Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church
Order of Worship
Sunday May 7, 2023 – Fifth Sunday of Easter – Coronation Sunday
Words of welcome, announcements
Lighting the Christ Candle
In this season of resurrection, we light this candle as testimony to God’s enduring faithfulness. May the light of the risen Christ scatter the darkness of our hearts and minds. For God’s undying love and kindness shines for all to see.
Choral Introit Behold, Behold, I Make All Things New MV 115
Behold, (behold), behold, (behold),
I make all things new,
beginning with you and starting from today.
Behold, (behold), behold, (behold),
I make all things new,
my promise is true, for I am Christ the way.
Call To worship
We gather together to worship God, who is our Rock and our Redeemer, the one in whom we find refuge. We gather to worship in the name of Jesus Christ, our living cornerstone, who, though rejected by the world, was chosen and is precious in God’s sight. And like living stones, we gather in the power of the Holy Spirit, so we might be built up into a spiritual house where all are welcome to experience the gift of salvation. Let’s worship God together!
Hymn How Firm a Foundation VU 660
- How firm a foundation, you servants of God,
is laid for your faith in God’s excellent word!
What more can be said than to you has been said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
- “Fear not, I am with you; O be not dismayed!
For I am your God and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen and help you, and cause you to stand,
upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.
- “When through the deep waters I call you to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
for I will be with you, your troubles to bless,
and sanctify to you your deepest distress.
- “When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
my grace, all-sufficient, shall be your supply:
the flame shall not hurt you; I only design
your dross to consume, and your gold to refine.
- “The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not – I will not desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
I’ll never – no, never – no, never forsake!”
Prayer of Approach
O God of all creation, you are the solid foundation upon which we build our daily lives. We gather together on this first day of the new week, to align our lives to the strong teaching and life of Jesus Christ, our Cornerstone. Receive our praise and thanksgiving as expressions of faith and love. We come to you, O Lord, as people who desire to learn and serve like Christ. May this time together be a blessing so we might bless others in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds VU 344
- How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer’s ear!
It soothes the sorrows, heals the wounds,
and drives way all fear.
- It makes the wounded spirit whole,
and calms the troubled breast;
‘tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest.
- Dear Name! the rock on which I build,
my shield and hiding-place,
my never-failing treasury, filled
with boundless stores of grace.
- Jesus, my Shepherd, Brother, Friend,
My Prophet, Priest, and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
accept the praise I bring.
- The effort of my heart is weak,
and cold my warmest thought;
but when I see you whom I seek,
I’ll praise you as I ought.
Scripture Reader: Jane Lambert
Homily “The Way”
A Prayer for King Charles
Almighty God, you reign over all things in wisdom, power, and love. We pray for Charles our new King, that you may pour upon him abundant gifts to help him fulfill the promises made at his coronation. May he have the grace, wisdom, and strength to live a life of service to you and to his people. We pray for Camilla the Queen Consort, for William Prince of Wales along with the Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family; may they love and support the King as he bears the burden of his office:
We pray for Canada and the whole Commonwealth of Nations, for their governments and ministers, and for all who are called to public service, that they will seek justice, mercy, and peace. We seek the peace of the world, for the well-being of all people, for those who care for others and for the environment, and for all in need. May we all be guided by your spirit of compassion and justice which is for all the earth. Amen.
“God Save The King”
God save our gracious King,
Long live our noble King,
God save the King!
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the King!
Thy choicest gifts in store,
On him be pleased to pour,
Long may he reign!
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the King!
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.
Offering Song We Give You But Your Own VU 542
We give you but your own,
whate’er the gift may be;
all that we have is yours alone,
we give it gratefully.
Loving God, by your spirit we have learned how we are better together. When we join in music or mission, or ministry or fellowship, we discover that your love makes us better. We have this common faith and common calling to be in ministry together. So we offer these gifts this morning, out of the bounty of our hearts. We respond to God’s grace with faithful these acts of generosity and love. May these gifts become blessings for others as they have been blessing for us. Amen.
Hymn Rejoice, the Lord Is King VU 213
- Rejoice the Lord is King!
Your risen Lord adore!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing
and triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice:
rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
- Jesus the Saviour reigns,
the God of truth and love;
when he had purged our sins,
he took his seat above. Refrain
- God’s kingdom cannot fail;
Christ rules o’er earth and heaven;
the keys of death and hell
are to our Jesus given. Refrain
- Rejoice is glorious hope,
for Christ, the judge, shall come
to glorify the saints
for their eternal home.
We soon shall hear the archangel’s voice;
the trump of God shall sound, rejoice!
The Lord’s Prayer
Hymn For the Beauty of the Earth VU 226
- For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies,
God of all, to you we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
- For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light, Refrain
- For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth, and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild, Refrain
- For each perfect gift sublime
to our race so freely given,
graces human and divine,
flowers of earth and buds of heaven, Refrain
Go now in peace, my friends. Bring hope to this world. Go now in love; so you may bring joy to this world. Go now with God’s blessing, so you may share the gift of resurrection with this world. AMEN.
Choral Amen VU 974
“The Way” Text: John 14:1-13, Colossians 1:9-17
Preached by Rev. James Murray at Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church, Renfrew
Yesterday was a historic day for the people of Canada. King Charles was crowned in a moving ceremony which formally makes him our head of state. It was 70 years ago that his mother Queen Elizabeth took the throne, and much has changed in the world since then. Many of those changes were reflected in the coronation service. For the first time ever, female bishops were part of the coronation. While the service was led by the Anglican Archbishop, there was a strong ecumenical flavour to the celebration. Faith leaders and faith representatives of the Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Baháʼí and Zoroastrian communities were present. The leaders of several Christian denominations also participated. In a nod to his father’s Greek heritage, a Greek Orthodox choir chanted the psalm. It was still rooted in the ancient traditions, but it did express a positive vision of who we are as a people today. The service really sought to offer us all a message of hope.
One of the biggest changes was in the vows King Charles took. In the past the monarch swore to be ‘the defender of the faith’. This was a reference to the sovereign being the head of the Church of England. Charles chose instead to promise to be ‘a defender of faith’. This recognizes that not everyone who lives here is an Anglican or even a Christian. As King, Charles believes it is his duty to protect the diversity of our country. A major focus of his reign will be to “protect the space for faith itself and its practice through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals.”
It was for this reason the Colossians passage we read this morning was used in the Coronation service. It was chosen to reflect the theme of service to others, and the loving influence of Christ over all things. This passage expresses the belief that we can see the loving work of God in all living things. While other cultures will put different names on that experience, as Christians we believe that all things are created in the image of God and the essence of God is present in all living things. The diversity of life we see on this planet is a sign of the breadth and depth of God’s creative power. In the same way, when we see the rich diversity of human experiences in our nation and around the world, it can help us to understand the riches of our faith tradition in new ways.
The gospel reading this morning is one of the great riches of our faith tradition. It is one of the most famous sayings of Jesus. It is also some of the most controversial sayings of Jesus. He is giving us words of encouragement in uncertain times. He is saying “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. You trust God, don’t you? You can trust me. There is plenty of room for all of you in God’s love.” This is part of his farewell speech, where he is giving a final summing up of his message to his friends.
Then he tells them “I am the Way, the Truth, and the life.” He follows that up by saying, “No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know my Father also.” He is telling them that the Way of life they should be pursuing is the same Way of life that he’s been living with them all these years. He is saying the True meaning of life is the same Truths he’s been sharing every day he’s been with them. That the Life that is worth living is the Life they have already been sharing. This is an important teaching Jesus is sharing.
This becomes a controversial teaching when we assume that Jesus is the only way we can know God. That Christianity is the only true religion. That our way of doing things is the only right way to do it. I don’t think Jesus ever imagined his words being interpreted in such an exclusive way. Jesus grew up in a world where there were many religions and philosophies being practised. Traders from the Silk Road trading routes from Asia had shared the teachings of the Buddha. Greek philosophers who performed in the Roman amphitheatres had shared the teachings of Plato. The Romans thought of themselves as being very religious people. They attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety in maintaining good relations with the gods. Every home was expected to have a shrine to their gods.
Even the teaching that God can be known as Father is not unique to Jesus. Jewish teachers had used the metaphor of God being like a loving father for centuries. And that is not the only way the God of the Jews can be known. God is also known as “The Sovereign of the Universe”, “Lord” and the “King of Kings”. They also knew God as the Shepherd of the people.
What Jesus is saying to his followers is that his teaching to love one another is key to eternal life. It is the key to the life that is worth living. How he loved them is a shining example of that love. So he is the template for us to follow, so we too can share in eternal life. Once they have learned from his example, he expects them to do even greater things than he did. So his life is just the first example of what this way of living can look like. He fully expects this to grow and evolve as his followers gain more experience.
So with over two thousand years of experience now under our belts, we are still followers of a particular way of living that continues to grow and evolve. The Way of Jesus today continues to uphold the importance of being loving, humble, and merciful. It still values the deep Truth that we are all brothers and sisters, that all of life is created in the image of God. It continues to promote a Life built on a sense of justice that is honest and fair. We have evolved as we apply these deep truths to new situations and challenges that Jesus never imagined. His teachings have become our compass as we navigate this complex world that continues to evolve all around us.
Along the way we have learned that we are not the only people who believe in these noble virtues. We have come to realize we don’t have a monopoly on goodness. But we do have something Good that we cherish and is still worth sharing. For we believe this world is a better place when we choose to live our lives following Jesus’ way. Our world is a fairer and more humane place when we uphold the Truths he shared. And we believe everyone should be able to enjoy the abundant goodness this life has to offer. For our faith is a gift that seeks the common good of all people. It seeks to build up the good will between all people, so we might all live together in peace.
The coronation service of King Charles yesterday really sought to embody this more open and generous approach to our Christian faith. For me the most moving moment of the service came when Charles first entered Westminster Abbey. Instead of being hailed by all the lords and nobles, he was greeted by a young child who said “as children of the Kingdom of God we welcome you in the name of the King of Kings.” Charles’ reply was that “In his name, and after his example, I come, not to be served, but to serve.” May we follow his humble example and seek to serve and bless this world that God so loves, so all might live together in peace.