It's Still Easter !
6th After Easter, Sunday, May 17th, 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 us of the presence and beauty of God.
God be with you!
God of the Resurrection, we are so distracted by the news and our own anxiety that we can easily become inward-looking and fearful. Remind us, as we come to worship today, that we are living in sunshine of Easter, in the eternal glow of the Resurrection, and that you are always with us.
It seems so long ago that we walked freely among our friends and family; it seems so long ago that you rose victorious over the cross. We long for the familiar, the security, and the certainty that seemed to make our lives so simple so long ago. We long for your assurance that our crosses will be defeated, that life and life abundant will not be lost amid our anxiety and fears, in our isolation and distancing, and in the shadows of our doubts.
God of the Resurrection, be with us. Send your light into the darkest shadows so that the stones of our fatigue, fear, and doubts may be rolled away, revealing the path where Jesus leads. Amen.
Music: An introit from Emma: Ad Te Jesu Christe.
"Ad te Jesu Christe" is a repetitive song of prayer created in the Taizé community in France. The text is Latin but in English reads, 'To you, Jesus Christ, I lift up my soul. Saviour of the world, I have put my hope in you.'
Lighting of the candle.
In the light of the Risen Christ we light a candle, celebrating our faith that God raised Jesus from death to life. We confess, in the truth of the resurrection, that no darkness can overcome God’s light in the world. Thanks be to God!
Introduction to today’s theme:
The importance of staying at home, the anxiety around Covid-19, and our isolation from family, friends, and our church community, has overtaken almost everything; including, it seems, the realization that we are in the midst of Easter.
Easter begins with Easter morning, but the ‘Season of Resurrection’ continues for many weeks afterward; in fact, this is the sixth week of Easter. So, let’s return to the Garden where Mary discovered the empty tomb and relive the hope that was raised from the dead that morning. We could use a little Easter about now.
Our guest preacher today is the Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Bott, Moderator of The United Church of Canada. Richard’s Easter sermon, an offering to the church and a gift to our hearts, reminds us of the constancy of the Good News of the Resurrection.
Music: "Jesus Christ is Risen Today." Such great hymns require big organ – here’s a wonderful rendition with the words so you can sing along!
I Easter God promises that life will triumph over death, good over evil, love over hate, and faith over fear. This is the Good News, given by Jesus, shared with one another. It is both a gift and a birthright of those who follow Christ.
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 used faithfully to do build God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven!
Musical offering by Emma: “In the Garden.”
Your generous financial gift supports not only the life and ministry of St. Paul’s, but the work of The United Church of Canada around the world. This video features the music of the Shining Waters Region Youth and tells stories of the difference we’re making across the globe through our Mission and Service gifts.
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 minded 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, the civic employees, and the grocery clerks. 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: a newborn baby, a birthday celebration, the love of friends and family, a safe home, and a well-stocked larder. Give us gratitude to recognize each and every blessing.
We especially lift in prayer all those who struggle 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 bodies and 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.
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.
A hymn to take us into the world.
One Last Thought: A little gift from Gwen, who shared this with me last week.
Don’t forget to extinguish your candle!
As an exercise in keeping in touch with your SPUC family, we’re inviting everyone to open their Church Directory, find your own name and then count up the list by 9 names and call that person. They might be a good friend, they might be a casual acquaintance at church, or they may be someone you don’t know. Give them a call and wish them peace in the name of Christ, and just see how they’re doing.
I'm grateful for Rev. Richard Bott's leadership in our church and the gift of his preaching this day.
Remember to Zoom in for coffee with your friends after church on Sunday morning at 11:30, and for Emma’s hymn-a-long on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
Rev. Daniel Benson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: After Church Coffee
Time: May 17, 2020 11:30 AM America/Toronto
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 829 432 3094
One tap mobile
Dial by your location
+1 587 328 1099 Canada
+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
Emma Wallace is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Topic: St Paul's Hymn Sing-a-long Time: May 17, 2020 02:00 PM America/Toronto Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6088759725 Meeting ID: 608 875 9725 One tap mobile +14388097799,,6088759725# Canada +15873281099,,6088759725# Canada Dial by your location +1 438 809 7799 Canada +1 587 328 1099 Canada +1 647 374 4685 Canada +1 647 558 0588 Canada +1 778 907 2071 Canada Meeting ID: 608 875 9725
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/ktM40mOgk