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Sermon and Liturgy for Ordinary 14 -Proper 9 - Year C
I Kings 21:1-22; Psalm 30; Luke 10:1-12,17-20
"As A Lamb In The Midst of Wolves"

READING:  I Kings 21:1-22; Psalm 30; Luke 10:1-12,17-20 
SERMON :  "As A Lamb In The Midst of Wolves"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
c-or14se 436000

   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 Prayer of Dedication and portions of the Pastoral
   Prayer are adapted from John Maynard, "Prayers and Litanies -
   46c. Sunday between July 3 and 9 Inclusive" as sent to the PRCL
   List on July 03 2001.  The Benediction and portions of the
   Pastoral Prayer are adapted from Nathan Nettleton, "Prayers For
   Proper 9, Year C, July 8 2001" as found at 
   The Children's Story is based on Father Max Bower, "Kids Church
   - July 8 2001" (

GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE                            (* = please stand)

* WORDS OF WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP (based on I Peter 2:9-12)
L    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
     and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
L    You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people
     belonging to God.
P    We are chosen by God so that we may proclaim the mighty acts of him
     who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.
L    Once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God. 
P    Once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy.
L    As servants of God , live as free people, doing all that God asks of
     you, knowing that as you worship him and call on his name he will
     provide for your every need and keep you safe in his arms.
P    God's love is from everlasting to everlasting,
     his righteousness endures forever.  Hallowed be his name.  Amen

- Welcome and Announcements  
- Birthdays and Anniversaries  
- Special Matters  
- Sharing Joys and Concerns


Lord God - we thank you for calling us together today in this holy place
to  worship you and to pray and sing and to hear your word.   Instruct us
with wisdom and lift up our hearts by your Spirit that we may worthily
magnify your name and walk in the way that you show us through Christ
Jesus.  We pray for your blessing - for your peace - for your hope and for
your strength - that we may be instruments of your healing and saving love
and overflowing  vessels of your saving power.  Hear our prayer and visit
us in this hour.   We ask it in Jesus's name.  Amen. 

* HYMN: "Worship The Lord"                                         - VU 401

CHILDREN'S TIME: "Travelling For Jesus"
Object:   None
Theme:    Travelling For Jesus
Source:   Based on Father Max Bower, "Kids Church - July 8 2001" as found

What travel plans do you have for this summer? 

Jesus had plans for his disciples.   He sent them out to travel their
country and to a special job as they go.  

Have you ever been given a special job (Like being given a mission) - Does
anyone know what going on a mission means?.... (explain)...

When our Soldiers went to Bosnia last year to protect the local people,
they went on a special mission.  They went to help the folk there - as
representatives of the United Nations and of Canada.

Jesus is mentioned in the bible as going on many missions to tell people
about the love of his Father.  The Bible tells of many missions by Paul
and Peter to mention just two to tell people about the love of Jesus.

In today's Bible story we read where Jesus chose 72 people, sending them
out in pairs.  He told them not to expect the mission to be easy because
they would find people who wouldn't listen to them and may even want to do
them harm.  He said not to worry about those people - but kick the dust
off from under their feet and go on to the next town and to other people -
some of whom would welcome them into their homes and feed them and look
after them as they shared the news that God's kingdom was at hand - the
news that God loves them and sent Jesus to bring them salvation.

There are times when we experience this also.  When we are doing someone a
favour and they won't listen, we have to do the best we can and just turn
our backs on them knowing we have done our best and that Jesus
understands.  Others will welcome us and receive the good news that Jesus
wants them to hear.

Jesus wants us to tell other people about God's love - and his love.  When
we are travelling this summer - or even when we go swimming - or camping
near to home - think about how you can do the things God would like you to
do - helping others, listening to them, and showing them God's love.  Some
people may not want you to do these things - but others will be accept you
and welcome you and the message of God's care and love that you bring.

     Lord Jesus - help us when we travel - to bring your love - to
     everyone we meet. - And dear Lord - protect us as we go - keep
     us safe from your enemies - and help us care for your friends -
     even as they care for us - as we visit with them. - Amen.

     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

     (NIV)  Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard
     belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite.  The vineyard was in Jezreel,
     close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. {2} Ahab said to Naboth,
     "Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is
     close to my palace.  In exchange I will give you a better vineyard
     or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth." {3} But
     Naboth replied, "The LORD forbid that I should give you the
     inheritance of my fathers." {4} So Ahab went home, sullen and angry
     because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, "I will not give you the
     inheritance of my fathers."  He lay on his bed sulking and refused to
     eat. {5} His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, "Why are you so
     sullen? Why won't you eat?" {6} He answered her, "Because I said to
     Naboth the Jezreelite, 'Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I
     will give you another vineyard in its place.'  But he said, 'I will
     not give you my vineyard.'" {7} Jezebel his wife said, "Is this how
     you act as king over Israel?  Get up and eat!  Cheer up.  I'll get
     you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." {8} So she wrote letters
     in Ahab's name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders
     and nobles who lived in Naboth's city with him. {9} In those letters
     she wrote: "Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent
     place among the people. {10} But seat two scoundrels opposite him and
     have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king.  Then
     take him out and stone him to death." {11} So the elders and nobles
     who lived in Naboth's city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she
     had written to them. {12} They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in
     a prominent place among the people. {13} Then two scoundrels came and
     sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the
     people, saying, "Naboth has cursed both God and the king."  So they
     took him outside the city and stoned him to death. {14} Then they
     sent word to Jezebel: "Naboth has been stoned and is dead." {15} As
     soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said
     to Ahab, "Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the
     Jezreelite that he refused to sell you.  He is no longer alive, but
     dead." {16} When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went
     down to take possession of Naboth's vineyard. {17} Then the word of
     the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: {18} "Go down to meet Ahab king
     of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth's vineyard,
     where he has gone to take possession of it. {19} Say to him, 'This is
     what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his
     property?' Then say to him, 'This is what the LORD says: In the place
     where dogs licked up Naboth's blood, dogs will lick up your
     blood--yes, yours!'" {20} Ahab said to Elijah, "So you have found me,
     my enemy!" "I have found you," he answered, "because you have sold
     yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD. {21} 'I am going to
     bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off
     from Ahab every last male in Israel - slave or free. {22} I will make
     your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son
     of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused
     Israel to sin.'

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

RESPONSIVE READING: Psalm 30 (Voices United 757 and sung refrain)

A READING FROM LUKE 10:1-12,17-20
     (NIV)  After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them
     two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to
     go. {2} He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are
     few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into
     his harvest field. {3} Go! I am sending you out like lambs among
     wolves. {4} Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet
     anyone on the road. {5} "When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to
     this house.' {6} If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on
     him; if not, it will return to you. {7} Stay in that house, eating
     and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his
     wages. Do not move around from house to house. {8} "When you enter a
     town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. {9} Heal the sick
     who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' {10}
     But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets
     and say, {11} 'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we
     wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is
     near.' {12} I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for
     Sodom than for that town.

     The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons
     submit to us in your name." {18} He replied, "I saw Satan fall like
     lightning from heaven. {19} I have given you authority to trample on
     snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy;
     nothing will harm you. {20} However, do not rejoice that the spirits
     submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

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

* HYMN:  "You Servants of God"                                     - VU 342

SERMON: "As Lambs In The Midst of Wolves"

     O Lord, 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
     in the meditations of our hearts.  Speak, O Lord, for your
     servants listen.  Amen.

I have three questions for you today --
The first is what do we rejoice in -
The second is what do we spend most of our time doing 
- what do we work at?
And the third  is - how Christian is our rejoicing and our work?

I suspect that for many of us today
     our rejoicing,
     and our work or our activities,
has less to do with our Christian faith than we care to admit.

For all too many people in our so called Christian society
     and indeed for all too many people in the church,
faith is an add on - an extra dimension to our life as it were
but not really, when all is said and done, 
truly central to our understanding of life.

I was talking with several people Friday night about the texts that I read
this morning - and I suggested to them that I might look at how some
churches delight in the model of Christian obedience that is seen in
Elijah - that some churches feel called to go to our rulers, as Elijah
went to Ahab, and to condemn them for all the evil that they do.

Some Church people feel that this is what the Christian life is all about
- that it is about bringing justice to the world by naming the social and
political problems that exist all around us and warning people that if
they don't smarten up that "God will get them...."

These people, I suggested, rejoice in the prophetic role - the political
role - the role that legitimates confrontation with the corporations and
companies and governments of our world and which - in their minds - allows
them to try to impose their particular view of what is good upon everyone
around them.

Others, I suggested, are somewhat more inclined to rejoice
     as did the disciples in today's gospel reading 
in the power that has been given them to help people 
     - to rejoice that in Christ's name they can help heal the sick and
     cast out demons,
     - to rejoice in the power that they seem to have in prayer and in the
     fact that they can apparently do miraculous things to defeat the
     power of evil that is in the world.

It was immediately pointed out to me after I said this -
     pointed out not just by my dear wife who often corrects me, but by
     everyone else as well,
that such a message might well fall flat on its face - 
     and that it would do so because all too many Christians are totally
     unaware of the power that God gives to them and totally uninterested
     in going out and proclaiming the Gospel, should they happen to know
     it, to the world around them.

How can you talk - I was asked - about learning to delight in the fact
that our names are written in heaven instead of in the powers that God
gives us in his name - when we do not delight in or exercise that power?

The whole matter my critics said to me was a straw tiger -
     hardly anyone realizes that they have power over evil,
     and still less do most people rejoice in that power,
- so what sense would there be in talking about it?

It was even suggested to me that many church going people do not believe
that heaven exists - so what would the point be of talking about how we
should rejoice that our names are written there?

Let me tell you - it is kind of hard to have your Friday night idea for
your Saturday sermon writing shot down just as you feel you are getting

But it was helpful - because it got me to wondering about the question:
- What do you - all of you who are here today - actually rejoice in?
- Do you rejoice that your name is written in the book of life?
- Or do you rejoice only in lesser things?

How excited are we about the life that God has given us and the life that
God has promised us?  A life in which his presence is all around us, to
help us and lead us and guide us in every situation, until the day when we
shed this mortal body and put on the resurrection body and join Christ
with God in heaven?

I think that many of us have lost, if we have ever had it, the sense of
rejoicing, and the sense of excitement we can have over these things.

We lost the sense of rejoicing God wants us to have and to keep because we
have allowed ourselves to be distracted 
     by the tribulations of life,
     by the busyness of each day,
     and by the worldly care that each day brings.

Most of us - if the truth be known - put God on a back burner.  We rarely
consult his word in the Holy Scriptures.  Our prayers are neglected.  And
our meditation on God's goodness is simply ignored in the daily bustle of
our lives.

What do we rejoice in?  
What joyful hope do we hold onto to get us through each day
and to do so in the way that God intends for us?

What is important to us as we go about the course of each day -
     - is it the joy of owning a new possession, or getting the highest
     grades at school?
     - is it the happiness of watching Batman destroy the criminals of
     Gotham City,  or of forgetting ourselves in a good novel
     - is it a golf game or a ball game that gives us happiness
     - or getting a raise at work so we can spend the money on more
     lottery tickets or on more pop and chips and ice-cream during the hot
     summer days?

What do we rejoice in - what do we rejoice in while the world around us
     - while children all around us starve to death emotionally because
     their parents are abusive,
     - while our friends get divorced because one or both of them have
     never learned to share together and to work together and talk
     together about what is important?

What do we rejoice in as we see people demanding higher wages, higher
profits, and greater social services while the economy slides towards the

What do we rejoice in as we see men, women and children being destroyed by
fear and greed, by hate and by neglect....

Some might say at this point that for us to rejoice at all in the face of
the kind of problems  that I have just listed is wrong - but this view is
wrong - God wants us to rejoice - indeed he commands us to rejoice and be
happy - to rejoice and be happy in Him and in His will for us.

My friends  - it has been God's purpose - since Adam and Eve first
disobeyed his law, to get people to see that a different kind of life is
available to them; 
     and that the life that He offers to all who believe in him and follow
     him is rich and full and good, that it goes on into eternity -
     getting ever better and more fruitful as the days and the years pass
     prior to our going to Him.

If God is for us - then who can be against us?
What situation can cause us to be hurt and to perish?

Rejoice says Jesus - not in your power over demons,
     which indeed you do have when you have faith in God,
but rejoice rather that your name is written in heaven,
     that God has chosen you and has promised to protect you and help you
through every danger.

Rejoice -  that through Christ God forgives you your sins and calls you to
repentance and new life in him, a life in which - as you strive to do his
will - more and more goodness flows.

Which brings us to the second question of the day 
     - what is it that we work at?  
     - what do we strive at?  

This question can be asked in another way by asking - who is it that we
work for?

I suspect that most of us work for ourselves - and strive for our own
happiness and contentment - rather than working for God and doing the
works of God - the works in which love and care and justice and healing

I say this my friends because I know that often - without thinking - I do

Often in fact I work harder  at ensuring that I am comfortable and that my
needs are being met, than I do at serving God and helping others in the
way that he commanded.

I think we all forget at times whose we are and what we are here for - we
forget that we are cared for and worry more about ourselves than about
anything else.

We shut our eyes to the troubles around us  and focus instead upon our own

We seem to forget that God - who knows  our every need, carries us in the
palm of his hand, and blesses all those who call upon his name and walk in
his path.

Jesus commissions us all - as he commissioned the 70 disciples in today's
gospel reading to go forth and proclaim the peace of God to every place
that we enter - to bless those we meet - and to heal those who are around
us and to proclaim to all that the Kingdom of God is near to them.

     The Harvest is plentiful - he said - but the labourers are few;
     therefore ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out labourers into
     his harvest.  Go on your way - see I am sending you out like
     lambs in the midst of wolves -

Jesus instructed the 70 disciples to take nothing with them when they go
to do the works of God - no hat or coat, no purse or sandals - no item
that a man may trust in - but rather to go with only his word as their
tools and his presence as their protection.

This is our calling and our commissioning to this day.

We are called to proclaim and to show the healing love of God,
     to go house by house, work site by work site,
     camping spot by camping spot, village by village, and town by town,
and to reach out to anyone who will listen and tell them the Kingdom of
God is near; to reach out to all those around us  and show them by our
healing and tender care that the power of God is at hand.

There is a great need my friends for people to feel the power of God in
their lives  -  and to hear that the Kingdom of God is near to them and
its resources are available to them in their daily lives..

There are people everywhere looking for that hope,
     people everywhere who need the healing that the word we bear can
     provide them,
that the word we are entrusted with can give to them.

Jesus sent his disciples out to do this job of witnessing to God's love
and care  without human tools,
          without human protection,
          and without human security
because this is the only way in which the job can really  get done.
It is only as the labourers in the harvest really trust in God that they
have the power to heal others, to cast out demons, and show that the
Kingdom is at hand.

It is only as the labourers in the field themselves rely upon and trust
God that they can show others that God is in fact present and a real help
in times of trouble.

Three questions today for us think about my friends -
What do you rejoice in?
What do you work at?
And how Christian is it?

Ask yourself this and ask - I am doing the will of God?
Is my life in order?  My soul right with Christ?

Let us not grow weary in doing what is right - for - as Paul writes - we
will reap at harvest time if we do not give up.

Praise be to God - AMEN

* HYMN: "Let There Be Peace On Earth"                            - SFGP 128

Let us pray to God - first in silence - thanking God for those things that
the Spirit lifts up as we meditate - and listening for God to speak to us
about who we are and those things we need to be about.....

It is right and good to give you our thanks and praise, O God, for you
have raised us up as a new creation and written our names in the book of
life.  You created the earth in your goodness and its plentiful harvest
feeds your creatures.  Through the law and prophets you revealed yourself
as the God who heals us and makes us whole.  Through Christ Jesus, whom
you have robed in glory, you deliver us from the power of sin and death
and send us as labourers into the harvest to proclaim your nearness, to
immerse people into your healing waters, and to reap eternal life in your
Spirit.  We thank you and we pray for your assistance....  Lord, hear our

We pray to you Lord for your church and it's mission - the mission you
have entrusted to us.  Help us to be bold for you in the face of evil and
injustice - and to show forth your healing power in the face of suffering
and disease.   Bless us as we share the good news of your love - that we
may indeed be a blessing....  Lord, hear our prayer....

We pray to you Lord for the persons and situations that you have placed
upon our hearts this day.   Intercede, O Lord, and bring new hope, new
joy, new life where it is needed.  Lord hear the prayers we now lift
before you....  BIDDING PRAYER....  Lord, hear our prayer...

God of glory and love, peace comes from you alone.  Send us as peacemakers
and witnesses to your kingdom, and fill our hearts with joy in your
promises of salvation; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


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
     God of justice and love, your way commands our obedience.  We
     can do nothing apart from the blessings you bestow.  We offer
     our lives and these our gifts to You.  We pray that the work of
     Your church may be enlarged, enriched and strengthened as it
     seeks to do your will and to show compassion, justice, and mercy
     in our world of need.  Accept what we bring, and multiply its
     effectiveness, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

* HYMN: "For The Healing of The Nations"                           - VU 678

COMMISSIONING:  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.

Go in peace, love and care for one another in Christ's name,
- And may God give you mercy and peace;
- May Christ Jesus give you power over all that would harm you;
- And may the Holy Spirit produce within you a rich harvest of joy and life.
both now and forevermore.  Amen

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

copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 2001 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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