august 23rd, 2020 – holding space

O Lord our God,
    teach our hearts this day
         where and how to see you,
     And where and how to find you.
Teach us to seek you,
   And may we love you when we find you.
St. Anselm
Holy, Holy
Holy, holy, holy
     is the Lord almighty
Glory to the Father
Holy, holy, holy
                   All praise to God
     is the Lord almighty
                          the Trinity
Glory to the Father

Hallelujah, hallelujah
     hallelujah, hallelujah
Holy, holy, holy
     is the Lord almighty
Glory to the Father


Hallelujah, hallelujah
     hallelujah, hallelujah
John Arndt
David Gungor
Hey Everyone!  Best wishes to all of you.  It’s good to be with you through the technology of waves and wires.
There are a few things I want to remind you of…
First off, an email went out on Friday regarding the possibility of meeting in person again this fall.  In the same manner as the spring, we are asking if you would fill out a survey that aid in determining a course of action for the fall.  (If you have the time, it would be really helpful to hear from you – the survey takes about a minute to fill out.)  The survey closes Tuesday, August 25, at 6 pm.  You can access the link for the survey just below the link for this liturgy.
Second, this Wednesday, August 26, is our final Driveway Drop-By of the summer. The idea is to have an evening of short (fifteen – twenty minute) driveway visits with other people from the connection community.  You can sign up as either a host or as a traveller.  You can sign up as a household, by yourself, or with a couple of people in your ‘bubble.’  You can find the registration link just below the link for this liturgy.
And finally, we are looking for one or two candidate to serve as elders.  This is a great way to serve our church family and support the leadership of our church. If you would be interested in serving in this way, or know someone you’d like to see serve as an elder, let us know by sending an email the church office – or you can drop me a note or text as well.
And now it’s story time with Beverly…
Hi everybody.  And a big howdy to all the kids listening today!  I am thinking of you and praying for you and your families as September is coming quickly.  There is so much we don’t know about the future.  But let’s remember friends, God knows.  God knows.  And whether we are in the middle of a crazy storm or calm seas, we are not alone.  God goes with us.  
Today I’m reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones.  Speaking of storms and still waters … let’s listen to a story from Mark 4 and Matthew 8.   Even the winds and the waves obey Jesus.  


The Captain of the Storm
The sun was going down.  The air was warm and still.
“Let’s go across the lake,”  Jesus said to his friends.  Jesus had been helping people all day and now he was tired.  So they left the crowds at the shore and set out in a small fishing boat.  
Jesus climbed into the boat to take a nap.  As soon as his head touched the pillow, he fell fast asleep. 
It was a beautiful evening.  A gentle breeze rustled the sails.  The friends were chatting happily as they headed out into the middle of the lake.  Everything was perfect.  Just right for a nice quiet sail…
They were only about halfway across when, out of nowhere, whirling winds swept across the lake, fierce and strong, like a hurricane.  A blinding flash of lightning lit up the sky.  Thunder roared right overhead!
The storm blew the water into towering waves that hurled the little boat up,up,up – then sent it hurtling, CRASHING back down, down, down! 
The fishing boat was blown and buffeted and tossed and turned – back and forth and up and down and left and right and round and round! And in the middle of the storm, Jesus was sleeping.  
Now Jesus’ friends had been fishermen all their lives, but in all their years fishing on this lake they had never once seen a storm like this one.  No matter how hard they struggled with their ropes and sails, they couldn’t control their boat.  This storm was too big for them.  
But the storm wasn’t too big for Jesus.  “Help!” they screamed.  “Wake up!  Quick, Jesus!”  Jesus opened his eyes.  
“Rescue us!  Save us!”  they shrieked.  “Don’t you care?”  (Of course Jesus cared, and this was the very reason he had come – to rescue them and to save them.)
Jesus stood up and spoke to the storm.  “Hush!” he said.  That’s all.  And then the strangest thing happened.  Immediately the wind stopped.  The water calmed down.  It glittered innocently in the moonlight and lapped quietly against the side of the boat, as if nothing had happened.  The little boat bobbed gently up and down.  There was a deep stillness and a great quiet all around.  
Then Jesus turned to his wind-torn friends.  “Why were you scared?” he asked.  “Did you forget who I Am?  Did you believe your fears, instead of me?”
Jesus’ friends were quiet.  As quiet as the wind and the waves.  And into their hearts came a different kind of storm.  
“What kind of man is this?” they asked themselves anxiously.  “Even the winds and the waves obey him!”  they said, because they didn’t understand.  They didn’t realize yet that Jesus was the Son of God.  Jesus’ friends had been so afraid, they had only seen the big waves.  They had forgotten that, if Jesus was with them, then they had nothing to be afraid of.  No matter how small their boat–or how big the storm.  
Have a great week everybody!
Thanks Beverly!
During the months of July and August I have made quite a few trips between here and Calgary.  Laurie and I took a five day holiday mid-way through August, but most of my travelling back and forth has been as an Uber Driver for the kids.  Not great tips, but lovely company.  This past Wednesday I made a round trip to Calgary and noticed how the landscape has begun to transition from the flowering yellows and dark greens of summer to the golden earth tones of autumn.  Farmers have begun harvesting crops and rolling hay.  It started me thinking about transitions. 
Then yesterday I officiated a wedding of a friend of our daughter.  It’s a friend she met in kindergarten.  We’ve known her friend and her family for eighteen years now. Our daughter was part of the wedding party, along with another school friend of theirs who we also have known for years.  As I watched them all walk down the aisle it dawned on me that twenty-six years have gone by and now I’m the dad of the kids getting married.  That used to be my dad – but now my dad is pretty old, I’m old, and my kids are adults.  That definitely heightened my thinking about transitions.
And in the background of all of this, our daughters are moving to Banff at the end of August and our son is moving out again on the first day of September.  For us, transition is all around.
At the same time I recognize that these kinds of things are not unique to us.  All of us have movement, change, adaptation, and problem solving in the sphere of our personal lives.  We are all constantly finding our way in the dark, working to gracefully make our way through transition.
In the last month we have been sitting in the Psalms – unpacking and thinking about the different transitions towards orientation and away from orientation.  The restart of school is around the corner, we as a church are exploring the possibility of gathering again in person – all of these are transitions on the horizon. 
Some of us do better with change than others. The movement towards the unknown, towards something whose outcome is impossible to predict, affects us in different ways.  Though our anxiety, our concerns, our worry, our questions may manifest themselves differently, they are present.  We all feel the weight of this in some way or another.
I’ve been making my way through the Gospels the past couple of weeks.  For no particular reason, I started with John and read in reverse order of how they appear in the New Testament.  So I first read Luke’s framing Jesus’s words about worry, then later Matthew’s spin on the same.  And honestly, at first it wasn’t super helpful.  Jesus basically says don’t worry.  Don’t worry about your clothes or food because birds are well fed and flowers look great.
I was kind of like, yeah I’m not really worried about my clothes – embracing plaid and grey on grey has really made getting dressed pretty simple.  And I’m not worried about food either.  What I’m anxious about is what will happen to our girls if COVID hits hard this fall and Banff shuts down, and I’m worried about a friend who had a weird accident this week, and I feel concerned for all the parents who are at a loss as to what to do with their kids and school this fall, and so on.
And then two overlapping things occurred over a period of about a week.  The first is that I had a few friends text me to let me know that they were praying for me.  That I had been on their minds and they just wanted to let me know.  And then almost on a loop, the end to Matthew’s framing of Jesus’s words about worry began to play in my head. 
‘Let tomorrow worry about itself, each day has enough trouble of its own.’   Like Jesus was kind of whispering in my ear.  Hey, rob, don’t give your energy to things you can’t predict.  Don’t let that steal energy and time from you.  Work on the trouble of the day, know that I’m here with you, and know that there are others who are also pulling for you.  You don’t have to be in it alone, you don’t have to carry the weight by yourself.
Just a side note – I’m not saying that you should never worry or be anxious.  We all naturally experience those feelings based on life’s unpredictable nature.  I don’t think we choose to feel worry – it happens.  Also, I’m not clear in my own psyche where the line of healthy concern merges into unhealthy worry.  I just know that I felt bolstered by both the recognition that trouble is a natural instigator of worry will be around and that I wasn’t alone in working out the troubles and worry of the day.
So this past week or so, I’ve been starting to give my energy to praying for people instead of spending time circling the black hole of worrying about the future.  It’s not that I don’t get anxious about things, or feel tightness in my stomach at times, it’s just that in this moment of time, where so much is out of my control, I’m choosing to trust that somehow Jesus has the ability to manage things and be present in those dark places, for me, for you, for all of us.
For this week, I thought we could maybe try reaching out to one another, offering presence, holding space for each other, and voicing prayers for one another – especially for the touch points that create anxiety in our lives.
In our exploration of the psalms, we spent our time focusing on inward prayers.  So for the remainder of this liturgy I’d like us to focus on praying for others. 
I’m going to lead us through a general prayer that I’m hoping will bring specific people to your minds and hearts.  Each section will be followed with a space to allow you to offer prayers on behalf of the people who come to mind.


In the arms of a good Father
   you can go to the deep water
Where the questions, we have left unspoken
   come out in the open
We will find shelter here 
So I lay down
   what I cannot hold in my hands
Every sorrow and hope spinning out of control
   here I find sweet resolution comes in letting go
We will find shelter here
Sandra McCracken
Gracious God, rejoicing in your blessings,
trusting in your loving care for all,
we bring to you our prayers for the world.
We pray for the created world:
for those who rebuild where things have been destroyed;
for those who fight hunger, poverty, and disease;
for those who have power to bring change for the better and to renew hope.
Lord, hear our prayers…
We pray for our country:
for those in leadership;
who frame our laws and shape our common life;
who keep the peace and administer justice;
for those who teach and those who heal
for all who serve the community
Lord, hear our prayers…
We pray for people in need:
those for whom life is a bitter struggle;
those whose lives are clouded by death or loss,
by pain or disability, by discouragement or fear,
by shame or rejection.
Lord, hear our prayers…
We pray for those in the circle of friendship and love around us:
children and parents; sisters and brothers; friends and neighbours;
and for those especially in our thoughts today…
Lord, hear our prayers…
We pray for the church in its stand with the poor,
in its love for the outcast and the ashamed,
in its service to the sick and the neglected,
in its proclamation of the Gospel,
in this land and in this place.
Lord, hear our prayers…
Eternal God:
we entrust to you our prayers,
the spoken and the silent,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be all praise and glory for ever.
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Trinity Song
Holy Father, Son and Spirit
     holy Communion, three-in-one
Come with your peace, with your invitation
     bind us together in Holy Love
Sandra McCracken
God of grace,
     in your love and compassion
   strengthen our faith and enliven our hope.
God of grace,
      by your Spirit’s breath
   help us to pray
and to trust you now and every day.
God of grace,
  give us wisdom to perceive you,
    diligence to seek you,
   patience to wait for you,
and eyes to behold you. 
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself;
     may the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service;
  may the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our souls.
May the blessing of God Almighty,
     the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
   be among us and remain with us always.
Baptist Union of Great Britain

One Response to “august 23rd, 2020 – holding space”

  1. Murray says:

    That was a very good sermon about just the way it is and to not worry {too much} about tomorrow

    Have great day


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