Sermon for 13 Dec 2020

Sermon Spirit Guide

Have you ever been obsessed with something? Doesn’t matter what it is the reaction is the same. If you are infatuated with another person you track their every movement. You listen to what they say and you try to memorize every detail. You also don’t care that you have spent a lot of money on them.
If you are obsessed with a hobby or activity, the reaction is pretty similar. You search all over for things related or things that would augment your new interest. If your new interest is squirrels then you research what they eat, mating habits, where they live, why they are different colours etc. The old expression is “Get your kids involved with a hobby and they won’t have money for drugs”. Your obsession becomes your focus.
As an outsider, you can tell if someone else is gripped by a particular hobby because that is all they talk about. At first it is interesting but after a while….well?
Yesterday I saw a person with a large cross embroidered on their face mask. I knew right away what we would talk about if we got into conversation. I enjoy talking about religion but I think that discussion would have been pretty one-sided.
Again your obsession becomes your focus. But it also becomes your focal point. You view the world through that lens.
You have allowed that hobby or passion to become a part of you.
Interesting ideas are always there. It is up to you to be interested
The change occurs when you accept that passion as YOUR passion.
In the scripture today Isaiah says “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me” In other words the Spirit has suddenly been allowed to find a home in Isaiah.
In the painting of Jesus knocking on the door, the whole symbolism and power is that the lock is on the inside. You have to open it. No one can force you to accept something that you don’t want to. You can fake it but it is false and will be exposed in time.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. What he is saying is that he has allowed the Spirit of God to reside in him. I don’t believe that God forces you to do anything. But I do believe that the parameters are laid out for you.
The analogy I would use is that you are in a dark room tripping over stuff and someone hands you a flashlight. No one is forcing you to turn it on but not only does it make sense it also makes life easier.
Once you understand that following God in this world makes life easier and more fulfilling, then it makes sense.
So Isaiah has chosen to follow God.
When that happens there is an empowerment that takes place. For some it is a physical event, for others it is just a courage.
Society often has problems with that empowerment because your guide is no longer the rules of the establishment. The popular word to discredit someone is to say they have become possessed. The term conjures up all kinds of evil images.
That possession puts you in a dilemma.
The first question is to discern if it is the Spirit of God. It is a fairly easy thing to identify. If the voices call you to do good then it is from God. If it calls you to do harm then it is not from God.
But you still have a dilemma
Do you act on this new awareness?
I sometimes wonder how many women there were before Mary who chose not to carry Jesus. I wonder how many people could have accomplished much but they were afraid.
How many people are distracted from the message of Christmas by the commercialism of Christmas
Welcoming the Spirit is like gassing up the car. It doesn’t do you any good if you don’t drive it.
A quote I ran across was
“It is better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past.”
We are really good at hesitation. Right from the time we were in school when the teacher asked a question, we hesitated because we were afraid of being judged when we gave the wrong answer.
Throughout life we hesitate because we are afraid of failure.
You may really want to ask someone for help but you hesitate because you don’t want to look weak.
It is at this point that you ask the Spirit to guide you. As one theologian said” You grab yourself by the scruff of the neck and throw yourself off the throne and put God there
In the nativity story Joseph knew what he as a first century man had to do. He had to divorce Mary. But he took himself off that throne and put God there and took Mary to Bethlehem.
In the passage in Isaiah he knows what has to be done.
-take good news to the oppressed
-bind up the broken-hearted
-proclaim liberty to the captives
-release to the prisoners
-proclaim the year of Jubilee
We also know what has to be done
As much as Christmas for kids is a wonderful outreach
-as much as foodbanks and shelters and handouts are essential, we
should not be living in a society where they are needed.
We should not be in a society that promotes war, violence and injustice.
Christmas reminds us that the Spirit is present
Christmas reminds us that the Spirit is available
May the celebration of the birth of Christ inspire you to open that door
May the spirit of the lord be upon you and may you and others recognize it by your actions.
PRAYER God this is such a powerful time of year. We think often of your son, his birth and his life and even his death. We are reminded of his message of peace and love. We remember that he chose to live his life in spite of the obstacles and we pray that we might have the same courage. We remember that he was born to all of the human race. He was born as a child. Just as a child knows no hatred or prejudice, may we be like the Christ child. May we find places where we can raise up those in need whatever that need may be. May we have the courage to bring change to this world.
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
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Thanks to helpers
The Quilting group made and delivered
over 400 quilts to the Christmas For Kids
Opening Prayer
Lighting of the Advent Candle
Hymn – In the Bleak Mid-winter 55
Scripture Isaiah 61: 1-3
Reflection Spirit Guide
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn Gentle Mary Laid her child 46
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
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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
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Send the Etransfer to
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