Bulletin and Announcements for Feb 5, 2023

Dunsford United Church

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Rev. Anne Hepburn

†= stand as you are able

† GATHERING HYMN:VU #646 “We are Marching”

WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS

LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LANDS

We acknowledge, honour and respect this land and the Anishinaabe / 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

When the ways of the world wear us down with constant demands or unrealistic expectations, we are invited to find refuge in God’s grace.

Together in worship, this is where we find our home.

When the morning sun is reflected on the snow and the skies open like a blue gift of joy, we are invited to notice God’s creating presence.

Together in worship, we are being made new.

Come, find refuge, find hope.

Experience the Spirit calling you Beloved.

Together in worship, let our souls sing praise.

Written by Wendy MacLean, Gatherings, 2022/23 p.43. Used with permission.

OPENING PRAYER

Gracious God,

You are great,

You are wonderful,

You are more than we can begin to imagine!

You loved creation into being.

You loved us into wholeness.

Alleluia!

Do You really think we can do it?

Do You really think we can be more than we are?

Do You really believe that, as disciples of Jesus,

we can be who You want us to be?

Do You really believe that we can be salt and light for each other?

Fill us with Your love, we pray.

Pour down Your wisdom, we ask.

Change us with Your grace.

Because we know we can’t do it alone.  Amen

Written by Richard Bott, Gatherings, 2022/23 p. 45. Used with permission.

HYMN: VU #421 “Lead On, O Cloud of Presence”

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “Jesus is My Lord” Solo by Christena-Lynn

INVITATION TO GIVE: Let us bring forward the offering.

† HYMN OF DEDICATION: VU #541 “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”

OFFERTORY PRAYER

We give these gifts God, knowing that all we have is a gift from you.

Your creative wonder surrounds us every day and the bounties of your world enable us to share what we have received.  As we give thanks for what we have, encourages us to share these gifts for the care and service of others.

In Jesus’ name. Amen

Written by Bill Steadman, Gatherings, 2022/23 p. 49. Used with permission.

STORY AND PRAYERS FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG AT HEART: “What’s a Fast?”

MINUTE FOR MISSION

WE HEAR GOD’S WORD

SCRIPTURE READINGS

Old Testament Isaiah 58: 1-12 The Fast that God Chooses (Read by Sylvia)

Shout out; do not hold back!

     Lift your voice like a trumpet!

Announce to up my people their rebellion,

     to the house of Jacob their sins.

2Yet day after day they seek me

     and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness

     and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments;

     they want God on their side.

3“Why do we fast, but you do not see?

     Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”

Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day

     and oppress all your workers.

4You fast only to quarrel and to fight

     and to strike with a wicked fist.

Such fasting as you do today

     will not make your voice heard on high.

5is such the fast that I choose,

     a day to humble oneself?

Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush

     and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?

Will you call this a fast,

     a day acceptable to the Lord?

6Is not this the fast that I choose:

     to loose the bonds of injustice,

     to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

     and to break every yoke?

7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

     and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover them

     and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,

     and your healing shall spring up quickly;

your vindicator shall go before you;

     the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

     you shall cry for help, and he will say, “Here I am.”

If you remove the yoke from among you,

     the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

10if you offer your food to the hungry

     and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

then your light shall rise in the darkness

     and your gloom be like the noonday.

11The Lord will guide you continually

     and satisfy your needs in parched places

     and make your bones strong,

and you shall be like a watered garden,

     like a spring of water

     whose waters never fail.

12Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

     you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

     the restorer of streets to live in.

New Testament Matthew 5:13-20 You are Salt, You are Light (Read by Anne)

13You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good for anything but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hid.  15People do not light a lamp and put it under the bushel basket; rather, they put it on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

The Law and the Prophets

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

† HYMN: VU #679 “Let There Be Light”

MESSAGE: “Salt and Light

A certain type of person in the world around us is often described as salt of the earth.

Usually it is someone who is grounded, practical and wise.  Often someone who has life experience and knows how to manage difficult situations without undue drama or relationship fallout.  It is quite a compliment in my opinion.

When you think about essentials of life, I bet you don’t think of salt 1st.

I certainly would not. I would say water and oxygen, food, shelter and clothing.

Jesus described His followers as the salt of the earth in Matthew 5 as part of His Sermon on the Mount: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
There were two purposes for salt in the first century—preserving food and enhancing flavor. Both of those purposes may apply here, or Jesus may have been speaking in a more general sense.  By using this salt metaphor, Jesus may have meant that His disciples are called to be “preservatives” in the world, slowing down the advancement of moral and spiritual decay. Psalm 14:3 says, “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Believers are to preserve truth and goodness in a fallen world.
    Salt was also used as a flavor enhancer. Jesus may have been instructing His disciples to “enhance” the flavor of life in this world—enriching its goodness and making God’s work stand out from the normal way of doing things. “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked”. As believers behave in ways that reflect God’s nature, they accentuate the difference that Jesus makes in one’s life.
Since Jesus’ exact meaning is not specified, perhaps He was not pointing to one specific application, but to salt in a general sense of value and usefulness. In those days, salt was a valuable commodity (the word salary comes from an ancient word meaning “salt-money”). Perhaps Jesus was telling His disciples how important their ministry would be.
Of course, the value of salt lies in its effect on its surroundings. Salt makes an impact. After telling His disciples that they are the salt of the earth, Jesus goes on to say, “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Can salt become less salty? Strictly speaking, no. Sodium chloride is a stable compound and can’t become less of itself. What was Jesus saying then? There are several possibilities:
1) Jesus may have been referring to the “salt” that was collected from the Dead Sea by evaporation. The substance resembled pure salt, but it wasn’t effective for preservation or for seasoning.
2) Jesus could have been referring to the rock formations in which people would store their meat. Once the salt leached out of the rocks, the rocks were no longer effective to preserve the meat.
3) Others have speculated that Jesus was referring to the salt blocks that bakers used in their ovens. Eventually the heat would make these salt blocks useless.
4) Yet others think Jesus was referring to a saying of the time: “Can salt lose its saltiness?” It’s a rhetorical question because salt can’t become less salty. True disciples of Jesus cannot lose their saltiness. They are new creations and completely changed. Someone who is an imposter cannot become salty again. The imposters are to be “thrown out and trampled underfoot” because they have no effectiveness.
Matthew 5:13 tells us that we are valuable in our role as disciples of Christ. God uses us to impact the people around us. Whether we are slowing down the moral decay or enhancing the spiritual “flavor” of the world, God has created us to be a positive impact. As followers of Christ, we are called to be different and to live righteous lives.

And light?

Well maybe I would add it later…after quite a few other pre-eminent items.

Light is important for so much. We know that light is required for plants to grow.

We know that we need sunlight to be healthy- it affects our daily sleep and wakeful times.

We know that people living in areas where sunlight is naturally absent for much of the winter are prone to depression.

Biblically, Light always involves the removal of darkness in the unfolding of biblical history and theology. The contrast of light and darkness is common to all of the words for “light” in both Old and New Testaments. The literal contrast between good and evil, God and evil forces, believers and unbelievers. The Bible entertains no thought that darkness is equal in power to God’s light. God is the absolute Sovereign who rules over the darkness and the powers of evil.

Before I go farther I want to say that in a previous sermon on racism and language, I mentioned that darkness is often contrasted with whiteness negatively.

If possible, I urge you to think of the light here as a lightbulb or candle illuminating the darkness of night.  We are NOT trying to illustrate a racist belief so much as understand this text. 

The importance of light and darkness is dramatically presented in the opening sentences of the biblical record. In the language of creation, darkness was over the surface of the deep, God spoke and light came into being. Darkness and light are evocative words in Hebrew. Darkness evokes everything that is anti-God: the wicked, judgment, death. Light is the first of the Creator’s works, manifesting the divine operation in a world that is darkness and chaos without it. While light is not itself divine, it is often used metaphorically for life, salvation, the commandments, and the divine presence of God. In the first creative act, “God saw that the light was good”.

In the Gospel of John, Light is the revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ and the penetration of that love into lives darkened by sin. Jesus declares that he is “the light of the world”. Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, who has come as the light that enlightens all people, so that those believing in him will no longer be in darkness.

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, for ever and ever.  Amen

WE ARE SENT OUT IN FAITH TO SERVE

COMMISSIONING AND BLESSING                              

† CHORAL RESPONSE: “Go Now in Peace”

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Message from the Chair:

Hello everyone! As you have heard, we have had to delay our Annual General Meeting this year in order to have our Supervising Minister able to attend. It has been suggested that maybe we could consider having a potluck lunch after the service and then proceed to the meeting. This was something that we had been doing pre-covid and allowed us a little longer gathering/fellowship time than the usual coffee hour. Please let me hear your feedback on your thoughts. Andrew is able to join us by 1pm so we can start the meeting a little sooner.

Thank you and I hope to see you there!

Carol

Mission Board Meeting: Thurs. Feb. 9 at 7 pm by zoom.

ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: Sun. March 26, 2023

CHEER MINISTRY:  Please call Linda when a church member/family needs to be remembered with a card: thinking of you; get well; special birthday/anniversary wishes, or sympathy.

Please keep in your prayers: Tracie; Kristen; Mary Lou; Beryl and Murray; Emma J; Margaret S; Abigail; Susie D and her family.

STEWARDSHIP SECOND: Incredible things—God-inspired things—will happen when we learn to live the way of generosity and grace.

https://united-church.ca/sites/default/files/2022-12/stewardship-seconds_jan-june-2023.docx

NEWS FROM THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

E-ssentials: Black History Month, Korea Peace Campaign Updates, Lenten Study, and more. (mailchi.mp)

God’s Mission Our Gifts: Your February Mission & Service Stories and more! (mailchi.mp)

Embracing the Spirit: EDGEy Conversations, Theory of Change Workshops, and more! ❄☕ (mailchi.mp)

Words to hymns used with permission, CCLI


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *