Bulletin – Sunday January 16, 2022 – Worship by Zoom

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH

Sunday January 16, 2022 – Worship by Zoom

Rev. Anne Hepburn

WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS

ACKNOWLEDGMENT 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.

HYMN:  VU #218 “We Praise You, O God” (Words: Julia Cory)

1          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.

2          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.

3          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!

CALL TO WORSHIP

We are gathered together because we want to worship God: 

To give thanks for God’s presence in good and bad times.

To confess to God those moments we have been unfaithful.

To listen for God’s word in our lives and our life together.

To lift up those concerns close to our hearts.

We are gathered together to be the body of Christ.

May God find a welcome home among us.

Written by Frances Flook, Gatherings 2021-22, p. 44.  Used with permission.

OPENING PRAYER

Creator, timeless loving God, we gather to worship knowing you are with us.

During this season of Epiphany, we journey the path that Jesus travelled between his birth and the start of his ministry.  We come to learn as he learned, with open hearts and minds.  We come to understand our place in your world as Jesus learned to understand his place in this world. Give us courage to take our place and to travel the path with Jesus. Amen

Written by Jeanne Wilson, Gatherings 2021-22 p. 45. Used with permission.

OFFERING  

While we can’t take up the offering as we used to, we very much appreciate your generosity.

Let us pray.

OFFERTORY PRAYER

As we consider the path that Jesus walked from his birthplace to the start of his ministry, may we recall his generosity of spirit and offer the same to God. Amen

SCRIPTURE READINGS

Old Testament – Isaiah 62:1-5 No longer Desolate: now named Delight

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,

    and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,

until her vindication shines out like the dawn,

    and her salvation like a burning torch.

2 The nations shall see your vindication,

    and all the kings your glory;

and you shall be called by a new name

    that the mouth of the Lord will give.

3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,

    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken,[a]

    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;[b]

but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,[c]

    and your land Married;[d]

for the Lord delights in you,

    and your land shall be married.

5 For as a young man marries a young woman,

    so shall your builder[e] marry you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

    so shall your God rejoice over you.

New Testament – 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 Different kinds of gifts but the same spirit.

Now concerning spiritual gifts,[a] brothers and sisters,[b] I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

MESSAGE: Zion Offers Hope for a Way Forward

15 years ago this week my husband and I bought our current house. We had been in the same house for 20+ years while our kids went from elementary school to university. It was not exactly a planned decision but we were ready for a change and the house we saw online fitted our downsizing needs quite well.  I can tell you that our kids were not thrilled. It was an unpleasant surprise for them because we tried unsuccessfully to let them know by phone and we got into a rushed bidding war too!! The Toronto real estate market was intense even then.

Although we believed that they would come around and they did, we also thought that the opportunity was too good to pass up. BUT one thing I realized was that for our kids, the house was what they thought of as home. It was their emotional home, their safe place when school and work felt overwhelming. For the three who were living away at the time, it felt the worst.

So we ripped that bandaid off before they were ready. And we have talked about it a lot. But generally they get it now because they have created their own places that feel like “Home”.

I think of that when I think of the significance of Zion in the readings today.

Zion, in the Old Testament, the easternmost of the two hills of ancient Jerusalem. It was the site of the Jebusite city captured by David, king of Israel and Judah, in the 10th century BC and established by him as his royal capital. Some scholars believe that the name also belonged to the “stronghold of Zion” taken by David (2 Samuel 5:7), which may have been the fortress of the city.  In the Old Testament, Zion is overwhelmingly a poetic and prophetic designation and is infrequently used in ordinary prose. It usually has emotional and religious overtones, but it is not clear why the name Zion rather than the name Jerusalem should carry these overtones. The religious and emotional qualities of the name arise from the importance of Jerusalem as the royal city and the city of the Temple. Mount Zion is the place where Yahweh, the God of Israel, dwells; the place where he is king, and where he has installed his king, David. It is thus the seat of the action of Yahweh in history.

In the Old Testament the city of Jerusalem is personified as a woman and addressed or spoken of as “the daughter of Zion,” always in a context charged with feeling aroused by either of two ideas that stand in opposition to each other: the destruction of Jerusalem or its deliverance. After Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC, the Israelites could not forget Zion and, in the prophecy after the Babylonian Exile of the Jews, Zion is the scene of Yahweh’s messianic salvation. It is to Zion that the exiles will be restored (Jeremiah 3:14), and there they will find Yahweh (Jeremiah 31). Zion came to mean the Jewish homeland, symbolic of Judaism or Jewish national aspirations (whence the name Zionism for the 19th–20th-century movement to establish a Jewish national centre or state in Palestine). Although the name of Zion is rare in the New Testament, it has been frequently used in Christian literature and hymns as a designation for the heavenly city or for the earthly city of Christian faith and fraternity.

There’s a strong emotional connection to the places where we grew up. A childhood home or grandparents’ farmhouse, a church can be that place, a school for some. I am reminded of the scene in The Crown where Prince Phillip insists that Charles attend his old school. It was a poor fit for Charles but for Philip it was lifesaving and he wanted desperately for Charles to get what he himself got from the school. He grew up emotionally at Gordonstoun. For Charles it was the opposite-pure torture- he was teased mercilessly and away from his family for long weeks and months at a time. Only when he went to university in England did he really blossom. I note that Charles did not send his boys there. Someone I know went to Gordonstoun as an exchange student from here. It is now a co-ed school; she loved it and thrived on the physical challenges.  

As witnessed in the Crown, Phillip had a deep attachment to Gordonstoun- he could not actually separate himself from it sufficiently to see that it was not a good place for his son even if it had been for him. His emotional connection was blinding- not clear eyed as we should try to be when considering the needs of others.  While we had thought through enough of what our family needed, the kids discovered when they came to the new house for the 1st time- it actually felt like home. Familiar furniture, colour schemes, even the dishes made them feel as if they were on familiar ground. They visibly relaxed as they walked in the door the first time.

But it took them a while to get over the resentment because again, the emotional side, while deeply important, is also a weight that pulls us back and prevents us from looking at the new direction or person’s needs objectively.

The story of the city of Zion or Mount Zion is one of contrast- desolation and delight.

First the city was destroyed, going from intact and functioning to flattened, unrecognizable. Then later it was restored and became the place where King David ruled. A full city of rebuilt houses and temples, a palace and usual city infrastructure. It was not only restored, it was improved probably. And Yahweh was there symbolically as much as spiritually.  

You may have seen in the last 2 weeks that the federal government has come to an agreement to reimburse the indigenous peoples for their treatment in a multitude of areas including health care education and the residential schools. This is a good outcome but as Cindy Blackstock said time will tell how well these financial commitments roll out and how fairly they are delivered.

On Facebook last week I came across the story of a young girl who, instead of being returned to her family when the residential school closed, was abducted by a nun and taken to the USA without any paperwork being completed-thus hiding her AND covering up her location and existence. She was kept at a family member’s house and treated badly. Sexual abuse and domestic slavery among the ills –the only good came from a local neighbour who welcomed her to play and visit her family home. Eventually she was released and sent home to Canada but unclaimed at the airport. Her life was not unfolding the way it should have.  Her return to her family never happened. Her musical gifts which became apparent as a young girl were lost as she never got the training she was promised.

I think of her family as being her Zion. It was destroyed and possibly partly rebuilt but for Deborah Paul it never was to be fully reconciled. Her emotional, cultural and spiritual home was left behind. She was never given the return to Zion that she should have gotten. What appalls me is that a religious official did such a thing to a vulnerable little girl.  Alive and safe in her sixties now, she has finally, all by her own efforts, obtained paperwork to prove that she was part of the “Sixties Scoop” in which indigenous children were adopted out with the ideas that white families were better than their indigenous parents.   She will hopefully be compensated as did others who were similarly removed.  A note of good news is that she was reunited via video with the lovely neighbour from so many years ago. The elderly woman now 93 was thrilled to hear from her and they have committed to staying in touch.  Zion is now her home. 

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

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, for ever and ever.  Amen

COMMISSIONING AND BLESSING

Go out to the world as Christ would have you to serve others with renewed appreciation for his wisdom and example. And as you go may the love of God be with you always.

CHORAL RESPONSE: “Go Now in Peace” (Words: Don Besig and Nancy Price)

Go now in peace, never be afraid.  God will go with you each hour of every day.

Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true. Know He will guide you in all you do.

Go now in love and show you believe. Reach out to others so all the world can see

God will be there watching from above. Go now in peace, in faith, and in love.

Amen, Amen, Amen

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH

Church Office Hours: Wed. 9-5

Tel: 705-793-2511   Email: dunsfordunitedchurch@bellnet.ca

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