Rooted and Grounded in Love (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
- Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and thank you Rev. Ena Van Zoeren for leading us in worship today.
- Bible Study: Growing through life's changes, will begin on Wed October 21 (7 pm in the Sanctuary) and continue for 6 weeks until Nov 25. It will then resume for 6 more weeks in January. Date to be determined. Please bring a Bible.
- Looking further ahead at St Andrew's: - our next Communion will be the 1stSunday of Advent November 29th. - This years Christmas Eve Service will an evening service beginning at 7 pm. - Plans are underway for a New Years Eve service of Hope; so stay tuned for more to come on that.
- We are very happy that the Children's Choir under the direction of Natalia Stoney will resume on Tuesdays.
CALL TO WORSHIP
The time for harvest is close at hand.
What have we done with the gifts God has given you?
We have brought our gifts to the house of the Lord, Praising God for the gifts and for opportunities for service that they represent.
We praise God for all the ways in which our lives have been blessed.
Generous God, accept our gifts and our lives this day.
Loving God, accept our praise and gratitude. AMEN.
HYMN Give thanks
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Lord God, our Provider.
We worship you as the one who meets our needs,
who grants our daily bread, who restores our humanity.
We worship you as the God who knows human need from experience,
who knows want, and thirst and humiliation.
And we worship you as your people, in a world where wealth is mixed with poverty; where we have all we need, but don’t know how to share.
Where want, and hunger and thirst and humiliation are hidden
from those with the power to offer challenge and bring change.
So, open our eyes.
Not only that we learn sad facts about the world.
But open the eyes of our heart,
that we may feel our place in this world, as your people.
Where there is need, teach us to learn where our wealth lies, and help us to give.
Where there is injustice, teach us to learn the causes, and help us to fight.
Where there is brokenness, teach us to learn of our own brokenness, and help us to bring wholeness.
Show us how to worship you,
the crucified God,
the risen God,
the God who provides.
Help us to carry our cross,
to accept your gift of new life,
to bring that gift to others.
May we begin with ourselves, as we bring our confession before, trusting that you will restore us, and call us forth as your grateful servants. Hear us as we pray together:
UNISON PRAYER OF CONFESSION
O God, we know that we forget about you,
we forget to love you,
we forget to help our neighbours,
we forget to thank you.
(a moment of silence for private confession)
Grant us clear minds to know you,
new hearts to love you
strong hands to serve you
Help us live this day, this week, and always
so that our whole life is a thanksgiving to you. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
God did not send Christ into the world to condemn the world,
but to be its Saviour. We can trust God’s word.
We are a forgiven people.
PASSING THE PEACE
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Ephesians 3: 14-21
SERMON: Rooted and Grounded in Love
Henri Nouwen writes:
To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work.
(He continues) Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.
Henri Nouwen, “The Spiritual Work of Gratitude,” Henri Nouwen Society, January 12, 2017.
Today, is Thanksgiving Sunday, and we come to bring our thanks for so many things that God has brought us at this time in our history and the world. We have prospered as a congregation. We have been able to share God’s grace with others through the HOPE Garden, through the monthly missional offerings, through our response to the appeals from PWS&D, and through our continued regular offerings, even as we met only on line and that generosity has continued as we have come together in person again.
We have met the call of God to love as he has loved, and the love we have given in return has been to those we love, to our community, and to transients whom we have encountered.
That love has been seen in our prayers for the whole community and the whole world through this difficult pandemic and almost daily disasters of fire and hurricane, flood and drought, earthquake and civil unrest. We have felt and responded to the pain of the whole world and we can with confidence say that we claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.
More than that, we can claim that our mission and ministry is a gift to God and an expression of our gratitude to him.
For that reason, today we look at how our actions a Missional people are our expression of thanksgiving to God.
Gorman, whose book we have been exploring these past few weeks, points out that mission is not part of the church’s life—it is the church’s life—our response to God’s mission is participation in the Kingdom.
We are reminded that through that response, we increase in love for the gospel and for the whole world. So our thanksgiving offering to God is the deliberate, imaginative, proactive love that is missional love. That love flows from God to us, and when it flows from us into the world it is returned to God.
Gorman points out that we become what our practice is.
So for us here at St. Andrew’s, what is our practice?
Prayer, for ourselves and others. Some days the prayer requests on Sunday take 4-5 minutes, and the prayers for the people can be very long indeed to include them all. It shows that prayers for those who know and love and prayers for those on our doorstep and around the world are important to us.
In writing about our reading from Ephesians the commentators of the Spiritual Formation Bible point out that our prayers are our thanksgiving.
Yet we are more than a people who pray. We are a people who act. We give missionally through our labour and through our wealth, so much so that during the pandemic our monthly mission offerings have increased, a sign that we are strong in our response to the world around us. We celebrate the work of the HOPE garden with it’s team of gardeners who see what their labour has produced and have delivered upward of 1700 pounds of food to the foodbank.
Groups of people have participated in various events for the Foodbank, and Neighbourhood link. We have brought goods from our pantry for the Safe House. We have taken care of one another with phone calls, letters, and patio visits.
AND ALL OF THIS, IS NOT JUST AN ACT OF MISSION, IT IS AN EXPRESSION OF OUR THANKSGIVING.
The commentators in the SFB write that this is why we pray: because prayer is the practice that is most in accord with God’s eternal purposes. And our prayers turn into actions which are how we express our loving, thoughtful active promotions of the good of others and the causes of God in our world.
We have been given all the riches of heaven. No wonder we respond with gratitude. No wonder we respond in action. No wonder we respond with giving.
Paul writes to the Hebrews in chapter 6: God will not overlook your work, and the love that you showed for his sake.
We pray for the sake of God. We serve for the sake of God. We live, we love, we act for the sake of the Gospel and for the world that God loves so much that he risked everything for it.
I have reflected this week upon the various ways we express our gratitude to people. We use words. We give hugs. We send cards. We praise them to others. And sometimes we give a gift of flowers, or chocolates, or an act of service like shovelling their snow.
That is the same way we give our gifts to God. But it would seem that even in our prayers and the many ways we are of service, our praises are crucial.
We speak from the abundance that is in our hearts, and when we praise God, that praise fills our hearts again and again, and those full hearts are seen in the prayers and service we have for God’s people and his world.
Essentially our praise explodes in greater prayers, and our prayers indicate a growth in love and our growth in love is seen in greater service, and our greater service is seen in a greater gratitude to God, and our gratitude leads to greater praise and our praise leads to greater prayer which leads to greater love which leads to more prayer.
In our relationship with God we participate in ever growing spirals as our imagination and vision are expanded, which expands our love, our praise our prayers and our service. This is the cause of our never ending growth and our ever expanding thanksgiving.
How can we keep from singing? How can we stop praising God?
Even a pandemic has not separated us from God’s love.
Even difficulty, illness and death can not and will not separate us from God’s love.
These past few months have proven, that a pandemic has increased our thanksgiving for the grace of God, and that has resulted in greater faithfulness.
I am filled with the images from the hymn: How can we keep from singing? How can we stop praising God?
The song enumerates all those things that cannot stop our song of love and praise to God.
Our praises are greater than the earth’s greatest lamentations.
They echo above the tumult
they comfort us in grief
they silence the howling wind
AND our praises triumph over
Tyrants, illness, death, prison.
Everything we have. Everything we know. All our blessings, sorrows and difficulties are in God’s hands. How can we keep from singing?
We can’t and we don’t.
Paul reminds us that we are rooted and grounded in love.
Jesus reminds us that we are rooted in him, that he is the vine and we are the branches.
Last week we spoke about the power of metaphors to remind us of the love and mercy of God.
What metaphor for the faithfulness, grace, mercy and joy of this congregation is greater than our growth in a time of pandemic, or greater than the garden which from, seed, sun, rain and soil have produced 1700 pounds of food for the Food Bank.
In March we were thrust into a journey that we still cannot see the end of, and yet here we are today, grateful for all that God has done and securely rooted and grounded in his love.
When we walk in faith it is all a mystery, but God has the answer and will reveal it in his time.
Let us praise God and express our faith that he holds us in his love as we sing together:
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
You call us to let go of the things we cling to
and step out in faith,
trusting in Your love and provision.
Give us courage to step out boldly,
to plant our small seeds generously, and without fear.
Use our gifts to accomplish more than we could possibly imagine,
so that, through us, Your kingdom might come
and Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. Amen
GATHERING PRAYER REQUESTS
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Ever faithful Lord,
Ever giving Son,
Ever present Spirit,
For the many gifts you grant us
and the opportunity to enjoy these things;
For your daily provision
and for the constant signs of your healing love;
For the hope amidst despair
and the light which always shines;
For all these things,
‘thank you’ is just so inadequate
but it’s all we have:
… to show our gratitude in word, in thought and in action.
Today we lift before you our Joys and our Gratitude
So thank you, Lord
and may our thanks move beyond words
to transform us into thankful folk,
folk who see need and see the need to act,
folk who love to live and live to love,
folk who serve you by serving others.
Help us to be amongst those
who include the excluded
and bring in those who are marginalized,
that when the opportunities come our way
to be healers of division and hurt,
to be peacemakers
we won’t be found wanting.
Loving, personal Father,
We bring before you those people and issues that are closest to us
and that occupy our minds at this time …
Personal and local Requests:
Mighty, wonderful Father,
we bring before you people and issues from around our world,
including those we’ll never know personally
but who remain our sisters and brothers in you …
National and Global Requests
Transforming, healing Father,
help us to make the light shine in dark places,
to make peace known in violent places,
and to bring hope to despondent places.
Our prayers, spoken and silent
are brought to you now
(along with these gifts that we freely give
and dedicate to the work of your Kingdom)
in the name of your Son, Jesus,
the healer, includer and redeemer, forever and in whose name we pray together saying: Our Father….
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!