March 7, 2021

God glorified: Creation, Law, Cross (click here)

Passage: Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25
Service Type:

March 7:  Lent 3

Welcome to worship at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Salmon Arm.  We are delighted that you have joined us online.


  • We direct your attention to a resource called Lenten Gardens.  It is found under the DEVOTIONS tab on the website.    It will take you to a garden to explore, with Adult Studies, Children’s stories, crafts for all ages, music, recipes and so much more.   The link will change weekly through Lent, daily during Holy Week.
  • March's Loonie Offering will be going to the Shuswap Hospice Society. For more info check in the "Recent Posts" to the right of your screen.
  • We thank Rev. Ena van Zoeren for leading us in worship today. May this service be a blessings to us all, even as it brings glory to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Lighting the Christ Candle

The light of Christ has come among us.
Thanks be to God


HYMN:  I hunger and I thirst


In the name of God,

who created us,

who holds us and the whole world in his hands

In the name of God on the Mountain

who gave us the Law to show us the way
and watches over us by day and by night.

In the name of the Son

who came into the world,

who through the Cross reconciles us with God.


In the name of the Holy Spirit

who fills us with eternal life,

who links us with all Christians

and incites us to peace,

we come together to offer our thanks and praise.  Amen



Wondrous God,

we confess that we have not listened for your Word as we should.

We confess that we have not followed your Law as we should.

We confess that we do not live in the grace of Jesus as we should.

And so, we have sinned.

We confess that we have placed obstacles in the way of our neighbors.

We are guilty of being proud and arrogant.

Forgive us for our foolish and hateful ways.

Forgive us for taking your amazing gift of grace for granted.

Redirect us, by your Spirit,

that we may be your faithful people once again.  In Jesus name, Amen


Kyrie Eleison

(Short version - The Greek will come first, wait and then the English words come)


The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ 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.


HYMN  O love how deep, how broad, how high


Listen, hear and remember, these portions of the revelation of God’s word for us.

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5     It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

1 Corinthians 1: 18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[a]

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.


Sermon:  God glorified:  Creation, Law, Cross

Psalm 19 begins with these words.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.

These thoughts humble us.  We realize that in our world that is full of words, words and more words, we often obscure the glorious message of who God is, and how God’s bounty is all around us.

Sometimes we as humans pour our speech, but actually in our speaking, we obscure the revelation of the knowledge of God.

As a preacher that makes me think twice.  We preachers, we are fond of words. We like to play with metaphors, similes and fancy turns of phrases.  We like to tell stories and dissect parables, all in an attempt to try and say something new and profound about God.


It feels here, however that we are being asked to be silent and let God himself speak through the gifts that he has given us in Creation, in the Law and through the Cross.

The commentators in the Spiritual Formation Bible, point out that in our wordy busy lives, we can learn a lot by listening more closely to Creation’s voices.

This is a concept that is important for us to hear.  Sometimes we need to be silent and let God’s word work in us.  We need to trust the Holy Spirit, who has been present in Creation and the delivery of the Law, and the suffering on the Cross.  We need to trust that the Spirit will bring God’s grace and glory to mind in all of God’s actions.

When we do not make room for the Holy Spirit to act, and keep pouring forth words, words, and more words, no matter how cleverly constructed, we obscure God.

We speak about who God is to us, or more importantly who we want God to be to us.  We speak from our limited understanding of who God is, what God does and how deeply God loves.  We seek and we grasp for what God can do for us, rather than consider that what we do for God is the way in which we are meant to speak.

The wisdom of two great followers comes to mind:

J.B. Phillips wrote, “your God is too small”. His words remind us that too often we try to tame God, to train him to do our will and to confine him to a safe small box wherein we limit his power.

The antidote to this attitude is to look at the grandeur of Creation, the guidance of the Law and the grace of the Cross to see just how big our God is.

The wisdom of St. Francis also comes to mind.  He said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”

It would seem that God is more clearly seen in our deeds, in the ways we treat one another, in the ways we help one another, care for one another and have mercy for one another.   The implication is clear.  It should never be necessary to use words.

Especially when you consider that the words we speak are not always necessarily God’s words.

So silence, just putting all that noisy wordiness aside and to just sit at the feet of the Creator and listen for his calm voice and his wise instruction is what we are called to experience.

In the silence we ask, “Did I hear God correctly?”  “is this the voice of the Holy Spirit or of my own desire?

We are urged to consider that we need to be teachable, and to come to God with open hearts and minds, so that God can turn our hearts around and make them soft like his is soft.

There is a dynamic at play here between God and his people, in which we benefit from his ongoing guidance as we explore his grandeur and his grace.

The Psalm ends with the words that preachers are fond of using at sermon-time.  “May the words of my mouth and the meditation my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

The Commentators write, “This familiar verse invites God’s scrutiny and correction, where our meditation is better described as whispering or murmuring.

Whispering sounds so holy doesn’t it.  Speaking in hushed awed voices as we gaze upon the revelation of God.  But is that really our response to scrutiny or correction.

Being silent before God comes with it’s own pain.  The pain of God’s examination and the pain of our own self-examination.  Can we bear it?  Is that why we whisper, hoping God won’t hear us?

Ah, but there is that other word that comes with whispering.  “Murmuring”.

Not such a nice word to contemplate.  Like the people murmuring in the desert.  What it means is complaining.

There is no food.

Manna again.  We are sick of manna.

There is no water.

We want.  We want.  We want.

In the silence as we sit before God, we can find within ourselves an attitude in which we welcome God’s knowing and shaping.  In the silence we realize a deepening vulnerability.

And we are vulnerable.  That vulnerability leaves space for God’s strength and capability to fill us.  Not our power, but God’s power working through us.

This psalm also points us to the Law.  And if the grandeur of Creation has not already made us vulnerable, the Law surely does.  In the Law we are reminded that even as we strive to put God first in our hearts and lives, we are also called to live so that we do no harm to others.  And we realize even more deeply that living that kind of love for others makes us vulnerable.

When we love as deeply for others as God loves us, then we, like God, are vulnerable to the harm that can come to us because we love.  Like it did to Jesus.

This realization pushes us to consider God’s vulnerability.  He created us, and he loves his creation with great devotion.  He gives us the power to hurt him, by asking that we love him over all other gods, people and considerations in our lives.

God is vulnerable to our speech, especially when it brings harm to him, or to his grace, or denies his love.

There is a huge power imbalance here.   Our vulnerability to God invites God to love us.  God’s vulnerability to us, makes it possible for us to hurt God.

Jesus points that out in Matthew when he says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Does our heart bear hate, or impatience?  Do we speak from a lack of trust?  Or faith?  Or fear.

Anger speaks anger.

Fear speaks fear.

Hopeful speaks hope.

Loving speaks love.

Grace and mercy speak of grace and mercy.

We need that silence at the feet of God to make sure that our hearts are full of the right things.

And so we go once again to the lesson we gain from Creation.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

How does God’s creation praise him?

The sunrise and sunset display the glory of God, like a painting on the heavens.

The sun shines it’s warmth into the earth and our bodies.

The babbling brook reminds us of God’s peace.

The roar and power of the surf remind us that God’s power flows into our lives.

There is gentleness in the whispering leaves.

And silence in the fog or the snowfall.

The falling rain has a rhythm that soothes.

Without words they make God’s gifts of presence known to us.

What a contrast to preachers who stand in the pulpit using words to our own advantage.  We, the people of too many words are humbled in the way Creation makes God known.

Creation shows us God’s grandeur.  The Law reveals God’s vulnerability and guidance.

The cross reveals the depth of God’s vulnerability displayed in the out pouring of his Grace.

On the cross we hear the word of God come to us:  Father forgive them.

Oh how the cross points out the vulnerability of God.  What kind of a God is that foolish?  What God gives himself to die for his people?

The God who gives us Creation and the Law is foolish enough to die for us.  If the world he created and the Law are not enough for us to understand his love, he does not give us words.  He gives us his heart.

And his heart turns the world upside down.

Love your enemy.

Be kind to those who harm you.

Forgive those who sin against you.

In all situations be:

Merciful, kind, gracious and engage in peace-making.

In short:  by the foolishness of the cross we are called to be fools for God risking our all and giving our weakness to walk  in his strength.

This week we learned that in the World Day of Prayer, where the women of Vanuatu  urge us to stand on the strength of God.

Not our own strength, but the strength of God.

Not our own love, but the love of God.

Not our own vulnerability, but the vulnerability of God.

In all this we will see God all around us, and others will see God in us.

May he always be glorified in this way.



HYMNIn the cross of Christ I glory


Today we remember the gift of Jesus Christ given to us; giving thanks to God for the many ways in which we too bring our offering into the storehouse. Please check the front page of the website for ways in which you can contribute.  Thank you.


God of the wilderness,
We give these offerings in gratitude,
rejoicing in the abundance of your gifts to us.
We give these offerings in faith,
trusting that you will provide for our needs.
We give these offerings in hope,
knowing you can use them to spread your love in this world.
And with these offerings, we give ourselves;
May we live with generous hearts, with open hands. Amen



O God, you have called to us through the ages, through the dust from which you formed us, to the Law through which you taught us and then the Cross where you brought us home into your Kingdom.  You grace for ever and always surrounds us.

Through the forty days of Lent, help us to follow you

and to find you: in the discipline of praying

and in the drudgery of caring –

in whatever we deny ourselves,

and whatever we set ourselves to learn or do.

Open our hearts to discover what you have set us to do, and to learn to serve you in finding our calling.

Help us to discover you

in our loneliness and in community,

in our emptiness and our fulfilment,

in our sadness and our laughter.

Open our hearts as we pray for those whom we love, those who fill our lives with laughter and those with whom we mourn.  We are all your people, surround us with love as we journey.

We lift before you all people and places for whom we have concern:



Help us to find you when we ourselves are lost.

Help us to follow you on the journey to Jerusalem

to the waving palms of the people’s hope,

to their rejection, to the cross and empty tomb.

Help us to perceive new growth amid the ashes of the old.

Help us, carrying your cross, to be signs of your Kingdom.



We pray for our dark and dreary world, 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.

This week we pray for Businesses, Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs.  We remember especially those local business who struggle to stay open and whose life is harmed by the restrictions we live under.  Remind us to support them when we shop, and keep them safe, we pray.

We also remember funeral homes and directors today.  They walk with people in the most difficult moments of their lives.  Yet now that is all the more difficult as they help families put services on hold, or have very limited attendance and zoom services.  Give them wisdom and compassion as they minister to the grieving.


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

HYMN  621  Before the world began



God of mercy,

as we journey through this season of Lent,

opening ourselves to Your grace,

we ask that You will guide us into a true change of heart

and reorientation of our lives.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Brother and Savior,

who showed us how to live and to love. Amen

SUNG BLESSING   209  O Love that will not let me go

Non Traditional