Sunday, August 8, 2021 Worship Service

Blessings Cooksville Family!

Below is the link to this week’s service:

As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.

And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.

And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.

Blessings,

Rev. Brian

Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – b_d_vickers@hotmail.ca


July 25, 2021
Sunday Worship Service

Prelude: Fantasia on “Forest Green” – trad. English melody arr. Lani Smith

Opening Video: You Are

Welcome & Greeting:

Lighting the Christ Candle

Song: “Holy, Holy, Holy”

Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:

The Lords Prayer

Scripture:

John 6:35, 41-51 New International Version

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Solo: It is enough” from Elijah – based on 1 Kings 19 music by Felix Mendelssohn – Sung by Sheikh Ali

Message:

Bread of Life

Ephesians 4:1-16

For some reason – and who can ever understand the algorithms of popularity – my YouTube feed has been recommending clips from the old Indiana Jones movies.

Now I don’t mind – I used to love the series – well at least the first and the third one – true to general movie sequel rules – the second one was terrible.

It makes sense that I’d like the first and third – in those two – Indiana Jones was searching for a biblical artifact. Raiders of the Lost Ark – is about the Nazis trying to find Israel’s lost Ark of the Covenant in order to use its power for their evil plans

And – The Last Crusade – is about Indiana’s and his father’s search for the Holy Grail – the cup that Jesus used at the Last Supper – because people believed it had the power to grant everlasting life.

Indiana Jones is a fictional character – but there was a real – historical – character named Ponce de Leon – a Spanish explorer – who spent most of his life searching all around Florida trying to find the mythical fountain of youth.

I think it’s a common desire in all humans – to live forever. The great theologian – Woody Allen – once said – I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

But sometimes our plans don’t work out the way that we would hope that they would. Sometimes – in the midst of our feeble attempts at success – we find a better plan.

For example – back in high school – I wanted to be a pilot – a military pilot. I’d had some training – and I’d been accepted to attend the Royal Military Collage in Kingston. I thought that I’d serve 20 years as an air force pilot – and then retire and become a commercial pilot. But in my final semester of high school – my eyesight deteriorated – being a pilot was out of the question.

So – instead I became a computer engineer – working with main frame computers – I was succeeding very well in that career – making a fair bit of money – more than I ever would have as a pilot – but with the advent of more powerful desk-top computers – the bottom fell out of the mainframe business.

So – I settled into a new career – the outdoor retail market. I knew I could be quite happy spending the rest of my life involved in camping – hiking – canoeing – kayaking – and cross-country skiing.

Each time my career changed – I moved from higher levels of stress – to a slower pace – and I had more time on my hands – time that allowed me to get closer to God – work more for the church.

Eventually – my call to serve God on a more committed level got stronger and stronger.

At the time, I didn’t see God’s plan at work but now – looking back – it all makes sense.

God’s plan was better than my own. I’m glad that my plans didn’t work out – it’s always better in the long run when God’s plan plays itself out.

We always think that we know what’s best for ourselves – in our careers – in our lives. We think we know what it is we need – what will make us successful – happy.

There was a survey taken from among people from all ethnic backgrounds – cultures – religions – social status – and walks of life. One of the questions they were asked was – How satisfying or fulfilling is your life? The answer was alarming – more than 70% of the respondents answered that they were dissatisfied with their lives.

They felt that their lives were not really fulfilling – life felt meaningless – without purpose. The answer was the same among poor people and rich. It was the same among successful executives and among the unemployed and uneducated. It was the same for atheists and religious people.

I often meet with people who are dissatisfied with their lives. They feel that there is something essential missing. They are restless – looking for something that would make them feel happy and fulfilled. But they can’t find it.

The psychologist Abraham Maslow became famous years ago for his diagram of a pyramid representing a hierarchy of human needs. He claimed that if the most basic needs in the bottom layer have not been met – the needs higher up in the pyramid cannot motivate people.

It makes sense – on the bottom level are the most basic human needs – air – food – drink – shelter – warmth and sleep. These are essential for our survival. If you can’t breathe – you’ll hardly be motivated by a career opportunity. If you have nothing to eat or drink – you won’t give much thought to attending a concert or an art exhibition.

Only once your most basic needs have been met – will your thoughts and desires go to secondary things like safety – love and belonging – or esteem.

Maslow said – It is quite true that one lives by bread alone – when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?

He continues – At once other – and – higher – needs emerge and these – dominate our thoughts. And when these in turn are satisfied – again new – and still – higher – needs emerge and so on.

The Bible disagrees with Maslow at least on one thing – we do – not – live on bread alone.

When Jesus was in the wilderness – He fasted for forty days. In the end – He was very hungry – and there was no bread. So Satan – who must have known Maslow’s hierarchy inside out – suggested that Jesus turn some of the stones into bread.

Even though Jesus was very hungry – on the point of starvation – He refused – And He quoted the words from Deuteronomy 8:3 – no one lives on bread alone – but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

It was this latter bread—the word of God—that Jesus offered the crowds who were following him everywhere. He was eager and determined to preach the good news of the kingdom of God.

But most people in the crowd were after something else. They had seen Jesus performing signs by healing the sick. So those who were sick followed him in the hope to be healed.

And those who were healthy wanted to be there to witness the sensational miracles for themselves. Their lives were empty – and they felt that the entertainment that Jesus offered would fill some of the vacuum inside.

But then – as the day wore on – the people felt their stomachs protest. Most of them had not had anything to eat for hours. And that’s where – quite in line with the theory of Maslow – their empty stomachs started taking over.

I won’t go into detail about what happened next – but Jesus fed the 5,000+ people there – and then left the crowd behind – but not for long.

The next day – the crowds found out where Jesus had gone and went after him – and that’s when Jesus rebuked them and said – You are looking for me – not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils – but for food that endures to eternal life – which the Son of Man will give you.

What Jesus says here – is a modification of the Maslow hierarchy. He says that the most elementary needs we have are not physical or physiological needs. Our spiritual needs are much more basic. Air – bread – and water will only keep us alive for a limited time – we all know that our bodies will not last forever. Our deeper and more fundamental needs are for – food that endures to eternal life.

Many people are looking for such spiritual food – they look to various religions – they turn to yoga – or mindfulness. But Jesus doesn’t talk about religion or yoga or mindfulness – He speaks about himself –

I am the bread of life that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.

You have to love the language of Jesus – He says profound things and we are left wondering – how literally are we supposed to take this statement? Surely – He’s being metaphorical He can’t mean exactly what he’s saying – and yet he seems to mean exactly what he’s saying.

But you need to remember – that for the Jewish people that He was speaking to – eating was synonymous with living. When Moses leads the people out of Egypt – he takes them from a place where slavery was a way of life – but at least there was always food and water. The people of God did not have freedom – but they did have breakfast – lunch – and dinner.

After all the plagues were finished – Pharaoh freed the people – and they headed out into the desert. But with freedom came something else – grumbling.

Grumbling because they were tired. Grumbling because they were hungry. Grumbling because freedom had seemingly cost them breakfast – lunch – and dinner.

The pathetic statement of disbelief is confessed often in the desert – It would have been better to stay as slaves in Egypt then to die here in the desert. Was that God’s plan for his chosen people? Was that God’s plan for the great – great – great grandparents of the Messiah?

Was God so short-sighted that he only made a plan for escape – without a plan for breakfast – lunch – and dinner.

Of course God had a plan. And God’s plan is always better than our plan. Nobody ends up dehydrating in the desert – water can come from rocks. Nobody ends up starving – manna falls from the sky.

But that’s not good enough. The grumbling starts again – and prayers of thanksgiving turn to finger pointing. We’re tired of this food – Tired of miracles – tired of God’s intervention – tired of freedom?

What exactly are they complaining about? One of the things that I love about God – is that he doesn’t just answer the prayer of righteous people – but sometimes even answers the prayer of the grumbler.

So – here’s your water – here’s your manna floating down from heaven every day to keep you alive in the desert – and just so you know I love you – how about some juicy quail fajitas?

You would think all miracles from God for the Israelites – and all the miracles that Jesus had performed – would have meant something to the people. All that grumbling and demanding more.

But I know I’m guilty of the same. Clothes overflowing my closets – and still not content. Food overflowing at my table – and yet I want more s pice – more flavour – and bigger portions. A beautiful roof over my head – and yet I still get jealous about the new place going up down the road.

Like the Israelites – my basic needs are met – actually much more than met – but we always come up with new needs.

Jesus declares – I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry – and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

If you thought manna and quail fajitas were amazing – how about never being hungry again – how about eternal life? But then – Jesus’s enemies react by grumbling. More grumbling from God’s chosen people. The same story being lived out once again.

God’s plan is not our plan. It’s sad but true. In Deuteronomy 8:3-4 – God is showing His love when He says – I fed you when you hungered to teach you that no-one lives on bread alone – but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet didn’t swell during those 40 years in the desert.

The hand of God was all over the people. Freedom from slavery – seas opening up – water – manna – quail – clothes that won’t wear out after 40 years – why do we so quickly forget?

Jesus does the same thing. Taking bread and fish for a few – and turning it into a feast for thousands. He cooks fish on the shore for the disciples when they can’t catch a thing – He overflows their nets when their human skills let them down.

But if you stop there you would have completely missed the point. God’s deliverance of His people wasn’t about manna – and Jesus’s life – death – and resurrection – were not about bread and fish. Something better is entering into our world. God’s plan is more profound than we ever could have imagined.

Jesus is the bread of life – not because he merely feeds us and teaches us – but because He’s the savior who rescues us. A savior who comes after us when we are wandering.

Think Exodus – we’re like the Israelites – grumbling about food When God is trying to deliver them from Pharaoh and slavery.

We grumble about not having the desire of the next level on Maslow’s pyramid – but Jesus is offering us so much more.

God’s plan is that we feed on Jesus – on his love – on his teaching – on the community of his church. We won’t go hungry – ever again – when we align our desires on the world that Jesus came to give us.

Amen.

Video: Communion

Solo: “Fill My Cup, Lord Sung By Alicia Seifert

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn: “There’s A Spirit In The Air”

Benediction and Commissioning

Postlude: Redemption – Bethany Smith

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