"A Village Church With A Heart For The World"

Christ United Church

12 Perth St., PO Box 113, Lyn, ON, K0E 1M0
(613)498-0281 (Phone)   (613)498-2589 (Fax)


 lynunitedchurch@cogeco.net                   www.lynunitedchurch.com                  Follow on Twitter:  @Ch1United

 

February 21, 2021

Minister:  Rev. Wendy MacLean                                           Music Director: Tim Hallman

 
If you wish to watch this service on YouTube the link is: https://youtu.be/jbFkbHXLZA0


Music Used in This Service:
VU 109: Now Quit Your Care   OneLicense 13193 Instrumental accompaniment provided by ‘The Young Trio’ from the Saint Lukes’ Episcopal Church of Los Gatos, California, USA for use during the pandemic
Hymn to Freedom: 1962      Music:  Oscar Peterson      Lyrics: Harriette Hamilton
MV 202:  Bread for the Journey  OneLicense 117593
Go Now in Peace  OneLicense 78821    
CCLI Copyright License: 2928232
CCLI Streaming License: 20558674
One License Streaming License: 737026-A

You can support Christ United Church by donating through
www.lynunitedchurch.com or
www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/christ-united-church


Lent 1, 2021 Moving from Isolation to Communion

Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
Open unto me – light for my darkness.
Open unto me – courage for my fear.
Open unto me – hope for my despair.
Open unto me – peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me – joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me – strength for my weakness.
Open unto me – wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me – forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me – tenderness for my toughness.
Open unto me – love for my hates.
Open unto me – Thy Self for my self.
Lord, Lord, open unto me!

Music: VU 109 “Now Quit Your Care”

Scripture:
Genesis 9:8-17
Noah and his family and all the animals in creation have emerged from the ark after the flood. Our story begins as God blesses Noah and establishes a new relationship, with a covenant.

This is a covenant that outlines a mutual responsibility, between God and “all flesh that is on the earth.” Noah and his descendants are entrusted with care for all creation. God’s commitment/covenantal trust is to never again destroy all creation.

Mark 1:9-13
Jesus has heard about his cousin, John, baptizing in the Jordan River. Jesus goes out to be baptized by him. Listen for the echo from the ark: arising out of the waters, in a new relationship, a covenant of heaven and earth, as Jesus is calledBeloved.

Reflection: From Isolation to Communion

The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness,
the world and all those who dwell within. Psalm 25:1
Moving From Isolation to Communion


 Scripture:
Genesis 9:8-17
Noah and his family and all the animals in creation have emerged from the ark after the flood. Our story begins as God blesses Noah and establishes a new relationship, with a covenant.

This is a covenant that outlines a mutual responsibility, between God and “all flesh that is on the earth.” Noah and his descendants are entrusted with care for all creation. God’s commitment/covenantal trust is to never again destroy all creation.

Mark 1:9-13
Jesus has heard about his cousin, John, baptizing in the Jordan River. Jesus goes out to be baptized by him. Listen for the echo from the ark: arising out of the waters, in a new relationship, a covenant of heaven and earth, as Jesus is called Beloved.

Hear these words of scripture, knowing you are beloved, and part of a covenant of beloved community.

We turn to you, Holy One, in this new day.
Find us where we have been waiting
for the hard times to recede
for our freedom to return
for the joy of being together again.
Search us out, God, and find us willing to be made new.
In this season of Lent, help us risk surrendering ourselves
to your way of clearing away our favourite obstacles.
Break our stubborn habits of holding tight
to our shields and the defensive stories
that keep us from knowing how much we need you.
In Christ you have drawn us together as your people,
By your grace, shape us as your beloved community,
Call us and equip us to be your sign of hope and peace
in this new day, in this new world.
Be in my words, may they be true and faithful to the gospel,
and may our understandings be a blessing to you. AMEN

If we were going to make a movie of Noah’s Ark, we might tell some cute stories about kittens. “We are in the same family!” a little orange tabby announces to the tiger. “We’re all in this together,” the mouse tells the lion. “That’s easy for you to say, you can sleep anywhere,” the king of the jungle answers.   We could tell jokes about the elephants. We would complain about God’s decision to include mosquitoes. We would have lots of stories to tell about the forty days and nights in Ark Lockdown.

This week our region has returned to GREEN, after six weeks of emergency lockdown. Like a dove with an olive branch in her beak, this is the sign that it is okay to emerge from this ark of self-isolation.

 When Noah and his family emerged from the ark, the first thing they did was to worship God. Noah built an altar and offered God a sacrifice, which was the way of embodying their prayers. A sacrifice was their visible/physical way of communicating with God. God responds by communicating with Noah.

The first thing God does is bless Noah and his family.
This is not a pat on the back: “Good job, Noah.”
This blessing is a commission and a bequest that requires perpetual care.
This is a covenant: a trust between God and Noah and his descendants, and every living creature.
God will never again destroy the earth. Humankind will be responsible for honouring the relationship of all life, in God, with God, in creation. This includes every living creature.

For the rest of time, Noah and his descendants, which includes us, have responsibility to live with respect in creation. We recall this covenant in our New Creed: “We are not alone. We live in God’s world.”

This covenant is especially important to us as we emerge from the ark. We are in a new world, and a new relationship. The old ways, that we took for granted, may return, but we will see them with new eyes.

 
We are being made new.
This is the gift of Lent: to move from isolation to communion, from “my way” to God’s way, as Christ shows us. This is a season for repentance and reconciliation.

This starts with awareness, and willingness to face the hard places in our lives.
This might mean re-visiting an old hurt, and asking God to help heal your heart.
Maybe we are being invited to let go of some situation or experience where we are absolutely sure we were right, but the conflict led to so much more anger and hurt, that self-justification only deepens the rift.
Maybe we are being called to make a change, or to step out into the unknown.

 
There is no word for “wilderness” in any native language, explains Indigenous storyteller, Richard Wagamese. “There is no concept of the wild as something that needs controlling. My people say that humility is the root of everything. To be in harmony with the world, you need to recognize where the power lies and respect that. It’s simple to do when you’re miles away from anybody else, but just as simple to forget once you are on familiar territory.”

 
When he and his teacher/elder were out on the land collecting sacred medicines for ceremony, he recognized his fragility and also his place in the scheme of things.

Richard Wagamese found healing from generations of trauma and demons, and his own abuse and addictions. (in One Story, One Song. P. 16; 22)

Immediately after he was baptized, Jesus was driven out into the wilderness by the Spirit. If we dare to follow the Spirit into the wilderness of our own fears, and sins, and losses, we need to recognize where the power lies. We will not be protected or comforted by our self-confidence, because the wild beasts will chew that up first thing.

We will not be spared the burning intensity of the desert’s harsh indifference to our accomplishments, because they mean nothing in the light of this journey.

Our only comfort will come when we surrender our own, stubborn individualism and independence. We move from thinking we can manage on our own, into the blessing of communion. We will realize we are not alone.

Remember your baptism. Listen to the echo from the flood: we die to the old ways, and arise into the new world. Listen, God calls you beloved.

In communion, we remember how Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross.
In his death, he became every person, all life. He crossed from death to new life, in a covenant of God’s unending blessing, for all life. “That all may be one.”

 
As we emerge from the ark, as we meet in spirit, at the table of God’s grace, wherever that may be, may we hear and echo God’s voice, as we recognize every person, every creature, all life, as beloved. AMEN

Music: MV 202 “Bread for the Journey”

Sacrament of Holy Communion
Although we are not together, I invite you to get some bread and wine or juice, and share in this ritual. We ARE together in Spirit, and Christ meets us where we are.

Prayers of the People Lent 2 (with Communion)

Holy One, Draw us close to each other in the power of your love.

We pray together, across the distance, trusting that love knows no boundaries.
In the depths of winter, we pray for eyes that can see beauty in the shadows on a snowy day. We pray for the wisdom to be thankful in each moment, rather than wishing away our time.
Holy One, Draw us close to each other in the power of your love.

We pray for all who are feeling isolated, all who are struggling with their mental health,
all who are feeling overwhelmed as they try to support their loved ones.
We pray for all who are struggling with addictions, for all who live with shame, all who are living without hope. Holy One, in your unending love reach out to lift and support our brothers and sisters and families in these brutal times.

We pray for all who have lost loved ones to addiction, for all who are in recovery, and all who support them.
Holy One, Draw us close to each other in the power of your love.

We pray for all who are working to help heal our world from the COVID 19 virus: for medical workers, for researchers, for frontline workers, for ministers, priests, rabbis and imams as we seek spiritual healing.
We pray for all who are waiting for surgery, all who are recovering from surgery, all who are undergoing chemo or other treatments. In the roller coaster of hopes and waiting, may they feel our prayers and be comforted.
Holy One, Draw us close to each other in the power of your love.

For Sue and Jean and Freda and Ellen and Dante and Faith and Deb and all who are known to you, we name in the silence of our hearts: We pray trusting in the power of your love. AMEN

 Music: “Hymn to Freedom”

 Benediction and Commissioning

Closing Hymn:  “Go Now in Peace”