Read-along Service for Sunday, June 13, 2021

Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church
Order of Worship
Third Sunday after Pentecost June 13, 2021

Prelude
Words of welcome, announcements

Lighting the Christ Candle
We light this candle as a sign of God’s Spirit which is present in the world. May its flame brighten our spirits. May it ignite our passion, our hope and our joy as we share in God’s mission to brighten the world.

Call To worship
What mysteries there are in God’s world! For all our sophistication we still stand in awe at the wonders of the natural world. We look at the tiniest of seeds and wonder what can grown out of it. From this small seed can grow a large shrub. Although we might consider our gifts to be small and insignificant, God can use your gifts in miraculous ways. Come gather around as we learn of the power of the seeds that are already within you. When this seed takes root in you it can grow into something beautiful.  Come, let us Praise the God who creates all life and invites every seed to grow. Amen.

Prayer of Approach
Holy God, the future is unwritten, so the future is always a mystery to us. You know what is possible, but your dreams can only become a reality when we offer our hands and hearts to help build a community where love shines through.  Open our eyes so we can see everyone as our sisters and brothers, so we can learn how to work together to share your blessings with the world.
Holy God, the future is unwritten, so we can only move forward with faith. You plant seeds of faith deep within us, so we can be a witness to your just and loving ways. Open our arms so we might embrace and welcome all in your name.
Holy Spirit, when we cannot see the way, you take us by the hand so we can step forward, in faith, to face all that this new day brings. Fill us with hope during this time together, so we can share the gift of joy all of our days. Amen.

Hymn                  God We Praise You for the Morning        VU 415

1.        God, we praise you for the morning;
           hope springs forth with each new day,
           new beginning, prayer, and promise,
           joy in work and in play.

2.        God, we praise you for creation,
           mountains, seas, and prairie land.
           Waking souls find joy and healing
           in your bountiful hand.

3.        God, we praise you for compassion,
           all the loving that you show;
           human touching, tears, and laughter,
           help your children to grow.

4.        God, we praise you for your Spirit,
           Comforter and daily friend,
           restless searcher, gentle teacher,
           strength and courage you send.

5.        God, we praise you for the Saviour,
           come that we may know your ways.
           In his loving, dying, rising,
           Christ is Lord of our days.

6.        Hallelujah, hallelujah,
           hallelujah, hallelujah!
           Hallelujah, hallelujah!
           Christ is Lord of our days!

Scripture Reader: Margo Aubert  
          Bible Story: The anointing of David (1 Samuel 16:1-13)
          Mark 4:26-32

Special Music

Homily “A Dandelion Faith”

Musical Response

The offering
We give thanks for everyone who continues to support TSA during these challenging times. Your gifts of support and encouragement mean a lot to us. As so many of our traditional fundraisers have had to be put on hold, your donations are vitally important. For all the gifts you share, for all the people you bless by your serving and giving as a disciple of Jesus, we give thanks.

Hymn                  O Breath of Life                                         VU 202

1.      O Breath of life, come sweeping through us,
         revive your church with life and power;
          O Breath of life, come, cleanse, renew us
          and fit your church to meet this hour.

2.      O Wind of god, come bend us, break us
          till humbly we confess our need;
          then, in your tenderness remake us,
          revive, restore – for this we plead.

3.      O Breath of love, come breathe within us,
          renewing thought and will and heart;
          Come, love of Christ, afresh to win us,
          revive your church in every part.

Pastoral Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn                  Will Your Anchor Hold                               VU 675

1.      Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?
          When the clouds unfold their wings of strife,
          when the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
          will your anchor drift or firm remain?

          Refrain:     We have an anchor that keeps the soul
                             steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
                             fastened to the rock which cannot move,
                             ground firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

2.      It will surely the straits of fear,
          when the breakers tell that the reef is near;
          though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
          not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.        Refrain

3.      It will surely hold in the floods of death,
          when the waters cold chill our latest breath;
          on the rising tide it can never fail
          while our hopes abide within the veil.                Refrain

4.      When our eyes behold, through the gathering night,
          the city of gold, our harbour bright,
          we shall anchor fast by the heavenly shore,
          with the storms all past for evermore.               Refrain

Benediction
We end our time together, thankful for this gift of fellowship. Now we are ready to begin a new week.  In all you do in these coming days, plant seeds of justice, mercy and joy.  Be at peace as you work with God to build a future where God’s love shines through. Amen.

Postlude

A Dandelion Faith. Text: Mark 4:30-32
Preached by Rev. James Murray at Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church, June 13 2021

How are your dandelions doing this summer? Mine are doing quite well. It looks like I’ll have another bumper crop again this year. I did go out earlier in the spring to try and pull as many of them as I could. But it made no difference. Those beautiful yellow flowers keep coming back.

That’s the way it is with dandelions. The wind blows where it will. When I look at all of these flowers, I wish I could make some dandelion wine, because I don’t really know of any other use for such a bumper crop. I know that dandelions were brought to North America in the 1600’s as a hardy source of salad greens. It is also used as a medicinal herb. While I like the idea of a 100 mile diet, there are only so many dandelion salads I can take.

If dandelions were difficult to grow, we’d all want them in our garden, since they are so pretty. Yet no one in their right mind would plant a dandelion in their garden. Dandelions are not the only plant with take-over properties. Pliny the Elder wrote the first gardening handbook back around the time of Jesus.  Pliny praises the mustard seed for its pungent taste and fiery effect. The mustard plant is a hardy bush which grows to a metre in height.

Pliny warns that ‘once it has been sown, it is scarcely possible to get the garden free of it, as the seed germinates as soon as it falls.’ Pliny warns against planting mustard in your garden, as it will take over.

So why would Jesus compare the Kingdom of God to an obnoxious weed? I think Jesus is using a bit of humour here to make his point. For what gardener in their right mind wants to provide a safe place for birds in their garden? Every gardener I know wants to keep the birds away from the vegetables. Birds are trouble enough on their own. They don’t need any encouragement to come help themselves.

Jesus is saying the Kingdom of God is like a smelly shrub which has takeover properties. It is something most people only want in small controlled doses, IF you could control it.

If you see yourself as the owner of the garden, Jesus is saying to you Beware! The Kingdom of God is at hand. God wants to take over all the parts of your life, to give new flavour to your life, to share with you a new purpose.

If you see yourself as the helpless bird who has nothing, God is inviting you in- this is your chance to survive & thrive.

This is the outrageous image Jesus has of God. Our God wants to take over what we think is ours to do with as we please. God wants to use everything we have, in order to spice up this world.

When God’s Holy Spirit is active- it acts like a dandelion. It blows with the wind where it will. It spreads. It grows in any kind of soil. Its roots go deep into your heart. Once it gets a hold of you, you have to fight to keep it from taking over. Which raises the question of why do we resist the spreading of the seeds of the spirit?

It always amazes me that the petrochemical industry tried for decades to kill off the dandelion with no success. They spent millions of dollars to develop chemicals which are toxic enough to cause cancer but they never managed to eradicate the simple dandelion. It is too stubborn. The will to live is too strong. The power of God’s creation is stronger than our most poisonous forms of toxic weed killers.

This past week we saw the toxic effects that hatred can have on a society. The premeditated murder of a Muslim family out for an evening stroll in London Ontario was meant to sow seeds of fear in a community that has a long history of bigotry. Instead of fanning the flames of prejudice this tragedy has united our country. People are gathering to speak out against the ongoing violence directed at people of colour and different religions.

The toxic effects of hatred are no match for the work of the Holy Spirit. Seeds of respect are taking root in communities that used to close their doors to outsiders.  Seeds of trust help us to seek out that higher ground together. Seeds of trust helps to create goodwill in people who are willing to work for our common good instead of only seeking power which comes at the expense of others.

Seeds of trust encourages people to find their own voice and to respectfully listen to what others have to say. Seeds of trust strengthens the bonds of love and friendship can grow between people even though we may look and think differently from each other.

Just as the seeds planted by the sower grow in ways which the sower doesn’t completely understand, so God’s Spirit is at work in our world here today. God’s Holy Spirit continues to sow seeds of trust among us here today. The Holy Spirit is active working to build this world up. To heal people. To restore community. To establish justice for all.

We don’t get to control what shape these new seeds will look like. We are like the sower who gets to work with the Holy Spirit to help these new seeds to grow.

Like a mustard plant that is spreading out of control, God wants to share seeds of hope in each of our lives here today.  God wants these seeds to take root.

To give you a fuller, richer, deeper experience of God’s presence in every moment of your daily life.  To grow into a sense of trust. A loving relationship with your neighbours both near and far. God wants a spirit of love to take root in you. So trust the seeds. Trust God. Let it grow.

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