Christian Family Sunday -- Mother's Day A Sermon Preached at Knox United Church (Parksville, B.C.) on May 13, 2012 by Hilde J.

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1 Christian Family Sunday -- Mother's Day A Sermon Preached at Knox United Church (Parksville, B.C.) on May 13, 2012 by Hilde J. Seal Psalm 98 O sing a new song Prayer - Holy One, open us to YOUR place in our lives. and may the words of my mouth, be honouring to love. AMEN Psalm 98 makes a compelling case for all creation to join together -- and praise God. All nations, are called to join in the new song, to recognize that God is the creator of all. The hills are invited, the sea and all that fills it. You and I are invited to offer praise to God. To sing to God a new song! The remarkable and prolific hymn writer Isaac Watts, used this Old Testament text Psalm 98 when writing the hymn: 'Joy to the World'. Although traditionally viewed as a Christmas hymn, the words proclaim the coming of the Messiah the saving Grace of God's love as seen in Jesus. The new song is about celebrating in a new way, the ancient, all encompassing, unconditional abiding Love of God. Love given at creation. yet new because of its expression seen in Jesus the Christ. The new song. is the old song. The new song still comes from the enduring, absolute love of God An ancient love that has no boundaries, no fences, no conditions. A love that is inclusive a love that creates 'radical hospitality'. A love that is ancient and also brand new. Psalm 98 talks about victory the victory of love in Jesus the Christ and through the Christ, a new way to love. We are invited and yes even called - to respond to that love.

2 How we respond, will continue to break us open and teach us better ways radical ways radical love.. radical hospitality. Psalm 98 invites all creation to join in praising God for Love we praise God for many things blessings, gifts, Grace. but the bottom line is love. A love confirmed in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures. Jeremiah 31:3 "I have love you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness." Isaiah 54:8. with everlasting kindness I will have compassion you says God our redeemer." I Corinthians 13. Paul's words to the church "Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love." The Gospel of John.. chapter 15 verse 12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." Many of us grew up hearing the words "God is Love". As a teenager, I remember tossing that phrase around as though it made loving everyone easy. I was told that I didn't have to like everyone, but that I could still love them because God loved them. Easy!!! No not so easy. There are a whole lot of people that are not easy to love. even when we have permission not to like them Loving some people is really -- hard -- work. And sometimes those 'hard to love people' are in our own family. The Church names today Christian Family Sunday. Its origins were to help congregations to avoid the commercial and sentimental excesses of Mother's Day and Father's Day. It does remind us that we are all 'children of God'. we are named as sisters and brothers in Christ, God is our loving parent some calling God father and mother. It is good to celebrate each other as family, as relatives, as kin. Society names today Mother's Day, with at least three stories about its roots:

3 First dated back to ancient Greek civilization it was a day honouring Rhea, the Mother of the gods next around Julia Ward Howe called for Mother's day to be celebrated as a cry for peace, and it was, in Boston for about 10 years. Finally in 1908, Ann Jarvis, in Grafton West Virginia, arranged a church service that attracted 407 children and their mothers; In Canada Mother's Day began in 1909 and in 1912, a 'Mother's day International Association' promoted the holiday in many other countries. Both Christian Family Sunday, and Mother's Day, cause us to reflect on families don't you think? Our own family the one we grew up in the one we live in now.. the family of faith that we grew up in this' faith family' called Knox family ---all shapes and sizes I am fully aware that reflecting on families is not always easy, or happy, or desired. There are many wonderful, touching stories of families. and and unfortunately many sad, painful stories as well. Thinking about family raises great emotions within us a mixture often of guilt, anger, sadness with joy, longing and gladness. On Mother's Day we are encouraged to think about Moms. The card companies, and flower shops and gift stores like it when we do. But so do most Moms and most families. Be aware though that Mother's Day is not always an easy day. There is longing, grief, emptiness, pain. On Christian Family Sunday, we are encouraged to ponder being a family. we are to ponder the ways in which this gathering of people, along with those not here this morning, but never-the-less a part of us. encouraged to ponder the ways in which WE... are family a Christian Family. A family of faith that has our foundation securely grounded in the love of God. A family that sings the ancient song of love in old and new ways. A faith family whose song springs from the enduring, unconditional love of God

4 An ancient love that has no boundaries, no fences, no conditions. A love that is inclusive a love that creates 'radical hospitality'. A love that is ancient and also brand new. A love that follows the ways of Jesus the Christ breaking us open, and teach us better ways radical ways radical love.. All family relationships require work especially Church relationships. Most of it can be fun but it is work. At Knox our Ministry & Personnel Committee helps us all with the work. One area they are helping with is manners. On the whole we have great manners, but sometimes we fall short, and so M&P is putting together a process that will help us talk about Holy Manners. Intentional work by a large family to help us be respectful and honest with each other. One reason church families work at being friendly and hospitable, is because we want other people to come and be a part of what we do, how we celebrate God, to come and question with us, and learn with us, to play and pray with us. I look forward to this Family of Faith working so hard at radical hospitality, that we are not surprised at anything, or by anyone and each person that come into this space feels welcome and safe. Right now on Sunday mornings when a person arrives in a wheel chair, we know what to do, we know how to move chairs around and give that person a great seat during worship. We know how to instruct someone with a hearing aid, to turn to it to the 'T' position.. not all of us know how perhaps and that is our educational edge but it happens here. I often have a 'kind warning', whispered in my ear Sunday mornings to be aware of a certain corner of the lounge due to a visitor who didn't know that we try to be a scent free building. When one of our Godly Play leaders, chooses to tell the story from a table, the children warmly take their places and help make it work for everyone. We have ramps, we have parking, we offer gluten free food, we are aware of cultural diversity and we acknowledge the aging population in our midst.

5 We are considering becoming an 'Affirming Congregation'. As we learn more about 'radical hospitality' we will sing, loudly a new song: -we will make more adjustments so people with limited vision can participate in Worship - we will be ready for a child who makes two Mother's Day cards, because he has two Moms - we will discover new ways to touch the needs in our community.. -we will make a joyful noise, live out the love of God in new ways; and come to this place with a song. Working towards 'radical hospitality' will mark us as a place where everyone is truly welcome. God has always been about love An ancient love that has no boundaries, no fences, no conditions. The new song comes from the enduring, absolute love of our Maker, and our Abiding in Jesus the Christ. O sing a new song to God, for God has done marvellous things. May it be so, this day and always. in Jesus name AMEN [Back]

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