Sunday, August 9, 2020
Today's guest worship leader is Rev. Anna S. Christie.
Anna Christie is a United Church minister who changed careers in 2010 after thirty years in the pulpit. She now works as a registered psychotherapist - researching, writing and treating people with anxiety disorders.
As the author of “Evoking Change: Make a Difference in Your Life and in the World,” she is often invited to speak and lead workshops on personal and congregational leadership.
Anna lives in Richmond with her husband of 39 years. Together they have three children and seven grandchildren. Now that she can bonspiel on weekends again, Anna took up competitive curling after a 30-year hiatus. The results are not glamorous but it appears this is life after sixty.
WORSHIP LITURGY Sunday, August 9, 2020: “Worship in Song"
Today I thought I would offer you something different for your online worship experience. I don’t know about you, but one of the saddest things about Covid-19 is not being able to get together with other people and sing. I’m sure it’s the same for many of you who don’t sing but love to hear other people sing. So today I have put together a liturgy of the most beautiful online songs and virtual choirs that I could find. It is a mixture of traditional and gospel, classical and modern sacred songs. Think of the whole service today as a sermon – celebrating the joy of the love of God. Watch it all the way through as one experience or click on the various songs throughout your week. Or do both!
* Note: A few of the songs have a very short advertisement before the music begins.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF TERRITORY
We have come a long way in the work of reconciliation, but there is still a long road ahead.
As we prepare for worship, we acknowledge that the land on which our church and community is built is the unceded land of the Kwayquitlum Coast Salish people. May we work to build and deepen right relationship of thanksgiving and hope for the future. May God bless all with love. Amen
CALL TO WORSHIP
Today is the day our God has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us worship God.
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
The first song today is an invocation, or calling out to God. It comes to us from the tradition of our more conservative evangelical brothers and sisters. Be sure to listen to the beautiful story and introduction of the young boy singer at the beginning. (Taped before Covid-19)
There is nothing better than hearing “Amazing Grace” sung beautifully. I’ve bookmarked this version on YouTube as “White Privileged Amazing Grace” – more or less as a joke. But in these revolutionary times where we honour Black Lives Matter, it brings to mind that this much-beloved hymn was written by Anglican Clergyman John Newton who grew up as not-so-religious and became part of the slave trade ships in the 1770s. The hymn was written as his confession. May you enjoy this beautiful hymn once again and think of its origin.
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
Our alienation from God is ended. God takes us beyond our ignorance of the pain we have inflicted and continue to inflict upon our brothers and sisters of colour. We can live at peace with ourselves as long as we follow Jesus’ instruction to “go and sin no more.” Friends, in Christ you are forgiven, loved and free. Praise God with your whole being!
A TIME WITH CHILDREN
The song “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen is one of my all-time favourites. When interviewed about its odd lyrics and the large number of verses which didn’t seem to relate to one another, Cohen said “I just wrote down all the reasons why a person would say ‘Hallelujah’.” Let’s listen to this little girl, backed up by a children’s choir, sing about some of those reasons.
Psalm 46: To the leader. Of the Korahites. According to Alamoth. A Song.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Martin Luther wrote the hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God” as his interpretation of Psalm 46. It was the only hymn that Luther wrote both words and music. Enjoy now the marvel of a “virtual choir” – this choir was created as a response to the lockdown following Covid-19.
Hymn: VU 262 “A Mighty Fortress” Click Here
1 A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
2 Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God's own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.
3 And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
4 That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!
I suppose that every song today has been an “anthem” however this one didn’t really fit anywhere else in today’s liturgy, yet I really wanted to include it. Another virtual choir!
“How Can I Keep from Singing?”?” https://youtu.be/VLPP3XmYxXg
PRAYERS FOR THE WORLD
Gracious and loving God, heal our world. Today we sit in the midst of a global pandemic, killing millions and making millions more very sick. We pray for victims and their families, for the doctors and nurses and for the researchers seeking to discover a vaccine or a treatment.
We pray for our planet, ravaged by climate change. Today we especially remember the southern United States, and Caribbean islands during hurricane season.
In these difficult economic times we pray for small business owners, and for people who have lost their jobs and can no longer feed or house their families. We pray for politicians trying to avert another Great Depression. We pray for those profiting from the pandemic that they might be moved to share their wealth.
We pray for the church and its varied ministries, and especially today for our own congregation. We are dispersed, mourning the loss of one another. Finances are tight, community seems non-existent and people are despairing.
Finally we take a moment in silence to pray for those whom we know are much in need today:____________________________
O God, hear these the prayers of your people, and in your love, answer.
Hymn: VU 678 “For the Healing of the Nations” Click Here
1 For the healing of the nations, Lord, we pray with one accord,
for a just and equal sharing of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love in action help us rise and pledge our word.
help us rise and pledge our word
2 Lead us forward into freedom, from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how through care and goodness
fear will die and hope increase.
3 All that kills abundant living, let it from the earth be banned:
pride of status, race or schooling, dogmas that obscure your plan.
In our common quest for justice
may we hallow life's brief span.
4 You, Creator God, have written your great name on humankind;
for our growing in your likeness
bring the life of Christ to mind;
that by our response and service earth its destiny may find.
“The Lord’s Prayer” https://youtu.be/Vg2AsS4CErM
A never-ending flame is burning in your life; don’t let it go out.You have a message to share; don’t mute or silence it. Go, and be alert to God’s continuing surprises!
“Go Ye Into All the World” (Trinity PoCo Choir!) Click Here
And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Before Covid-19, but after technology was discovered that allowed for choirs to be created virtually, a conductor put together the largest choir in history to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. This version combines the 300-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir with 2,000 (yes, two THOUSAND) other choristers. I have never heard it sung so brightly, or beautifully. Enjoy, stay safe, be kind and may God bless you all ~Anna
“Hallelujah Chorus” Click Here