Bulletin and Announcements for Sept. 17, 2023

Dunsford United Church

September 17, 2023

Presider: Rev. Anne Hepburn

†= stand as you are able

WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS: Birthdays/Anniversaries

† GATHERING HYMN: VU #367 “Come Down, O Love Divine”

LIGHTING OF THE CHRIST CANDLE AND THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION CANDLE

We light these candles every Sunday.  The first is the Christ Candle: a reminder that Jesus is with us always.  The second is the Indigenous candle: a reminder of human brothers and sisters with whom we stand.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LANDS (Unison)

We acknowledge, honour and respect this land and the Anishinaabe / Mississauga peoples with whom Treaty 20, Williams treaty, was made, 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

Our holy God deserves our praise.

We are here to sing, pray and be open to God.

Our holy God desires our worship.

We come giving our attention to the Almighty.

Our holy God dares to reach out to us.

We receive God’s offering and will be fed by the Spirit.

Now is the time to worship!

Written by Elaine Bidgood Sveet, Gatherings 2023 p.3.  Used with permission.

† HYMN: VU #266 “Amazing Grace”

OPENING PRAYER (unison)

Restless God, we are ready for Sabbath time.

In this pause between “to-do” and “what if”, fill us with your peace.

Disturb our complacency with your passion.

Renew our commitment to your service.

We turn to you, trusting that love and life defeat hatred and death.

It is still your world and we live in it with joy.

Amen

Written by Witaskiwin writers, Gatherings 2023, p. 32.  Used with permission.

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “His Eye is on the Sparrow” Christena-Lynn

INVITATION TO OFFERING

We have come to worship God and to express our love.

Part of that involves putting love into action.  Let us do so in the act of presenting our offering for the love of others.

Amen

Written by George Allan Gatherings 2023, p. 39.  Used with permission.

† 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

Gracious God, we bring forward our gifts for the love of others. May they contribute to the good of this community and create peace and safety for all. Amen

STORY AND PRAYER FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG AT HEART

Forgiveness – what is it about?

CHILDREN LEAVE FOR JUNIOR CHURCH

WE HEAR GOD’S WORD

SCRIPTURE READINGS

Old Testament

Exodus 15: 1b-11, 20-21  Miriam & Moses sing the Song of the Sea

15 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
    horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my might,[a]
    and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him;
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;
    his elite officers were sunk in the Red Sea.[b]
The floods covered them;
    they went down into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power—
    your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries;
    you sent out your fury; it consumed them like stubble.
At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;
    the floods stood up in a heap;
    the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue; I will overtake;
    I will divide the spoil; my desire shall have its fill of them.
    I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
    they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
    Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
    awesome in splendor, doing wonders?

20 Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”

New Testament Matthew 18: 21-35 Forgiveness

21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if my brother or sister sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven[a] times.

23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him, 25 and, as he could not pay, the lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

† HYMN: VU #240 “Praise my Soul, the King of Heaven”

MESSAGE: Forgiveness

Some years ago you may recall that we had a disturbing incident here at Dunsford United.  During a potluck lunch some teenaged boys came into our hall and roughed up K.E.’s daughter H.

They took off but CL and Kevin and I went out looking and were drawn to a house where two kids were calling out the window.  Thanks to Braeley who knew their families we realized that they were the likely culprits because of things they had said.  Police arrived and took statement and as a result of the info we had gathered two young men were taken in front of a Justice that very afternoon and charged.

They were put on strict monitoring and had ankle bracelets I think.  They were forbidden from hanging out together and were only allowed to attend

school until their trial- unless they were with their parents.  Although they

got off because of some details, I think the outcome was good because

they never did anything like that again that I am aware of.

All of us were quite shocked and disturbed by the event and I knew the next week that I needed to deliver a strong message.

And I guess I did because I got a lot of positive feedback.

What was the crux of my message?  Forgiveness.

Yup- that’s a tough one isn’t it?  But I thought it through.   And there are at least 5 good reasons to forgive.

1.    We are a church family and we have a good series of beliefs to guide us.

2.    We follow Jesus and we learn from him how to deal with bad stuff.

3.    We are not perfect – not one of us.  We will all need to be forgiven at some point.

4.    God serves up forgiveness and has done since the beginning.

5.    Jesus is the redeemer of all our sins.

Our text today is all about forgiveness.

Jesus is asked how many times we should forgive.  7 x 70?

That’s a lot!!  Unending really and hyperbole to be honest.  We can’t do that much can we?

Hopefully the same person should not need to be forgiven that many times or they are not learning from their mistakes.  And hopefully no one person needs to do the forgiving that many times or they are being seriously abused.

But on that Sunday after the incident, I preached about us.  We are not perfect.  Surely we have all disappointed our parents AND our Heavenly Father many times.

So we need to be ready to forgive.

BUT I also think we need to look at the other pieces of the cycle of error and forgiveness.

First: Repentance.

You probably all recall a time when you did something wrong and when you realized it, you repented.  Maybe you were not even aware of it.  Then you would have been surprised, shocked even.  You might have been embarrassed or ashamed. 

Or, if you did do something intentional because you were angry or frustrated with someone or a set of circumstances, you might have felt good at the time: defiant or justified.  Being caught might have fueled more of those feelings.

There are so many possibilities: we are human after all and prone to error.    

2. Repentance is what I call the second step in the cycle.

Since it is a Biblical concept, allow me to call on its Hebrew meaning here.  The Hebrew word we translate as ‘repentance’ is teshuva (‎“teh-shoo-vah”).  And teshuva is a lot more than a feeling of guilt or regret. In fact, it derives from the verb ‘to return’

Return to what?  To God’s way of living.  Doing what is right. Changing our thinking and our acting from careless or vengeful to caring and thoughtful.

From hurting to helping.

Repentance is big.  It’s not just a few mumbled “Sorrys.”

It’s a commitment to do better, be better, live better.

After all saying sorry and then doing the same thing all over again is mere manipulation.

3. The next part of the cycle of forgiveness is Restitution.

This part may or may not be difficult.  The offender must make better what they have wronged.  Fix the broken window repair the scratch, tell the truth to others who have been hurt or involved.

Return the stolen item perhaps?

4. Then Reconciliation which is confusing.  I tend to think of it as taking responsibility for the outcome- consequences of the wrongful deed.  This is painful sometimes.  I believe that that the consequences should match the wrong action but the universe does not always deal that way. Maturity dictates that we accept those consequences without complaint.      

5. Finally Forgiveness.  But this part of the cycle has nothing to do with our actions or even mature acceptance of our wrong behaviour.

Forgiveness is all in the court of the person who has been hurt.

They are not obligated to forgive you or me or anyone else. 

They have no need to do so even if asked.  There are several reasons for this.

They may be too hurt or angry and not ready to offer this gift to you or me.

It is a state of grace that allows us or them to forgive.  As God did and Jesus advises.

But we are not perfect as they were or are.

We can only aspire to be ready and willing to forgive, and that may take time.

Common current advice would suggest that we lighten our own load when we forgive others but while that is probably true, the timing has to be right for the person being asked to offer that forgiveness.

Being pressured is no help and may hinder their readiness.  Being emotionally manipulated is worse – a hallmark of an abusive relationship.

I remember a woman who told me that it was only some years after her marriage ended with a betrayal by her husband and a close friend’s affair that she was able to forgive.   I asked what changed; she said that in reading and saying the Lord’s Prayer repeatedly in church, it finally clicked.  And she was ready.

As we continue to grow in faith may we continue to submit ourselves to the necessity of the cycle of forgiveness.  And may we teach it by our example.  Amen

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Please keep Kristen, Emma, Mary Lou, Donna B, 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” (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.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sun. Sept. 24th: Orange Shirt Day (Sept. 30th): Wear orange on Sunday as we remember and honour Indigenous children taken from their homes.

Sun. Oct. 1st:  We welcome Rev. Kevin Fitzpatrick, who will be providing the Message and sharing in the Sacrament of Holy Communion with Rev. Anne.  A potluck meal will follow the service.  Gloria will circulate a sign-up sheet on Sunday.

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: Share your gift of music, whether it’s singing or instrumental. The sign-up sheet is on the table behind the last pew. 

Kidney Walk: Doris walked to raise funds for The Kidney Foundation on Sun. Sept. 10th in Lindsay.  Donations can be given to Doris up until Sept. 24th.

AUGUST FINANCIALS

Income $3,114.00    Expenses $3,842.68      Net Loss – $728.68

STEWARDSHIP SECOND: Faithful in small things, faithful in all things.

FROM THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA 

E-ssentials: Orange Shirt Day, Mission and Service Thanksgiving Resources, and more! (mailchi.mp)

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH

Office Hours: Wed. Office 9-5 † Tel: 705-793-2511


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