Food at the proper time (click here)
ST ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
August 2, 2020
LIGHTING OF THE CHRIST CANDLE
ENTRY OF THE WORD
- This months Loonie Offering will be added to last months and given to the new Immigrant family to help with their transportation costs. To learn more about the Bokondji family and how to give, please see the "Recent Posts" column to the right of your screen. Thank you, to all of you, for your generosity in supporting this worthy cause.
- Living Waters Community Church, resumes worshiping in the church building this morning. Please remember them in your prayers, that all will go well for them, as they adjust to the protocols and get familiar with the new routines.
- We welcome Rev. Shirley back again today and pray that God will bless all of us, as Shirley leads us in worship today. We also ask God to bless Rev. Ena, as she continues her vacation, may she be refreshed and renewed in the Spirit and feel God ministering to her.
- The HOPE garden continues to grow abundantly, so much so, we learned last week that Second Harvest asked us to hold off on bringing more potatoes for a week. Thank you to all who continue this labour of love!
CALL TO WORSHIP
The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
Our eyes look to you, for you give us food in every season.
The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth.
You open your hand, O God, and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord fulfils the desire of all who fear him and watches over all who love him, So our mouths will speak the praise of the Lord, and the God’s holy name for ever and ever.
HYMN 374 – Oh for a thousand tongues to sing (click the blue text for YouTube music, sorry there may be advertising)
- Oh for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of God's grace.
- Jesus, the name that charms our fears,
and bids our sorrows cease:
'tis music in the sinner's ears;
'tis life and health and peace.
- He speaks, and listening to his voice
new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice;
the humble poor believe.
- Hear him, you deaf; you voiceless ones,
your tongues again employ;
you blind, behold your Saviour comes,
and leap, you lame, for joy.
- My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
and spread through all the earth abroad
the honours of thy name.
PRAYER OF ADORATION
Mysterious and merciful God, we praise you for the many ways you come to us and offer us abundant life. When the sun rises and the earth blooms around us, we are filled with grateful thanksgiving for your gift of a new day. When evening falls and we find ourselves in deserted, lonely places, we count on you to provide for our needs. For the times you show us the way when we are in need of guidance, we praise you. For the times you provide healing when we are broken and hurting, we rejoice. Your grace makes the poor rich, the hungry satisfied, and the weak strong; and so we worship you as the Source of life and love, comfort and courage. Gracious and merciful God, as we gather to worship, we are aware that we have fallen short of the life you desire for us. So we confess together:
UNISON PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Through Christ you have shown us the way of compassion, generosity and forgiveness, yet we neglect the suffering of others. We blame and judge in the very moments you call us to act with kindness and mercy. We cling to what we own rather than share our blessings with others. Free us from greed and from grievances. Open our hearts so that we may embody the teachings of your Son, our Saviour. In his name AMEN
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Friends in Christ, know that you are forgiven. Forgive one another, and be at peace with God, with yourself and with each other.
HYMN 648 – I’m gonna live so God can use me
- I'm gonna live so God can use me
anywhere, Lord, anytime!
I'm gonna live so God can use me
anywhere, Lord, anytime!
2. I'm gonna work so God can use me
anywhere, Lord, anytime!
I'm gonna work so God can use me
anywhere, Lord, anytime!
3. I'm gonna pray so God can use me
anywhere, Lord, anytime!
I'm gonna pray so God can use me
anywhere, Lord, anytime!
4. I'm gonna sing so God can use me
anywhere, Lord, anytime!
I'm gonna sing so God can use me
anywhere, Lord, anytime!
Isaiah 55: 1-5
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Psalm 145: 8-9 & 14-21
8The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Matt 14: 13-21 the feeding of 5000
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
SERMON…food at the proper time.
Send your Spirit upon us now so that we would taste your wisdom and be strengthened to live it out for the sake of Christ, your Living Word. Amen.
The Guinness Book of World Records says the largest picnic in history occurred in Britain when over 8300 people picnicked together in 2009, well, sort of together. The count for this picnic included people in over a hundred different locations in Great Britain. They were ‘together’ only in the sense that it was organized that they would picnic all at the same time on the same day. And they all brought their own food. Maybe the Guinness Book people need to read the Gospels because Jesus hosted a picnic a couple thousand years ago in which 5000 men ate. Include women and children and there may have been 20000 people or more and all in one location. And they didn’t bring their own food to this picnic; they had come to feast on the Word of God alone. Jesus gave them this but Jesus also gave them a meal of bread and fish.
The feeding of the 5000 may be the most well-known of Jesus’ miracles. You have to admit that it’s pretty amazing to feed a massive crowd with only five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
But let’s take a deeper look at the situation. When we recall this important miracle, I suspect that most of us forget the context and the very sad event that took place prior to the feeding of the five thousand.
In the previous verses of this chapter of Matthew, John the Baptist had been beheaded at Herod the tetrarch’s order. Jesus had just been told about it. John was dead because he had spoken out against Herod who was having an inappropriate relationship with his sister-in-law. When the awful news of the death of John the Baptist reached Jesus, He left the area to grieve and to get away from the crowd so that He could mourn the earthly loss of His coworker. Those of us who have lost someone suddenly and unexpectedly know how Jesus felt at the moment when He received the ugly news. We know the emotions and pressures that build up inside of us when we experience the loss of a loved one. Thus, like so many of us when we are faced with the loss of a dear one, Jesus withdrew to ‘a solitary place’ for a while so He could overcome the grief that He was experiencing.
After all the news must have been heart breaking because John the Baptist had been an important person in Christ’s early ministry. Jesus Himself describes John the Baptist as a man “greater than a prophet;” Gospel writers record that John was a man who had been sent by God to call the world to repentance and to prepare the world for the coming of God’s Kingdom.
The text doesn’t say how long Jesus was given to grieve, mourn, and pray. But it wasn’t long, because when people realize Jesus had headed to a more remote place, the crowds follow him on foot from the surrounding towns...
I can imagine Jesus probably felt like telling them, “Can’t you people just let me alone for a while. I need some time to Myself once in a while.” But He didn’t send them away. Instead of being concerned with His own heartache, He had compassion for the people and began healing all those who were sick. When Jesus came ashore, “he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them.” The Greek verb here—really refers to a gut-wrenching, visceral -- deep emotion that moves Jesus to saving action
It is starting to get late and the disciples bring it to Jesus’ attention that it is getting close to supper time. They are probably getting hungry themselves, and with such a huge crowd, they know they will never be able to have enough food for so many people. But Jesus tells His disciples to give them something to eat. I love Jesus’ words in response: “They don’t have to go away. You feed them.” After they pick their jaws up off the ground, they bring Him 5 loaves of bread and two fishes
If you listen closely to the text, you can almost hear the disciples’ stammering, flabbergasted astonishment. Stuttering and a little bit outraged! , “But – But We’ve got nothing. Well, except for just 2-1/2 fish sandwiches.” Not even enough for themselves and Jesus. So yeah, “We’ve got next to nothing.”
Jesus commands that they should make the people sit down in groups on the ground so there will be order rather than chaos. And with that, Jesus gives thanks, blesses, multiplied the meager resources, feeds the multitude, and has plenty left over. Good news. “Next to nothing” is Jesus’ favorite thing to work with.
The people who ate loaves and fishes probably didn’t see what Jesus had done for them; they were just happy to have a meal. God works through the people who trust in Him but often God leaves us in the dark about the results. Likewise, we can easily get discouraged when God doesn’t allow us to see the results. But if we trust in God and allow His power to flow through us, He can do great things. It’s not about what we can do; it’s about what God can do working through us. We need to throw away our fear of failure because God is powerful even if we are weak. God works in mysterious and unseen ways. Use the gifts that you have been given for the glory of the Lord and your gifts can be multiplied. See what God can do – in you, with you, and through you.
When one reads the message of Isaiah from the perspective of a North American context, one misses the brutal historical realities of Israel and Judah. The shadow of imperial power dominates their history. The agrarian life was a challenge in the climate of low rainfall, significant heat, damaging cold, and mediocre soils.
Today in most of the world, people live in money economies. In agrarian tradition society types, most exchanges are a barter of goods. The rise of coins happened as late as the fifth century BCE. The movement from the Babylonian and Persian empires increased the move to a money economy as an expression of imperial economics. Those addressed, those without silver, would have been a large population. Peasants wouldn’t have silver or gold. Moving from the exile through early Christianity and reaching across to the present provides a different voice to the conventional wisdom about economy.
Poverty, the rising cost of food and an unstable climate are a few of the reasons that about 821 million people around the world don’t have regular access to nutritious food. Staggeringly, conflict is responsible for 10 out of 13 of the world’s main food crises. Conflict excludes innocent people from the right to healthy food which helps them grow and flourish.
As of last years statistics, Yemen is currently the world’s largest food crisis. In the war-torn country, nearly 16 million people wake up to severe hunger. Many people in South Sudan don’t have access to the food they need to live healthy lives. From August 2019 to April 2020, Presbyterian World Service & Development was part of a response that helped families by providing food vouchers as well as tools and other farming supplies. Now, as prices for seeds remain high and COVID-19 further raises market prices for food, needs also remain high.
For subsistence farmers, who live off the income from the fruits and vegetables grown on their land, it’s hard to survive the months when their farm isn’t producing. It is difficult for families to plan for the future when all their energy is being spent trying to meet immediate needs.
COVID-19 has further disrupted many people’s already fragile economic situations. According to the World Food Programme, from May to July 2020 in the Aweil East county of South Sudan, over 150,000 people will not have enough to eat, with the number of people facing severe food insecurity double what it was in January. With many men forced to stay home due to the crisis, women are at greater risk for sexual violence at home or when foraging for fruit to eat or firewood to sell.
PWS&D works with Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a a coalition of 15 church-based agencies working together with the common goal of eliminating global hunger.
Together, we are providing farmers with tools and training so that families in vulnerable countries have more nutritious food to eat. In times of emergency, PWS&D provides food aid and agricultural livelihood recovery. PWS&D also work to engage Canadians to take action within Canada to reduce hunger globally. Looking ahead, the provision of farming inputs and fishing equipment will allow many people to grow food when the season is right for growing, and to fish in the rainy season when ponds and rivers provide an alternate source of nutrition. Important training in the preparation and storage of food also continues, with safety measures for COVID-19 in place.
We are called to be disciples of Christ Jesus working together to accomplish God’s purpose and plan. We are called to work together as part of this congregation following where God is leading. We are called to be in partnership with each other and with God. As disciples of Christ Jesus, we are called to listen to God, to trust God and to shine God’s light in the world by sharing, even it that share is small by the world’s standards. When we partner with each other and with God, nothing is ever too small; nothing is ever impossible.
Here is the good news for days in the middle of global pandemic when you, too, feel like, “I’ve got nothing—or next to nothing.” I’ve got next to nothing left for my people, next to nothing left for this ministry, next to nothing left for my family and friends, next to nothing left for this moment.
We often give up because we feel we don’t have the resources, or we have little to offer. We limit the potential God places before us because we don’t think we have enough or we can’t see how things will work out. Rather than work with God, we decide to stop things from happening because we can’t do them ourselves. God has a habit of achieving amazing things in our lives just so others can experience God’s power and compassion.
“In North America today, we have so much—arguably more than any other nation in the world, I’m sure that we throw out more food and more possessions in one year than many people in the world will see in a lifetime. It is so refreshing to read how gardening has suddenly become the thing to do. Community gardens, children’s gardens, granny gardens and church gardens like ours are popping up all over as folks begin to realize how important the production of food is.
The psalmist insists that God is to be praised every day. It is, of course, easier to praise when things are going well. The accent on the “every” suggests we must praise when we would rather not, when the result is one, we would not prefer. God is not to be manipulated into blessing us. The result of praising this way, doggedly, with determination, is to notice God’s all-encompassing goodness, even amidst difficulty. The mistake we make is thinking God and God’s blessings are ours. They are only “ours” as they are given away.
God bless you and your proclamation this week. If you feel like you’ve got next to nothing left some days, it is enough. Because Jesus can turn next to nothing into more than enough. AMEN
HYMN 651 – Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer
- Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand:
bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore.2. Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through:
strong deliverer, strong deliverer,
be thou still my strength and shield;
be thou still my strength and shield.3. When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death, and hell's destruction,
land me safe on Canaan's side:
songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee,
I will ever give to thee.
The sacrifice that honours God is a thankful heart. Therefore, let us present our offerings with thankful hearts, grateful for all God’s goodness to us.
Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have these gifts to share. Bless and use our offerings for your glory. Give us the courage to offer ourselves fully to you, trusting that you will guide us on our journeys of faith, wherever we go. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
O God, we give you thanks for your goodness in all the times of our lives. Even in the uncertainties of this present moment, we are grateful for the strength and courage we find, knowing you are right beside us. Give us the wisdom and patience we need to face a future filled with many questions and challenges
Aware of our own needs today, we are reminded by Christ’s compassion that so many others nearby and much further away experience even greater struggles. And so we lift up our prayers for the world, seeking your guidance so that we may do our part to bring comfort, healing and hope.
We pray for all who are sick or in pain, that they may have the medical assistance they need and the gift of healing in body, mind, and spirit.
We pray for those who are grieving, that they may know the comfort of your presence and find hope in your promises.
Especially we remember those whose lives have been changed by COVID-19 and ask that you will support their recovery and heal relationships affected by this disease. (Keep silence
We pray for those who are hungry or homeless, and all those experiencing the stress of poverty and economic uncertainty. Give those with more resources the confidence to share generously.
We pray for leaders in our communities and in our nation, as they seek ways to recover well-being in the face of the global pandemic. Give them wisdom and courage to make decisions for the well-being of the most vulnerable.
We pray for new ministers in first pastoral charges. We give you thanks for the ministry of Ena among us. Bless her as she continues her “staycation “continuing by virtual means to connect with family and friends We pray for congregational leaders who are taking vacation this month. May this be a time of rest and renewal.
We pray for those who seek to show hospitality to others in their homes, in their workplaces, in the church and the community, that their generosity will inspire others to open their hearts so that your goodness at work in the world will be multiplied.
We pray for prisoners and for those who work in prisons, especially for chaplains and volunteers who bring your word of love and grace to the incarcerated. After long weeks and months deprived of familiar contact, help us all understand the stress of being imprisoned. May those who represent the face of Christ in these environments find strength and wisdom in your companionship and offer ministry of reconciliation and renewal that you desire for everyone. (Keep silence
We give thanks for the tireless work of those engaged in firefighting the men and women who put their lives on the line when fire rages through homes, businesses forests, Lord, keep them in safety, uphold them in action from the first call to the last bit of clean-up. Then give them rest and renewal before the next call brings a new surge of adrenalin to prepare them to deal with it all over again
Lord Jesus Christ, you walk with us through all the days of challenge and celebration. Be our Bread for the journey of life, to sustain us and encourage us, whatever the week ahead holds for us.
And so we pray together the words you taught us, saying:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
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.
HYMN 629 - salvation and immortal praise (for online worship use the alternate hymn below)
- Salvation and immortal praise
unto our God we sing!
Let heaven and earth and rocks and seas
with glad hosannas ring.
- To Father, Son and Spirit blest,
the God whom we adore,
be glory, as it was, and is
and shall be evermore.
Online alternate Hymn:
Go forth in joy to love and serve God in all that you do .May the God of peace make us ready to do his will in all good things through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit . to whom be glory forever and ever
Go now in peace. Never be afraid.
God will go with you each hour of ev’ry day.
Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true.
Know He will guide you in all you do.
Go now in love, and show you believe.
Reach out to others so all the world can see.
God will be there, watching from above.
Go now in peace, in faith and in love.