Read-along Service for Sunday, May 8, 2022

Trinity St. Andrew’s United Church
Order of Worship
Sunday May 8, 2022 – 4th after Easter
Mother’s Day

Today, we welcome Jeannie Taylor-Page as our Lay Worship Leader. Jeannie attends worship at Emmanuel United Church in Ottawa where she is Chair of Worship, leads a weekly Faith Study on ZOOM, and sings in the choir.  She and her husband Iain have been on several Mission Learning trips with Emmanuel, to visit our Global Partners in El Salvador and Zambia, as well as Ecumenical partners in Cuba and Nicaragua.  Jeannie is a Human Resources Officer at a Community Health Centre.  Between work and church, she feels called to support others’ physical, mental and spiritual health, and to share the good news of the Gospel.

Gathering

Prelude

Words of Welcome

Land Acknowledgement

Announcements

Lighting the Christ Candle

Call to Worship

Blessed and blessing, loving and loved, God’s people of Trinity-St. Andrew’s, come to this place!
We’re ready!
From times of work, from times of play, from times of busy-ness, from times away, God’s people of Trinity-St. Andrew’s, come!
We’re set!
To speak and to receive, to sing and to pray.  God’s people of Trinity-St. Andrew’s, come!
We’re here!  We’re here!  We’re here to worship God!

Prayer of Approach

God, creator of us all, we gather to worship you. We come as individuals, we come in family units, we come as neighbours and friends. We come here where we are known by name, welcomed with all our fragilities and strengths. We gather with kindred spirits who long to live faithful to your calling. Guide us, inspire us, challenge us, comfort us, and nurture us in this time of worship so that we might be enabled to return to our daily lives ready to engage fully with all of your creation. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Hymn                   Morning Has Broken                                 VU 409

  1. Morning has broken like the first morning,
    blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
    Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
    Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word!
  1. Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,
    like the first dewfall on the first grass.
    Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
    sprung in completeness where God’s feet pass.
  1. Ours is the sunlight! Ours is the morning
    born of the one light Eden saw play!
    Praise with elation, praise every morning,
    God’s recreation of the new day!

Scripture Reader:         Barbara Moogk
Psalm 92, VU 810 (responsive)
Mark 4: 26-34

Special Music
Sermon      “Small Seeds, Great Harvest”

Musical Response

Thanksgiving

The Offering

Hymn                   We Plough the Fields                                VU 520

  1. We plough the fields and scatter
    the good seed on the land,
    but it is fed and watered
    by your mighty hand;
    you send the snow in winter
    the warmth to swell the grain,
    the breezes and the sunshine,
    and soft refreshing rain.

Refrain:     All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above;
We thank you, God, O holy God,
For all your love.

  1. You only are the maker
    of all things near and far;
    you paint the wayside flower,
    you light the evening star;
    the winds and waves obey you,
    by you the birds are fed;
    much more to us, your children,
    you give us daily bread.                  Refrain
  1. We thank you then, O Maker,
    for all things bright and good,
    the seed-time and the harvest,
    our life, our health, our food;
    accept the gifts we offer
    for all your love imparts,
    and, what from us you long for,
    our humble, thankful hearts.           Refrain

Blessing of the offering and our gifts

Pastoral prayers and The Lord’s Prayer

Sending Forth

Hymn                   Called by Earth and Sky                           MV 135

Refrain:     Called by earth and sky,
                   promise of hope held high.
                   This is our sacred living trust,
                   treasure of life sanctified,
                   called by earth and sky.

                   (Last time only)
                   called by earth and sky, called by earth and sky.

  1. Precious these waters, endless seas,
    deep ocean’s dream,
    waters of healing, rivers of rain,
    the wash to love again.                              Refrain
  1. Precious this gift, the air we breathe;
    wind born and free.
    Breath of the Spirit, blow through this place,
    our gathering and our grace.                     Refrain
  1. Precious these mountains, ancient sands;
    vast fragile land.
    Seeds of our wakening, rooted and strong,
    Creation’s faithful song.                            Refrain
  1. Precious the fire that lights our way,
    bright dawning day.
    Fire of passion, sorrows undone,
    our faith and justice one.                           Refrain

Benediction

Blessed and blessing, loving and loved, God’s people of Trinity-St. Andrew’s, go from this place!
We’re ready!
To times of work, to times of play, to times of busy-ness, to times away, God’s people of Trinity-St. Andrew’s, go to the world!
We’re set!
To speak and to listen, to sing and to pray, to be a blessing, each and every day. God’s people of Trinity-St. Andrew’s, go and be stewards of the faith, Jesus’ people on the Way.
We go, knowing we are never alone! Carried by the wings of the Holy Spirit, moving forward with Christ’s peace, enfolded in the Creator’s love, we go!
Amen. Amen! AMEN!

Choral Amen       Amen, Amen, Hallelujah, Amen!    VU 974

Postlude

Reflection          “Small seeds, Great Harvest”         Jeannie Page   LLWL

When I was a child in Sunday School, I was presented with my first Bible.  It was white, pocketbook sized with a vinyl cover, probably the King James Version, and it had a zipper.  The zipper pull had a little chain, and on the end of that chain was a transparent ball with a mustard seed inside.

I remember being fascinated by that mustard seed, and though I don’t honestly remember much about Sunday School that Bible left quite an impression on me.  You might say a seed of faith was planted in me back then and I have turned to the bible for comfort and wisdom throughout my life.

I’ve been thinking about seeds a lot lately.  In an effort to provide healthy local food for my family, I was determined to plant a bigger vegetable garden last year.  I bought seeds and planted the tomatoes, peppers and zucchini indoors in March under grow lights. We tended and watered the seeds and were gratified to see green shoots emerging and reaching for the sun in our front window.

But then they stopped growing.  Maybe I should have fed them or moved them to a larger container, but when the warm weather came I started taking them outside for a few hours each day, and unfortunately most of them died.

Luckily, I still had seeds left to plant directly in my garden, and yes I did go out and buy some tomato plants, and in the end I had a great harvest of tomatoes, zucchini and beans.

I even graduated to saving seeds from last year, investing in more grow lights, and increasing the size of my garden this year.  Hope springs eternal.

They say that new gardeners learn by trowel and error, and I have a lot to learn!

For those who know what to do with them, seeds are a precious resource.  And it still is miraculous to watch a small seed become a large and bountiful plant that can provide food to nourish and sustain us.

In the scripture reading that Barbara read, Jesus is teaching about the Kingdom of God, and he compares it to a Mustard Seed.  Scholars believe he is probably referring to the black mustard plant, which starts out as a seed just over 1 millimeter in size, just a fraction of an inch, and can grow up to 9 feet tall.  It wasn’t a plant that people would cultivate, because it grew like a weed, quite tenaciously, but it did have medicinal qualities.

So, Jesus is saying that God’s kingdom grows like a weed, wild, tenacious and a bit subversive. The mustard seed is the opposite of the seeds in my well-planned garden.  It is carried on the wind or by birds, or on the soles of people’s sandals, and puts down roots where it will.  If the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, it grows wherever followers of Jesus carry it, through our words and actions.

And it may well go against the established order of things, just as Jesus did when he demonstrated his radical acceptance of women and other outcasts. The kingdom of God resists hate, greed and power, and instead sows seeds of love, peace and justice.

Last July I found a tall plant in the middle of my vegetable garden.  I used an app to figure out what it was, and lo and behold it was a black mustard plant.  A little message from God perhaps?

There is another story about a mustard seed, which is based on a Buddhist parable.

A couple lived on the edge of a small village.  People admired them for their love and devotion to each other.  They were always affectionate with each other, and never a cross word came between them.

Then one day, after 34 happy years of marriage, the husband died.  The widow was inconsolable.  Her children tried to comfort her, but to no avail.  Her neighbours tried to take her mind off her grief, but still she cried, day and night.

One day a holy man came to the village.  The villagers told him of the widow, and he paid her a visit.  He sat with her for quite a while, and listened to her tale of grief.

Then he said, “I think I have a cure for you”.  He reached deep in the pocket of his old grey tunic and pulled out one tiny mustard seed.

The holy man told the woman to go and visit the people of the village and find someone that had no sorrow and give that person the mustard seed.

The woman started on her quest.  She visited many families and listened to their stories as the holy man had listened to hers.  Each person she met had a sorrow to share.  She almost forgot about the mustard seed.

One day she met up with the holy man again, and he asked her how she was doing.  “I have been quite busy,” she said, “I have many people to visit, but I haven’t found anyone to give the mustard seed to.”

“You see,” said the holy man, “I told you the mustard seed had remarkable healing powers”.

This morning, I would like to give you each two virtual seeds to take away.  One is to plant, tend and care for, until it blooms into something wonderful – a manifestation of God’s Kingdom where there is enough for all to share and take seeds of their own to sow.

The second one would be to keep, as a symbol of God’s comforting love and healing presence.  It would be a reminder that even when we are going through a rough time, we should remember that others are also facing challenges.

Jesus calls us to live in community and support each other through the difficult times.

Luke said:  The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

May seeds be a sacred symbol of love and hope in our lives.  Amen

There is a hymn by Norman Olsen called “When Seed Falls on Good Soil”

“God’s Word in Christ is seed, good soil its urgent need,
For it must find in humankind the fertile soil in heart and mind.
Good soil! A human field!  A hundredfold to yield.

Plough up the trodden way, and clear the stone away,
Tear out the weed and sow the seed.
Prepare our hearts your Word to heed,
That we good soil may be.  Begin, O God, with me!”

Amen

 

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