- Rev. Daniel Benson
(Rev. Dan returns from vacation...)
Sunday, August 16th, 2020.
Preamble / info.
Welcome, Church! In these times we are reminded more than ever, that the church is not a building but the people who come together in Jesus’ name. Therefore, I’m not saying, “Welcome to church,” but, “Welcome Church!”
In the light of the good advice from health authorities that we practice ‘physical distancing’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are not worshiping in-person at the church building.
However, Jesus promises that where two or three are gathered, He will be there. So, we can gather in spirit, sharing the Word, hymns, and prayers that bind us together as followers of Jesus and people of God.
We may not be in the same room, and we may not even be doing this at the same moment in time; but, along with millions of people around the world in any number of languages, we are worshiping God and caring for one another.
In preparation, you may want to have a candle handy (either a real candle or one of those little battery-operated ones). We always light candles in church because they remind of the presence and beauty of God.
God be with you!
All God's children are welcome and wanted here, no matter your need.
God will give you rest from your weariness,
comfort for your pain, ease for your burdens,
balm for your soul, food for your mind,
and hope for your tomorrow.
God's ability to tend and nurture, calm and inspire, knows no boundaries or borders;
it is endless and unending. God's love leads us out of fear and beyond the dangers. God's faithfulness abides.
In the summer of these extraordinary times, let us open our hearts and minds to God's presence.
Music: Today's opening music is a wonderful rendition of Psalm 133.
Lighting of the candle.
In the darkest of times, in the deepest shadows, the light of Christ shines brightly. The darkness cannot overcome it. So, we light a candle today, reminding us of the ever-present love of God that illuminates the world. May we be courageous in carrying this light within us, before us, and beyond us. Amen.
Scripture reading: Genesis 45: 1 - 15. This week, we're using "The Message,' a modern adaptation of the Scriptures, which is particularly well-suited for reading an engaging story such as this one, in which Joseph reveals himself to his brothers -- the same brothers who sold him into slavery.
Joseph couldn’t hold himself in any longer, keeping up a front before all his attendants. He cried out, “Leave! Clear out—everyone leave!” So there was no one with Joseph when he identified himself to his brothers. But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him. The news was soon reported to Pharaoh’s palace. Joseph spoke to his brothers: “I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t say a word. They were speechless—they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing.
“Come closer to me,” Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. “I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives. There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years—neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance. So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.
“Hurry back to my father. Tell him, ‘Your son Joseph says: I’m master of all of Egypt. Come as fast as you can and join me here. I’ll give you a place to live in Goshen where you’ll be close to me—you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and anything else you can think of. I’ll take care of you there completely. There are still five more years of famine ahead; I’ll make sure all your needs are taken care of, you and everyone connected with you—you won’t want for a thing.’
“Look at me. You can see for yourselves, and my brother Benjamin can see for himself, that it’s me, my own mouth, telling you all this. Tell my father all about the high position I hold in Egypt, tell him everything you’ve seen here, but don’t take all day—hurry up and get my father down here.”
Then Joseph threw himself on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He then kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Only then were his brothers able to talk with him. The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson
Sermon. “I'm Back -- and I'm Not Afraid!” by Rev. Dan.
Music: "Be Not Afraid" by John Michael Talbot.
Even though the days are getting shorter and some glimpses of red can be seen amid the green, the summer suns shines brightly, perhaps relentlessly. The isolation and cautions of COVID linger like clouds that seem to block the sun, yet give no comforting shade.
In all this, we continue to be the church, to be Jesus' hands and feet in the world, to do what God will have us do to bring about God's kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.
Our offering is both a practical and symbolic act of our commitment to serve Christ and build His church. Although we can’t actually ‘pass the plate’ online, you are encouraged to continue your gift to the church, as the work of the St Paul’s and the staff continue:
Drop your envelope (cheque or cash) at the church;
Mail your cheque to the church;
Go on PAR (call Rosie for details);
Use the Donate button at the top of the page (it will take you to SPUC’s Canada Helps page where you can donate online and get an instant tax receipt).
May my gifts of time, talent, and treasure generously and lovingly offered, be instruments of change and instrumental in God's mission in the world!
Lord Jesus, we follow you where you lead, even to a cross on a cruel hill. As we carry our crosses this week, we are reminded of all those whose burdens and crosses are heavier than ours. We pray for the power of your resurrection spirit to be with us and them, carrying us through these days.
We especially lift in prayer all those affected by this pandemic: the sick, the grieving, the isolated, and the unsettled. Give us strength to meet these adversities with faith.
We especially lift in prayer all those working to alleviate the suffering of this pandemic: the healthcare professionals, spiritual and physical caregivers, the front-line workers, and all those behind the scenes that keep our world ticking over. Give us courage to continue to give our best.
We especially lift in prayer all those who, despite these challenging times, are living moments of joy: friends and family, health . Give us gratitude to recognize each and every blessing.
We especially lift in prayer all those who are struggling with difficulties quite apart from the pandemic: the ill, the lonely, the victims of violence of any and every kind. Give us peace to revive our souls.
In these words and the words that dwell silently in our hearts, we offer our prayers to you, O God, knowing that through Christ and in the Spirit, you listen.
Music: The beautiful and timeless hymn, 'Amazing Grace' sung by singers from 50 countries around the world (and in many different languages) affected by COVID.
Let us go into the world with a daring and tender heart;
let us go in peace, the world is waiting.
And whatever we do, may we do it as a Resurrection People: followers of Jesus, bearers of God’s Light, and living signs of the Spirit’s fellowship.
One Last Thought.
Don’t forget to extinguish your candle!
Ok -- be honest! Have you called up someone from your church family lately? Have you taken the leap to call both a friend AND a stranger from the church directory? Remember, everyone, just like you, is getting the willies from being so isolated during this Covid thing, and would love to hear from you. Yes, even you! So, do it, dammit!
Remember to Zoom in for coffee with your friends after church on Sunday morning at 11:30.
Rev. Daniel Benson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: After Church Coffee
Time: Aug 16, 2020 11:30 AM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 829 432 3094
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+1 647 374 4685 Canada
+1 647 558 0588 Canada
+1 778 907 2071 Canada
+1 438 809 7799 Canada
Meeting ID: 829 432 3094