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Sermon and Liturgy for Ordinary 32 - Proper 27 - Year A
(Remembrance Day Sunday)
Joshua 24:1-3,14-25; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13
"Tending The Lamp - Keeping The Light Burning"



READING:  Joshua 24:1-3,14-25; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13
SERMON :  "Tending The Lamp - Keeping The Light Burning"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
a-or32sm 51400

	The following is focused more on the observance of Remembrance Day
	(what is known as Veterans Day in the USA), than upon the texts for
	this Sunday.  Those texts are used, however, and undergird the 
	liturgy.  In Canada Remembrance Day falls on November 11th - and it
	is a tradition to observe elements of Remembrance Day in Church the
	Sunday before that date.  Often members of the Scouts and Legion 
	members hold a "church parade" on that day.


* WORDS OF WELCOME
L     Good Morning -  
P     Good Morning
L     Please remain standing for the Colour Parade and For our
      Prayer and Hymn....


* SCOUTING COLOUR PARADE


* CALL TO WORSHIP 
L     The Lord be with you.
P     And also with you.
L     Blessed be the nation whose God is the Lord.
P     Happy are the people who serve the God of Jacob.
L     The Lord God has promised to be with and watch over all
      those who trust in and obey him.
P     The Mighty One of Israel is our God.  We worship and obey
      him.  We remember his law. 
L     We gather to thank him for all his mercies, to remember
      those who have given themselves for the sake of justice
      and truth, and to pray for his blessings to be upon us and
      those who rule over us.
P     We praise and we thank the Lord our Maker.  We call upon
      his name and ask for his peace.


* PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Let us pray - Dear Lord God, bless us now in the purpose we have
declared.  Visit us with your Holy Spirit and help us to remember
the stories of our faith and of our nation.   We ask in the name
of Jesus - Amen.


* HYMN:  God Save Our Gracious Queen              - Red 218
      -- The Colours will be placed in their stands at the end
      of the hymn


SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS - ANNOUNCEMENTS


EPISTLE READING: - Joshua 24:1-3, 14-25
      A reading from the Book of Joshua in the 24th chapter

      Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel and summoned
      the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of
      Israel; and they presented themselves before God.  And Joshua
      said to all the people, "Thus says the Lord, the God of
      Israel: Long ago your ancestors - Terah and his sons Abraham
      and Nahor - lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. 
      Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led
      him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring
      many.  Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in
      sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your
      ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the
      Lord."

      "If you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day
      whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors
      served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the
      Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and
      my household, we will serve the Lord.""

      "The people answered, "Far be it from us that we should
      forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord
      our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land
      of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those
      great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the
      way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom
      we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the
      peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we
      also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.""

      "But Joshua said to the people, "You cannot serve the
      Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will
      not forgive your transgressions or your sins.  If you
      forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn
      and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you
      good.""  And the people said to Joshua, "No, we will serve
      the Lord!""

      "Then Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses
      against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve
      him." And they said, "We are witnesses."  He said, "Then
      put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline
      your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel."  The people
      said to Joshua, "The Lord our God we will serve, and him
      we will obey."  So Joshua made a covenant with the people
      that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at
      Shechem." 

     This is the word of the Lord 
     Rx -Thanks be to God


FAVOURITE HYMN OR ANTHEM: "Lift Up Your Hearts"


RESPONSIVE READING: Psalm 78:1-7
L     Listen, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to
      the words of my mouth. 
P     We will speak of God's mysteries; 
      we will utter wise sayings from of old, 
      things that we have heard and known, 
      things that our ancestors have told us.
L     Do not keep the wisdom of God from your children; 
      tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord.
P     We tell them about God's power and might.  
      We will speak of the of the wonderful things that he has done
L     God established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in
      Israel.
P     God told our ancestors to teach his commandments to their
      children, so that the next generation might know them,
      and so that they, in turn, might teach their children 
      - those yet unborn.
L     God commanded this so that they would put their trust in
      Him, so they would not forget what he has done, but
      instead always obey his law.

* The Gloria Patri - Sung *


GOSPEL READING: Matthew 25:1-13 (Two Readers)
1)    A Reading from the Gospel According to Matthew, chapter
      25, verses 1 to 13

2)    Jesus said: The kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten
      bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the
      bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish, and five were
      wise.

1)    When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with
      them;  but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 
      As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy
      and slept."

2)    At midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the
      bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'"  Then all those
      bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.

1)    The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil,
      for our lamps are going out.'  But the wise replied, 'No!
      there will not be enough for you and for us; you had
      better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves."

2)    And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and
      those who were ready went with him into the wedding
      banquet; and the door was shut."

1)    Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, "Lord, lord,
      open to us."  

2)    But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you. 
      Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the
      hour."

    The Gospel of Christ 
    Rx -Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ 


CHILDREN'S TIME
Object:  Remembrance Day                          
Theme:   Remembering What They Did
Source:  Thoughts For Sharing - Peter Longmore (Scouting Book)

In 1984, close to the 40th anniversary of the World War Two's D-
Day Invasion, a group of Canadian Venturer's (that is the group
to which Scouts can go when they are older)  visited the Canadian
Cemetery at Beny-Sur-Mer in Normandy.   They were on a three week
tour of England, France, Belgium and Holland, but this one hour
stop was a highlight that they would never forget.

Prior to the particular morning the Venturers had spent a few
days visiting the Landing Beaches of Juno and Sword and had also
toured museums of the invasion and clambered over tanks and old
bunkers in several historic sites.  World War II seemed like an
exciting adventure of almost half a century before.  Something
that Grandfathers talked about.  A vision out of the movies and
television - but hardly fearful.

They arrived at Beny-Sur-Mer in a jovial, carefree and happy
frame of mind.   The visit to see rows of white crosses under
which were buried their countrymen of another generation was not
particularly appealing.  Fifteen minutes fora few photographs
would be long enough.

But it wasn't.  As these young people began to walk between the
lines of graves they started to pause and read the inscriptions
marking each one.  The name of the soldier killed, his regiment,
and then his age.  That was it.  The ages.  Loud comments of
"here's one who was 22" became quieter at the finding a 19,
almost inaudible when 16s and 17s were found.

The fifteen minutes stretched to an hour, and even then it was
with reluctance and watery eyes that the Venturers left to
continue the day's dour.  The mood was very quiet.   No more
jokes.  No more bickering.  No more laughter - for most of that
day.

In the evening, as quiet conversation replaced the normal pre-
bedtime hijinks, one Venturer summoned up everyone's feelings
best.   "They were our age", he said, "Some were even younger. 
It sure was different for them."

It sure was different for them --- Let us Pray - together after
me 

      DEAR LORD GOD - HELP US REMEMBER -- HOW DIFFERENT IT
      WAS -- FOR MEN AND WOMEN DURING THE WAR -- HELP US TO
      REMEMBER WHAT THEY GAVE UP -- AND HELP US HONOUR THEIR
      MEMORY -- BY SEEKING JUSTICE AND RESISTING EVIL.  AMEN


* HYMN:  Rock of Ages                     - Red 79


SERMON          "TENDING THE LAMP - KEEPING THE LIGHT BURNING"

      Let us Pray - Creator and maker of us all - bless the
      words of my lips and the meditations of our hearts - grow
      thou in us and show us your ways and inspire us to live by
      your truth.  Amen

All our scripture readings today are linked by a common theme -
the theme of telling the story and in the telling of the story -
recommitting oneself to the principles and the personalities
revealed in the story.

The story we are to tell is of course - the story of our God and
how he has been faithful to us as a people .

      - It is in remembering and telling the story that we discover
      who we are and the meaning of our lives .
      - It is in recalling the past that we best see what the way
      into the future is.
      - It is remembering what happened and why it happened, that
      we find the principles and the guidelines by which our lives
      should be governed.

Today I want to tell a couple of stories -
stories of the last war and of some people who served in it

In telling these stories I want you to remember how different it
was for those young men and women of our past - and I want you to
think of the reasons for which they  lived and died - reasons I
believe for which we too ought to live - and, if need be, also
die.

My Father  served on a Tribal  Class Destroyer during the War
Youngest man aboard - Made captain for a Day on Christmas 1993.

He had a good friend aboard - someone from his mess deck.  His
friend manned the afterdeck gun - my father served on the 
forward gun.

Life was hard on board - for weeks on end they made the run to
Mermansk in Russia, spending both days and nights chipping ice
off the ship so it would not roll over in the heavy seas
constantly  coming to battle stations for both real and imagined
foes, living in the damp and cold of the mess - with over 70
hammocks squeezed into a room half the size of this - even over
the central table several people slept.
       
There was no privacy, no rest, no escaping the tossing and the
pitching of the ship.

One day, it was when the ship was further south, and the weather
was not so bad, my  Father's friend asked him if he would change
stations with him, that he wanted to serve on the foreword gun
because it was less noisy, and the air was fresher, and my father
agreed - because he knew just how hard it was to be where his
friend was, and he was a friend - so that very day they changed
posts.

The next morning the ship was torpedoed.
In the bow.
Every member of the forward gun crew was killed.

It sure was different for them.

The ship was fixed,
and assigned duties in the Bay of Biscay off of France.

Very early one morning  during the early summer of  1944 - before
the sun came up, The Athabascan was sunk by enemy destroyers.

Half the men died in the first few minutes.  Over 130 of them.

Of the remaining men - half of those were picked up by their
sister ship - the Haida - which now sits in Toronto  as a museum
ship - and the other half had to stay in the water, clinging to
floats and whatever they could find, waiting for to be rescued.

More died.

And in the morning the remainder were picked up by German Patrol
boats and taken prisoner - a state in which they remained for
many  months. 

There my father lived on potatoes and very thin soup,
toilet paper was often used, not for wiping one's rear,
but for writing letters on - for prisoners were almost never
given paper.

Many people died in the prison camp -
      - they died when the Germans tried to move them to other
      camps to avoid being captured themselves 
      - they died because they were weak,
      - they died because there was not enough medicine,
      - not enough warmth,
      - not enough food.

Things sure were different for them.

The Germans used to publish lists of those they had captured -
but this system did not work very well and often names did not
appear.   My father's name did not appear for a long time - and
so it was presumed by everyone back home that he had died.

By everyone that is except by my Aunt Isabelle.

On the night that the Athabascan sank - she had a dream.

She dreamed that my father was in the water - and that near his
head there was a light, and that people were coming to that
light.

Because of this dream she was convinced that my father was alive,
all her sisters and other brothers told her that it was not
possible, that there were no survivors beyond those rescued by
the Haida.

But my Aunt insisted that it  was not so.  And she cried, and she
fought against the despair that everyone else felt.

Things sure were different for them - even the ones back home.

Finally, one day, my Father's name appeared on a list of
prisoners.  My Aunt's faith was vindicated,
and everyone - at least everyone in our family - was very happy.

There is a postscript by the way to the dream that my Aunt
Isabelle had.  

What was really remarkable is  at the time  my father was sunk 
by the enemy, no one in Canada knew about the brand new kind of
life jackets the navy had issued.  No one knew that every  new
life jacket had a special feature added to it, that it had a
small light  attached, that as soon as it got wet, glowed so that
people could find it.

My father was wearing such a life jacket.

There are other stories that I could tell,
stories about men and woman all over this nation,
and from many nations around the world,
gave everything that they could so that the evil that existed
then would end.

Stories about how people who stayed here in Canada had to ration
their sugar so that there would be enough for those in other
countries.

Stories about how most people only had enough gasoline to make
one short trip a week to see their friends or to shop - and about
how they received only a very few tires because rubber and other
things needed to make them were needed elsewhere.

Stories about how hardly a soul complained about all they had to
give up, all they had to do, so that the evil of their day would
come to an end.

Things sure were different for them.

But you know - they were not that different.
They were not that different because now - as then -
if we are to resist evil,
if we are to make sure that justice exists,
that freedom continues -
we too must give up some things,
- we must be prepared to work without complaining, 
- to go without some luxuries so that others might have a little
of what they need,
- to  do our duty - even though it costs us.

This is what our faith teaches us,
this is what our history teaches us,
and this is why we remember today those who served in the great
wars of our century.

May we learn from the stories of those who have gone before us
and may peace rule over us all.  Amen.

Let us  now  sing the hymn "Be Thou My Vision"


HYMN: Be Thou My Vision                     - Red 253


TITHES AND OFFERINGS - PRAYER OF DEDICATION 
Gracious God - we offer these gifts to you now for your work, a
work in which love triumphs over hate, justice over evil,  and
life over death.   Help us to not only offer to you these gifts -
but our very selves so that your work - begun in Christ Jesus our
Lord, may  be complete in us.  We ask it in his name.  Amen.


READING OF THE  ROLLS
      Call for the people to remember names as I read from Paul -
      and then to call those names out in the silence that follows
      - the names of those who have served, and died, that we may
      be free....

      * Epistle Reading: I Thessalonians 4:13-18 - Scout

      A reading from Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter
      4, verse 13 to 18

      We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,
      about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as
      others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that
      Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God
      will bring with him those who have died.  For this we
      declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are
      alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by
      no means precede those who have died.  For the Lord
      himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call
      and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from
      heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we
      who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the
      clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and
      so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage
      one another with these words.

      * ROLL OF SERVICE - WW  I

      * 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 Flander's fields.

      * ROLL OF SERVICE - WW II

      * ONE MINUTE OF SILENCE


PRAYERS OF  REMEMBERANCE AND INTERCESSION
L     Father, we remember the deeds of courage and the
      sacrifices that were made on our behalf by the men and
      women of our nation during the great wars of our century.
P     I remember, O Lord, how different it was for them and I
      pray that I may prove worthy of their offering.
      .......... (silent prayer)..........
L     Help us, Lord, be a people who perform our vows and keep
      our promises.  Help us to do justice, to resist evil, and
      to love our neighbours as ourselves.
P     Lord, hear our prayer
      .............. (silent prayer) .............
L     Compassionate and most merciful God, move us so that we do
      not pass by the suffering and the helpless on the roads of
      life.
P     Open my eyes to recognize those who need my help. 
      Cultivate in me a desire to be a friend, to share words of
      kindness, to do good deeds every day.
L     Lord, hear our prayer
      .............. (silent prayer) .............
L     Gracious God, we pray that there may be peace in this
      world - the abiding peace that comes from an equal sharing
      of what this earth affords.
P     I pray for the peace that comes from caring for others, 
      for the peace that comes when I place you first in my life,
      for the peace that comes from tolerance and from trust.
      .......... (silent prayer)..........
L     Guide us, Lord, in the ways of this peace.   Lead the
      leaders of all nations that they may place love and truth
      and faithful service first in their lives,
P     Open my heart and the hearts of men and women everywhere
      to the needs of others.   Make us instruments of your
      grace.
      .............. (silent prayer) .............
L     Loving God, hear these prayers, and all the other
      intentions of our hearts, minds, and souls, this day.... 
      We ask it in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, who
      taught us to pray together as one family, saying.
P     Our Father....


* HYMN: Abide With Me                    - Red 180
-- (colour bearers take position during hymn)


* 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.


* BENEDICTION
Go in peace -  and may God bless you with the Spirit of love and
truth, with the willingness to give yourself for the sake of
justice and goodness, and with the hope of all the faithful -
that you will enter into His holy rest when your days are done. 
This both now and forevermore.  Amen


* COLOUR PARADE RECESSSIONAL


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1996 - 2005
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.



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