Sunday, Feb 14, 2021

If you desire to hear the whole service as one recording, click here. When before some hymns are played, there might be some advertisement put on by the makers of hymn videos.

Welcome and Announcements



Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Day for unconditional love to you! We thank you for sharing your love for God and for each other today! We are grateful because we share in this wonderful love that was given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank you for participating in the financial meeting to determine the budget for 2021. As we have mentioned through email, in the Q & A meeting, a motion was made and approved to make the proposed budget to be the 2021 Budget instead of being our interim budget. So those who were not present have an opportunity to cast their vote through the website. So far we have many of you who have voted. The voting page will stay up until Tuesday. If you have not cast your vote yet, please, do so. It is found at https://drummondhill.ca/budget.

Thank you for continually helping us with Saturday Lunch Takeouts. As we have mentioned, until we are able to have in-person service, we ask you to support by getting dessert items rather than food for Salvation Army or ProjectShare.

We will continue to monitor the current pandemic situation and will make decisions accordingly. The service will continue to be online until further notice.

Our Lent season begins on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Prepare your hearts and minds as we walk with Christ through the Lent.

Hymn of Preparation: Celebrate Jesus



Call to Worship:



Rejoice! The Lord is with us!
Rejoice! The Lord comes to us in splendor!
Rejoice! The Lord gathers us in himself to rejoice with us.

Hymn: Rejoice the Lord is King



Prayer:



O Lord God,
We bring thanks and praise to you this day. As we are reminded of your love we rejoice in your grace. It is in your unending love that we find our joy. As we rejoice with you through this worship, may you be glorified.

Send us your spirit and awaken our spirits to your presence. Fill our hearts with joys that come from you. Grant us your generosity in this worship to share with the world around us abundantly. In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.

Offering: Come, Christians join to sing



Offering Prayer:



Great God, receive our offering. We bring these gifts in response to your infinite and unending love. Through your Son, you made us yours and gave us new life. In this new life, we have found your abundance so that we may live fruitful lives. Thank you. Receive these offerings and continue to instill in us your love. By your love, may we not only love you but also love our neighbours as your Son has instructed us to do. Make us truly the embodiment of your presence in the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 15:1-10



Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’

So he told them this parable: ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

‘Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’

Sermon: Joy of being found



Remember “Lassie Come-Home,” the movie from the 1960s? The original story shows a strong bond between a young Joe and a dog, a collie named Lassie. The parents of Joe, being very poor, sells the dog to a rich Duke. Joe and Lassie love each other and because the dog continually returns to Joe, the Duke takes the dog from Yorkshire to Scotland. From hundreds of miles away, Lassie finds a kind hearted Pricilla, Duke’s granddaughter who helps Lassie escape. The story is about Lassie’s harrowing journey back to Joe through all kinds of dangers. At the end, you see both Joe and Lassie happily united. The happy ending of this reunion still warms the hearts of many people. Through their reunion all those who read or watch the movie get immersed in the joy of being found again. Having been separated or forcefully lost to each other, the reunion epitomizes all that we feel about what it means to be found.

Jesus is describing the joy of reunion between a lost sheep and her shepherd. When a sheep is lost, even though there are many others, the shepherd goes out to search for the lost one. The shepherd has lost the sheep: the sheep has lost the shepherd. Each one is suddenly less than whole through this loss. There is an emptiness in each party that cannot be filled until there is a reunion. Each one is no longer the same because of this loss. We know that there is this incredible brokenness in the hearts of those who have lost ones so dear to them.

We see the deep pain that leads to taking of life at the end of Romeo and Juliette, the suffering that ends up in a broken family in Ordinary People (1980 movie) when one son dies in a tragic accident, anguish in the movie Up (2009) where Carl has to come to terms with the death of Ellie and agony in the husband (played by Gordon Pinsent) Away From Her (2006) in which wife’s Alzheimer’s disease causes the severe loss between the married couple. What is missing in all these stories are reunions.
Imagine the joy of reunion of ones lost, then finding each other after such pain, suffering, anguish and agony. In the movie, Lassie Come Home, the relentless search by Lassie ends with the reunion between Lassie and Joe. This is the joy that Jesus evokes in the minds of hearers of these parables overcoming the feeling of sadness. The phrase “Rejoice with me!” embodies the fullness of life returning and opening up. There is nothing that can compare as joy breaks out of dark despair--the resurrection of life out of death.

Last Sunday we discussed why we are to celebrate life as Easter People. Today we focus on how. It is always fun to notice that we talk a lot about celebrating and why, but hardly ever on how. We assume that we know. How would you celebrate finding the lost ones in your life?

Soon or later, we will be able to enjoy life without lockdowns and threats of COVID virus. All those family and friends we have stayed away from for a year will flood back into our lives. How will we celebrate these reunions? Nearly two years ago, before the pandemic lockdown, when Toronto Raptors finally won a championship, many people ran out onto the streets and gathered at Nathan Phillips Square. They sang, screamed, and jumped up and down. Every year at the New Year’s Eve celebration at Victoria Park, people used to come from all over to be part of the annual midnight concert. They countdown the seconds loudly together. Then, they let loose their voices to welcome another year. When you are told that there is no more grave threat of COVID 19, will you be out there on the street making joyful noise by banging pots and pans? Driving around honking your car horns?

For us to fully appreciate what the shepherd and the widow in today’s passage would have meant by “Rejoice with me,” we have to rethink about how the whole village would have joined in their joy in Jesus’ time.

Not too long ago in many countries, a wedding in a village was a communal affair. Everyone in the community joined in one way or another. The big wedding was possible because everyone chipped in. We still have remnants of this practice. Baby showers and wedding showers are all about everyone helping young mothers to be or couples to be to receive enough material support from the entire community of families and friends to get a start in life. As more and more people became richer or ended up living in cities, this practice has been taking place among friends. If you think of these events, we can understand what it means to rejoice together with the shepherd or the woman.

It is much more difficult for us to understand this communal joy into which we are invited. Everything with us has become personalized and privatized. We have lost our abilities to enjoy as a community to celebrate and rejoice. Birth and death, baptism, wedding… all these important life moments have become private. We keep any exuberance of joy to ourselves, at least to our own families. Even there, in our own families, expressions of joys in these events are subdued and understated. Many of us are more embarrassed when others make fuss over our moments of delight than being able to fully join in the party. Sharing joy has never been a strong suit. Honking a car horn is a disparate and separate activity of a person. Even when you honk as you pass by a big gorilla with the caption, “Honk, Marvin is eighty years old!” it is not a communal activity. By honking we relate our best wishes to the birthday person, but are not joining in his joy.

There is a sense of wonder and joy in being loved. The realization that we are loved is the most powerful cause for life. A simple thought of being found by someone who loves us can sustain us through the immeasurably desperate darkness. In these parables of Jesus, the focus is the joy that is present in moments of reunion after a time of separation. Separation of any kind, no matter how short in duration, signifies the severed relationship, the loss of connection, and alienation of one from the other. It is only love that closes, overcomes, and erases the distance between the lost: love compels the lost to seek and find each other. To be clear, the two parables we read in this passage have three different forms of joy that are being expressed here. One form of joy is the one that the shepherd and woman is filled with in finding what they were looking for. The second is the one that is felt by the one being found. The third is the joy of those who have been invited to share in the joy of the one who found the lost. All three forms of joy are possible because there was love that made the shepherd and woman to search until they found what they lost.

Today, we are centring on the second and third forms of joy. That is, like that lost sheep found by the shepherd we see ourselves as the lost ones who are found by our Shepherd, Jesus, who is the embodiment of God’s love searching out the lost ones like us. Our joy is in being found. In this joy we experience that relentless and unending love of God at the cost of his own life to find us. This joy in us is only possible when we, too, are searching for a way back to our Shepherd, are waiting to be found, and are filled with sadness of the severed love, lost relationship and forced alienation from the one who is the source of our life. Without searching, waiting, and longing heart, this joy of being found is never to be.

How are we to express our joy in being found? How are we to join in with our God when we hear God saying, “Rejoice with me?” Are we to be like those who were at the gate of Jerusalem shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord?” Will we be like King David dancing in front of the Ark as it was brought to Jerusalem?

Both parables end with “there is joy...over one sinner who repents.” Others join in with God in joy over one sinner who repents or one who has been found. As each of us expresses our joy of being found, we are also to join with God to rejoice for others who are found by this gracious and steadfast Christ. Sadly, because of our focus on our own relationship with God, we are unable to hear the call to “rejoice with” God for the lost, who are found or the sinners who repent. How are we to join in and what are we to do when our Shepherd tells us to rejoice with him? Are we going to put on our best and attend a banquet organized by God? Are we to give God excuses like all those guests who were invited, but declined saying, “I have married a wife,” “I have bought a cow,” etc.?

Joy is complete when all three forms of joy are shared together and enjoyed fully by all. “God is love” is fully realized when the lost ones are found and the whole universe rejoices together for sinners who repent. How shall we celebrate for being found? How shall we join in when God says to us, “Rejoice with me?” And how shall we give God thanks for that joy God has for having found us?

Shall we dance in excitement? Shall we sing in ecstasy? Shall we shout in elation? Shall we break into laughter in euphoria? Shall we shed the tears of joy? How shall we celebrate and express our joy of being found?

At Drummond Hill, we will probably wear kilts and tartans, have a bagpiper or two--more the merrier, sing, dance and read poems with lots and lots of food. The fun will be hearing people’s likes and dislikes of haggis. Some of us will wear pink garbs from top to bottom. Yes, real men do wear pink.

Seriously, what does it mean for us to be joyful? Joyful for being found and joyful for joining in to rejoice with God who is full of joy? In this joy, worries, anxieties, loneliness, separation, isolation, alienation, discrimination, and fears are overcome by bliss of peace and love. In being found, each and everyone of us will have found ourselves as who we are intended to be in creation.

Prayer



O Lord God,
The more we learn about you, the more we get to know you, the more we understand your will, the more we realize that we know and understand so little. Our wisdom is but a speck before you. We come humbly in hope that you will kindly fill us with your will in ways that we may serve you in all of life. As we bring our hearts to be filled with your love and our minds with your wisdom, be kind and make us yours through your Son our Lord.

If anything this COVID 19 pandemic has taught us how vulnerable we are, how unprepared we are, and how unaware we are in this world. We have relied too heavily on our ability to build good lives for ourselves. We have depended on our own knowledge to build up technological solutions to many human problems. We have prided ourselves on our mastery over the world that you have created. Being so busy for our own survival, we are still unable to acknowledge your grace and mercy through this pandemic. Forgive us.

Continue to pour your grace upon this world filled with sickness. There seems to be no end to deaths and misery stemming from the pandemic. In our midst, there are too many people who are working doubly hard so that this world may ride this nightmare out. Grant them your presence and steadfast love. Too many are exhausted, have been stretching beyond their abilities, and are no longer able to keep things together for themselves and their families. Guard and protect them.

We are at our wit’s end when it comes to ministering to your people nearing death. With all the restrictions, it is hard to know how to bring your love to them, to comfort them, and to walk with them in their time of need. May your presence be with them. May we have strength to find ways to love them. May we never forget to bring their names to you each day.

We are also concerned about our neighbours who are financially struggling because this lockdown has made it impossible for them to earn to support themselves. They live in anxiety and fear. They worry to the point of sickness. May the Holy Spirit fill them in ways that they find hope and love as they do their best to find a way to overcome their fears. May you open our ears to hear their troubles. May you fill our hearts with compassion for them. May you lead us in ministering to them.

O Lord, there are many within our church family who need you. Some need your support as they deal with illnesses, both physical and mental. Some need your presence in their isolation and loneliness. Some need your guidance as they struggle through personal circumstances. Be with them all.

Continue to open our eyes and ears to sufferings that are endured by an uncountable number of people. Grant us your love to be your presence to them as they struggle in their daily lives. Help us to help them, not by easy ways, but by walking with, sharing with, and being with in their troubles. Give us courage to stay with them as you have been steadfastly with us.

Be with us in all that we do each day. Never leave us. Bind us to you in all things.

All these and more we pray in your Son’s name. Amen.

Hymn: Come Sing a Church in Joy



Benediction:



May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that was with us from the very beginning of human history,
the love of God that continues to recreate us in Christ’s image,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that encourages and guides us in everyday life, be with us always until the end of time!