Love Does No Wrong to a Neighbour

Sep 4, 2020 by

Preamble/Welcome:

Welcome back to MacNeill Baptist Church.  I hope the summer has been good to you. We will continue to gather “online” for the month of September, even as our plans are underway to return to in-person services at MacNeill for October 4th.  May God’s grace and peace be with each of you today, and may we become still in the Presence of God, as we listen to the prelude and prepare our hearts for worship.

 

Prelude        Prelude from Suite for Solo Cello No 1 in G major      J.S. Bach

                         ~performed by Denise Djokic

 

 

Lighting of the Christ Candle

(you may wish to light one in your home)

 

 

Together, We Come to God

 

 

Call to Worship 

People of God, open your eyes! Look around!

The presence of God is here—among us and within us.

So let us open our hearts and minds to the Spirit,

Laying aside the works of darkness

Let us put on the armor of light.

We are here to sing a new song—a song of God’s goodness and mercy,

Faithfulness and love.

Come, let us worship God.

~adapted from re-worship.blogspot.com

 

Hymn # 490 God of Grace and God of Glory

lyrics in video

 

 

Prayer of Approach

God of justice, peace and righteousness,

you call us to wake from sleep,

to become aware, and to love one another.

Breathe your breath, your energy, and your holy imagination on us,

for the dawn of a new era is upon us.

Renew us, that we might sing a new song of your glory

in a world that longs for justice and peace.

Infuse us with your light and love for the whole world,

and empower us to address the issues of injustice

in our world today with respect,

mutual dialogue and openness.  AMEN

 

 

Sung response

 

Text and music: © 2006, Barbara Bridge. Published by OCP. Reprinted with One License A-722822

 

 

God Speaks to Us

 

 

Old Testament Reading:  Exodus 12:1-14

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

 

Hymn: Psalm 149

Tune: LYONS (O Worship the King )

 

               1.  Give praise to our God and sing a new song,

Amid all the saints God’s praises prolong,

A song to your maker and ruler now raise,

All children of Zion, rejoice and give praise.

 

               2.  With timbrel and harp and joyful acclaim,

With gladness and mirth, we praise your great name;

For now, in your people your pleasure you seek,

With robes of salvation adorning the meek.

 

                 3.  In glory exult, you saints of the Word;

With songs in the night high praises accord;

Go forth in God’s service, be strong in Gods might

To conquer all evil and stand for the right.

 

(Key Change!!)

 

                 4.  For this is God’s word, the saints shall not fail.

But over the earth the humble prevail;

All rulers and nations shall yield to their sway,

To God give the glory; sing praises for aye.

Words: Psalter 1912, alt. 1996 Public Domain

 

 

Epistle Reading:  Romans 13:8-14

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

 

 

Musical Reflection  Make a channel of your peace    by St. Francis of Assisi

Dragon School Choir  

 

 

Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:15-20

“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

 

 

Reflection:   “Love Does No Wrong To A Neighbour”

 

Theologian Frederick Buechner writes: “Compassion is the… knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”

            Friends, the past months have brought much uncertainty into our lives. Dealing with a pandemic has not been our only concern but also the resulting economic turmoil. And then there is the ongoing anger and unrest in the world related to the long history of racial injustice. We continue to watch as the frustration over the treatment of our brothers and sisters of colour has spread across our country and around the globe.

The events of the past months to the present day have brought into stark relief the truth that the evils of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance are present in our society, in both explicit terms, as verbal and physical abuse, and in less explicit ways, more hidden, covert and unconscious.

The impacts of racism are profound. People bear the marks of poverty, disconnection, dysfunction, hopelessness, abuse, marginalization.

To talk about Racial Justice is an opportunity to name this wound and seek to find the balm to heal it.

Friends, a community of faith is the right place to engage in honest discussion about the deeply divisive, painful, and often confusing issues of racism and prejudice.

This is not an easy discussion, but as Christians, we must call things what they are. Church is a good place to put ourselves when we are feeling uncomfortable. Churches that take the Good News seriously will often cause us to feel uncomfortable, because the Good News brings change and transformation into our lives, and change and transformation are rarely comfortable experiences.

I believe that it is through honest discussion that is free from shame and defensiveness, where we can share both the speakable and the unspeakable with compassion, where we can listen to the experiences of others and be transformed by those experiences, that we can bring light, hope and peace to the darkness and suspicion and violence that many experience every day.

First, we need to acknowledge that each of us has prejudices. Every one of us wrestles with the implicit biases of our own world and our own time. We will not be able to offer healing if we do not acknowledge this up front. I myself must be willing to acknowledge that I am privileged. My life has never been hard or insecure because of the colour of my skin.

Also we cannot be at arm’s length, imagining that any discussion of racism is a discussion of history and theory. For persons of colour, for those who experience religious hatred or bigotry, or prejudice of any kind, it is a lived reality. Racism and prejudice are not problems for the excluded to solve. They are problems for all of us to solve. All of us must speak up and stand up.

What then does our faith say about this? What does the Gospel of Jesus Christ speak into this moment?

When Jesus began his ministry, he remade and renamed things. He called things clean that other people were calling unclean. He called acceptable what other people called unacceptable. He loved and included people that other people hated and excluded.

He proclaimed the reign of God – an upside-down world where the poor are blessed and the meek inherit the earth. He asked his followers to share this ministry of compassion – to be his hands and feet, his voice in the world.

The apostle Paul, understanding Christ’s spirit of compassion, of inclusion and love of all people, wrote to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” In other words, we see others differently because what we see is shaped by our relationship with God in Christ, informed by who we are as followers of Christ.

The Good News of Jesus Christ calls us to condemn in the strongest of terms, with our words and actions, privilege and exclusion of all kinds.

We are called to condemn clearly and unequivocally the insidious evil of hatred, racism, bigotry, prejudice, cruelty, violence, white supremacy. Ours is a call to put privilege on the line in the name of Christ. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “We are not simply to bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice; we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

We are called to continue to acknowledge the past, even as we take steps that lead us to a new and brighter future.

We are called to look inward and to face our own past, and our present.

We are called to listen to the stories of others.

We are called to be healing communities, working for deliberate, consistent and constant action in the struggle for racial justice.

We are called to plant seeds of reconciliation, seeds of compassion, understanding, respect, honour, and love, and by God’s grace become part of the growth and flourishing of the realm of God – that realm of peace, justice, equality and love.

Let us keep our eyes on Jesus and our feet in the march towards the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Let us keep moving forward to a day when all humans are treated equally as sisters and brothers, children of God, where the hungry, both spiritually and physically, will be filled and their tears wiped away. This is our calling as followers of Christ. We are the ones sent to live this Good News.

So let us proclaim God’s great love for the whole world, the all-inclusive love of Christ, in which there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, for we all are God’s children. In the words of our epistle, let us clothe ourselves in Jesus Christ, that others may see him in us by how we live our lives with justice, kindness and humility.

In the great arc of life, and in the small decisions of our days, we know how much fuller everything is when our communities are open and diverse and everyone knows that they are welcome, honoured, and beloved. The heart of Christ is closer to us when we walk together, and listen to one another. In all we do, as disciples of Jesus, may our actions proclaim the barrier-breaking, bridge-building, all-inclusive love of God.

The apostle Paul said, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; … love does no wrong to a neighbour.”

May it be so, O God. May it be so! Amen      

 

 

We Respond to God

 

 

Hymn of Response  # 736 For the healing of the nations

Tune: REGENT SQUARE (Angels from the realms)

 

                1.  For the healing of the nations, Lord, we pray with one accord,

For a just and equal sharing of the things that earth affords.

To a life of love in action help us rise and pledge our word.

 

                2.  All that kills abundant living, let it from the earth be banned,

Pride of status, race or schooling, dogmas that obscure your plan.

In one common quest for justice may we hallow life’s brief span.

 

                3.  You, Creator God, have written your great name on humankind;

For our growing in your likeness bring the life of Christ to mind,

That, by our response and service, earth its destiny may find.

Words©1968 Hope Publishing Reprinted with One License A-722822

 

 

The Offering of Gifts   Allemande from Suite for Solo Cello No 1 in G major   J.S. Bach

~performed by Denise Djokic

 

 

Sung Response 

 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Praise God all creatures here below.

Praise God above ye heavenly hosts.

Creator, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Text: © 1989, Hope Publishing Company. Reprinted with One License A-722822

 

 

 

Prayers of the People  

 

Let us pray

Loving God, we gather this day in the joy of fellowship with you, and with one another, to praise you, to lift our hearts to you in prayer, to hear the hymns of faith, and to meditate upon our circumstance and upon our response to your love for us.

We thank you for the gift of life given through Jesus Christ. He came among us preaching Good News to all, healing the sick and comforting the lonely. He showed us your Way, and gathered us together into one family.

Open our eyes to our relationship with the whole of creation and to our relatedness with all people around the world. We are part of a long line of diverse brothers and sisters who have more in common than anything that can ever seek to divide us. Teach us to open our hearts and our spirits with generous hospitality to all people.

Let us not be weary in well-doing as we confront injustice, hatred, bigotry, poverty, apathy, racism, unfair allegations, intolerance, sexism. Give us courage, strength and perseverance to challenge the systems of racism that often make it clear that some lives matter more than others. Help us to understand how racism finds life in our hearts and then may we commit ourselves to be people of your way. Make us to be instruments of your peace, acknowledging peace cannot exist without justice, equity, compassion and grace for all people.

We pray for peace in our world, a peace which is not simply the absence of violence and conflict, but rather the full protection of everyone’s rights. May the day soon come when  people everywhere can live in security and know the comforts of plenty of food, water and shelter. We ask you to pour your Spirit upon our yearning, fearful world. Soothe us with the warmth and safety of your love.

Gracious God, we remember before you all whose lives have been touched by tragedy, whether by accident or a deliberate act. For those who mourn: enfold them in your love and lead them through this darkness into your arms, and light. For those who comfort: be in both the words they use and all that is left unspoken; fill each heart with love.

We pray for those who share our life, for the ones who care for us, and for the ones who need our care. We pray for their wholeness and health. We remember Gini’s friend, Jim, grant him and his family your peace, and we pray for Nancy, a friend in the community, and her family, be a source of comfort and strength to them as they face pain and anxiety.

We pray for those directly affected by COVID-19 – health care providers, essential workers, the sick and their families, those who are burdened by feelings of insecurity, and those frightened by what lies ahead of them. Grant to each your peace and strengthening presence.

On this Labour Day Sunday, we pray for all who work. We thank you for the opportunity of work, and we pray for those who find themselves without work, many of whom are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads in this time of economic difficulty and uncertainty.

As schools reopen, we pray for the safety and well-being of students, teachers, other education workers and support staff. There is so much that is unknown about going back to school in the midst of a panademic. God, we pray for best outcomes.

We ask these things in the name of Christ Jesus who taught his disciples to pray saying,

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen

 

Closing Hymn  # 730 O for a world where everyone  

(lyrics in video)

 

 

 

Benediction

As you go forth into this new week,

Go with hope,

Walk in the light of the Lord,

and continue to pray for peace and justice in our world.

For we go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

AMEN

 

 

Sung Dismissal

 

Tune and Text © 1995, Desert Flower Music/Jim and Jean Strathdee. Reprinted with One License A-722822

 

 

Postlude  Courante  from Suite for Solo Cello  No. 1 in G major          J.S. Bach   

                        ~performed by Denise Djokic

  

 

2020 09 06 MacNeill News and Notes

 

With gratitude to Terry Dempsey for the message and pastoral prayer today; Leanne Tees for selecting our music; and Bev Leslie for making this service available on our website.

~Jennifer Nettleton, Coordinator of Worship

 

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