Welcome

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Announcements

Cinnamon Bun Tuesday will continue until the end of July. In August, we will find a different way of having fellowship. In September we will continue with Cinnamon Bun Tuesdays.

On Sunday, June 12, we are holding a memorial time during our worship to remember those who have passed away during the COVID lockdown time. Please mark the date and come.

On Sunday, June 19, to celebrate Father’s Day, we will begin our activities at 9:30 am. It is our hope that we will begin gathering at 9:30 am and will start our worship, followed by BBQ brunch. Weather permitting, the activities will take place in our church yard on the East side of the sanctuary. Please, mark the time and date and join us.

The congregational meeting to vote for the session’s suggestion on downsizing is called for Sunday, June 26. Please, mark your calendars. Come and vote. For those who are unable to be present, you can vote either by mail, email, or phone. We will begin distributing the details of the suggestion starting Sunday, June 5, Pentecost Sunday.

The General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada begins today. Please pray for all commissioners. This year, the Assembly will meet online again from Sunday evening to Wednesday afternoon.

To begin “Hot and Spicy” we will be meeting to find the best way to begin this second faith community. We will gather on Friday, June 24th at 5:30 pm.

We are on our summer schedule as of today. Let us enjoy God’s blessings of summer days.

Preparation: Bind us together

Call to Worship (Psalm 104:24, 30-35b)

O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works--
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!

Hymn: Spirit, spirit of gentleness

Prayer

O Come, Holy Spirit, come! Renew us and make us yours. On this day, fill us with your Spirit as we praise and worship you. Though we are weak, by the Spirit, join us with you and your people of the past, present and future. Open our eyes to see your presence with us in this world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians: 13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Sermon: The future church--Faith based

Last Sunday, we participated in imagining the future church in terms of faith, hope, and love. One thing many of us get frustrated with has a lot to do with theory. Like the promises politicians make during election time, excellent ideas and thoughts are easy to come by. Accomplishing or making those wonderful imaginations to become our reality is another matter altogether. Often all these best of our minds fall wayside when the rubber meets the road. Nothing comes easy. How do we turn these tremendously brilliant ideas into the very experiences in life? How can we ensure that we do not repeat paving the way to the future with good, but untried intentions?

Faith, hope, and love are the basis of our future church as they were the foundations of the present church. So what difference does it make in terms of unfolding these three characteristics of who we are? Are these not ancient stuff? Who would care to look at a church with these over 2000 year old ancient concepts as the very foundation of existence? Should we not at least give new meanings to these three very archaic words? For the next few Sundays, we will explore if these three can indeed be the basis of our future church as well as what we will look like when we insist on being the church of faith, hope, and love.

Today, we begin with faith. Faith is defined as believing in, trusting in, being loyal to, having confidence in, or relying on someone. In our case, we replace “someone” with Christ or God most often. In this personal sense, faith is a special way that we relate to God. In a way, also, this word faith is used to note a system of religion. This is why we say, so and so belongs to the Roman Catholic Faith or Muslim Faith. Faith can, indeed, mean many different things regarding believing, trusting, being credible, being able to rely or count on, and so on. This is why there has been so many disputes about what it means to be a Christian or a follower of Christ.

For our purpose, this conversation will focus on what we as people of faith in Christ is going to look like in the future. What will others see when they encounter a community of faithful people here? Are we going to look like what we look like now? Are we going to do things that are similar or different? What will they see, hear, and experience when they visit or try to find out who we are? These are the questions we would like to ponder today.

Faith as a belief

For us, faith is all about believing, first and foremost. Do we truly believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour? It does not matter whether we are conservative, evangelical, progressive or liberal. It also does not matter if our way of interpreting what it means to say Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. For example, we could say that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour because Jesus rescued me from my sins. Some of us say that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour because he established a world of justice and equality. The most common thing is to believe and be firmly convinced that we belong to Jesus whose ways are our ways regardless of numerous interpretations.

One thing about us today is that some of us are very bold and clear to the world regarding our connection or relationship to Jesus. Some of us keep this link to Jesus ambiguous or hidden in the world. Some of us straddle this spectrum of being clearly visible to purposefully invisible in ways that they see us as Christ’s followers at times. In this case, the most important thing is that we hold onto the belief that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. So how would our community of faith look like in five years from now? Which part of this wide spectrum will we locate ourselves on? Will we be closer to one extreme? If we continue with our plan, where will we be? As the American Empire begins to decline (this is important because the world sees the American Empire as a Christian nation) shall we strive to be a strong faith community?

As part of being a mainline denomination, we have been far less aggressive in promoting ourselves and being in the face of our neighbours as some conservative and evangelical Christians are. As an observation, we can say without judgement, we are far less visible in the world as a community of faith. Currently, our way of being Christ’s followers is so opaque that our friends are often surprised that we attend worship services. We are so much like our non-Chrisitan friends that they never learn from us what being Christian is all about. We keep faith personal and private most of the time.

Yet, what we have learned in the past half century is that our quiet, personal, and private faith has led our communities to diminish in size and effectiveness. We also learned that for us to maintain our presence in the world and possibly add to our numbers, others need to see us and figure out who we are. A clear sense of identity as who we are in the world (whether it is a in your face type like tele-evangelists or being a hidden presence of Christ like those anonymous Christians who work with people of other religions, philosophies, and thoughts to bring about justice) is very important.

Who are we? It is always instructive to see from the perspectives of outsiders. Some describe us as elderly congregation. Christians know us as Presbyterieans. Many Christians do not know what we do and how we worship. They assume we are Christians who keep to ourselves. Some describe us as a group of people who help sometimes with food and emergency monies. Some think we are a branch of Christians they have never heard of before. Agnostics and atheists have no use of us. People of other faiths do not care to know who we are.

Now let us ask ourselves who we see ourselves to be. We are Christians. We are ones who follow Christ by worshipping on Sundays, by discreetly helping those who are in need of help as Jesus instructed us, and care for one another through various means of fellowship and care programs. These are the main activities. One thing that makes me rethink who we are has a lot to do with the way others think of us. For example, our church held Burns Supper and Lent Lunches. It turned out that these events are not thought of as part of what we did as who we were, but as enjoyable community experiences. When outsiders think of these events, they do not think Drummod Hill Church and our faith: they think of community activities that took place in a church hall. Now that we no longer hold these events, they miss the fun, but not us. They like our friendship, but not for being who we are in faith.

Our faith has never been a factor for those who enjoyed and participated in our activities. As a community of faith, we are not missed by those outsiders. People will simply shrug off if our church disappears. To counteract this indifference, we need to be clear on who we are and who we will be as a faith community. Everyone will come to know who we are as a church, rather than as people who provide fun events or personal friendships.

In this sense, our future faith community will be clear on who we are as God’s people. They will come to experience Christ together with his people. They might come for fun events, but these activities were fun because they met Christ who would be present with us as a church. Without this, we will simply fall back into the habit of trying to attract people through fun events and wonder why people are not getting to be part of this wonderful community of faith. Our existence as a faith community will be a place where they come to meet us and Christ. In this faith community Christ is the central figure who welcomes and provides hospitality. We become the place where the belief in Christ as the Lord and Saviour is alive in all that we do and others come to experience Christ and his grace.

Building a faith community based on belief

The faith as belief in Jesus Christ is at the centre of this community. We do not have to announce it, proclaim it, and share it loudly. We live it to the best of our ability in all aspects of our lives when we gather as well as when we are apart from this community. The faith, that Jesus is the one who binds us to himself and to each other in love as a community, is what makes us different from people who are without this belief. This belief helps us to be who we are together with Christ. As a church we embody the message that in and through Jesus, whose death and resurrection made the reconciliation with God our reality, we are led by the living Lord who is present in the world through us.

This faith helps others experience Christ and his saving grace each time people come to share their time with us. This faith situates us with Christ in this world so that his love for the world is what we share with each other and the world around us. We do so with gratitude. We share with each other and all our neighbours joyfully because this faith focuses us on Christ’s work in this world until his return.

One most important fact is that our faith is impossible without the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us faith and reveals to us this wonderful gift of faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Without the Holy Spirit’s presence, we have no capacity to discern and know Christ’s presence among us. We are blind without the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us hear God’s Word so that we may hear and believe. It is in the Holy Spirit that we experience the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Our future church will be full of the Spirit so that we may see what others do not see and know what is hidden to others who are without faith. This is why we keep on returning to the Day of Pentecost to remember that the Holy Spirit came to open the eyes, minds, hearts and lips of those who followed Christ.

Prayer

On this Pentecost Day, we remember you, O God. Send us your Spirit so that your Spirit may offer our prayers to you.

Today we pray for all your people who gather to worship. We pray especially for The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Commissioners are gathering online today to begin the discerning of your will for us. Bless and keep them. May everyone focus on your will.

We lift up those who are sick among us. There are many. Some with cancer diagnosis have been in fear. Some are trying their best to live with pain. Others are looking for ways to heal. We know that life belongs to you. As the giver of life, continue to bestow your strength in those who fear death as they struggle with these deathly diseases. Give them hope and health to withstand pain and anguish.

We ask for your forgiving presence, especially in places of wars. So many have forgotten that you created the world in which all will live in peace. Yet, many leaders have chosen to bring wars so that they can demonstrate their strengths and might. They are forgetting the power of grace, mercy, and love. Instead, they threaten each other with power and hatred. They no longer know the languages of peace. Put in their hardened hearts your peace, O God. May these leaders come to recognize that your love for the world is the only thing that will bring about life that will flourish in this world.

We pray for those who struggle with addiction, despair, and personal difficulties. So many are without hope. They falter and continue to be trapped in these illnesses. Guard and protect them with your Spirit. May they be given a way to hope.

We pray for our future. It is always easier for us to choose ways that will lead us to death. Open our eyes, minds and hearts and fill us with your Spirit. Make us yours to live as the people of the risen Christ. Make us the people who bring life to the places of death. Strengthen us, O Holy Spirit. By your power, may we serve you to bring a vibrant future where your message of faith, hope, and love are manifested through all that we do.

In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.

Offering

Please do not forget to give generously so that we may continue to carry out Christ’s ministry here in this part of God’s vineyard.

Offering Prayer

On this Pentecost Day, we thank you. You sent your Spirit so that we may be guided and are not left alone. Through your Spirit, continue to guide, protect, and lead us in ways that your will is done on earth through all that we do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Hymn: O Breath of life, come sweeping through us

Benediction