Trinity United Church
January 3, 2021
“Ordinary People Called to Do Extraordinary Things”
Prelude: Welcome Home video. CLICK HERE for video.
We focus our hearts and minds: In this season of Christmas. Jesus says to his friends, to us here today, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
Acknowledgement of Territory –
We humbly acknowledge that even as we gather digitally, we gather and live and work on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish People; Trinity United Church rests on the unceded territory of the Kwikwitlem First Nations.
Call to Worship
Believers, servants and misfits, come together in worship!
We come in brokenness and praise, in sorrow and in joy.
Come and bring your true selves, broken and healed, doubting and trusting.
We come in faith.
In this season of Christmas, come knowing that you are beloved and called to be disciples in faith..
We come in thanksgiving and praise.
Hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” VU 333
CLICK HERE for video.
Before we enter a moment of prayer, remember our sanctuary with all of us at worship.
Remember those who might sit next to you, or in front or behind. We have been separated for a while now.
Welcome each other in your mind’s eye.
Take a moment, for each one, to be thankful that this neighbour is in your life, today.
Now, take a moment to reflect.
Thank about those close to you, maybe those with whom you have contact, this past week.
Those ones who have met you digitally.
Those ones you’ve noticed, even if they haven’t noticed you.
The ones you have not met, but who are on television, or zoom, on screen or on paper.
Take a moment, and for each one, be thankful that those have touched your life.
Thank you, God of All.
Thank you for the people who are in my life,
young or old,
big or small,
happy or sad,
here or there,
and all around your world.
Thank you for their wisdom,
thank you for their joy,
thank you for their questions:
thank you for the life we share.
Thank you, God of All,
for this season of Christmas,
for the Gift of your Son,
for the love that is in us,
for the love that is in me,
a love filled with hope and possibility,
a love ready to heal, to share,
to transform, and to make new, in the New Year.
In Christ’s name we pray.
M&S Video: Our New Beginnings: Perfect Little Thing
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WE HEAR THE WORD
1 Samuel 22: 1-5
22 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” 4 So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold.
5 But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
Hymn: “Jesus, You Have Come to the Lakeshore” VU 563
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Matthew 4: 18–22
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Message: CLICK HERE for video
In 1997, Apple developed an ad campaign titled “Think different.” The ads included the words “Here’s to the unusual ones….the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square hold, the ones who see things differently….The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” The images in the ad campaign included Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Nelson Mandela, Amelia Earhart, and Jim Henson, to name a few.
The scriptures for today are about the calling of unlikely, ordinary people who, in the end, accomplish extraordinary things that change our world forever. We all know someone in the “ordinary heroes” category, someone like Mary Dickson from Amherst, Nova Scotia, who, through the encouragement of her UCW united, has handed out over 80 prayer shawls to people in need. The gift of a prayer shawl can seem like a simple thing until you are the recipient – it is as if you can feel and are wrapped by all of the prayers that have been poured out during the creation of the shawl. We know of people who are agitated from pain or fear calm down when a prayer shawl is wrapped around them. An ordinary act that creates extraordinary healing!
This is an example of what it means to be a disciple – to live or act out your faith. In the biblical world, there was a tradition of teachers called rabbis who would choose the best of the best from among young boys who attended school in the temple. The boys would be around the age of 13 and they would be chosen to be apprentices, to learn the ways of the rabbi. All other boys would return to their families and work in the family business. In the Gospel of Matthew, we read about Jesus calling fishermen to become his disciples, his apprentices. In this situation, they were not necessarily the best of the best; they would be ordinary; and yet they were being called to the extraordinary life of a disciple. The meaning of the word “disciple” is a person who tries to live and preach the ways of their leader. So the disciples were taking on the extraordinary life of being like Jesus, healing and preaching the Word. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to come and follow him and be fishers of people, to preach to people the words of Jesus; then Jesus calls them to also heal people. These ordinary people who, at times, seem to be clueless are chosen, chosen to speak and heal, and chosen to change the world.
When you think about it, if these ordinary people could be called to follow the life of Jesus, that gives us hope as well. I don’t know about you, but I rarely feel like the best of the best. Often I feel less than; even accomplishing one ordinary task would seem like a herculean effort. Reading about the disciples and their times of cluelessness encourages me to move forward, to make a difference no matter how small.
We are all called to live in faith, offering compassion and hope to those we encounter. We are also called to share our gifts with our partners and ministries of Mission & Service, those whom we have not met in person, but know though the stories of Mission & Service found in Minutes for Mission and Mandate Magazine. Following in the way of Jesus is two-fold – giving both locally and beyond our community. Following the teachings of Jesus to love one another and to love our neighbour is at the very core of our faith. Love is the one constant; when we love one another, it fills our heart and the heart of the person whom we love. We may not like what that person is doing, but we can still love them. Loving one another is one of the most profound ways we can offer compassion and hope to those we encounter, because through that love, others can be encouraged to take a chance on accomplishing extraordinary tasks.
Let me tell you a story. In Hamilton, ON, there lived a man named Roger. He had spent the majority of his life homeless, addicted to drugs and alcohol, one of “the lost and the least” whom we all encounter on city streets. Roger believed he was headed toward an early death until he encountered Wesley Urban Ministries; the people there loved him back to life. He is now clean and sober and lives in a one-bedroom apartment above Wesley Urban Ministries in downtown Hamilton. Roger will tell you that without Wesley, he would be dead. This story illustrates the result of an extraordinary act. Ordinary people called to the extraordinary, called to change people’s lives. So here’s to those who change things, those who push the human race forward in love. Here’s to us, called in faith, to mend the world! Amen.
Hymn : “O Come All Ye Faithful” VU 60
CLICK HERE for video.
Minute for Mission 2021:
Together, we can accomplish far more than we ever could alone. This has never proven more true than during the global pandemic. In emergencies—whether floods, explosions, or viruses—the United Church often launches appeals, and thankfully, generous church members step up to offer support.
When COVID-19 struck, the United Church asked members to make a special gift to help those most affected by the virus. Your response was amazing.
Together, we raised over $280,000 dollars to support those around the world who are struggling because of the pandemic!
But did you know that it is because of your regular Mission & Service gifts that we are able to respond quickly when emergencies strike?
There are two key components of responsible fundraising: raising money and ensuring that it gets where it’s needed most.
Over the years, your reliable Mission & Service gifts have helped our church develop a network of trusted partnerships all across the world. In turn, that means we know exactly who to work with in times of crisis so your gifts are directed quickly, responsibly, and effectively when disaster strikes.
Through the COVID-19 crisis, we have and continue to work through Mission & Service partners to help distribute food and to support communications projects to disseminate health and safety information. We are providing medicine, soap, sanitation stations, and personal protective equipment to frontline workers. We are working to ensure that those living with chronic illnesses or who are immune-compromised receive timely treatment. We are protecting children in parts of the world where they are more vulnerable than ever to human trafficking.
Your faithful generosity through Mission & Service means that we are there, no matter where in the world tragedy strikes. By giving regularly, you are helping to set the foundation for a quick response when the unimaginable happens.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Your commitment to make the world a better place truly does make all the difference.
Prayers of the People:
Spirit alive within, among and beyond us,
we pray in hope, eagerly awaiting signs of new life.
Spirit of whirlwind, exciting and refreshing,
surprise us and disturb us.
Blow through us, stirring us
to proclaim the good news.
are called through word and story
to be the church.
Spirit of Flame, illuminating and embracing,
warm and inspire us.
Shine through us, casting light
on the abundance of our gifts.
We are called through witness and sharing
to be the church.
May we follow fearlessly in the Way of Christ into thisnew year.
Now in silence….
let us become aware of our deepest desires and hopes,
for ourselves and our Families,
for our church and the world,
and for the earth, our only home.
Let us listen for the sound of our own voice
whispering the prayer we need to hear, we need to heed……. (Silence)
Hymn: “Will you Come and Follow Me” VU 567
CLICK HERE for video.
Words of Blessing.
Go into the world, living Christ’s love everywhere you go.
Remember your neighbours; those who live here and those around the world.
In joyful times, share the celebration.
In the difficult times, share the hope.
In all times, remember this: we never go alone.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God! And the people said: AMEN!!!