May 2, 2021

Urgency and Mission (click here)

Passage: Acts 8: 26-40
Service Type:

May 2, 2021 - 5th Sunday of Easter

Welcome to Worship with St. Andrew’s Salmon Arm.  We are so glad that you have joined us, and hope that you will find a blessing here.


  • Scripture Readers sought:  In an effort to keep improving our experience of worship, we are asking for people to sign up to read Scripture.    You can come to the regular video Session on Saturday’s at 11:00 or arrange with John to submit a video or audio file.  Scripture Lessons for the post-Easter season are available from Ena.  Please prayerfully consider taking part in this expansion of our worship experience.
  • This month's Loonie offering will be going to Pregnancy Support care of the Vernon Live Well Clinic. Check the "Recent Posts" for more info on how to give to this worthy cause.
  • Special Prayers: Please remember those who are facing delays in surgeries due to the pandemic; also the people of India who are in the midst of a new wave of the virus. 

Pre-service sing-a-long  (thank you to Gloria Fitt for proving the music and the inspiration.)

Lighting the Christ Candle

The light of Christ has come among us.
Thanks be to God


God, you sent your Son into the world that we might live through him.

May we abide in his risen life so that we may bear the fruit of love for one another and know the fullness of joy

God you sent your Son into the world that we might serve through him.

May our lives embody his flowing grace so that we may bear his healing love for your world and live in the fullness of your Spirit.

Together we worship God.

HYMN:  Blessed Jesus at thy word


O God of love, whose love in Christ Jesus binds us together as one people, we come seeking to become your love.  Teach us we pray, to be loving, to be servants, to move in the urgency of your Spirit to love others as you love us.

This is love.
Not that you spoke words of comfort,
walked with the unclean and unloved,
shared wisdom, bread and wine,
brought healing into lives
and challenged the status quo.

We celebrate your love today.

This is love.
That you spoke the word of God,
walked a painful road to the Cross,
shared living water, bread of life,
brought Salvation to the world
and died for the sake of all.

We celebrate the grace of Jesus today.

This is love.
It is a seed
sown in the ground,
which germinates,
and spreads its sweet perfume.

Plant deep within us the seeds of love, to grow, to blossom, to bear fruit and to nourish the people of the earth.  Amen.


We come to God, not to justify ourselves but to repent and trust the saving grace of Christ Jesus.

Let us pray.

Look upon us, loving Saviour, sift our thoughts and assess our feelings.  Deal firmly with those things that have inhibited our love and diverted our  energies.

Loving God, whenever you see

self-righteousness, show us how to speak your love,

twisted thinking, straighten us with the truth of your Word,

heartlessness, soften our hearts and remind us that we are of love, by love, for love,

fruitlessness, prune what holds us back and free us to be your grace,

Hear our silent confessions:


Flood your relentless Spirit through our whole being,

sweeping away guilt and its lethargy,

and by the saving grace of Christ Jesus,

heal the hidden springs of our personality.

Thank you, Holy Friend, for answering our prayers

before we get round to asking them,

and for doing much more than we ask or think.

Through your Son and our Saviour;





In Christ Jesus we are a radically renewed community.

Thanks be to God!

Old things are done away with, all things become new.

Thanks be to God!

We are agents of grace and reconciliation.

Thanks be to God!

With every step or stumble, Christ will be with us.

Thanks be to God!

We remember always, that in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Thanks be to God.


The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ 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.


HYMN  Love divine all loves excelling



Listen, hear and remember, these portions of the revelation of God’s word for us.

Acts 8: 26-40 (click here to view the readings and sermon on YouTube)

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] [c] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.


Sermon:  Urgency and Mission

Our Scripture Lesson began:  Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 

Do you hear it?  There is an urgency here.  Philip was being sent on a mission, and it was important.

The commentators in the Spiritual Formation Bible, ask some questions that are meant to make us ponder how God calls us to participate in the urgency to tell people about Jesus.

How often do we hear the voice that urges us to go and see someone?

How often do we encounter people who know a little bit about the Bible and are seeking to know more?  Do we recognize this as the opportunity to tell them about Jesus?

Who do we know that has a spiritual hunger?  In what ways does God ask us to speak to them?

What these questions really do is remind us that in the people we know and the people that we meet there are those who are hungry to hear the word of salvation in Christ.

And we are
called to tell
the story.

For all of us it is just a matter of being open to hearing the angel of the Lord, or the whisper of the Holy Spirit, in whatever way the voice of God usually comes to us.

Perhaps here, we are being urged to be like Philip and to minister to those who dwell among us to help them to hear the full story of grace in Jesus.

This seems significant for us because we live in a world that in many ways is similar to the world in which Philip shared the news of the Messiah.

In our post-Christendom world, there are a lot of people who have heard about God, but who fulfill their spiritual longings in other ways, and seek other paths.  Some are like the people of Samaria, people with ancestral links to the Jewish faith, who lived in an area where there were many people of other races and faiths.  The Samarians adopted some of the practices of those around them.  The others hearing the Scriptures adopted some of the practices they learned in Scripture.  What resulted in Samaria was a people who practiced a “mixed” bag of religions.

In Jesus we first saw the compassion that led him to welcome the people of Samaria.  We see him teach the woman at the well with acceptance and grace.  He didn’t judge her for her lifestyle and he didn’t judge her for her religious belief and practice.  He welcomed her questions and spoke to her questing need.  He spoke of worshipping in Spirit and in truth.

What he did was to increase her understanding of the Messiah, who was to come, the basis of belief on which they had common ground.  He opened her eyes to understand and she recognized him as the Messiah.  From there she hurried into the town to tell everyone she knew that she had met the Messiah and urged them to come and see for themselves.

This is what Philip was doing just prior to being called to go to the desert road.

Samaria is where Philip was travelling, preaching the good news of Jesus to everyone he encountered.  And those who heard believed, and those who believed, were baptized.

Peter and John heard about what was happening in Samaria and came from Jerusalem to see for themselves what was going on.

What they saw was a people who sincerely wanted to know more about God, who were believing in the word about Jesus Christ and who were being baptized.  What they also recognized was that Philip was unaware of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and recognizing his sincere faith and that of the other believers they told them all of what the Scriptures taught about the Spirit and all were baptized in the Spirit.

There is an immediacy of ministry going on here.  Philip has an urgent call to share the news of Jesus.  And people believe, so much so that Peter and John and come to see.  Then wanting everyone’s faith to be full, Peter and John share the news of the Spirit’s baptism.

People hear and they believe.
Apostles hear about it and they go see.
Then they teach more.
The people receive more.

Faith, for all of us is a fluid and growing thing. 

We learn more and we gain more gifts. 

More gifts lead us to a renewed calling. 

A renewed calling leads to a new urgency in ministry.

Even as Peter and John leave, Philip is called away by the Spirit through the voice of the angel of God.

He goes to the desert road, and there is a chariot.  An Ethiopian eunuch is in the chariot reading the scroll of the prophets where they were speaking of the Messiah.

We already know that Philip is sharing the good news of Jesus with those of different races, cultures and faiths in Samaria.  But here, we also learn that the man is a eunuch.  That’s significant.

Philip is a Jew who is a believer in Jesus.  Welcoming gentiles who were all of a different race, a different culture and a different religion was already challenging for the growing community of followers of the Risen Christ.

But the eunuch was not whole, he would be considered disfigured..  That is why the Scriptures mention what has happened to him.  In Jewish belief you have to be whole.  No blemish.  No scars.  No tattoos.

In our age where life-saving surgery is common place, we know people who have been altered.  Mastectomies to remove cancer.  The various surgeries to prevent pregnancy.  Knee and hip replacements.  Appendectomies.  Gall bladders have been removed.  Some of us have or know those with tattoos, which in our age is just a personal expression of art that tells a story of who we are.

But the point is, all of this alters and mars our bodies and that would have been considered inconceivable, and a barrier to being welcomed into the worshipping community.

We are encouraged to see that Philip looks to the heart of the Ethiopian man.  Philip sees his sincere quest to understand what the Scriptures say about the Messiah.  And we have to wonder how a man barred from entering the places of worship was able to have a copy of the Scriptures.

Regardless of the questions Philip’s spirit led mission would cause him to give compassion and understanding to a man who was likely feeling the rejection of the religious leadership; and who yet yearned to learn of the Messiah the Scriptures spoke about.

The only thing Philip sees is a man who seeks to know more of the Messiah, and Philip knows the Messiah and has good news to share about the death and resurrection of Jesus which brings new life to all.

Philip tells the story.  The Ethiopian believes.  They see water.  The Ethiopian is baptized.  Do you again sense the urgency.

Then when this mission is done, the Holy Spirit whisks Philip away to Azotus and there he preached the good news of Jesus and continued to do so in all the towns on the way to Caesarea.

One of the things that the commentators note is that Philip just tells the story and then he moves on.  They point out that this is a reminder to us of what it really means to proclaim Christ.  We are called to tell the story, the outcome is up to the Holy Spirit.

We come, in the power and love of the Holy Spirit to all those who are seeking God, and we trust that the Spirit began the work before we arrived.  We tell the story in the confidence that God’s word never returns to him void.  Then we move on trusting that the Holy Spirit will carry on the work that the Spirit had already begun.

We are not responsible for the outcome.

We tell the good news about salvation in Jesus and then we move on as the Spirit leads us.

Sometimes we will walk with a person for a day, or a week or a lifetime, but what happens with the news we share is not up to us.  It is up to the Spirit.

Peter and John showed that attitude.  They saw what the Spirit was already doing in what was happening in Samaria whenever Philip told the story.  Then they opened the door for more Spirit work and they went back to Jerusalem.

We see it in Philip also.  The work had now been done and he was called to the desert road.  The work there done and he is spirited away and begins another itinerant ministry to tell the good news of Jesus from Azotus to Caesarea.

We are called to tell the story.  That’s it.  Tell the story.

Are we reminded of Paul who often said that all he knew was Christ and Christ, crucified.  Like Philip he didn’t stay around to convince people.  He told the story.  Then he moved on elsewhere and told the story.  And then moved on elsewhere, and told the story.

There is urgency in this.

Tell the story.

Move on.

Tell the story.

The more people you tell the better.

But we also see a note of warning.  We don’t decide whom we tell the story to.  If that was the case, people would be left out.

From the time God gave the Hebrew people a covenant, a part of their responsibility was to accept and care for the stranger, the beggar at the gates, the orphans and the widows.

In Jesus we see that covenant extend to outcasts and sinners.  To tax collectors and prostitutes.  In the work of the disciples we see the covenant given to those of other faiths, other races, to all gentiles and everyone in whatever condition they are, who are seeking God.  Even those who don’t yet know they are seeking God.

Why is that?  Because the bottom line was, is and forever will be, that God is always seeking us and them.  Constantly searching the highways and byways for those who are left out.  Endlessly seeking the lost sheep.

God is always seeking his people.

The Holy Spirit is always preparing their hearts to hear the good news.

And we are always called to tell the story of Jesus.  Over and over again to tell the story of Jesus.  And then, having done our job to trust that God in the power of the Holy Spirit will bring the story to full awareness and understanding.

The hymn, You are called to tell the story, reminds us that we are called to tell the story passing words of life along.

Jesus is the word of life and it is our privilege to share it; but more than that.

You are called to teach the rhythm of the dance that never ends.

You are called to set the table, blessing bread as Jesus blest.

We are called to be welcoming.

Let us then, as God brings the world to us, welcome them and tell the story.  Let us dance the dance of the Spirit.  Let us share the body and blood of Christ in broken bread and wine.  And let us remember always that God works in us to give us:

Words of love.
Songs of love.
Signs of love.
Gifts of love.

All of this is found in the simple, ageless story of Jesus who died on the cross so that we will all know the grace of sins forgiven and the promise of eternal life.   Amen.


HYMN:  Lord the light of your love is shining



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.



For all the blessings of this life,
we give thanks to You, Creator God.
For families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and strangers,

Those who told us the story, those who nurture us, that the love of God may grow within.

That Your love, your Word, like a seed, may grow to produce in us, good fruit.

We thank you for:

May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.


For the leaders of various nations and cities, that they may lead with strong hearts and gentle hands and generous spirits, with compassion and mercy, with wisdom and grace.

We pray for the leaders of India, and all the medical staff as they battle a crisis.  May your whole world of people respond with gifts of PPE and vaccines.  And may we all respond with the same grace and compassion to all countries who struggle to buy vaccines and protective equipment.
May what we give and do reflect your will in assisting them  all their actions and decisions.

May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.


For those who serve in harms way,
those who live in dangerous places,
those who live in areas of war and strife,
those who live in fear,
those who worry about employment, bills, food
and struggle just to find dignity in life.

We remember those we know:


Send us to tell your story, that your grace may bring peace and safety to all people, one to another.

May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.


For those who suffer from any illness or disease—of mind, body, or spirit.
Restore these, and all those we carry in our hearts, to fullness of health—
health as only you, O God, can bring.
May your mercy shower each of us with healing mercy and love.

May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.


For those who are dying, and for those who have died.

Send forth your comforting love.
Give solace to those who mourn.
Console those who grieve.
May your grace surround us

like a mantle upon our heads,
a shawl upon our shoulders,
a hand, to hold our hand.

We remember before you today:   Diane and all her family, and all those in our country mourning the loss of family or friend.  Those people in places that mourn catastrophic loss of folk to the pandemic or to natural disaster.

May your love, be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.



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.

This week we pray for:  Our Mayor, City Hall, Town works, Chamber of Commerce, all town employees, CSRD staff and employees


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

HYMN  you are called to tell the story




As you leave this place, remember this:

You are the ones chosen by God,

chosen for the high calling of priestly work,

chosen to be holy people,

God’s instruments to do his work

and speak out for him,

to tell others what God has done for you.

So go into the world;

live as God’s people,

through the grace of Jesus Christ,

and the power of the Holy Spirit.


SUNG BLESSING:  Blessed be the name of the Lord