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Sermon and Liturgy for Remembrance Day - Ordinary 32 - Year C
Remembrance / Armistice Sunday / Veterans Day
Zechariah 7:1-10; II Thessalonians 2:13-3:5; Luke 20:27-38
What Shall We Do?


READING:  Zechariah 7:1-10; II Thessalonians 2:13-3:5; Luke 20:27-38
SERMON :  "What Shall We Do?"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
c-or30sesn 448803

     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".
     Note that in Canada this is Remembrance Sunday - equivalent 
     to Veterans Day or Armistice Day in other Nations.


* CANDLE LIGHTING & GREETING
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.


* PROCESSING THE COLOURS AND "O CANADA"  - Scouts & Colour Party
     are piped in, then all (except Colour Party) sing "O Canada",
     following which the flags are "mounted"


* PRAYER OF INVOCATION
God of Life and Resurrection  - Lord of Hosts and of all who call on your
name - the spirits of all stand before You.  With kings and priests and
soldiers and saints we give you glory and blessing.   You are God over us.  
You are with us in the good times and in the bad.  You watch over all your
children.  Help us, we pray to be mindful of those things that you call us
to do, to be a people who seek the good that we may do it - and who ask
blessings so that we may bless others. Be present with us in our
remembering this day - and in it help us to truly worship you and be the
agents of your Holy Spirit, we ask it through Christ Jesus, our brother and
our saviour.  Amen


* HYMN: "Open My Eyes That I May See"                            - VU 371
            

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS
- Announcements
- Birthdays and Anniversaries
- Special Matters
- Joys and Concerns For Prayer


A READING FROM ZECHARIAH 7:1-10 
   (NRSV)  In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came
   to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev.
   {2} Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and
   their men, to entreat the favor of the LORD, {3} and to ask the
   priests of the house of the LORD of hosts and the prophets, "Should
   I mourn and practice abstinence in the fifth month, as I have done
   for so many years?" {4} Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to
   me: {5} Say to all the people of the land and the priests: When you
   fasted and lamented in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these
   seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? {6} And when you eat
   and when you drink, do you not eat and drink only for yourselves?
   {7} Were not these the words that the LORD proclaimed by the former
   prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, along with
   the towns around it, and when the Negeb and the Shephelah were
   inhabited? {8} The word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying: {9}
   Thus says the LORD of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness
   and mercy to one another; {10} do not oppress the widow, the orphan,
   the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts
   against one another.

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


CHOIR ANTHEM 


A READING FROM II THESSALONIANS 2:13 - 3:5 
   (NRSV)  But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and
   sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first
   fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and
   through belief in the truth. {14} For this purpose he called you
   through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain
   the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. {15} So then, brothers and
   sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were
   taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. {16} Now may
   our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and
   through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, {17} comfort
   your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

   Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the
   Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is
   among you, {2} and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil
   people; for not all have faith. {3} But the Lord is faithful; he
   will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. {4} And we have
   confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will
   go on doing the things that we command. {5} May the Lord direct your
   hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

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


* HYMN:  "Let There Be Light"                                    - VU 679


A READING FROM LUKE 20:27-38
   (NRSV)  Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to
   him {28} and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if
   a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall
   marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. {29} Now there
   were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; {30} then
   the second {31} and the third married her, and so in the same way all
   seven died childless. {32} Finally the woman also died. {33} In the
   resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven
   had married her." {34} Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this
   age marry and are given in marriage; {35} but those who are considered
   worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead
   neither marry nor are given in marriage. {36} Indeed they cannot die
   anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being
   children of the resurrection. {37} And the fact that the dead are
   raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he
   speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God
   of Jacob. {38} Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to
   him all of them are alive."

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


SERMON:  "What Shall We Do?"

     Bless thou, the words of my lips and the meditations of
     our hearts that they be of profit to us and acceptable
     to thee, oh thou our rock and our redeemer.  Amen

What is it that God wants us to do?
What model of behaviour should we follow?
What kind of religion should we practice?

The editorial staff of a Sunday Magazine at one time created a
"Faith in Life" award as a way of increasing its readership and
at the same time recognizing those who best demonstrated their
faith in daily living.

     The readers were encouraged to submit letters of
     nomination to the paper telling stories of those
     persons who best lived their faith each day.  A large
     number of the nominating letters that came in mentioned
     people who either  (1) had attended church regularly
     for years;  (2) had given a sizable amount of money to
     their church or favourite charity;  or  (3) had done
     both.  Many of the letters included newspaper clippings
     that showed the dedication of the person who was being
     nominated for the award.

     Some folks were surprised when the winner was
     announced.  His letter of nomination had arrived
     written in crayon - with no newspaper clippings
     enclosed.  It read:

     "Anthony is a plumber.  He helped some people fix up a
     house for my friend's family because their first house
     burned down.  He also visits my grandmother in the
     nursing home and make her happy with his stories and
     his harmonica playing.  He is a lot like Jesus.  I hope
     he wins.  But if he doesn't it won't matter.  He will
     still be the same good old Anthony."

     And it was signed "love, Anne."

What is it that God wants us to do?
How should we show our dedication and devotion to God?
What kind of religion should we practice?

Some five hundred years before Christ was born their was a war
between the great city state of Babylon and the new empire of
Persia.

As a result of that war, which was won by the Persians, the
people of Israel, who had been slaves in Babylon for seventy
years, were set free and allowed to return to their country and
start life all over again.

As is the case after all periods of war and suffering, it took a
while for things to get back to normal.

The city of Jerusalem was still pretty much a wreck.  The temple
which had been destroyed 70 years earlier was only half rebuilt,
and times were tough.  People didn't really know what to do -
especially when it came to their religion.

Today's reading from the prophet Zechariah is set in that time of
uncertainty. In that reading we heard how the people approached
Zechariah and the priests and asked them a question - they asked:

     "should we fast - and mourn in the fifth month of each
     year as we have done for so many years?

It is a question that may not make a lot of sense to us some 2500
years later, but basically what the people were asking was this:
- should we continue on with the religious practice of our
ancestors?
- should we still mourn for the destruction of Jerusalem and of
the temple?
- or should we do something else now that the city and temple are
being rebuilt?

To us, looking back over the years, the answer may seem obvious -
the fasting and mourning that the people had done was for a city
and a temple that was destroyed - so now they were being rebuilt
the people should stop mourning and fasting - and instead they
should celebrate and thank God that things were getting back to
normal

But Zechariah does not give this particular answer -- at least,
not right away - instead, Zechariah asks them 

     "when you fasted and lamented in the fifth month and in
     the seventh month of each year, was it for God that you
     fasted and mourned?  And when you eat and drink - do
     you not eat and drink only for yourselves?  And is this
     not the same thing God told you long before Jerusalem
     was destroyed - back in the days when the city was
     prosperous?"

And the Zechariah goes on to say what the people should do.  He
said

     "Render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one
     another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, or the
     poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one
     another."

This has ever been the answer of God to us when we ask the
question - what is it that God wants us to do?

Today, as we observe Remembrance Day here in the Sanctuary of God
that question is particularly appropriate - as is the answer.

There are many people who would suggest to us that Remembrance
Day is outmoded, that it is a religious observation that should
no longer be practised, that the time for remembering the
sacrifices made in wars long since past is no more - and that we
should instead get on with other things.

Some even suggest that Remembrance Day glorifies war and
encourages people to think that it is acceptable, and that to die
fighting for one's country is a good thing; and so they say -
don't do this - don't remember - instead - do something else,
speak about the horror of war, and proclaim that God is against
all violence, against all forms of man's inhumanity against man.

This my friends misses the point of Remembrance Day - it is
misguided thinking.

Misguided because it equates the act of remembering the
sacrifices made in the past by soldiers of our country with a
glorification of war and suffering.

Misguided because it considers honouring the memory of those who
have died with honouring the kind of actions they found
themselves having to make in the midst of a struggle that - in
the end - none of them really wanted to be part of - but believed
that they must be part of if others were to dwell in the freedom
and in the peace that God wants us all to have

The spirit that underlies Remembrance day is probably best found
in the poem that is most associated with it: the poem: "In
Flanders Field"

     In Flanders Field, the poppies blow
     between the crosses, row on row,
     That mark our place: and in the sky
     The larks, still bravely singing, fly
     Scarce heard amid the guns below.

     We are the dead.  Short days ago
     We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
     Loved and were loved, and now we lie
     In Flanders fields.

     Take up Our Quarrel with the foe:
     To you from failing hands we throw
     The torch: be yours to hold it high.
     If ye break faith with us who die
     We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
     In Flanders fields....

Remembrance Day is not just a time to fast and mourn. 
It is not just a time to remember those who died.
Still less is it a time to say that war that is good or
honourable.

Rather it is a time when we - as we recall those who gave
themselves  for us, 
- to remember just why it is they did what they did,
- a time to in fact remember the horror of war and vow to
ourselves - never again,
- a time to take up the torch once more and to dedicate ourselves
anew to living in such a way that we do not break faith with
those who died to bring peace to the world,
- a time to commit ourselves once again to the struggle against
evil - the struggle against the very things to lead to war in the
first place.

When Zechariah responds to the people's question 
     - what shall we do?  What religious practice should we
     practice at this time and in this place? 
he did not encourage them to mourn for Jerusalem as they had
mourned before - the days of mourning were in fact over.

Instead he told them to love truth and peace; and he reminded
them of what all the prophets had said so long before, of what
God had said long before - in the day when the land was still
prosperous, and war and slavery far from the people..

He reminded them of the promises made by God in the days of Moses
and all the other prophets - the promises that said:

If you forgot your God,
     - If you fail to keep the commandments to love God and to
     love your neighbour, who ever that neighbour may be,
     - If you do evil rather than good and act unkindly towards
     foreigners and refugees ,
     - If you steal, lie or cheat
     - If you take bribes and pervert justice and slander your
     neighbours
Then your land will be destroyed, your men killed, and your woman
and your children enslaved.

But if you do good, 
     - if you care for the widows and the orphans,
     - if you give justice in the courts,
     - if you seek to follow God rather than to grow wealthy,
     - if you obey God's laws rather than worship success and
     seek popularity
     - if you are kind and merciful to each other
Then your land will prosper and you will live long and be happy.

These are the traditions and the practices that we are asked to
remember by Paul today in his letter to the Thessalonians..
And these are the things that Remembrance Day asks to call to
mind each year as we recall those who died that we may be free.
     
What shall we do?

Take the torch - hold it high, do not break faith with those who
have died.

Live in the way that God meant you to live - in freedom and with
the intention of preserving that freedom, by doing all that makes
for perpetual freedom - and for perpetual peace; by doing
justice, and loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

Then those who died in Flanders Fields will sleep as the poppies
grow, between the crosses row on row.  AMEN


* HYMN:  "What Does The Lord Require?" (as a round)      - VU 701


JOINING TOGETHER WITH THE CHILDREN: "WHAT WE REMEMBER"
Today is the Sunday before a very special day in Canada, Great Britain, the
United States, Australia, and many other countries around the world.  How
many of you know what that day is???

It is Remembrance Day, the day we recall those who have fought and died for
their country and those who have served their God and their Country to
bring about a better world.  Each year it falls on the Eleventh Hour of the
Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month of the year.  Who knows why??? 

It is because on that day, and that hour a peace treaty was signed to end
the worst war that the world has ever seen  - the War that we call World
War One, because almost every nation in the world was involved in the
fighting.  Many people died in that war - died so that those who are left,
so that their brothers and sisters and sons and daughters and all their
neighbours might have a better life - a life of freedom and opportunity - a
life free of violence and terror.   Why do you think it might be important
to remember them???

It is important - because it not only honours their memory - a way of
saying thank you to them   but because it helps us to remember for what it
was they fought for at such a cost   and to be resolved to do all we can to
make sure that those things are never lost to us because of our own
carelessness.  It is something we do so that we might be reminded of how
much we owe to those who have gone before us   and how much we in turn owe
to those who come after us.

Today, as people who live in this beautiful town of Golden, we remember
those from our town, and from our own families, who have served our nation
in times of war. To help us do that the names of those from Golden who died
in the first and second world wars will be read out, then we will thank God
for the life he gives to all who faithful to him, and then in a minute's
silence we remember them and what they have done, followed by a traditional
song that is played on the bagpipes on Remembrance Day - Amazing Grace. 
Can we be especially silent now as two of our Scouts Canada leaders read
the names that are found on our Cenotaph. 


* READING OF THE GOLDEN CENOTAPH ROLL                 Scouts Canada Leaders

      "The following Golden and Area residents are listed as killed in
   action during World War One"

                                H. Barber
                                 W. Bell
                              E.R. Carlisle
                                D. Clark
                               C. Chalmers
                               J.S. Gordon
                                 V. Hale
                                W. Lloyd
                              W.D. Mulroney
                              A. MacDonald
                               S. McBeath
                               A. McGowan
                                A.G. Noel
                                O. Olson
                               G.F. Parson
                              B. Stebbings
                               J.A. Spence
                                G. Smith
                                J. Strath
                              A.C. Townsend
                               G.H. Widen
                                C. Young
                                    
 "The following Golden and Area residents are listed as killed in action
                          during World War Two"
                                    
                               J.A. Conner
                                B. Dunne
                               J.C. Fisher
                               W.M. Gould
                               W.M. Keays
                               W.M Lotosky
                               W.M. Mather
                                G. Moore
                               D. McBeath
                              E. Nickelson
                               H.J. Poland
                              E.C. Robinson
                              L.E. Robinson
                              R.P. Sheppard



* CONFESSION OF FAITH: (from "The Wisdom of Solomon")
L    We believe these things about those who seek to be faithful
     to God.
P    We believe that the souls of the righteous are in the hands
     of God. There no torment shall ever touch them.  
     In the eyes of the foolish they seem to have died, 
     and their departure was thought to be an affliction, 
     their going from us to be their destruction; 
     but they are at peace.
L    For though, in the sight of others, they were punished, 
     yet is their hope full of immortality.
P    Having been disciplined a little, 
     they will receive great good, 
     because God tested them and found them worthy of himself.  
L    They will govern nations and rule over peoples, 
     and the Lord will reign over them forever.
P    The most High takes care of them.
                 
* Minute of Silence

* Amazing Grace (Piper)
                    
PRAYER TIME AND THE LORD'S PRAYER
Father, we thank you for those who have gone before us to show us the way,
for those who lived and died so that their might be a greater peace than that
which came before,
for those who have been faithful and done their duty even though they knew
the cost may be high.
Reward we, we pray, those who have been faithful, 
and grant that their sacrifice may not be in vain,
but that each one of us may do our duty and serve you in spirit and in truth
so that your blessings may be known in our land and throughout our world.
Lord, hear our prayer....

Caring God, we hold before you today those places in the world where war and
civil strife are known. We pray for a true peace between Serb and Croat,
Muslim and Christian, Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Arab, and clan and
tribe.  Bless we pray those who work for peace and for justice  and an equal
sharing of those things this earth affords.  Help us to be ones who what we
say and what we do - bring hope instead of fear, trust instead of doubt, good
instead of evil.  Lord, hear our prayer...

We pray, O God of healing and of wholeness, of hope and of love, of life and
of heavenly joy, for those who were named in the sharing time this day   and
for those whose names are written upon our hearts at this time: BIDDING
PRAYER...  Lord, hear our prayer.

We ask all these things through the one who taught us to pray as one family,
saying:

   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
 
                 
* 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

   Loving and faithful God, for all that we offer and all that we receive
   may we be truly thankful.  Take and use us and these our gifts, for
   Your purpose and glory - in this place - and in places beyond. 
   Through Jesus Christ our Lord we ask it..  AMEN.


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

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


* BENEDICTION AND THREEFOLD AMEN
Go in peace, love and care for one another in the name of Jesus,   
and may May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Creator, and 
the Holy Spirit our guide,
give you grace, unfailing courage, a firm hope, devotion to truth, 
and the strength to always do and say what is good,
both now and forevermore.  Amen


* COLOUR PARTY AT FLAGS - all sing  "GOD SAVE THE QUEEN" 
- piped Recessional


copyright	- Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1998 - 2006
		please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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