Worship Service for Sunday July 18th 2021

Words of Welcome and Announcements

Lighting of Christ Candle
Christ the Light shines here in this place.
Christ the Light shines out there in the world.
Come. See the Light and let it guide you!
Light candle

Call to Worship
Come into the house of God with joy and thanksgiving.
We come and lift up our voices in praise.
For the Lord our God is steadfast in love,
this day and always.

Opening Prayer
O God of Love,
we gather together in this Holy Space,
to celebrate your presence with us.
Be with us now and touch our lives
so that we might be so inspired to
go out into the world to share your love
in Christ’s name, who invited us to
raise our voices together in common prayer:
Our Father. . .amen.

Hymn MV #14 “Where Two or Three are Gathered”

Prayer of Confession
There is something wonderful
about gathering together in
sacred space, O God.
When we gather in your name,
we feel your holy presence with us.
Yet sometimes, we can forget that
you are with us wherever we gather
in your name.
When we gather in a park for a picnic,
gather in our living room to pray,
or meet over coffee, you are there.
Forgive us O God,
for the times when we think
you are only present in our church buildings.
Help us remember that you are
wherever we are. Amen.

Words of Assurance
You love us, guide us and walk with us always. Your forgiveness flows out to meet us.
Thanks be to God!

Psalm 48:1-2, 9-14 2Samuel 7:1-14a


Last week our reading from 2nd Samuel told us about a big celebration organized by King David to mark the move of the Ark of the Covneant-God-into the City of David. A moment that focused on giving thanks for God’s steadfast presence in the life of Israel, both in the past and present times. Today, we continue on with the next chapter where we hear more about David’s settled life. You see, life had become more stable, quiet and predictable for David. Even the Ark of the Covenant was now nearby, in the City. All is well for him and for Israel. Which leads David to wonder if he should create a more permanent home for God as well. Because the Ark ws residing in a tent, while he lived in a home fit for, well, a King. So he wondered, shouldn’t God have more than just a tent, too? The answer seems logical, that it’s time to build a more permanent home for the Ark to reside in. A home for God. And with the Prophet Nathan’s approval, David feels settled on his plan. But then, God intervenes. You see, God isn’t fond of David’s plans, and says so, directly to the Prophet Nathan. Why? For one, God has never requested one. God is happy as a wanderer-going wherever they go. So after rejecting David’s plans, God goes on to offer some reassurance, promising continued blessings upon David and his lineage for years to come. So what does this story mean for us? Admittedly, when I was reading it through, I found myself wondering what direction to go in. It was a bit confusing to have God say, no I don’t need a home only to later say, that will be someone else’s job! At face value, this passage seems as though it is centered on the question of does God need a permanent home: a Temple. But as I read through this more, I wondered, perhaps this is more about David than God! Of course, David thinks it’s about God, and showing appreciation to God, much like our story from last week. But if you listen closely, God moves this story from creating a home for God to a message of reassurance. Because surprise! God knows what is really going on. That perhaps, David is in need of some reassurance. So God reminds David that he is not alone, now or in the years to come. That he and his family will continue to be blessed by God’s presence. But why in the world does David need reassurance when his life is going so well? Perhaps it is exactly this reason. Life is good. Life is settled and peaceful. He is in a good position as King. Life can’t get any better! Yet perhaps David is worried. What if the home God has isn’t good enough? What if now, God does leaves me? So David comes up with a plan to keep God close. And this is true for us as well. So often we talk about how difficult times can make God feel far away from us. But sometimes the opposite is true as well. Sometimes when life is going well, we can still lose sight of God. We can feel as though we don’t need God because of how smooth things are going. And when we realize that this distance has happened, it can worry us. We can begin to wonder if perhaps God doesn’t need us anymore either. Or we may wonder if the good things are going to disappear and the struggles will return, Afraid to enjoy the moment we’re in, and not trusting what is before us. And so, in this light, David’s desire to create a permanent home for God makes sense. The home is not meant to respond to a desire of God’s. it’s meant to respond to David’s need to keep God close. His desire to know that God is truly going to stay with him and with Israel. And more importantly, that the good things are here to stay. As I said, we can understand David’s worry. When good things are happening, we want hem to continue. We want the consistency and comfortablity that comes with those moments of rest and security. But God’s promise is true for us as well. Even when we feel tempted to create permanent structures to contain God, we can remember that God is not meant be contained. Yet even as God is everywhere, God is also right next to us, always. For God meets us where we are, throughout our lives. Because the home of God is not tied to one particular place, God’s home is with us! Which is a beautiful image-one of my favourites when I think about God. It’s comforting to know that God’s home is with us, rather than ‘out there’ in some abstract way, or in a far off, more permanent place. Much like the adage “home is where the heart is,” God’s home is with us, is where our heart is. Whether life is comfortable and joyous or more difficult and worrisome. God is present always, seeking good for us. For as God says to David “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went. . .” Which is the beauty of the Ark as well. That it symbolizes in a concrete way the mobility of God: where you go, I go. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Always. And so like David, we are invited to trust in this. To trust in God’s promise to be with us always. To trust that God is with us in the moments of calm and peacefulness, but to also trust that when challenges do come, as they inevitably do, God’s love is steadfast.. And so, in what ways do you see God’s promises fulfilled in your life? Last week we talked about the concrete symbols that remind us of God’s presence. Which is a wonderful gift-that we can experience God through symbols that connect us. Yet today’s passage reminds us that these are only symbols, they do not contain God or restrain God. And so, we look for God in symbols but we are also invited to trust that God is with us wherever we go. what reassures you? In what ways do you experience the ever-moving, wandering God? Find it and hold onto it now and always. And remember: you are God’s home. And your home is in God. Today and forevermore!

Hymn #401 “Worship the Lord”

Affirmation of Faith
We are not alone, we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.

Prayers of the People
We give you thanks, O God
for your steadfast presence with us.
We give you thanks for sacred spaces
like our church buildings which help us
to draw closer to you.
We give thanks that when we gather
in community we are able to feel your
love expressed in so many ways.
Through the smile of a friend,
the sound of a hymn,
the comfort a prayer.
But we also give thanks that you are
experienced wherever it is we are.
For you are present anytime we gather
to share love, offer comfort,
seek justice.
And so we pray that your love might
continue to be known in the world around us,
especially in times of need.
And so we lift up to you now
all that weighs on our hearts and minds.
We lift up to you all who are grieving,
that they might know comfort;
all who are lonely,
that they might know companionship;
all who are anxious and uncertain
about what the future holds,
that they might find strength;
all who are living in fear and experiencing
violence in their daily lives,
that they might know peace.

Help us to continue to be the
hands and feet of Christ in your world.

Minute for Mission

We give our gifts and our hearts
to you, O God.
Bless us and them,
that they might help share your
love with others. Amen.

Hymn #601 “The Church of Christ in Every Age”

Blessing and Sending Forth
Return to the world in which we live,
giving thanks to God for your many blessings,
and sharing those blessings
with your neighbour,
all for the love of God,
who goes with you this day and always. Amen.

service and sermon were written by Rev. Tara Ann Gourson, July 2021.
-Blessing was written by George Allan, Chatham Ont. Found in Gathering Pentecost 1, 2018. Page 47. Used with permission.

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