Called from people of unclean lips to children of God (click here)
May 30th, 2021 Trinity Sunday
Welcome to Worship with St. Andrew’s Salmon Arm. We are delighted that you have joined us, and hope that you will find a blessing here.
- Praise God we will begin in person worship in the building next week, June 6th. There will be a maximum of 50 people allowed, masks are mandatory and only the music leaders are allowed to sing. But we can once again gather for worship as long as we follow the guidelines.
- HOPE GARDEN: It is so good to see the flourishing garden, and the produce growing to meet the needs of those who would otherwise go hungry. A big thank you to everyone who helped prepare the soil and plant. Now is the time for those who weed. If you have a few spare minutes stop by the garden and pull weeds, even a row will be a big help.
- Scripture Readers sought: In an effort to keep improving our experience of worship, we are asking for people to sign up to read Scripture.
- Special Prayers: For India and especially medical centres, doctors, nurses as they respond to overwhelming numbers of infection. May they soon receive aid, for protective equipment, oxygen, respirators and vaccines. (see also the "Recent Posts" to the right, for more info)
Also pray for the Vaccine roll out in our community and others.
- Normally the June Loonie Offering has gone to help with "Dry Grad". This year the Session has decided to help fund the High School Apprenticeship Program. Your June loonie Offering will help one or more students who have no means to purchase things like tool belts, steel toed boots, and other PPE (personal protective equipment). It may even assist with other needs that these students, from impoverished homes may have, like meals for example. Please help a student acquire a trade with this June's Loonie offering.
Pre-service sing-a-long (thank you to Gloria Fitt for proving the music and the inspiration. click here)
Lighting the Christ Candle
The light of Christ has come among us. Thanks be to God
CALLED TO WORSHIP
Worthy of praise from every mouth,
worthy of confession from every tongue,
worthy of worship from every creature,
is your glorious name, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For you created the world in your grace,
and by your compassion you saved the world.
To your majesty, O God,
ten thousand times ten thousand bow down and adore,
singing and praising without ceasing, and saying:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts;
heaven and earth are full of your praises.
Hosanna in the highest.
HYMN: Come thou almighty King
PRAYER OF APPROACH
O Sovereign of the universe,we stand in your temple, proclaiming your splendor and majesty. You are the Holy One! You are full of glory! You speak, and the oaks whirland the cedars fall! We stand in your presence in awe and humility.We stand in your presence with boldness and courage. We look and listen for your presence here today. Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
We know much about earthly things, but so little about heavenly things. We stand in your presence, O God, but fail to see the hem of your robe in our midst—much less your presence, far above, upon the throne of heaven. We do not often see your seraphimin flight around your throne. We do not often hear their voices or feel the very foundations about ustremble at their loud praise. Open our lives to your mystery, power, and glory. Open our lives to you, O Holy One. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON:
Today we will hear of heavenly things that can transform our lives forever.We will hear of God’s miraculous presence with us and among us and for us.In God’s temple, let all of us say, “Glory!”“Glory!”
Today we hear the assurance of God’s love, whose love given in Jesus and sealed in the Holy Spirit assures us of God’s grace and forgiveness for all eternity. We stand in God’s temple and we all say Praise be to God, for ever and ever. Amen
PASSING THE PEACE
The peace of our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you.
And also with you.
Share a sign of peace with those nearby, or ask the Spirit to bring his peace to another you may know, or to a world situation.
WE HEAR GOD’S WORD
Listen, hear and remember, these portions of the revelation of God’s word for us.
Isaiah 6: 1-8 (click here for the video of the readings and the sermon)
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Romans 8: 12-17
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
There is a lot said in the Bible about the words that we speak, and the power that they have. And that is so very important, because we are given the power to speak of God’s love and God’s grace and God’s compassion. That is quite a commission considering that we are people of unclean lips.
We are reminded, that Jesus said: But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
So, when Isaiah lamented that he was a person of unclean lips, who lived among a people of unclean lips, what he was really referring to is his own, and others unclean hearts.
And if being a man of unclean lips is not reason enough to reject God’s calling, he brings up his other objections: I am unqualified, too young, inadequate.
Although Jesus goes on to list a lot of things in unclean hearts that we would consider evil, like murder, adultery, theft, false testimony, all of which when we speak them bring harm to ourselves and others, it seems to me that there are many other things than infect our hearts and thus the words we speak.
We have all known days of resentment and anger. Impatience. Jealousy. Disappointment. Frustration.
And we know that when we speak out of these “heart-states” that our words can be hurtful to others. To make things worse those who are affected by our words hear them through their own “heart-states” and that makes communicating so very difficult.
Isaiah’s lament on his “heart-state” affecting his lips is so appropriate for us to consider as we grapple with our calling as “children of God” and those who are called to speak of God’s love and grace and mercy.
Isaiah invokes the powerful truth that when any of us come before the holiness of God, we all stand incompetent and unqualified to serve.
The other powerful truth is that in that moment we are given God’s holiness, and that we are all called to a prophetic ministry in which we speak for God.
It is important for us to remember that both these passages we read today are about “calling.” Not just of Isaiah, but of all believers. Unclean. Old. Young. Unworthy. Too busy. Afraid. Uneducated. All of us, no matter what list of excuses we can come up with. We are ALL CALLED.
We are all called out of our status as people of unclean lips, who speak from the pain and darkness of our hearts, to our new status as children of God who speak out of God’s holy heart of pure love.
That is quite a change. And quite a journey for each one of us to take.
For Isaiah that journey was quick, as the seraph flew to the burning coals and taking one, applied the red-hot coals to Isaiah’s lips. As he did so, he spoke the words, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” What an image.
I am sure that all of us at one time have burned our lips taking a sip of a hot drink. We have known that pain, even if it was fleeting and left no damage. Can we imagine the pain of red-hot coals?
This act of grace, and yes it is an act of grace, is a reminder that the journey from unclean hearts to the holy hearts of God’s child is not easy and will certainly be painful. It will require self-examination and an understanding of who we are without God and who we are with God.
For Isaiah this journey happened in an instant. As soon as the coal was applied to his lips and he heard the question, “whom shall I send?”, he responded, “here I am, send me.”
For us, it is a longer journey, in which we undergo the process of receiving the righteousness of God, participating in his ongoing sanctification, and come to abide in his holiness.
In the course of the church year, we have just experienced this journey through Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost, in which we have become aware of our sin and have seen the grace and mercy of God poured out on the cross; following which we have received his power and holiness through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
In this journey we have embraced the truth of grace: your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.
Certainly, this is what Paul is referring to in this letter to the Romans. His central theme is clearly present here, “that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the biggest thing about Jesus, and the essential thing for us.
Jesus bore the pain of cleansing and redemption—for us.
This is our starting point. The painful journey of our own self-examination is paltry in comparison to the pain Jesus bore on the cross—a pain greater than burning coals.
And while the resurrection and redemption story is the essential component of Paul’s message, we are also reminded, that for Paul, the Holy Spirit is the one who makes our participation in holiness in possible.
Paul reminds us that we are called to live by the Spirit and by the Spirit to put to death the things of the flesh. As we examine our unclean lips and hearts, the Spirit is the one that makes that revelation possible. Paul reminds us that it is through the Spirit that we put to death the things of the flesh.
Through the Spirit we put to death all of it: anger, licentiousness, fear, resentment, apathy, the temptation of the sins that call to us again and again… all of it.
No longer a part of us.
Like our hearts and lips have been cauterized by a burning coal.
But that is not the end. Rather, it is just the beginning, as the Spirit leads us on the journey to become the “children of God”.
It is an ingrained human desire to know who we are, and where we come from. People trace their family trees, gather stories of ancestors and compare themselves all the time to parents and grandparents as they marvel at how we look and behave like one or the other. DNA kits are a part of that as we look to what our genetic make up is and how that may have influence on who we are.
Here Paul is telling us all of that. Through the Spirit, we are the children of God. Scripture often speaks of us being received by a spirit of adoption, but here Paul tells us that in the Spirit we become the actual children of God.
Our DNA is to have pure hearts and pure lips. Our DNA compels us into ministry as we speak prophetically for God, bringing the good news of grace to a world aching to hear this news.
How do we do that? The Spirit of God bears witness with our Spirit and we become one with God through Christ and are glorified in him.
Do you remember the song of the seraphs. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Glorified. Holy. Pure of heart.
Again, Paul reminds us that in the Spirit we experience the fullness of God: Father, Son and Spirit and all that they impart to us. Paul writes: Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
In the Holy Spirit.
In and through the fullness of God, we are: glorified. Holy. Pure of heart, and called to participate in the Mission of God to bring the good news of salvation to the whole world.
Cleansed and Called. That is who we are.
Today we hear God calling us: “Whom shall I send?”
And our answer:
Here I am, send me.
Say it with me:
Here I am, send me.
Glory be to God. AMEN
HYMN We are God’s people
Today we remember the gift of Jesus Christ given to us. We join together giving thanks to God, by bringing our offering into the storehouse, and together we pray that God will bless all that we bring.
Offering Hymn: The church is wherever God’s people are
It is only because of Jesus Christ that we are bold enough to call you Father and Lord, O Sovereign of the Universe.We do so now, to remind ourselves that we have been raised to be your children and called to care for our many sisters and brothers, your many children, who need hope and care. Use our gifts of our lives of service and our wealth to reach others with the story of your great love for our world. Amen.
GATHERING PRAYER REQUESTS PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
Holy, holy, holy God,in calling forth creation from the void,revealing yourself in human flesh, and pouring forth your wisdom to guide us, you manifest your concern for your whole universe.You invite us, as your people,to gather the world's needs into our hearts and bring them before you.
So even as we praise to praise you for your Holiness and thank you for your grace in Jesus and your power given us in the Spirit We come to remember our calling.
We, who once were a people of unclean lips are now called as your childrento share your love in word and in deed and so in faithfulness we pray for our world.
We pray for all those who are near and dear to us:
We pray for the countries in our world who struggle in poverty and for that reason are unable to purchase the vaccines and supplies that they need to battle this pandemic.
We pray for those places that have known unusual events fungal infections, earthquakes, volcanoes, disasters of all sorts
We pray for the church, around the world, called into Christ, empowered by the Spirit that it may be God’s grace and mercy. We pray for the leaders of congregations here in BC as we scramble to work to start in person worship once again. We pray for the General Assembly and those who are preparing to attend. May the meeting be a time of compassion, and wisdom, and may your Holy Spirit direct the thoughts and words and actions of all who are present.
OUR PRAYERS FOR THE COMMUNITY
We pray with hope for a world in need – in need not just of a technical fix, but in need of love and grace, forgiveness and new life, hope, peace and fellowship, in need of renewal, in need of YOU. May you bring your renewal to our city, our congregations and our homes.
First Responders: Firefighters, EMS, Police, Search and Rescue
Holy, holy, holy God,fill us with strength and courage,with discernment and compassion,that we may be your instruments of justice and love in this world, that it may be on earth as it is in heaven
Hear us now as we pray as Jesus taught us 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 debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever. Amen
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
Go out and in all of life, worship the Lord. Entrust yourself to the winds of God’s Spirit; put to death selfish desires, and offer yourself for God’s mission in the world. And may God give strength to you and to all; May Christ Jesus bless you with peace; And may the Holy Spirit, whispering within your hearts,........give you assurance that you are God’s children.
SUNG BLESSING: Take O Take me as I am