Of Parables, Seeds, and Boats.
Jesus social distances in a boat and we who listen wear masks. Oh, and some seeds get sown. Nothing unusual here...
Sunday, July 12th,
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!
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.
In the summer of these extraordinary times, let us open our hearts and minds to God's presence.
Music: Our first piece of music today is an old-favourite: "Be Still My Soul," words by Katharina von Schlegal in 1752, and music (Finlandia) by Jean Sibelius, 1899. In this unique rendition, Michael Endridge sings four-part harmony.
Lighting of your 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: This week's reading is from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 13: 1- 23; "The Parable of the Sower and the Seed." Gwen has kindly offered to read this for us.
Sermon. “Parables and Boats” by Rev. Dan.
Music: "Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore."
The beauty of spring has given way to the sultry days of summer. 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 continues.
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!
Closing Prayer: You have the option of listening to the prayer in the video below, reading it silently or aloud with the words further below the video, or both!
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 you’re 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 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: A musical blessing by John Rutter, sung by the Batavia Madrigal Singers:
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. Be mindful of the seeds you plant: they, like us, need nurturing, support, and love. And there may be storms.
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 7 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.
Thank you to Gwen for her reading of Scripture.
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: July 12th, 2020 11:30 AM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 829 432 3094
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+1 647 558 0588 Canada
+1 778 907 2071 Canada
+1 438 809 7799 Canada
Meeting ID: 829 432 3094