Sermon for 19 Sept 2021

Sept 19, 2021 Churchill Gilford United Churches
Sermon New Exposure

I stopped at store to get battery for my guitar tuner. I approached the counter and used a line that a friend of mine had used at one time. Slowly I grabbed the counter, put one hand on my chest and asked the clerk if they sold batteries for pacemakers. The clerk looked shocked (No pun intended) but when he saw me laugh he relaxed. However the woman behind me didn’t have the same reaction. She was angry. She told me it was not funny as her husband had died of a heart attack a couple of months previously.
We all bring different experiences and stories to every event. We all have different baggage that affects the way we see our lives.

Wendy and I went to a restaurant on our bikes a few years ago. She got food poisoning. You may think that is bad in a car – but trust me – on a bike with a full face helmet, it’s worse. The point is that it may have had nothing to do with the restaurant but she never wanted to go back there again. That diner had a negative feel about it.

Another story. I did a wedding in a park a number of years ago. It was a special park because that was the place where the couple had met. Their experience was conditioned by their experience.

When you meet someone who reminds you of someone it affects the way you treat them.

We all bring our experiences to our present life. We all have baggage.

This is very true in the church circle. When I go to do a funeral or wedding people are afraid I will berate them with the “Gospel” or judge them – like I am in any position to judge anyone…

But their past experiences are a very powerful blockade to their openness. You can often tell what church a person attended as a child by their reaction to the word religion.
It is one of the problems churches have: overcoming negative past experiences.

Many people don’t come to church because of bad experiences. It may be that they were forced to attend when they were small. Perhaps the Sunday School was boring. For some kids they had to put on their “Sunday best” and there was a lot of unhappiness if they got it dirty. Church was often not a pleasant experience.

As people got older there was the issue of being judged. I knew a church that would ask you to not attend if you were getting a divorce. Certainly the restrictions like not playing cards made no sense.

Also there was the problem of a theology that did not make sense to many. How can we say that God is love when there are many stories in the bible of God telling his people to kill and destroy others. The idea that the world was created on a certain date is a problem for many, including myself.

There are more extreme cases of abuse that surfacing more and more these days. When people experience that kind of negativity it is understandable that they would not want to attend.

However churches are not all bad. There are beautiful memories of Christmas Eve and Easter services. There are many friendships and even marriages that have been a result of attending church. There is a great sense of fellowship and friendship in a church family. The church has often been a place where people got help, both physical and emotional.
Through the years the church has been the institution that promoted freedom and liberation to millions. There are many positive memories of the church

In Jesus day it was similar. There was lots of problems and anger toward the church.

Jesus comes up with an odd statement. He says “unless you become like a child you cannot enter the kingdom”
He is not speaking about life after death or heaven. Entering the Kingdom is present day. He is not speaking about attending the church. He is speaking of attaining a level of faith-based achievement. He is talking about understanding the love of God. He is talking about knowing God.

Why then does it say it can only happen if you become like a child? Not because kids are perfect. Ask anyone who has had them. Children can be mean to each other. Children can be selfish. Children can test your patience.
But there is one attribute that children have which is the reason for his statement. Children have no baggage. They are not old enough for resentments and long term anger towards someone.
Children have far more trust than adults. Children are far more accepting of change – (until they become teenagers)
They have no long term memory of events.

Children will sometimes ask why they don’t get to see a certain person anymore. There is almost shock because everyone knows why we don’t visit that person but the child has either forgotten or never put much weight on the event. They just want to see someone.

Jesus is basically saying “open your eyes to what is there. Not to what you thought was there”. Trust the present, not the memory.

If you carry your baggage around it will weigh you down and you will never reach a happier life.

We need to learn that and share it with others.

PRAYER
God, We thank you for the constant discovery of life, ideas and possibilities but we have tried to put parameters around our lives and around our faith. Too often the walls of our understanding have been a barrier to people’s perception of you. Too often we would rather survive within a restricted life than find the freedom of our beliefs. Help us to move beyond the concrete walls of the church and our hearts.
Help us to leave the negative events behind. Help us to practice forgiveness and help us to lead lives full of faith not bad memories.

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 Sept 19, 2021
Announcements
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Thanks to helpers:
Opening Prayer God, as we journey through life, from birth to death; from tragedy to joy; from moment to moment, you stay with us. Renew us as we journey through our worship and inspirations this day. Amen

Hymn G -Here at the Font 450
C -It only takes a Spark 289
Baptism (Gilford)
Scripture Mark 9: 30-37
Reflection
Prayer
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn G – Give to Us Laughter 624
C – Spirit of Gentleness V1,2,4 375
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