Welcome (2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1)

But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture--"I believed, and so I spoke" --we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Father we love you

Call to Worship (Psalm 138)

I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything. On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth. They shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD. For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Blest are they 

Prayer (PCC Worship Resource)

God of all creation, 
we marvel at all the detail and grandeur you call into being. 
You tend the fragile beauty and balance in the world,
receiving praise from the depths of the sea 
to the tops of the mountains.
You have seen your Church grow from tiny beginnings 
into a worldwide community, full of diversity in voice and vocation.
Open our eyes to your purposes for each of us and all of us,
and for the Church in every location. 
Awaken us with insights from your Holy Spirit  
and show us how to fulfill your will  
in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Mark 3:20-35
And the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind." And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons." And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. "Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"-- for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit." Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you." And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

Sermon: Ways of the world, The way of God

Last Sunday, we took a look at how Jesus redefined Sabbath. Saying that the Sabbath was for people was based on seeing the heartless people who put arbitrary rules before the well-being of others. They were so set on following God’s rules as they interpreted them to the point that keeping God’s command as they understood was more important to them than sharing compassion and love for those who were suffering among them. Somehow the Jews of Jesus’ time, like the people of today, found ways to let people suffer because rules were rules and they must be followed.

In today’s passage we see Jesus making another point. This time Jesus addresses who belongs to a family. We already read that those who opposed Jesus plotted to kill him for upending the Sabbath law. Here we see that Jesus was being accused of having gone mad for healing and looking after a large number of people who were suffering. The healings he performed were described as casting out evil spirits. People of Jesus’ day spoke of many diseases as being caused by demons and evil spirits based on their knowledge.

To explain what Jesus was doing, the scribes from Jerusalem surmised that what Jesus was able to do in terms of healing and casting out unclean spirits was due to the power of Satan that was in him. This was their explanation. Did they come up with this diagnosis because Jesus healed people on Sabbath? Was there no other way of seeing what Jesus was doing because he was doing things they could never dream of doing?

Jesus responded saying that their accusations were making no sense because they were pitting Satan against Satan. He refuted their accusation. As this debate between the scribes of Jerusalem and Jesus was happening, our attention was taken back to the actions of the family. They came to take Jesus away to safety. Or at least they thought they were doing their best to protect Jesus from harm. It was clear that Jesus’ family was worried about his well being as others began to talk about him in these negative ways.

It was clear that with so many people crowding around Jesus, it was not possible for his family to get near him. They called to him. Finally he was told that his mother, brothers and sisters were outside trying to call him. This was when Jesus redefined who his true family was. Instead of acknowledging his own biological family, he defined his family as ones who would do God’s will. By this definition, those who would not do God’s will could not be part of his family. This was a new way of thinking about family.

Family to us is defined as those with whom we are related by biological relationships. Father, mother, children, grandchildren, uncles, aunts and nieces… we are all related genetically. This social unit, known as family, is crucial to our survival in this harsh world. Family is the very centre of human existence. Family is where our identities are formed, our lives are nurtured and enriched by unconditional love and our beings are affirmed.

For most of us, family is a place of comfort and love. It is where every member is welcomed and affirmed, nurtured and nourished, and where we share unconditional love. We may fight but we forgive each other and are reconciled to each other. Family is the very group to which we turn in times of difficulties, sadness and sorrows as well as in times of joy and happiness. It is among our family members we learn to  be who we truly are.

This is why when a family is dysfunctional or mired in difficulties, everyone in that family suffers. Any abuse, betrayal, exploitation, manipulation and sustained hurting can destroy trust among family members. Suffering that arises out due to deep hurts without forgiveness and reconciliation impacts family members in horrifying ways that last many generations. It is no wonder that we read in the Bible the sins of fathers are visited upon many generations.

Jesus’ radical redefinition of family does not change the way our identities are formed, lives are nurtured and our very beings are affirmed. It reorganizes people in families away from biologically based relationships to spiritually united relationships. This is not that much of a shift as we think. People, especially religious people throughout history, always created associations where biological family was put aside in favour forming groups based on ideological, utilitarian or other reasons.

In other words, when Jesus said that those who did the will of God were his family, everyone knew what he was talking about. Yet, hearing it fresh in the context of the danger he faced, this redefinition of family sounded far more profound and shocking. Reading it, some of us has to do the double take in order to realize that we did not hear it wrong because we expect Jesus to respond with kindness and understanding since his mother and siblings had what was best for him in their minds.

Jesus reminded those around him that a family ought to base its unity on loving God and one another. Doing God’s will establishes the right relationship among all members of the family and unite members as one people of God. If we do God’s will, there will not be any abuses, betrayal, exploitation, manipulation and sustained hurting of each other. When we do God’s will by loving God and one another, we return to the original purpose of building up each member of the family, rejoicing in what the others are doing, forgiving each other, seeking reconciliation and not intentionally harming others.

In this sense, a family that is defined by God’s will can be expanded to include not simply those who belong due to sharing of genetic codes, but also anyone and everyone who does God’s will. We no longer remain as an atomic unit of father, mother and children as a family. We now call people who do God’s will as being part of our family so that humanity can share in God’s love and our love for one another.

New ways of trusting strangers come about as those who do God’s will become members of Jesus’ family. In this way we extend welcome to everyone who does God’s will as part of our family. It does not negate the actual understanding of the original meaning of family. It widens it to remind us that we belong to Jesus’ family that welcomes so many others whom we call strangers. As family members we welcome, embrace, care for, share with, trust, nurture, nourish, build up and love everyone who does God’s will.

Jesus was surrounded by those who were doing God’s will by listening to him. This was why he was not afraid of all those scribes talking about him being mad or having Beelzebul in him. The accusations or threats by Pharisees and scribes did not worry Jesus as much as his biological family members did because he was with so many others who were also part of  his family. He was safe and secure among his family. In this way, when his mother and siblings wanted to take him away he reminded them that there were so many others who would care, nurture, nourish and protect him from the worldly danger.

In our world, we have a saying that there is strength in numbers. When so many strangers turn out to be those who do God’s will and by doing so become part of our family, we are more than able to stand against accusations and threats of this world. Jesus reminded his own biological family of this fact. From Jesus, then, we learn that we are strong even among strangers because we are not alone, but among those who do God’s will we are one family before God. Imagine what this means when there are more than a few billion people doing God’s will!

You are never alone, but surrounded by Jesus' family as a member of this great and wonderful family.

Thanks be to God!

Prayer (The PCC Worship Resource)

God of grace and compassion,
We offer you our thanks for the communities in which we share,
for our friends and families,
our neighbours and fellow citizens, 
and we pray for the widening circles of our lives.
We lift up those nearest and dearest to us,
naming them before you with affection and gratitude,
knowing that your love touches the depths of their needs
and celebrates the joys of their journeys:
    Keep silence for 10 seconds.
God of grace and compassion,
Embrace the world you love.

We celebrate the life of this church community 
whose worship and witness strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ 
and challenge us to live what we believe.
Awaken us to opportunities to serve you
in the friendship and fellowship we share.
Grant us courage to reach out in Jesus’ name
into the midst of any sudden crisis or situation of deep human need.
    Keep silence for 10 seconds.
God of grace and compassion,
Embrace the world you love.

We remember before you nations and neighbourhoods
facing ongoing conflict and violence, 
those who crowd together in refugee compounds and homeless encampments, 
or who face the consequences of nature’s unpredictable forces. 
We join our prayers with the desperate wherever find themselves: 
grant us courage and resilience 
to meet the steepest challenges and inspire our hope. 
    Keep silence for 10 seconds.
God of grace and compassion,
Embrace the world you love.

As summer approaches,
we give you thanks for beauty throughout your creation,
and for the refreshment and recreation it provides.
Yet we feel your passion rising 
when we overlook the cost of our lifestyle on creation’s fragile balance. 
Show us how to act for justice with compassion 
so that nothing precious, no one precious is overlooked.
    Keep silence for 10 seconds.

We know in our hearts the tug of your grace and compassion
so we offer these and all our unspoken prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, 
who taught us to say together:
The Lord’s Prayer


Offering Prayer


Thank you for being part of our worship service. Thank you for praising God today. Please pray for all those who are unable to be here to share this worship in God's presence.

Please remember that the prayer group meets on Wednesdays at 3:30 pm.

Mission Group meets on Thursdays at 7:30 pm.

Praise and Music Group meets on Friday 8 pm.

Exercise at 1 pm Saturday, Devotion at 2 pm, Being in Canada at 3 pm, Volunteer Work at 3:30 pm

Once again the session will meet on Tuesday, June 11 at 6 pm.

Praise, I will praise