Welcome (Psalm 66:16-20)
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me. I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.
Preparation: Shine, Jesus shine
Call to Worship (Psalm 66:8-15)
Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs; you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place. I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows, those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
Rejoice the Lord is King
O Lord God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and all therein,
Come and receive this worship. With our lips we sing your praise and tell the world of good things you have done for us. With our hearts we offer our commitment and gratitude. With our hands we lift up all works to glorify you. Come to us now and receive this worship. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 7:11-17
Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen among us!’ and ‘God has looked favourably on his people!’ This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.
Sermon: Love of God in mother’s love
Grieving mother moves Jesus. Jesus feels compassion for her. It is something that we can delve into more carefully some other time as to why Jesus is moved at the site of mother’s grieving. Today as we think about giving God thanks for mothers, we will focus on mothers who love their children. Loving is always surprising. When we love, we are full of joy. Also when we love so deeply we are full of sadness when the children are hurt or lost. In this case the mother’s love for her only son is what moves Jesus to compassion.
We are touched deeply when we see the love of mothers in fullness. A mother cradling a baby brings a sense of comfort and joy. A mother holding her child’s hand reveals to us a sense of assurance. Mother waiting for her grown up daughter who moved to another country makes our hearts warm. The saddest thing I have ever experienced was seeing a mother in her late seventies at the funeral of her daughter who was in the prime of her life because of breast cancer. Her sadness moved everyone to tears.
Love makes our hearts feel the greatest pain of our world. Love neither prevents pain nor mitigates pain. It opens our hearts to pain as much as it fills our hearts with joys. It is more than remarkable to be in the presence of one who loves another so much. I wonder why Jesus is so moved. He would have witnessed many deaths as he was going from one place to another. Yet, on this occasion, he was moved not by death but by the deep grieving. Obviously deep grieving affected him greatly. He did not know the mother, nor the son.
Could the deep love of mother shown through her grief moved Jesus to raise the dead child? If so, this is extraordinary. Jesus responded simply to this immense love that mother had for her child. It is true that more love means deeper grief. As the one who came to bring God’s love to the world, Jesus surely could see and acknowledge the deep love of the mother. If this is the case, we see how human Jesus was and how God’s love in Jesus helps us now to understand what God’s love is like for us.
As you know, our church has been figuring out what it means to love. Daily we struggle to share God’s love in the deepest way possible. People come to us with stories of sadness, happiness, sorrow, joy, despair and hope. When they share their experience, our hearts move in compassion. Those of us whose hearts are open can share in the ups and downs of these struggles. This is why when we hear stories of unjust hardship we get angry and when we witness people being abused, we speak up.
What we learn in life is that loving is exhausting. The world in need can easily overwhelm us and leave us in tatters. Because people know our hearts are opened and are moved by those who struggle with pain, anguish and despair, many found ways to exploit us. Having been taken for granted or often being taken advantage of, we close our hearts. We stop responding to those who seek and require our love. To protect ourselves from hurting, we let ourselves withhold our love to everyone. We love only those whom we choose to love.
However, when we are confronted with unwavering and unconditional love displayed in grief of a mother who lost her only child, there is not a heart that is not moved. Obviously that grief moved Jesus, too. So much so that Jesus went and raised the son from the dead and returned the living son to her mother. This deep love of mother caused Jesus to resurrect the her son so that the mother and child may flourish in life of love. It is important to note that Jesus did not do anything more. Once this son was raised, he and his mother would go through all ups and downs in life. Love, on the other, again was seen as the cause of life together.
In this way today we give God thanks for mothers who, as God’s servants, become the very ones from whom we experience love first and learn to receive unconditional love. By mothers we are sustained, nurtured and grown. In gratitude we praise God for creating the world in which God’s unending love is made possible in mothers' love for their children.
In the meantime, it is important for us to thank God for this passage. It gives us a glimpse of God’s infinite love. If Jesus as God’s Son was so moved by the deep grief of a mother whom Jesus did not know, how much more would God through Jesus be moved by griefs that display unconditional love for us? Also, here we do see the way God’s compassion is bestowed on us in our lives since God, too, went through the deep sadness of losing God’s own Son just like this mother. In this roundabout way we come to know that God’s compassion for us is based on God’s own loss. God, indeed, suffered just like every mother who lost their loved ones.
Knowing that God, too, experienced what every person experiences in life makes us think differently about God and our relationship with God. In life we are very appreciative of people who understand us because they went through similar experiences in life. To know that God also has gone through very human experiences gives us confidence of trust and understanding.
O most loving God,
We come as people of impatience, disappointments, frustration and anger. We come to you when our ways seem to end and there is nowhere else to turn. We often do not rely on you and try to do things our way. When we fail and have no other way, we seek you. Be kind to us. With grace and mercy help us to know that you have always been walking beside us even when we do not remember you or turn away from you.
On this day we bring concerns of those who belong to this congregation. Many are struggling as ages catch up, bodies fail, and diseases attack us. We are at the mercy of time. We come to you for your presence. Guard and protect us. Give us relief from pain and fear. Help us to live a life of continual independence as well as a life of service to your ministry.
We pray for all the staff members at 50 Wynford and conveners of assembly committees. They are preparing for the upcoming assembly in Halifax. Strengthen their faith and minds as they get ready to help commissioners to discern God’s will for our Church. Open your wisdom to them all.
We pray for those who are living at the margins of this world. So many are waiting for hope to be realized. Being unable to find peace and adequate life, everyone tries to find ways to glorify and enjoy you. Poverty, social ills, political struggles and wars prevent them from finding life. Be with them. Be their guide. Help us to open our all to everyone.
We pray for our future. Lead us with your love. Walk with us each step of the way. By your love dispel our fears and anxiety. By the Holy Spirit remind us that with the risen Lord we share the life of risen Christ with all those around us.In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Cinnamon Bun Tuesdays at 10 am starting on May 23
Please mark the date. Come to this fellowship. Enjoy tea, coffee and one another.
Usually on the first Sunday of June we have communion. Again this year, we are preparing for communion on Sunday, June 4. Please prepare. Come and join us.
We thank everyone who is making Mother’s Day so memorable. To musicians and those who are preparing and serving lunch, “Thank you!”
The Church's one foundation