Virtual Church – Easter Sunday – April 12, 2020

8:30 am

April 12, 2020

Virtual Church

Welcome to virtual church!

Each Sunday morning we will be sending an email to everyone in the congregation for whom we have email addresses, offering an abridged Sunday morning service — “virtual church.” For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website.

Please contact hello@waltonmemorial.com if you would be like to added to our email list.

Announcements

• If you would like to submit a prayer, reading or thought to be considered for inclusion in this weekly mailing, please send to jamescgillwuc@gmail.com.
• Walton’s prayer chain is not closed. Confidential prayers requests can be sent to office@waltonmemorial.com
• There is a new option for making your regular offering. You can now set up your own weekly or monthly ‘offering’ from your bank account or credit card, using our secure online payment page. Simply choose the schedule that suits you, and when you wish the recurring payments to start and stop. When each donation is processed you’ll receive an email confirmation, and of course, all donations are eligible for a tax receipt at the end of the year. Go to waltonmemorial.com/donate-recurring, or to find out more contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com
• Walton Church remains closed until further notice. All services, meetings and programs are postponed.
• All staff are still working from home and can be reached through their usual contact information or by the central email office@waltonmemorial.com or the central telephone number 905-827-1643. Both are monitored throughout the day.
• If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com.
• If you are on your own and unable to get out, or don’t feel safe doing so due to risk factors, the church has an army of volunteers ready to assist with picking up and delivering necessities, prescriptions, groceries, etc. All requests for assistance are confidential; please email the church office or leave a voice mail.

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – a video and text. If you wish, you can download and print the service from this document – link – or you can read the complete service below.

The hymn-sing is at the end.

Easter Sunday Service (30 minutes)

Welcome

Choir – “Hallelujah Chorus”

Call to Worship

Christ is risen!
He has risen, indeed!
The risen one came to the disciples on the Emmaus road and turned their despair into hope.
With joy in their hearts, they returned to Jerusalem with the words: “Christ is risen! He has risen indeed.”
As we gather together electronically, we bring our troubles and our fears. May this time of worship be our Emmaus road, the place where we meet the risen one and hope is born anew. In faith, let us proclaim that Christ is risen.
He is risen, indeed. Hallelujah!
(adapted D. Astle, The Gathering L/E 2020)

Opening Prayer

We are here, Gracious God, gathered electronically together, aware of new life all around us. Bulbs are bursting forth into majestic flowers, trees struggle to release their buds, and hillsides are ready for the greening of the season.

We are here, O God, to receive again the ways in which you transform us. Individual lives are touched with meaning and hope; tears are released and peace is restored; a tomb is emptied and hearts are strangely warmed. Give to us that sense of new life as we awaken our hearts and spirits to the truth of Christ’s presence, now and always. Amen.
(M Rabson, B. Steadman The Gathering L/E2018)

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us.

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.

Solo – Chris Waldron “In Christ Alone”

Scripture Reading – Matthew 28:1-10 (NIV) Jesus Has Risen

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Rev. Jim Gill’s Easter Message: “Do not be afraid”

We are to become like a child to enter the kingdom of God. That is what Jesus told us. Walton’s kids have been reminding of this truth during these challenging Covid times. I hear how Walton kids who are isolating at home play school but also how they play church, for they cannot come to either.

One Walton 4-year-old woke up on April 1 and said, “Well March Break is over. It’s now April Break”. Another Walton 3-year-said said recently, “This is the best day I have ever been to.” Today how many of us grown up kids can agree with that 3-year-old who said, “This is the best day I have ever been to?”

We think rather these are days full of stress, uncertainty, boredom, endless hours of work, financial distress, isolation and the loss of personal mobility and liberty. Most of these days, if we truly admit it, are days of fear. Deep down most of us are afraid of what this spring will bring.

The first Easter the disciples were afraid. Would they be next to be beaten and hung on a cross? They were in hiding, frozen in fear. But early on that Easter both Mary, Jesus’ mother, and Mary Magdalene ventured out to the garden tomb. They encountered first the angel, and then second the resurrected Jesus.What did they both say to the two Marys? The angel said, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”

What a message for this Easter. No crowded, overflowing church as we stand to hear the Hallelujah Chorus sung by our choir. No gathering together at Bronte Pier at sunrise. No breakfast or coffee hour in Bronte Hall. In your own life, no travels to see family and friends, no Easter egg hunt yesterday in Bronte, and no long walks with your gang of friends and neighbors.

As one of you reminded me, “April distance brings May existence.” We think of Easter as a time of closeness in our relationship with the church, neighbors and family. But distance is now the only operative word. At a time when we actually need community more than ever, actual face-to-face community is in as short supply as toilet paper.

Have you noticed the language we are all using every day now? Words and phrases we never used six weeks ago: planking the curve, ventilator, state of emergency and social distancing. One phrase that hits me every time I hear it is sheltering in place. We are not to be doing it at our cottages, we are told. The shelter is to be exactly what the term expresses, with no one else in the place but those we live with.

When we think of the message that both the angel and Jesus shared with the two Marys on that first Easter, it can transform that expression “shelter in place.” The message of Easter changes for the believer. Sheltering in place becomes sheltering in the faith. The faith becomes our shelter, whether we are sheltering in a house, apartment, townhouse, condo, residence, dorm or anywhere else.

Sheltering in the faith means we can stop trying to calm the storm. Rather, we can calm ourselves. This storm will pass. We do not know when the storm will pass. But it will. A lot depends on how well we follow the experts’ directions. Remember that fear is contagious, but so are faith, hope and love. That trio of faith, hope and love are stronger than even fear itself.

For many years, we rang the church bell for Sunday services. It fell away over time. On Palm Sunday, as the only person in the church every day to keep an eye on things, one of you suggested I start ringing the bell at 11am. They said it would be the sound of hope. I totally concurred. The song of the church bell to overcome the sound of fear. It rings out from the tower saying, “Do not be afraid.”

Folks, it is OK the church is empty. The tomb was empty too. That is why the bell rings and why we can say, “Do not be afraid.” One of you told me, “I used to admire people with luxuries. Now I admire people with inner peace.” That peace comes from the other part of the Easter angel’s message: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.” This is good news. Very good news.

For Jesus is going ahead of each of you, whether it is into Burlington, Milton, Hamilton or Oakville. For Jesus is going ahead of you into Niagara on the Lake, Grimsby, Mississauga, Port Dover, Brantford, Bronte and wherever in the world you are listening to this message. Jesus is going ahead of you into each new day, each unknown, each uncertainty.

Emily Heath reminds us all: “The first Easter did not happen in church. It happened outside an empty tomb, while all the disciples were sequestered at home, grief-stricken and wondering what was going on. So we’re all going to be keeping things Biblical this Easter.”

We hope our regular social media posts and emails bring you some shelter. You will notice in the videos that the Walton pulpit has been moved to its original, pre-1991 renovation location. It does help the videoing but there is more to it. Our ancestors, when they built the original sanctuary in 1912-13, put the pulpit in the middle. Of course it was a Methodist church back then before church union, and it was the style. Moving it back in the centre during this Covid season puts the cross centre in the camera view and behind myself. It reminds us of the cross of Good Friday. Most importantly, it reminds us that Jesus is no longer on the cross and no longer in the tomb. Jesus Christ has risen today. Hallelujah!

Pastoral Prayer

Lord we lift your Easter people to you, that your love, peace, courage and hope will be felt, and shared with all who we say “Happy Easter” to. Jesus Christ has risen, there is life after death! What a gift and peace in that Happy Easter, Lord.

We pray for so many people, this morning Lord, those we know, and those we have only heard about through the media.

We pray for those who must work, despite the threat of sickness; grant them protection and continued provision.

For physicians, nurses, technicians, researchers, administrators, and all other healthcare employees around the world; grant them strength by your life-giving Spirit,wisdom, and resources to do the work before them.

For those who have become unemployed or underemployed during this pandemic; grant them comfort, wisdom, and financial provision.

For churches and their clergy; grant them discernment and creativity to lead and minister in unprecedented circumstances.

For parents and families; grant them wisdom, patience and joy.

For children; grant them protection from fear.

For those who are alone; grant them a sense of your nearness and love.

For those for whom home is not a safe haven; grant them refuge.

For all navigating decisions during this time of uncertainty and fear; grant them your peace.

For those infected and those who have been exposed; grant them strength, healing, and protection.

For their loved ones and caretakers; grant them peace, comfort, and endurance.

For those leading nations; grant them sound minds, courage, and humility.

Let us also pray for a swift end to COVID-19.

And for all the prayers we cannot voice because our language is insufficient or our ignorance too great; Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.

(adapted © The Rev. Porter C. Taylor, 2020)

Invitation to Offering

Easter changes everything; we have moved from death and shadows into life and resurrection. The first group of believers were so changed that they gave all they possessed to sustain the needs of their community.

In thankfulness for the blessings of Easter, we give of ourselves to God, who gives us resurrection through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(F. Gibbard, The Gathering L/E2018)

Since this is a virtual service and there are no ushers, there are different options where those of you who are able can make an offering. The offering will now be received.

– by secure online payment from your bank or credit card.
– One-time payment – waltonmemorial.com/donate
– Weekly or monthly payments – waltonmemorial.com/donate-recurring
– by cheque through the mail slot at the church office entrance or by Canada Post.
– by monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offering Prayer

Holy God – you are life, and light and grace. We give you thanks, and we offer you our lives in return. Accept these gifts we offer; they represent our commitment to live as an Easter People. Thanks be to God. Amen.
(F. Flook The Gathering L/E 2018)

Choir Anthem – Greater

Commissioning

The stone is rolled away. All things are possible….
May you go today into the promise of new life.
May you go today into the promise of an awakening earth.
May you go today into the promise of brokenness able to be healed.
Go with the love of God, and who knows what can happen…
(S. Spencer The Gathering L/E2018)

Walton’s Musical Message

This morning on Facebook and on YouTube, we’re sharing a video where Linda shares with us several of our favourite hymns! Sing along!

Click here to go to YouTube to sing along! [Link]

    • Jesus Christ is Risen Today (VU 155 verse 1, 4)
    • This Easter Celebration
    • Be Not Afraid
    • Hymn of Promise (In the Bulb There is a Flower in VU 703)
    • Go Now in Peace
 
 
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