Dunsford United Church in person Bulletin- Sunday September 26, 2021
Guest Worship Leader: Lorrie McConnell, LLWL
GATHERING MUSIC: “All Earth is Waiting” VU #137 (Instrumental)
WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS
MUSICAL PRELUDE: “Hope is a Star” VU #7 (Instrumental)
LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES
There once was the one that had done such marvelous and amazing things that people decided to follow him. As they followed him they started to wonder who he was . So they asked him . Who are you? He said “I am the Light of the World“.
The Christ Candle is lit.
Let us welcome Jesus in our midst this morning and allow his truth, his way and his healing light to fill us up in body, in mind, in heart and soul.
Let there be Peace on Earth and let it begin with us.
The Peace Candle is lit
Let there be reconciliation, forgiveness and healing.
Let there be acceptance, unity and oneness.
We acknowledge that we are all God’s children.
We acknowledge this land as sacred space. Land is sacred and holy. Our relationship to the land is sacred and holy. Our relationship with each other on this land is sacred and 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 I am, 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 and reconciliation with all our relations.
CALL TO WORSHIP
O Holy One, Light of the World
as we gather in this sacred space,
we pause in reverence
of your presence amongst us this day.
We long to feel your loving touch move within us,
shaping our spirits toward your purpose as one community in Christ.
Oh what a friend we have in Jesus.
(Adapted) Barbara Johns, Queenswood U.C., Orleans, Ont. Used with permission.
HYMN: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” VU #664 (Voice) (Words: Joseph Scriven)
OPENING PRAYER/ASSURANCE/WORDS OF HOPE
Loving God, you who are the centre of all being, we begin our worship today with a thankful heart. We call to mind the many ways our lives are made better just by knowing that your unconditional love and acceptance is a 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 we may channel that love and light into the world.
May we open to your Soulutions
and to your loving wisdom and guidance.
This we pray in the name of the one who is the light of the world, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Stephanie Richmond, Greenbank-Seagrave. Used with permission.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
Pouring out of rock and hill and spring comes the grace and light of God like many waters, drenching you in mercy, love, and peace.
Tip back your head, open your heart , and receive God’s light and unconditional love and we model that in the World.
(Adapted) Thanks be to God. Amen.
Robin Wardlaw, Toronto, Ont. Used with permission.
MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “We are One” VU #402 (Words: 1988 Doreen Lankshear-Smith)
Holy One, we delight in giving back and paying forward through our gifts and donations here today. Bless these gifts already given . Bless them abundantly for the benefit of whomever they serve, wherever they serve. Amen.
(Adapted) Jani Francis, St. Andrew’s U.C., Indian Head, Sask. 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. Offering envelopes may be left on the plate as you leave the Sanctuary.)
* CHILDREN’S HYMN: “Dance with the Spirit” MV #156 (Voice)
YOUNG AT HEART: “Filling up on God’s Spirit of Love. “
WE HEAR GOD’S WORD
The Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.
Causing to Stumble
42 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.  [a] 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  [b] 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’[c]
49 Everyone will be salted with fire.
50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
* HYMN: VU #567 “Will You Come and Follow Me? (Words: The Iona Community)
MESSAGE: “The Soul-ution” Lorrie McConnell
Let’s begin with the Breath. Big breath in and exhale and allow yourself to be soft and empty. Pressing on the pause button now so we can be fully present and fill up on God’s Love. Which reminds me of one of my favorite poets.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”
A Logistics solution expert ended his lecture with a note of caution: “You don’t want to try these techniques at home.”
“Why not?” asked someone from the back of the audience.
“I watched my wife’s routine at breakfast for years,” the expert explained. “She made lots of trips to the refrigerator, stove, table, and cabinets, often carrying just a single item at a time. ‘Honey,’ I suggested, ‘Why don’t you try carrying several things at once?’”
The person in the audience asked, “Did it save time?”
The expert replied, “Actually, yes. It used to take her 20 minutes to get breakfast ready. Now I do it in seven.” (1)
Soul ution: We bring out the best in people not with words of judgement and criticism, but with words of love, acceptance, patience, peace and understanding.
Criticism and judgement seldom, if ever, works. Even in our sincere constructive effort to help people, they don’t always appreciate it, and it tends to tear people down more than it builds them up.
Even so, it’s still a human tendency especially for those of us who have a critical eye. And for those who have learned so much over many years, if we’re not careful we could find ourselves becoming critical of those who are less experienced or who just don’t do it the way we have done it for years. If we aren’t careful we can become crabby, old cranks that nobody can please, and I know none of us wants that.
We gently watch out for a critical spirit, become more aware of ourselves because it really does not benefit those we are trying to help, and in the long-run, it is not helpful.
Soul ution…two simple words. Press Pause … go inside like Jesus taught his disciples. Our thoughts matter, our words matter, our actions matter. We matter.
Soul ution …. three simple words. The Golden Rule. Matthew (7:12): “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. . . .”
And that reminds me of the Walt Disney song from The Lion King.
Circle of Life.
Soul union …. In the web of life we are all interconnected.
What if somebody says, “I really want to help people. If pointing out their faults doesn’t work, what does?” That’s the question I want us to explore this morning: How can we truly help people? How can we bring out the best in people? How can we help those with less experience grow in their relationship with Jesus? How can we create Unity and celebrate our diversities even more than ever?
How do we do that well?
In our Gospel of Mark today we are given the Soul ution. So let’s see what Jesus told his disciples who were becoming overly critical.
We know they had followed Jesus for about three years, and they had learned from the best – Jesus Himself! But when they see somebody else trying to do what Jesus taught them to do, they cut that person down.
In our Scripture today, Jesus shows his followers how to equip others to follow him and be of service in there own unique ways.
We read in Mark 9:38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” (NIV)
He didn’t go to the right “school.” He didn’t do it the way we do it, so we stopped him. Yet earlier in this chapter funny thing is the disciples failed to cast a demon out of a boy. They were quick to point out someone else’s faults, but they forget their own. This man was successful, but they felt he should be stopped anyway, because, well, “he’s not one of us.” What does Jesus have to say about this?
Mark 9:39-40 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. (NIV)
Men, we’re all on the same team, Jesus says, and I’m going to reward even the least tiny effort of anyone who serves in my name.
Mark 9:41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. (NIV)
Jesus first says DON’T STOP THEM. Three simple words.
Don’t create a stumbling block. Jesus tells them not to be a stumbling block to themselves or others.
Kay Warren, a women’s conference speaker, talked about returning home to with a friend and passing through the Dallas–Fort Worth airport. On the way to their connecting gate, they heard loud patriotic music playing and saw a group, mostly women, wearing colorful hats, cheering, and waving American flags. The troops were coming home and this was their welcoming party.
Two women encouraged Kay and her friend to grab flags and join in. At first, a few soldiers just dribbled by. Then the pace picked up as dozens of men and women in uniform came barreling through. Everyone kept repeating: “Welcome home! We’re glad you’re back! We appreciate you!” Some soldiers wiped away tears, while others displayed huge, self-conscious smiles. ((2) Kay Warren, The Loudest Cheers in Heaven, www. christianitytoday.com, 5-28-09; www.PreachingToday.com)
In our current global pandemic there are many stumbling blocks like doubt, fear and confusion, uncertainty, separation and divisiveness. But within all of it we are given the Soul ution and so many opportunities to cone together and to lift each other up.
Perhaps we’re like soldiers in God’s army, and sometimes find ourselves engaged in a difficult battle. Some of people are tired and weary. Some of us are wounded and hurt. Some of us are just plain discouraged because there doesn’t seem to be much progress, but there is coming a day when we will all come to a new place where all of this will be behind us.
And when we get there, we will be each other’s welcoming party. Jesus Himself will be front and center, jumping up and down in joy with us.
Because we are not alone. Jesus walks with us always and in all ways.
We can be sure there will be some tears of joy and gratitude especially among those who have been working on the front lines and perhaps feeling unappreciated.
I think that’s where some people we know and those we don’t know may be at right now.
Having done the best to serve their family, community, work some peoples efforts have been criticized and they may even feel ready to give up.
We remember and remind and appreciate each other. We remember Jesus appreciates al our efforts, and He is our biggest fan, no matter what anybody else says. He will reward every cup of cold water given in his name. He will reward even our smallest efforts.
Are there people who need to hear our words of appreciation today? We know they don’t need to hear words of criticism, of how they did it wrong. They need to hear someone say, “I appreciate you. I appreciate your efforts. Good job. Thank you very much.”
It’s amazing how much we lighten the load for each other just by saying, “Thank you” on a regular basis. Our words of encouragement can provide even the most weary person the courage it takes to keep on going one more day.
On the other hand, our critical comments can stop them dead in their tracks. Oswald Chambers once said, “A man who is continually criticized becomes good for nothing, the effect of criticism knocks all the gumption and power out of him. (4)
With our limited resources, we can’t afford to be knocking the gumption and power out of people.
We don’t want to cause people to stumble or trip them up with our words. A friend of mine once told me that in his culture the symbol for words are depicted in his language as a sword. Words can hurt and become stumbling blocks for the very person we are trying to help.
Mark 9:42 “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. (NIV) Jesus is using the language of hyperbole; he is exaggerating to make a point. And the point is: “Do whatever it takes to keep yourself from creating or being a stumbling block.
On a lighter note, Steve Martin once said, “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.” (3)
Furthermore he told them not to worry about the faults of others. He told them to take care of their own faults. To Jesus fault finding can cause much bigger problems, like a critical spirit and the pride that goes with it. He explains to his disciples they must take care of themselves before they can even begin to hope to help somebody else with theirs.
He’s saying to speak words of peace and encouragement, and help others find joy because they’re going to have enough challenges as it is in their life. If we look at vs. 49, Jesus says…”Everyone will be salted with fire. (NIV)
In other words he’s saying all have to go through the purifying, fiery trials and challenges of life, and they don’t need to be adding to their trouble.
Entering into relationship with all types of people the disciples would consider “other”…. Well that was simply a constant starting point for Jesus. When the disciples came complaining about this “other” person casting out evil spirits in Jesus’ name, Jesus said, “Don’t stop them!
Whoever is not against us is for us.”
We never know what other people are dealing with, and the last thing they need is somebody putting them down. Instead they need somebody to lift them up. They need somebody to come along side them and to encourage them when they are down. The irrational person could have just received terrible news, the speeding vehicle could be on their way to an emergency.
The Apostle Paul put it this way in Colossians 4: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6).
You see, we truly help people not with harsh words of criticism. No. We help them with words of grace and peace, seasoned with salt.
Simply put, when it comes to belief, there are alternatives. In our time and space, no matter what it is we believe or disbelieve, the likelihood is that we will know intelligent, reasonable people who disagree with us. Indeed, they may be our friends and family.
As we think about our life in this present culture, the many problems we face are so complex. However, the starting point means going beyond our circles, moving beyond the categories of “us” and “them.” The starting point is that place where we enter into acceptance and into relationship with all others.
The good news is because we have been named and claimed by a God of love we have been given a place, a home within that gracious, unending, all-encompassing love of God part of the web of life. And, the Jesus we know died not only for us but for the entire world. We have already been raised to new life that is not simply about us but life for the entire world. And, in that love there is no distinction, no “us” and no “them.”
Keep walking through the storm … Your rainbow is on the other side it. It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.
Seven simple words
1. Adapted) Aaron Goerner, Utica, New York, Joke of the Day, www.Preaching Today.com)
3. Monday Morning Insight, www.ChurchStaffing.com, 4-25-05; www. PreachingToday.com)
4. Oswald Chambers, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no.4; www.PreachingToday.com)
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
THE LORD’S PRAYER:
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: “I Am the Light of the World” VU #87 (Voice) (Words: Jim Strathdee)
COMMISSIONING AND BLESSING
CHORAL RESPONSE: “I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me” VU #575 (Voice)
DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH
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