June 6 Worship


Welcome and Announcements

Thank you for your presence in this worship. As we continue to give God thanks, we pray that God’s blessing will keep you and God’s love will enwrap you in ways that you are made new each day.

As we have been mentioning, it is our goal to try and open our worship services starting July. These Summer Worship Services will take place at 10 am every Sunday either in our church yard or in our hall. This is to keep safe by following all the rules of COVID restrictions.

We will also be having gatherings for Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm to praise, rejoice, and be in communion with Christ and each other.

We ask you to make special efforts to keep our ministry continuing. Our offerings have been a bit low. We have attached our income and expense figures here. Please, prayerfully support the ministry.

Our Saturday Lunch Takeouts is continuing. As the summer weather approaches we have reduced a number of lunches we are delivering to around 10. We have asked all those who are able to come to church on Saturdays to come and pick up lunches. For the last two weeks we have given out between 50 and 60 lunches. We are also helping those who are in need in different ways.

Please keep praying for each other and especially those who are in long term care homes. They need your prayers more than ever. The names to lift up in your prayers are: Doris, Hugh and Judy, Robert and Virginia, along with many others.

This week, The Presbyterian Church in Canada is gathering at its Annual General Assembly. There are two major reports that the Church will be discussing. The first is the Rainbow Communion Report. This report was our church’s effort in hearing and gathering stories of harm that have been caused to LGBTQI+ members and adherents of our denomination in the past and present. This report summarizes the hearings that were held to allow LGBTQI members and adherents to tell us the consequences and harms done by our church policies. The other is the remits: one of the remits adds that our understanding of marriage as a covenant relationship between man and a woman or as a covenant between two adults; the other remit is that congregations and presbyteries may call and ordain as ministers and elect and ordain as ruling elders LGBTQI persons (married or single) with the provision that liberty of conscience and action regarding participation in ordinations, inductions and installations be granted to ministers and ruling elders.

Hymn: All Hail the Power of Jesus Name



Call to Worship

We bow before the mystery of God’s love. From it came our creaton. By it we are daily nurtured. Through it we find salvation. Love is the greatest gift in the world because it will last beyond this world and is supremely pleasing to the Lord. Love foreshadows life in heaven. Let us come together to worship God of love.

Hymn: Joyful, joyful we adore



Prayer

O God, you are the eternal “I am,” come to us now and embrace us in your Spirit. In your welcome is our life. Bring us close to you through your Son our Lord. By your presence may we come to enjoy the eternal life you promised through your Son.

We bring praise and thanksgiving to you for all that we enjoy in life. We bring praise and thanksgiving to you for all that we endure in this life. By pain and suffering we have discovered your presence. By joy and happiness, we have found your blessings.

Receive this worship. Renew us as yours. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Offering: My Jesus I love thee



Offering Prayer

We bring, O God, all that we are. At times, we feel like we are unworthy to bring anything of ours. Yet, because of unlimited grace you have endowed us through your Son our Lord, we come boldly bringing our gifts in hope that the love we show you in these gifts would be pleasing to your eyes. O gracious and kind God, receive these our gifts as our proclamation of our love for you, as the demonstration of our faith to you, and as our everlasting hope in you. We pray in your Son’s name. Amen.

Scripture: Mark 3:31-35

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: Family of Grace

There used to be a time when everyone seemed to have a clear understanding of what family was. Today, we have many different types of families. More than ever, it is important to see how God helps us to see what God’s definition for family is. As the world continues to evolve and tries to meet the changing conditions of our world, it appears that God has already hinted at what a true family should be.

From the very beginning of Christ’s ministry, the call from Christ to anyone who would follow was to deny oneself, take up one’s cross and follow him. This denial was seen in the disciples who seemed to have given everything up including their regular daily responsibilities and began walking with Jesus. All the disciples, both men and women seemed to have done this. The Gospels often talk of men who did this and centre their focuses on the twelve disciples. However, there are many indications that women did the same. These female followers were often hidden, but here and there we see their presences if we pay careful attention. Gospel Mark 15:40-41 refers to these women, “There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. We see variations of these names also in Gospels Matthew and Luke. These women used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.” To provide for him when he was in Galilee, they had to leave regular day chores behind just like their male counterparts. These women followed Jesus all the way to Jerusalem along with his disciples. The point here is that both men and women who were called by Jesus followed him as all of these disciples formed his family.

It is important to see how Jesus redefined a true family in a moment when he was being pulled into two different directions: one by his own biological family; the other by those who were requiring his presence to be fed, protected, and tended to in daily lives. It is as if Jesus was making a point that following him meant to give up on his family. At the same time, he could be understood as instituting a new way of forming a family. This new way of thinking about family would pit Jesus against the world. There have been those who have always argued in the Church that Jesus’ way and the way of the world should not mix and that as we begin redefining the new creation through Jesus everything about this world should be rejected. Many Christians seemed to have followed this road. We have seen this dedicated faith in monks and ascetics of the time since the end of the third century. Choosing Christ over the world was the battle cry. The Roman Catholic branch of the Church still demands that those who are called to serve as priests, monks, and nuns are to give up their earthly family as they join the church family.

However, the reality is very different for Jesus. Jesus did not cut himself off from his family. It is important to see in other parts of the Bible that Mary, mother of Jesus, and his brother James were still named as part of being ones present with Jesus. That is, Jesus did not denounce his relationship to his family entirely in the same way that some Christian orders require and his family did not disown Jesus. Jesus’ family became part of this new family. It is as if what Jesus said about the law applies here. That is, in the same way Jesus did not come to overthrow the law and the tradition, but to fulfill the law, Jesus did not come to disown or reject his family or the people of Israel, but to show what God’s true intention was in creating a new family from these old families. In this, Jesus does not replace his family with people of faith in him. Rather, he adds to his family those who are not considered part of his family. All of the attempts in the past few Sundays in discussing Syrophoenician woman and her daughter and those who did not belong to the twelve tribes of Israel have been about adding to, rather than replacing by invalidating the core biological family and God’s people who made up God’s people. How else are we to understand the Church’s fondness for Mary the mother of Jesus and the presence of James the brother of Jesus as one who also carried on Jesus’ good news even today? Silence regarding those other members of Jesus’ family does not mean that they were excluded by Jesus as a matter of historical facts.

In this passage, Jesus redefines his family or any true family as the one made up of those who do the will of God. Jesus opened the eyes of everyone to rethink about who they were to love and be loved by. It is not that Jesus had a different idea about who ought to be part of a family. Jesus knew all too well that everyone accepted and held onto a narrow biological definition of family. Again, he was neither cutting himself off from his own family nor was condemning them, but pointing out the true family ought to include all those who were doing God’s will. This inclusiveness was new to everyone who belonged to the twelve tribes of Israel. This inclusiveness or overall encompassing of who was part of Jesus’ family has extended to Christians all around the world numbering over a billion people today. It is impossible to understand the Great Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28 without this inclusive statement by Jesus. It is ever widening the circle as more and more people begin realizing that their lives are to do the will of God and therefore joining this new family. In the meantime, those who remain outside of Christian family become our immediate neighbours. It is awesome to be reminded that our way of loving God and loving one another now extends to loving our enemies. This is the awesome Gospel that Jesus is making real in this text.

Looking at the progression of Jesus’ ministry in Gospel Mark shows this concentric circle of Jesus’ family widening. First he called disciples to join him. Soon we find out that his preaching was directed to sinners of Israel. By this preaching, he began to interact not only with tax collectors, but also the sick who were the outcasts of Israel and also with prostitutes who were those unnamed sinners. That way, his family expanded. When he was back at home and the family wanted him to stop, he finally spelled out who constituted his family. He validated all who came to him as his family. Sinners, the sick, and the marginalized were no longer outside but as members of his family deserving of love from God and from each other. No wonder this message resonated throughout history in the world and so many received Christ and his Gospel as their hope and salvation.

In our world, there are many subtle messages that divide and exclude us in ways that we do not think about. For example, those who are well and together are the ones being blessed with good jobs, more than enough money to live comfortably contributing to many causes including to church finances, and able to enjoy strong love of their families. Those others who are sick all the time, have troubles in holding onto jobs and/or in troubled families are seen as needing stronger faith. Many cruel messages are given even among churches: strong ones are ones where the Holy Spirit is present and are continually blessed while the weak ones with the elderly are without the Holy Spirit. Many in these weak churches go through unending numbers searching for change in order to regain health by attracting young families, many middle age Christians and so on. The message is that if a church is without lots of younger people, then, that church is not really on God’s radar. Yet, Jesus debunks this kind of thinking here by saying that his family consists of all those who do God’s will. After all, Jesus made it clear that he came for the sinners and those who were weak, not for the strong. He wanted to bring those who were outside in so that they were not lost. This is why as we continue to share the Gospel message by going out bringing hope to those who feel that they have no place or standing in this world. This is why Jesus’ message is received with enthusiasm and joy especially among those who have been living the life of misery, despair, and desperation.

In practical terms, what does this look like?

As a student of a seminary, I was sent to a very poor country. One day, I was visiting a small village to get ready to do a program for a church there. As I arrived, a godly matriarch of the church met me and took me around a village that had no more than twenty houses. As we were walking along, there were children on a roadside culvert that divided the road and rice paddies. The children were catching something. The lady asked if they caught any. The children proudly showed a few fresh water shrimps they caught. Later at the dinner, those few shrimps the children caught were part of the main rice curry the lady made. There was not much rice in total and even less curry to go around. They, however, heaped most of those few shrimps on my rice and with big smiles told me that I deserved all those shrimps as a honoured guest. The evening dinner and time afterwards were full of joyful stories about the hardship of the church and its people.

They shared stories of how difficult it was to get enough bricks and slates to build a tiny church looking no bigger than fifteen square feet with laughter and pride. They relished telling and retelling how there was not enough room to put any of the villagers in the church when the Presbytery descended to dedicate the building because only the moderator and few select individuals could fit in this new church building. One mentioned the joy of having a downpour of tropical rain as the strong wind ripped up half the roof while the villagers were worshipping and getting soaked. Another talked about how they chose to keep all the pews outside because there was not enough space for people if they had to put the pews in this small sanctuary. Joy and worship were more important than anything else for them. They sang without instruments, ate together using banana leaves as their plates, and whatever they could share were brought out as feasts each Sunday after worship as well as many other days whenever they gathered together.

Among them were some with cancers, some with sores, some with no changes of clothes, some with empty stomachs, some with impossible debts, some with worries beyond their abilities to deal with, and some with rotting teeth giving impossible pains. Yet, there they were. Praising God because an honoured guest had come among them, crowded into that small church, sitting knees to knees and elbows to elbows. They put aside all their pains and worries because in remembering Christ and his good news, they found hope. In living this way, they certainly had no trouble making me realize what a privilege it was to be part of God’s family among those who were doing God’s will as they extended God’s hospitality to a stranger who came in Christ’s name. In this village on that particular evening, how could we not say with Jesus, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother!’

Prayer

O compassionate God, we come as your children in this time of need. We are encouraged by your Word in Christ to us so that we come as people searching for hope in you. Hear our prayer.
We thank you for our church family. You have sent many people to this congregation so that as members of your family, we may love, care, and share with one another. We pray that your blessings will be poured upon all who belong to our Drummond Hill family.

We thank you for your presence with us. At times, we forget to remember your blessings in our daily lives, but your everlasting presence always guides and protects us. It is only when we are in need, we remember you, but do not hold this forgetfulness against us. Know that in your love we are secure and are able to focus on what we are called to do.

Give us love to share with all. If we fail to share because we are in pain or illnesses, remind us gently through others so that we may have our eyes opened to our inabilities or unwillingness and overcome our reluctance to share.

By your presence, O God, empower us to trust you. Because of our life experiences, often we withdraw from trusting others as you trust us. Give us wisdom to know that our difficulty of trusting others often displays how little we trust you. By the Holy Spirit, give us strength to trust all those whom you send to us.

You have blessed us with health. Yet, many of us need you even more because our bodies are failing. Give us physical strength to carry out daily chores. Help us to stay calm in ways that frustrations will not limit us from being your loving presence in this world.

Because our words are never sufficient, we now pray with the words of your Son. Hear our said and unsaid prayers when we say together, “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 debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, now and forever. Amen.

Hymn: It is well with my soul



Offering Prayer

Benediction