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Getting to Know the Saints of Scugog Island United Church

Scugog Island United Church

November 1st 2020


All Saints Day




Gather


Welcome and Opening Prayer





Candle Lighting




Word


Scripture Reading




Sermon




Hymn: For All the Saints Who From their Labours Rest


Response


Communion




Offering and Blessing



Go Now in Peace


 

Text Version:


November 1st, 2020

Gather

Good morning. Thank you for worshiping with Scugog Island United Church today for are service on All Saints Day.

Announcements

Thank you to everyone who supported the Drive In Food Drive with your donations or as volunteers. It was a wonderful event to help feed people during what has been a really difficult time for a lot of people. We collected 20 boxes of food and toiletries as well as many gift cards and cheques.

Later in the service we will be having communion. For the elements you can use bread and grape juice. Or water. If you don’t have bread, during the communion prayer you can hold your hands out like you are holding onto the elements. Imagine yourself holding the bread of life and the cup of promise in your hands. When it is time to receive the elements know that the grace and blessings of God are yours.

Opening Prayer

For all the saints who went before us

who have spoken to our hearts

and touched us with your fire,

we praise you, O God.

For all the saints who live beside us

whose weaknesses and strengths

are woven with our own,

we praise you, O God.

For all the saints who live beyond us

who challenge us to change us

to change the world with them,

we praise you, O God.

Lighting Candles


As the candles are lit I invite you to say the names of the people you are remembering today. The people who during their lives helped you to learn and grow and become the person you are today.

Thank you for witnesses of the faith, O God;

for those who have helped us

hear the story of your people,

for the ways the story has touched our lives.

Thank you for the evangelists

who have written the gospels;

for the power of their telling.

Thank you for the prophets who have disturbed us;

for their ability to help us examine our living.

Thank you for those people we have known

who have lived out the faith;

for the inspiration they have been to us.

Thank you for the courageous disciples

who have stood up for their beliefs; for their example.


Help us also to be witnesses to the faith.

Let our living be consistent with our preaching.

Help us to be powerful prophets.

Let our work of justice and compassion

influence our society.

Help us to be disciples

serving and ministering in your name.

Let us convey everywhere the graciousness

of your love.

We pray for the saints in our midst…

For all your saints, O God, we raise our hallelujahs. Amen.

Word

Scripture: John 21: 1-19


After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.


When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.


When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Sermon

Today is All Saints day. In many Protestant traditions this is a day to honor Christians who have died. In our tradition any Christian person may be considered a saint. This doesn’t mean they are perfect, but that God has been at work through them. Who are the saints that you have known in your life? And how have they helped to shape your faith journey? Today also marks the one year anniversary of when I became your minister. So I thought for the sermon I would approach it as a reflection on how I have been getting to know the saints of Scugog Island United Church.


In the book of Revelation chapters two and three Jesus has a message for the angels of the church in Asia Minor. In each message he names some of their gifts as well as the challenges they face. I started wondering, what would the angel of Scugog Island United Church look like? It might very well be a host at a dinner table welcoming everyone to enjoy a bounty of delicious food. The dinner conversation might range from friendly, insightful, heated, passionate, maybe even loud bickering, and then laughter, storytelling, and calls for seconds. A word I’ve heard church members often used to describe the church is family. I think this is a good descriptor, as this church community is just as weird and wonderful as the best families are.


For my first Sunday one year ago I chose the gospel passage from John chapter 21. I chose this passage because I knew sharing meals was something important for this church. And in this passage we see that one of the first things Jesus does after the resurrection is share a meal with his disciples. This leads into his instruction for Peter and for all of us to feed Jesus’ sheep. Just as we have been fed we are called to feed others.


In my first few months I enjoyed many meals at the church. Those that were served after the service, the meals for special occasions. It was sad to have this stop while we’ve been unable to gather, but even during this time members have delivered meals to others, and just yesterday we collected 20 boxes of food and toiletries for the foodbank. This is a church called to feed people.


But I also chose this passage because the image of the empty nets. The disciples were fishing all night long and didn’t catch a single fish. Remember that many of them were fishermen before Jesus had called them to be disciples. They know how to fish. They are in the right spot to catch the fish, but they are unable. Last year I reflected on how we can empathize with the disciples because we know what it is like to put the work in and yet pull in empty nets. Many churches have felt discouraged when they put in hard work, but don’t see the growth and revival that they were hoping for. We can also sympathize with Peter.

The other disciples are looking to him for leadership, but he doesn’t know where to go or what to do, so he returns to his old life as a fisherman and the others join him. I think many leaders in the church, whether clergy or lay sometimes feel like Peter and wonder how they can lead when they don’t know the way. I know there are times when I have felt like Peter.

This year when I read this passage, the image of the empty nets makes me think of the changes in everyone’s lives due to covid. After 7 months of this a lot of people are running on empty. The energy people had to find to step up when the crises started has been wearing out. Our nets are empty. Like the disciples we are finding it impossible to continue as we normally would. Like them we are sitting in our boat casting our nets and discovering that what worked in the past, just doesn’t work right now.


Jesus had told his disciples, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” The disciples found that without Jesus they couldn’t find there way even when it came to fishing. They couldn’t catch a single fish and just when they thought they might pull there net in for the last time before giving up, Jesus appeared to them and told them to cast their nets on the other side. Suddenly they caught so many fish that they couldn’t even pull the net into the boat.


We are fed by Jesus. And it is Jesus’ direction that guides us. Just as Jesus gathered the disciples in for a meal before sending them . He instructs Peter to feed his sheep. Our calling is to go out and feed others physically and spiritually just like he did.

The ministry of the church is like a meal that we come together to make. Each person bringing their own ingredient or skill. Together we choose the recipe: It might be something new that we haven’t tried before. It might be an old favourite recipe. It could be an old recipe that will be new for us. If we were making a soup, my role will be to encourage people to add their ingredients. I will ‘stir the pot’. I will stir the pot to keep things moving so that the meal doesn’t burn or bubble over. As your minister I will have a special role in this, but the work of preparing this meal is something that we all share. And we might need to get creative if we find that we don’t have enough of a certain ingredient, it doesn’t mean we can’t make a wonderful meal or that we have to settle for less than the bread of life that Jesus offers, it means we need to work together in creative ways to find substitute ingredients and adjust the recipe a bit.


My first year among the saints of Scugog Island United Church has been interesting. I have joined you at a time of global change. My ministry has gone in a direction I was not anticipating at all. Building a website and posting services online was not part of my plan one year ago. We’ve had to adapt and consider new ways of sharing the Good News.

It has also been a difficult time in the church as we have had to say goodbye to one of our members this year. Douggie Baird was one of the saints of the church who we remember. Douggie was the one who coined the phrase often used for the church, “The Little Church with The Big Heart”. He took his responsibility as a member of the church very seriously. He was serious about his faith, but was always employing humor. In the short time I knew him I got to see his humour, his leadership, and his passion for the church and the community. The outpouring of love at the celebration of his life also gave me some insight into who he was and about this community that he was part of.

Jesus told Peter to feed his sheep. This is our mission. And we are equipped to do it. In our service today we will share in communion. We are invited to the table of Jesus Christ to be fed with the gifts of God. We have this image of the heavenly banquet table where all are fed. What the gospel teaches us is that Jesus feeds us before calling us to follow him into the world to feed others. As we are fed spiritually and physically at Jesus’ table we may we be empowered to respond to the hungers of this world. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Response

Communion

The Lord be with you.

Let us pray.

Blessed are you, gracious God,

Creator of light, Giver of all life, Source of love.

You guide the sun, cradle the moon, and toss the stars.

At your word the earth was made

and spun on its course among the planets.

You breathe life into us

and set us among all your creatures,

in a covenant of love and service.

Even when we turn away from you, you do not forsake us.

You send your prophets to proclaim your justice,

to remind us of your promise of peace,

and to call us back to you.

Creator, Christ, and Spirit,

we praise you for you love revealed to us in Jesus,

who walks with us, our Wisdom and our Way,

sharing our joy and sorrow,

healing the sick,

feeding the hungry,

and setting the captive free.

So it is that we join the song of all creation to

proclaim your goodness:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Mighty and tender God, in Jesus of Nazareth

we recognize the fullness of your grace:

light, life, and love, revealed

in words that confront and comfort us,

in teachings that challenge and change us,

in compassion that heals and frees us.

And now we gather at this table to remember

and to be filled with such longing for your realm,

that we may rise together to turn our worship into witness

and to follow in your way.

We remember that when Jesus ate with his friends,

he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it,

he broke it and gave it to them, saying:

“Take, eat. This is my body, given for you.

Each time you do this, remember me.”

Then, he took a cup, and after giving thanks,

passed it to his friends, saying:

“Drink. This cup that is poured out for you

is the promise of God, made in my blood.

Whenever you drink it, remember me.”

At this time, we also remember all with you would have us share your feast. We pray for all who are in sorrow or in pain… all who are ill or alone… all who live with fear, oppression, or hunger… for all whom the world counts as last and least… We pray for the church and its varied ministries… for nations as they strive for peace and justice… for all our families and friends…

Loving God, we rejoice in the gift of your grace, remembering Christ’s life and death, proclaiming his resurrection, waiting in hope for his coming again. Grant that, in praise and thanksgiving, we may so offer ourselves to you that our lives may proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.

Christ has risen.

Christ will come again.

Send, O God, your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts,

that all who share in this loaf and this cup

may be the body of Christ:

light, life, and love in the world.

In this hope and as your people, we praise you.

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all glory is yours, God most holy,

now and forever. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory. For ever and ever. Amen.

Invitation

We are divided because of the virus and yet we are united through our faith. In this meal we come to the table with the saints of every time and place. As you eat the bread and drink from the cup know that you are at the table of Jesus Christ. And that these are the gifts of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

Sharing the Bread and Cup

The body of Christ broken for you.

The blood of Christ shed for you.

Prayer After Communion

We give thanks that bread broken brings wholeness; that the cup poured out replenishes; that time spent with the Risen Christ and one another is gift and grace. Amen.

Offering

We bring our gifts to you, God. Here is the work of our hands, and here is the work of our hearts. Accept them and use them, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessing


Leave this sanctuary today

with a strong but tender heart.

May the love of God and your love for God

shine from your eyes for all to see.

May God bless you and keep you

now and forever more. Amen.



 

Copyright:


Photos taken by Ned Wells


Opening Prayer, Prayer before Candle Lighting, Communion Prayers, Offering Prayer from Celebrate God's Presence: A Book of Services for The United Church of Canada. (c) 2000 The United Church Publishing House. All Rights Reserved. All materials, except those otherwise marked, may be freely copied for use in public worship in The United Church of Canada.


Blessing Prayer by Douggie Baird

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