Virtual Church – Palm Sunday – April 5, 2020

8:30 am

April 5, 2020

Virtual Church

Welcome to virtual church!

Each Sunday morning we will be sending 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.

Palm Sunday Service (30 minutes)

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us say 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 forever and ever. Amen.

Palm Sunday Communion Liturgy 202

One: God is with you.
All: And also with you
One: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift our hearts to God.
One: Let us give thanks to God, our God!
All: We give God our thanks and our praise!

One: On this day of celebration –on this day of renewing our faith- on this day of walking with Christ to Jerusalem… to Golgotha… and beyond – we give you thanks, great and loving God.
All: Thank you, loving God!
One: From the very beginning, you have loved us. You created all that is, calling it into being. With the Spirit – with Wind and the Word, you saw what you had created, and called it, “Good!”
All: Thank you, loving God!
One: But.
All: But?
One: But. Time and time again, in history and in our story, we have turned away from your love. We have turned away from your hope. We have turned away from you. We have wandered away, thinking we knew best.
All: But…
One: But?
All: But you never left us to walk by ourselves, loving God. Even when we turned away. Even when we turn away. You walk the road with us.
One: Through prophets, priests and storytellers, through mothers and grandmothers, through fathers and grandfathers, through teens and children and infants, you called us back to your love.
All: Thank you, loving God!
One: There came a time when you sent Jesus to speak to the world.
All: To speak to us.
One: To teach us your love.
All: To give abundant life.
One: To make us new.
All: Thank you, loving God!
One: Jesus lived a life as one of us – a child, a youth, an adult. He laughed with those who laughed, he cried with those who cried. In all of this, he walked the hard road –
All: the way of the Cross and the way of the Resurrection.
One: On the night before he was put to death, he gathered for a meal of celebration with his friends. There he recommitted himself to your love, and to his people. He took bread, thanked You, and broke the bread, giving it to his friends, saying, “Take this and eat it. This is my body, given for you. Each time you do this, remember me.”
All: We remember him.
One: After the meal was over, he took the cup of blessing, thanked You God, and poured the wine, giving it to his friends, saying, “Take this and drink it. This is my blood, given for you. Each time you drink this, remember me.”
All: We remember him.
One: And so, we do as he asked us, loving God. We pray that your Spirit might fill these gifts, and fill us – that all might be vessels of your love, your peace, your hope and your life in the world.
All: Come, Holy Spirit, come!
(adapted by Richard Bott: liturgy.richardbott.com)

Scripture: Luke 19: 28-40

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Rev. Jim’s Message

Down East I understand there is a movement afoot to put your Christmas decorations back up, to bring light into these dark evenings of self-isolation.

Today is the start of Holy Week with Palm Sunday. We often hear preachers connect Christmas and Easter in their sermons. Of course, Christmas and Easter are an inseparable faith duet. But today I want to connect Christmas and Palm Sunday. Maybe you are wondering “What is the connection?” We believe Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem and we know Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. But that is not the connection. It is rather one word.

Hear first Luke 2:14 which is the story of the Angels with the Shepherds out on Christmas Eve in the fields: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” Then hear today’s passage for Palm Sunday Luke 19: 38: “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

The common word is Peace!

It sure is a lot more peaceful, especially at night. Far less noise from cars, motorcycles and trucks, far less overflying planes and helicopters, less Go Trains and less people out at night. I can hear the birds so clearly in the morning. I hear the two morning doves outside my office most days.

But the peace I want to talk about is not as much outside of you and I. The peace is inside or not. For many of us, it is the “not” during this time of crisis.

I hear from so many of you every day, which I treasure. One of you wrote; “This Lent, is the Lentiest Lent, I ever Lented.” I chuckled with this clever play on words. But it is so true. We think of giving up things for Lent. For most of us, there has never been a Lent where we gave us so much during Lent hoping to not have to give up everything.

Another of you wrote to me “ Life is a constant series of adaptations”. It is so true. What have you had to adapt in your daily life? I have spent most of my adult life trying to get more people into the Church building for everything from worship to programs. Now the church is locked and closed for the foreseeable future. In so much of our daily lives, it is huge to adapt to connect with people without face to face contact.

One of you reminded me the Church is not empty. The Church has been redeployed. It is also so true. Many of you tell me you take this virtual service we send each week. You find a peaceful place in your home, out in the garden or balcony and play it seeking the refuge, calm and peace of the historic Walton sanctuary. Of course, we are missing our fellow worshipers. I know many of you are reaching out 7 days a week to each other in different ways seeking that community of our faith family contact that we are missing from the closure.

So in a constant changing COVID-19 world, we need an extra dose of inner PEACE.

ONE: Galatians 5 reminds us that Peace is also a fruit of the spirit like last week when we talked about Patience being another fruit of the spirit.

Have you seen the videos of the fistfights of people fighting over toilet paper? Their lack of inner peace played out at the supermarket. The fruits of the spirit are about how we live out our relationships with other beings. Our inner peace is that which allows us to remain calm in a world that feels totally opposite to any sense of calm.

Does it not seem to you so much that you watch and see, so much you read and hear is destined to get us all worked up rather than calming us down? There are often hidden political and economic agendas behind what is in so much of the media. Maybe we need to stop binge-watching the news. Tune in for a short time in the morning and a short at night and let the rest of the day remain silent. Turn to peace producing activities from praying to poetry, music to macrame, cleaning to cooking, yoga to yodelling. Turn off the drama of having your life dictated by Breaking News. Seek that inner peace.

TWO: Psalm 29 reminds us that The LORD gives strength to God’s people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. God blessed us at Christmas and God blesses through the message of Holy Week beginning today on Palm Sunday. Back on Shrove Tuesday/Ash Wednesday we took the Palms from last year and burnt them to apply the ashes on our foreheads. That Cross on our foreheads represents that peace.

Philippians 4:7 calls it the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, which will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. This is our prayer for such peace. We cannot really explain it, but it exists. It is beyond understanding, but it is a real blessing.

THREE: Romans 15 – reminds us to, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Hear again that timeless advice, do what leads to peace. One you sent me these words; “In your rush to get back to normal life, why not use this time to consider what parts of your normal life you actually want back?”

Excellent question. People are using this time of social distancing to learn everything from a second language to how to bake. But why not consider what part of your normal life you do not want to go back?

While we had planned for lots and lots of real palm branches to wave today in the Walton Sanctuary. Wave then figuratively with me today and seek a renewed inner peace in your life.

Pastoral Prayer: A Prayer to God in Anxious Times

Gracious God, Champion of the Universe, we so often fluff ourselves up. Aren’t we the only creatures who compose masterpieces of music and art? Don’t we govern ourselves, enrich ourselves, promote ourselves? Can’t we dunk basketballs, bat baseballs, spike volleyballs? Aren’t some of us masters of comic irony? Other creatures don’t practice rocket science. We do. 

And yet. Here we are, frightened by a thing so small it can’t be seen under most microscopes. It’s not even an animal or a plant. It’s a virus, a mere parasite, dependent on our own living cells to replicate. And yet it has shuttered our schools, cancelled our flights, and emptied our churches. It has consumed the attention of our leading scientists, wrenched our politics out of shape, dominated our conversations, and scared the daylights out of us. 

We don’t want to get sick. And we don’t want to die. 

We are afraid, O God. Afraid of a microorganism. Afraid of each other. 

Great and quiet source of peace, quiet our fears. We are wary, uncertain, strung tight. Quiet our fears. We have no idea what the future will bring, but we do know you will be in our future to hold us there. We cannot quiet ourselves, O God. We cannot comfort ourselves, cannot heal ourselves, cannot help ourselves. All we can do is wash our hands and keep our distance. Our rocket science is no good to us for this threat. 

O God, great and quiet source of peace, quiet us, your anxious ones, and let us cling for comfort to your suffering Son, Jesus Christ. Gather us under his wings. Remind us that he suffers with us, but he’s also the great physician. In him, let us not be afraid. Please, let us not be afraid. Amen.  

(Written by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Calvin Institution of Christian Worship, March 2020)

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

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.

• 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

Are we crowd-pleasers, crowd-joiners?? Is that what we miss?

Holy God, we do join the throngs who gathered to honour You this day spiritually, in our own homes.  We take our place with followers of ages past, keeping our two-metre social distancing in mind. We seek a glimpse of Your amazing act of redemptive love in Jesus.  Yet, truthfully, all we need to do is look to our neighbour and we see life-giving grace, love and caring. May our offerings today continue to enable blessings to be revealed in this world.  Amen.

(adapted by L. Turnbull, The Gathering, L/E 2020)

Benediction

Lord God, in this season of fear and uncertainty, as we face the threat of the coronavirus, grant us the wisdom and determination to walk in one another’s shoes, the confidence and the humility to draw closer to you and to those affected,

Empower us to pastor those who are ill, to weep for the dead, to support the healers and to care for and love one another.

And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us all, now and always.

Amen.

Hymn-sing

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]

All Glory Laud and Honour (VU 122 – Verse 1)
Ride on in Majesty (VU 127 – Verse 1)
Come and Find the Quiet Centre (VU 374 – Verses 1 and 2)
Go Now in Peace

Solo: Be Still and Know That I am God

 
 
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