In deed and in word (click here)
Welcome to worship at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Salmon Arm. We are delighted that you have joined us online.
Lighting the Christ Candle
The light of Christ has come among us!
Entry of the Bible
- Today's Loonie Offering goes to The Salvation Army Lighthouse; we pray that God will bless them as they provide food and shelter to those in need.
- Bible study continues Wednesday evenings at the church at 7pm.
- Both the Board and the Session meet this week (see the calendar to the right of your screen for times)
- The Salmon Arm Ministerial is hosting a prayer gathering, Friday, November 13, at the Five Corners Pentecostal Church at 7:00 PM. We will primarily be praying about Covid 19. All of us care deeply about the way it is affecting our world. How good it will be to gather as Christians to pray for all those struggling with the ill effects of Covid 19 and the lockdown, to pray for our leaders and medical professionals as they deal with it, and to pray for better days to come. We will also pray, as our Lord taught us, that his Kingdom will come here in our community. We will follow Covid protocols.
CALL TO WORSHIP
We are a community of faith
that has been created by the love of God.
We are the people who have been set free
by the world of forgiveness in Jesus Christ,
and are therefore a people called to reach out
to the sojourners in our midst and in other lands,
people whose lives cry out for the warm embrace of fellowship.
We have come not to exalt our own goodness,
but to praise the holiness of God.
We have come not to boast of what we have done,
but to proclaim the redeeming work of Jesus Christ
by extending the hand of community
to refugees, displaced persons and asylum seekers.
With all our being,
we will praise God and tell of God's goodness
in our acts of kindness and love
toward the "least" among us in our times.
HYMN 767 Lord speak to me (click the blue Hymn titles for YouTube music, sorry there may be advertising)
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Today we gather as people called to live your word, and even as we pledge to be and do all that you ask, we also remember those saints who have walked before us, serving you with their whole being.
We praise you, O God for those who showed compassion to the least, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger and offering mercy and forgiveness to those who have gone astray.
We praise you, O God for those who were willing to lose their lives in service to others, caring for the sick, comforting the dying, visiting the lonely, consoling those in grief.
We look to their example as we affirm before you today that we are your people of Word and Deed.
God of grace, together we turn to you in prayer, for it is you who unite us:
you are the one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit –in whom we believe,
you alone empower us for good, you send us out across the earth
in mission and service in the name of Christ.
God, in your grace, transform the world and begin we pray, with us, as we lift our voices in confession, saying:
UNISON PRAYER OF CONFESSION
We confess before you and all people:
We have been unworthy servants.
We have misused and abused the creation.
We have wounded one another by divisions everywhere.
We have often failed to take decisive action
against environmental destruction, poverty, racism,
caste-ism, war and genocide.
We are not only victims but also perpetrators of violence.
In all this, we have fallen short as disciples of Jesus Christ
who in his incarnation came to save us and teach us how to love.
Forgive us, God, and teach us to forgive one another.
Assurance of Pardon
God in his grace has transformed this world, and he has begun with us. For that transformation Jesus lived and died and rose again. So let us also rise as we proclaim with joy, In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
PASSING THE PEACE
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Sharing a sign of peace
HYMN Holy Spirit hear us
Philippians 1: 27-30
1 Corinthians 2: 16
Galatians 4: 19
SERMON: In deed and in word
We live in a world where there are multiple “truths” and sometimes these truths can seem contradictory.
We are often told: Words matter. Words are powerful. Words have meaning.
Yet we are also told: Actions speak louder than words.
And while both of these things are clearly true, the deeper truth that is more important, is simply this: that for the church, our words and our actions need to be the same. The only way to engage in the mission of God is to make sure that our actions are the living confirmation of God’s word working in us.
The core message to the Philippian people is that our lives are to be formed with the Gospel in mind. We are called to fulfill the Gospel in what we say and in what we do. And, I would add, in how we do what we do.
When Paul tells the Philippian people that they must STRIVE for the Gospel, he is not necessarily talking about back-breaking, difficult work. What he means is willingly, cheerfully, and wholeheartedly speaking about the love of God in Christ, and sharing that love in deeds, as we go about our daily living.
For our effective witness and work in the community it is crucially important that the Mission we speak and the Mission we live are the same.
For Paul that mission involves a single-minded focus on Christ. Yet in our interpretation it can mean that we spend all of our time learning more about what Christ desires us to know, and that we spend all our time on speaking about Christ and that we spend all of our time sharing Christ’s mercy with other. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the overwhelming responsibility of living for Christ that we forget to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us.
When the Holy Spirit guides us, then we have a productive striving whereby having a single-minded focus on Christ means that we spend all of our time discerning, if this is the time to speak, or to act, or to remain silent and pray. We don’t have to do everything—only what God is asking of us.
This work of Mission cannot be done by any of us in our own strength.
Sometimes we miss that memo: You can’t do this in your own strength. And we work harder and harder.
We miss the memo: You need to take the time to get away and rest in God. And we work when we should rest in order to get caught up.
We miss the memo: You need to rely on the direction and strength of the Holy Spirit. But when we get that memo—it takes all the striving out of STRIVING.
So when Paul says that we must STRIVE for the Mission of Christ, what he means is that our entire Heart, Mind, and Will is caught up in knowing and communicating Christ.
That means that we will:
Think like Christ
Act like Christ
Feel like Christ
How do we do that?
When we think like Christ, we think about the matters that are important to God. Like how the commentators in the Spiritual Formation Bible describe prayer… Conversation with God about what we and he are thinking and doing together.
It is possible for our conversations with God to be only about our will and thinking, but when we enter deeply into prayer, we discover that we and God share the same concern for the world, and the same desire to labour for the world.
When we act like Christ, that means that we respond to the situation like Jesus would. Although I think the way the WWJD movement has become overly simplified, there is in it a truth that we cannot ignore.
When faced with the dilemmas of our day, what would Jesus do? How would he wrestle in prayer to find the answer and action that God is calling forth from him? How would Jesus let what he knows about God from the Scriptures guide his actions? How would God’s compassion be seen in how Jesus responds to a person?
Like forgiving a woman caught in adultery.
like calling his followers way from their family business to serve God
Like sharing his power with them (and that really means sharing God’s power with them)
Like hanging out with the least and the lowly and looking on a person’s heart, rather than class, occupation and life circumstance.
Of course, all of that flows out of his feelings. What Paul means when he calls us to feel like Jesus is that we are meant to love like Jesus loves. That Godly love flowing in and through us means that we think and act in accordance with how God thinks and acts.
Paul calls it living the God inhabited life. Or imitating Christ. Or having the mind of Christ. Or putting on Christ.
Whatever we call it, it has nothing to do with what we do in our strength.
None of it:
Not what we think.
Not what we do.
Not how we love.
None of this is done in our own strength. It is done in the strength of the Holy Spirit who is God’s presence within us. The Holy Spirit is how God inhabits us.
When Paul writes to the people in Corinth he reminds us that the quality of our Spirituality is seen in how we rely on the Holy Spirit. This God inhabited life means that God inhabits us completely.
This is a theme that Paul turns to time and time again.
We have seen it in Philippians and in Corinthians, and we see it again in Galatians, where he writes that Christ is formed in all of us.
When Christ is formed in us, we see the better path, which is the alternative to striving in the Law to improve. We have seen the example of the rich young ruler, who kept the Law and was proud of how he kept the Law; but couldn’t let his wealth go. Keeping the Law is not the pathway to salvation.
I recently read a novel in which one of the characters was a staunch, upstanding woman of the church, who was so unbending and unforgiving that she would not take care of her daughter’s child, because he was born out of wedlock. Then she repented, sort of, and said that she would if they paid her. Fortunately, that baby found a home where he was loved. Even more fortunately it was only a novel, but sadly that story happens in real life all too often.
If we speak of the love and mercy and grace of Jesus, it needs to also be seen in our actions if it is to be believed.
That’s why Paul writes to the Corinthians: If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
It seems, then, that when we live in accordance with the guidance of the indwelling God, then our lives are expressed in love. And love drives all that we do.
Love cannot be faked. Sometimes love is expressed through gritted teeth, as we see in some of the harsh words Paul had for the Corinthian church, but as harsh as those words could be, they were spoken with love.
That kind of love as expressed by Jesus on the cross, and by his followers throughout the ages, is not an easy love to give. Love is one of the keys places where we will feel the STRIVING. When we live with that kind of love it stretches us and shows us what we will accomplish when we respond to the leading of the indwelling God.
In his book on Missional Living Gorman, reminds us that the challenges mean that we will be an ever growing work of faith, a people who labour in love, and who are strengthened by steadfast hope. That sounds like a single-minded focus where we think like Jesus, act like Jesus and love like Jesus and then simply trust God to work out his will in us and through us.
When we live in the indwelling of God we believe, embody, and share the Gospel.
It seems that our current life circumstances are a reminder that we live in Christ and to serve Christ. Our world is hurting, and the pandemic simply highlights that pain. So now is the time for the church to be the church, and through fellowship and worship declare and show that Jesus is Lord; and to allow that confession to become what we practice. We repeat the words of our faith, and it permeates us and fills our being until we do what we speak.
We sing of our faith, confident in saying:
That by the Spirit we will choose what is right, that we will have the will to find what God has in mind, and choose the things that matter most, as we show by touch and word the devotion we have to God, his world and his people.
In everything that we speak and in everything that we do, we become the Gospel. Our mission is to love the world all the time, even when the world is hostile.
Gorman reminds us that it is imperative to keep looking for ways to love the world in the same servant attitude with which Jesus loved the world.
Humbly, wholeheartedly, faithfully, hopefully, genuinely and cheerfully love the world with the same servant attitude with which Jesus loved the world. Words and actions coming together in a unified whole.
When that happens, our words have meaning, and our actions demonstrate the words we have spoken…. And above everything else; God is glorified and his Gospel Mission is proclaimed and lived in us.
Amen and Amen
HYMN: 761 Who’s gonna tell the story
Online: I love to tell the story
Today we remember the gift of Jesus Christ given to us.
For ways in which to bring your offering into the storehouse check the front page of the website. Thank you.
Let us now pray for the offering received
GATHERING PRAYER REQUESTS
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
We give thanks for your blessings and signs of hope that are already present in the world, in people of all ages and in those who have gone before us in faith; in movements to overcome violence in all its forms, not just for a decade but for always; in the deep and open dialogues that have begun both within our own churches and other congregations of your church in the search for mutual understanding and respect; in all those working together for justice and peace –both in exceptional circumstances and every day.
We thank you with joy for the signs of your love in the world and among us:
God, hear the cries of all creation, the cries of the waters, the air, the land and all living things; the cries of all who are exploited, marginalized, abused and victimized, all who are dispossessed and silenced, their humanity ignored, all who suffer from any form of disease, from war and from the crimes of the arrogant who hide from the truth, distort memory and deny the possibility of reconciliation.
We pray for those we know and for those we don’t know, for your world and all who are in it:
God, guide all in seats of authority towards decisions of moral integrity.
we pray for the new government in BC. May they chose wisely whom to follow, and in following heed your voice to be servants of the people and to work for peace, harmony, justice, prosperity and health in our province.
We pray for the election in the United States. May your wisdom guide those who vote and your Spirit be upon the outcome. Guide the nation into your future.
We pray for the people of Nice following the bombing at the basilica. Help heal their pain, help build up the people of faith. Let your love and compassion rule amid these terror attacks.
We pray for the people of Turkey following the earthquake and tsunami. Help them to rebuild their land, and restore to them what they have lost. May all find homes and places to live as the winter months come.
And also for the people who have been in the path of destruction from Hurricane Zeta. Help them to rebuild, find homes and to turn to you in trust and with hope in these days.
This week we pray for the RCMP in our community. May they work in safety as they take care of the community. We thank you, O God, for the work that they do and the sacrifices that they make for the safety of all.
By the power and guidance of your Holy Spirit, O God, may our prayers never be empty words but an urgent response to your living Word – in non-violent direct action for positive change, in bold, clear, specific acts of solidarity, liberation, healing and compassion, readily sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Open our hearts to love and to see that all people are made in your image,
to care for creation and affirm life in all its wondrous diversity. Transform us in the offering of ourselves so that we may be your partners in transformation to strive for the full, visible unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ, to become neighbours to all, as we await with eager longing the full revelation of your rule in the coming of a new heaven and a new earth.
And now with faith, love and hope, we join with Jesus in prayer, saying, Our Father…. Amen
HYMN 763 to show by touch and word
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
Online: Tell me the stories of Jesus
Who’s going to tell the story, you and I
Tell of the Lord’s great glory, you and I
Who’s gong to let the whole world know
Help his disciples grow and mulitiply?
You and I!