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Sermon and Liturgy for Ordinary 13 -Proper 8 - Year C
II Kings 2:1-2,6-14; Psalm 77; Galatians 5:1,13-25; Luke 9:51-62
"The Fruit of The Spirit"


READING:  II Kings 2:1-2,6-14; Psalm 77; Galatians 5:1,13-25; Luke 9:51-62 
SERMON :  "The Fruit of The Spirit"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
ac-or1213su 986000

   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.
   
   Sources:  The  first intercession of the Prayers of the People
   and the Benediction are based on ones by John Maynard, "Prayers
   and Litanies For Ordinary 13, Year C, June 1998.   The tale of
   "The Two Wolves" that undergirds the sermon is a traditional tale
   that rests in my files with the name of Vickie Smith attached to
   it and a note that says she is the author of the story.  How it
   came to me is no longer known. 

   Note: The children's time that is referenced in the sermon is a
   presentation by the children of various "fruits" of their labour
   at home and in Sunday School and will involve the placing of
   plants and pots with paper plants and signs in them in various
   places in the sanctuary.  The fruit of the Spirit will be held up
   in this way.  A large stuffed toy frog with the words "Fully
   Reliant on God" written on the paper lily pad that the frog sits
   on will also be present.  Even without the children's
   participation it is possible for the story teller or preacher to
   place various signs and objects around the church that speak of
   the fruit of the Spirit and to modify the lines in the sermon
   accordingly.  The children's time presented in this file is a
   traditional Tator Family story as presented by Charles
   Kirkpatrick and subsequently modified by me.


GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE                            (* = please stand)


* ENTRANCE AND LIGHTING OF THE CHRIST CANDLE                               


* WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP   (Based on Psalm 1 and John 15:5)
L    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 
     and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P    And also with you.
L    Blessed are those whose delight is in the law of God,
     all those who find joy in studying it day and night.
P    They are like trees that grow beside a stream.  
     They yield their fruit in due season.  
     Their leaves do not wither.  
     They succeed in everything they do.
L    God's love makes the sun bright, the ice sparkle 
     and the salmon leap.
P    God's care makes the apple tree blossom 
     and the wheat turn golden.
L    God's Spirit gives life to all that lives 
     and brings forth holy abundance among all God's people.
P    Blessed be those whose delight is in doing God's will,
     those who remain in Christ and Christ in them, 
     for they will bear much fruit,
     with peace and joy 
     they will bring forth praise and glory to our God.


* PRAYER OF APPROACH
Let us pray -- We thank you O God for giving us life - and more - for
calling us together in Christ Jesus to be your family - your sons and
daughters - your chosen people.  We praise you too for the gift of the Holy
Spirit - your presence and your power within us to help us to grow and to
do your will.   Help us to live by your Spirit and to heed it's prompting.  
Indeed, O Lord, as we gather in this sanctuary of your presence to
celebrate your love and to hear your word, bless each one who has come -
the young and the old and those between - so that we might draw closer to
you and to one another and, strengthened by the same, return to the world
refreshed and renewed.  We ask it in the name of Christ Jesus.  Amen


* HYMN:  "Jesus Calls Us"                                          - VU 562


CHILDREN'S TIME 
Title     The Tator Family
Theme:    Various ways of being
Object:   Potatoes of various sizes and shapes
Source    With some modifications it is based on a traditional tale as
          presented by Charles Kirkpatrick, sermons4kids.com, Ordinary 13,
          Year C, June 27, 2004.  Used with permission.

     But the fruit of the Spirit is love,  joy, peace, patience,
     kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  
     (Galatians 5:22-23)

Good Morning...

You know, a church is very much like a family.  Each member of the family
is different and has his own special identity and his own personality.  

This morning, we have a very special family with us to show us how each
member of the family may be different and how members of our church family
may be different too.  (Bring out the bag of potatoes and show it)  

The family that I have with us this morning is the Tater family.  (Bring
out a large potato and then in turn various others as you introduce the
family)  The Tater family is made up of a father named Dick Tater, a mother
whose name is Sweet Tater, a teenaged son named Speck Tater, a daughter
named Emma Tater, another boy called Agi Tator and two children in the
nursery.  They would be the Tater tots!

The father, Dick Tater always has to be the boss.  He always tells everyone
what to do.  He wants to be chairman of the deacons, or at least the
personnel committee.  If he can't be the boss, he won't even come to church
at all.  He loves to tell people what to do and how to do it and hates
being told what to do or how to do it.

The mother, Sweet Tater, always has something nice to say about everyone. 
She never insists on having her own way and she would never get mad or get
her feelings hurt if she didn't get her way.  She really shows what the
Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The teenaged son, Speck Tater just doesn't want to get involved.  He
doesn't want any jobs, he just wants to sit back and watch everyone else do
the work.  Of course, if they don't do it to suit him, he will surely be
the first to criticize and find fault.

The daughter, Emma Tater, is more worried about what she wears to church or
school or the mall than she is about what happens in those places.  It is
very important to her that she is dressed in the latest style so that she
won't be embarrassed.  She wants every one to notice that she is very
"cool."   Sometimes Emma copies things that are just leave the rest of the
family shaking their head.

The young boy - Agi Tator - well, he just wants to stir things up all the
time.  If someone is resting he will poke them till they wake up.  If
someone else wants to watch one TV show he will ask for another instead. 
And if someone wants a quiet time Agi will be sure to want to play his
music loudly.  Agi just loves to contradict people and to say yes when
everyone is saying no and to say no when everyone else is saying yes.

Well, that brings us to the Tater tots in the nursery. I don't know how
they will turn out, but they will probably look at the other members of the
family and decide that they want to be like one of them.  They might become
a Dick Tater, a Sweet Tater, a Speck Tater, and Agi Tator or an Emma Tater. 
Let's hope that they make the right choice.


PRAYER AND LORD'S PRAYER
     Dear Lord, loving Father - thank you for giving us freedom - the
     freedom to chose - what kind of person we will be.   Help us to
     choose what is good - and to follow in the way of Jesus. - May we
     show the fruit of your Spirit - in our lives.  Amen.

And in the words Jesus taught us,  let us pray together as one family.

     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 


* HYMN: "Spirit of The Living God"                                 - VU 376


ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS AND 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 they will to see.
  Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!
  
            
A READING FROM II Kings 2:1-2,6-14
     (NIV) Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by
     a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
     Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; for the LORD has sent me as
     far as Bethel." 

     But Elisha said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I
     will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.

     Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; for the LORD has sent me to
     the Jordan."  

     But he said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will
     not leave you." 

     So the two of them went on.  Fifty men of the company of prophets
     also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both
     were standing by the Jordan.  Then Elijah took his mantle and
     rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the
     one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry
     ground. 

     When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me what I may
     do for you, before I am taken from you." 

     Elisha said, "Please let me inherit a double share of your
     spirit." 

     He responded, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as
     I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it
     will not." 

     As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and
     horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in
     a whirlwind into heaven.  Elisha kept watching and crying out,
     "Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" 

     But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes
     and tore them in two pieces.  He picked up the mantle of Elijah
     that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of
     the Jordan.  He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from
     him, and struck the water, saying, "Where is the LORD, the God of
     Elijah?" 

     When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one
     side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

L    This is the Word of the Lord
P    Thanks Be To God.


RESPONSIVE READING:  Psalm 77 (VU 791) and the Gloria Patri sung:

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

            
A READING FROM GALATIANS 5:1,13-25
     (NIV)  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm,
     then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of
     slavery.

     You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not
     use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one
     another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single
     command: "Love your neighbour as yourself."  If you keep on
     biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be
     destroyed by each other.  

     So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the
     desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what
     is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the
     sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you
     do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you
     are not under law. 

     The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality,
     impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred,
     discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions,
     factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you,
     as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit
     the kingdom of God.  

     But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
     kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 
     Against such things there is no law. 

     Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature
     with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let
     us keep in step with the Spirit.

L    This is the Word of the Lord
P    Thanks Be To God.                            


* HYMN:   "Lord, Speak To Me"                                      - VU 589

            
A READING FROM LUKE 9:51-62
     (NIV)  As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven,
     Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers
     on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready
     for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was
     heading for Jerusalem.  

     When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do
     you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" 

     But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another
     village.  As they were walking along the road, a man said to him,
     "I will follow you wherever you go." 

     Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests,
     but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." 

     He said to another man, "Follow me." 

     But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

     Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go
     and proclaim the kingdom of God."  

     Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go
     back and say good-by to my family." 

     Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks
     back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

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


SERMON:   "The Fruit of The Spirit" 

     O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds
     and in the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in 
     the thoughts that we form.  Speak, O Lord, for your servants
     listen.  Amen.

I think one of the most important things we can grab hold of today from the
children's ministry to us - is the over arching theme of what they
presented to us - and what they have so diligently worked on understanding
since Easter.

That theme - that understanding - can be summarized in one of the slogans
that is taped to these angelical creatures on the choir railing - the
slogan 

     "God can give peace if I stop and listen"

Or again - as it is written on the display board gracing the communion
table this morning:

     "God gives peace"

or - as it said on the plant pot on the same board there - that plant pot
that was on the bulletin board at the rear till today - with all the Fruits
of the Spirit growing out of it 

     "We grew fruit"

Think about that.  Think about how the scriptures say that love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-
control - all those things that people seek to have - all those things we
seek to show  to others - all those things we admire so much in those who
have them - think about how each and everyone of them is called FRUIT.

Fruit is fruit my friends.  It is grown - not made.
It arises out of something as part of a living process 
- it is not manufactured, or built, or bought.

When Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit in today's scripture reading
he contrasts it  to what he calls the acts that arise out of the Sinful
Nature - things like dissension, sexual immorality, drunkenness, discord,
selfish ambition, envy, hatred, and the like

In doing so he reminds us that both good and bad behaviours and attitudes
and states of being have a root cause - that they arise from some seed or
kernel that is found in us - and nurtured in us.

From the Spirit of God within us - nurtured by our meditation and prayer
     and worship and study - and by our efforts to do the Spirit's bidding
     comes forth good.
From the Sinful nature - that nature that sees little old me as number one
     in the world, that nature that thinks 
          more about privileges than about responsibilities
          more about rights than about duties,
          more about self than about others
     from that nature comes bad.

There is an old story that I received from Vickie Smith over the internet
quite a few years ago now that speaks of these things.

     There was a Grandfather. His little grandson often came in the
     evenings to sit at his knee and ask the many questions that
     children ask.  One day the grandson came to Grandfather with a
     look of anger on his face.   Grandfather said, "Come, sit, tell
     me what has happened today."  

     The child sat and leaned his chin on Grandfather's knee.  Looking
     up into the wrinkled, nut brown face and the kind dark eyes, the
     child's anger turned to quiet tears as he began his tale by
     saying, "I went to the town today with Father to trade the furs
     he has collected over the past several months.  I was happy to
     go, because father said that since I had helped him with the
     trapping, I could get something for me.... something that I
     wanted. 

     "I was so excited to be in the trading post.  I have not been
     there before.  I looked at many things and finally found a metal
     knife!  It was small, but good size for me, so father got it for
     me."  

     Here the boy laid his head against Grandfather's knee and became
     silent.  Grandfather softly placed his hand on the boy's raven
     hair and said, "And then what happened?" 

     Without lifting his head, the boy said, "I went outside to wait
     for Father, and to admire my new knife in the sunlight.  Some
     town boys came by and saw me.  They got all around me and started
     saying bad things.  They called me dirty and stupid and said that
     I should not have such a fine knife.  The largest of these boys
     pushed me back and I fell over one of the other boys.  I dropped
     my knife and one of them snatched it up and they all ran away
     laughing."   Here, the boy's anger returned, "I hate them. I hate
     them all!" 

     Grandfather, with eyes that have seen too much, lifted his
     grandson's face so his eyes looked into the boy's.  Grandfather
     said, "Let me tell you a story.  I too, at times, have felt a
     great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for
     what they do.  But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your
     enemy.  It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would
     die. 

     "I have struggled with these feelings many times.  It is as if
     there are two wolves inside me, one is white and one is black. 
     The White Wolf is good and does no harm.  He lives in harmony
     with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was
     intended.  It will only fight when it is right to do so, and in
     the right way. 

     "But the Black Wolf is full of anger.  The littlest thing will
     set him into a fit of temper.  He fights everyone, all the time,
     for no reason.  He cannot think because his anger and hate are so
     great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing. 
     Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for
     both of them try to dominate my spirit." 

     The boy looked intently into Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which
     one wins, Grandfather?" 

     Grandfather smiled and said, "The one I feed."

If we want to see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives -
if we want to show that fruit to others -
then we need to feed on that which will bring it about.

We got to get ourselves potted in the right pot
     We got to get ourselves sat down at the right table
          We got to get ourselves fed with the right food
               We got to get ourselves spotted in the right spot
          And praise be to God - that can be anywhere at all,
     Because God is with us - his Spirit dwells in us 
and his law and his love live in our hearts.

Love, joy, peace, 
patience, kindness, goodness, 
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Wonderful things that grow in us - if we let them,
     if we let them by turning to God -
          if we let them by becoming FROGS - as this little creature
          reminds us to be - to be ones who are  "Fully Reliant on God"

Remember the first slogan I mentioned  
- the one HERE that says "God can give peace if I stop and listen".

God can give peace - and love and joy and so much more.
All we have to do is remember to go away from our selves and to go to God.

Go to God when you feed the anger rising in you about some injustice
Go to God when you are anxious about how you will make it through the day.
Go to God when you are full of worry or fear about tomorrow.
Go to God when you feel the urge to boast about what you know or what you
     have done.
Go to God when the hormones are pulsing through your blood stream and you
     want to do what you should not do.

Feed the right wolf.  Water the right plant.  And the Spirit of God will
produce in you a wondrous harvest of all those things you need the most,
you - and our world.

Blessed be God: Father - Son - and Holy Spirit
day by day, day by day.  Amen


SHARING TIME


THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE  (Singing #400 at the start of the prayer time
and for this Sunday also between intercessions in response to the words
"Lord hear our Prayer"

Lord, hear our prayer....
             
     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!

Lord our God, we Your people come to You this day fully aware that we need
your presence and your help in our lives - yet aware as well that we often
fail to stop and to turn to you for that help.  We get  caught up in the
troubles and the turmoils of daily living - we become busy with the goals
that we have set for ourselves and those that come to us from our work and
our families and our friends.   We strive to be loving, we seek joy and
peace, we desire to be gentle and patient and kind, to show goodness, and
to have self-control - and yet these things all too often elude us.   Help
us Lord to root ourselves more deeply in you - to seek your will for our
lives - to stop and to listen for your voice when we are troubled - to
fully rely on you  when we strive to do what is right - to remember you and
trust in you when we are assaulted  - to meditate on your goodness and your
gracious will when we begin each day - so that like trees by a stream which
send down their roots to the water - we may produce by your power the fruit
of your Spirit.......  Lord, hear our prayer....

     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!

Compassionate Lord, today our children have ministered to us and shared
with us your word through skits and songs - and by their laughter and their
energy.  We thank you for the wondrous gift each child represents and pray
that each one might have the love and the care they need.  We ask that you
bless them over this summer and help them to grow in faith and love. 
Restore too the energies of those who have worked with them to encourage
them in the love of Christ Jesus.   Gracious God - grant that all children
may know the fulness of your blessings in this world.  May all the little
ones of the world who hunger be fed - those who thirst be satisfied - and
those who have no home or family be embraced and sheltered and cared for.
Empower us to do what you would have us do - so that the sound of laughter
and the sight of joyful faces may bless the world.......  Lord, hear our
prayer....

     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!

Gracious God - we remember the concerns and prayers that have been lifted
up this past week by members of this congregation and our community,
concerns and prayers that we now pray for with them... 

     * For all those who are lonely, fearful or in pain
     * for those who struggling with addictions and dependancies that
     cripple their living and harm  the world about them...

Lord, hear our prayer...

     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!

We pray too, O Lord for those who come fresh to our minds and hearts this
day - perhaps a father or a sister we have prayed for over many weeks, even
years, or a friend who is struggling to find meaning in his life - an
acquaintance who needs healing, a stranger who needs the comfort of your
Spirit as they grieve....  Lord hear now your people as they pray and name
those names, those concerns, before you....

Lord, hear our prayer... 

     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!

Thank you Lord, thank you Lord, thank you Lord.   Thank you for being our
God and making us your people.  Thank you for growing in us and for helping
us to grow.   Thank you for the ministry you entrust to us.   May your will
be done in us and by us -  both  now and forevermore.  Amen.


MINUTE FOR MISSION


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

     God of Justice and Love, of Mercy and of Power, we thank you for
     being with us and for giving to us every good gift as we turn to
     you.   We pray that these offerings from our hands may be
     acceptable to you - and we offer once again our lives to you -
     our hearts and our minds, our wills and every effort of our
     bodies, so that fruit pleasing to you might grow in us and serve
     to make your kingdom grow in our world.   AMEN.


* DEPARTING HYMN:  "We Shall Go Out With Hope of Resurrection"     - VU 586


* 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 AND THREEFOLD AMEN -                                 - VU 971
We began our service in worship.  Now we begin our worship in service.  
Go forth to serve in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and may the
     blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you
     now, and remain in you 
forever and ever.  Amen


* CHORAL BLESSING:  "Go Now In Peace"                              - VU 964


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2004
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.



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