followers to provide love and compassion, that would bring a sense of peace and consolation. Jesus’ sense of presence brings calmness, and his acceptance of all people makes him affable to those around him, and it is from here that he could promote hope to those that were seeking hope.

John Dominic Crossan in an interview with Broadview Magazine looks at Jesus and how he expresses himself as a healer not as simply curing the diseases of the people he heals, it is not about curing the disease, what Jesus actually does is bring them into a new community, one of love and support.

Jesus takes in people who may see themselves as a burden or an embarrassment, and takes them in, not as a liability or a shame, they actually feel they belong, with Jesus it is all about belonging, and in that belonging, Jesus helps them cope and they are healed in a spiritual sense, and in that they are cured.

We all want this healing. We are social creatures, and we yearn to be accepted into community as we are.  We rely on each other to learn and support each other; we gain credibility from the acceptance of others.   We are influenced by the culture of our community and are supported by our community from an infant.

Community influences us, accepts us, teaches us, gives us a moral compass, gives us an understanding of the world around us, gives us our belief system, nurtures us, encourages us, or does the exact opposite depending on our community. We are a communal creature, socially impacted by the world around us.

We all want acceptance, we all want nurturing, we all want comfort, we all want peace, we all want encouragement, we all want love and compassion…we all need Hope.  Hope gives us strength, and I get my hope from God, in prayer, in scripture, I must spend my time with God, in order to provide hope and healing for others, as Mark writes in our Gospel today.

We can all be healers in our day, being a healing presence with others, healing through giving of our time or resources through charities.

We can heal the brokenness of this world through standing with all who are marginalized, as Jesus did in his day, healing all who came to him, inclusion of all who wanted healing.

We heal the suffering of the world by our love and compassion for it, being community with all who want to share stories and acceptance of others.

We heal by being the presence in front of others who are vulnerable to each other, sharing our fears, our concerns, our anxieties, supporting each other, accepting and tolerant, and being willing to sit and listen, be a presence who loves unconditionally, it is here, that healing starts.

I leave you with a prayer to bring us hope for our journey today from FaithandWorship.com.

Let us pray,

When we forget that we are forgiven from the suffering in our lives, remind us of the grace and peace that brought us to this place.  When we forget that we are your children and your name is on our hearts, remind us of the Son of God, who brought us to this place.  When we forget that we have been chosen and equipped to do your work, remind us of the power of love that brought us to this place.  Amen!

HYMN: “In the Presence of Jehovah” (Songwriters: Geron Davis, Becky Davis)

In and out of situations that tug-a-war at me.  All day long I struggle for answers that I need.
But then I come into His presence and all my questions become clear and for that sacred moment no doubts can interfere.

Refrain: In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of peace, troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the King.

Through His love the Lord provided a place for us to rest; a place to find the answers in the hour of distress. Now there is never any reason for you to give up in despair.  Just slip away and breathe His name. He will surely meet you there.  Refrain

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

God of our life, our everlasting, never ending hope; by your great will and power you have created and sustained the vast and unfathomable universe.  In the midst of all this greatness and splendour, you have set us, creatures in Your own image!  By your grace you have called us to serve you and to be your people.  In your love and mercy, you have chosen and laid hold on us, to be a light in the bleak and dismal!  Teach us, O God, your ways.  Help us, each day to turn aside and to listen for you, and to study your word, and to pray to you, so that we might live as your people, and give ourselves – all we are and all we have – in obedience to your will – so that we might have strength and hope – peace and joy – and so that we might be able to impart these to others in your name…. Lord, hear our prayer…

Lord, You are the giver of life.  In the midst of suffering, we celebrate the promise of Your peace.  In the midst of oppression – the promise of your freedom.  In the midst of doubt and despair – the promise of your presence and your kingdom.  In the midst of fear – the promise of everlasting joy.  In the midst of sin and decay – the promise of salvation and of renewal.  In the midst of death the promise of life eternal.  May we dwell in your promises and lift them up before others with love and compassion….  Lord, hear our prayer…

God, so many people are in need.  We pray for them as we pray for ourselves.

God, our healer, we pray for those who are sick, and for those who look after them.

We pray for those who are full of dread and anxiety, and for those who carry the word of courage and faith. 

God, our consoler, we pray for those who are sorrowful, and for those who have been bereaved.

We pray for the weary and for those weighed down by chronic illness, pain or frailty.

We pray for those exhausted, by the demands of work or caring for others.

     And for those who turn to you for new strength…

And we pray for those who are hungry, those who are without a home,

     and all those live under the threat of war.

Lord, hear our prayer….

O God, we pray for the concerns and the individuals whom you have placed upon our hearts this day.  You hear our prayers that rise from our midst…. those written on our hearts, those that need prayers in our community and in our world.

Lord hear our prayer….

We ask these things through Christ Jesus your Son, our Lord, our brother, and our friend… as he taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come;

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us 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

HYMN: “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” (Songwriters: John A. Walters, John Walters)

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus and to take Him at His word. 
Just to rest upon His promise and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him.  How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, oh, for grace to trust Him more.

I’m so glad, I’ve learned to trust thee Precious Jesus, Savior, friend

and I know that Thou art with me. Wilt be with me to the end.  Refrain

Scripture for Next Week

2 Kings 2:1–12 Elijah is taken up into heaven.

Psalm 50:1–6 (VU p. 775) God summons the earth.

2 Corinthians 4:3–6 The light of knowledge shines in our hearts.

Mark 9:2–9 The transfiguration of Jesus.

Resources:

A Big Thank You to Brenda Shield for music and videos

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

Prayer at end of message: https://www.faithandworship.com

Pastoral Prayer written by Richard J. Fairchild, and posted on his Kir-shalom website found on: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH

Church Office Hours: Wed. 9-5 Tel: 705-793-2511

Email: dunsfordunitedchurch@bellnet.ca

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

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

Envelope Steward: Kathy        

Visit our new website: http://dunsfordunitedchurch.com           CCLI License #11197107


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