Pentecost 11: Sunday, 21/08/2022

ReNEW: Week Three - First United Methodist of Allen

OPENING SENTENCE-
“You are my hope, O Lord God.”

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God

to whom all hearts be open

all desires known

and from whom no secrets are hidden;

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you

and worthily magnify your holy name

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Description: Description: Description: Confession under section 67 NDPS Act to be admitted or not, yet to ...

CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA sung by Billy Dewar Riddick

COLLECT

Almighty and eternal God,

by your generous love

you grant to those who pray

more than is desired or deserved:

pour down your mercy upon us,

forgiving what our conscience fears

and granting what we dare not ask;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

FIRST READING Jeremiah 1: 4-10 read by David Kerr

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

Jeremiah 1:4-10 | The Reflectionary

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy,’
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
            says the Lord.”

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,

“Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.

SECOND READING Hebrews 12: 18-29 read by Kate Lidwell

You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. (For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

An Unshakable Kingdom (Hebrews 12:18-29) - Faithlife Sermons

See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking, for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

HYMN

GOSPEL READING Luke 13: 10-17 read by Rev Steven Ballard

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Luke chapter 13 beginning at verse 10

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it to water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame, and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things being done by him.

Woman, Thou Art Loosed - Sharing Horizons

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord

SERMON

According to the story, Queen Victoria was once at a diplomatic reception in London. The guest of honour was an African chieftain. All went well during the meal until, at the end, finger bowls were served. The guest of honour had never seen a British finger bowl, and no one had thought to brief him beforehand about its purpose. So, he took the finger bowl in his two hands, lifted it to his mouth, and drank its contents–down to the very last drop! For an instant there was breathless silence among the British upper crust and then they began to whisper to one another. All that stopped in the next instant as the Queen Victoria, silently took her finger bowl in her two hands, lifted it, and drank its contents!

Drinking Finger Bowl | LifeChurch

A moment later 500 surprised British ladies and gentlemen simultaneously drank the contents of their own fingerbowls. It was “against the rules” to drink from a fingerbowl, but on that particular evening Victoria changed the rules—because she was, after all, the Queen. It is “against the rules” according to Jewish law to work on the Sabbath but Jesus changed the rules because after all he is King. He is the King of Compassion and Love and his heightened sensitivity to the needs of his people are more important than his strict adherence to Jewish law. For him the Spirit of the Law matters more than the Letter of the law. We see this in Jesus’ dealing with the crippled lady in the synagogue.

As was his custom, Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath morning for worship. As he was preaching and teaching, he happened to glance toward the fringe of the crowd where he saw a very crippled lady. She was bent over and was unable to stand up. When he inquired, he was told that this lady had been that way for eighteen years. Can you imagine? For nearly two decades this woman spent every waking moment bent double. When she went to the market, she did not see the distant green hillsides. She saw only the dirt path in front of her. Instead of the smiling faces of passing children, she saw the tops of dusty sandals. This crippled lady never saw the sky, the sun, the palm branches- everything she viewed was only from her waist down to the ground- such was her condition. What exactly was this condition? We are told that she was literally bowed down by a spirit of infirmity. By what is this spirit of infirmity?

We live in such a medically saturated culture. We trade stories of diseases, surgeries, and watch with avid interest medical dramas ER, Casualty, Grey’s anatomy on our television screens. Immersed in this culture, we immediately wonder about the exact nature of the crippled lady’s ailment. Is it a spinal-cord injury or disk degeneration or is it osteoporosis? This medical interest also makes us wonder about the exact nature of the cure. Even if we believe that God is capable of working such miracles, how were the damaged bones, tissues and nerves repaired? We are people with developed medical minds and these are questions that medical minds ask. However, the story in our gospel reading is not concerned at all with the issues of diagnosis and cure.

Rule Keeping & Heart Freeing :: YouVersion Event

The story is rather concerned with the issues of social and religious freedom. A number of features illustrate this concern. Firstly, it is significant that the woman is called out by Jesus from the margins of the synagogue and made to stand in the middle of the synagogue- as if to demonstrate that she is of equal standing with the men, for men alone could claim a right to stand in the middle of the synagogue. Next Jesus lays his hands on her-overturning the Levitical rules that forbade a man and especially a rabbi to touch a woman from fear of risking contamination with menstrual impurity. Jesus then addresses her as ‘a daughter of Abraham’- a title which implies her equality with ‘the sons of Abraham’, a title that makes her a full member of God’s family. Finally, and most marvellously she is able to stand up and hold her head high. Unburdened from the weight of cultural and spiritual oppression, from now on this woman is able to play her part as an equal member with equal dignity in the new and social order inaugurated by Jesus. This woman’s physical ailment was symbolic of a system that literally bent her over, and for her to stand erect in male religious space represents more than a healing. It reveals the dawn of a whole new order.

Sermon Slide Deck: "Can't You See What Love Has Done?" (Luke 13:10-17)

Is this new order prevalent in our society and churches today- this new order where we have the freedom to be all that we are purposed to be- this new order of freedom where we are not inhibited by taboos, prejudices or oppression? We cannot deny that we have travelled over these 2000 years a little down the road of freedom but we have a long way still to go. Nonetheless we do welcome the more prominent role of women in society, their holding roles of responsibility and management in business and education. We welcome too advances in the church at least in some denominations where women can exercise freely their God-given gifts. Progress too was made at the Church of England Synod in 2015 when they gave the green light for the ordination of women as bishops. But despite these advances we at best can only glimpse at what could be!

We still have women crippled with the spirit of oppression in different parts of the world. Stoning to death for adultery still sadly happens! People, male and female, are bent over in Scotland and all around the world with different kinds of infirmity. Some are bent over and worn down by constant criticism; some are bent over with addiction problems; some are bent over with poverty and debt; some are bent over with broken marital relationships; some are bent over with illness-cancer, dementia, depression; some are bent over with consumerism, greed and selfishness; and some are bent over with stress and anxiety. If the truth were known each of us is bent over with something that prevents us realising our full potential and prevents us from standing straight and having a spirit of joy? God longs to free us to be our true selves, children made in God’s image and children made to soar for him.

Luke – Crossroads Baptist Church

How easily we are drawn into believing we are less than we are. We delude ourselves into thinking we are not able or worthy to be what God has purposed for us. We might identify a little with the eagle in this story. There was a certain man who went through the forest seeking any bird of interest he might find. He caught a young eagle, brought it home and put it among the fowls and ducks and turkeys, and gave it chicken food to eat even though it was the king of birds. Five years later, a naturalist came to see him and, after passing through the garden, said ‘That bird is an Eagle, not a chicken.’ ‘Yes’ said the owner, ‘but I have trained it to be a chicken. It is no longer an eagle.’ ‘No,’ said the naturalist, ‘it is an eagle still; it has the heart of an eagle, it has the wing span of an eagle, and I will help it soar high up in to the heavens.’ ‘No,’ said the owner. It is a chicken and will never fly.’ They agreed to test it. The naturalist picked up the eagle, held it up and said with great intensity. ‘Eagle you are an eagle; you do belong to the sky and not to this earth; stretch forth your wings and fly.’ The eagle turned this way and that, and then looking down, saw the chickens eating their food, and down he jumped. The owner said; ‘I told you it was a chicken.’ ‘No,’ said the naturalist, ‘it is an eagle. Give it another chance tomorrow. So, the next day he took it to the top of the house and said: ‘Eagle, you are an eagle; stretch forth your wings and fly.’ But again the eagle, seeing the chickens feeding, jumped down and fed with them. Then the owner said: ‘I told you it was a chicken.’ ‘No,’ asserted the naturalist, ‘it is an eagle, and it has the heart of an eagle; only give it one more chance, and I will make it fly tomorrow.’ The next morning, he rose early and took the eagle outside the city and away from the houses, to the foot of a high mountain. The sun was just rising, gilding the top to the mountain with gold, and every crag was glistening in the joy of the beautiful morning. He picked up the eagle and said to it: ‘Eagle, you are an eagle; you do belong to the sky and not to the earth; stretch forth your wings and fly.’ The eagle looked around and trembled as if new life were coming to it. But it did not fly. The naturalist then grabbed its head and made it look straight at the sun. Suddenly it stretched out its wings and, with the screech of an eagle, it flew out of his hands and mounted higher and higher and never returned. Though it had been kept and tamed as a chicken, it was an eagle. You see. You take us humans and put us among the ducks, and turkeys, and chickens in this world and give us rules to live by and tell us that we are moral people so long as we live by those rules, and we will contently live out our lives in meagre existence. But you let someone like Christ come along, straighten our backs, and point our head toward the heavens, and then suddenly we realize we are sons and daughters of Abraham. We are God’s chosen people. We are not chickens settling for mediocrity; we are eagles! We are made to soar for God- to be free to all that he has purposed us to be!

147,705 Eagle Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

So, whatever is bending us over- whatever is preventing us from being our true selves-whatever is blinding us from the truth that we are made in God’s image- God can set us free! God can give us a new perspective; he can give us strength; he can give us hope; he can us an ability to cope in the midst of all that life throws at us. God can and will free us from false images and delusion. God calls us to himself- he calls us to discover afresh our true nature in him- to realise that we are his precious children – that we are sons and daughters of Abraham -that we are made to soar for him in the ordinariness of our daily lives. Our call is not to settle for mediocrity but rather to live by the spirit of the law with our sights set upwards, free and soaring for God, bringing freedom and hope to others. Amen.

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy.

Jesus, compassionate and loving king,

you were never bound by the false images

that so many people attributed to you.

You were true to your own nature

and so realised your potential and soared.

Help us to be true to ourselves

to fulfil our potential,

and to use our gifts for your glory.

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy.

The Parable of the Talents - craft and activity

Jesus, compassionate and loving King

your heart touched those

who were crippled with physical illness,

granting them hope and new life.

Be with all who are struggling

and battling with illness

and grant them hope and new life.

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy.

Jesus, compassionate and loving king

your heart was attuned to those

crippled with marital difficulties

and broken relationships,

come with your touch to all today

who need your touch of strength and healing.

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy.

Jesus, compassionate and loving king

you spoke often about money

and today we pray for those

who are crippled with debt and financial worries,

come with your hope and wisdom.

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy.

531,830 Addiction Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Jesus, compassionate and loving king

you know the dangers of addiction

and today we pray for those

who are crippled with addiction

to alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping

help them find the support and help they need

and open the door to new life and possibilities.

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy.

Jesus, compassionate and loving king,

we bring to you those

whose lives are crippled by natural disasters

and those who through climate change are hurting

because of famine, drought, forest fires and flooding.

Encourage us to support them financially and prayerfully

and we ask that aid received might bring them hope

and give them strength.

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy.

201,879 Grief Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Jesus, compassionate and loving king,

We bring to you those

who are crippled with grief,

thinking of those who have lost loved ones

in Ukraine and Russia

and ask for your comfort and peace.

We pray for those who have recently in our own church community

lost a loved one or for whom

this month marks the anniversary of a death.

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy.

Jesus, compassionate and loving king

whose heart was blessed by children.

We pray for all teenagers,

as they determine their way ahead,

after having received their exam results this week.

Guide, bless and encourage them

on the right paths of study or work,

so that they might realise their potential and soar.

Free us from all that crippled us

and grant us a spirit of joy

Free freedom Images & Pictures | Royalty-Free | FreeImages

Jesus, compassionate and loving King,

you offer us a life of freedom and hope,

help us to get rid of all that entangles us,

that we might know more fully

your joy and blessing.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

BLESSING

The peace of God,

which passes all understanding,

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,

and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:

and the blessing of God the Father,

the Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen

DISMISSAL

Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord. In the name of Christ. Amen