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
Prelude: Plenty Good Room – spiritual, arr. Lloyd Larson
Opening Video: Let Us Worship
Welcome & Greeting:
Lighting the Christ Candle
Hymn: “Here I Am To Worship”
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
The Lords Prayer
Mark 3:20-35 New International Version (NIV)
3:20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” 23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.” 31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Solo: The Lord Is My Shepherd – text from Psalm 23; music by Samuel Liddle
Mark 3:31 – 35
Mark 3:31 – 35
There’s just my mom and I left now – and she’s deep into Alzheimer’s – so sometimes it feels like I’m really the only one left – but when I was growing up – we were a family of four. My mom and dad – my sister – and me.
Generally – I was happy with my family – at least considering the old saying – you can pick your friends – but you don’t get to pick your family. But there were times.
My mom was an accomplished sewer – dresses for her and my sister – shirts placemats – doilies – toilet paper covers that looked like mice in dresses – and at one point – the latest craze was t-shirts. So – when we would go out as a family group – we all had matching – patterned – t-shirts.
Well – I was at that age when that sort of thing just wasn’t cool – is there ever an age when it is? So – I’d spend as much effort as possible trying to convince people that those people over there were not my family.
“Your mother and your brothers are outside waiting on you, calling for you,” one of the disciples said to Jesus.
“Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” Jesus replied. “Anyone who does my will, anybody who gets on board with my movement, that’s my family,” said Jesus.
Jesus has some strange ideas about family too.
When you join some clubs – they give you a pin and a secret handshake. But when you join on with Jesus and join the church – you get thrown into the pool – washed – maybe dunked a few times – half drowned – and encouraged to see what it’s like to be born again. Now what does that tell you?
To those who took comfort in the old order – maybe boasting of their memberships in God’s chosen people by saying – My family founded this church – or – I’m not very religious but I’m really – really – spiritual – John the Baptist would have scolded you – saying – Don’t say to yourselves – I’m a dues-paying member! I’ve got Abraham and Sarah as my parents! – God can raise up a family from the stones in this river if God’s people won’t turn, return, be washed, and get with the revolution!
God is determined to have a family. But in order to join a new family – you first have to separate yourself from the old one. Membership in God’s kingdom – is – a joyful thing – but it also involves giving some things up.
Look – I love my family. I mean – why shouldn’t I? They all look just like me – especially when wearing matching t-shirts – but – I’m sorry to tell you that – family matters – was not really a Jesus’ thing.
We know next to nothing about the family of Jesus. Mark says that Jesus had a number of brothers and sisters – but what do we know about them? Jesus’ family plays a remarkably negligible role in His story.
And in His ministry – Jesus thought nothing of destroying a family business with a simple command of – Follow me – demanding that these fishermen abandon their aging father in the boat and join Jesus as He wandered about with His buddies.
Jesus’ invitation to hit the road broke the hearts of many first-century parents who were counting on the kids for help in their old age.
I have come to set a man against his father – and a daughter against her mother – Jesus threatened. He also said – Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother – and wife and children – and brothers and sisters – yes – and even life itself – can’t be my disciple. Now that’s a text that you wouldn’t hear preached on – Christian family Sunday.
Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside asking for you – someone said. Jesus replied – Who? Anyone who does my will is my family.
I’ll follow you – a man said to him – only first let me go give my recently deceased father a decent burial. Let the dead bury the dead – replied Jesus – Follow me and let somebody else do the funeral!
Wow! Talk about family issues! But – to be fair – Jesus seems no more hostile toward family than He is toward – money – or success – or government officials or religious authorities.
For Jesus – everything comes second to His mission – nothing is more important than doing God’s will. Still – isn’t it interesting that Jesus appears to devalue that which we consider so valuable?
I still remember when almost every Christmas greeting card had a picture of the baby Jesus in the manger and Joseph and Mary standing close by. Now – our Christmas cards are more likely to customized – featuring our own smiling families – dressed in tacky matching sweaters. The family has become the center of our celebrations – the most important of all human gatherings.
Why Jesus? Why were you so cold toward family – sexuality – romantic attachments – things which seem to preoccupy us?
The gospels tell us that one of Jesus’ chief missions was the reunion of the scattered lost sheep of Israel. Jesus left His biological family in order to form a new family – based not on genetic kinship – the way we make family – but rather upon the gracious – barrier-breaking call of God.
Jesus got into trouble for practicing a scandalously open-handed table fellowship – calling the lost and orphaned back home. This man eats and drinks with SINNERS! That’s one of the earliest and most persistent claims against Jesus.
Even as He was dying in agony on the cross – Jesus invited an outcast – a somewhat repentant thief – to join Him and His family in paradise.
In all these actions – and in His stories of seeking the Lost Sheep – and seeking the Lost Coin – and the Lost Boy – Jesus is forming a new family composed of those who had difficulty fitting in with their human families.
Your human family – regardless of all it’s virtues – is just too small – too closely defined – to handle all the problems you may face. In fact – family may actually add to those problems – how much of the time people spend in counselling is spent dealing with the damage done to them by family.
That’s why – when someone steps up and answers Jesus’ call to follow him – the church says – among other things – that the person has been reborn – started over – and has been adopted into a new God-formed family.
It’s as if the person gets a new name – Christian – that takes precedence over that person’s family name. It’s as if the person has already died to old attachments and former relationships – and has already been raised to new life.
And the church is that – fresh – new – family that is composed of those who have heard Jesus’ – Follow me – and have stepped forward and said – Yes.
The chief act of Christian worship – isn’t some mysterious – dark – obscure rite. It’s a family meal – with everyone around the table – the Sunday dinner that we call the Lord’s Supper – family as God intended family to be.
That’s why – when parents bring a child forward for baptism – the minister takes the child from them and says – in effect – You are two wonderful people – but you are not knowledgeable enough – not skilled enough on your own – to raise a Christian. So – we’ll adopt your child – we’ll take responsibility for this baby – we will help you raise a Christian.
In a world of grandparents without grandchildren close by – and single-parent families – and families that spread across the world – and aunts and uncles that you may never meet – you need a bigger family than the one you were born into.
You must be taken into a new – far flung family – a family as large as the love of God in Jesus Christ.
What do you have to do to be credibly called a Christian – a contemporary follower of Jesus? Well – you must be willing to be adopted by a new barrier-breaking family – the church.
You must be prepared to let go of your natural – secular inspired – individualism – and be included in a family that’s bigger and more demanding than the one into which you were born.
You’re invited to join us at the table – where you are asked to call some of the most sinful – often difficult-to-bear individuals – as – brother – or – sister – just because Jesus loves them – just as much as He loves you.
You can see why – when the Jesus movement got going as the church – baptism became the – radical – rite of Christian initiation. Baptism not only signified everything that water means – cleansing and birth – and refreshment and renewal – life – but baptism also meant adoption.
As John the Baptist said – God is going to have a family – even if God has to raise a people out of the rocks in this river.
To become a Christian – to have your life taken over by Jesus – is to be joined into a family – a people joined by – water and the Spirit – a family bigger and better than your biological family – a worldwide – barrier-breaking family that goes by the name – body of Christ.
I feel pleased whenever our church helps out in our neighbourhood – when our salvation army food bin is full to overflowing – or one of our groups donates money or blankets and mittens to our neighbours in need. But of course – we would do that – we see those people every day – most of them are just like us.
But I’ll tell you – I’m even more delighted that when the earth shakes – or the waters rise – when buildings fall – and people need food – somewhere on the other side of the planet – we rally even harder.
Why? Because Jesus has made them part of God’s family too – and because of His love – we have been changed from being strangers – into being – sisters and brothers.
On Good Friday – as Jesus hung on the cross – He performed an amazing last act of invitation and adoption. Having been deserted by most of His family – the crucified Jesus – in a last – wild – desperate act of inclusion – invited a thief to join him in paradise – a stunningly defiant criticism to the ways the world gathers people.
Only a Savior like Jesus would parade into Paradise arm-in-arm with a criminal. Well – today – every time the family of God gathers for Holy Communion – the Eucharist – the Lord’s Supper – a potluck fellowship meal – or serves up soup to the homeless on the street corner – the world looks at this odd family and says – Jesus is hanging out with the same troublemakers that got him crucified.
And we say – Thank God that He does.
Let’s pray – Jesus – by your grace – bring us into your big family. Help us to feel part of the family. Help us to see all people as brothers and sisters in your family. In the name of the one who was crucified for hanging out with people like us – we pray.
Hymn: “Would You Bless Our Homes and Families”
Hymn: “Rejoice The Lord Is King”
Benediction and Commissioning
Postlude: Fugue in A major BWV 888 – Bach Played by Eddy Zheng