Bulletin and Announcements for Feb 19, 2023
Dunsford United Church
Sunday February 19, 2023
Family Day and Transfiguration Sunday
Darlene Hallett, LLWL
†= stand as you are able
WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS
LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LANDS (Unison):
We acknowledge, honour and respect this land and the Anishinaabe/Mississauga peoples with whom Treaty 20, Williams treaty, was signed, 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
This is our place of worship and praise.
We are glad to be here!
These are our friends who are with us in joy and in sorrow.
We rejoice in their presence!
This is the faith community through which compassion and justice become possible.
We will accept the responsibility.
This is the Good News that Jesus proclaimed in word and deed.
O Most Gracious and Loving God, we will follow your Way.
† HYMN: VU # 345 “Come, Children, Join to Sing” (public domain)
Come, children, join to sing: Hallelujah! Praise to our Servant King: Hallelujah!
Let all with heart and voice, saved by God’s gracious choice, now in this place rejoice: Hallelujah!
Come, lift your hearts on high: Hallelujah! Let praises fill the sky: Hallelujah!
Christ calls his people friends, the helpless he defends, a love that never ends: Hallelujah!
Praise yet our Christ again: Hallelujah! Raise high the joyous strain: Hallelujah!
The whole creation o’er let all God’s love adore, singing for evermore: Hallelujah!
MINISTRY OF MUSIC
INVITATION TO GIVE: Let us bring forward the offering.
† HYMN OF DEDICATION: VU #541 “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”
And we say together,
We offer our gifts for blessing. Gifts that include a portion of our wealth, our talents and our time. Please bless our gifts. And bless us, the givers. Show us how to use our offering to get the most ‘bang for our buck’. We offer these gifts this morning, in the name of Jesus, who blessed the poor and said, ‘theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’. Amen.
FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG AT HEART
WORDS BEFORE SCRIPTURE:
And we say together:
Holy Spirit shine now, on the book we read.
Light it’s holy pages with the truth we need.
12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”
13 Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. 14 He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”
15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Matthew 17: 1 – 9
17After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
In the beginning was the Word.
And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
SERMON: Poof! They’re Gone!
Believe me. Life was hard living in Egypt as a slave in what you call the year 1446 B.C. Me and my fellow Israelites had just escaped from the Egyptian army and were now free people wandering through the wilderness. Moses was leading us and he was sure that he knew where we were going. I have to give credit to him and his God. They were able to pull off some pretty incredible stunts. When we were in danger of being caught by the Egyptian army, his God put walls on the Red Sea giving us an escape route. And then he disabled these walls and ‘Poof, and they were gone. The water had covered our pursuers.
When we were hungry, he and his God supplied an interesting kind of food he called manna. And then these delicious little birds appeared.
When we were thirsty, he and his God turned brackish water into the best water I’ve ever tasted.
As I said, travelling through this rugged, barren and arid area was tough. Even though we had good food and water we still managed to find something to complain about. Well! Can you blame us? Here we are on foot. It’s hot. There’s nothing to see but rocks, rocks and more rocks. So monotonous! Trudge. Trudge. Trudge. We’ve been cramped together for over two months. Can you blame us for being cranky?
And suddenly, there it was in front of us. Mt. Sinai. A very high peak in the Hebran mountain range. And this was our destination. We finally made it. We were here! Moses had gotten us here safely. Praise Yahweh!
We pitched our tents on a narrow strip of land at the foot of this tall granite mountain. It sure felt good knowing that we would be able to stay in one place for a while.
While we were going about our business, God called Moses to meet him on the mountain because he had a message for us. So up went Moses and then down came Moses with a message for us from God. ‘I have saved you. If you obey me and keep my laws, you will become my special people’. By God’s grace he had decided to grant us the privilege of entering into a covenant, a relationship, with him.
Well. What could we say? Of course we agreed that we would do anything and everything Yahweh asked of us. To become God’s Chosen People. It was to be totally our choice. A choice made of our own free will. After all, God has never made any one believe in Him. We are given, allowed, the freedom of choice. Any and all who choose Him and enter into the New Covenant under Jesus Christ truly enjoy the redemption he provides. But did you notice that he did give us conditions? If you obey, I will make you my chosen people.
So, Moses climbed the mountain again with our reply. Then Yahweh gave Moses another message telling him that He would return again in 3 days. But, Yahweh also had a warning for us. We were not to try to come close to Him. Stay off Mt. Sinai! So, once again, Moses came down and reported to us. We were to prepare ourselves to hear Jehovah’s words. Did we scurry around! We wanted to be presentable when the time came to meet God. We washed our clothes. We washed our bodies. We abstained from relationships with our spouses. We were as pure as we could be.
But what happened on that third day scared the bejeepers out of us! It was terrifying! First the rolling rumbling thunder. Followed by the forks of lightning. Then a thick cloud covered the mountain top. Wait! Was it clouds? It really looked like smoke! Was it just a thunderstorm? No. It seemed to be something more. This was ominous!
And then came a very loud trumpet blast! I don’t mind telling you I began to shake in my boots. What the heck!
It was then that we knew that it was really much more than a storm. The horns got louder. The mountain actually trembled. We could feel it! It wasn’t just me shaking in my sandals. Out of what looked like fire – so, yes, it must have been smoke – Jehovah appeared. The image actually told us who he was. And he admonished us that we should have no other gods. Just him!
And once again Moses was invited up to converse with God and to be prepared to stay a while. This time he took his aide, Aaron, with him, and together they climbed that mountain.
And as we watched, the two of them disappeared into the clouds. Or was it smoke? And we waited. And we waited. And we waited.
Almost 1500 years later, Jesus took Peter, James and John high up a mountain. It was likely Mt. Hermon. The three apostles also had to wait up there. But only six days. And they too experienced a very unusual phenomena.
As they watched, Jesus’ appearance changed. Changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. It was like the sun was shining from his face. Emanating from him. Even his clothes were filled with light. Dazzling. Whiter than white. He was transfigured. Metamorphosized. These 3 men are the only ones that have seen Jesus like this. A true manifestation of the Son of God. Jesus’ true nature. And then, incredibly, Moses and Elijah appeared beside Jesus.
Peter, James and John were overwhelmed by this sight. And who could blame them. Without thinking Peter started blathering about building a shelter for the 2 mirages. And then a bright light enveloped them like a cloud. And they too heard God speak. Speak almost the same words that John the Baptist heard when he was baptizing his cousin in the Jordan River. ‘This is my Son whom I love. With him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!’ And those 3 men were also trembling in fear. In fact, they had prostrated themselves on the ground. And Poof! Elijah and Moses were gone!
As the 4 men descended the mountainside, Jesus swore his 3 followers to secrecy. They were not to utter a word of what they had seen or heard until, and these are his words, ‘The Son of Man is raised from the dead’.
What could that mean? They knew Moses was dead. They knew Elijah was dead. But they had seen them raised from the dead to come back to life to stand with Jesus. But what did Jesus mean when he talked about himself, the Son of Man being raised from the dead?
And these 3 are waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
Waiting and patience, or perhaps waiting and lack of patience, go hand in hand.
Someone once said ‘Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can. Found seldom in a woman, but never in a man.’
Please. Not my words. I know that’s not totally true.
Someone else once estimated that most of us spend up to an hour waiting on something every single day of our lives. Things like waiting for the light to turn green. Waiting in the Tim Horton’s line up. Waiting for your turn for a real live cashier at Giant Tiger. Waiting for the reception person at the nursing home to ask you all the COVID questions and then waiting again for the results of your COVID test.
Waiting is a fact of life. There’s no sense fighting it. We don’t like waiting but we might as well just accept it. And make the most of it and take it in our stride.
After all, we don’t have to wait like Abraham and Sarah had to wait for their first child. Or the 400 years the Israelites had to wait to get out of Egypt. Or the 40 years they trudged through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Or the generations upon generations that the People waited for the arrival of the Messiah.
There’s our day to day waiting. And then there’s what’s called Biblical waiting. Waiting on the Lord. Biblically waiting is not just the time we have to give up to get what we want. Biblical waiting is a process that we live, that we go through, to become what God wants us to become.
This waiting is active, not passive. It is not waiting for someone to come along or something to happen that will allow us to escape from our trouble. We have to be part of the solution. People sometimes say ‘I’m just waiting on the Lord’ as an excuse not to face up to reality. Not to take appropriate action. Not to own up. Not to grow up.
A little like this man. You may have heard of this guy already.
It had been raining for days and days, and a great flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that our man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.
As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. ‘No, I’m waiting on the Lord’, replied the man on the roof. ‘ I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me’. So the man in the rowboat rowed away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.
The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. ‘Climb in!’ Shouted the man in the boat. ‘No, I’m waiting on the Lord’ replied the man on the roof. ‘I have faith in the Lord. The Lord will save me’. So the man in the speedboat sped away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.
The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and, over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. ‘No I’m waiting on the Lord,’ replied the man on the roof. ‘I have faith in the Lord. The Lord will save me.’ So the helicopter whirled away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.
The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.
Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. ‘Heavenly Father’, he said, ‘I had faith in you… I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?’
God gave him a puzzled look and replied ‘I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more did you expect?’
I’d guess that God wanted the man to lift up his feet and move. Not just sit and wait. To be active. Not passive.
There are people with horrible financial habits like impulse spending leading to huge debts. And their reaction to the problem is to say, ‘We’re waiting for the Lord to provide a solution’.
Can’t you just see God’s head shaking and hear God saying ‘Listen buddy, you got yourself into this fix. You have to get yourself out of it. If you ask for my help, I will provide assistance. But it’s your responsibility. Pick up a pair of scissors and cut up all of your credit cards. I’m not going to clear your credit card balances. Do something.
Waiting on the Lord, Biblical waiting, isn’t easy. It requires discipline and confidence. Action on our part. Sometimes even pain on our part.
Waiting on the Lord is something that we have to decide to do, and do it 24/7. Rev. Jimmy Haile says it this way: ‘God, I will trust you and I will obey you even though the circumstances of my life are not turning out the way I want them to. And they may never turn out the way I want them to. But, I’m betting everything on you God, and there’s no plan B.’ Patience and trust
With a few exceptions, I believe that one of the most difficult thing that we have to do in this life is to wait. We all understand what it means to wait because we have all done it. We have heard or seen confrontations and reactions of those who have not responded well to having to wait. We ourselves may be able to recall times or events in our own life where we have not responded well to waiting.
Responses to waiting are varied. How is a proper Christian to respond? Is it flying into a rage? Throwing a tantrum? Pacing back and forth? Slamming down the receiver if you have a really old phone? Blasting the car’s horn? Twiddling our fingers. No. Of course not. But, sometimes I’ll admit I’m tempted.
We’ve learned to tolerate waiting. It helps to know that God has a greater purpose in our waiting. Actually, there’s a great value in waiting on the Lord as God works on developing our patience. In James 1: 4 we read ‘Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ Perseverance and patience being the way for us to not deviate from our purpose and to remain loyal to our faith even if we meet trials and suffering. A way to grow.
Once again we read from James. This time 5:7 ‘Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains’.
If we’re honest, sometimes waiting on the Lord is like watching grass grow. When is it going to happen!
One might look at waiting on the Lord more like a grandfather clock. You can’t see the hands move, but you know they are because time is passing.
God is working at all times with our best interests in mind, and moving at his own pace.
Have you heard it said that we are now living in the microwave generation? If we update that, we may be living in the air fryer generation. We want everything asap. Now. Or even sooner. But waiting on the Lord cannot happen this way. There are times when we just have to wait. And maybe for a long time. Not fun for sure. But we have the patience, the promise and the expectancy of what is to come.
To wait. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Wait for God. Trust in God. After all, God did make us a people of choice. It’s up to us to make our choices in a wise way. God’s way.
I know. Waiting is hard work. But it’s worth it.
And, as God’s patient and trusting children, we say … Amen!
† HYMN: VU # 87 “I Am the Light of the World”
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
† HYMN: VU # 639 “One More Step Along the World I Go”
COMMISSIONING AND BLESSING
I commission you, I ask you, to remember this: be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.
Let us depart in peace and love and charity with our neighbours. Let us return safely to our homes and may God’s blessing be with us all. Amen.
† CHORAL RESPONSE: “Go Now in Peace” (Words: D Besig and N 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
ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: Sun. March 26, 2023
There will be a potluck lunch between the worship service and the meeting, which will start at 1PM.
MILK BAG MINISTRY: Anyone who would like to help make milk bag mats at the church on Wednesdays at 10 AM is asked to contact Shirley W.
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 recovering from an accident; Susie D (Abigail’s Aunt), and her family.
STEWARDSHIP SECOND: Sometimes, the vision of what God is up to is so clear it is blinding.
FOOD BANK FUNDRAISER: February 18th from 8 am – 11 am
Donations can be dropped off at the church as well as door to door pick up in main subdivisions. Help us help others.
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER: Fri. March 3, Downeyville Hall at 2 PM
UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA NEWS