Mission for the purpose of salvation (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
CALL TO WORSHIP
The God of our ancestors has led us to this place.
We are witnesses.
We have sworn to teach God's promises
to all generations.
We are witnesses.
The time is coming when Christ will come again in glory.
We are witnesses.
Let us tell the world of God's faithful love.
We will worship and witness together, as we proclaim the salvation of God!
HYMN 769 Lord of light whose name
On line: Shine on me (click the blue text for YouTube music, sorry there may be advertising)
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
to you alone
we lift our souls;
in you alone
we place our trust;
for you alone
we wait all day long.
For you are the God
of our salvation,
abounding in mercy
and steadfast love.
Help us remain alert and watchful
for the coming of your promised one—
the one who comes with power and glory,
the one drawing near
to bring our salvation.
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
Please hear us, loving God, when we cry to you,
be gracious to us and answer our prayer.
If we have slid away from new opportunities,
or failed to give our best effort to long familiar duties,
forgive us and restore us merciful Friend.
If we have failed to proclaim your love to the world.
Forgive us and give us new purpose.
*If we have not spoken of the grace of your salvation
forgive us and renew grace within us.
if we have not lived so that Christ is seen among us
Forgive us and restore and let his light shine in us again
Loving God, your generosity flows freely to all your creatures.
We praise you that our sins are forgiven,
and that the future has again become an open door.
Thanks be to you, God of grace and glory!
Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.
Assurance of Pardon
God has loved us from before this world existed, and he will love us when this world passes away. He has brought us salvation in Jesus and this gift is as eternal as his love. 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
Philippians 2: 6-11
Matthew 5: 3-12
Throughout the history of God and his people, God has demonstrated his desire to have his people, gathered together in his presence, with God himself at the centre of the community. In that community God acts in a uniquely direct and personal way, as he continues to draw people in and subsequently to draw them ever closer to him.
This has always been God’s purpose in mission. To bring his people into a close relationship with him.
To accomplish that mission he has in every age brought forth a leader who would demonstrate God’s mighty acts of salvation and lead the people in their journey with God. That same incarnational action ultimately found it’s final demonstration in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.
This is the crucial part of God’s purpose in mission. It is incarnational, God is always present with us. It is personal, God’s presence draws us into an ever-deepening relationship, where he reveals not only his presence, but also our true nature. God’s salvation restores us to him and to ourselves.
According to Gorman, in the book Becoming the Gospel, in Jesus we see the revelation of God and are issued an invitation to participate in that mission. When we read Paul’s letters we are invited, and perhaps even enjoined, to become the Gospel in word and in deed. Then he adds: “and if we are faithful and if it becomes necessary—in suffering.”
We may wonder why if God’s purpose is our salvation, why then, might we be asked to suffer as Jesus suffered? We see the suffering of the disciples, and the others who were martyred for their faith through the ages. Why does a God who loves us allow that to happen? And more importantly, why does he call us to the same suffering as Jesus?
That of course is the point. We are reminded that God does not ask of us anything that he hasn’t already given of himself. In Jesus, God suffered and died for us. Thus, when we are called to suffer and die—if need be—then we do so not as suffering that punishes; but as suffering that makes bringing salvation to others possible.
In Paul’s letters we are reminded that to be in Christ Jesus is to be in mission. To be immersed in the same mission of Christ. To be embodied in the same mission of Christ. In everything that we are called to do and to be we are fully immersed in God’s mission to the world.
Today we looked at Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. Philippi was a Roman colony, and firmly entrenched in the Emperor cult. The worship and adulation of the populace was to be given to Caesar and only to Caesar. Obedience and Loyalty were to be given only to Caesar.
In the midst of this culture arose the Church in Philippi. They worshipped God. They spoke of Jesus as the way of salvation. They demonstrated in every way that they were a different people and lived in a different way from the rest of the population.
It is often said that Christians are visible in their communities because they live as aliens. They have different values, beliefs and behaviours. They just don’t fit in. It’s not so apparent in our age.
But not fitting in is as simple as being different in little ways.
Like immigrants don’t always fit in when they first come to Canada (and maybe even long afterward).
We don’t speak the language.
We don’t shop for the same foods.
We embrace a culture that is different, and our traditions reflect that.
I can still remember the first time someone shockingly commented that any Canadian didn’t know Auld Lang Syne. Well, I didn’t. In our home at midnight on New Year’s Eve we sang the Dutch national anthem.
Even foods with which we celebrate with are different. Once at roll call for a woman’s group meeting we were asked to list our side dishes for Thanksgiving. Bread stuffing, squash, turnips and carrots were listed by everyone present, and then I listed what was served in my home. Broccoli and asparagus, and a turkey stuffed with meatloaf. No one commented, they didn’t have to—the looks on their faces said it all.
And truly these differences are not significant in any deep or meaningful way, but they marked and still mark me as different. I have learned to sing Auld Lang Syne and I have since learned to appreciate squash, especially when seasoned with copious amounts of pepper, but if given a choice would prefer another vegetable.
That makes me different from other Canadians, but not in a significant way.
But for the church in Philippi what made them aliens in the land was deep and was significant. It could lead to them being arrested, and even executed.
The life of the congregation was marked by the ways in which they suffered for the Gospel.
So Paul is writing to them to encourage them and to uplift them. He reminds them that it is a privilege and a challenge to participate in the story of Jesus. He reminds them that it is an honour to proclaim Jesus in word and in deed, even if—especially if—it results in opposition and suffering.
A privilege? Yes. This is what Gorman calls the privilege of believing and suffering.
There is, Paul declares, a depth of spirituality among those who are in the midst of the battle in Philippi. They deal with the bigness of God’s mission through which they empty themselves for the sake of those who will be saved.
For the sake of those whom God still seeks, Paul urges the congregation to seek untiy, to imitate Christ, to be self-sacrificing in obedience and humble in service. This says Paul is a life that embodies the obedience of Jesus.
Paul hopes 3 things of the congregation in Philippi.
- That they live a life worthy of the Gospel
- That they stand firm in proclamation of the Gospel
- That they not be intimidated by opposition
In fact we see in Paul’s word that these things are the source of their blessing. That they be the gospel. That they be bold. That they be strong.
These are the same blessings that Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount.
Blessed are the poor in Spirit…. Because they know they need God.
Blessed are those who have reason to mourn…because God will comfort them
Blessed are those who are meek…because they will inherit the earth
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…for they will be filled
Blessed are those who are merciful…for they will receive mercy
The pure in heart…will see God
The peacemakers…will be called God’s children
Those who are persecuted…for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven
The Beatitudes are a radical reminder that what God calls blessedness is in fact the opposite of what the world calls blessedness. Truly what the world calls blessedness looks more like privilege.
When live in blessing we are reminded that we are nothing without God, and that our peace, strength, and power are wholly his, and yet given to us for the purpose of bringing others into God’s salvation.
Everything that God does is to bring salvation; along with the companions of blessing—grace, mercy, peace, and righteousness.
The church that lives in its blessing is alien in the eyes of the world in many significant ways.
We rejoice in suffering.
We praise in sorrow.
We are bold in standing against injustice.
Paul reminds the people of Philippi that when they suffer for the Gospel they are blessed.
He reminds them that when they participate in the servant calling of Jesus that they are a force that stands against the political, social, economic, intellectual, ethical and religious status quo. That’s a whole lot of blessing that can lead to discrimination, opposition and oppression.
That is why Paul is encouraging the people to stand firm in the blessing of being called to mission. Like the leaders of the people have always done, from Moses, to the prophets to Jesus, Paul encourages the church.
To participate in the Mission of God means taking a stance for God in all the spheres of human interaction. This is the route of justice that leads to peace. This is the route of suffering that leads to salvation. This is the road of humbleness that leads to mercy not just for us, but also for all those around us.
When we read Paul, we see this common message running through every letter. The radically missional message that tells us that the church is called to proclaim, embody, and hold forth in all circumstances to proclaim and defend the cause of Christ Jesus.
As the church today we are reminded that as we live out the story and the cause of Jesus in our own communities, we will be missional people, and Christ’s story will become our story and we will become wholly his in the service of his Gospel.
To Paul we give the final word, this word written to the Colossians, as translated in the Message
Colossians 3: 17
Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. MSG
Remembrance Day Prayers
Today O God, we pray, remembering our responsibility to all the other nations in this world, and the ways we have participated in that caring and sharing. So we pray in thanksgiving for those who have served, and with compassion for those who have died, or borne the grief and the pain.
God of justice and peace,
we pray for those who have been injured
or disabled through war.
For those who have lost homes
and security through conflict;
for those who have lost loved relatives in wars;
for those who face danger and take risks for peace;
for all those, especially children, caught up in current conflicts;
for refugees and all those in need of aid and other help.
God of encouragement
and Saviour of the despairing,
comfort those who remember past sacrifices
and guide us in building
a just and peaceful community for all.
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
All: We will remember them.
A minute of silence
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
Lord of love and light,
shine into our lives and bring your love into our souls.
Open our hearts to receive your loving spirit.
Open our minds to receive your wisdom.
Open our hands to show others your loving compassion.
So now, with eyes open to the depth of your grace and riches, we thank you for:
Lord of love and light,
we hold in our hearts those around us who feel unloved, those who are ill, those who know struggles in daily life and those who bear the burdens of the world around them..
We bring them to you for you to shine your love into their lives.
We hold in our minds those who overwhelmed by their needs and difficulties. We hold in our hands your loving compassion to give them.
This day, we pray for President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris. Be with them and order their thoughts and hearts so that they are humble in victory and compassionate as they make the decisions that will mark their administration. Help them to remember that they have promised to serve in the best interests of all the people regardless of party affiliation, and guide them in fulfilling that task, and the greater task of bringing unity to the country. Fill them both with your Spirit to guide and to protect; to comfort and to encourage. And be with the people of the States, that they will come together and support their new president.
We pray for President Trump, asking that you surround him with peace, comfort him in disappointment and guide him into the future. Surround him with compassionate and caring people to work with him in the process of transition.
Today we remember our own community, as we pray for the men and women who work in Emergency Services. They don’t always know what they are going into, and so we ask that you help them to prepare for each and every situation, and guide them in safety. May they end each day with the reward of knowing that they have made a difference to all who have needed them, and then send them safely home to their rest.
Lord of love and light, there are people and places that are dark
and in the dark about your love. Shine forth your light and love in their lives and in those places.
There are people and places that have closed their minds to you,
to others, to new and fresh ideas. Shine forth your light and love to open their minds to you, to others, to new and fresh ideas.
There are people and places that need our hands reaching out to them with your loving compassion. May our reaching out to them with your love and compassion, shine forth your light and love and bring your salvation.
Hear us now as we join our voices, praying together as Jesus taught us saying: Our Father who art in heaven….
HYMN 772 Christ for the world we sing
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit be with you, now and forevermore. Amen
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!
Online: Go forth in His Name