Oct 4 – Worship Service – World Wide Communion Sunday

Sept 27 – Worship Service – Water
October 5, 2020
Oct 11 – Worship Service – Thanksgiving
October 13, 2020

Oct 4 – Worship Service – World Wide Communion Sunday

Rev Lohnes

World Wide Communion Sunday

October 4, 2020


Words of Welcome & The Life and Work of Our Church

Please remember in your prayers this week all those named in our prayer jar.

This Tuesday, October 6th, the Knights of Columbus on Collins Street will be holding their community lunch and would appreciate volunteers for that date. There will be two sittings, 11 – 11:50 am and 12:10 – 1 pm.  They are looking for one person to wash dishes and three people to serve.  Masks and glove will be worn and sanitizing will take place between sittings.   If you are able to give of your time or would like further information, please call Nancy Hood at-742-3226.


For the Love of Creation, KAIROS has endorsed an e-petition calling on the Canadian government to take climate change seriously and begin taking meaningful action. The government e-petition builds on themes highlighted in last week’s Throne Speech by calling for increased climate action, honouring the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and supporting the Global South.

The petition calls on the Government of Canada to:

  • commit to reducing Canadian GHG emissions by 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and invest in a just transition;
  • honour the rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • commit equal support for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in the Global South; and
  • respond to the pandemic in the Global South.

Please sign the petition today and share it with others to ensure we attract enough political attention to see meaningful action and commitment from our federal government.   We hope to reach at least 4000 signatures from across the country.  This petition closes on October 6th.

Go to  https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-2712

As I began preparing for World Wide Communion Sunday this year, I had planned to use a service that was originally prepared back in 2012 by Rev. Richard Bott our current moderator.  The reason I had chosen to use this service is that it is based on the themes of Creation Time and is part of a series of services that are posted on the United Church of Canada website under the overall title, What Is Creation Saying to Us?  The problem is that we are living in a time that is very different from 2012 when this was written.  So after much careful thought, although I am using some aspects of that service, including the communion service I have chosen to modify most of the rest to fit our current context.  So let us now begin our worship with the lighting of our Christ Candle.

Lighting the Christ Candle

As we light our Christ Candle this morning, let us remember that its light is not to one space or one gathering.  The light of Christ is with us everywhere.  So as we light our candle this morning, let us remember that we have been called and challenged to not only recognize Christ’s light wherever it shines but to take that light out with us wherever we go.

Acknowledgment of Territory

Wherever we are in this wonderful province of Nova Scotia, we are reminded that we still gather on lands that are, by law, the unseeded territories of the Mi’kmaq people.  We gratefully and respectfully acknowledge this.  We also respectfully honour their traditions and spirituality along with the spirituality and traditions of the Métis people with whom we also share this land.

Call to Worship

Listen! Take a moment to sit quietly and just listen.  What do you hear? (pause) The buzz of an airplane?  The zoom of a car?  The laughter of children in the park next door?  The ticking of a clock?

These are the sounds of people.  The everyday sounds of life around us.

But listen—deeper!  (pause)  What do you hear? (pause)

The whoosh of the wind?  The rustle of the leaves?  The song of a bird?  The buzz of a fly?

These are the sounds of Nature, always with us, but sometimes hidden under our own human noise.

Listen again—deeper still!  Listen within yourself, within your memory, within your imagination.  (pause)  What do you hear? (pause)

The wash of the waves rippling on the shore?  The roar of a glacier as it calves off an iceberg?  The grinding of rocks as tectonic plates shift?  The vibration of light as it travels the cosmos?

These are the sounds of Creation, the sounds of life and death, the sounds of new life being born and reborn.

If we listen — we can hear creation speaking, we can hear creation shouting, we can hear creation crying.

When we listen and speak what we hear, when we help others to listen and speak what they hear, when we speak with those who will not listen, and with those not willing to hear — we speak with and for Creation. 

And surely this is an act of worshiping God.  So as we gather here in the beauty of God’s wondrous creation, let us worship God.

Opening Prayer

Let us Pray;

You are the God of sea and sky, of rock and tree and creature — and you are wonderful, God!  Bless us with the knowledge in our bodies, our hearts, and our minds, that you are with us in this moment and in every moment.  Bless us with your joy of all creation, with your desire for its wholeness, with your will for its renewal.  In the dance of the Spirit, in the name of the Christ, we ask this.  Amen!

Theme Conversation / Learning Together

World Wide Communion Sunday is intended to unite Christians of all ages, all races, and all backgrounds around the world.  But during the Season of Creation, we are also reminded that part of our call as Christians is to unite with all people in defense of our planet and of all that God has created.

How many of you can tell me what you were doing on September 20th last year?  I can.  I was at the Zen Mountain Monastery in New York State and I was one of few people left in the building.  That afternoon the majority had left to take part in the Global Climate Strike inspired through the work of 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.  Unfortunately, I was unable to take part because, as a Canadian on US soil, joining in a protest did not appear to be a wise option.  But on that day, Thunberg led the largest global climate strike in history, as more than 4 million people across 161 different countries went on strike to demand climate action.

For me, this proves that it is possible for us to join together and set aside our differences when it really matters.  4 million people proved that on September 20th, 2019.  If they can do this surly, as World Wide Christians, we can also find a way to set aside our differences and make a difference in our world today in Christ’s name.

Minute for Mission

Just to shake things up a bit I am following the order of service given in the material I had hoped to use for this Sunday.  And so at this point, we will hear our Minute for Mission which is titled “Church Stand on Global Warming”

Invitation to the Offering

Although the offering plates are not being passed, let us take a moment to reflect on the gifts that we offer to God, whatever those gifts might be.

Let us Pray;

Everything that is, is yours, God.  You created it in love.  So we offer everything we have to you, God.  We offer it in love.  In our gathering, help us to touch Earth lightly.  In our sharing, help us to see the need for all creation.  In our use, help us to be people of justice and hope for all you have brought into being.  Amen!

Scripture Readings            

This morning I have chosen to use three of the four the lectionary readings for today rather than the scriptures suggested in the service by Rev. Bott.  Part of the reason I did this is that almost all of those reading are ones that we have used or will use in our Creation Time series we are working our way through.

The first reading is taken from the book of Exodus.  It is the laws that were given to the people during their time wandering in the desert, the laws we commonly know as The Ten Commandments.  Now before you hear these I have to tell you something.  My computer didn’t like the way I worded this introduction.  It highlighted the word know, and when I hit the spell check button it suggested I replace the word know with ignore!  Maybe the computer knows a little bit more than we tend to give it credit for!

Our second reading is Psalm 19.  It talks about the glory of God, but it also included praise for the gift of God’s law and God’s judgments.

Our final reading is taken from the Gospel According to Matthew.  It is a rather disturbing parable that Matthew places in a group of parables that Jesus tells in response to questions and accusations that are directed against him.  This passage also includes the familiar words, “The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all.”
World Wide Christians

Today we celebrate World Wide Communion Sunday.  But we celebrate in a very different reality than we have ever done before.  What does it mean to say that we are sharing a meal with Christians around the world when we can’t even share a meal in our own community of faith here at Beacon?  What does it mean to say that we are united with people around the world when we can’t even get within 6 feet of each other?

The image of sitting at a table together and sharing a meal is an image of intimacy and trust.  There is a closeness in sharing food together that is much more than simply being in the same room.  Sharing a meal breaks down barriers and connects people at a much deeper level than simply being together.

In tribal times sharing a meal meant everyone had to work together in growing, hunting, or preparing the food.  It also meant that when people sat down to eat together they had to set aside their weapons in order to have their hands free to eat and to share food with those around them.  They had to make a decision to trust one another and they had to be willing to risk the possibility of placing themselves in a vulnerable position.

Sharing a meal together is one of the best ways to get to know someone.  It allows us time to talk to each other and to experience each other in a setting that unites us in the basic human need for food.  But in this time of social distancing, when meals can be shared only with the intimate of family and friends, how do we find new ways to feel connected to one another?

Perhaps what connects us to Christians around the world as we share this World Wide Communion meal is not the bread or the juice but rather the willingness to set aside our differences, to set aside those things that divide us and cause anxiety and tension between us, and risk allowing someone else to see us as vulnerable, as needing something beyond ourselves.  We can only truly receive the mysterious gift which the sacrament of communion offers us if we are willing to open ourselves up and in doing so, make ourselves vulnerable.

This is a conscious choice each one of us makes.  When we come forward to share the bread and the cup we are admitting that we seek something that is beyond ourselves, something that is Divine.  Even more than that, we are making a statement that we identify ourselves as Christians.  There are many ways to connect with the Divine, but as Christians, we are saying that we have chosen to pattern our lives after the one we call the Christ, the one whose life, teaching, death, and resurrection we remember each time we share communion.  So what does that mean?

Well, Jesus was a faithful Jew.  As such the laws of the Torah, in particular, the laws of the 10 commandments were foundational to his understanding of God.  He would have agreed with the psalmist who wrote, “The laws of the Lord are right, and those who obey them are happy.”  He would not have agreed that the laws governing behaviour were more important than the command to love and worship God above all else, and to treat others with the love and respect with which we would want to be treated.  Jesus put the love of God first, before everything else and if we say we pattern our lives after him, then so should we.

But how do we do that?  Adherence to the ten commandments can certainly be one way of trying to live as Christ lived, but only if it is done out of love and not out of a sense of duty.  We are told that when Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was he replied, “Love God with your entire heart, with your mind, and with all the strength you have and love others as much as you love yourself.”

I believe that if we truly act out of love, regardless of what we are doing or what commandments or laws we are trying to follow, it shows.  People know if you say one thing and do another.  Your actions tell people far more about you than your words, and it is in our actions that we express our commitment to follow the way of Christ.

During this time of social distancing, when many of the things we have always done are no longer possible, it can feel like we are not quite living up to expectations, especially our own expectations.  But perhaps this is also an opportunity for us.  Perhaps this is an opportunity to stop focusing so much on doing and to focus instead on allowing ourselves to simply love and be loved by God.  Perhaps this is an opportunity to think more deeply about why we do the things we do.   COVID-19 has put us into a very vulnerable position, physically, emotionally, and socially, but perhaps here in the midst of this vulnerability we might also learn to become truly open to the One who can help us through this and all situations … the one who loves us and calls us to love in return … the One who invites us to this table and challenges us to follow him.  Amen

Music                  Long Ago and Far Away                      MV#195

Transfer of Membership

This church, like all churches, is a community of faith, a community of people with varied gifts and talents, united by the Holy Spirit and committed to a journey of faith.  Today we have the pleasure of welcoming to this congregation three people who are already members of the United Church of Canada.

Presentation of Candidates

On behalf of the congregation of Beacon United Church, I present to you Cheryl Smith, Brian Smith, and Lynn Brown, whom we welcome into the membership of this community of faith.

A commitment of New Members

And so I ask you, Lynn, Cheryl, and Brian will you join with your brothers and sisters in the congregation of Beacon United Church to share in the life, work, and ministry of Jesus Christ?

I will, God being my helper.


Congregational Commitment   
Let us pledge our support and care to Brian, Cheryl, and Lynn …

As your brothers and sisters in Christ, we rejoice in the gifts you bring to us.  We pledge to you our love and our support.  With God’s help, we will together live out the mission and ministry of Christ’s Church.


Words of Welcome

In the name of Jesus Christ, we welcome you to all the privileges and all the responsibilities of membership in this congregation.  We give thanks to God for your witness among us.

God Invites All to the Table

One of the things that we do as a Christian Church is to share the sacrament of communion.  Today, as we celebrate World Wide Communion Sunday we are reminded that this sacrament unites us not only with those within our own community of faith but with Christians around the world.  We are also reminded that this sacrament does not belong to us.  We are here at God’s gracious invitation.  And so as we gather here, let us join together in our communion prayer.

 Communion Prayer

One: God is with us.

All: God is with all creation.

One: Let us lift up our hearts!

All: We lift our hearts to God.

One: Let us give thanks to God: Creator of all that is, Christ that calls us to wholeness, Spirit that blows us where it will.

All: Thank you, God!

One: We thank you, God—for everything.
A long time ago, you decided to start something new.
Out of that newness came all that exists.

Out of that newness came the stars in the sky,
the planets, and moons. The water, the air—and life!

All: Thank you, God!

One: Here, in this place, on this planet, you created a life that took many shapes.
Single-celled creatures that became many-celled creatures.
Many-celled creatures that became plants, became animals, became us.

All: Thank you, God!

One: Throughout our history, we human beings have tried to understand how we came to be, and why we came to be – and how to be in relationship with all creation and with each other.

Throughout our history, human beings have tried to understand how all things came to be, and why we came to be, and how to be in a relationship with you.
Sometimes, we’ve not done a good job of listening.
Sometimes, we’ve not done a good job of loving.
Sometimes, we’ve not done a good job of being in a relationship with you, with what you have created, or with each other.

All: We are sorry, God.  We ask for your forgiveness.  We ask for your help. Open our ears, our eyes,   our hearts, and our minds—so that we might listen to your call so that we might listen to the needs of what you have created so that we might speak those needs and live your love.

One: When our ancestors made mistakes, you sent them guides to help them on their way – priests and prophets, teachers and healers, grandmas, and grandpas, who called people back to your love.  And in Jesus the Christ you were with us to teach us, to love us, to save us from ourselves.  Thank you, God!

All: Thank you, loving God!

One: Jesus laughed with those who laughed, and cried with those who cried.
He learned what it meant to be part of your creation and tried to teach us with stories of seeds and sowers, of bushes and birds; in his love, he called us back into relationship with you.  And so we pray the words he gave to all of his disciples, the ones that remind us that you love us with all the love a mother can give,
with all the love a father can give, saying

All: Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver, Source of all that is and that shall be.  Father and Mother of us all, Loving God, in whom is heaven: The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!  The way of your justice is followed by peoples of the world!  Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!  Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.  With the bread we need for today, feed us.  In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.  In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.  From trials too great to endure, spare us.  From the grip of all that is evil, free us.  For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever.  Amen.

One: On the night that Jesus was taken away, by people afraid of what he was teaching of your love, he gathered with his friends.  He took a loaf of bread and gave thanks to you, saying, “Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe, who brings forth grain from the earth.”

All: Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe; everything you have created is blessed.

One:  He took the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat it.  This is my body, my very self, given to you. Each time you eat …remember me.”

All: Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe; everything you have created is blessed.

One:  He took a cup full of wine and gave thanks to you, saying, “Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe, who brings forth fruit from the vine.”

All: Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe; everything you have created is blessed.

One:  He took the cup and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take this, all of you, and drink it. This is my blood, my covenant, my bond, my forever promise to you, and to everyone.  Each time you drink … remember me.”

All: Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe; everything you have created is blessed.

One:  Blessed are you, God most holy.  We ask that you would send your Spirit upon this bread and this cup that they, and we, might be the body of Christ—hope in the world, speaking, acting, and living the change that brings healing and wholeness.  In this hope, your people praise you:

All: Holy God!  We praise you now and forever!  Amen. Amen! AMEN!

Communion Is Shared

All are welcomed to share this bread and this cup regardless of your membership or affiliation with this or any church.  If you long for a closer connection with Christ and with one another, this bread and this cup are for you.  In order to ensure that all may be, included, our bread is gluten-free and our juice is preservative-free.  Our communion today will be served slightly differently.  You will be asked to come forward row by row wearing your masks and maintaining social distance.  You will be handed a cup rather than taking one yourself and the bread will be placed into your outstretched hand.  You will then carry the elements back to your seat and when everyone has been served, we will share the elements together.  Unfortunately because of current restrictions, we will not be able to serve people in their seats.  If you are with someone who cannot come forward, you may pick up the elements for them and take them back to your seats.  So would those serving please come forward.


Sharing of the Elements

Broken bread for a broken world.  Christ’s gift to you.

Love emptied out that we might be filled.  Christ’s gift to you.

 Prayer after Communion

Let us join in our Prayer after Communion:

This bread we have eaten comes from the earth.  The wine we have tasted

comes from the soil.  Thank you, God, for sharing it all.  Help us to lend our voice in caring for Earth.  Help us to see the birds of the air, the fish of the water, the plants and animals that live with us as part of our communion in your love.  In Christ’s name, we ask it.  Amen.


Music                  Eat This Bread and Never Hunger              VU#471


Commissioning and Benediction

God is leading.  We do know this.  We need to listen – to the cries and songs of creation, to the moving Spirit of God.  We need to speak up – to give voice to the voiceless, to call out for healing and harmony for all.  We need to act – filled with the love of the Creator, filled with the peace of the Christ, filled with the passion of the Holy Spirit.  And so we go out from here knowing that we are blessed and blessing, knowing that we are ears and lips and hands for creation, and knowing that God is with us every step of the way.  Go with God.  Amen.




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