Sermon for 02 May 2021

Church Service from Churchill Gilford United Churches
Sermon Christ Connection

There is a standard cartoon sequence about a character who accidentally runs over the cliff. They realize they are going to fall and then they do and at the last minute they grab a tiny branch that for some reason holds them. So long as they don’t let go they will survive.
The story in John is the same. John likens Christ to the vine that we need to hang on to. As long as we hang on we will have life. Connecting with God is vital to survival.

For many years the church was the instigator and source for social programs. Outreach, education, social programs, health initiatives, welfare, even art were maintained by the church. Slowly the government took them over. In some situations it was better as the government had more money. But in some situations it became less human because the
connection was lost.

Welfare became more about economics then it did about caring. Ask anyone who has worked in that area about how frustration it is when you know someone s=needs financial help but you can’t give it to them because the don’t qualify under certain rules. For example if you have a car that is worth a certain amount of money, you can’t get welfare which becomes a vicious circle when you are looking for work.

In health care there is an estimated amount of time a person is supposed to stay in hospital. It has to do with optimum economic usefulness.
This is mental health Sunday and mental health in our country is terribly underfunded. I had a urgent need for someone to get access to mental health counselling in a November before the pandemic and I was told it would be June before they could get their first appointment.

The prison system with its “Super jails” is based on economics more than restoration.
Certainly in the last year we have been made aware of the situation in seniors homes. The list could go on.
It is difficult for caring people working in some of these situations because the spirit of concern has taken second place.

If a branch is torn from the vine – it soon dies

It is not just institutions that need connections to God – we do also
When I was going through to be minister you had to get interviewed (Just to be clear I did fail the psychological exam.) They had the standard questions about theology and beliefs but there was one man there who seemed to have a different angle. He wasn’t worried about the technical questions. He far more into the spiritual side. First he asked if I thought God had grandchildren. I will give you a minute – the correct answer is NO! We are all children of God.
His second question was deeper. He simply asked if I had ever been out walking and felt the presence of God. I responded that I had. He said that was all he needed to know.

Everyone wants to be independent but we’re not. We need certain things to survive. We need food, water, air and even fire. We are physically connected to the earth. But we also have a spiritual side to us.

We need to be connected to a spiritual source. If we try to operate without it, we become emotionally dead.
If you don’t eat or drink your body dies and you have nothing to offer anyone or the world.
If you don’t feed your spirit, you spirit is starved and you can’t be of any good to others

Many of you know the children’s story of the spider who spun a web in a tall building. It was supported by a long single strand that reached to the ceiling. After a few years the spider decided that the long strand that seemed to go nowhere was needless and the spider cut it off. Idon’t need totell you the end of the story.

The following passage is out of a book titled “More Jesus, Less Religion” by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton
“We should not condone sinful behavior any more than Jesus approved of the activities of the woman at the well or the woman caught in adultery. But Jesus focused more on connection than correction. He knew that when the connection grew strong, so would the desire to do the correct thing.”

Connection to God is vital. We need to hang on to that vine.
I have mentioned several times that I think there is a change happening in the world. Religion is struggling but spirituality is growing. There are so many avenues opening up. Whether it is mysticism or Wicca or alternative faiths; people are searching for meaningful ways to grow their spirituality.

Another story to demonstrate the power of this is about some people at a dinner party. After the meal they decided to have an impromptu talent show. Various people stood up and recited or sang or acted out a scene. One actor stood up and recited the 23rd Psalm. The one that starts “The Lord is my Shepherd”. It was a beautiful rendition. An older woman in the corner was deaf and she was unaware of what the actor had done. She also recited the 23rd Psalm. When she was finished there were tears in people’s eyes. Someone asked the actor why she had this effect whenhe did not. He replied” I know the psalm, she knows the shepherd” For her there was a spiritual connection to the words.

If we are going to give to others and the world, we must receive, both physically and spiritually

Both we and our institutions need to stay connected. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.

PRAYER
God, just as rivers overflow their banks in the spring because of a surge in newness, help us to overflow with enthusiastic spirits because of the constant discoveries of the way you reach us. Help us to wake each morning thankful that we have another day to grow and live. Help us to seek nourishment for our spirits so we may share the faith that keeps us going.
We pray for those who especially need consideration today:

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 May 2, 2021
Announcements
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Thanks to helpers: Cathy, Cheryl Aubrey
Opening Prayer
God, in this moment may we focus on you. May we give thanks for the faith you share and may we be filled with the spirit of Christ.
Hymn –
Scripture John 15: 1-11
Reflection The spiritual Connection
Prayer
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn
Benediction

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

THE QUAILS A LEGEND OF THE JATAKA
FROM THE RIVERSIDE FOURTH READER

AGES ago a flock of more than a thousand quails lived together in a forest in India. They would have been happy, but that they were in great dread of their enemy, the quail-catcher. He used to imitate the call of the quail; and when they gathered together in answer to it, he would throw a great net over them, stuff them into his basket, and carry them away to be sold.
Now, one of the quails was very wise, and he said: —
“Brothers! I’ve thought of a good plan. In future, as soon as the fowler throws his net over us, let each one put his head through a mesh in the net and then all lift it up together and fly away with it. When we have flown far enough, we can let the net drop on a thorn bush and escape from under it.”
All agreed to the plan; and next day when the fowler threw his net, the birds all lifted it together in the very way that the wise quail had told them, threw it on a thorn bush and escaped. While the fowler tried to free his net from the thorns, it grew dark, and he had to go home.
This happened many days, till at last the fowler’s wife grew angry and asked her husband: —
“Why is it that you never catch any more quail?”
Then the fowler said: “The trouble is that all the birds work together and help one another. If they would only quarrel, I could catch them fast enough.”
A few days later, one of the quails accidentally trod on the head of one of his brothers, as they alighted on the feeding-ground.
“Who trod on my head?” angrily inquired the quail who was hurt.
“Don’t be angry, I didn’t mean to tread on you,” said the first quail.
But the brother quail went on quarreling.
“I lifted all the weight of the net; you did n’t help at all,” he cried.
That made the first quail angry, and before long all were drawn into the dispute. Then the fowler saw his chance. He imitated the cry of the quail and cast his net over those who came together. They were still boasting and quarreling, and they did not help one another lift the net. So the hunter lifted the net himself and crammed them into his basket. But the wise quail gathered his friends together and flew far away, for he knew that quarrels are the root of misfortune.