Increasing the strength of our soul (click here)
June 6, 2021 Ordinary Time
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.
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 and water. 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: We will record the Scripture as a part of Sunday worship. There will be a sign up sheet in the Narthex. Please prayerfully consider taking part in this expansion of our worship experience.
June's Loonie offering is going to the High School apprenticeship program.
For India and other struggling nations during the pandemic.
For the Indigenous communities mourning after the discovery of buried children at a Residential School.
Vaccine roll out in our community and others.
Lighting the Christ Candle
The light of Christ has come among us.
Thanks be to God
CALLED TO WORSHIP
Rejoice! Proclaim God’s Presence!
As we join together in God’s presence let us rejoice, for God is with us!
Our savior Jesus is with us, offering us lessons in living and serving
The Holy Spirit is with us, showing us how to take these lessons and increase the strength of our souls.
So as we bow down before him, may we open our ears and our hearts to hear his words of encouragement and then go forth to praise and thank God for his love and mercy.
PRAYER OF APPROACH
Holy God, you are the God above and beyond all things! With trust, hope and humility in our hearts and minds, we gather to praise and worship you, the God who always hears and answers our prayers. Your promises are trustworthy and honourable, and so with thankful hearts and minds, we praise and worship you, who understands and guides us.
Awesome God, we come in reverent wonder before you! Every day and night, we have been blessed by the wonders of your love, and blossomed n a mercy which never fails; your gentle powers are shown through your unfailing kindness to people who are weak and in need of strength, encouragement and hope for the future.
Ever-present God, your faithful love endures for ever, and ever. We give praise to you with our whole hearts. Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
Lord, forgive us when we see your miracles all around us and still doubt your power, presence and love. Forgive us when we treat this world and each other with careless indifference or with malice. You, who have created the most wondrous things from the smallest of particles, can create in our hearts confidence and hope. From our lives you can fashion the most delightful miracles that can serve you through acts of mercy and kindness. Free us, Lord, to receive your blessings and, having received them, to find the numerous ways in which we can serve you. Heal our wounded hearts. Hear our cries. Come to us and bring us home. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON:
Do not doubt God’s power and might! It is God who has created all that is! It is God who has called to your hearts and spirits. God is with you. As you walk with God he not only forgives your sins, he also floods your soul with the power of the Holy Spirit that you may be strong to serve in the Kingdom. Praise be to God. 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.
In person: musical interlude
WE HEAR GOD’S WORD (click here for the Sermon and Scripture videos)
Listen, hear and remember, these portions of the revelation of God’s word for us.
2 Corinthians 4: 13- 5: 1
Sermon: Increasing the strength of our soul
Psalm 138 reminds us that God’s Spirit fills our lives in a great and powerful way, and at no time is that truer than when we lift our voices in praise of God.
The psalmist urges us to bring our songs of exuberant praise and overflowing thanksgiving. We are to proclaim our praise of God everywhere, not just in worship.
When we look more closely at where we are called to praise God, we see a host of places we may never have considered.
Before God, not just in worship, but also at home, in the market place, and in the assemblies of people everywhere.
And in those places and to those whom we may never have considered.
Before the gods
before the heavenly beings
Before the gods and governments of the nations
And… before the idols of our culture.
Not all of those places and peoples sound like places where we may be comfortable being or speaking of the wonders and glories of our God and yet we are compelled to go.
That is why God’s Spirit inhabits our souls in a powerful way. When we praise God, the Spirit makes all things possible in and through us.
Most importantly our praise of God is how God works through us to attend to the needs of the lowly, and how he protects us from our enemies.
How often in the Biblical story do we see the servants of God entering palaces and speaking with boldness? How often do we see them challenging Kings? Corrupt religious officials?
How often do we see God’s servants entering the lowly places where the lowly and the lawless are to be found? How often do they liberate the prisoner? Heal the leper? Feed the stranger?
The truth is that when we praise God, we know confidently that God’s purposes for our lives cannot be thwarted. Nothing in heaven or on earth can stand in the way of God’s purposes. Nothing.
Not even us, with our lack of knowledge, our faltering faith, and our stubborn failure to hear.
How does that happen? Psalm 22 tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people.
Our praise is a primary way that God works His way into our hearts and minds. Thus, whenever we worship and praise God, in the sanctuary or in the world, his Spirit works in our hears and our minds and our wills, and our faith grows.
True worship is lived out every minute of every day. That is why it does not only take place here. What happens when God’s people gather for worship is a more powerful worship, as the Spirit moves in and among us, but all worship is powerful and life altering as we open our hearts to allow more space for the indwelling of our God.
Psalm 138 verse 3 is that reminder for us:
Today in worship we read from the New International version. “When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.“
In the Message we hear it put this way: “The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.”
Or it is translated this way in the New Revised Standard Version: “On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.”
When we praise God, things happen in us.
Gos greatly emboldens us.
God makes our lives large with strength.
God increases the strength of our soul.
When we worship we are: Bolder, Stronger, Growing in the Spirit.
And all of this, simply from praising God. How can this be?
Paul takes up this theme in the letter to the Corinthians.
He reminds us that we have been given the same Spirit of faith as Jesus.
The same Spirit of faith as Jesus.
The same Spirit to heal and comfort.
The same Spirit to teach and proclaim.
The same Spirit to rebuke the rulers and the corrupt leaders.
The same Spirit to confront evil wherever we encounter it.
So as we reflect on the images of strength training and other workouts, maybe we should consider that praising and glorifying God is our spiritual workout.
Actually I think worship looks more like circuit training.
A little singing and praising.
A little praying and thanking.
A little confessing and cleansing.
A little praising and singing.
A little scripture and learning.
A little exhortation.
A little praising and singing.
A little thanking and intercession.
A little more praising and singing
And then: a sending forth to live for God in the world.
Kennon Callahan talks about Christian service in terms of marathons and sprints. He asserts that in past ages all Christians have been marathoners. Just doing the work of the Lord for the long haul. He teaches that now we need to be more like sprinters, where we work hard for a while and then take a rest.
But as I think about those images, I wonder if neither of those options represents what the Christian life truly is.
I see a life of service as more of a sending forth to sprint through the mission and ministry of the week, with rest stops for worship and then another sprint of mission and ministry in the marathon that is the whole of our lives of service with God.
Jesus says, the harvest is plenty and the workers are few.
We are the few, if we are to make a difference for the people of our community, we need to be out there every week. Some weeks we will run for the hungry. Other weeks we will run to confront the misuse of power. Some weeks we will run for those who are grieving and mourning. Whatever the sprint of the week is, we will be there.
Every week we will sprint for the Lord in one way or another.
As we undertake the circuit training of worship, we warm up in the praises, grow strong hearts in the aerobics of prayer, and so we gain strength and insight in every station; but perhaps when we lift the weight of Scripture, and climb the stepper of exhortation, that is the place where we develop endurance. Endurance is the most strenuous of Christian virtues. Endurance for the lifetime of sprints in the lifelong marathon of faith.
That is why it is so important to attend to our souls. When we worship and praise, we strengthen our souls. When we sing we increase our hope. When we learn we strengthen our confidence in God. When we thank God we are empowered to speak his word. When we pray for others, we are shown the new goal line of the next sprint.
Our worship opens in us all the gifts of the Spirit that we need to encounter worldly power, enmity, violence, hunger, pain, disillusionment. The weekly sprint is exhausting. The weekly worship is empowering.
And as we work our spiritual muscles, we grow stronger and stronger week by week. We are able to go further, work harder, and carry more of the heavy burdens of others.
Paul writes that when we live with Jesus, it strengthens us against afflictions and sings into our spirit the joy of eternal life.
He also writes that we do what we are called to do, day in and day out, week after week, and month after month because we are compelled to do so by the Spirit who urges us ever onward.
For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9: 16-18)
And later in this passage he writes that we can’t do that without some endurance training.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (24-25)
So we continue to sprint the mission in the marathon of service in Christ until the day we enter through the gates to be greeted by God, who proclaims, “well done good and faithful servant and places on our heads a crown, utterly festooned with jewels. The prize of our upward calling in Christ Jesus, and the outward adornment of our inward strength of soul.
In person: Video medley
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.
In person: Doxology
Offering Hymn: The church is wherever God’s people
Generous God, We have known Your unfailing love and faithfulness,
Your care and provision, Your protection and salvation.
And so we respond with deep gratitude,
offering back to You a portion of what You have given to us.
Accept the gifts we bring—tangible expressions of our love and gratitude
for what You have so generously given to us.
GATHERING PRAYER REQUESTS
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
Gracious and eternal God,
you have raised up your name and your word
your steadfast love endures for ever.
In a world where every day some division or strife arises
we bring our prayers for others and for ourselves.
We pray for the indigenous peoples as they mourn for the children whose bodies were found at a Residential School in Kelowna
We pray for those who are experiencing racism: for Indigenous Peoples, for blacks and Asians and for the Indo Asian community
We pray for the divisions in our country that have been exposed through this pandemic
We add our own prayers:
Do not turn from the work of your hand, O Lord, uphold, restore and renew
your human creation and the world in which you have set us:
by your holy breath
comfort the lonely;
bind up the broken-hearted
and those who mourn;
calm the fearful;
rejoice with those who celebrate;
be present to those who call on your name,
to those we named on our lips,
and in the silence of our hearts,
those whose concerns are known only to you;
We pray for your world and those places were strife and conflict, disease or disaster call out for your intervention
We add our prayers
We pray for this congregation, with thanksgiving for your faithfulness to us, and our faithfulness to you. You have shaped us in these difficult days, and caused our faith to blossom and flourish, we are deeply grateful. We pray that this same faith will continue to blossom, flourish and be seen in service to our community in the years to come.
May your same faithfulness, peace and presence be with the General Assembly as they meet this week. As thy consider difficult issues may your Spirit speak peace and calm and direct everyone’s hearts and voices.
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.
Fair Board, Roots and Blues
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
In person: musical interlude
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
Go now, and trust in God’s mercy for your strength.
Proclaim the good news wherever God calls you,
and be all things to all people for the sake of the gospel.
And may God give you the strength and freedom of an eagle.
May Christ be the bread that nourishes and renews you.
And may the Holy Spirit be the rising wind beneath your wings.
SUNG BLESSING: Take O Take me as I am
In person: May the peace of Christ