Sermon for 27 Sept 2020

Sermon Life out of Something Lifeless

The oxford dictionary included the term “First World Problems in 2012 It is listed as a relatively minor or trivial problem in contrast with the issues facing the rest of the world. Like the heel on your high-heel shoes breaking. (I have never had that problem)
Weird Al Yankovic wrote a song about it.The lyrics contain phrases like
My maid is cleaning my bathroom, so I can’t take a shower
When I do, the water starts getting cold after an hour
I couldn’t order off the breakfast menu, cause I slept in till two
Then I filled up on bread, didn’t leave any room for tiramisu
I bought too many groceries for my refrigerator
Forgot my gardener’s name, I’ll have to ask him later
I’m pretty sure the cookies in this airport lounge ain’t gluten free
My barista didn’t even bother to make a design in the foam on the top of my vanilla latte
The story in the scripture today is not about a first world problem. It is about a real problem that was facing the Hebrews as they walked through the desert. They had no water
Most of us we can’t relate to that scenario. Very few of us have ever been in a life and death situation where there is no water. We may have been thirsty but these people had families and animals to water. They knew if they didn’t get water they would die. They became angry.
It may help us to understand people in our world and in fact in our country who have no drinkable water. They are terrified and angry. Not a first world problem but a real problem.
The Israelites problem was life threatening and there seemed to be no cure. They felt that Moses had brought them out to the desert to die. The only available objects around were sand and rocks. Neither of those produce water.
This wasn’t the first time that they had faced this kind of problem.
In chapter 15 they had been in the wilderness for three days. They arrived at Marah, they found the water there undrinkable on account of its bitterness. They called on God who provided a piece of wood which Moses threw into the water to make it sweet.
The second incident was when they ran out of bread and according to the story God provided “manna” with the stipulation that they couldn’t store it up. That would be a problem in our culture, where we hoard toilet paper – again! but the end of the story says that the manna was provided for forty years. There was never a shortage.
Even though they had had some hope in the past, at this point the only thing they could think of was death. Their future was empty. There was nothing that would produce life for them. They were scared and filled with negativity
It happens to us all. When we are scared or when something traumatic has happened, we don’t even know where to look for hope. Everything around us seems life-less and hopeless.
Even if Moses had said I can get water out of this stone they would not have believed him. Who would?
No one believes a miracle until it happens.
Moses struck the rock and water flowed out.
The rock was lifeless and hopeless until Moses touched it.
It is important to realize that nothing had changed for the Israelites. They were still in the desert. They were still homeless. They were still a nomadic tribe. But now they had water.
For us, our situation may not change. We may still be in a situation that is difficult. We may still have lost someone or something. We may still have physical pain. We may still be consumed by the problem of the world: environmental, political, economic etc
So we become angry. We become upset. And we become scared.
When Moses touched the rock he did so in faith. He believed that God’s energy of the universe would do the impossible. He believed that water would flow out of a rock. He brought his faith in life to a lifeless situation.
He envisioned a positive future.
How often have we looked at life and felt that it was bleak. That the situation we are in was lifeless.
I have often heard people say that this 2020 is the worst year ever. I hear about how everything is falling apart and it’s the end of the world as we know it. I understand that many of the end-of-world prophets are in their glory.
But our legacy is not to believe in death but to believe in life.
From Moses bringing water to people who were dying, to Jesus coming back from the dead, we believe in life.
Imagine being trapped in an underground cave, and all is dark. You have a feeling of utter helplessness and hopelessness. You are ready to give up. Then you see a shaft of light. It may be small but it is there. Suddenly the hope rises in you. The shaft of light hasn’t changed your situation – but it has definitely changed your outlook.
Here is where faith comes into play.
If the Israelites didn’t get up and go and drink, the water would do them no good.
If the cavedweller didn’t go and search out the light – the illumination would be useless
We need to act on our faith.
Moses could have beat his head against the stone but instead he hit it with faith.
No matter what situation you are in – faith will give you the opportunity for Change
God as you know we are presently living in a void. The resources we usually have are missing. Our connections to others is limited and our plans seem halted. There is much room for dejection and hopelessness.
Light a fire in us, O God. Help us to lead the way to a brighter tomorrow. Help us to be strengthened within ourselves. Help us to have the faith to move mountains. Help us overcome the obstacles we have encountered. Help us to bring life to the future.
We pray now for people who are close to us, we pray for others who especially need pray at this time.
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen
SERVICE September 27
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Communion next week
Thanks to helpers
Opening Prayer
Hymn – 409 Morning has Broken
Scripture Exodus 17: 1-7
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn 375 Spirit of Gentleness
Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen
Info about contributing
The traditional wayis to send a cheque via mail to one of the treasurers.
Make the cheque out to:
Churchill United Church
send to Agnes Cole at 226 Valleyview Dr. Churchill, Ont L0L1K0
or Gilford United Church
send to Doris Coborn at 1468 Gilford Rd, Gilford. L0L1R0
An Alternative (and better) way is Etransfer
(This method is faster, cheaper and cleaner. If you don’t know how to do it, the bank or some young kid has instructions)
Send the Etransfer to
The security question is – What is the name of your church
Answer – Churchill
No security question
Another option is contact us and we will pick it up from your porch. Thanks