Celebrating Life-Affirming, Progressive Faith in Action
Summer Worship #5
Matthew 5:17, 21-48
©2021 Rev. Dr. Elisabeth R. Jones
So, what about us?
This isn’t a bad model for us is it?
When Jesus grasps the Ten Commandments by the heart,
and turns, them, not to dismiss but to bless,
and to drive deep to the core,
and to lift up the foundational biblical Dream of God
for his own generation, he models for us how
to live biblically, spiritually, socially, politically
as carriers God’s Dream, a nine-fold blessing
to those so not blessed by the circumstances of our times.
If that means we (the United Church) have over the decades
been found, in soup kitchens, on union marches,
supporting women’s full humanity and agency within society,
and more recently, supporting the full, joyous inclusion
of LGBTQ+ people in all levels of our church,
and advocating for the same within global society as a whole,
as an expression of true community shaped in God’s image,
so be it.
If it means we are learning how make good, necessary trouble
on behalf of Black Lives,
that matter to God, and therefore to us all who seek
and pray for God’s kingdom on earth.
If, by a critical engagement with Biblical texts
recasting “dominion” from domination to true “caretaking”
it means we divest from fossil fuel assets,
and become advocates and agents of climate healing,
so be it.
If it means we lament, and repent for the times
we’ve gotten it so wrong, notably with respect
to our part in crushing the spirit, language and cultures
of our Indigenous siblings,
then, Amen. So be it. We will do it.
If it means other Christians laugh at our verbal gymnastics
to translate Scripture, and to express our faith in words and songs
that do not slight, heart, soul or mind
of those who’ve been excluded for too long
from the full blessing of God’s love,
because of archaic, patriarchal, patronizing language,
so be it.
I could go on.. You get it.
At the risk of being preachy for a minute,
be proud of the strong biblical, theological bedrock,
of the faith that we’ve grown together as United Church.
And you know, we need to get louder too.
Loud and proud about this open, life-affirming
world-redeeming Gospel of God in Jesus Christ
expressed in a collective faith
that is flexible, resilient, changing,
and engaged enough with this world, in all its
pain and joy,
to help us live faithfully, hopefully,
transformatively within it.
Because we do not do this alone.
When the critics deride, remember,
we are nine-times blessed,
we are called to be salt and light,
by none other than “Intimate, infinite unbounded” God,
of whom we sing.
Song Pt 3 v.3 and refrain MV49 screen
We Respond to God
Offering Our Time, Talent and Treasure
Prayer of Dedication God Calls Humanity v.3 MV 143
Prayers of the Community inset
The Lord’s Prayer in two languages screen
Living the Gospel in the World
Thank you for choosing to make time in your day
to worship with the United Churches of Riverside and the West Island, along with folk joining us from all corners of the globe.
Thanks to the team from Cedar Park
who helped to put this “production” together.
Before we send one another out with blessing and song, *Next week
let me invite you to worship with us next week,
hosted by Rev. Steve Gillam and the folk of Dorval/Strathmore
and St. John’s United, which I believe can be found on the
D/S website, but your own faith community will let you know
how to access the worship.
For those of you wanting to continue in the UCC journey towards *
becoming an anti-racist denomination, to mark Canada’s newly
designated “Emancipation Day” which is today – marking the
legislated end to slavery in Canada and British colonies,
the Black clergy network of the UCC
is hosting a panel discussion tonight at 7 pm En. Details
here, and on the UCC website or Facebook page.
And as we all go into our world and our week
be proud, be a bit loud too, as you share
God’s welcome, and live this Gospel of
Justice and joy in all that you do.