Dunsford United Church Bulletin -Sunday Sept 12, 2021 – in person
Rev. Anne Hepburn
Guest Musician: Brenda Shield
GATHERING MUSIC: VU #395 v. 1 and 2 “Come In, Come In and Sit Down”
(Words: James K. Manley)
Refrain: Come in, come in and sit down, you are a part of the family.
We are lost and we are found, and we are a part of the family.
You know the reason why you came, yet no reason can explain;
so share in the laughter and cry in the pain, for we are a part of the family. R
God is with us in this place, like a mother’s warm embrace.
We’re all forgiven by God’s grace, for we are a part of the family. R
WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS: Grandparents Day!
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 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.
CALL TO WORSHIP
All are welcome in this place. All are welcome in God’s place.
Young and old and in between, short and tall, large and lean.
Those who are lonely, tired and hurting, or giggling, smiling, practically bursting.
Each as we are, wonderfully made, we join in God’s house, together, today.
Written by Selina Mullin, Gatherings 2021, p. 30, used with permission.
HYMN: VU #595 “We Are Pilgrims” (Words: Richard Gillard)
We are pilgrims on a journey, fellow travellers on the road; we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
Sister, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear; I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I’ll laugh with you; I will share your joy and sorrow, till we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony.
OPENING PRAYER/ASSURANCE/WORDS OF HOPE:
Loving God, you who are at the centre of all being,
we begin our worship today with thankful hearts.
We call to mind the many ways our lives are made better just by knowing that your unconditional love and acceptance is part of who we are.
May this time together be guided by your holy spirit and may we be uplifted and strengthened in your love and light so that we may channel that love and light into the world.
This we pray in the name of the one who is the light of the world, Jesus Christ.
Written by Stephanie Richmond Gatherings 2021 p.32, used with permission.
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”
FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG AT HEART
HYMN: VU# 357 “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” (Words: William H. Parker)
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear, things I would ask him to tell me if he were here: scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea, stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
First let me hear how the children stood round his knee, and I shall fancy his blessing resting on me; words full of kindness, deeds full of grace, all in the love light of Jesus’ face.
Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee! And how the Master, ready and kind, chided the billows and hushed the wind.
Into the city I’d follow the children’s band, waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
one of his heralds, yes, I would sing loudest hosannas! Jesus is king!
Show me that scene in the garden of bitter pain; and of the cross where my Saviour for me was slain. Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
WE HEAR GOD’S WORD
Old Testament – Proverbs 1:20-33 Wisdom cries in the streets
20 Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.
21 At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,
25 and because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
27 when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently, but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
New Testament – Mark 8:27-38 Who do people say that I am?
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
27 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”[a] 30 And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,[b] will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words[c] in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “Then and There” Christena-Lynn Erglis
MESSAGE: Wisdom in Everyday Clothes
Quite a few years ago I heard a person say that wisdom came from being able to look over the heads & shoulders of people to see ahead for what might need to happen (or not, as the case may be).
I found it a frustrating definition for a couple of reasons.
First of all I have never been tall enough to look over anyone’s heads!
I resented the sense that those with better vision or height might be wiser. It seemed like ableism.
I have since come to realize that the idea of looking ahead or from some distance is best considered in a metaphorical way.
Oftentimes people who are able to project into the future will anticipate a hazard or other issue that might not occur to others.
And for those who can assume a different vantage point such as an upper window or ladder perch there will be a perspective that might not be visible to those on the ground.
Even stepping back from something can help us see it in a critical light-
Think of how often painters or quilters stand back or climb up stairs to look at their creation.
Wisdom is the subject of our Old Testament reading today.
In this text we hear the wisdom of Solomon who as you may recall was considered one of the wisest men in the bible. The Book of Proverbs is 30 long and they all reflect his intellect and knowledge. He was a prolific writer so the book of Proverbs is not all he wrote- there was also the Song of Solomon– a pretty racy account of love which he also is credited for writing.
The Book of Wisdom which is another term for Proverbs is a Jewish text which was originally written in Greek and dates back to the 1st century. It is a part of the wisdom texts of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. They include the book of Psalms, Job, Sirach, Song of Songs & Ecclesiastes.
In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom is characterized quite similarly to the Messiah of the New Testament, only in feminine terms.
“She is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working God, and an image of his Goodness”.
That’s pretty impressive isn’t it?
Also quite intimidating. So let’s look at wisdom in every day clothes. Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement.
It can be also expressed as the body of knowledge and principles that develops within a specified society or period.
Based on those definitions we can consider the world as we are in it now. For instance, the current knowledge about social issues and opioid addiction is that Harm Reduction strategies help to reduce overdoses. By providing safe injection sites to users, the municipality and public health depts allow people to continue to consume drugs more safely. And in the event of an overdose or a bad dose of drugs there is a medication called Naloxone which blocks the effects of opioids. Contrast this with the “Just say No” campaign of decades ago.
Or consider the state of Texas, where the heartbeat bill was passed just a week ago. It forbids abortions in women whose fetus is 6 or more weeks along if a heartbeat was heard. The wisdom of public health has long been that women deserve the same freedom for their bodies as men get AND that abortion prevention includes education & contraception among many other important measures.
Or as one article put it, the heartbeat law did not stop women’s access to abortions: just to safe abortions.
As someone who is pro-choice, I am disgusted by this new law but not only for the obvious anti-choice measures: it also allows citizens to become vigilantes; reporting and suing people for helping women access abortions. Vigilantiism does not create a safe social environment for anyone: in many societies it signals the downfall of democracy and political balance.
Wisdom tells us that democratic societies are built upon rules that govern normal behaviour and that structures such as police, courts and prisons are part of the enforcement of those rules.
Wisdom also tells us that rules change and laws catch up eventually.
Consider those folks who were incarcerated for having a small amount of marijuana in their possession a few decades ago.
Now they can legally carry it and buy it without shame.
Hopefully they can also get their records cleared too!
A couple of years before my mom died we were at the doctors and he said,
“I did not say this but marijuana might help your mother if she develops pain from her cancer”
A year later he said, “I recommend any form of marijuana except inhaled because of her lungs!” No caveats there- it was legal!
We never did need to go that route because she was not in pain. However I have encountered a lot of people who are using substances that used to be considered gateway drugs for pain, seizures and severe forms of stress.
Another kind of Wisdom these days: those gateway drugs that were supposed to lure unsuspecting people into addiction?
Turns out that people who are abused- sexually, emotionally and physically are most likely to turn to drugs to cope.
So when society blames an addict for being addicted is actually blaming them for being abused to start with.
Do you know how many youth on the streets and in the sex/drug trade were abused so badly at home that they ran away?
Family conflict and abuse count for 77%. That is such a huge number and it makes me really sad. I can’t imagine my kids needing to run away to get to a safe spot- on the streets?
Or a child of yours being abused so much that drugs help calm the flashbacks.
And I can’t imagine them as a desperate addict injecting alone and dying of an overdose.
So when we think about wisdom-
What does it look like?
I saw a cool picture online about wisdom
A box filled with dots next to a box filled with dots some connected by lines
And another box filled with dots: all connected by lines that looked almost like a scientific image.
Wisdom was in the one where all the dots were connected.
The larger picture that wisdom captures was represented by all the connections between the dots.
The knowledge that we are all connected and that nothing or no one is an island.
But as you know from the text there are some who reject wisdom.
We all know someone who elects to look the other way when information is being made available or cling to inaccurate ideas.
Someone who chooses to do it their way without benefit of reflection or discernment.
Note that I am not condemning anyone – especially those who consider carefully the factors that lead them to think differently.
Nor do I wish to disrespect anyone who has not had the benefit of education.
No- the rejection of wisdom in the text speaks to the behaviour of ones who should know better.
Those who perhaps lived for the moment rather than planning for the future. In the days when Solomon would have written this text, perhaps
They failed to set aside food for long after the harvest?
Today it might look like scoffing at those who work to care for their families.
Rejecting children who don’t make the family look “Normal”
Abusing family to control them.
Passing laws that hurt a whole segment of the population without considering the long range implications.
There are a lot of ways we can reject wisdom and I am sure we are all guilty of one or more over our lifetimes. But most of us have had a chance to recognize our errors and experience remorse for them.
We may have been chastised and learned how to right the wrongs we committed.
I can’t say that I like the tone of the text because it sounds so mean spirited. I would prefer a more patient approach- rather than laughing, mocking or ignoring someone in distress.
But I guess literary license and a 2000+ yr old text are showing a type of teaching and we can still learn from it- that is part of our wisdom
May it be so!!
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Your Wisdom, O God, shouts to us like a voice on the street corner.
Wisdom calls out asking us over and over. How long?
How long will we ignore the cries of the earth?
How long will we block out the groaning of creation?
How long will we live in denial that our actions wound our homes?
How long will we let homeless people be treated like garbage? How long will we go on denying human beings the dignity they deserve?
Forgive us God for not treating this world and its inhabitants like the gift they are.
Forgive us for not being able or willing to look past our own complacency and self interest.
Forgive us for not listening to the warnings of scientists.
Help us live lives that care for each other and the world you created for us.
Time of silent prayer
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
The reconciling call of God is what always brings us back.
God will never turn us away.
We recommit ourselves to living faithfully and gently in this world, heeding the words of wisdom. We give thanks for God’s grace which always welcomes us home.
Written by Nora Vedress Gatherings 2021 p.34 (edited). 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, the power, and the glory forever! Amen.
WE ARE SENT OUT IN FAITH TO SERVE
HYMN: MV #1 “Let Us Build a House” (Words: Marty Haugen)
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
CHORAL RESPONSE: “May God’s Sheltering Wings” MV #214