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Because you can trust your Father in Heaven

Christ Church Anglican Church Woodburn

1307 Woodburn Rd.,

Hannon, On.

L0R 1P0

Phone 905 692 3781

Reverend Trev Jones 289 649 0309

revtrev.jones@gmail.com

Greetings in the Name of Christ our Saviour and Redeemer on this

Fourth  Sunday of Pentecost

 Please use the following for personal worship, as desired.

It has been suggested that we all try to begin our reading and consideration of this abbreviated form of service, Sunday at 10.00 am. We will then be Christ Church together in prayer.

If you are not too far away, you may hear our bell rung at 10.00 am.

Opening Sentence

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,

that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who

called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2.9

Psalm. 17

Hear my plea of innocence, O Lord;

give heed to my cry; *

listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips.

Let my vindication come forth from your presence; *

let your eyes be fixed on justice.

Weigh my heart, summon me by night, *

melt me down; you will find no impurity in me.

I give no offence with my mouth as others do; *

I have heeded the words of your lips.

My footsteps hold fast to the ways of your law; *

in your paths my feet shall not stumble.

I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me; *

incline your ear to me and hear my words.

Show me your marvellous loving-kindness, *

O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand

from those who rise up against them.

.

God of truth and justice, watch over your people in adversity,

that we may know the wonders of your love and see the glory

of your presence; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

A Reading from The Old Testament Book of Genesis

( Genesis 32:22-32)

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away.

Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.

Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.  But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”  And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

 So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided

                                This is the Word of the Lord.

Sermon:

The Old Testament story of Abraham is about real sacrifice, isn’t it?  Abraham has heard God tell him to sacrifice his only son Isaac, to prove  his faith.

It’s a beautiful story, on the face of it. A man who loved his God so much that he would sacrifice his only child. And God,  who loves Abraham so much that rather than allowing this,  He provides His own sacrifice.

It is, however, a story that we are sure to have problems with.   Would a loving God  – the sort of God that we have learned about through Jesus – would such a loving God ask for such a sacrifice?    It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?

At the time, the gods of other people in that part of the world asked for human sacrifice.  Abraham may have thought that his God was the same.   

We  know that Abraham loved his son Isaac.   He had been promised this child, by God, and had waited a long time for that promise to be fulfilled.

So if he loved Isaac so much, and if God had given him this child  in fulfillment of a promise,  then how could God then ask him to sacrifice that same son?

I don’t know. 

I do know that when you love someone you are prepared to sacrifice anything for them. 

I do know that when someone has loved you so much and done so much for you, that you want to repay them. 

But the sacrifice of an only child?

As it was, God refused to allow Abraham to sacrifice his child, and in fact, God provided the sacrifice. 

But why is sacrifice needed at all?    Why all this talk of sacrifice?

During the Bosnian War which lasted from 1992 to 1995, I read about a raid by NATO troops on a Serbian police station in Kosovo. They found, in an ordinary police station, down in the cellar, a torture chamber.  There were the instruments of  torture, including a club, with the words, in Serbian, Mouth Closer ,on it.

A week later,   I read about NATO troops who were sent there to allow ethnic Albanian Kosovars back into their homes, finding an Albanian torture chamber.  A Serb man was fastened to a radiator.  They found torture implements including a club – this one with spikes in it.

Lately we have read and seen television pictures showing children and adults suffering after poison gas attacks by their own president, Bashar al Hassad. In Syria.

And horrendous bombing attacks against civilians in the Yemen.

And lately we have seen next door, the lives of black people taken  by police.

Here in Canada there are similar incidents against black, and indigenous people.

And on it goes.. 

The human race, it seems, is so mired in sin that we couldn’t find a sacrifice big enough to pay the price of  forgiveness. 

We don’t have anything  valuable enough to offer, to make up for our crimes.   

So God provided his own sacrifice. He provided His only Son, a sacrifice so pure, so innocent,  that because of His death, our sins are forgiven, paid for, once and for all.

God, provided the sacrifice!

I think we have heard about the death of Jesus so often that it may be becoming passé for us.  I think not.

Because some  people are still so moved by what God did in Jesus Christ that they can’t wait to show love in return.  Some people are so moved by the thought of  that innocent lamb being led to the cross for the stuff we have done, and continue to do, that they just have to try and do something loving – something sacrificial – in return.

There was a woman who worked selflessly with underprivileged  people in London, England.  Her dedication and enthusiasm for her work led a seminary professor to ask her what inspired her Christian faith.

She told him she was born a Jew. She was living in France during the war, and trying to stay ahead of the Gestapo.  But her time was running out.

She was sheltering in the home of a French Huguenot family, when a widow lady came to the door to tell her that it was time to run to a new place.  This Jewish lady said, “It’s no use, they will find me anyhow, they are so close behind.”

The Christian widow said, “ Yes, they will find someone here, but it’s time for you to leave.  Go with these people to safety – I will take your identification and wait here.”

The Jewish lady understood the plan. The Gestapo would come and find this Christian widow and think she was the fleeing Jew.

The Jewish lady, looked the professor who was interviewing her in the eye, and said, “ I asked her why she was doing this for me, and she responded, “ It’s the least I can do. Christ has already done that and more for me.”

The widow was caught and imprisoned in the Jewish lady’s  place. It gave her time to escape. Within six months the Christian widow was dead in the concentration camp.

The Jewish lady never forgot that sacrifice.  She too became a follower of Jesus Christ and lived her life serving others.

She met God through the greatest love a person can give – personal self sacrifice.

An authentic Christian serves others, saying, “ That’s the least I can do, considering what a great sacrifice Christ made for me.”

Abraham would gladly have sacrificed his own life. But he loved his son even more than life itself, and he loved his God so much that he would gladly have given up even that precious treasure.

We don’t all have the opportunity to make great and noble sacrifice.  We are  not  in the position of deciding whether we should give up something as precious as our life, or the life of a loved one, in the cause of Jesus.

Thank God we aren’t!    We don’t want to be put to that sort of test.

It seems though, that if we really appreciate the love shown by God in giving up His Son, to die so horribly, for us;  then maybe we will be eager to do some great deed in return.

But in our  modern comfortable world, what is there to offer as sacrifice?

An hour and a quarter every week, in thanksgiving and worship – which may involve sacrificing time in bed, or time with family, or time on the golf course, or whatever.

Our weekly offering?   And is it a sacrifice?  I saw this somewhere recently: “ Isn’t it strange how a ten dollar bill looks so big in church and so small in the market?”

The sacrifice of time to visit a shut-in?   The sacrifice of effort, to write a letter to a lonely relative?   The sacrifice of  pride, to apologize for a wound inflicted. 

Compared to what I have been talking about, these may seem like  small sacrifices, don’t they?  But all are  important. All are acceptable.

But  what  if we are just not moved to make a sacrifice?  

That was the case with a young woman who  was talking to an evangelist on the subject of sacrifice.   She told him, “I dare not give myself totally to God for fear he will send me out to China as a missionary.”

She didn’t want to take the risk.

The evangelist said,  “ If some cold snowy morning a little bird should come, half frozen, pecking at your window, and you would let it in, and feed it, thereby putting itself entirely in your power, what would you do?  Would you grip it in your hand and crush it? Or would you give it shelter, warmth and care?”

A new light came into the girl’s eyes. She said,  “ Oh, now I see. I can trust my God.”

Two years later, she again met the evangelist and reminded him of the incident. She told of how she had finally abandoned herself to God – and then her face lit up with a smile, and she said, “And do you know where God is going to let me serve Him?”

And there was a twinkle in her eye as she answered her own question, “ in China.”

Abraham trusted God. And God provided a sacrifice.

This young woman trusted God, and God provided a sacrifice.

If you feel that your life is sterile.  If the Christian way seems dry and boring.   If your faith  calls you to make just the minimum sacrifice – which is really no sacrifice at all –  then think about giving yourself completely into God’s hands and allowing him to find a  way in which you can serve him. 

Because you can trust your Father in Heaven.

He wouldn’t take the little half- frozen sparrow that comes in, and takes food from his hand, and crush it. No, He will warm it at his breast and breathe new life into it. Then He will set it free to honour Him, happily, and sweetly, in its flight and its song.

Amen 

Let us Pray  (Our continued prayer during this crisis)

Dear God, 

At this moment of our fear and anguish, come upon us.

May the body of humanity be filled with light

May the mind of humanity be filled with love.

May every cell of both body and consciousness 

be flooded with the divine.

May those who are sick be healed.

May those who fear and grieve and panic 

be comforted.

And may all humanity be purified 

of the selfishness, greed and irresponsibility That in so many ways led to this.

Bless the doctors, nurses,

the scientists, the grocers, sanitation workers, the political leaders, manufacturers,

and all those who are working so hard

to save us. Please work a miracle in our minds and hearts And take the virus from our midst.

 Amen

Announcements

Thank you all who supported Binbrook United’s  Perch Dinner. They sold 227 dinners. ( Isn’t it wonderful how churches in town support each other’s fund raising activities.?)

Here at home: Thanks to all who bought items offered for sale:- Marilyn donated $350 from the sale of masks; Judy reported $606  last week on the  sale of plants :Paul sold $150 of his excellent marmalade. Please call Chris with fund- raising ideas -( Paul will make more marmalade if you ask him.)

The Bishop has announced that churches will continue to be closed through Summer, opening after Labor Day. Our Sunday Service email and Bible Study will continue, each week, however.

Bishop’s Homily and a weekly service can be watched  on the diocesan Facebook page or the diocesan You Tube page.

And our Congratulations to Scott and Vivian Kinnear who are celebrating their 35th Wedding Anniversary Monday. All our Blessings, Vivian and Scott and our prayers for many more happy years,

Finally, when I made my once- a -week visit to the church I noticed that the gardens had been spruced up, and more than ‘just spruced up ‘ the area around the front of the church was tidy, clean and impressive. Many thanks to our secret gardeners. Your efforts are appreciated. Our church will never look neglected.

And to alter an old quote, ” A tidy church is a sign of a concerned congregation.” 

Prayer Requests. Please forward requests for prayer to

the Prayer Chain, c/o Tricia Puttock, at 905 692 0828 or by email: dpputtock@rogers.com )

To continue your support of your church, and its ministry:- 

Under Interac E transfer  (on line banking) :  as follows

            Send Money to:  Christ Church Woodburn

            Notify by email

            Contact email:  slaustin@rogers.com

            Message:  Parishioners should include their envelope number here. 

            Offerings can also be mailed to the church – using offering envelope inside            a normal mail envelope.

Children’s Story.

A lion was sleeping in the jungle one hot day and snoring loudly when a mouse hearing the noise came to investigate. Seeing the lion was fast asleep, the mouse jumped onto the lion’s belly, and started running up and down his body just for fun. This disturbed the lion’s sleep, and he woke up quite angry.

 He grabbed the mouse and was about to eat him when the mouse said, ” Don’t eat me Mister Lion.”

” Why shouldn’t I eat you ?” asked the lion.

” Err Um,” said the mouse, ”  I promise you, I will be of great help to you someday if you let me go. Please Mister Lion? ” 

The lion laughed at the mouse’s cheeky confidence but let him go. How could a little mouse do anything to help a mighty lion?

The mouse was lucky he didn’t feel that hungry anyway.

Some time later however, some hunters came into the forest, captured the lion and took him with them. They tied him up against a tree to hold him there while they went in search of other game.

The lion struggled to get free. He pulled this way and that but the rope, instead of getting looser, just got tighter.  He knew he was in trouble and he started to whimper. What was he to do?

As it happened, the mouse was walking by, heard the lion whimpering, and then saw the lion tied to the tree, and in big trouble. Quickly, he ran and gnawed on the ropes to set the lion free.

Then both of them sped off into the jungle before the hunters could return. .

So you see, even a tiny act of kindness can go a long way.

The End..

Closing Blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and  be gracious unto you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and grant you His peace. Amen.

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