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Sermon and Liturgy For Ordinary 30 - Year B
Job 42:1-6,10-17; Psalm 34; Mark 10:46-52
"The Faith To Ask and The Faith To Follow"


READING:  Job 42:1-6,10-17; Psalm 34; Mark 10:46-52  
SERMON :  "The Faith To Ask and The Faith To Follow"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
b-or30sm.y-b 575000
 
   The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon
   for the upcoming Sunday.  Hymn numbers, designated as VU are
   found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United".
   SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC.
 
   The Prayers of The People based upon those found in John Maynard
   (maynard@sympac.com.au) "Prayers and Litanies For Ordinary 30B"
   as sent to the PRCL List, October 23, 2000.  The Children's story
   is that of Charles Kirkpatrick "I Want to See Jesus", 2003 (see
   Sermons4Kids.com) and is used with permission.  I have misplaced 
   the source of the story about Fred Collier in the sermon, but 
   Fred Collier II wrote us Tuesday, June 29 2004 - "My Dad, Doctor 
   Fred Collier, is the person telling that story. When I was a kid, 
   I got to meet Mrs. Roosevelt several times. Even saw Adlai 
   Stevenson and noted the hole in his shoe. Mrs. Roosevelt always 
   served hot dogs, and my brother and I always went skinny dipping 
   in her pool. We were 5 or 6 years old. But, my Dad is the Fred 
   Collier who told the story about going thru Yale.  My name is 
   Fred Collier II. And I'm the luckiest guy in the world, because 
   Dr. Collier is my Dad.


GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE                            (* = please stand)


* WORDS OF WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP: (based on Psalm 34:1-5)
L    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,  
     and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P    And also with you.
L    I will bless the Lord at all times.
P    I will never stop praising God. 
L    I sought the Lord and he answered me.
P    God delivered me from all my fears.
L    My soul makes its boast in the Lord.
P    May all who are humble listen and be glad.
L    Proclaim with me the Lord's greatness.
P    Let us praise God's name together.


* PRAYER OF APPROACH 
Let us Pray -- Gracious and all merciful God - we give thanks to you today
for your compassion and your love.  We proclaim your goodness and your
strength and we call upon you in praise and thanksgiving.  Bless us and
bless your people everywhere this day with your holy presence.  Help us to
worship you in a manner worthy of our calling and to render to you the
tribute due to your name.  We ask it through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


* HYMN:  "Praise To The Lord, The Almighty"                        - VU 220


CHILDREN'S TIME:   I Want to See Jesus
Theme:   Praising Jesus regardless of our circumstances.
Object:  A bouquet of flowers<
Source:  The following story is that of Charles Kirkpatrick "I Want to
         See Jesus", 2003 (Sermons4Kids.com) and is used with permission.
         The prayer following the story is adapted from the one that he
         wrote.
         
      "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. 
      The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."  Mark 10:51

Isn't this a beautiful bouquet of flowers?  Can you imagine what it must 
be like to be blind and never see the beauty of things such as these 
beautiful flowers?  The gift of sight is one of the most precious of all 
of God's gifts.

There is a story in the Bible of a man named Bartimaeus.  He had never 
seen the beauty of a bouquet of flowers, because Bartimaeus was blind.  
One day as he sat begging beside the road, he heard the sound of a large 
crowd of people coming his way.  He asked someone what was happening 
and they told him that Jesus was passing by.

Bartimaeus had heard of Jesus and about how he had healed many who were 
blind.  He began to call out to Jesus.  Others in the crowd tried to get 
Bartimaeus to be quiet, but he would not be silent.

Jesus heard the voice of Bartimaeus calling out to him and he stopped and 
asked, "What do you want me to do for you?"

"Teacher, I want to see!" said Bartimaeus.

"Go," said Jesus,  "your faith has healed you."  The Bible tells us that 
immediately, Bartimaeus received his sight.

That is a wonderful story, isn't it?  Unfortunately, stories about the 
blind don't always end that way.  There are many blind people who want to 
see, and yet they are never healed.  Fanny Crosby was one of those people.

When Fanny was only six weeks old, she was left blind by an illness.  
Even though she was blind for the rest of her life, Fanny was never bitter 
or complaining.  Instead she made the most of her life by using the other 
gifts that God had given her.  She had a wonderful gift for writing poetry 
and during her lifetime, she wrote over 8000 poems.  Some of her poems were 
set to music and many of them are still in our hymnals today.

One day a well-meaning minister said to Fanny, "I think it is a great pity 
that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts 
upon you."

"Oh no!" Fanny replied.  "If I could have only one request, it would be to 
be born blind.

"Why?" asked the surprised minister.

"Because," answered Fanny, "when I get to heaven, the first face that these 
blind eyes will ever see is the face of Jesus, my Savior."

Some, like Bartimaeus, receive the gift of sight.  Some, like Fanny Crosby, 
are blind their entire life.  One thing is certain, when we get to heaven, 
we will all see Jesus.


PRAYER AND THE LORD'S PRAYER
    Loving God, we thank you - for the gift of sight - but more than 
    that - we thank you that one day - we will see you - face to face 
    in heaven. - Watch over us now we pray - and help us to bring - 
    your love and  your joy - to the world around us - just as Jesus 
    did with Bartimaeus.  Amen

    And together....

    Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom
    come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us
    this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we
    forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into
    temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom,
    the power and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen	


CHILDREN'S HYMN: "I'm In The Lord's Army"
Today, we learn a new Children's Hymn, which we will use for the next few
weeks.  It is called "I'm In The Lord's Army"

     I may never march in the infantry,
     Ride in the calvary - shoot the artillery.
     I may never fly over the enemy,
     but I'm in the Lord's Army - Yes Sir!
     I'm in the Lord's Army - Yes Sir!
     I'm in the Lord's Army - Yes Sir!
     (Repeat Song)


ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS & CONCERNS
- Welcome and Announcements     
- Birthdays and Anniversaries   
- Special Matters     
- Sharing Joys and Concerns


TIME OF SILENCE & AN INTROIT FOR THE WORD  (verse 2 - VU 371)
  Open my ears that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear
  and while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.
  Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God thy will to see.
  Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!


A READING FROM JOB 42:1-6,10-17 
     (NIV)  Then Job replied to the LORD: {2} "I know that you can do all
     things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. {3} You asked, 'Who is this
     that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things
     I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. {4} "You
     said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you
     shall answer me.' {5} My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have
     seen you. {6} Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and
     ashes."

     After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous
     again and gave him twice as much as he had before. {11} All his
     brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and
     ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all
     the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a
     piece of silver and a gold ring. {12} The LORD blessed the latter part
     of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six
     thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. {13}
     And he also had seven sons and three daughters. {14} The first
     daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third
     Keren-Happuch. {15} Nowhere in all the land were there found women as
     beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an
     inheritance along with their brothers. {16} After this, Job lived a
     hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the
     fourth generation. {17} And so he died, old and full of years.

L    This is the word of the Lord.
P    Thanks be to God.


RESPONSIVE READING: Psalm 34 (VU page 761) and the Gloria Patri (sung) 

     Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. 
     As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.  
     World without end.  Amen 


A READING FROM MARK 10:46-52
     (NIV) Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together
     with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus
     (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.
     {47} When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout,
     "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" {48} Many rebuked him and
     told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have
     mercy on me!" {49} Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called
     to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." {50}
     Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
     {51} "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind
     man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." {52} "Go," said Jesus, "your faith
     has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus
     along the road.

L    This is the gospel of our Risen Lord.
P    Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


* HYMN:  "On Eagle's Wings"                                        - VU 808


SERMON:  "The Faith To Ask and The Faith To Follow" 

     Let us pray -- in the silence of the stars, in the quiet of the
     hills and in the heaving of the sea, you speak O Lord.  In the
     words of the prophets and the message of the apostles, you speak
     O Lord.  Now we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our
     minds and the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and
     the meditations of our hearts.  Speak, O Lord, for your servants
     listen.  Amen.

At one time Bartimeaus, the blind beggar who sat by the roadside, could
see.  His life was full of light - and one can assume full of hope.

And then something happened to him.
He ended being unable to see - 
and bereft of sight - his options in life collapsed,
and he ended up a beggar, sitting by the roadside 
- hoping that someone would pity him,
- that someone would fill his bowl with food,
- or give him a few coins to purchase the things that everyone needs.

Bartimaeus had a hard hard life.  There was little sympathy in his day for
those who were blind. In some circles it was assumed that their plight was
their own fault, that somehow they deserved to be blind because of
something that they had done,
                    
In other circles the fact that you were blind meant simply that you were a
drain on precious resources - a social liability - best ignored - best left
by the roadside begging.

Because Bartimaeus was blind - he was, in many people's eyes, less that
human.  He was an object - an object to be pitied, or cursed, or ignored.

How many of us, I wonder feel as Bartimeaus must of felt?
How many of us feel cut off from the land of the living,
- prevented by one reason or another from fully participating in the life
that goes on around us, 
- unable to exercise the options that everyone else seems to have,
- hurting and alone, and wondering, wondering if perhaps we deserve what we
are experiencing?

How many of us feel trapped in the life we have?  
     in the job we have?  
     in the relationships we have?  
     in the body we have?
unable to break free,
     unable to change things?
unable to do anything but dream of how it used to be, 
or of how it should be?

And how many of us - being in that position - do anything about it? 
How many reach out for help?

How many of us reach out to our friends and neighbours and confide in them
our feelings, our needs?  How many of us actually ask our family members
for help when we need it?  How many of us even think to reach out to God
and ask that he help?

Sometimes we suffer long and hard, not because the situation cannot be
overcome, but because we are afraid to ask for help - we do not want to be
a burden to others or perhaps we do not want to seem weak to others or to
our own selves.

I know a woman who will not pray to God for herself because she thinks he
has more important things to do than listen to her.

I knew a man who will tell his wife how much he is hurting inside because
he does not think she will be interested in his plight  - so has so many of
her own to bear.

I know several people who will not ask for help with their substance abuse
problems, because they cannot admit to themselves that their problems have
become bigger than they are.

And I know children who are having a hard time coping with life who will
not ask their parents or their teachers for help because they are afraid
that they will get into trouble or, even worse, be ignored, if they do so.

There are times when we all need help,
times when if we are to survive, if we are to live, if we are to go grow, 
that we must turn to other people and to God and ask for what we need.

Doctor Fred Collier, a retired physician tells this story about his youth.

     He was a medical student in the Army Specialized Training Corps in
     1945 when World War II ended.  He was from a Kansas family that
     didn't have the kind of money he needed to complete medical school
     on his own.  And so when he mustered out of the army, he had no
     idea how he'd ever finish school, if indeed he'd ever finish it
     all.

     One day he happened to pick up a copy of a magazine in a barber
     shop.  One of the articles talked about the kindness and compassion
     of Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband, President Franklin Roosevelt
     had died just a few months before.

     That article planted a seed in Fred's mind.  He went to the local
     library and with the help of the librarian found Mrs. Roosevelt's
     home address.  Then he sat down and composed a letter telling her
     about his plight.  He wrote it and rewrote until he had it exactly
     the way he wanted it.

     When he put the letter in an envelope and dropped it in the
     mailbox, even his young wife wondered if it was worth the time and
     the postage he'd spent on it.

     To Fred's amazement, Mrs. Roosevelt agreed to meet him.  When the
     meeting ended, she promised to help him.  In the months and year s
     ahead Fred got checks through Mrs. Roosevelt from a variety of
     sources, including her own personal cheques.  Fred, in turn, kept
     her informed of his progress and sent her copies of all his term
     papers.  Her secretary said later that she always read them with
     great interest.

     Later Mrs. Roosevelt visited the couple in their sparsely furnished
     apartment.  The owner of the apartment nearly collapsed when he
     recognized the famous visitor.

     When Fred finally finished Medical School he told Mrs. Roosevelt
     that didn't know how he would ever be able to repay her.  She said
     that repayment wasn't necessary nor desirable.  Then she added "I
     will be adequately repaid if, when you are financially secure
     someday, you help out someone else who is truly deserving, as you
     were."

Doctor Fred Collier reached out for help and he received it.  
As did blind Bartimaeus.

They reached out to for help to someone they knew could help, 
they reached out to someone they hoped and prayed would help.

It is a hard thing to do, this asking, a difficult thing, a humbling thing,
but there are times when we all need help, times when we must turn to other
people and to God or perish.

The good news is that there is no situation in life that is so bad 
that someone cannot help us with it, 
that someone can not help us to overcome it,
or to bear it with a hope and a strength that transforms it, and us,
completely.

And where we cannot go to someone else for that help,
there is no situation where we cannot go to God for help 
and find the help we need.

God does not always answer our prayers in the way we had in mind,
but God does answer them in a way that is appropriate,
and God always gives us what we need
and God always gives us strength to bear what we must bear
and to bear it so well that our world changes because of it.

This is the lesson of the Garden of Gethsemane and of every dark night of
the soul.  It is the lesson of the cross and of the tomb and of all
suffering that God may ask us to bear.

It is what lies behind all transformation,
what lies behind Easter 
what lies behind new life - eternal life - abundant and rich life.

          Come unto me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
          Seek and you shall find.
          Knock and the door shall be opened to you.
          Ask - and you shall receive.

These are the promises of Christ, 
     promises that he kept time and time again in his walk upon this earth,
          promises that he still keeps from heaven as he intercedes for us
before the throne of God.

Many commentators on today's Scripture reading from Mark comment on how
blind Bartimeaus could see more blind than many people can see with their
sight.

They comment about how Bartimaeus saw Jesus as one who could help him,
how he saw Jesus as the Son of David, the Messiah.
and how, in that seeing, was not afraid to ask Jesus for what he needed.

I too am struck by this.

I am struck by it because I know how easy it is to be blind to Christ and
to ignore his presence when I am struggling with some issue, or caught up
in some situation that is hurting me and hurting someone else.

I know the faith it takes to ask God for help; the courage it takes to go
to someone and to confess your need to them; and the vision it requires to
admit your blindness and to beg for help when all about you are telling you
to be quiet.

But what strikes me even more about blind Bartimeaus is that he not only
saw Jesus as one who could help him and had the faith to ask for that help,
is the that after he was helped - and told to go his own way - he had the
faith to follow Jesus.

My friends - I tell you that God can and will help you with your problems,
that his word will give you the wisdom and the insight that you need when
you feel lost.
     
I tell you that Christ will reach out and touch you when you call upon him,
that he will give your rest when you seek it,
          
I tell you that the Spirit will give you strength when you wait upon her
and guide and lead you when you turn to her.

And I tell you - that God - the Father, the Son and The Spirit - will do
all this freely for you, without demanding that you do anything special, or
be anyone special.

God will help you,
just as Eleanor Roosevelt helped Fred Collier -
in many and various ways - 
sometimes through others, sometimes directly within your hearts,
and always without expectation of return or repayment.

After he helps those who have had the faith to turn to him for help, 
Jesus almost always says, as he said to Bartimeaus, 
"go -  your faith has made you well."

But what a wonderful thing it is my friends,
what a wonderful thing it is if when we have faith to ask,
we also have the faith to follow
and to learn to do for others what has been done for us.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Don't be afraid to turn to your friends
and your neighbours and share your needs; and don't be afraid to turn to
God - who can help you when none other can.

Don't be afraid to ask,
and after asking  - in perfect freedom - pass on what you have received,
and follow the one who gives all that he has for you.

Praise be to God for the salvation he grants us through Christ Jesus our
Lord, our brother, our friend, and our servant.  Amen.


SHARING TIME


THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE  (Singing #400 at the start of the prayer time. 
Our response to "Lord, hear our Prayer" is "And in Your Love Answer")
               
          Lord, listen to your children praying,
          Lord, send your Spirit in this place;
          Lord, listen to your children praying,
          send us love, send us power, send us grace.
		  
Eternal God, You have been our resting-place through the ages.  Generations
come and pass away, but You abide forever.  We praise you for Your presence
among us.  You bring us comfort amid our trials - clarity where confusion
persists - peace in the midst of conflict - and hope of eternal life.  Hear
us now as we pray for Your Church and the needs of the world, for You are
the God of our lives.  Lord hear our prayer... (And in your love answer).

We pray for the Church of Jesus Christ; that, begun, maintained and 
promoted by the Holy Spirit, it may be true, engaging, glad, and active,
doing your will.  Let Your church be always faithful, O God, and ready to
promote the cause of compassionate love and peace... Lord hear our
prayer...

We pray for the United Church of Canada - For our Congregations, our
Presbyteries and Conferences, and our General Council.  We pray especially
for Your Church here in Golden.  We pray that as Christian disciples we may
be a faithful witness in word and deed to the Good News of Christ's
Love.... Lord hear our prayer...

We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the 
word.   We pray that everywhere upon this earth there may be justice and
peace... Lord hear our prayer...

We pray especially today for the well being of people in parts of the
world affected by drought and famine.  We continue to pray for peace in
the Middle East... Lord hear our prayer...

Lord, we pray for all people in their daily life and work - for our 
families, friends, and neighbours, and for those who are alone.  We name
before you individuals and families experiencing personal hardship or
facing and uncertain future, those who are separated from loved ones, those
who grieve this today, and those who are sick in hospital or ill at home. 
Hear us Lord as we now lift up those people and those situations you have
placed upon our hearts...  BIDDING PRAYER....

Lord, hear our prayer...

Lord in Your love, hear all our prayers - both the spoken and unsaid.  May
our prayers further Your purposes for us all, and bring us to that place
where we may experience the joy that has been given to your faithful down
through the ages - a joy everlasting.  AMEN.


MINUTE FOR MISSION


* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS:  The Offering Is Received and as it is presented
all stand for The Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow - VU
#541) and the Prayer of Dedication

     Thank you God for hearing us when we call upon you.  Thank you
     for coming to us in Christ Jesus and for granting to us those
     things we most need from your hands.  Accept we pray these tithes
     and offering - our gifts of gratitude - and bless them and us
     that they and we may serve to bring your saving word to others
     and glory to your name.  Amen.


* DEPARTING HYMN:  "I, The Lord of Sea and Sky"                    - VU 509


* COMMISSIONING (unison):  In the power of the Holy Spirit, we now go forth
     into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the body
     of Christ.


* BENEDICTION & THREEFOLD AMEN                                     - VU 971
Go in peace, love and care for one another in Christ's name,
- and may God increase within you your joy and your laughter, 
- may the living Christ increase your love and your trust, 
- and may the Spirit increase your strength and your caring;  
both now and forevermore.... Amen


SUNG BLESSING:  "Go Now In Peace"                                  - VU 964


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2000, 2003
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.



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