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Sermon and Liturgy for Ordinary 11 - Proper 6 - Year A
Exodus 19:2-6; Romans 5:1-6; and Matthew 9:35 - 10:8
"Received Without Payment"

READING: Exodus 19:2-6; Romans 5:1-6; and Matthew 9:35 - 10:8 SERMON : "Received Without Payment" Rev. Richard J. Fairchild a-or11sn.y-a 839 The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon for the upcoming Sunday. Hymn numbers, designated as VU are found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United". SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC. The Prayer of The Day and Prayer of Dedication is taken and modified from John Maynard (maynard@SYMPAC.COM.AU) "Prayers and Litanies for Ordinary 11" as sent to the PRCL-List, June 1999). The children's story was derived from Ann Sutton's "Ameoba Tag" as sent to "" Nov 16 98. The Sermon starters came from "First Impressions Volume 1 Sunday 11A 6-13-99" by Jude Siciliano, O.P. GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE (* = please stand) * WORDS OF WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP (based on Psalm 100) L The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. P And also with you. L Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth! P We will worship the Lord with gladness. We will come before God with joyful songs. L The Lord is God. It is God who made and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. P We enter God's gates with thanksgiving. We come to God's courts with praise. L The Lord is good and his love endures forever. God's faithfulness continues through all generations. * INTROIT: "What Does The Lord Require of You" (VU-701) * PRAYER OF INVOCATION: Gracious and giving God, you have poured out upon us the fullness of your mercy and love. You have bestowed upon us every good thing of earth, sea, and sky. Your Spirit has anointed us and your Son has blessed us. You chose us from the beginning of the world and you have continued in faithfulness to us even when we have not been faithful to you. We praise you and thank you, O God, and together as your people we call upon your name this day and ask you to bless us that we might be a blessing unto you. As we have received, so help us to give - we ask it through the most holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen. * HYMN: "Praise To The Lord" - SFGP 17 CHILDREN'S TIME: Object: Amoeba Tag Theme: A Covenant People Source: Self & Ann Sutton for "Ameba Tag" as sent to "" Nov 16 98) Today I want to play with you all a little game called Ameba Tag. Have any of you ever played it? This is a variation on a game of tag. Now I need one person (depending on your numbers, you could have two folk being "it") Now, when I say ready, set go, the rest must scatter as I count to five, then you must freeze where you are. "It" will then come and tag each one. As each one is tagged they have to move as a group to the next child until everyone is tagged.... Do the count etc. Just when they think it is the end of the game show them that there is a whole church full of adults to include... What do you think? Kind of fun isn't it. And think about this, there is a whole community out there to be touched - and if each one acts as part of "it" pretty soon the whole world would be included. That is the way it is supposed to be for both Jew and Christian. We are called by God to be his people - to be a nation of priests - of bridges between God and the world, to be ones who go out and tag people for Jesus. PRAYER AND THE LORD'S PRAYER Loving God - Touch Us With Your Love - and through us - touch our family and our friends - this until the whole world - follows in your path of healing - we ask it in Jesus' name Amen" And in the word's Jesus taught us, let us pray together as his family saying... Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is 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, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen * HYMN: "Let There Be Peace On Earth" - SFGP 128 SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS: ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SPECIAL MATTERS - Welcome and Announcements - Birthdays and Anniversaries - Special Matters - Sharing Joys and Concerns INTROIT For The Word of God (please stay seated): Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear; and while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear. Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see. Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine! (VU 371 v.2 & refrain) A READING FROM EXODUS 19:2-6 (NRSV) They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God; the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites." L This is the Word of the Lord P Thanks be to God. RESPONSIVE READING: Psalm 116 (VU 836) and Sung Refrain A READING FROM ROMANS 5:1-8 (NRSV) Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. L This is the Word of the Lord P Thanks be to God. * HYMN: "Amazing Grace" - SFGP 49 A READING FROM MATTHEW 9:35 - 10:8 (NRSV) Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest." Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. L This is the gospel of our Risen Lord. P Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ. SERMON: "Received Without Payment" The following is a draft sermon - simply requiring some polishing and intergration of the citations from Jude Siciliano. "Gracious God - bless now the words of my lips and the meditations of our hearts. Breath your Spirit into us and grant that we may hear and in hearing be led in the way you want us to go. Amen. Last week we looked at the call to Abraham and Sarah to leave home and family and to go to a land which God would show them and to receive that land as a heritage from God. We looked at the promises made to Abraham and Sarah - and I suggested that our call - and the promise made to us - is the same as that of Abraham and Sarah. This week, in the Hebrew Scriptures, we see the descendants of Abraham and Sarah gathered in the wilderness of Sinai and about to enter into a covenant with God - where God promises to continue to be their God - and to show them kindness upon kindness - and they promise to obey God and to do what is asked of them by God. God addresses the people through Moses saying: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. {5} Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, {6} but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites." -- start citation from Jude Siciliano, O.P. The "THEREFORE" is important in the Exodus reading. God does not start laying down conditions for the Israelites to follow and if they do, God will love them The requirement to "hearken to (obey) my voice and keep my covenant," comes only after a gracious deed has been first done by God. God speaks a reminder to the people to review with them what God had done for them. First God chooses these enslaved people, delivers them from their "masters", and leads them successfully out. They were carried out of Egypt by God the way an eagle carries its young on her wings when teaching it to fly. Now like eagles, these people will soar. This is God's plan for them. Only after they know the kind of God they have, is a pact established that requires response from them. Now they are given the choice to stay in relationship to the God. What they must do is to heed God's voice and keep the covenant. The stress is first on (the grace of) the covenant. We hear what God has done for us and then we respond by keeping the relationship. In other words, we accept the "therefore" because we have experienced what preceded it. --- end citation from Jude Siciliano, O.P. This manner of gifting and responding - this covenant making between God and the people of Israel - is more than an interesting story from the history of the Mid-East. It is a vivid portrayal of the essential pattern or design of God's relationship to all people - even - and perhaps especially - to the people who claim the name of Jesus Christ. First we are loved - we are gifted or blessed - and second - we are invited to respond to that love - to enter into a loving relationship where even more blessings are promised. God extends a promise - and a call to Abraham - to bless him. Abraham decides to step on a journey of faith to see the blessings come true. God delivers the children of Israel from slavery - and he extends a call to them - to bless them and through them the world. Israel decides that this is indeed the best path. God takes flesh in Christ Jesus - and he dies for us upon the cross so that we might be set right with God - and invites us to follow in his path, assisted by his presence - so that we might indeed be whole - and the world with us. And we respond by placing our trust in him - by being baptized into his death and resurrection. Gift, blessing, call - and always it is a call to be blessed and to be a blessing always it is a call to walk in harmony with God and God's family. But notice the order of things. Gift, blessing, call. Freely says Jesus you have received. Freely give. Gift, blessing, call. We are loved - first and foremost we are loved There is nothing that we have to do to earn it - there are no conditions made before God promises to make Abraham a mighty nation - there are no stipulations set forth before God sets the children of Israel free from bondage - there is not qualifications that have to be provided before Jesus will agree to die on the cross for us. Only afterwards is there any hint of a demand - we are invited after the love is shown - to love in return, to love and be loved. Freely you have received, freely give. Gift, blessing, call. The call my friends is real. It is, as I said last week, a call to journey to a place we know not. It is a call to trust and obedience - knowing that the result of these things - of this trust and obedience - is a blessed one. For us. For others. For God. Gift, blessing, call. -- begin edited citation from Jude Siciliano, O.P. A similar dynamic may be found in 12 step programs. People find themselves in addictions from which they cannot get free. They acknowledge their helplessness and surrender to a "higher power - a power that is greater than they are and which is wholly able to help us with our problem." After these initial steps that start the process of liberation, the person is required to follow through with steps that will turn their lives around. They are in covenant and need to live up to their responsibilities. --- end citation from Jude Siciliano, O.P. But consider it all. God takes us as we are. He loves us. He promises to make a great nation of us, to make us a nation of priests a people through whom God - as in our children's story - touches the world. He is the one who sets his people free from bondage, - the good and the bad - the kind and the mean - are protected by the blood of the lamb. He is the one who lays down his life for all, - the one who eats and drinks with the sinners and brings healing to the blind and the lame and those possessed by demons - he is the one who saw the crowds, and had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd and asked the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. - and then appointed his disciples to proclaim the good news that, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' and to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. He is the one who is wholly able to help us with our problem, that problem we cannot solve on our own. He is the one who is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, our hope and our life. And all we are called to do is to accept his gifts, to accept his love, and to love in return. To do those things that keep the relationship good the relationship we have with God - and with our neighbours - and with ourselves. Free you have received. Freely give. So marvellous this teaching of Jesus so marvellous this story of Israel, this tale of the children of Abraham. We are loved and gifted and blessed - and called called into a life giving relationship where the blessings multiply for us and through us for the world, a relationship of trust and obedience a relationship of joy and peace and wholeness. Blessed be the name of God. Day by Day. Day by Day. Amen ---- Check out George Hartwell's Creative Closings - Ordinary 11 - Year A for a different prayer or meditation with which to conclude the sermon and/or lead into the prayer time below. * HYMN: "Worship The Lord" - SFGP 116 PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE Your Church was founded, Lord, on the Good News of God's Love in Christ Jesus. Yet we confess to you Lord that we are often unwilling disciples. We find it hard to proclaim Your Love to others in word and deed. There are some people we don't even want to love, or like, or help, or understand, or go through the agony of forgiving. How can we give of ourselves to rescue them? Yet you gave Christ for us in love. For His sake help us. We need more than that reminder. We need you within us. We need Your love driving us to proclaim the Gospel. Tie us to Christ by Your loving power. Freely we have received. Freely, help us to give.... Lord hear our prayer (and in your love answer). O God, we want to be Your faithful servants, but sometimes we are discouraged. The world is so big and there are so many people in need. We don't know where to start. Help us to start where we are. Help us to hear your voice guiding us - to see your hand pointing the way. Freely we have received. Freely, help us to give.... Lord, hear our prayer (and in your love answer) O God, we want to make a difference, but sometimes we are discouraged. The world is so powerful and we are unsure of ourselves. We don't know where to start. Help us to start where we are. Freely we have received. Freely, help us to give.... Lord hear our prayer (and in your love answer). O God, Your kingdom has indeed come in Jesus of Nazareth, and grows among us day by day. Send us out to preach good news by word and deed, so that the world may believe and be rescued from sin, and become Your faithful people; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. AMEN. MINUTE FOR MISSION: Our Life Together and In The World * SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS: As the Offering is presented all stand for the Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow - VU 541) and Prayer of Dedication Freely, O God we have received. Now freely we give. We pray you bless our offering and keep your household, the Church, in your steadfast faith and love, that through Your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. * DEPARTING HYMN: "We Are Called To Follow Jesus" - SFGP 18 * COMMISSIONING (Unison): In the power of the Holy Spirit we now go forth into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the body of Christ. * BENEDICTION AND THREEFOLD AMEN Go in peace and may God be with you till we meet again. * CHORAL BLESSING: "Go Now In Peace" - VU 964 copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1999 - 2006 please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons. For Another Look at the Texts For This Sunday see Homily For Ordinary 11 - Year A Friar Sydney Mascarenhas. O.F.M., Ph.D

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