Bulletin and Announcements for July 30, 2023

Dunsford United Church

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Presider: Rev. Anne Hepburn

† = stand as you are able

WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS: Birthdays/Anniversaries, etc.

(Announcements are after the Choral Response)

† GATHERING HYMN: VU #670 “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”

LIGHTING THE CHRIST CANDLE AND THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION CANDLE (Lit by Laura/Kennedy)

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, on the lands where we are.  

We acknowledge 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

Many are the reasons we gather;

We are one as the body of Christ.

Excited, anxious, reluctant, restrained;

We are one as the body of Christ.

Brought here, sent here, drawn here, just here;

We are one as the Body of Christ.

Let us open our hearts and minds to the possibility of change.

Whatever happens and however it happens.

God is present here.

Written by Peter Chenoweth, Gatherings, 2023, p. 3.  Used with permission.

† HYMN: VU #516 “Come, You Thankful People, Come”

OPENING PRAYER (unison):

God who strengthens the faint of heart, call us into a community of faith.

Where we find courage to befriend our enemies and practise reconciliation.

Christ who makes the broken whole, call us into the communities where we live–

to touch grief with comfort and to speak hope to despair.

Spirit, we gather in your embrace –

To be blessed and a blessing, whole and healing. Amen

Written by Wetaskiwin Writers, Grace Lutheran Church and First U.C.,

Gatherings 2023, p. 41.  Used with permission.

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “How Great Thou Art” Kristen

Accompaniment provided by Brenda

INVITATION TO OFFERING:  Let us bring forward the offering.

† HYMN OF DEDICATION:  VU #541 (Words: Thomas Ken)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise God, all creatures high and low; give thanks to God in love made known: Creator, Word and Spirit, One.

OFFERTORY PRAYER

All that we have is from you, Creator.

With these gifts, we seek to be like you: creating a world where love is known, sharing the goodness of beauty and kindness, blessing our neighbours with our faith in action.

Bless these gifts: may they be a sign of our co-creating ministry in your name.  Amen   

Written by Wendy MacLean Gatherings, 2023, p. 50. Used with permission.

STORY AND PRAYERS FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG AT HEART: Cheating!!

CHILDREN LEAVE FOR JUNIOR CHURCH

WE HEAR GOD’S WORD

SCRIPTURE READINGS

Old Testament Genesis 29:15-28 Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were weak,[a] but Rachel was graceful and beautiful. 18 Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. 23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 24 (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) 25 When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “This is not done in our country—giving the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.

New Testament Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52

31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast

33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with[a] three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and reburied; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Treasures New and Old

51 “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

† HYMN: MV #138 “My Love Colours Outside the Lines”

MESSAGE: Jacob and His Cheating Heart!

When I was at Emmanuel College in 1st year the topic of marriage came up in a class on the Old Testament.  I inquired about Levirate Marriage – can’t remember what my question was or exactly why – but the Teacher’s Assistant nearly choked!

Turns out that there were quite a few types of marriage back in the day that we would be horrified to encounter now.  Most of them were not at all fair to the women involved and were generally legalized rape and forced childbearing.  Being infertile or widowed, conquered or enslaved, usually spelled disaster for women.   

The prime goal back then was for men to father as many children as possible.  Children were considered property and also a sign of being blessed by God.  So the more the merrier – but, not so much for the women.

I was reading this text a while ago and feeling really sorry for Jacob.

And I did not at all respect the father of the two young women who he mistreated and misled either because of the switch of daughters and cheating his own daughter too.  But then when I went digging for the back story and realized that Jacob cheated his own brother – his twin “wombmate” out of his inheritance, my sympathy subsided.

I do not much care for people cheating others.  I also dislike greed – so my warm and sympathetic feelings for Jacob did not last too long.

A back story here to bring us up to speed on this text –

According to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Jacob was the younger twin brother of Esau, who was the ancestor of Edom and the Edomites. During her pregnancy, Rebekah was told by God that she would give birth to twins; each of them would found a great nation.  Esau, the elder, who would typically inherit his father’s property and wealth would serve his younger brother.  But, it turned out, Jacob, by means of an elaborate double deception, managed to obtain his elder brother’s birthright from their father.  Jacob then fled his brother’s wrath and went to take refuge with the Aramaean tribe of his ancestors at Haran in Mesopotamia.

Along his journey Jacob received a special revelation from God: God promised Jacob lands and numerous offspring that would prove to be the blessing of the entire earth.  Jacob named the place where he received his vision Bethel (“House of God”).  Arriving at his uncle Laban’s home in Haran, Jacob fell in love with his cousin Rachel.  He worked for her father, Laban, for seven years to obtain Rachel’s hand in marriage, but then Laban substituted his older daughter, Leah, for Rachel at the wedding ceremony. Unwittingly married to Leah, Jacob was thus compelled to serve Laban for another seven years so that he could take his beloved Rachel as his wife as well.  Jacob then served Laban for another six years, during which he amassed a large amount of property; he then set out with his wives and children to return to Palestine.  On the way Jacob wrestled with a mysterious stranger, a divine being, who changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Jacob then met and was reconciled with Esau and settled in Canaan.

I have recently come across a lot of postings about Karma on Facebook. You may be familiar with some of them as well.

In short Karma is when someone tries to cheat or otherwise do wrong by someone else and it comes back to bite them instead.  Think of someone trying to avoid traffic by driving on the shoulder of the highway, only to get pulled over by a police officer.  Or trying to do a dine and dash only to forget their laptop or purse and have to return to claim it (and pay the bill).

Karma is not part of our religion but due to its use in conversation it is quite well known.  In Hinduism and Buddhism it is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

In informal contemporary terms, it is used as an explanation of destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

I have spoken before about the similarity between religions and in specific, their version of the Golden Rule: do not do to others what you would not want done to you.

Here we have it in several forms.

Jacob cheated both his twin brother and his father to gain the birthright owed to his brother.

He was then cheated by his father in law/uncle who changed his desired bride for her older sister in exchange for 7 years of labour.  And then had to repeat that 7 year extortion to marry his desired bride.

Jacob’s father in law cheated his daughters: the elder by putting her in the wedding instead of her younger sister; the younger Rachel by depriving her of the marriage for 7 years.  Who knows if that would have made a difference to the number of children they would each bear and whether they wanted more or less.

But additionally, I think the father did his elder daughter wrong by treating her as if she could never gain a husband except by trickery.  What does that say about her and him?  The text says that her eyes were weak.  I don’t know what that would mean in the original language but I suspect it means that she was not as attractive to the eye of an onlooker as her younger sister.  Again, a form of disrespect.  

Its kind of like the kids who got into college in the US Bribery Admission Scandal.  The parents caught in that pretty much demonstrated that they had no confidence that their own kids could get accepted with out mis-representing their abilities.

Cheating is not just bad for people, it hurts others in ways that are lasting and painful.  It causes people to doubt themselves and second guess their natural skills and instincts.  

Let’s keep this in mind as we go about our daily lives for the good of all!  Amen

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Please keep Kristen, Emma, Mary Lou, Linda, Donna B, Patrick and Abigail C and family, and Diane, in your prayers.

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

June Financials: Income $4,274.00  Expenses $4,064.33      Net Profit $209.67

STEWARDSHIP SECOND: How we spend our money reflects our spiritual priorities.

FROM THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

E-ssentials: Search the Landfill, National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering, Emancipation Day, and more! (mailchi.mp)

Join the Mod’s Book Squad! (mailchi.mp)


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