Dunsford United Church Bulletin – Aug. 15, 2021
Rev. Anne Hepburn
Welcome and Celebrations
CALL TO WORSHIP
Hope is where love is found.
We come seeking hope for ourselves and for all humankind.
We come with anticipation and joy in our hearts.
Now let us worship the Presence as we pray and sing.
Written by Jim McKean Gatherings 2021 p. 40, used with permission.
LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES
Let the Light of Christ remind us of our connection to the holy.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LANDS
We acknowledge, honour and respect this land and the Anishnabeg/Mississauga people 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 the people of treaties and unceded territories of all who are worshipping. It is up to all of us to live into truth, respect, reconciliation and right relations.
PRAYER OF APPROACH (unison)
Glorious and loving God, like opening doors of our sanctuary, we now open our hearts, minds and souls to your guiding spirit.
Like the wind blowing and guiding the dandelion seed, we ask that your spirit-wind guide us down the path you have chosen for us, the path laid out when we follow in the footsteps of your son who sacrificed himself so we may have eternal life.
We pray that we may always welcome your presence not only into this time of worship, but in our every moment of every day. We pray this in the name of your son Jesus Christ.
Written by Sally Tuffin Gatherings 2021, p. 45, used with permission.
HYMN: VU #288 “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (Words: Thomas O. Chisholm)
Great is Thy faithfulness, God our Creator;
there is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed Thy hand hath provided –
great is Thy faithfulness, ever to me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow –
wondrous the portion Thy blessings provide.
While we can‘t take up the offering as we used to do in the sanctuary, it is still an important part of our ministry. We acknowledge and thank you all for your contributions to the church whether via PAR or other means.
“For the love of the world Jesus offered everything he had, even life itself. In response to his generosity, we offer our gifts and our lives to God. Amen”
WE HEAR GOD’S WORD
Old Testament 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
Solomon asks God for wisdom
Death of David
10 Then David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. 11 The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
3:3 Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. 4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” 6 And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”
10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14 If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”
New Testament John 6:51-58 Living Bread
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
SERMON: Asking for Wisdom
As you may recall last week, I ended up unavailable for the zoom service. I had gone back to Ottawa to visit my daughter, her partner and baby. Two of my other kids came with me to meet their new nephew and help.
My poor girl had developed several infections and was very low.
She had no energy despite having rebounded from the c section 10 days post -partum and feeling better temporarily. Since she is someone who gets more out of 24 hours than anyone I know, this was alarming. So off I went and had another visit.
Now you can imagine that it was a treat seeing my wee grandson again- and he is not as wee as he was before! But my goodness he is hungry! And of course a hungry baby needs lots of food day and night!
Because he had a tongue tie which was corrected by laser, he was quite sore in the mouth despite Tylenol so getting him to take the bottle was challenging. The tongue tie interfered with breast feeding but will hopefully resolve soon after his pain goes away.
So I spent lots of time cuddling him and feeding him.
In between I walked the dogs and visited.
In the meantime, my daughter’s partner Michael became an uncle again as his younger sister delivered her 1st baby also in Ottawa!
His family have had a great harvest of 1st babies- June for a brother’s, July for him and August for his sister.
What a lucky family!!
I had already been in touch with his mother and stepmother both of whom were set to visit Ottawa this week.
As I spoke, texted and emailed them both I was keenly aware of their wisdom as adults and experienced moms.
They are smart, practical and loving- just what all their kids need.
Back in August of 1980, before I knew I was expecting twins, my father died suddenly of a massive heart attack.
We were stunned and devastated. He was only 56 and my mother was left a widow at 53.
It was a huge loss for my family- my youngest brother was just 20 my oldest brother just 28. In between there were 4 of us all at different stages of life- one sister leaving in mere weeks to study in BC, another finishing grad school, my middle brother just starting work and me married and expecting the first grandchildren.
When I met recently with cousins to plan their mother’s memorial service, one of them spoke about attending my father’s funeral. It was clearly a strong and emotional memory even 41 years later.
Needless to say the loss of my father had a huge and unimaginable effect on all of us but especially my mom. She had a long and difficult depression afterwards lasting for the better part of 3 years.
As you can guess she was really unavailable to any of us in a substantial way.
So when I went into premature labour and had my girls at 29 weeks gestation I didn’t get a lot of support or hands on help.
One sister-in-law did step up and was very helpful in many ways and I have always been grateful for that.
Fast forward to my daughters’ safe exit from HSC and because there had been no opportunity for a baby shower, we started getting lots of baby gifts which were generous and thoughtful.
Many of my parent’s friends and relatives sent gifts. It was really fun to start out like a normal mom with babies finally at home. We got a cool twin stroller and went on walks meeting other new moms and babies.
It was the beginning I had always hoped for but bittersweet because my dad was not there. I guess I had buried some of those feelings because I was surprised to find myself feeling a lot of emotions as I shared this with my kids recently.
Of course some of the feelings reflect the loss of my dad. Some also reflect the sudden death of my mother-in-law in June 1981 just weeks before the twins’ baptism. Within 10 months my husband and I each lost a parent AND became parents to two very tiny fragile babies.
Our reading from 1 Kings tells us that King David has died and son Solomon is now the new king. But it was not a foregone conclusion- the lead up is as follows.
King David’s health and vitality were diminishing daily, and it was only a matter of time until his death. It was assumed that one of David’s sons would become the next king, but no one knew for certain which son it would be. Privately, David had told Bathsheba that Solomon would reign in his place, but he had not publicly installed Solomon as his replacement. David’s failure to step down and to act decisively in installing Solomon on the throne created a leadership vacuum that Adonijah, one of David’s other sons, attempted to fill. Adonijah managed to convince some of Israel’s key leaders to give him their support, and the celebration of his “victory” was already underway.
These were tense moments for the nation Israel, and even more so for Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, and for those who remained loyal to David. If Adonijah was successful in his efforts to seize the throne, he would almost certainly kill every descendant of David who might be a rival for the throne. The first two chapters of 1 Kings are thus filled with suspense and intrigue, as Solomon finally prevails and secures his position as the king of Israel.
I imagine how he felt; knowing that his father was dead and his brother was trying to gain the kingship. A treacherous brother by all accounts. Bathsheba got credit for raising her sons well and responsibly. But she was also at risk because Adonijah would have had her killed if he were successful at ascending the throne.
So Solomon asks God for wisdom- not for wealth and not for privileges or extra power. He desperately needs wisdom and he gets it.
The story of Solomon is, in many ways, a wonderful success story. He is the wisest man who ever lived. His wealth and power were known to all who lived in Israel and most of those who lived beyond its borders. Solomon was a prolific writer, composing 1,005 songs and 3,000 proverbs.
Although his reign ended badly because of multiple wives and other intrigue, he exemplified the wisdom he had asked for from God and was graced with the extra benefits God promised because of his youthful humility.
May we learn from this text!
So often we have a fear of missing out-
Whether missing out on social events or the latest sale or the most recent updates to our homes.
Focusing on the siren call of consumerism and status, we can easily miss out on your most powerful gifts-love and wisdom.
Work within us creative God, showing us our place and purpose in walking humbly with you.
Time of silent prayer.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
We are worthy of love because God first loved us.
Because we are so completely loved we learn how to love.
We are worthy of love so we can love ourselves.
Knowing how to love, we can risk loving others just as Jesus loved.
In this loving is our forgiveness.
In the power of love we become even more whole and open.
Thanks be to God. Amen
Written by God Dunbar Gatherings 2021 p. 46, used with permission.
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, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
HYMN: VU #218 “We Praise You, O God” (Words: Julia Cory, 1902)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wYMO9vPXtQ (video has variation in the words)
We Praise You, O God, our Redeemer, Creator;
In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.
We lay it before You; we kneel and adore You;
We bless Your holy name, glad praises we sing.
We worship you, God of our mothers and fathers,
through trial and tempest, companion and guide.
When perils o’ertake us, You will not forsake us,
but faithful to Your promise, You walk by our side.
With voices united our praises we offer
and gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
Our sins now confessing, we pray for Your blessing,
to You, our great Redeemer, forever be praise!
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH
Church Office Hours: Wed. 9-5
Visit our new website: www.dunsfordunitedchurch.com