May 29, 2022
Seventh Sunday of Easter
THE PEOPLE OF GOD GATHER
Welcome & Announcements
May the grace of God be with you! Hello everyone. Welcome to Knox United Worship service today. It is May 29, Seventh Sunday of Easter. Everyone is welcome. May God bless and love all who are joining us in the service both in-person and online. Hopefully, God will protect the world from COVID-19 and help us to overcome this crisis. East Central Alberta Ministerial meeting will take place at Coronation Evangelical Free Church at 11:30 am on June 1. I am very sad to inform you that On May 23, Tom Stewart passed away. May God comfort all his family and his friends in this time of grief. There will be a funeral service for Tom Stewart on Tuesday, May 31 at 2 pm in Knox United Church. We remember that Gladys Radefeldt, Elaine Devine’s mother, passed away on December 27, 2021. May God comfort all her family and her friends in this time of grief. There will be a burial for Gladys Radefeldt on Friday, June 3 at 2 pm at the Lakeroad Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the Gem Centre. Everyone welcome. On April 6, Bruce Nelson passed away. There will be a graveside funeral service for Bruce Nelson on Saturday, June 4 at 2 pm at the Lakeroad Cemetery. May God comfort all his family and his friends in this time of grief.
Call to Worship together:
One: Pay attention!
All: Where? What?
One: There! On the horizon before us. What do you notice?
All: A new heaven and a new earth.
One: Pay attention!
All: Where? What?
One: There! On the horizon behind us. What do you notice?
All: The old heaven and the old earth - passing away.
One: Pay attention!
All: Where? What?
One: Right here! With us. In us. Around us. What do you experience?
All: The communion of the Holy Spirit. The peace of God. The love of Christ.
One: Hallelujah! Amen!
Written by Richard Bott, Vancouver, B.C. Gathering, Lent · Easter 2022, 43 Used with Permission.
Hymn Morning Has Broken VU#409
Opening Prayer together:
One: Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, we praise you. We declare our intention to abide in you, knowing that you will be in us. In this holy place of worship, we acknowledge your call to believe, to love you, and to follow you. You, our advocate and guide, so loved the world that you fulfilled your covenantal promise to share with us life eternal through the risen Christ. All goodness is yours, O God, Creator, Redeemer, and Spirit. May your peace fill our hearts to overflowing. Alleluia! Amen.
Written Sandra Litt, St. James U.C., Waterdown, Ont. Gathering, Lent · Easter 2022, 45. Used with Permission.
Prayer of Confession together:
One: By the empty tomb, we have hope.
All: The space of death becomes the assurance of new life.
One: In the upper room, we find hope.
All: The bonds of fellowship are revived and restored.
One: By the water’s edge with the disciples, we have hope.
All: There is work to be done in the spirit of the risen Christ.
One: Where apathy and discouragement are found, we proclaim hope,
All: for in the risen Christ, neither sickness nor discouragement,
One: nor testing times, not even death itself, will defeat us.
(a time of silent reflection)
Words of Assurance
One: You are risen with Christ; nothing will stop you now!
All: In the love of Christ, we are forgiven and encouraged. In the spirit of Christ, we know God’s peace and inspiration.
One: God’s love will sustain you in all the days that lie ahead.
All: Thanks be to God! Amen.
Written by David Sparks, Summerland, B.C. Gathering, Lent · Easter 2022, 47. Used with Permission.
WE LISTEN FOR THE GOOD NEWS
Hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty VU#220
Prayer of Illumination together:
Ever-living God, may your Easter story become our story. May the wonder and awe of lives made whole take hold deep in our soul. May we receive and live the miracle account of resurrection. We pray in the name of the enlivening Christ. Amen.
Written by Laura J. Turnbull, while at Trinity U.C., Creston, B.C. Gathering, Lent · Easter 2022, 48. Used with Permission.
Scripture Readings Nonavee Kary
Acts of the Apostles Acts 16:16-34
Epistle Revelation 22:16-17
Gospel John 17:20-26
Response to the Scriptures together:
May the Spirit bless us with wisdom and wonder as we ponder the meaning of these words for our lives.
Children’s Moment Jesus Loves Me VU#365 (verse 1)
One day, Amy worked hard outside and came back home. Her face was covered with sweat. I said that she had better take a bath and take rest. After she entered the manse, Miran and I were outside to clean up the backyard. And, we realized that the door was locked and I did not bring the key to the door. I rang the bell repeatedly, but there was no answer from Amy. We guess that she might take a shower, so Miran and I called her name near the location of the bathroom, “Amy, Amy, where are you? Please, open the door. Please!” But, she did not answer me. I was sure that she must be inside because we heard music, which Amy loves to enjoy, going on from inside the manse. It was getting colder outside. Miran and I wanted to go inside, but we could not because we did not have the key. I continued to call her, “Amy! Please, open the door! Please!” Finally, she came out of the manse. As I guessed, she did not hear me when she was taking a shower. While she was taking a rest in her room, lying down on her comfy bed, she heard someone say something outside. Later she realized that she locked the door inside as I taught her to do! I was enlightened to know the importance of carrying the key to the door. We cannot open the door and enter without the key.
This is the case with our life of faith. How can we enjoy the presence of God on earth? What is the key to the Kingdom of God? According to Psalm 100:4, it is praise with thanksgiving! The verse says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.” I love this verse because praising the name of Jesus Christ with thanksgiving under any circumstances will please and move God, and God will open the door to a heavenly life. Praising God with true hearts in difficult situations seems possible only when they truly trust in God. In the face of hardships, people may complain to God about what they are experiencing, holding grudges against God with disappointment. How can they praise the Lord with thanksgiving in painful situations? It seems really difficult. That is why God blesses those who praise the Lord with thanksgiving in all circumstances. God who is pleased with praise and thanksgiving would resolve any problems and help those who praise God to carry out their mission. It was Paul and Silas who overcame sufferings by praising the Lord in prison! Paul and Silas were traveling toward Asia. They believed that they were supposed to deliver the gospel in the province of Asia. However, they changed their plan after they Paul saw a vision that they were called by a Macedonian man. Paul and Silas began to move to Macedonia for their mission. They arrived in Philippi and stayed there for several days. One day, they met a girl. She was a fortune teller. She made big money for her master by telling fortunes. She followed Paul and Silas and said, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” She did it over and over again. Paul was so frustrated at her acts and words. Finally, Paul cast off the demon from her, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” What a great and surprising moment! Praise and glory to the name of Jesus Christ. But, her masters were angry at Paul because they could not earn big money from the girl any more. They framed Paul and Silas for spreading illegal cultures and customs. Paul and Silas were stripped and beaten brutally. Moreover, they were put into prison, with shackles on their feet! How miserable and disappointing their situation was! They were suffering just because they changed their plan to go to Asia. What if they had not changed their ideas, had not followed the vision Paul saw but continue to move towards Asia? Well, they might not have been beaten severely and put into prison in miserable conditions.
In prison, Paul and Silas might feel frustrated and mad at God. They might want to cry loudly and blame God on their hardships! However, they were completely opposite. At midnight, they began to pray and praise the Lord. Other prisoners listened to their prayer and praise. All of a sudden, an earthquake occurred, shaking the foundation of the prison, the doors of the prison opened, and “the chains of every prisoner fell off!” Discovering that the doors were open, the jailer believed that the prisoners had run away. He was about to kill himself with his sword. At that very moment, Paul shouted, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” Terrified of what was going on, the jailor begged Paul and Silas for help and mercy, saying, “Sir, what must I do to be saved?” Then, Paul said to him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” Finally, the jailor followed Paul and Silas. The jailor and all his family members were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ! It is Paul and Silas’ praising of God with thanksgiving which opened the door of the prison and made the way toward salvation for the jailor and his family!
I believe that God blesses those who give praise and thanks to the Lord, then the door opens to a heavenly and blessed life even in darkness or suffering. This was the case with South Korea. In the 1970s and 1980s, South Korea was achieving rapid economic growth and overcoming poverty. However, where there is light, there is shade. South Koreans were undergoing military dictatorships during that period. The military regimes suppressed democratization movements harshly and controlled and manipulated the media. Many citizens and social leaders were arrested and put on trial. It was churches which, like refuges, played an important role in comforting and encouraging Korean citizens with praise and prayer. Furthermore, in darkness, there were some Christian leaders who proclaimed the coming of light and the realization of a new heaven and a new earth in resistance to military regimes. One of major leaders was Rev. Jaejoon Kim, called Janggong, a theologian and one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea. As a great scholar, he was admired by many Christians. But, he did not sit on his hands in the face of injustice. Janggong led many democratization movements, and finally became the great leader of Christian social movements. Later, he moved to Canada and worked for Korean democratization internationally together with his son-in-law, Rev. Sangcheol Lee, who as a minister of the United Church of Canada, became the 32nd moderator of the United Church of Canada in 1988.
Under the military dictatorship, Janggong wrote a hymn, which was included in the Korean hymnbook. The hymn is regarded as a reflection of Revelation. In particular, in Revelation 22:16, Jesus identified himself with “the bright morning star.” Expressing the hope for the coming of Jesus Christ on the Korean peninsula, the hymn delivers love for our nation and recognizes the calling of Koreans from God to their mission. In particular, verse 3 of the hymn was based on a lyric written by Rev. IkHwan Moon, a theologian, great pastor and social leader. Rev. Moon wrote a verse when he was put in prison for his engagement in a democratic movement. Janggong later revised Moon’s lyric and added to his hymn. This hymn, titled “Unto Hearts in deep Night Pining,”, “어둔 밤 마음에 잠겨” in Korean, shed a light in darkness, comforted Korean Christians and gave hope whenever they sang the hymn. Today, let me try singing the hymn, verse 1, both in Korean and in English in celebration of Asian Heritage Month. (singing the hymn) Since then, South Korea has been blessed by God to be one of developed countries. I believe that God listened to the prayer of Korean Christians and helped them to establish a democracy and make economic development. In particular, it was the United Church of Canada that strongly supported Janggong’s ministry and his works.
Anyone may go through dark times, as we have struggled during the COVID-19 outbreak. In the face of the global pandemic, our two-year life was like that in prison. Many churches were in danger of not continuing their ministries, including worship services. This unprecedented crisis confused and bothered us for over two years. However, we did not abandon our faith nor stop carrying out our ministries. Even in tough times, we tried our best to serve our congregation with our true hearts. Your great dedication and efforts remain unforgettable. By God’s grace, we were blessed to continue Sunday worship services online with praise, prayers and thanksgiving. We were given the opportunity to broaden our knowledge of how to handle this kind of crisis with new technologies such as online technology. How surprising and amazing it is that our worship services are now hybrid! We are able to join in Knox United worship services both in person or online. Moreover, worship services are extending to those who are out of town, in Edmonton, in Calgary, in Great Britain or in South Korea! Our ministries are global! I believe that God blesses true worshippers who lift the name of Jesus Christ with their sincere hearts even in difficult times. How powerful and inspirational praising Jesus Christ is in our life! It is praising the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, that opens the door to the blessed life! With praise and prayer, we are called to become one in God through our faith in Jesus Christ. Let us open this door by praising Jesus Christ with our true hearts! May we all be blessed by God to live a blessed and heavenly life with praise and thanksgiving and to carry out our mission to love God and our neighbours who are suffering on earth, and to achieve oneness in God’s love.
Let us pray. Dear God, open and purify our hearts and minds. We learned that God saved Paul and Silas when they praised the Lord, and blessed them to deliver the gospel successfully to the jailer and members of his household. Let us open our lips and praise God’s amazing grace and love even in tough times. Inspire us to carry out our mission to spread the gospel to the world with thanksgiving and enthusiasm. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
WE RESPOND IN FAITH
Hymn I Love to Tell the Story VU#343
Let us give offerings and gifts with joy and thanksgiving to support Christ’s ministries and missions.
Offertory Hymn Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow VU#541
Offertory Prayer together:
Dear God, scripture confirms that we further your kingdom when we show kindness and compassion to another person. We pray that Jesus’ life and teaching may always be our example for sharing intentionally our talents, prayers, time, and offerings. We humbly give this offering as an expression of our faith. Amen.
Written by Philip Aldis, Bethel-St. Andrew’s U.C., Fitzroy Harbour, Ont. Gathering, Lent · Easter 2022, 49. Used with Permission.
Prayers of the People
Dear God, we thank you for leading us to praise and glorify God. May God fill our hearts and minds with your mercy and grace and empower us to continue our ministry. We are returning to normal by God’s grace, though COVID-19 is still spreading. However, we also hear many news of disasters and global crisis. Still, the Russia-Ukraine war is continuing, bring about huge number of casualties. In many conflict areas, military tensions are increasing. Moreover, people are worried about the spread of monkeypox. Last week, we were saddened to hear the news that many children were shot dead in Texas, the US. May we show our sympathy and prayer for the victims in many global crises. Lord, eradicate evil and make peace and justice on earth. Let us seek justice and resist evil, and work together in pursuit of love, justice and peace. May God stop the spread of COVID 19 and monkeypox, heal those who are confirmed, and protect us all, including all the residents and all the staff members of the lodge and the long-term care centre. Inspire local, provincial, federal and global leaders to cooperate with each other to go through hardships with wisdom and knowledge. Comfort and encourage those who are struggling in tough times to rise up again.
Holy Lord, we are grateful to you for helping us to continue our ministry. May God bless Knox United Church and strengthen our friendships. Bless all families and those who work for farms, ranches, businesses and workplaces. Give us beautiful weather and send us rain at proper times so that farmers may be able to produce great crops and give glory and thanks to the Lord. Let us all commit ourselves to carrying out our mission to love God and show love for others. We pray for our children, the next generation, our family members and friends who live, study, work, or travel inside or outside Canada. Help them to realize their dreams. Inspire them to stay connected to God. Protect them from diseases, crimes, or accidents. We pray for the elderly who worked for God and served others in our community. Let us continue to respect and honour them. Lead us to gain meaningful and powerful lessons from the elderly and pass these teachings to the next generation. Lead us to drive carefully and safely, and to live a blessed, healthy and righteous life.
Loving God, we pray for our friends or family members who suffer and fight physical diseases, feel depressed, suffer from interpersonal or family problems, experience social or economic crises. Help them to maintain hope and to stay connected to God. Heal them of their diseases by your healing grace. Resolve every problem. Let us take a moment of silent prayer for our family members or friends who are suffering or struggling (Silent Prayer)
The Lord’s Prayer
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. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Departing Hymn Will You Come and Follow Me VU#567
One: Now, it is time to carry out your mission to the world. Make us true worshippers who praise the name of Jesus Christ and glorify God. Inspire us to go through dark times with praise and prayers. Let us maintain hope for the Lord and keep our faith in God who listens to our prayer and praise. Do not be afraid or ashamed. The Holy Spirit is with you.
One: The grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God, the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, our families and descendants, farms, ranches, businesses and workplaces, Consort, Canada and the world, now and forever and ever. Amen.
Threefold Amen (Unison) VU#967
For Rev. OhWang Kwon’s Sunday sermon, scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.