Worship Service for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

Welcome to worship this 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, landing on June 9th, 2024!

The bulletin for this service can be found here. In it, you will find the order and words of worship, along with the full sermon manuscript. You can use it to follow along with the service, or just with the words that will appear on your screen. The sermon is also included on this page below the embedded video.

If you’d like to enhance your online worship experience, you are invited to have a candle in your space, lit at the beginning of the service and extinguished near the end after the sending hymn, when the altar candles are extinguished. You are also welcome to participate in communion if you feel comfortable and led to, by having something small to eat and drink nearby to be consumed at the right time during the service. Further instruction will be given then.

May God’s unwavering forgiveness and welcome be visible and tangible to you, this day and always!

Your Word, O God, is our hope.  By the power of your Spirit may your voice ring in our hearts as we are attentive to your call and your wisdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Any of you have a sibling that shares the same gender as you and is just a year older so you’re often mistaken for them by other people?  And if not mistaken for them, compared to them?  And if not compared to them, asked pretty consistently what it’s like to have a sibling that shares the same gender and is just a year older?  Anyone have one of those?

Well, I do.  Believe me.  Do I ever.

Many of you know I have an older brother.  I have two older sisters too, but I’m not going to be talking about them today.  There’s just something about brothers.  It’s… I don’t know… hit and miss.  I mean very often you’ll see sisters getting along.  They’ll be each other’s best friend, maid of honour, or even godparent to their kids and they have no problem hanging out together.  But brothers?  Sometimes you get that, but also sometimes you don’t.

But with my brother and me?  Well, let’s just say we’re a bit of column A and a bit of column B.  I wasn’t kidding about me being mistaken for him a lot though, which is a bit baffling to me as I don’t think we look alike at all.  I’m way better looking.  But I guess to the untrained eye, we could look similar, in that we are both dark haired Asian males with 2 arms and 2 legs.  Other than that, we couldn’t be more different. 

We weren’t rivals or anything, not really at least, but we were very different in who we are, how we carry ourselves, and in our interests, talents, and skills.  I thought this was apparent throughout our school years among our peers, and they should have been able to tell us apart.  I mean, one of us is the smart one, and one is the funny one.  One is popular with the guys, and one is with the ladies.  One is good at sports, and one is good in the arts.  One is well liked by the parents and teachers for being really responsible, and one is liked by his peers for being so darned cool.  And then… there was my brother.  Actually now that I think about it, maybe we did rival a bit.

Seriously though, having a brother just a year older wasn’t very easy for me.  Because we were so close in age, my parents, aunts and uncles, and all of their friends pretty much expected me to be like my brother at the same time that he was him.  And if I’m being honest, I’ll admit that he was better than me in a number of things so I couldn’t ever live up to that expectation.  In a way I lived in his shadow a bit, so I guess maybe subconsciously I tried to be different from him.  Then maybe I wouldn’t have to be second to him anymore, but I could just be first to myself.

But I remember the day that this pseudo-rivalry came to somewhat of an end.  Throughout high school and beyond (actually to this day), I would put his taste in music down, because back in those days,  music was everything.  Listening to the wrong kind of stuff was like a death sentence.  And so I totally won in this category, as he was into the more soft rock type stuff that you’d hear on the oldies stations, while I stayed current with the latest trends and what all the popular kids were into.  One day I came home and he had friends over hanging out in my room (which was a normal thing because my room had video games and stuff).  They had some music on and just instinctively in disgust I said, “what is this crap?” and my brother calmly responded with, “it’s your Space Jam CD”.  He was right.  It indeed was my Space Jam CD, I recognized the song as one of the slower tracks on the album, and boy was there yolk on my face.  It was then that I realised that I was putting him down just for the sake of putting him down.  I wanted to be so different from him that I would scoff at anything he did without even thinking, I was just being antagonistic for no real good reason.  I was causing the rivalry.  I was the one who was dividing us up.

And Jesus tells us today that a house divided will fall. 

Thankfully, our house didn’t fall, not that I know of anyway, we moved out of it a long time ago.  But what Jesus was saying makes sense, it’s hard for a house that is divided to continue to stand both literally and metaphorically.  It isn’t easy for a family to stay close knit when they put each other down for no good reason. It’s difficult for a group on a mission to get anything done when they can’t agree on how to do it, who to do what, and what even needs to be done in the first place. 

And so I think about the world we live in now.  I think about the political climate that we find ourselves in here in Canada and abroad, how we are identified by who we vote for, who we protest against, and who we’ll accept being corrupt and who we won’t.  I think about the arguments and division we see in our communities, our families, and even in our churches.  Now, I should say that I’m not alluding to our congregational meeting we’re having this afternoon, I mean usually we’re a pretty easy going bunch.  But I’m talking about the world in general.  It just seems so… divisive now. 

You know what I mean, don’t you?  It’s hard not to see it almost everywhere we look.  It seems like everyone wants to stand firm on their position of whatever opinion or argument, and there is no room for compromise.  It’s like everything needs to be polar opposites and if you’re on one side then you have no place whatsoever on the other.  It’s like no one wants to take responsibility for anything but instead make assumptions and point fingers at the other as the one who is in the wrong.

The other that doesn’t fit in the paradigm.  The other that doesn’t cheer for the right causes.  The other that, just with who they are and what they believe in, continue to divide us apart.

But does that actually make sense?

Well instinctively, we’d say that it sure does, because again we’re always right in our minds.  But if we were to take a step back and objectively look at the situation, does it make sense?  Or is that awful music that is playing actually our Space Jam CD?

So we are divided.  Not just because of them, but also because of us.  Our collective closed-mindedness has set us on a path of separation.  Our need to blame others and relinquish responsibility for our actions has segregated us from each other.  Our inexplicable desire to put others down for the sake of putting them down is forcing us to spiral down this endless loop of divisiveness.  It’s like we’re destined to fall, destined to be apart, destined to sin.  I mean, just look at Adam and Eve.


The good news for Adam and Eve and us is that in our sin we are given a Saviour.  In our isolation from each other, we are invited and welcomed back into community as one body.  In our fallenness, God picks us back up, forgives and redeems us, and shows us how we have always been connected to God and all the saints of all time. 

So we who have eyes to see, see.  We who have ears to hear, hear.  We who are open in our hearts, let us accept this invitation and welcome, let us embrace this forgiveness and redemption, let us have faith in this Saviour who saves us and brings us back into life. 

This doesn’t mean that the divisions between us will end.  This doesn’t mean that we’ll always get along and agree on everything.  This doesn’t mean that we will no longer put others down or be put down by others.  But it does mean that there is forgiveness for our separation.  There is love in the midst of hate. There is unity in the Spirit. 

So as we strive for this connection with each other, there will be failures.  We will never be perfect.  But it isn’t up to our accomplishments, relationships, or ability or apparently lack thereof to do everything right all the time that God loves us and saves us, but it is up to God.  And God chooses to call us, join us together as the diverse body of Christ, and save us all anyway.

As we continue on in this season after Pentecost, may we be reminded how we are connected in spite of our division, and rely on the faith and strength of Jesus Christ our Lord to unite us as the house of God, with him as the cornerstone.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.