Virtual Church – April 19, 2020

8:30 am

April 19, 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.

Sunday Service (30 minutes)

Welcome

Call to Worship

Good Morning Lord,
We wish we could throw open our doors this morning,
and invite you in, but we need to keep our doors closed
a while longer. So, we will open the doors of our
hearts to you Lord, and ask you to enter in.
We come this morning to worship you God,
to celebrate your love, grace and mercy which
you have so abundantly granted to each one of us.
Each morning you greet us with a dawn,
where new hope arises, a glorious gift of light,
of colour, of promise. A day ahead where we can
learn, grow, and even change. Let us join together
in worship this morning, remembering that you, Lord,
are in every day and in everything.

Opening Prayer

Let us pray:

On Easter, just as Jesus came out of the tomb, risen from the dead, so we travel the road to Emmaus learning and growing in you Jesus, you overcame death and you live…live in our hearts.

Creator God, the garden is full of new growth, as the buds from the hostas, and peonies pop their heads out from the moist luscious soil, reaching out for the sun and the warmth. That is how we feel Lord, like we are reaching out to you, looking for assurance, and clinging onto what little bit of “before” there is.

Lord, guide us and help us as we reach out, like the new growth coming out of the soil. We are reaching for some sort of normal. Life just doesn’t feel the same; it is all new, and like the plant that reaches towards the sun and the warmth, help us as we reach out to you, and put our thoughts and minds to you in gratefulness, accepting your will and your ways. Amen.

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.

Reflection – Praise God and Wash You Hands

Scripture Reading – John 20:19-31 (NIV)

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Rev. Jim Gill’s Message

I was in the sanctuary recording my Easter message last week, when all of a sudden I heard a sound I have heard hundreds of times before. The sound was from the over one-hundred-year-old, historically-designated wooden tower entrance doors. Someone was trying to enter the church, but all the doors were locked tight – as they have been since March 15th.

Our reading today tells us, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked.” I thought of that verse when I heard someone trying to get in the tower entrance of the church. It was such an unreal feeling. I would have normally run and opened up the doors to whoever it was, but I did not. The church building is closed.
Why were the disciples gathered behind locked doors? It was not due to the global fear of a pandemic. It was not because of emergency decrees to close all non-essential services or to have no gatherings of more than 5 unrelated people. Back in the time of Jesus people did not know what viruses were. They had had no ventilators or N95 face masks.

They were afraid for another very powerful reason. The disciples’ fear was of the Jewish leaders. They were afraid of the cross being their fate too. They were afraid that what had happened to their teacher, leader and friend Jesus would be their destiny. Fear led them to huddle behind locked doors.

You and I are hiding behind locked doors for health reasons. It is just common sense. It is why the other day I lined up outside the guarded grocery store doors for 20 minutes, standing out on the painted lines of the sidewalk. I was waiting to be told I could enter the door to shop for my mother’s groceries. I’m sure many of you have been through this same protocol. I say well done Food Basics.

Before Covid 19 many of us maybe hid behind locked doors for other reasons. We were afraid of our pasts. We were letting our pasts dictate our futures. We were afraid of failure. We had tried before and failed. “Why try again?” we say to ourselves. We were afraid of rejection. We took a risk or stepped outside of ourselves and we were hurt. We were afraid of the unknown. The “what ifs” or “if onlys” of life keep us behind those self-imposed locked doors.

What happened to those disciples behind the locked door? The best thing of all happened to them. Not exactly what they ever thought would happen. But it did. “Jesus came and stood among them.” Imagine their shock. Being speechless, standing there stunned. Jesus was no longer in that borrowed tomb with the giant rock rolled in front of it sealed tight. No longer were Roman guards posted by that closed door to the tomb. Jesus had risen from the grave.

Jesus has that way of doing the unexpected, from long before his crucifixion up until this very day. Jesus just pops up. Jesus shows up where you least expect him. Jesus has a way to get behind locked doors. We see it in these troubling days, in ways big and small. One of you told me about coming to know a neighbour you did not really know before all this closing of our doors. You both found out how you are Jesus’ followers and you shared your stories of faith. You now support one another and created an ongoing relationship. Jesus showed up on your street.

So the Bible story did not just end with Jesus’ walk on appearance to the disciples. He had a message for those original followers and a message for all of us. It is no matter what door you may be hiding behind – for either healthy or unhealthy reasons – there is the same message: Jesus said, “Peace be with you!” That simple, yet that profound. Often in Communion services we start with, “Peace be with you.” Those words of Jesus that were first said on Easter are said by the worship leader, and then the gathered congregation responds, “And also with you.”

Those simple phrases can be quite moving and powerful. They reaffirm to all of us that this “peace” is truly for all of us. That peace is for all of us, today and tomorrow. Jesus is saying that it will be alright. Things will work out. Hang in there. Whatever lies ahead I will be with you.

That message is captured in the United Church Creed when it says: “In life, in death, in life beyond death. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.” Peace be with you. This day and every day. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

Matthew 25:44-45:

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Let us pray,

Lord, this is one of the many days where you call us forward to pray for others, for our community, for our world. For some of us, you call us to heal, to serve, to be on the front lines and Lord we ask for your strength, stamina, your protection and your mercy in fighting this virus.

Lord, we ask for patience, for kindness, for compassion for those around us, for those people we have spent more time with in the last month then we ever have.

As we come in prayer to you, Lord, we ask for patience and calmness as we wait for this virus to stop, and to just stop stealing our loved ones.

Please help me, Lord, to stop waiting for the next bad news story, and the next death toll number. Because I know, Lord, you are in all that is going on. You hold us up.

You are in the scientists and those who are working on a vaccine. You live in our politicians who are trying their hardest to keep us safe, and to stop the spread.

You are in the doctors and nurses, who figure out a way to do their job without enough equipment and resources. You are in the doctor who stopped and held the 92-year-old man’s hand, as he took his last breath, so he wouldn’t die alone.

You are in the young mom who made the muffins for the front line folks, to grab as most times they don’t get a break for lunch, or something to eat for their whole shift.

You are in the one who cares for and looks after the doctor’s children as she is busy saving lives in the ICU. So she didn’t need to worry about whether her kids were safe, or looked after properly, because you were there doing it.

You were in his voice, in his compassion when he called the senior gentleman shut away in the long term care home, so lonely and afraid, and not sure of truly what was going on.

Thank you, God, for being in the midst of everything. Help us to see your face in each person we may see in fear, or in caution. Help us to be kind, and share your love with a smile in whatever way you call us to do your work in our community.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Anthem – Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

Invitation to Offering

God’s presence reaches us wherever we are and whatever our circumstances. God’s blessings and strength – comfort, support, endurance – embrace us in good times and bad. And as we are able, God calls us to make a difference to the day and place we find ourselves in, as we prayerfully consider our offering.

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

Generous, gracious God, we thank you for the many blessings you offer us each day, and we offer a small portion of the blessings you have shared with us back to help our neighbours. May these gifts and these givers be signs of your blessings in our world. Amen.
(w. Winfield, The Gathering L/E2020)

Commissioning

For just a moment, take a deep breath – a breath full of freshness, restoration, and relaxation. As we go from wherever we have gathered today in our house, it is a time to be at peace, to take with us God’s peace, and to grow in God’s love. Amen.
(D. VanDenEeckhout, The Gathering L/E2020)

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 Stand Among Us
    • You Are Mine
    • When We Face an Unknown Future
    • Don’t Be Afraid
    • Go Now in Peace
 
 
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