August 2, 2020 Order of Service
Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church & Bethel-St. Andrew’s United Church
Worship Leaders: Rev. James Murray, Rev. Dr. Christine Johnson & Mike McCormick
Musical guest: Cameron Hunter
In Broadway musicals, there is a tradition called the “I want” song. These songs name the dreams and aspirations of the character who’s singing the song. Today, we’ll be sharing some of these songs with you and also reflecting on the nature of desire. In particular, we’re all going to answer this question:
‘In the face of the pandemic, what do I want?’
And this is a question, we hope all of you will answer as well. The pandemic forced us into lockdown and now into physical distancing. Along the way, these measures have compelled us to re-examine our way of life and who we are.The pandemic has put pressure on our economic and social systems in a way most of us have never experienced. Given the situation, what do I want? We believe it’s an important question right now as we chart our course into the future.
Music – Intro
In the musical, Frozen, Elsa must deal with the truth about her own magical powers and how she uses them in the future. This song deals with her acceptance of that special gift, a gift that has a serious consequence on her life.
“Let it Go” from Frozen Cameron Hunter
Gracious God, give all of us the courage to find our own path and to be true to the situations we find ourselves in. Help us to let go of expectations and learn from experience. Help us to face the storms that challenge our peace and be ready to change and adapt when necessary. Be with us today always seeking your truth and your wisdom. Amen
Hymn: MV#143 – We cannot own the sunlit sky
We cannot own the sunlit sky, the moon, the wildflow’rs growing,
for we are part of all that is within life’s river flowing.
With open hands receive and share the gifts of God’s creation,
that all may have abundant life in every earthly nation.
When bodies shiver in the night and weary, wait for morning,
when children have no bread but tears, and warhorse sound their warning,
God calls humanity to wake, to join in common labour,
that all may have abundant life in oneness with their neighbour.
God calls humanity to join as partners in creating,
a future free from want or fear, life’s goodness celebrating,
that new world beckons from afar, invites our shared endeavour,
that all may have abundant life and peace endure forever.
Scripture Genesis 32: 22-31
Reflection What does Jacob Want? Christine
When it comes to Jacob, he wants it all. He wants what his brother Esau has. He wants what his father has. He wants the younger daughter, Rachel.He wants children and wealth. He desires everything. And he is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants.
In the story we just heard, Jacob wrestles with a man all night. And even though this man breaks his hip, Jacob will not give up. Jacob tells him that he won’t let go until he receives a blessing. And he gets what he wants. The man gives him a new name, Israel, which means “wrestles with God.” In the encounter, he realizes this blessing is coming from a divine source. The blessing he receives is being able to wrestle with God, to see God face and face, and to remain alive. Despite his lying and cheating and bald-faced theft, Jacob, which means “to follow”, becomes Israel, the founder of a new nation and a new religion that continues to wrestle with God.
I think most people think that the characters in the Bible have it all figured out. This perception is not true. Religion and faith are about seeking understanding, which is a life-long pursuit. Religion is about wrestling with God and surviving and being blessed. Jacob never really has it figured out but even with God, he knows what he wants. A therapist I used to work with would always ask me, “What do you want out of this situation? Not what my parents want or what society wants or what my friends want or
what my spouse wants, what do you want? And if you really push yourself to ask that question deep down in your own soul, you might be surprised at what you say. Try it. What do you want?
In the musical Rent, a group of impoverished young artists struggle to figure out what they want for their lives in New York City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. This song, “Seasons of Love,” talksabout the challenges of friendship in the midst of loss. Love is what they want. And what they discover is that even when death comes too soon, the love they share will never be erased.
“Seasons of Love” from Rent Cameron, Mike
In the face of the pandemic, what do I want?
Music – Intro – Mike McCormick
In the musical, The Man of la Mancha, the Spanish inquisition is obsessed with a rigid understanding of God and expecting others to do what they are told. But this doesn’t happen for Miguel de Cervantes.
He wants to fight for what is right as he names what he understands to be an Impossible Dream.
“The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha
The character Elsa from Frozen is looking for Courage.
Miguel de Cervantes in Man from La Mancha is looking for Justice.
The many friends in Rent are looking for Love.
May God answer our prayers and bless all our days.
May we know what we want and stay in tune with what God wants for us.