Delight and Wisdom
St. Andrew's Salmon Arm
August 15, 2021
Welcome to our worship on line. Thank you for your continued attendance with us as we worship in this way. For the next month, we will not be posting any videos of the service. Our videographer is on a long-delayed vacation, but as soon as that is over, we will resume the videos. Peace be with you all and we pray that you will be blessed by the written service below.
Lighting the Christ Candle
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Call to Worship: from Isaiah 40
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
Hymn: Father I adore you
Prayer of Approach:
All-knowing God, we gather together with praise and thanksgiving
for who You are, and for all that You have done for us.
You know us better than we know ourselves—all our thoughts and actions—and yet You love us.
No matter where we go or what we do, Your love encircles us—ahead and behind—gently leading and guiding and blessing.
We praise You for Your love and Your faithful presence in our lives.
May Your Spirit move in our hearts and minds as we worship together—
challenge us with Your Word, and guide us on to paths that lead to life.
For we are Your people, called by Your name.
Call to Reconciliation
God takes broken promises and turns them into vows of faithfulness. God takes our biggest failings and shapes lives of service. God listens to our prayers of confession and changes them into songs of mercy. Let us come to the One who pours forgiveness into our lives, praying,
Prayer of Confession:
We admit we are hesitant to walk into the unknown with you, God of Glory. Do we know you enough to trust where you are leading us? Do we pause to listen for your leading?
We confess that in a world where we worry about tomorrow before enjoying today, we race by your moments of silence, of learning. In that flood of worries, which can overwhelm us, we may miss that assurance that you have not cut us off from your grace. In the deserts of our desires, we may ignore that feast of hope, of joy, of life you offer to us.
Forgive us and have mercy on us, Gentle Guardian of our souls. In humility, may we offer our lives to others. In love, may we share your grace with everyone we meet. In hope, may we wait for you all our days, as you come to us in the life and joy of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Assurance of Pardon:
In this place we find God's word, God's way, God's love, God's forgiveness.
What more do we need to sustain us as we continue as pilgrims along the Way?
In every wilderness, on every road;
in every moment, in every life;
in every journey, in every heart,
we receive the daily bread we need—
God’s hope, God's mercy, God's joy.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.
Sharing the Peace:
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. And also with you.
Hymn: Glorify thy name
Praise the Lord.[b]
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise. (NIV)
Sermon: Delight and Wisdom
Delight. It’s one of those words that we know the meaning of, but sometimes have difficulty explaining the depths of what that feeling is for us.
According to Merriam Webster.com these are the meanings of delight:
A high degree of gratification or pleasure.
As a verb:
To take great pleasure
to give keen enjoyment
So it can be something we experience, or perceive, or receive, or give.
But what does all that mean when we consider that we are called to delight in the Lord?
Somehow those definitions seem too narrow and a little too self-serving to adequately define what it means to delight in the Lord.
Psalm 37: 4 says Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.(NRSV)
That can also lead to that same self-serving attitude. In fact, one of the commentators that I read last week, suggested that in her life she has often skipped over the delight yourself part and focused on the getting the desires part. As a result, she realized that the most important part is to take delight in God and the desires of the heart part will be taken care of.
To accomplish that she and other commentators had a list of things to do that really amounted to spending a lot of time with God.
In study and meditation.
Talking about God with other believers.
Seeking to do God’s justice.
Looking forward to being with God, to name a few.
When we do those things and more, then what happens is that we start to see with God’s eyes. We start to hear with God’s ears. We start to feel with God’s heart. Then, the end result will be that what we desire in our hearts is what God desires for all of creation.
We see the suffering and pain of others.
We hear the cries and pleas of the downtrodden.
We feel the anguish of the lost and lonely.
And we desire that they all be swept up in God’s love, forgiveness and healing and justice.
That surely changes our perspective. I am reminded of the definition of prayer in the Spiritual Formation Bible: conversation with God about what we and he are thinking and doing together.
The key is that we and God are together, and are one, just as God and Jesus are one. The key is that our prayer is what God is already wanting to do and give in order to redeem humanity. It would seem, then that when we delight in God it leads not only to thinking and doing what God desires, but that we grasp the full wisdom of God as we undertake this journey with him.
That’s what today’s Psalm is teaching us.
The Passion Translation of Psalm 111 sums points this out.
5 He satisfies all who love and trust him,
and he keeps every promise he makes.
And it finishes the Psalm with these words:
10 Where can wisdom be found? It is born in the fear of God.
Everyone who follows his ways
will never lack his living-understanding.
And the adoration of God will abide throughout eternity! (PT)
When I think of the ways in which we are called to spend time with God and the proclamation that wisdom is found in the fear of, or awe of God, I am reminded of the Beatitudes.
Seeking God, and delighting in God, are not necessarily easy things to do. We don’t always find his answers only in singing hymns, or praying for others. We find God in the moments when life is so hard that we have no where else to turn to find peace or comfort or joy.
When up on the mountain, Jesus gathered the people to him and taught them about what it would mean to be his followers. A life of challenge and difficulty but with the resultant joy of knowing God and being blessed by him.
In Matthew 5 we read:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NIV)
Blessed by God as we grow to be more like God.
When we are poor in spirit, we have reached the end of our own strength, and the blessing and the wisdom comes when we rely on God’s strength. In God we can, and do, accomplish the impossible.
When we mourn, we are comforted, because we know that God’s love for those whom we mourn is greater than ours. We are assured that life is eternal. But also, there is more to it than this. We also mourn when we realize that we have not lived up to our calling. We mourn when we contemplate our own sin. We mourn over broken relationships. And when we give that to God, the resultant delight will come as God works in us to heal what is broken.
When we are meek, we will see all of what God’s kingdom means for us, here on earth and in the life to come. We don’t need to grasp and claw for what we want. We don’t need to control the situations we are in. Being meek means trusting that God will work in our situations and bring us to a greater outcome that we even knew we wanted. Wisdom gives us the patience to let go and let God. These same truths hold true when we are merciful.
And of course, these attitudes grow in us when we hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. Humbly we seek the gifts of God that will fill our souls to overflowing. This is how God brings life to our souls.
We are blessed when our hearts are pure before God. When we make decisions based on what the Holy Spirit speaks. When we love without counting the cost. When we give with out expectation, or conditions. When grace rules our lives, we are blessed with wisdom and compassion.
And we delight in God and find his wisdom when we make peace. Not easy to do, because we need to let go of the way we want things to turn out. We need to look past our pain and resentments in order to be able to see what God is doing, so that we and the world for which we pray, will know hope and healing and reconciliation.
And we find our delight in God when we are persecuted. We are beginning to see the signs of that in our world. Where government protocols shut churches and opened bars as they tried to prevent the spread of the virus. WE recognize that the church has lost standing and respect in the world. But we have also found the joy and the wisdom of God when we realize that buildings are just buildings and that we are present with God no matter where we worship.
Delight and Wisdom come together when we realize the deep truth of God’s presence in our lives. No matter what happens in our journey on earth, we are held in God’s palm, and we live with his desire flooding our hearts. Jesus reminds us: Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.
It would seem that Solomon when he prepared to become King, understood the need to delight in God and to have God’s wisdom. In his prayer he asked the following: So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? 1 Kings 3: 9 (NIV)
Was he always successful in his commitment to that prayer? No. But he kept coming back to it, as he sought to be like his Father David--a man after God’s heart.
This prayer is also ours this day as we contemplate our own journeys of delight and wisdom. That we would have discerning hearts, and distinguish between right and wrong, as we fulfill our calling as servants in God’s Church. Will we always be faithful? No. But our desire to delight in God and grow in God’s wisdom will keep calling us back to the path we need to follow.
And God’s mercy will always be with us.
Hymn: I hunger and I thirst
Prayers of the People
O God, Holy One, you are the joy of all of our hearts. We are humbled when we stand before you and hear you declare that we are the joy of your heart, and yet we are also exalted.
Your love for us is large. Larger than the earth. Larger than the Universe. Everything you created was but a part of your great love. Your love calls forth in us a response that reminds us that it is in you that we take our delight. Your love flows in us and through us and makes us ever grow as your people.
Therefore we are bold to pray asking you, O Holy One, to
hear our prayers and make us faithful stewards
of the fragile bounty of this earth
so that we may be entrusted with the riches of heaven.
Loving our neighbors as ourselves, and as we love you.
we offer our thanksgivings and our petitions
on behalf of the church and the world.
Hear our prayers
that we may love you with our whole being
and willingly share the concerns of our neighbors.
we pray for a world crying out to feel loved, wanted, cherished and unique. A world needing you, Heavenly Father, source of all love
We pray for a world torn apart by conflict and war.
A world that lives uneasily in a climate of fear
with no clear vision for future days. We think of Afghanistan and Myanmar, but also the whole world that needs you, Heavenly Father, source of all hope
We pray for a world that thinks less of others than of self.
A world where division between nations, race, religion
neighbour and family leads to distrust. WE think of a world divided on vaccines, and mask mandates, a vaccination passports. Help us to remember to put the needs of all people first. We pray for a world that needs you, Heavenly Father, source of all peace
We pray for a world that is short on happiness,
too busy to enjoy this world you have created,
too preoccupied with living to appreciate life. To busy grasping for the golden ball, to recognize that we already have the greatest gift of all.
An empty world that needs the filling of your love, O Heavenly Father, source of all joy
We pray for a world where spiritual longing is satisfied
by fashionable notions and temporary solutions
with no thought for tomorrow. A world that has forgotten that your Word is life for our souls. A world that needs you, Heavenly Father, source of our Salvation
We pray for a world that needs to know your love, your hope,
your peace, your joy and Salvation.
A world that needs to know it is special, unique and is uniquely loved by a Heavenly Father.
So for that world that needs you, we bring our particular concerns and joys, praising and thanking you that you hear our prayers.
Fires/new evacuations especially with wind in the forcast
increasing covid counts/nursing home outbreaks
upcoming federal election
gratitude for Janine’s swift death and homecoming
gratitude for Joseph’s successful surgery and a swift recovery
For those travelling
Prayers for the Peace and Prosperity of the Nation:
CPS, SPCA and all other agencies that protect the vulnerable.
Hear us as we continue 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 debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Doxology: Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Prayer over the offering:
Hymn: Amazing Grace
Go forth into the world trusting with your hearts
the wisdom God bestows upon all who seek to follow God’s will.
When called to lead, do so with humility and confidence in God.
Be in this world a sign of Jesus’ presence.
Share compassion with all whom you encounter.
Live wisely in God’s name,
and glorify God in all you do.
And may the grace, mercy and wisdom of God
be our support, guidance and strength
Benediction Song: May the peace of Christ be with you
Online: Take O Take me as I am