October 22, 2017 After Pentecost

Links of Interest/Bibliography:

Ministry Matters

Anglican Church of Ireland

Book of Samuel

Renley Baratheon

Anointing

Patheos

 

Words of Welcome & Announcements

Lighting the Christ Candle & Acknowledgement of Place
As we gather to worship, let us pause to remember that in this region we live and work and worship on lands that are, by law, the unceded territories of the Wabanaki peoples—predominantly the lands of the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy. May we live with respect on this land, and live in peace and friendship with its people.

Hymn Come Touch Our Hearts MV 12

Call to Worship One: The Spirit reaches out to offer us grace. All: The Spirit reaches out to those in need and to those who can offer of themselves. One: The Spirit reaches out to open our minds. All: The Spirit reaches out to offer deep Love. One: The Spirit reaches out with compassion. All: The Spirit reaches out in worship.

Opening Prayer God your presence wraps around us, offering nurture, care and support. We pray that this be a time filled with love, grace and compassion. Amen.

Hymn Teach Me God to Wonder VU 299

Theme Conversation Anointing

Anointing and Laying on of Hands May God’s love, and the peace of Jesus Christ which passes all understanding, be with you all. And also with you. Adapted from Celebrate God’s Presence
God of peace,you teach us that in returning and rest we find life, and that in quietness and confidence is our strength. By the gift of your Spirit, help us to come into your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God.
“God knows us completely and loves us with an everlasting love; God grants us pardon and peace.
In Christ we are offered grace.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

“God forgives,
and calls all of us to confess our fears and failings
with honesty and humility.
God reconciles,
and calls us to repent the part we have played
in damaging our world, ourselves, and each other.
God transforms,
and calls us to protect the vulnerable,
to pray for deliverance from evil,
to work with God for the healing of the world,
that all might have abundant life.
We sing of grace.
” From A Song of Faith
Prayers of the People
Blessing the Oil “Loving God, you prepare a table before us and anoint us with oil. We thank you for this oil, a sign of your grace and Love.
Send your Holy Spirit on us and on what we do now, that through this anointing, we may know the strength that comes from you. Amen.

Anointing “In the name of the Creator, the Teacher, and the Power of Love I anoint you.

May God bless you and keep you.
May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May God look upon you with kindness and give you peace. Amen.

The Prayer of Jesus The Sung Prayer of Jesus. During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice. A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 916-927.

Readings 1 Samuel 16:1-13
John 7:14-24

Musical Response Day after Day MV 123

Sermon You’re the Minister?

Last week we heard about the call of Samuel. This week we’re hearing about the call of David. So here are the bits of the story that we’ve missed up to this point. Hannah, a childless woman during a time when a woman’s worth was based on how many male children she was able to give birth to, prayed for a son and offered to dedicate that child to God, should she be so blessed. She was, and she followed through on her promise, taking Samuel as a young boy to the temple to learn how to be a priest. In those days, the Hebrew people were ruled by Judges who were appointed by the Priests. Judges acted in the same way that our Judges do, making rulings and settling disputes. Samuel’s mentor Eli had two sons who were Judges, but they were corrupt. Samuel’s first hard job was to break this news to Eli.
Over the years, Samuel was a good and well respected Priest, but the people were unhappy with the Judge system. They really wanted a King and the symbol of power that came with that. Samuel’s own sons weren’t doing a good job at being Judges, so after a lot of searching, Samuel appoints Saul to be the King for the Hebrew people. Saul was able to rally the people and improve their situation, but after a number of years, the temptation of power was a bit too much and Saul did many regretful things. Samuel could see the direction that things were headed and after a lot of consulting with God set out in search of who would be the next king. That’s where we find ourselves in today’s reading. After David is anointed, he is sent to live with King Saul & Family to learn the ropes of being King. Now King Saul’s should really be one of the nine royal families on Game of Thrones as the deceit and lust is only comparable to the Lannisters, and King Saul’s son Johnathan and the King in waiting David, a relationship that I think fueled the creative juices of the GOT writers for the Renly and Loros sceens. The parallels are fascinating! But that, is getting a head of myself. Today we are talking about the anointing of David.
So here’s what you need to know about anointing. As you heard in the theme conversation, anointing is still used in more orthodox Christian traditions, especially the Roman Catholic Church, as a sacrament. Since the United Church of Canada is a protestant church, we have never considered anointing to be a sacrament, but much like marriage, it has still held a special place in our ceremonies. This is where things get a little confusing. Protestantism is any church that isn’t Roman Catholic. We’re going to learn more about this next week as October 31st is the 500th anniversary of Protestantism or the Reformation of Christianity. So even though Protestantism only recognizes two sacraments as ways of receiving grace from God, other church that have since split from the Roman Catholic church or have further evolved their understanding of grace have kept anointing as a sacrament. This means that many churches have different places and uses for anointing. In the United Church, we use it at Baptism, Confirmation, Installation of Leaders, and in services specifically designed to offer comfort, strength, and peace to those who need it most. In our faith tradition, anointing is a symbolic action that is meant to encourage you in your journey, which can feel like a change, even though its symbolism of our love and support.
Before I had my first pastoral charge, I had a student placement. I was a much more timid person then, and leading worship was something I was very uncomfortable with. The minister I was working with at the time, is a highly liturgical person. He loves all of the various parts of worship and their history, and every Sunday, he would put on a black preaching gown. He identifies very strongly with the ordained description of “word, sacrament, and pastoral care”. When I told him about my fears, his big piece of advice to me was to go out and get a gown, put it on and “fake it til I make it”. While he was the complete opposite of my staff person at school that year, that was one thing they agreed on. I would have the confidence once I could see myself as a minister. My staff person’s solution wasn’t an alb though, it was student supply. In other words my own pastoral charge. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without both. Just putting on an alb doesn’t make me a minister.
Action – taking off the alb.
It still took a few years before I could get up and lead without my alb. Now I prefer to be without it as I feel like it holds me back with the same thing it helped me with in the first place – the perception of being the “minister”. Our story from John today follows a similar theme. Jesus is out teaching when the people in the crowd begin to question him. As a young – and I use that term loosely – person in ministry, you do get questioned all the time. It’s inevitable. I didn’t realize this myself, until I started to question – is that kid old enough to…do whatever job I had done when I was their age? The older I get the more I question. But just because I keep doing it doesn’t make it right. It didn’t when it happened to Jesus either, so he pushed back with his reply: Don’t judge by appearances, judge by what is right. In other words, don’t follow my teachings just because I preformed a miracle, follow my teachings because you believe that this is the right way to live. Have you ever been judged for your appearance before?
I routinely get mistaken for someone who is not the minister. Most often I get mistaken for the office administrator, but I also get mistaken for a long lost cousin or grandchild at funerals and visitations and I’ve come to realize that I also get mistaken for a home care worker. Yup. Just wish I figured that one out sooner, because I bet when it happened before and I didn’t realize it, I was probably “the most useless homecare worker who only talks about church.” At least I can laugh about it now.
The times I’ve been misjudged have had a relatively small impact on my life though. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for good, kind, loving and generous people who find themselves misjudged due to their appearance. Women who choose to wear hijabs or niqhbs. People with piercing or tattoos that celebrate a significant life journey or culture, Transgender people who feel one way inside, but look the opposite on the outside. People who’s life stories would bring you to tears, but they seem so pulled together. Some of the people who have had the courage to post #metoo. I try not to assume anything on people, but it’s hard, and sometimes almost unavoidable.
A few months ago I listened to a podcast where the speaker was talking about implicit bias. I found it fascinating. The idea is that everyone has implicit biases no matter how hard they try and avoid them. An implicit bias is an attitude or stereotype that affects our understanding, actions, or decisions in an unconscious way. It happens to everyone based on life experience and social experience. So in North America in particular, even what we watch on tv on see online plays into implicit bias. I took an online test that was mentioned in the podcast. The test showed a series of faces and words in rapid order and you had to press specific buttons for specific answers. Most people show some implicit bias, while some people show a lot of implicit bias. Very few people showed little to no implicit bias. My first test was a bit of a learning curve, and turned up some implicit bias, so I did a few others with varying results and went back to my first one again, not because I was unhappy with my score, but because I want to “beat the machine” now that I knew the routine and the method of the test. Even though I anticipated every answer, and got none wrong, I still came out with some implicit bias. It was the only test I didn’t get an answer wrong! Even on the one test that scored little to no bias, I still got some wrong.
The fact the I couldn’t fool the computer in the implicit bias test, means that I do judge books by their covers, even though I really don’t want to. It means that I need to move slowly to ensure my privilege or life experience isn’t clouding my vision. For example, when Bob and I were house hunting, there was one thing we were both assuming differently. Bob was assuming that if we ever have kids we would need to be within walking distance of their schools, as he grew up less than 1km away from each of his schools. I, on the other hand, was assuming that some bus ride was totally normal and to be expected, after all I spent close to two hours on the bus each day. I was surprised that was even on Bob’s priority list! It was my implicit bias that everyone rode a bus to school at some point in their life. Bob and I had been together for about 13 years at that point!
Avoiding judging someone or not placing a bias on them is hard work. It obviously isn’t instantaneous in all circumstances either. Just because David was anointed didn’t make him king he had to earn it. Just because Jesus did big things didn’t make him the leader either. And putting on a cross doesn’t make me a Christian. It’s all about being who you really are, and loving people for who they really are. Some of you received an anointing and blessing today. That’s an outside thing. The real goal is to let that outside symbol, sink in so that we know we are loved on the inside too. The past is the past, it doesn’t make us who we are. It’s our intentions that matter. And if your intention is to be loving, kind and compassionate to everyone, including yourself, then we’re all headed in the same direction. Amen.

Minute for Mission

Offering Invitation
Because of your generosity, we are able to offer care and compassion in the form of prayer shawls, meals, company, and books. With your continued support, we can continue to offer these small comforts to even more people.

Offertory What Can I Do? MV 191

Offertory Prayer
May these gifts, those given through PAR and our commitment to give be seen as the gifts they truly are. Amen.

Commissioning & Benediction

Musical Blessing Glory to God in the Highest MV 124

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