A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

CONFESSION and FORGIVENESS

Gathering Song              “Let Us Go Now to the Banquet”            red book # 523

GREETING

KYRIE                                                            red book page 98 (set 1)

Canticle of Praise                                       red book page 101(set 1)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

JEREMIAH 28:5-9

PSALM 89:1-4, 15-18

ROMANS 6:12-23

MATTHEW 10:40-42

SERMON                                                        Pastor Chris Halverson

Duck Feathers

 

Have you ever thought about duck feathers?

They’re ingenious, they come in three types, Contour, Flight, and Down. The first keep the water out, the second allow for flight, and the third serves as insulation. They act like armor, water rolls off a ducks back, yet ducks remain fluffy, warm, and cuddly.

And, I would suggest today, that duck feathers can be an image for us to hold onto as Disciples of Christ—a unique type of armor to help us spread the gospel.

Yes, Duck feathers.

 

Prayer

 

There are plenty of good reasons we might want to be defensive as people sent out with a message from God.

Look at the argument between Hananiah and Jeremiah. Hananiah’s prophecy—that God’s going to make everything just fine right now—Hananiah’s quick fix fortune telling—is seen by Jeremiah as nothing more than pie in the sky wishful thinking—he says, in effect, “You know what—pretty much every prophet I know of, prophecies doom—and by and large they get it right. If someone prophecies peace, and we find peace—wow! We’ll know God’s is deeply involved in that prophecy, because that’s not usually what we find in this world.”

Prophets—people telling folk what the world looks like to God’s eyes—rarely tell folk that everything is alright, that we humans have everything under control—instead they point to wars, famines, pestilence. They call out injustice and idolatry.

As you might imagine this sort of thing doesn’t make prophets popular—Jeremiah who we read today, gets shoved down a well and later drug off to Egypt by Hananiah’s political backers—and he is left to die there, lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem which he told folk was going to happen if they bought into Hananiah’s easy vision of their country.

Yes—it would be easy to armor up in order to safely serve God.

 

Then there is the letter to Rome printed from Paul’s pen—he describes the human struggle with Sin and Death as akin to enslavement and war. We’ll always serve a master, either Sin or Righteousness. We’ll always be at war, the question is do we side with Sin or Righteousness? That famous phrase he coins, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He’s talking Hazard Duty Pay, Commission, the Soldier’s Wage.

For that matter, we know from Paul’s biography that he’s no stranger to troubles—for the Gospel he proclaims he receives hunger, imprisonment, shipwreck, lashings, beatings, and a stoning. With all that, his talk about the armor of God is not misplaced.

 

And then we have the ongoing sending of the 12 disciples in Matthew 10—they’re given the important and seemingly impossible task of replicating Jesus’ ministry throughout Israel—doing so without wallet or backpack or change of clothing—there as sheep among wolves, being hauled before public officials and having to give answer, demonized—literally—you’re a devil just like that Jesus—threatened with death, denied, family turned against them… tough stuff they, and we, are called to… again, enough to get into a crouch, enough to make you expect the worst from everyone you meet—enough to demonize right back, after a while…

Yet, we don’t stop at verse 39, thank God—Jesus leaves his disciples, and us, with some comforting words.

Guess what—there are people waiting to hear the Word of God from you. People who will welcome you, whose hearts are ready to hold the Gospel, whose ears are ready to hear–the field is ripe and ready and wide, it is only the harvesters, the workers, we disciples, who are few.

There will be some on your disciples journey who are willing to welcomes you as Jesus, hear your words of prophetic admonishment, be built up in righteousness, and acts of charity.

What I’m saying is even as we give the Gospel in many ways, we will also receive it—there will be acts great and small upholding you in your ministries—be prepared for God to revive you, through other people, to receive you kindly—we can’t start with the assumption of persecution—there are also moments of great grace in this vocation of ours. Receiving grace from those you tell about the Kingdom of Heaven, opens them up to the hearing and the experience.

You teach a kid about the faith—you may yourself hear the faith afresh. You serve the hungry a meal, you too are fed. You visit a lonely neighbor, your lives are linked by that connection… It matters to them! They care so deeply that you care for them! You’ve brought the very Kingdom of Heaven near, that ain’t nothin’!

 

And these God moments don’t happen if you are closed off… but they can also eat you alive if you show up emotionally naked.

That’s why I recommend trying on a duck-feather kind of attitude toward this calling that Jesus has on our lives. Duck Feathers are a happy medium between the constraining armor of cynicism and the vulnerability of naïveté. Water rolls off a duck’s back, yet they are still free to move and act and fly!

 

HYMN of the DAY                 “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus”                 red book # 802

APOSTLES CREED

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS

Also, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, red book # 592, red book # 497

Sending

Blessing

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG                     “All Are Welcome”                    red book # 641

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

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