Sunday Guided Tour -  Second Sunday after Pentecost  - June 14, 20120

 

   Here is the link to the worship service 

   Read the text below at your leisure or follow along with Rev. Jim McKnight and and Rick Young, Music Director. 

                                             https://youtu.be/bwPp3O3h8DY

            You can also access this at Facebook : Friends of TrinityUnitedChurchThorold.

   A Sunday Guided Tour                      

   Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our Sunday Guided Tour for June 14.  In a very real way, this Sunday could be   characterized as a kind of low Sunday, caught between last Sunday, which was Trinity and Pride and Union and                   Beaverdams Sunday, and next Sunday, which is Indigenous Day of Prayer and Father’s Day.   But the readings for today     seem to lift us out of anything we might otherwise call “low”.  They provide, in part, the sense of delight experienced         within the Judeo-Christian faith tradition through the ages, and offer an example of how the non-gospel readings for       the day serve to help interpret the designated gospel reading.

 

  Please join with me as we begin today’s service with prayer:

 

  God of love and hope, of healing and encouragement and promise, we come again together in your Spirit, all as one.  We   come with longing and with prayers, weary of the distancing of days and ways that keep from each other and from             others in our love; days that have held dear friends in quarantine too long; days of turmoil, fraught with prejudice,             mistrust, brutality, misunderstanding and injustice.  Make the dawn of justice and of peace to break upon us, and               through our prayers and in the wisdom that is scripture, help us know our care for one another and your world to be a     sacred trust  -  for Jesus’ sake.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

  

Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.  Hymn #264

1      Immortal, invisible, God only wise;

        in light inaccessible hid from our eyes;

        most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

        almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

 

2      Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

        nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;

        thy justice like mountains high soaring above

        thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

 

3      To all, life thou givest, to both great and small;

        in all life thou livest, the true life of all;

        we blossom and flourish like leaves on the tree,

        then wither and perish; but naught changeth thee.

4      Thou reignest in glory, thou rulest in light;

        thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;

        all praise we would render, O help us to see

       'tis only the splendour of light hideth thee!

 

   One of the most enjoyable things for me about our Sunday Guided Tours is that they provide an opportunity to engage      a bit more fully with the biblical texts.  In addition, and hopefully, the Guided Tours encourage us to consider how the     different readings relate to one another and connect.  Much of my time with biblical studies at Emmanuel College was     assigned to examining a particular passage and then asking, “Is this the only passage that addresses a particular                 teaching, or are there other passages that maybe tell us something different?”  The truth is that much of Christian             theology is devoted to the exercise of discerning a consistent message in a work that is full of inconsistencies.  Some         people would tell you differently.  They’d suggest the Bible is consistent in its teachings.  But that would be misleading,     and incorrect.  The Bible tells us different things about the same concern and, naturally enough, people pick and               choose to suit their different purposes.  I mean, using the same Bible as their authority, some well-meaning Christian       people make the case for a God of judgment.  We, on the other hand, champion the notion of a God of love; of                     unconditional love, and the notion of a God whose judgment is love.  I suppose I could have it wrong, but I’m pretty sure   the message that is Jesus is one most surely  of God’s love.

 

  But this conflicted nature of the Bible’s inner library is part of what I love so much about the Bible: it reflects the                 inconsistencies experienced by the community of faith throughout the ages, and the inconsistencies that are so much       part of our own and human life experience.  The Bible has a lot to say.  And it’s our understanding of the Bible’s content   which is shaped and guided by the wisdom of the ages, and the living Spirit of a loving God.  And in the life and witness   of the Risen, living Christ, we are assured the consistency and constant of the Bible message is the unerring love of           God, a love that never falters, or forsakes us, but guides us into strength and strength of healing for ourselves and for       each other in the world.  It’s a timely and inspired truth in the face of the ignorance of racism and injustice!

 

   Please join with me as we offer this day’s prayer for illumination.  Let us pray:

   Gracious Holy Spirit, secure us in the promise and the presence of your hope, and strengthen us in heart and hand that   we may serve your love in all our days to come.  We pray in Jesus’ name, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

 

  Our initial reading for today comes to us from Genesis, the First Book of the Bible.  It tells the story of a totally unlikely     promise made by God, and of the joy and the delight of that same promise met in full.  Hear what the story has to tell us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7.  (New Revised Standard Version)

       A son promised to Abraham and Sarah; the birth of Isaac

1.     The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day.

2      He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet     t.           them, and bowed down to the ground.

3      He said, “My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant.

4      Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.

5      Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on  -  since you have come           to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”

6      And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead           it, and make cakes.”

7      Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.

8     Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under           the tree while they ate.

9     They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”

10    Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was                     listening at the tent entrance behind him.

11     Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12    So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”

13    The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’

14    Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a                 son.”

15     But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. The Lord, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”

 

   The birth of Isaac (21:1-7)

1.     The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised.

2      Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him.

3      Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him.

4      And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.

5      Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

6      Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”

7      And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in         his old age.”

 

       And we say “Amen” to the story of Abraham and Sarah.

 

   I must admit, this is one of my favourite Bible stories.  I suspect there are more than just a few women out there (and        men) who cringe at the idea of having a baby in their nineties. But the reaction of Sarah isn’t that.  It’s different.  Sarah      laughs.  Many artistic renditions of the story picture Sarah demurely laughing behind a curtain of the tent, unseen.            And in Sarah’s time and place, her laugh is pretty scandalous!  It’s not just anybody who makes her a promise.  It’s the      Lord who makes the promise .. and she laughs!  A bolt of lightning from the heavens should have probably ensued.  But    it doesn’t.  Instead, we’re told the Lord says, “Why did you laugh?”  Sarah then denies it (as if she could).  And the Lord      responds, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”  It’s as though the Lord gets pensive, and reflective, and reveals a touch of                      insecurity.  It’s a picture of the Divine Presence that surely is unique.  We really have to love it, and maybe smile a bit        ourselves ..  just like Sarah.

  But the delights    and intricacies of the passage aren’t resolved in Sarah’s laughter.  There is so much more.  There is a      subtlety and wisdom to the Torah of which we, as English-speaking Christians, are so often unaware.  

 

   We are told that Abraham “looked up and saw three men standing near him.”  Rabbinical studies assert that, as in some    Canaanite literature of the time, we are to perhaps imagine a deity accompanied by his two attendants.  In this reading    from the Book of Genesis we get the feeling we’re in touch with something primal to the faith.  It can take us back, if we   just let it, and draw us right into the story.

 

  When we look at verses 3-8, we’re struck by the contrast between Abraham’s self-deprecating language (a little water, a   morsel of bread) and the enormous efforts to which he goes to serve his guests (6 And Abraham hastened into the tent     to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7 Abraham ran to the   herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8 Then he took curds and     milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them.)

 

  Now that’s good story-telling!  A morsel and a little water, indeed!

 

   In verse 12 of the passage, we read: “So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old,    shall I have pleasure?’”  But it’s unlikely that we hear her words as echoing the parallel passage from the chapter just       preceding, where we’re told her husband, Abraham, on hearing the same promise, “17 [falls] on his face and [laughs],         and [says] to himself, ‘Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear   a child?’”  And from that, do we appreciate that Abraham and Sarah then name their son “Isaac”, which, in English,           translates “laughter”?

  

  We so miss the delights and intricacies of the Hebrew texts and the foundations of the faith we share in common when     we only read in English.

 

And we totally miss the gracious subtlety of verse 13, where the Lord’s citation to Abraham of Sarah’s monologue is not quite accurate.  In effect, the Lord misquotes Sarah as saying: “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” when she actually says (in verse 12), “when my husband is old?”  The rabbis observe that the Lord makes the misquote in order to spare the couple the discord that might have come had Abraham known Sarah’s true thought.

 

How delightful, how endearing, how subtle, and how kind!  It just makes us want to know the text more fully, to know our God more nearly, and read the Bible more slowly  -  and with questions, and with care.

 

  And then, the promise is fulfilled.  “5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him,” the Bible     tells us.  And Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.  Who would ever       have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

  The promise is fulfilled.  Joy and laughter are a product.  A tender trust arises with their God.

 

  Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour.  Hymn #665

1      Pass me not, O gentle Saviour,

        hear my humble cry;

        while on others thou art calling,

        do not pass me by.

        Saviour, Saviour,

        hear my humble cry;

        while on others thou art calling,

        do not pass me by.

 

2      Let me at thy throne of mercy

        find a sweet relief,

        kneeling there in deep contrition;

        help my unbelief.  R

 

3      Trusting only in thy merit,

        would I seek thy face;

        heal my wounded, broken spirit,

       save me by thy grace.  R

 

4     Thou the spring of all my comfort,

        more than life to me,

        whom have I on earth beside thee?

        Whom in heaven but thee?  R

 

   [Rick:]

  The second reading for today is Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 

    Thanksgiving for healing

   The United Church resource, Gathering, directs us to the rendition of the psalm in Voices United,  

  and this is what we find:

 

  Refrain: 

        How can I repay you, God, for all the goodness you show to me?

        I love you, God, because you heard my voice

        when I made supplication,

        because you turned your ear to me,

        when I called upon your name.

        The cords of death entangled me, 

       and the pangs of the Grave laid hold on me;

        I suffered distress and anguish.

       Then I called upon the name of God:

        'O God, I pray, save my life.'  R

 

        How can I repay you, God,

        for all the good things you have done for me?

        I will take up the cup of salvation,

        and call upon the name of God.

        I will pay my vows in the presence of all God's people. R

 

        Precious in the sight of God is the death of the saints.

        O God, I am your servant;

        I am your servant, the child of your maidservant.

        You have freed me from my bonds.

        I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,

        and will call upon the name of God.

        I will pay my vows to God in the presence of all God's people,

        in the courts of the house of God, in your midst,

        O Jerusalem.  R

 

  The rendition of the psalm in Voices United is not exactly faithful to the lectionary designation.  The lectionary assigns     Psalm 116, verses 1 and 2 and verses 16 to 19.  The reading from Voices United doesn’t quite comply.  As you can see, the     verses in the Voices United passage are not numbered.  For your homework, then, I would ask that you look up the             passage in your Bibles at home, assign the corresponding verse numbers to the reading from Voices United, and                 observe the differences between the lectionary designation and Voices United.  (I actually give you a hint in this                 morning’s Guided Tour.)  Compare the wording in Voices United with the wording in your Bibles.  There will be                 differences.  Fear not!  Have some fun.  And then ask why the lectionary assigns the verses that it does, and what                 difference it all makes.  These questions are consistent with part of the purpose of our Sunday Guided Tours which asks   us to take the time, ask questions, and expand our understanding of the Bible.

 

  As well, I ask you to please note the title that’s been given to the psalm.  It’s instructive.  It sets the context for our             understanding and interpretation.  If there were no title given, we might derive a meaning and intention that is                 different.  So I ask you please to read the psalm, decide what title you would give, and then research the titles assigned     in other translations of the Bible.  You might find that the alternate titles are by intention of the authors, and serve the     cause of their specific doctrines.  

 

  Looking briefly at the psalm, though, (Reminder: all the readings for today are posted on the church’s website!) an             initial observation we might make is that the biblical translation is rendered in the present tense:  “I love you God             because you hear my voice; I make supplication; you turn your ear to me; when I call on your name.”  For the psalmist,     the chosen tense is as present as the psalmist’s God.  

 

  In verse13, “the cup of salvation” is probably better translated from the Hebrew as “the cup of deliverance.”  Deliverance   better reflects the experience of the Jewish tradition; salvation tends to Christianize the reading, to better accord with     Christian purpose and with doctrine.  Translations in the Christian Bible often do this.  It’s especially noticeable in free   renderings and paraphrases of the biblical text, so serious readers of the Bible should be cautious.  We should follow the   recommendation made in Matthew’s gospel (which actually is contained in the Gospel reading for today) that                       commends we be as shrewd as snakes! 

 

  Continuing with the psalm, the phrasing, “precious in the sight of God is the death of the saints” is probably more             correctly translated as “grievous in the sight of God is the death of God’s faithful ones.”  Translation as saints is, again,     particularly congenial to the Christian listener, although the English translation into “precious” is legitimate.  In Psalm     72, the same Hebrew word is rendered in translation as: “Their blood is precious in God’s sight,” and rabbinical studies     accordingly suggest that God does not wish his adherents to die; therefore the psalmist is reassured that God will keep     him alive.  It’s a pretty strong profession of the psalmist’s faith!

 

  “I am your servant, the child of your maidservant” is an epithet of extreme humility which the modern reader would         never discern and “freed me from my bonds” makes reference to an illness which, at its gravest, might find description     in verse 3 which bewails “the cords of death.”

 

  The psalm, as all the psalms, reflects and gives definition to the human condition.  It’s unequivocal, and honest.  It tells     it like it is.  And the psalmist says:

 

        I love you, God, 

        because you heard my voice when I made supplication,

        because you turned your ear to me when I called upon your name.

        The cords of death entangled me;

        the pangs of the Grave laid hold on me;

        I suffered distress and anguish.

        Then I called upon [your] name:

         'O God, I pray you, save my life.'

        And you freed me from my bonds.

 

   In the story of Abraham and Sarah, we hear of God who makes a promise and fulfills it; of God who reflects and has         self-doubts, perhaps; who intercedes on our behalf and keeps us safe.  In the psalm, we hear of God who hears our           prayers and supplications, and who answers; and whose answers give us life. 

 

  Ministry of Music  -  What a Friend We Have in Jesus

 

  The epistle for today is a reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Church in Rome.  The passage includes these words       (verses 2b-5), which have become so familiar in the Christian tradition:

 

 2.    And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

3      Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

4      perseverance, character; and character, hope.

5      And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,         who has been given to us.

 

   As I have said on a number of occasions, I’m not always sure what Paul is saying.  For me, his letters are often a tad           convoluted and complex, and I’m not always particularly clear on what he’s getting at.  My reservations hold true for         today’s particular reading (Romans 5:1-8).  

 

   But we know, historically, Paul was suffering persecution from authorities in Rome, just as the early Christians were       suffering persecution from authorities everywhere who were antagonistic to the nascent faith.  It helps our                         understanding of Paul’s letter that we also know the early Christians thought that Christ’s return was imminent; that       whatever suffering they were experiencing would soon be over, and that they would be translated into heaven.  

 

   “We glory in our sufferings,” [says the Apostle,] “because we know that suffering produces perseverance;                              4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been           poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

 

  Paul’s statement was addressed to a particular community of faith, at a particular place in time, for a particular reason.   When he wrote his letter, I hardly think Paul had in mind generations of Christian congregations still to come.   I hardly   think he saw it turned into scripture.  Paul wrote it to a Christian congregation in 1st Century Rome who would find         abiding comfort in his words, especially if they thought of God as One who makes a promise and fulfills it; who reflects     and has self-doubts, perhaps; who intercedes on our behalf and keeps us safe; who hears our prayers and                           supplications, and who answers, and whose answers give us life; a God in Christ who loves us and who saves our lives       and heals us, and has transformed Paul from zealous persecutor to impassioned evangelist!

   

  And then we have the Gospel Reading for today that’s from Matthew (Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)). This is what we hear:

 

  Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)  (New International Version)

  Jesus teaches and heals, and sends out the Twelve

35    Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the                     kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

36    When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without        a shepherd.  

37    Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

38    Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

       (10:1-8)

1       Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal                                 every disease and sickness.

2      These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of           Zebedee, and his brother John;

3      Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

4      Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5      These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the           Samaritans.

6      Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

7      As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’

8      Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received;

        freely give.”

 

  Progressive Christian scholars say the words assigned to Jesus in this passage really are the words of Matthew, the             evangelist.  Matthew writes in a post-resurrection era. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord              of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field,” are words that belong to the Early Church, not to             Jesus.  Birth was given to the Church, not in Jesus’ time, but after he was crucified and buried and then raised from           death; so we say that words belonging to the Church come from a post-resurrection era.  Notwithstanding, they still are   valid, and give life and meaning to the faithful.  As was Paul, Matthew is addressing a faith community in despair but         expecting Christ’s return as imminent, and his promise is in Jesus’ name encouragement and hope, and the assurance     that the hardships that they face will well be worth it.

  Just the same as Abraham and Sarah, as the Psalmist, and as Matthew and St. Paul, we confess in heart and soul a God       of deep compassion and of love; a God who knows us and who cares for us, and ever loves; who hears our prayers, and     answers; who shares with us self-doubts, and understands; who loves us utterly, and first, and without waiver, before       we ever could love him; who knows the message of the Gospel that is love and life for all will be at every turn diverted       and deflected and dismissed, but who tells us to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves to overcome the             ignorance and hatred that oppress the world:  

  because Jesus says to us:  you know that I am with you, every moment, every day, giving strength in community and           honesty, and in protest that demands life and life for all in all abundance!

 

  This is the message and the promise of the faith;

  it is the prayer of God, who cares, and shares our doubts, and understands;

  whose love meets us in a Son, and heart-to-heart.

  Thanks be to God!

O Jesus, I Have Promised. Hymn #120

1      O Jesus, I have promised to serve you to the end;

        remain for ever near me, my Saviour and my friend:

        I shall not fear the journey if you are by my side,

       nor wander from the pathway if you will be my guide.

 

2     O let me feel you near me: the world is ever near;

        I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear;

        my foes are ever near me, around me and within;

        but, Jesus, then draw nearer and shield my soul from sin.

 

3      O let me hear you speaking in accents clear and still,

        above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will;

        O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control;

        now speak, and make me listen, O guardian of my soul.

 

4      O Jesus, you have promised to all who follow you,

        that where you are in glory your servant shall be too.

        And Jesus, I have promised to serve you to the end;

        O give me grace to follow, my Saviour and my friend.

 

  Commissioning and Benediction:

  (after George Allan, Chatham, Ontario) 

        Jesus said,

        “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

        Go forth to be life and truth.

        [In the love and power of the Holy Spirit]

        go forth to point to the Way

        for family, friend, and stranger;

        for all are neighbours and one body in Christ Jesus.

       And know that Christ goes with you.

       Amen.

 

       Postlude  -  Joyful, Joyful We Adore You

  Bible Readings for June 14, 2020

   Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7  (New Revised Standard Version)

   A son promised to Abraham and Sarah; the birth of Isaac

1.     The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day.

2      He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet                   them, and bowed down to the ground.

3      He said, “My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant.

4      Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.

5      Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that at you may pass on  -  since you have                  come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”

6     And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures[c] of choice flour, knead         it, and make cakes.”

7      Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.

8     Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under           the tree while they ate.

9      They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”

10    Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was                     listening at the tent entrance behind him.

11     Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12    So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”

13    The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’

14    Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall

        have a son.”

15    But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”

 

  The birth of Isaac (21:1-7)

1.     The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised.

2      Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him.

3      Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him.

4      And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.

5      Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

6      Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”

7       And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son             in his old age.”

 

   Psalm 116   (Voices United)

   Thanksgiving for healing

       Refrain:  How can I repay you, God, for all the goodness you show to me?

 

        I love you, God, because you heard my voice

        when I made supplication,

        because you turned your ear to me,

        when I called upon your name.

        The cords of death entangled me, 

        and the pangs of the Grave laid hold on me;

        I suffered distress and anguish.

        Then I called upon the name of God:

         'O God, I pray, save my life.'  R

 

        How can I repay you, God,

        for all the good things you have done for me?

        I will take up the cup of salvation,

        and call upon the name of God.

        I will pay my vows in the presence of all God's people. R

 

       Precious in the sight of God is the death of the saints.

        O God, I am your servant;

        I am your servant, the child of your maidservant.

        You have freed me from my bonds.

        I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,

        and will call upon the name of God.

        I will pay my vows to God in the presence of all God's people,

        in the courts of the house of God, in your midst,

         O Jerusalem.  R

 

   Romans 5:1-8  (New International Version)

  A Living Hope through it all

 

1.     Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2      through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of               the glory of God.

3      Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

4.     perseverance, character; and character, hope.

5      And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,         who has been given to us.

6      You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

7       Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.

8      But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

  Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)  (New International Version)

  Jesus teaches and heals, and sends out the Twelve

35    Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the                     kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

36    When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without         a shepherd.

37    Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

38    Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

 

   (10:1-8)

1.     Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease         and sickness.

2     These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of             Zebedee, and his brother John;

3      Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

4      Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5      These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the           Samaritans.

6      Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

7      As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’

8      Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received;

        freely give.

(9-23)

9     “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—

10    no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.

11     Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave.

12     As you enter the home, give it your greeting.

13     If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.

14    If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

15     Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

16    “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

17     Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.

18     On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.

19    But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,

20    for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21    “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them           put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

   Pastoral Morning Prayer                            

   Loving God, we thank you for the living promises of faith that come to us the stories of the faithful: of Abraham and         Sarah, the lives of Paul and of the psalmist, the gospel-writers, the life recorded of a Son and Saviour, who in the Spirit     dwells with us today  -  among us and in body and in soul.  And help us know you  -  in body and in soul, in mind and       hand and heart  -  as God of deep compassion and of love; God who knows us and who cares for us, and ever loves; who   hears our prayers, and answers; who shares with us self-doubts, and understands; who loves us utterly, and first, and       without waiver, before we ever could love you.  Gracious Saviour, by the Spirit bring us close to you and one another, so   we can live well your love in such a world as this.  We pray in Jesus’ name.

  And Gracious God, we pray today that we might have new eyes to see with, new hearts with which to feel and                     understand, and a determination born of faith, to commit to righting wrongs and to contest the status quo.  To do it is     to embrace a clear tradition that is Jesus, whose living speaks to us and says to us, “I am here for life for all, and healing;   for breaking down the walls and practices that set us one against the other, and favour prejudice and power “over”,           ignorance and hurt.  I am here to give you life, so you can live for one another.”  We hear your prayer, O God, that we         would care for one another just the same way that you care for us.

 

  And so, we pray you help  us to embrace with eagerness and hope new notions and new configurations of policing, new   structures and possibilities for effective social caring, new eyes and hearts for seeing racist constructs and foundations,   and new ears to hear the cries and stories, the supplications and demands of all our fellow beings for so long wronged     by hurts and by the deadly and dehumanizing powers of injustice.  Gracious Saviour, wake us up, we pray, and take us       with you into a world made new.

 

  And finally, dear Lord, we pray for wisdom and compassion, generosity and patience, as we begin new phases of                 recovery from this pandemic.  Help us to be cautious and attentive to the risks that we all face  -  health and job, alike,     and economic  -  and make the “powers that be” direct their power for the good, and good of all.  Dear Lord, we pray for   peace; and all in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Trinity United Church Thorold 

905-227-4644  /  tuc@vaxxine.ca