They will be taught by God
August 8th, 2021
St. Andrew's Welcomes you to Worship
Lighting the Christ Candle
- We hope that this service we be a blessing in your life and lead you in a closer walk with our Lord, Jesus Christ. Welcome.
- Thank you Rev. Ena van Zoeren for leading and guiding us in worship today.
- This week, in our community, we pray for: Local Charities, Thrift Stores, Shuswap Community Foundation.
- We also remember everyone working in and affected by the wildfires that continue to burn. May God bless and keep you all safe from harm and may God also send rain to bring things under control.
Call to Worship:
Hungering and thirsting, we come to the Lord.
Jesus is the living bread!
Feed us with your love and healing power, O Lord.
Give us the bread of hope
and compassion that we may also feed others.
Praise be to you, O Lord, for your compassion for us.
Praise be to you, O Lord, for your steadfast love.
Hymn: Speak O Lord
Prayer of Approach:
O Bread of heaven,
Come down and fill us with your Spirit—
for your Spirit satisfies like no other.
We hunger and thirst for you this morning
and long to be nurtured
in your love and forgiveness.
So we come to this sacred time and place,
where our hungers are finally and fully satisfied
as only your bread can do.
We will wait and listen
for your leading in this hour. Amen.
Prayer of Confession:
God of all the saints, God of all the sinners, hear our prayer.
We would be saintlike – holy, good, patient, loving.
But we end up feeling more like sinners – full of failures of morality, selfish, mean.
>Perhaps You see us simply as human – as beloved, and flawed, and trying, and failing, and succeeding.
In all of this, forgive the wrong that we have done, and the bless the good we have accomplished.
Keep on loving us, and helping us, and molding us more and more into the image of Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
Almighty God, the God of peace, justice and mercy across the ages has guided his people through the wilderness, assuring us of a home in his eternal city.
God Strengthens us along the way, that we might not neglect our call to serve the cities and towns where we live.
Not only does he forgive us when we falter, but he also Helps us to trust in his unfailing presence amid all of our fears and grants us wisdom to discern his way in this world even as we hope for the next.
Sharing the Peace:
We are not far from the kingdom of God. In fact, the kingdom of God is within you, bring life to your soul, speaking peace into your heart. Extend to those near you evidence of the kingdom in your greetings of peace and love.
Hymn: 379 From heaven you came
On line: Ancient Words
Prayer for Illumination:
Ancient Words, ever true, changing me, changing you. WE have come with open hearts, O let the Ancient Words impart. Words of life, words of hope, give us strength, give us hope.
Words/music: 2001 Integrity's Hosanna! Music CCLI 11394548
Psalm 34: 1-8
1 I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
John 6: 35, 41-51
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[a] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.
Sermon: They will be taught by God
Jesus speaks, saying, It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[a] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
They will be taught by God.
These are words designed to keep the preacher humble. It is not about us, or about our skill with words. We merely stand here to be used by God as God teaches you and me.
Ask any preacher and they will tell you, that as hard as we work on the sermon, and as much as we think we spoke of grace, or of love, or of redemption or whatever we hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us, we often—frequently--find, that what we spoke and what you heard are very different things.
The first time I encountered that truth, was as a student, when someone came to me after the service and said, “you are so right, we all need grace.” I thought, I thought I spoke about us all needing to be servants to the least of these. Decades later, I can see how he heard grace, but at the time I was bewildered.
That is the amazing thing that happens when the Holy Spirit flows over, above and through the words we speak, so that what you hear is what God is teaching you.
As I drove to Alberta last month, and again as I drove back, I played one cd. I have others, but changing is not on my mind when I am stopped, and changing while driving just isn’t going to happen.
The CD in question is by Stephen Noble and as I drove, I sang. My favorite song, one that I just cannot get out of my head, is about the profound effect that God’s Word has on us.
The hymn/song begins with these words:
Holy Word, word of God
giving life to my soul
I can’t live on bread alone;
but by every word born of God.1
This word, when God speaks through it to teach us, gives life to our souls. Our spirits are revitalized. Our wisdom and understanding are expanded. Our desire to be servants of the kingdom is increased. Clearly this work is over and above the abilities of any human—this is the work of the Holy Spirit.
When God says that his word will not return to him void, this is what he means: that his word will be born in us. His word will do its work in us. His word will flow in and through us.
Yet this is a lesson that is seemingly difficult to hear: It certainly was for those who were listening to Jesus that day.
These people were not gathered to seek the Word of God. They were seeking a free meal. After all Jesus was known for taking a few fish and a loaf of bread and feeding the multitudes. The simple act of God’s word spoken over the meal, provided abundance.
Yet here, Jesus is pointing to a profound Spiritual Truth, that the simple act of speaking God’s word, provides a feast of life for our soul. Not the feast we were looking for, but the feast we need.
But when we look for something from the preacher other than the ongoing and life-giving word of God; we, like the crowd that day, can become angry. What, no bread to eat?
Who does he think he is, after all we know his parents. Humble people by all accounts, surely he has forgotten his place.
And his place, was not to be the living, breathing word of God. At least according to the people.
Even if they had accepted Jesus as a living embodiment of God’s word, this word that he spoke of, was far more dangerous and invasive in their lives than what was expected. How can the simple words that Jesus speaks be the means by which God teaches us within, writes upon our hearts, and continues to speak and resonate in us, long after the fact?
When I was researching this passage, I stumbled on an ad for a book titled, “how to preach a dangerous sermon”. There is a part of me that thinks all sermons ought to be dangerous. After all, when we speak the word of God, that is putting some pretty explosive things out into the world. A dangerous sermon is like this one that Jesus preached where he says that he is the bread of life and the people were angry. Or the one he spoke in Capernaum, when he said the Scriptures were being fulfilled in the presence of the people and they desired to throw him off a cliff.
Maybe, even every once in a while, we preachers need to preach the Word so boldly and powerfully that people want to grab us and throw us off the nearest cliff.
Then I was amused by the next ad for another book by the same author, called, “Surviving a Dangerous Sermon”. We could all use that book. Some of the sermons we listen to are deeply unsettling. The Holy Spirit keeps prodding and poking. We are feeling stretched and called to go, where we don’t know and perhaps even where we don’t want to go. God’s word always has and always will put demands on us, stretch our understanding of God, and of our willingness to boldly follow his path.
This Word from God requires two participants. God who speaks, and we who listen with open hearts and open minds. It requires that we question, not the audacity of the preacher, but rather, in a deeply meditative way, question, what is the word from God in this? What is God saying to me? What is God calling forth from me?
Maybe that’s why there is a preacher’s guide and a listener’s guide to dangerous sermons. There is courage required here. The courage to speak the word and the courage to hear the word.
I believe, that is what is being asked for by Jesus at this moment. He has the courage, born of God, to speak God’s word to bring life to the people. What they need is the courage to hear that word, as life for them and as life in them.
When this happens, Jesus guarantees spiritual fulfillment.
Like he did to the woman at the well, saying that his words were like living water, constantly flowing forth, and that there would come a day when all people would worship in Spirit and in truth. God’s word is continual refreshment, life for our souls, power for our passionate walk with God, and peace when the road is demanding.
This word Jesus says today is the bread that satisfies, not just for the moment, but for all of eternity as God continues to speak that word over and over in our spirit, so that there is no mistaking that what we are hearing is the life-giving word of God.
This life-giving word of God is grown in us as the Holy Spirit speaks God’s word into our hearts, our understanding and our living. Then, when we are open to hear, and to believe, we are constantly being taught by God.
So yes, perhaps the people were drawn to Jesus for the physical bread they thought they wanted, but Jesus reminds them that they are really being drawn in by something far deeper—the desire for the life-giving word that only comes from God.
We marvel at the wisdom of God’s word, and we ask that these words we have heard become nourishment for our souls and guidance for the living of our daily lives. May God write these words on our hearts, that we may be reflections of his truth and his mercy.
1This hymn is found on Stephen Nobles CD, The hope of Glory, c: 2016, Stephen Noble
Hymn: 704 Teach me God
Prayers of the People
We praise your abiding guidance, O God,
for you sent us Jesus, our Teacher and Messiah,
to model for us the way of love for the whole universe.
We offer these prayers of love
on behalf of ourselves and our neighbors,
on behalf of your creation and our fellow creatures.
Heavenly Father: thank you for sending your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to be the Bread of Life for the world
We pray for those whose daily need for healthy food, clean water and proper shelter goes un-met, and for those misusing what they have in the vain pursuit of pleasure. Feed them with all the good things of Christ for life now and in eternity.
We remember before you the clients of the Food Bank, those who are served by the lighthouse Mission and those families that are beginning to move into the new low cost housing. Bless them with your presence and fill them with your word.
Have mercy on those whose lives have been broken by violence and crime, by weather, fire and other disasters. Show them all your depth of mercy and the fulfillment of your justice. Bring them safely through the present time, and gather them all deeply inot your love.
Feed those who are sick or sorrowing with healing and consolation through Christ. We pray particularly for those people and places that are on our hearts right now. And meet the needs of others we know personally to be in want and whom we bring before you in word or silently in our hearts...
Fires in BC and around the world
All those who have been evacuated
Evacuation Centre in Salmon Arm
places where the floods have devasted
Janine as she moves into hospice
Kathy as she continues chemo
The rising numbers of people infected with Covid 19,
Refugee Olympic Participants and espec those settling into Canada as their new home
Prayers for the Peace and Prosperity of the Nation:
We pray for the local charities at work in our community, and for the people to whom they bring aid and assistance. We remember especially the Various Thrift Stores, the Shuswap Community Foundation, Neighbourlink, the Lighthouse mission and the Food Bank. Bless and prosper all that they do.
open our ears to hear your word
and draw us closer to you,
that the whole world may be one with you
as you are one with us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
And now in that unity we pray 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 and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Freely we have received. Thus, we freely give: grace upon grace. Let us express our love and appreciation to God, by extending the grace and mercy of God to a hungry world.
Doxology: Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Prayer over the offering:
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
We bow before you and thank you for the privilege
to participate in your acts of kindness and love
here on earth.
May these gifts truly become instruments
of your purposes here in our church, our community,
and around the world. Amen.
Hymn: 644 May the mind of Christ my Saviour
Having been filled by the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, go forth into this world where hunger and thirst persist. Bring the healing, life-sustaining, nourishing word of God and the peace and love of Jesus Christ. Offer the transforming witness of the Holy Spirit to all you meet. Go in peace and may God’s peace always be with you. AMEN.
Benediction Song: May the peace of Christ be with you
Online: Take O Take me as I am