Peace, it don’t come easy
Love, it don’t come free
Martin Luther King said
Lord, I have a Dream
Boys and girls of every
Colour walking side by side
Brother, sister, come on
Turn that darkness into light

Welcome to the gathering of St. Mark’s Church (Sunday worship under one roof) Sunday, November 8th 2020.

Galatians 3:26-29

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Together, gathered and enfolded by the love of God, we worship Jesus Christ in whom God begins a new creation, new humanity, weaves a new cloth that identifies us anew. Clothed with Christ in baptism, by water and Holy Spirit, God dyes the cloth of new humanity with a colourful palette of all inclusive radical unity. We shed of the old ways that discriminate and divides people in arrogance and pride. For, in him, nothing shall divide us. For in Christ, nothing shall divide us from God’s love. So we put on Christ Jesus in joy of celebration for in him we are one, in him we are heirs of promise of hope, in him we are all children of God. Family of God in Christ Jesus, as we worship, let us rejoice in the one who baptizes us in water and Holy Spirit who clothes us with Christ that we may be a new family shedding our old ways and being known in the way of Christ that colours this world brightly.

I invite you now to a time of prayerful reflection.

Prayerful Reflection:


Side by Side by Wilder Adkins

Peace, it don’t come easy
Love, it don’t come free
Martin Luther King said
Lord, I have a Dream
Boys and girls of every
Colour walking side by side
Brother, sister, come on
Turn that darkness into light

Song:                          ‘Come To The Water’

Welcome and Notices:

Praying the Psalm:

We will pray a psalm together. Before we do, let me give an explanation. This psalm arises from a great internal struggle a striving for a pure heart. The poet comes face to face with his own brokenness and sin. There is dismay at the persistence of sin as if stained by it, as if we were born this way. So God is implored, God whose love is unfailing. For even in the womb God is present to us. There is a resounding hope that God will not leave us in this state, that God will recreate and renew us, cleanse us of our stains to be what God has always intended – pure hearted with a steadfast spirit. God will not leave us in despair but restore to us joy, willing us and sustaining us.

Family of God, do we strive for a pure heart? Have you been dismayed by the persistence of your brokenness and sin in our inner thoughts, in our way of being towards one another? Let us come to God who created us, who can recreate us. Let us be bathed in God’s love and compassion. Let us bare all to who does not leave our side as we have seen in Jesus Christ, our God, our brother, who comes to us in own shoes to recreate and restore our being from the inside out. With a penitent heart and a resounding hope let us pray the psalm together.

Please respond with the words in bold.

Psalm 51 (NIV) abridged for worship

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Prayer for Others:

We respond with a song; the Lord’s Prayer [offering to be brought up during the chorus “Amen”]:

Offering and Dedication Prayer:

Song:                          ‘Take My Gifts’

 Baptism of Naomi Saehee Kim led by Charissa Nicol

Song:                          Aaronic Blessing

Scripture: Acts 2:37-42 and Hebrews 11 (abridged)

Acts 2:37-42            Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Hebrews 11              Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, all of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.

If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

They were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

This is the Word of the Lord         Thanks be to God

Sermon Reflection:

So our ancestors in the faith, were seeking a homeland. But in seeking a homeland, it wasn’t something that they could return to but something that they hoped for. Because they were not seeking a homeland that is merely a piece of land but a home of peace, home of God.

They hope of this home of peace, home of God, because this is the promise of God for those who live this life as sojourners, who see this life as a journey towards God’s promise of hope. Though they were commended for their faith in the assurance and conviction of such hope, they did not receive the promise in their life.

And as so the Scripture reading from Hebrews proclaims something most amazing: “yet none of the ancestors of the faith received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Only together with us would they be made perfect. God’s promise of home, of home that is perfect, that is indeed of peace and wholeness, has this edge that seeks to include all of us. This God will go deep into the length of history and future and also traverse the width of creation, width of society and culture to bring about true home for us, for all creation.

God does this decisively in Jesus Christ. Like the length of the cross, in Christ, God reaches into history and into future generation, like the width of the cross, in Christ, God cuts across all boundaries, in order that this true home is made perfect with all of us together.

If this is to be truly home, if this is to be a home together, then perfection isn’t about neat and tidy, proper and decent, rather God has in mind for a pure heart. Our hearts are full of things – beautiful and ugly. What makes us ugly? Heart bent for war and it’s minions such as intolerance, indifference, blindness and deafness to God and therefore to our neighbours.

God calls us in Christ to repent of the things that are ugly in us for God intends for beauty, we are meant for beauty. What makes us beautiful? Fruit of the Spirit which is always ever seen together rather than apart from being together – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. So we turn away from ways that are contrary to the way of true home promised by God and hoped for by us to be perfected in Christ together and only together.

Therefore, in Christ, we are invited to be the children of this promise for this home of God, home of true peace and wholeness. Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life, in him, God trailblazes the journey home. Baptism is a visual affirmation of this – being the family of God in Christ and the journey towards true home, which God has begun in Christ.

This way to God in Christ, the way to a true home of peace and wholeness, is always a path of companionship. Though it may seem we are solitary, alone, the assurance and convition of what is hoped for and unseen is that the baptismal way is always with Jesus and with the family of God – you and I, young and old, across cultures and societies, of ages past and ages to come.

With all journey’s we need food for the journey. Food to nourish us, food to strengthen us, food to carry on the journey. Holy Communion is the feast for our baptismal way home. Just as we name this feast Holy Communion our nourishment for the journey home is the communion of Christ our God and companion together with the family of God and all those who seek a home – a taste of heaven on earth.

So let us celebrate Holy Communion with the baptismal hope that along the way home, we are blessed with a glimpse, a taste of home of God, of peace and wholeness in the presence of our God and brother, Jesus Christ, and those around us his family, our family.

Song:                          ‘In Christ Alone’

Holy Communion:

Many will come from North and South, from East and West
and sit at table in the kingdom of God.
Gathered around a table is where Jesus so often met people…
Gathered around a table where he could see people face to face, listen to their stories, share their laughter.

And here, we are gathered round a table
because this is where Jesus has promised to be
for those who want to meet him.
So accept his invitation
and feel welcome at this table.
Jesus Christ invites you to be his guests.
We take this bread and wine, the produce of earth and the work of human hands through which Jesus has promised to make himself known.
And as he said a prayer before sharing, let us follow his example.
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, for you are the One from whom we came and the one to whom we will return.
You conceived the universe, wove the world together
and hold all life in your hand.
You watch us, waking or sleeping,
you keep every tear we shed,
you hear every prayer we make,
you know both our best and our worst
and you will not let us go.

Yes, blessed is he, who was born among us incognito, who grew up without privilege or status, who walked the way to heaven through the back streets of this world, who told the deepest truths in ordinary language, who touched, healed and blessed and disturbed without fear or favour.

And so with your people throughout the world
we praise you, singing the hymn of your eternal glory.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might; heaven and earth are full of your glory,
hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who showed inclusive love
in all its unconditional glory;
who for this was crucified, died and was buried,
who for this and for us all, rose again;
who through his Spirit
is present with us here and now. 

Lord Jesus Christ, present with us now,
for all that you have done,
for all that you have promised,
what have we to offer?

Our hands are empty
our hearts are sometimes full of the wrong things.
We are not fit to gather up the crumbs from under your table.  But with you is mercy and the power to change us.

May your spirit move among us
and settle upon this bread and wine
that they may become for us
the body and blood of Christ.

Among friends gathered around the table Jesus took bread, broke it and said, “Take this and eat it. It is my body given for you. Do this to remember me.”
Then later he took a cup of wine and when he had given thanks, he said,

“In this cup is the new relationship with God made possible because of my death. Take this, all of you to remember me.”
The angels said it to the startled shepherds
and Jesus said it to frightened followers.
And now these words which come from him
are shared to make us whole and make us one.

May the peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.

All of you who hunger and thirst for a better life,

for a deeper faith,

for a better world,

here is the bread of life:
feed upon it with gratitude.

Here is the cup of salvation:
drink from it and believe.

The gifts of God for the people of God.

Song of Sending:     ‘Now As We Go’


The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forever. Amen