Windsor Park United Church

Bulletin – Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday, July 12, 2020
Communion

Approach

Lighting the Christ Candle

This candle dances with the presence of the Spirit, reminding us of the warmth of the community in which God calls us to gather and the light that shines with wisdom, insight, and clarity for us in our time of worship.

Call to Worship

God of life and love.
We rejoice in your abundant gifts.

God of all peoples and places,
We celebrate your generosity and grace.

God of the earth and the heavens,
We praise you for your provision.

You visit the earth and water it,
Softening it with showers and blessing its growth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys,
From your lofty abode you water the mountains.

God of life and love,
We come to worship this day, blessing your holy name.

Hymn – “Praise With Joy The World’s Creator”

Praise with joy the world’s Creator,
God of justice, love, and peace,
Source and end of human knowledge,
God whose grace shall never cease.
Celebrate the Maker’s glory,
Power to rescue and release.

Praise to Christ who feeds the hungry,
Frees the captive, finds the lost,
Heals the sick, upsets religion,
Fearless both of fate and cost.
Celebrate Christ’s constant presence:
Friend and stranger, guest and host.

Praise the Spirit sent among us,
Liberating truth from pride,
Forging bonds where race or gender,
Age or nation dare divide.
Celebrate the Spirit’s treasure:
Foolishness none dare deride.

Praise the Maker, Christ, and Spirit,
One God in community,
Calling Christians to embody
Oneness and diversity.
This the world shall see reflected.
God is One and One in Three.

Prayer

Loving God, in your compassion and love for us you created all that there is; giving us a home, food to eat, shelter to live in, and beauty to admire. We come together to give our thanks for all of your creation.

Yet we know that the Divine Gardener cannot sow seeds of justice and peace where there is nothing but hearts of dry, hard rocks. We confess that our hearts may need tilling and the digging out of the deeply rooted sins that crowd out seedlings planted with divine compassion.

God of steadfast love, you change bitter tears of remorseful hearts with raindrops of mercy. Now let us germinate a new life, growing with integrity!

God of steadfast love, you change the cold shame of contrite hearts with sunrays of mercy. Now let us sprout a new life, growing with honesty!

God of steadfast love, you change the stony edges of repentant hearts into landscapes of mercy. Now let us branch out into new life, growing with generosity! Amen.

Words of Assurance

Time for All Ages

Hymn – “In the Garden”

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear;
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He give to me,
Within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Tho’ the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; thro’ the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

The Word

Scripture Reading:

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God!

Meditation – “The Sower and the Seeds”

Solo – “Good Soil”

The Response

Communion

This is what God’s kingdom is like: a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes. And there’s always room for more.

This is Christ’s table. It’s not my table, it’s not your table. It’s not the United Church of Canada’s table. It’s Christ’s table. Anyone who is hungry is welcome to this table. Jesus makes the invitation list, not us. That’s deeply appealing to people who long for communion with God, their neighbour, and even with their enemies. The table has always been one of the most powerful counter-culture truths of Christianity. It’s about gathering around this table and recognizing my needs, my neighbour’s needs, and eating from the Bread of Life, given for the life of the world.

Being ready to receive is one of the most vulnerable and sacred positions a person can have.

From the beginning of time people have been receiving the gifts of God. From Miriam who danced, Joseph and Esau who forgave, Thomas who doubted, and Deborah who shared her wisdom, we come to this table hoping to receive the gifts of God.

This table has been set for all. This is for the ones who are laughing with their friends, the ones who have tears streaming down their faces, the ones who are the clowns, the ones who got picked on, the ones who are wearing designer jeans or pyjamas, the ones with mischievous grins, the ones who are wrestling with doubts and questions.

And when we didn’t open our hearts to receive the gifts of God, God sent the most precious gifts in a baby. Jesus came to be among us to be prophet and priest, healer and revolutionary. It’s about getting out of the way and letting Jesus do his thing. Jesus is present. Jesus is here. And Jesus is enough. Your insufficiency, my insufficiency is kind of the point. None of us are up for the task, but Christ is up for the task. It’s about Christ having already done right by us on the cross.

It’s an expression of our needs, our helplessness. Sometimes we like to think we’ve got it all together. Receiving communion reminds us of how desperately we need God, how desperately we need grace, how much we need the people next to us, even if we don’t get along, even if we might perceive them to be our enemies.  We need communion in our lives and the lives of those we love. We lift up to you those who we hope feel the transforming power of communion with God in their lives…

This table is enough, God is enough. It is a beautiful, sufficient, powerful means of grace. And it is always enough.

The main thing is to get out of the way and let God move in our lives. To keep in mind that what makes the Gospel offensive is not who it keeps out, who it keeps away from the table, it’s who it invites in. That’s what makes the Gospel powerful and counter-culture, and even offensive to some.

This is the Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven.

Holy God, cast our minds back to ancient words and ancient ways, as we remember long ago when Jesus gathered with his friends to share a meal together. Jesus transformed the meaning of this meal to be a remembrance of his actions.

He took the bread and blessing it he gave it to his friends, who had gathered, saying every time you eat this bread remember me. After they ate together Jesus took the cup, pouring wine into the cup, he passed it to his friends saying, every time that you drink from this cup, remember me.

He instructed his friends to eat together, and every time they did, they should break bread and share the cup, and remember him.

We have preserved this ancient practice to this day, gathering around the table to share bread and wine and to remember Jesus.

Gather us now as outcasts and oddballs. Gather us in our helplessness. Gather us in our spiritual hunger and our search for a deeper experience of your love.

We remember Jesus’ death and celebrate his resurrection; we await with hope his coming again to bring peace and justice to the earth; and we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

Send, O God, your Holy Spirit upon us and what we do here, that we and these gifts, touched by your Spirit, may be signs of life and live to one another, and to the world.

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory is yours, God most holy, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer after Sharing

My past, O God, I entrust to your mercy. My presence to your love. My future to your guidance. We have been nourished at your table, let us go from this place knowing that you go with us, that your love will sustain us, and that your grace will enfold us, as we make our way in the world. Amen.

Hymn – “Soil of God, You and I”

Soil of God, you and I, stand ready to bear
Seeds of faith nourished by God’s tender care.
Growing in everyone for here
God is found.
All stand together, we are…
Holy ground.

Soil of God, you and I, now ready to be
Part of God’s promise, for others to see.
Open to everyone for here God is found.
All stand together, we are…
Holy ground.

Soil of God, you and I, now called to rebirth,
Joining as partners with all of the earth,
Living in harmony for here God is found.
All stand together, this is…
Holy ground.

Benediction

You were called here to worship, and now you are just as surely called into the world to share the love of God with your neighbours, opening your heart to them, whoever they may be, wherever they may be found, just as Jesus did Amen.

(adapted from George Allan, Gathering Pentecost 1 2020, page 47)

Response

Praise God, praise God.
Praise in the morning, praise in the noon time.
Praise God, praise God.
Praise when the sun goes down.