October 29, 2017 After Pentecost

Links of Interest/Bibliography:

Explainity Explains Reformation
Phyllis Tickle
Patheos – Nadia Bolz Webber
4 Laws
Shane Hipps 4 Questions
Proven Models
Sears article 1
Sears article 2
Martin Luther History Channel
Martin Luther King I Have A Dream
Working Preacher Podcast
Working Preacher
Patheos – Dangerous King


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 and Find the Quiet Centre VU 374

Call to Worship One: Today we celebrate the basics of our faith: All: We celebrate the Scriptures and the wisdom they offer. One: We celebrate our Faith and the connection it offers. All: We celebrate Grace and all that unconditional love encourages us to be. One: We celebrate Christ, our human connection to divine wisdom and love. All:We celebrate the freedom that we have to understand God on our own terms and through our own experiences. One: These are the five principals that gather us together in this time and in this space to worship.

Opening Prayer Sacred Spirit, your presence was felt 500 years ago just as strongly as it is today. We pray that this time is filled with enlightenment and hope. Amen.

Hymn We are the Church Rainbow Song Book #59

Theme Conversation What do you need to build a church?

Readings Explanity Explains Reformation Video
Phyllis Tickle Video
1 Kings 5:1-5; 8:1-13
Musical Response Day after Day MV 123

Sermon The Giant Rummage Sale

Normally, in the United Church, we don’t do much to celebrate the reformation.  We recognize that many leaders have helped to shape us over the course of time.  This year though, as we sit on the edge of another major revolution of both the religious world and the society we live in, it has been 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his thoughts to the door of the church. Was tried for heresy and spent the rest of his life, using a penname, to help the average person understand Christianity.

Many of the resources this week start off by saying that the lectionary gives us an odd piece for Reformation Sunday.  Apparently, the choices are usually sin oriented, suitable to inspire someone to change or reform their own life.  I think that Solomon’s Temple is a perfect pairing for talking about religion though.

Solomon was the oldest living son of David near the time of his death.  Becoming King wasn’t exactly a given for Solomon as another brother had attempted to lay claim to the throne before Solomon was ordered installed by his father.  Solomon was known for his wisdom and for following out his father’s dream of a place to worship God – a lavish place because God had been so good to them.

So he did.  Solomon teamed up with one of his father’s allies, imposed heavy taxes and employed hundreds of thousands of people to build the temple complete with a special room for offerings, another even holier room for incense and plenty of storage rooms to store all of the things his father had collected to honour God.

The building of Solomon’s Temple was the symbol for the religious revolution of the time.   Previous to this, the Hebrew people had been worshipping in tents as they been doing since at least the Exodus, if not before that.  It was simply the way of the nomadic people.  But the Hebrew people were no longer wandering, and King Solomon’s Father, King David felt that a tent was not an appropriate place to offer sacrifice.  He felt that God was too important to him to be relegated to a tent when the King himself no longer lived in a tent.  It makes sense.  The story goes on to explain that David would never build the Temple, because he was known as the King of War, it would need to be Solomon, the King of Wisdom.  The Temple became the sign of the religious movement of the Davidic era.

Phyllis Tickle laid out the map or timeline of religious revolution for us.  So it should come as no surprise to learn almost 500 years after the Temple was built, it was destroyed in an act of war.  I’m sure the Hebrew people at the time thought that the world was coming to an end.  After all, the Temple had always been there.  But the Hebrew faith did not end when the Temple fell.  Similarly, the Catholic Church did not die when Martin Luther nailed his these to the door.  The whole point of faith is that it stays with you even when all of the structures that you thought held it up come crumbling down.

I’m sure many of you remember the Canadian History Vignette where Marshall McLuhan declares “The medium IS the message!”  What you may not know, is that McLuhan also believed that every medium also answered four laws or as he preferred to call them, questions.  This has been an enlightened moment for me this week, and I’m going to attempt to walk you through it.  Perhaps some of you are not new to this theory, and if you have studied it or have experience in it, I’d love to chat with you.

Here goes.

There are 4 quadrants/laws/questions for any medium. Always four and only four.  There are no right answers, only evolving answers.

Let me walk you through with video cameras.

(bottom right) A. “What recurrence or RETRIEVAL of earlier actions and services is brought into play simultaneously by the new form? What older, previously obsolesced ground is brought back and inheres in the new form?”

Neighbourhood watch, Mid-evil city walls (made them safe at first, but then made them vunerable)


(bottom left) B. “When pushed to the limits of its potential, the new form will tend to reverse what had been its original characteristics. What is the REVERSAL potential of the new form?”

Invasion of privacy


(upper right) C. “If some aspect of a situation is enlarged or enhanced, simultaneously the old condition or un-enhanced situation is displaced thereby. What is pushed aside or OBSOLESCED by the new ‘organ’?”

Security guards, eye witness testimony

Rituals & Superstitions

(upper left) D. “What does the artefact ENHANCE or intensify or make possible or accelerate? This can be asked concerning a wastebasket, a painting, a steamroller, or a zipper, as well as about a proposition in Euclid or a law of physics. It can be asked about any word or phrase in any language.”

Our eyes

Mental Health/Spiritual Health    Power & Politics

Now let’s attempt to do this together with church.

I find it hopeful that although the medium may change, the original intention does not.  So while we may outgrow some aspects of church, we’ll never outgrow the original intention.  Just the way we achieve it.

Back in the 1950s, there was a Canadian company called Simpson’s Mail Order.  It specialized in sending useful items ordered by mail to the orderer, wherever they were located – town or city.  A department store in the US noticed how well Simpson’s was doing in the mail order market and decided that it would be the ultimate department store if you could get items in the department store without ever having to set foot in the store.  Cutting edge technology and fashion, right at your fingertips!  It wasn’t long before Simpson’s-Sears Catalogues became essential in Canadian homes.  Sears brought some of it’s own mail order wisdom to the Simpson’s-Sears relationship with the launch of the Wishbook, the joy of every Canadian child’s heart!  Eventually though, Sears bought out Simpson’s dropping the name but keeping the quality.  Sears was quickly onboard the online ordering phenom, but it wasn’t enough to keep the giant company valid.  They could not reinvent themselves this time.  So we see the end of Sears Canada.  We’ll never see the end of the need for mail order items. We’ll never see the end for store fronts.  The need will always be there, but the demands on how it’s lived out will change.

Our Future Directions Team is working on analyzing this kind of stuff.  The Team consists of Charlie O’Handley, Betty Bailey, Tara Pitts, and Debbie MacIntyre.  We have recruited a fifth person, Wouter Roos, with hopes that he’ll be able join us at the end of the month.  After some pretty intense research on our finances and trends, the Future Directions Team has come to the conclusion that we can continue on for two years as is.  The Future Directions Team is asking for your assistance in helping us to discern our next step. If you check your email right now, you should have an email in your account, and if you don’t do email, Charlie/Betty will have a hard copy for you at the door.  The outlines the results of our work so far, and includes a small survey so that we can gauge the amount of energy and commitment there is to changing our forecasted two years.  This is our last chance, our one shot, to get this right.  The Future Directions Team believes that there’s still lots of Welcoming, Discerning and Doing to be done around the St. Margaret’s Bay area, and we hope that you are willing to join us.  Amen.

Hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God VU262

Minute for Mission

Offering Invitation What do I love about St. Luke’s?

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.

Prayer Music Body, Mind and Spirit MV 153

Prayers of the People & the Prayer of Jesus
Ending with 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.

Commissioning & Benediction

Musical Blessing Glory to God in the Highest MV 124

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