Trinity United Church
May 16, 2021
Seventh Sunday of Easter
“Connection not Perfection”
To view the livestream from Sunday's worship, CLICK HERE. You can watch specific parts of the worship by scrolling down in the details section: it is broken out into timings!
Welcome: May the peace of Christ be with you.
Welcome to Trinity United Church in Port Coquitlam, BC.
We are so grateful that you have chosen to spend some time with us, we are glad you are here.
If you would like to join our zoom room for worship, during the week, contact our office, there is a link to our webpage below. We will ask you a few questions and put you on our invite list.
A gentle reminder that we are experimenting on a weekly basis with our social media and the technology, and some things will work better than others. So we ask for your patience and generosity of spirit as we forge a new way forward together. We do ask that if something technical goes wrong please let the leader and the hosts work it out. It is not helpful for people to turn on their own mics and start talking, it really only adds to the confusion.
Acknowledgement of Territory:
For tens of thousands of years, the lands on which we live, work and worship, have been occupied by indigenous peoples.
Much of what we know as the North West Coast of North America was occupied by the Coast Salish Peoples. The territory where Trinity United Church of Port Coquitlam resides is the unceded territory of the Kwikwetlem First Nations. Our acknowledgement of unceded traditional territory is a first step in reconciliation between settler cultures and indigenous peoples and the decolonization of western systems that continue to oppress and exploit indigenous peoples and land. The work of reconciliation is daunting. The work of reconciliation will not be ours to complete, but neither is it ours to abandon.
We remember these words from the Apostle Paul, “[The gift of a New Creation] is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting [our] trespasses against [us], and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.”
Let us prepare our hearts and minds for worship.
Prelude/ Lighting of the Christ Candle: CLICK HERE for video.
Call to Worship:
Happy are those who do not ridicule and scoff
But who delight in God’s teachings;
And meditate on them day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water.
They yield their fruit in due season,
and their leaves do not wither.
Come, let us celebrate the teachings of God.
Prayer of Approach:
May we be like trees planted by streams of water,
may we yield fruit in its season,
may our leaves not wither,
and may we prosper in all that we do
in your name, O God. Amen.
Hymn: “In Loving Partnership We Come” VU 603
CLICK HERE for video.
Affirmation of our Faith “A New Creed”: CLICK HERE for video.
During the season of Easter we do not have a prayer of reconciliation. Rather we affirm our faith by sharing A New Creed.
WE HEAR THE WORD
Retelling Our Ancient Story “Jesus Prays for His Friends”
Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible, year B, p 119
Hymn: “Be thou My Vision” VU 642
CLICK HERE for video.
Reading: Ruth MacDonald
1 John 5 selected verses between 9 and 13
If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts… And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal lie, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
This is the witness of the early church. Thanks be to God!
Message: Rev David Cathcart
open us to the possibility
that we are being chosen to
be new disciples with new ministries.
May the reading of your word
sanctify us in the truth
and bring us to perfect joy. Amen.
From Ralph Milton, today, we heard what we call the "High Priestly Prayer" of Jesus' "Farewell Discourse" from John 17.
In the other Gospels, after the institution of the Last Supper, Jesus take Peter, James, and John to the garden where he prays while they sleep. And in that prayer, Jesus reveals some doubt and fear. But not in John's Gospel. There is no communion of bread and wine in John's Gospel, but instead, the washing of the disciples' feet and then Jesus delivers the "Farewell Discourse" and the "priestly prayer" that we heard from Ralph Milton today.
I think it is important to observe that it is highly unlikely Jesus actually spoke these words in this way. This is John, the Gospel Writer, speaking to his followers a generation later. John is summing up his experience of the meaning of Jesus' life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The Gospel of John was written some 90 years after the resurrection. John, the Gospel writer, was himself ancient and possibly preparing his followers for his own death. It is important for him to convey to his followers his experience of the Living Christ.
For John, Jesus Christ was the Word of God revealed to the world.
This belief is repeated again and again in the Gospel of John in the "I AM" statements. Jesus's voice is the same voice that spoke to Moses from the burning bush.
The Priestly Prayer begins with Jesus addressing God, "I have made your name known." Like the bush revealed God's name to Moses, Jesus has revealed God's name to the disciples. Later Jesus says, "I have protected them in your name that you have given me," Jesus is asserting that God's name and his name are the same. God has given Jesus God's own name, "I Am."
Now for the important part.
Jesus, who has the name of God, who has the same power and authority of God, says, "I have given them your word," then "as you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world."
Think about what this means to John the Gospel writer.
God gives name, power, and authority to Jesus. Jesus who now has the name, power, and authority of God, gives that name, power and authority to the disciples.
As Jesus revealed the Word of God, now the disciples are commissioned to reveal the Word of God.
What this means for John is that every successive generation of followers of Jesus has the responsibility, and power, to reveal the Word of God to the world.
I'm going to observe three worldly temptations. I'll call them a belief in diminishing returns; a belief that we are only human; and a belief that size matters.
The first temptation: we might be tempted to think that after 2,000 plus years, the name, power, and authority of God has been watered down. Diminishing returns: with each successive repetition the power gets less. Entropy is the second law of physics. And so we need to lower our expectations because the pie that is Word of God only has so many slices.
John anticipated that kind of thinking. John calls that kind of thinking “belonging to the world.”
"They do not belong to the world; just as I do not belong to the world." John has Jesus repeat this twice. Sheepskin and papyrus, on which the scriptures were written were valuable resources, a writer didn't repeat themselves unless it was vitally important. "They do not belong to the world; just as I do not belong to the world."
It is not the case that with each successive repetition that the name, power, and authority given by God to Jesus, given by Jesus to his disciples, and given by the disciples down through the generations to us, gets watered down.
The name, the power and the authority of God given by Jesus is not pie. If it is indeed the name, power and authority of God, it is as potent today as it was the first time it was given.
You and I as followers of Jesus are just as responsible for revealing the Word of God to the world as those first disciples.
The second temptation for us as followers of Jesus might be to think, "Well, we are only human. We couldn't possibly maintain the standard of Jesus and the disciples. Why bother trying? The Bible says we are all sinners."
Being human is a condition, not an excuse.
We will never perfect revealing the Word of God to the world, but neither can we abandon revealing the Word of God.
Thank God, that to reveal the Word of God means "to seek justice, love kindness... AND WALK HUMBLY!" Thank God!
And Thank God for forgiveness. There is a reason why we need forgiveness to be an integral part of being followers of Christ. We aren't very good at it.
So thank God for humility, thank God for forgiveness.
We need humility. We need forgiveness. As we reveal the Word of God to the world.
The third temptation might be to think that it is only "revealing the word of God" if it is big and dramatic, like an empty tomb or the dead walking. But that again, is being "of the world." Size doesn't matter.
In Tues@2211 we have been reading Piglet's Process, a book about Process Theology, and we have been learning how important "Small" can be. We've heard about Chaos Theory that tells us that the fluttering of a butterfly's wing under the right conditions can be the cause of a hurricane.
I am grateful for all the little, humble, ways in which the Word of God is revealed by and among us, a small community of faith in Port Coquitlam.
A kind email, letter or a phone call; thank you for revealing the Word of God.
Attending a gathering digitally or in person; thank you for revealing the Word of God.
An act of service in the community or at the church; thank you for revealing the Word of God.
Saying yes to serving on a team or committee; thank you for revealing the Word of God.
Having compassion when someone fails to meet your expectations; thank you for revealing the word of God.
May we hear from John this week
what it means to be followers of Christ
and to reveal the Word of God.
That the word, the power and the authority of God
is not diminished through time or repetitions.
That being human is our condition, but not an excuse.
And that small acts of justice and kindness matter.
Thanks be to God.
Special Music: David Rogers
Your offering: your financial gifts, your gifts of time and skill are what make our ministry possible. If you are not already on Pre-Authorized Remittance, we invite you to participate in our ministry by making a financial gift, either by sending a cheque to the church office, or by going to our website and clicking on the donate now button.
We have been blessed, not only by the generosity of our membership and adherents, but also by the courage of our leadership to learn and navigate in a very different world than the one we knew a year ago. Let us give thanks.
[Our gifts] see so little and the world is so big
and so overwhelming right now,
yet we offer these gifts to you, O God.
Take what we offer and bless it
for your mission of love.
In a world of conflict and pandemic,
may these gifts, and we ourselves,
become agents of change and transformation,
in Jesus’ name of self-giving love. Amen.*
*written by Gord Dunbar
Found in Gathering L/E 2021 (Year B), p31
Used with permission
Hymn: “We Gather Here” VU 469
CLICK HERE for video.
The Great Thanksgiving:
Blessed stranger, we gather here today hoping in some way to touch you, to see for ourselves the truth of your resurrection.
You meet us as a stranger on the road and our hearts are warmed as we remember the Holy Scriptures.
You told us,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim
release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
Indeed, you brought healing and good news, comfort and freedom.
We followed and proclaimed with the crowds on the way into Jerusalem:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your Glory!
Hosanna in the Highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the Highest.
We followed eagerly in the joy and promise of your proclamation.
But the world was not ready for the coming of your kingdom.
And you warned us:
The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
But we did not understand.
You were rejected, you were killed and buried in the tomb.
As you fulfilled the roll to which you were called:
But on the third day, everything changed.
I invite you to lift up your bread.
Two friends were on the road to Emmaus.
They were join by a stranger.
As they shared with the stranger the events of Holy Week and talked about the scriptures, their hearts were warmed.
When the stranger broke bread with them, the recognized the Living Christ.
I invite you to lift up your juice or wine.
When they returned to Jerusalem, the disciples were gathered in a room.
They were filled with grief and wonder at what had happened in the last several days.
Suddenly the Holy Spirit poured out on them like so much wine.
The disciples received all they would need to fulfill the commandment of the Lord.
And so with great rejoicing we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died;
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again
I invite you to hold your hands over your elements in a sign of blessing.
Blessed stranger, as we share these gifts, may our eyes be opened to your presence.
May we, too, become prophets of your resurrection glory.
Forever and ever. Amen.
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
The Disciples’ Prayer “Our Father” VU 960
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The Bread of New Life
The Cup of Promise
WE GO FORTH
Prayer after Communion:
God of new and eternal life,
we thank you that in this meal
we have witnessed and received the living Christ.
Nourish us with this food
that we may see the face of Christ more clearly
in our friends and neighbours,
have the courage and faith to proclaim our faith,
and be the children of light you call us to be.
May our eyes bear your glory,
our lips speak your word
and our hands work your justice.
In the name of the blessed stranger
who accompanies us on the journey,
we pray. Amen.
Hymn: “Shout for Joy” VU 482
CLICK HERE for video.
Commissioning and Benediction
I invite folks to turn on their video cameras and to go to gallery view if you are able.