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.
Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
July 18, 2021
Sunday Worship Service
Prelude: Two Chorale Preludes by Friedrich Marpurg:
Lord, as You will, be with me – Gaestorius;
What God ordains is always good – Bach
Opening Video: Worlds Collide
Welcome & Greeting:
Lighting the Christ Candle
Song: “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
The Lords Prayer
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 New International Version(NIV)
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Solo: Of the Loving Kindness of the Lord – text from Psalm 89,
Sung by Sue Brushey
Let’s go somewhere quiet.
In the gospel of Mark – chapter 6 verse 31 – Jesus said – Come away to a place where there are no cell phones – where the internet is always down – your iPad won’t work – a place where you can rest and be recharged.
Well – not his exact words – but close enough. Now admit it – isn’t that an attractive sounding invitation in the midst of our fast-paced – over-scheduled – information-filled days.
On the surface – I’d say that we seem to enjoy – even live for – the hectic pace of our lives. It’s not very often that you run into someone who’s excited to tell you that they spent the weekend doing nothing in particular – but instead – they’ll talk your ear off telling you about all the things they – did – do.
Our culture supposes that activity and accomplishment are better than rest. We identify ourselves to one another most often by what we do rather than who we are.
Think about the last time you introduced yourself to someone new – if it was anything like my normal introductions – after your name – and maybe where you are from – the first thing you tell someone about yourself is what you do for a living.
It’s so easy to find ourselves slipping into a rhythm of activity that allows little time for refreshment of body and soul. Our busyness seems to preclude time for family meals – in-depth conversation with friends – times to just sit still for a few minutes in the silence.
Last week – I talked about some things God wants us to do when our lives are going good. The second point that I made – was that God would want us to rest and restore ourselves. This week – I’m going to look at what that means a little more closely.
Rest and restoration is closely tied to the biblical concept of Sabbath – which literally means – to cease. And Sabbath is a gift that invites us to step away from our – over scheduled – busy lives – and experience a rest that can only come from God. An invitation to escape to a place apart where one can find Sabbath is enticing.
Mark’s telling of the Jesus story – has a – frantic pace about it. In the sixth chapter of Mark – Jesus sends out his disciples in pairs to go among the villages and teach. He gives them power over unclean spirits. He instructs his disciples not to take food – a bag – or money with them – but to accept with gratitude the hospitality extended to them.
Jesus says to his disciples – If you are not welcomed – not listened to – don’t make a big deal about it – As you leave simply – shake the dust off your feet and keep going. So they went out among the villages proclaiming repentance – casting out demons – and healing many who were sick.
I imagine that when they returned – they couldn’t wait to tell Jesus stories about their accomplishments.
Now – by this time – Jesus and his disciples have been creating quite a stir among the people – so they find it difficult to stop and rest – much less eat a meal in peace. Even as Jesus listens to his disciples’ stories – people are coming and going.
So – Jesus says to his disciples – Let’s go off by ourselves so we can rest – talk about the good you have accomplished and share a quiet meal together. And they all get in a boat and set sail for that deserted place with no cell phone reception – no wi-fi – no interruptions – just Jesus and his friends.
Finally – they get a little time to leave the work at the office – and forget about any schedules – and just rest.
As it turns out – Jesus is on to something. The rhythm of work – along with rest – seems to help human beings function better – and feel better about ourselves.
A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology by a joint team of Canadian and American researchers – confirms what most of us already know. People – regardless of income – working hours – profession – or age – feel better mentally and physically – when they take time off from their labors.
The report states – Our findings highlight just how important free time is to an individual’s well-being. Unrestricted time provides critical opportunities for bonding – exploring other interests – and relaxation.
We know from our reading of Scripture that Jesus observes the Sabbath. We have stories of Jesus being in the synagogue on the Sabbath. We also have stories of Jesus’ struggles with religious leaders over how the Sabbath is to be observed.
He seems to focus more on what is appropriate behavior – and on what Sabbath stands for – rather than on the significance of a particular day for Sabbath observance.
Earlier in Mark’s Gospel – Jesus teaches that Sabbath is a gift. It’s a day to be freed from our labors to enjoy the creation and the Creator. He says – The Sabbath was made for us – not us for the Sabbath. The invitation of Jesus to his disciples to retire to a place where they can rest – take a deep breath – bond with one another – and share in telling their stories – is important for their well-being.
Who among us doesn’t know that things do not always go as planned? As Jesus and the disciples cross the lake in a boat – word spreads that they are on the move. People set out on foot and reached the place Jesus has in mind as a place of rest.
When Jesus and his disciples arrive on the shore – they find a crowd waiting for them. The crowd wants to hear what Jesus has to say. It’s part of the human experience – to seek out what we think is lacking in our lives. The crowd is hungry for an assuring word. They want desperately to be made well – and the word is out that Jesus offers what they most need.
Mark tells us that – Jesus had compassion for them – because they were like sheep without a shepherd – and he began to teach them many things. Although Jesus is most likely tired and hungry himself – He gives the crowd what they most need.
He stops and focuses on people in need. He sees people whose lives are chaotic as they try to provide for their families. He sees people who are confused by the changes in the world about them. He sees people fearful of others who are not just like them. He sees people whose lives are too busy to find answers for themselves. He sees people who simply have lost their way. He sees people who are hungry for reassurance – and long for words of hope. He sees people who need some Sabbath time to spend with God. He sees all the people of the world – he sees them – and He has compassion on them and teaches them.
Today – we are a lot like those people who flocked to Jesus. Those who dwell in the world are terrified of being alone. We live in a world that isn’t just full of noise – but one into which people intentionally introduce and multiply noise.
According to Nielsen – the authority on such matters – the average North American now watches 4-1/2 hours of television – movies – and Internet video each day – that’s 32 hours per week!
I’ll admit – I contribute to those numbers – and I’ve seen enough of those videos to know that there mostly just noise. Why is the world so afraid to go to the quiet place?
Well – what may be found in the quiet place is so unlike what the world knows – it’s the undoing of the media dreamworld – and the discovery of reality – a reality that has meaning and purpose – a definite beginning and an approaching end.
The quiet place is a vulnerable place – the quiet place is a place for self-assessment – what haven’t I done that I should do – and what have I done that was wrong? The quiet place is a holy place – a place where someone might meet God.
God has given us the Sabbath so that we can step aside from the pressures and demands of all our business – and reconnect with Him.
God’s desire is to be in an intimate relationship with you. God gives you the time for both work – and rest – to enable you to be the person He has created you to be. A Sabbath gives you the opportunity to rest physically – but more importantly – it gives you the opportunity to rest and draw near to God.
But – maybe you’re like me. You see – I can understand the importance of rest. The problem is I often can’t work out how to find the time to rest myself. There always seems to be something I need to do.
My mind is always active with things I need to do – today – tomorrow – next week – I feel like I always have a full to-do list:
Write next Sunday’s sermon. Call Paul. Speak to Cathy. Call Diane. Visit Keith. Prepare a funeral. Edit the video. Find some music.
So much to do – yet sometimes – I can’t escape the feeling I’m still not doing enough for Jesus. A good day for me is often defined by getting things done on my list. Not by the people I’ve interacted with – not the time I’ve spent with God – not the things I’ve learned – not if I have rested. Just what I’ve done. What am I really accomplishing by being busy all the time?
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
Do you need to learn how to rest and relax?
Jesus says He will show you how to take a real rest – watch how He does it – learn from Him. Jesus offers us rest and He shows us how to do it. Rest is a necessity – not an optional extra – rest is an act of worship – not a sign of laziness.
Jesus made time for spiritual rest – physical rest – and emotional rest. For His spiritual rest – Jesus made time to be alone with God. Early in the morning – during the day – or late at night – draw aside and come into the presence of God. Refreshment and renewal comes from spending time with God. You need to be still so you can hear His voice.
Physical rest – the Bible tells us that even Jesus – the Son of God – slept. I never seem to get enough sleep – it’s that whole – mind working even when the body isn’t thing. But Jesus – Jesus fell asleep in a boat in the midst of a raging storm. When others were counting on His help – Jesus took a nap.
He knew when His body needed physical rest and was unapologetic about taking it. Jesus showed His disciples – and He shows us – the importance of physical rest.
And Jesus knew it was important to withdraw from the crowds for emotional rest. Jesus would move away and leave the crowds of people – even when they desperately wanted Him. In the midst of chaos – when people were demanding His attention – Jesus was clear about what God was calling Him to do and Jesus got into a boat with His disciples and went to the other side – to be away from the multitudes.
Yeah – easier said than done – you might say. Where do we get the time – I’m too busy to stop being busy. But – Jesus calls us away to a quiet place to be with Him. We must go – away from the noise.
Remember that number I gave you earlier – that the average person wastes around 4.5 hours on mindless video each day? Simple – tithe your video time. We generally think of tithing our finances for God – giving 10% of your income back to God.
I’m going to suggest that we give 10% of our video time back to God. Personally – I think the 4 and a half hours that is supposed to be the average – might be a bit high – for the sake of easier math – let’s say it’s between two and a half and three and a half hours.
One tenth of that would between 15 and 20 minutes a day – that’s your tithe – it’s what you give back to God. Are you spending 15-20 minutes alone and quiet with the Lord – just the two of you – apart from all other distractions?
And notice I keep saying – give back – to God. Because that’s what a tithe is – you’re not giving up anything that’s yours to begin with. Whether it’s money or time – it’s all a gift from God in the first place.
And if spending 10% of your video time seems too hard – start smaller – work up to it. If you can truly rest spiritually – physically – and emotionally for 15 to 20 minutes a day with God – it won’t be long before you are thinking that 10% isn’t giving enough back.
When Jesus offers to take your burdens – He means it. Jesus provides the way for you to rest securely in Him.
May I encourage each of us to follow Christ – draw on His strength to live and work – and to take the time to rest – spiritually – physically and emotionally in God.
Remember to observe your time of Sabbath – because hope is found there – when you choose to rest and relax in God.
Hymn: “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”
Video: Psalm 23
Hymn: “The Church’s One Foundation”
Benediction and Commissioning
Postlude: Our God, How Great – Colin Curtis