Read-along Service for Sunday, June 26, 2022

Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church
Order of Worship
Third Sunday after Pentecost June 26, 2022

Words of welcome, announcements 

Lighting the Christ Candle
We light this candle as a symbol of the light of Christ, which shines in each one of us, and the darkness cannot overcome it. May the spirit of resurrection fill our lives with hope.

Call To worship
This is God’s land.  From coast to coast to coast, God is present in this land. From the windswept shores of the east coast to the mountains that line the western horizon, to the upper horizon where the northern lights dance God is present in this land. This is God’s land. We are the people of this land. We are all God’s people here. From the indigenous first peoples who have been stewards of the land for tens of thousands of years to recent immigrants who just arrived yesterday, we are all God’s people here. From founding European families who settled along the fertile shores hundreds of years ago to new communities that spring up like dandelions each year, we are all God’s people here. We are the people of this land. With our different experiences and expectations, we seek to work together to build this new world. Together we are all God’s people in this land. Let us give God thanks and praise as we celebrate God’s presence in this place.

Prayer of Approach
Loving God, we want to follow you whoever you lead us. Stir our spirits with the winds of your power that we may faithfully be your disciples. You know of the needs in this world and the capability that we have of meeting those needs. Inspire us by your grace that we might share words of hope and healing with our community. Forgive us when we so easily doubt your call, your presence, and your abiding love. Lift us up from lives of self-centeredness, and bring us together with you so our hearts may be filled with joy.   Heal us and restore us we pray, that we might be a blessing to this hurting world. We ask this in the name of our brother Jesus. AMEN.

Hymn Let Us Build a House (All Are Welcome)                            MV 1

  1. Let us build a house where love can dwell
    and all can safely live,
    a place where saints and children tell
    how hearts learn to forgive.
    Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
    Rock of faith and vault of grace;
    Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.
  1. Let us build a house where prophets speak,
    and words are strong and true,
    where all God’s children dare to seek
    to dream God’s reign anew.
    Here the cross shall stand as witness
    And as symbol of God’s grace;
    Here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.
  1. Let us build a house where love is found
    In water, wine and wheat;
    A banquet hall on holy ground,
    Where peace and justice meet.
    Here the love of God, through Jesus,
    Is revealed in time and space;
    As we share in Christ the feast that frees us:
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.
  1. Let us build a house where hands will reach
    Beyond the wood and stone
    To heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
    And live the Word they’ve known.
    Here the outcast and the stranger
    Bear the image of God’s face;
    Let us bring an end to fear and danger:
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.
  1. Let us build a house where all are named,
    their songs and visions heard
    and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
    as words within the Word.
    Built of tears and cries of laughter,
    Prayers of faith and songs of grace;
    Let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.

Scripture Reader: Barbara Moogk 

Galatians 5:1, 13-25          Luke 9:51-62

Hymn All Who Are Thirsty                                                     MV 4

All who are thirsty, all who are weak,
come to the fountain.
Dip your heart in the stream of life.
Let the pain and the sorry be washed away
in the waves of his mercy,
as deep cries out to deep, we sing:
come, Lord Jesus, come.               (4x)

All who are thirsty, all who are weak,
come to the fountain.
Dip your heart in the stream of life.
Let the pain and the sorrow be washed away
in the waves of his mercy,
as deep cries out to deep, we sing:
come, Lord Jesus, come. (4x)
Holy Spirit come. (4x)

As deep cries out to deep, we sing:
Come, Lord Jesus, come. (4x)

Homily “The fruit of the Spirit”

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.  You can get more information about making a donation by contacting the church office or by visiting our website. 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 I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me    VU 575

  1. I’m gonna live so God can use me
    anywhere, Lord, anytime!
    I’m gonna live so God can use me
    anywhere, Lord, anytime!
  1. I’m gonna work so God can use me
    anywhere, Lord, anytime!
    I’m gonna work so God can use me
    anywhere, Lord, anytime!
  1. I’m gonna pray so God can use me
    anywhere, Lord, anytime!
    I’m gonna pray so God can use me
    anywhere, Lord, anytime!
  1. I’m gonna sing so God can use me
    anywhere, Lord, anytime!
    I’m gonna sing so God can use me
    anywhere, Lord, anytime!

Pastoral Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness                                          VU 288

  1. Great is thy faithfulness, God our Creator;
    there is no shadow of turning with thee;
    thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
    as thou has been thou forever wilt be.

Refrain:     Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
                   Morning by morning new mercies I see;
                   All I have needed thy hand hath provided –
                   great is thy faithfulness, ever to me!

  1. Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
    sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
    join with all nature in manifold witness
    to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.         Refrain
  1. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
    thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
    strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow –
    wondrous the portion thy blessings provide.    Refrain

The touch of Christ has healed you.  The love of God has restored you. The fellowship of the Spirit goes with you.  May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May God’s smiling face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. Go now in peace and share the joy of God’s love.

Choral Amen 974 “Amen, Amen, Hallelujah, Amen!”

Fruits of The Spirit. Text: Galatians 5:13-26  June 26 2022
Preached by Rev. James Murray at Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church, Renfrew

 Next week we will be celebrating Canada Day. It will be fun to have actual celebrations this year. Communities are preparing concerts and fireworks. For others Canada Day means a time to gather with family and friends for a backyard barbecue. All in all Canada Day festivities are usually low key even though we have a lot to celebrate. We know that in terms of physical size we are the second largest country in the world. We are a free and democratic country. Our sense of patriotism is tempered by our knowledge that we are not one the most powerful or great nations in the world. We are a prosperous country, but we know there is a lot of poverty and inequality that needs to be addressed. There are many things Canada does well, and we know there are plenty of challenges since there are still lots of things we can do better. As proud as we are of our country, we are still humble because we are still a work in progress.

Living in Canada has its challenges. While we have rights and freedoms as individuals, we aren’t a country that celebrates the rugged individual who does it all for themselves. In Canada it is too cold to be a rugged individual. Our winters are brutally long. We need to be able to huddle together if we are to survive in this cold climate. In our humility and need for the support of each other we find our strength to persevere. As a result we are a bunch of walking contradictions. Some would say we Canadians are too modest, and some would say we are too smug.

This is why I love reading Saint Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia. Paul spent three years with those people, and he wrote this letter to remind them of who they are and who they can be. They are words that he could have just as easily written to us today. For not much has changed in human behaviour in two thousand years. When I read these words from his letter to the Galatians I see that Saint Paul actually has a very high opinion of us. He thinks we are something very special. Paul says we are so important Jesus has taken notice of us. God has great dreams for us. The Holy Spirit has been given to us so we might have a passion for life which is unquenchable. Saint Paul says we have been called to freedom. A great destiny awaits us. We have the promise of a changed life. As we stand here on the eve of Canada Day, these lofty words can fill our hearts with dreams of glory. Trusting in such great dreams, you can see how we harnessed our natural resources to become an economic power in the world. You can sense the bold courage which opened up the vast wilderness. Such are the wonderful dreams which nations are made of.

Saint Paul’s words also have the power to challenge us as to what kind of a people we should be. We have this great destiny of freedom. But what are we doing with it? He warns us that if we use our energy to try and consume others, we run the risk of being gobbled up ourselves. This is a warning to be modest, and humble.  Paul gives us some powerful words which serve as an example of what we shouldn’t be doing.

Saint Paul says “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time.  There’s the repetitive, loveless, cheap sex. There’s a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage. We get trapped into a frenzied and joyless grab for happiness. We are distracted by trinket gods and magic-show religion. We are afflicted by paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants. As a result we end up with a brutal temper; an inability to love or be loved. We live in divided homes and divided lives. We chase after small-minded and lopsided pursuits. We fall into the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival. The consequence is we are plagued by uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions. We end up living in ugly parodies of what community should be.” (Galatians 5:19-21 The Message, paraphrased)

These are stinging words. Yet they are very true words. For many years, people have used the words of this passage as a weapon of judgement. People have been accused of being on this list of sinful practices, which are called the sins of the Flesh. As people of faith we are supposed to be seeking the Fruits of the Spirit. The flesh appears to be at war with the spirit. The Christian church has often treated the spirit and the flesh as if they are two separate substances, instead of seeing them as two different ways of describing how we are living our lives.

Over the centuries, the institutional Church took this split between body and spirit and drove a wedge between them. We began to treat everything concerning the body as being sinful. We were taught to mistrust pleasure and to condemn joy. We became separated from our bodies.  The widespread prevalence of pornography, and the hang-ups we have talking about even normal healthy sexuality shows just how deep our disconnection with our body truly is.

Thankfully, Saint Paul doesn’t leave us in a state of judgement. As brutally honest he is about our imperfections, his ultimate goal is always our redemption. He believes a changed life is possible for us all. Remember he believes we are destined for great things, that we are capable of being complete, whole, healthy people. This spirit of freedom is supposed to be used for something good. Paul says great things happen when we live God’s way.

He tells us that God “brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard —things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life.  We are able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (Gal 5:22-23 The Message)

Saint Paul tells us plainly that the “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23, NRSV) Paul is describing a life which is well lived, where contentment, wisdom and joy are part of everyday life. This is what a good life can look like. It is not the life of world domination, and manifest destiny. It is the humble life of abiding love, meaningful relationships, and rewarding involvement with others.  It is a life where the body and soul are working together in harmony. This is a life where the head and the heart are one. We can love our body, for it is being used for its best purposes. Such a life recognizes all of this world is a blessing, a gift from God, which we are invited to enjoy. The Bible tells us we are to take delight in the goodness of God’s creation.(Psalm 104:14-15)  This world needs us to take delight in it more than it needs us taking inventory of it, exploiting it, or degrading it.

If we were to take more time to savour the beauty of the earth, and the goodness of the people we share this life with, we would not feel the need to buy as much stuff. For we would realize we have all that we truly do need. This means we would be free to work less and play more. We could communicate more with others, and compete less. There would be enough for all. We wouldn’t need to fear pleasure any more, for we would know the true pleasure which comes from taking delight in all God is doing in each new moment. God has truly given us all we need. We are blessed with a great fertile land which has lots of room to welcome in the newcomer. There is a spirit of freedom which respects the gifts of all. Through the gift of Jesus Christ we have been shown how to heal all our ills, to seek justice in all things, to live in a spirit of generous compassion.  God has shown us the life where the head and heart are one, the body and the spirit work together, and our joy is complete.

For all these blessings, on this day, we give thanks. For the expansive goodness which is our Canada, we praise God. For the changed life, the abundant life which is possible, we celebrate the good God is doing among us here today. Amen.