Sunday, June 20, 2021

Minister:  Rev. Wendy MacLean                           Music Director: Tim Hallman

 Music Used in this Service:
Find a Place in My Soul  Wendy MacLean /Donald Patriquin
The River of The Water of Life  Wendy MacLean / Tim Hallman
Hallelujah, Give Thanks  OneLicense 74756
We Gather Here  One License 07941

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June 20, 2021 Colossians 1: 1-14 “We have heard of your faith”.

Music for June 20: “We Have Heard of Your Faith”  Service of Thanks and Sacrament of Holy Communion

Ringing the Bell

Instrumental beginning: VU 469 Come Gather Here

Call to Worship: Finding a home for our soul

Lighting the Christ Candle

Opening: Find a Place in My Soul (MacLean/Patriquin)

Scripture: Colossians 1: 1-14

Reverend Wendy MacLean June 20, 2021
Find a Place in My Soul

Find a place in my soul for your word, O God,
Find the space in my life to be still.
Find the strength in my hands to reach out, O God,
find the love in my heart for your will.

In fire, in wonder, in pillar and cloud
we wait in the silence and story
You call us to follow, to listen, to lead,
to sing and rejoice in your story.

 From kitchen, from garden, from houses of prayer
we wait in our fears and believing,
entrusting our lives, our work and our heart
to your blessing, in giving, receiving.

 Overshadowed in darkness, the Spirit gives birth
to the One who will call us to be
created in fire, in chaos and light,
now becoming, now living, now free.
 Wendy Jean MacLean 2005

Find a place:

Before you ever knew me, before I ever knew you, we were praying for each other. We did not know where our prayers would lead, only that you were searching for a minister, and I was looking for a place for my soul. We listened, and opened ourselves to the surprising and mysterious process of CALL.

 As long as I can remember I have been drawn to words, in stories, in poetry, and in conversation. Finding words is a bit like fishing: it is a catch and release process. From the boat of our soul, we troll our feelings, our desires, our needs, our joys and disappointments, and we draw them out of the deep, take a look at them (admire them or say—WHAT???), then release them, as spoken or written words, shared until they are understood, we hope.

 The words of life, in scripture, have been caught and released, millions of times, over centuries. Each time they are drawn up out of the deep, off the page, they are new. They speak to each one of us, as we need to hear. You might not call this a “mystical” process, but it is. The words have life, and interact with our souls. The Spirit searches us and finds the place in our souls where the word can dwell.

 In kitchen in garden, in houses of prayer: this is where we live our faith.
Christ UC has sometimes been the envy of other churches, or at least I have overheard this from UCW ladies, as they remark on the men in our kitchen. Often, the kitchen is literally “manned”, and meals prepared or served and cleaned up by the bold and generous men in our congregation. We are missing this during COVID, but the days will come again, I am sure.

 The kitchen is a place of transformation. Take a few very different ingredients, and mix them, cook them and VOILA! Something entirely new. The flavours blend, the texture changes, the wonder is served with love.

In Christ, we are transformed. Take our fears, our joys, our hopes, into a prayer kitchen and wait, as they blend, with forgiveness and trust, into something new. Christ calls us to serve: We offer this feast of our souls, in humble gratitude.

Before the kitchen, though, comes the garden. We plant, we water, we wait: then we pray for the harvest of the fruit of the Spirit.

My first introduction to the congregation of Christ UC was at your plant sale. You did not know who I was, but I knew you were my new congregation. I was undercover, until Michel went into the kitchen and Catherine Clow gave him a sandwich when he told her he was “the minister’s husband.”

One of my fond memories was the year our Bible Study group decided to have a blueberry social. For generations, the UCW had held a strawberry social, but they had decided to drop it that year. Our small group did not have the pressure of living up to any expectations, and it wasn’t a fundraiser, so we could just have fun. Bruce Davy donated the berries. Dear Catherine Clow, who loved to dress up, greeted people dressed as Madame Blueberry. Charles danced with Myrna and we played Baked Goods Bingo.

 I have often said that I am a minister because I was not very good in the kitchen, or in the baked goods department. This is only a small part of the story, though. The truth is, the wonderful women of my UCW in Athens encouraged me to use my gifts in a different way, to lead in devotions and prayer.

In the early stories of the Hebrew scriptures, God sent three (men) angels came to tell Abraham that he would become the father of a people. “Quick,” Abraham said to his wife, Sarah, “Go make some cakes.” Then Abraham served them some meat and cheese.

The men were curious. “Where is your wife?”
“She’s in the tent.” Then the story tells us that the LORD tells Abraham: “I will come back in the spring, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son.”

Sarah laughed. It seemed so impossible.
I always loved that part of the story. Sarah couldn’t believe how her life would change.
My call to ministry was more like Sarah’s than Abraham’s. “How can this be?” I asked almost 30 years ago. It seemed impossible to make the changes in my life. How could I go back to university? How could I move? How could I... One by one, the way opened. My new home was a house of prayer.

 And now I have a grandson named Isaac, which means “he laughs”.

(Isaac’s baptism in May. Faye helped get the water)

 A wise teacher of preaching (Fred Craddock) explains that we really “overhear” the gospel. We hear it through our 21st century ears. We hear it over the centuries. We overhear the stories and prayers of an ancient people, who are not very different from folks we might meet at Canadian Tire or Food Basic today.

Like Sarah, for many years, I have been overhearing the gospel, listening to the gossip of angels and demons, listening for a word to share with you. As in my song, “we wait in the silence and story.” I listen to the Word, overhear your stories, and share the good news.

 I was reminiscing with Catherine (Clow) this week in a visit about how she liked to dress up. Her eyes sparkled as she recalled a few of the times. “We liked to have fun,” she said.

There is no doubt about that! We dressed like hippies, cowboys, Beatle Fans (that was just our small COVID worship gang). We celebrated Renee’s hats at a high tea, and wore our PRIDE t-shirts in the Brockville parade.

We like to have fun, and we like to dress up.

  (Granddaughter Faye, baby lamb on Christmas Eve, note the blessed menagerie of children in the background)

 Would it shock our ancestors if I said, “This is one way we put on the Christ.”?

My prayer for us, for you, and for me, is that the joy of our hearts is a sign to our world, of faith and God’s life delighting in us.

I shared at our AGM on Sunday that as I move toward retirement, my journey has been both mountains and valleys. I recognize the way grief sneaks into my spirit drawing me into the valleys, with sadness or loss or regret. I have walked with many of you through times of grief, and loss, and it has been the blessing of my vocation to assure you that in the hardest times, God is closest to us. Now I turn to you to remind me, as the body of Christ, of the resurrection, and the amazing joy of new life.

When Jesus was preparing to leave his friends, he called them to the table.
We cannot be together, and we have not shared a meal in a very long time because of COVID.
So maybe, what we must do is see Christ in ALL bread, and recognize Christ’s sacrifice in ALL wine.
Instead of a sacrament in church, we are invited to recognize Christ with us at all times.
At the table we meet Christ in the bread and wine (fruit juice). As we share in communion, we remember that we are the body of Christ, here and now, to each other and to our world.
May the fruit of our shared life be a blessing. AMEN

Over the years, we have laughed often. May our future be fruitful, as God surprises us and leads us into

unexpected joys and new life. AMEN


 Sacrament of Holy Communion

Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer

River on the Water of Life (MacLean/Hallman)

Benediction and Commissioning

Closing: VU 242 Let All Things Now Living


         "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)                           Follow on Twitter:  @Ch1United