Sermon for 28 February 2021

Feb 28 Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
This is the second Sunday of the season of Lent which stretches up until Easter. As I mentioned last week we are focusing on the Lord’s Prayer as a theme. The prayer was created in phrases or segments that follow a fairly standard pattern. I am using one of these phrases each week to give us the opportunity to comprehend the full impact of this prayer.
For those of you who think they know this prayer I would challenge you to go outside somewhere and see if you can say it out loud. See if you get stuck because you don’t have the help of others around you. There may or may not be a prize for those who can do it correctly.
Last week we looked at the opening statement “Our Father who are in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name” This week we move along to “Thy kingdom Come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
Much of the Lord’s Prayer challenges us to look at ourselves and our world from a different perspective.
This phrase starts with “thy kingdom come”
As an aside, and I have mentioned this before, some people have pushed to change the word Kingdom to Kindom. I am not huge on changing every word we have historically used but I rather like this change. The word Kingdom is often associated with feudal times and small walled kingdoms that were protected by warriors.
The word kindom speaks of a gathering of family. It likely won’t catch on but I think it is an interesting change.
Back to the complete phrase “Thy kindom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The first thing to notice are the words “On earth”. Too often Christianity has been focused on the afterlife. There is an expression that Christianity is so heavenly minded that it is no earthly good.
Paul did take food to the poor in Jerusalem but generally speaking the idea of soup kitchens, which were originally started by the Christian churches, didn’t come into being until the 1600’s.In the 1800’s they were outlawed by the British Government. The idea was that the church had no business interfering with the everyday life and economics.
If you look back as far as Egypt, you will see they had an emphasis on helping the poor but it was to facilitate access to the afterlife, not to improve the present world.
The Lord’s Prayer counters that with the idea of establishing heaven on earth.
The first question then is: What does heaven on earth look like?
Some would say “A perfect world”
What’s the definition of the perfect world?
I have been told that another word for the perfect world is Utopia and that is the name of a little town between Barrie and Angus – I have been there and it’s a nice town but I think we should look further.
Webster Dictionary says the definition of the perfect world is: the best form of human society that one could want, there would be no need for weapons.
John Larroquette states: My wife says that my perfect world is for me to be in my Suburban driving with her in the seat next to me and the boys in the back seat, all perfectly quiet for 2000 miles
JD (I don’t know his real name) an eleven year old boy told his teacher that a perfect world would be a place where: Money grows on trees. Free houses, free cars, free food, and free phones. More books, more pets and more medicine for sick people. Clean water, and…. Parents who don’t fight. I think we can determine his motivation.
Someone else stated that a fundamental extremist of any belief and a Freudian psychotherapist would have very different views of the perfect world, but I don’t think so. They may have different ideas of how to achieve it but I think most everyone envisions a world in which “everything and everyone works in perfect harmony”.
A world of peace; where there is no hunger, no fear, no inequality, no racism, sexism or other “isms”. A place where people can live their lives to the fullest.
Read the Dream Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
OR as Jesus says “I have come to give you life abundantly.
What have we learned during the pandemic? That many jobs can be done from home and there is huge inequality in job value. We have learned that human interaction is vital to our survival.
So the Lord’s prayer challenges us to have this perfect world here on earth. What does that mean for us?
It means change.
It means we have to look at the systems in our world that prevent or inhibit Utopia.
It is easy to point fingers at other structures and countries and that is the tact that so often is employed. We condemn other countries in order to refocus us away from our issues. By doing so we attempt to justify our situation. However we need to take a look in our own back yard.
In Canada there are still people who don’t have enough money for food, shelter, medicine, clean water. There are still people who live in fear and inequality.
I recently had a man come to my house because he needed medical attention. He had been living in a tent, in this cold, in the woods outside Lefroy.
During the last year, our churches have been supplying food and essentials to various families
If nothing else, the pandemic has shown us how poorly paid the essential workers are.
Things need to change.
We live in one of the best countries in the world yet we are a long way from perfection. There are a lot of countries that are in greater need than we are. We as a world are a long way from God’s Kindom.
Again, traditionally there has been a train of thought that somehow God is going to fix all this. We hear about the second coming and the Apocalypse, but if God was going to miraculusly change all this it would have happened already.
You must be familiar with the story of how a man meets God and in anger says “God, why would you let all this suffering and pain exist. God says “I was going to ask you the same question”.
It is up to us to make the changes to bring in the Kindom.
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What needs to change? In many cases we do. We need to change our level of awareness and our level of comfort. We need to examine our consumerism and the system that enables it. We need to be willing to risk our comfort to create comfort for others.
We are the hands and feet of God.
Every time we say the Lord’s Prayer, by the time we get to the second line, we are calling for change both within the world and within ourselves.
Maybe there is a reason why we are not supposed to repeat it in some of the public places anymore. It’s a little too revolutionary.
PRAYER God, we thank you for life. We thank you for your idea of creating us and a world that can sustain us. We thank you for giving us the tools to ensure that every human being may have an abundant life. But God we also ask that we may be made aware of the shortages and the pains. Help us to hear the cries of those who are not living life to the fullest. Help us to share. Help us not to be so protective of our possessions. Help us to realize every human being as being human.
Pray in silence for those in special need
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 on 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 Feb 28, 2021
Announcements
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Thanks to helpers: Cathy, Cheryl, Aubrey
Opening Prayer
Hymn For the Healing 678 vs 1,2,4
Scripture Mark 8: 31-38
Reflection
Lord’s Prayer – sung
Prayer
Hymn 371 Open My Eyes that I May See
Benediction
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 way is 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
churchillchurch2020@gmail.com
The security question is – What is the name of your church
Answer – Churchill
or panddcoborn@gmail.com
No security question
Another option is contact us and we will pick it up from your porch. Thanks