Sermon for 25 July 2021

Church Service for Churchill and Gilford United Church
July 28, 2021
Sermon All Things are possible John 6: 16-21

Mark Twain went on a trip to the Sea of Galilee. He asked the tour guide how much it would be to go for a ride on one of the boats. The guide replied that it would be $25, which at the time was a large sum. Twain responded “No wonder Jesus walked”

I have preached on this theme before but I think we should be reminded of it again from time to time. The sermon can be summed up in 6 words. “All things are possible with God”.

It is a difficult concept for many.
When I lived in Woodgreen United Church in Toronto, there was a sign at the end of the hallway that had that quote. Another theology student was visiting. As he walked down the hall he read the sign and said “Can you believe some people actually think that line is true?” I didn’t have the courage to tell him I painted it.

Our first reaction to that sentence is doubt. We are all convinced that there are certain things that simply cannot be done. Years ago I heard a ridiculous idea that someday we would have picture phones and we would be able to see each other through the phone. Of course no one believes that.
We are trained that everything has to be scientifically proven and there are some things that are just not possible until…..science finds a way to do it. Then it is believable.

We are also taught to believe within someone else’s limits. This occurs when a parent or some authority figure instills a prejudice or a belief in a child. It is very difficult for that child to rid themselves of that judgementalism. There was a book, a few years ago, called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” which explained how the system of education trained people to fit into society rather than object or rise up.

The third difficulty with that sentence occurs when selfishness becomes a part of the discussion. Suddenly the focus becomes directed to the financial success. If all things are possible then I can become a millionaire possibly a billionaire. The last two words of the expression are “with God”. Those two words are to help us control the ego.

One of the other difficulties we have is that we believe God is only as smart as we are. There is an attitude that if we can’t figure it out than neither can God and if we can’t understand how something is going to happen then we don’t think it can happen..

Jesus didn’t have those limitations. He believed that if he wanted to do something – he could – so he did. He walked through a wall to join his disciples. I have heard many explanations for this passage. Everything from misinterpretation to folklore, but maybe he simply walked through the wall. I had a discussion with a nuclear scientist who said there are spaces between the atoms in our body and in the wall, so it is just a matter of lining them up and walking through.

We have to be able to believe. One of the last things my father told me was “Keep the faith” It wasn’t about going to church. It was about having an open mind to believe in a better future. It was about having an open mind to grasp new concepts. It was about knowing that God pulls us out of our comfort zones and that is how we grow. Faith is about challenging the limits.

Andy Williams used to sing a song called “Dream the Impossible Dream”. I think Jesus would go beyond that to “Do the impossible”
Faith destroys depression, insecurity and gives us the strength to live fully.

The other thing we need is courage. People are oppressed because they are too afraid to challenge the status quo. People live in unhappy situations because they feel that their peers or family, will judge them or they might be excluded. There is a feeling of helplessness. But if you have faith to believe that God is with you then you gain a tremendous amount of courage. The United Church Creed starts with “We are not alone”. You can begin to challenge

A bird sitting on a branch has no fear of falling because it knows it can fly. A mountain climber who is caught on a ledge has no fear once the rope appears from over the top. If you know you have back up you can also have courage.

We live in a world of restrictions. Jesus challenged that

I am a very practical person. I know that if you drop a rock it will fall down. If you close your eyes, it will hit your foot. I know that if you walk past a truck at night time you will smash your shin on the trailer hitch. Some things are written in stone.
Yet at the same time I am convinced that that Jesus walked on the water. I believe that Jesus walked through walls. I believe he healed people.
He accomplished these things, not because he was the Son of God. But because he knew that with God the human limitations could be overturned.

I have often said that regular people could walk on water but the reason we can’t is because we have been thoroughly indoctrinated that we can’t do it. Here is the test. Go to the lake and take a step onto the water. If the water holds you up, would you be surprised? If you answered, yes you would be surprised, then you don’t really believe. You should be surprised if you sank.

We have a lot to learn about faith and doing the impossible. We have a lot to learn about feeding the world and ending wars. We have a lot to learn about confidence and equality. We have a lot to learn.

Seven years ago I suggested that people should write that sentence “All things are possible with God” and put it on their fridge. I know some did. Not sure if any are still there but I encourage you to do it again. Read it every day
Then go out and change the world.

PRAYER
God of no limits, shake our unbelief. We are convinced that your ability is limited by our understanding. We think that the creator of the world is held back by the little knowledge we have attained. We have been told that the human spirit is limited by the scientific information. Strengthen us. Allow us to know you are with us, that we do not walk alone. Help us, God to see the solutions rather than the problems. Open our minds. Thankyou for the gift of your Son Jesus and the challenges he presented. Help us to follow him.

We pray for those in special need this day:

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 July 25, 2021
Announcements
-Last video this summer
-Meet at St Joseph Island Labor day
-In church Services to start Sept 12.
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Thanks to helpers; Aubrey/ Doris, Barb, Dave and Cathy

Opening Prayer God, we take a few moments now to focus on you. We
spend this time in worship and thanks. We pray that you enter our hearts and minds as we hear and feel you
Hymn –
Scripture John 6: 16 – 21
Reflection
Prayer
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn
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