Virtual Church – July 5, 2020

12:30 pm

July 1, 2020

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 office@waltonmemorial.com if you would like to be added to our email list.

Sunday Service Video (30+ minutes followed by the hymns)

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 School at Home

Our weekly Sunday School at Home emails will continue throughout the summer. If you are not receiving the emails and would like to, please call the church office and leave a message on the voicemail, or email sundayschool@waltonmemorial.com.

Announcements

    • Walton’s prayer chain is open. 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
    • A reminder that the church building is still closed, with absolutely no access for congregation members and volunteers. 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.

Welcome

We welcome Sheree Anderson this morning to lead us in virtual worship. Sheree is a dear friend to many of our Walton family members and we welcome her back with open arms this morning. Sheree came to Canada from Australia in 2012 and lived in Bronte. She was Associate Lay Minister at Walton for a number of years, until 2016 when she married and moved to Kitchener with her husband, Greg Smith, a Presbyterian minister.

Call to Worship

Good morning God. We thank you for this special day, for this time to gather at our computer, iPad, or iPhone as we are called to meet with you. Open our hearts and minds to your word today. Help us to push away our fear, our inadequacies, and our doubt as we enter into time with you to learn, grow, and walk in our faith. May we be open today to hear your call to grow closer to you, and to do your work here on Earth.

Prayers of Gathering ~ based on Psalm 148:8-14 (New Living Translation)

All of your works will thank you, Lord, And your faithful followers will praise you.

Creator God, who made us, loves us and sustains us, we come before you this morning thankful for your enduring faithfulness as we journey through our lives.

The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.

We give thanks for your grace, which we see most clearly in Christ Jesus, who shows no judgement when we struggle with the difficulties of our human existence, but rather, meets us with love and understanding.

The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.

Loving God, it is hard for us to grasp how wide and deep your love is. We judge ourselves and others from the limits of our own love, from hearts afraid to love as fully and deeply as you do, even when Jesus shows us what is possible. Here and now, we ask for your love to transform our timidity of heart into courage, that we may live your love powerfully in the way of Jesus. So that we may say together confidently as people of God:

We will speak of the glory of your kingdom; We will give examples of your power. We will tell about the majesty and glory of your reign. For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

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 and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Youth Talk: “My Heart” by Corinna Luykein

We are often told that we must love other people, but sometimes we don’t feel that love inside us. Our hearts may be full of other feelings. Here is how one person describes what that is like. Listen to how she describes her heart. I wonder if you know what she means…

The Bible tells us that God made us and knows everything about us, especially all the things that are in our hearts, and that’s ok. Everything we feel in our heart is ok. We were made to feel all our feelings. Jesus tells us and shows that God understands and is with us in our hearts. God does want us to love, but we must first know what our hearts are really feeling. Then we get to choose to open our heart window to more love or not.

Scripture Reading: Romans 7:15-25

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

Morning Message: Sheree Anderson

Romans 7: 15-25 “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Hands up if you have never felt that way. I don’t see any hands! Hahaha.

Most of us, if not all of us, have had those moments when we find ourselves in the grip of a reactionary force, on autopilot, where our actions, our words, our feelings or our behaviour are the very things we vowed seriously ‘never to do again.’

It can feel as if ‘nothing good dwells within’ us. The frustration of these times can wear us down. Willpower doesn’t seem to cut it. We seem stuck in a self-defeating loop.

Paul talks about two powers battling within us, two natures, two laws; a spiritual yearning and a physical yearning. He describes it as though it is a tug-of-war and we are in the middle! Is this a dynamic we can change? Is there a way out of this loop for us? Can Jesus throw any light for us on how to deal with this problem?

I want to look at this situation through the stories of 2 biblical characters you know well; Paul himself and Peter, who became known as ‘the rock’.

What does Jesus do when he confronts our self-defeating patterns of behaviour?

For Paul, his zealousness, his self-righteous presumption of rightness, was his undoing. There was no room in his life for anything but ‘the right way to do things.’ He was caught in a moralistic perfectionism that drove his entire being. There was a right way to be holy, to be acceptable to God and he would make sure it was followed. But Jesus meets him on the road in his Saul days.

Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light in the sky that comes down like a thunderbolt and Saul drops to the ground, shielding his eyes. He hears a loud voice: “Why are you persecuting me?” The voice echoes in his head. ‘God, is that you?’ asks Saul. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now go into the city and follow instructions.”

Saul gets to his knees. His ears are ringing, his head is pounding. He opens his eyes and it is pitch black. There is nothing before him! He cannot see a thing. Saul is reeling. His whole being is in shock. If that was Jesus who spoke to him in that visionary flash, then…. then… what has he, Saul, been about?

Saul is left in the darkness of the doubt of his own sense of rightness for 3 days. Finally on the third day when he feels he is about to go mad, he has a vision. In stillness now, he clearly sees a man named Ananias healing him. Saul waits with anticipation and a new-found sense of humility. And sure enough, a disciple of the Way called Ananias comes to him, lays hands on him and calls on the Holy Spirit to fill him and heal him. Saul has never felt such peace, such joy, such love, such rightness of being flow through him. It is as if there is a new order to his being; same Saul, just rearranged more truthfully, rearranged with wisdom and love.

Story number 2: Peter, whose self-doubt and fear of consequences are a repeating pattern of defeat.

Peter, well, he’s not too sure he’s cut out for whatever’s in store after the death and resurrection of Jesus. He caved under pressure last time – something he thought he’d never do. But he did – he denied his beloved leader out of fear for himself! How could it have happened? How could he have lied like that? Peter remembered his fear – and his shame.

So Peter goes back to the place where everything makes sense for him, the past, fishing on Lake Galilee. This he knows. Life is simpler. He knows who he is here, he is not afraid of himself, or of what he might face. He can do this, he understands this.

But that night they caught nothing. And at dawn some guy on the beach jokingly said “Not catching anything? Try the other side of the boat!” Ha! But then the net groans with the weight of the fish – and Peter feels his heart jump-started with 1000 volts of energy. He grabs his cloth and jumps in the water. It must be him, he thought. It must be him! Oh God, give me another chance, one more chance.

And on the shore Jesus is cooking fish over a fire and waiting. ‘Bring some of your fish’ he says. ‘Come, everything is ready. Eat. Sit with me.

“So Peter” says Jesus, “do you love me more than these?” He has that same gentle tease to his voice, but Peter is quaking – here it comes! ‘You know I love you, Lord’ he says quietly. “Then you must feed my lambs,” Jesus says. ‘What? thinks Peter,’ but Jesus goes on. “Do you really love me?” ‘Yes Lord, you know I do.’ “Then feed my sheep,” says Jesus.

Peter is silent. What is Jesus getting at? And what is he, Peter not getting? “Peter, do you love me?” asks Jesus again and Peter looks up at him silently, tears in his eyes. ‘I do,’ he says, (even though I betrayed you and let you down,) he thinks to himself. ‘You know all about my love,’ he says sorrowfully; “Then,” says Jesus, looking at him intently and lovingly, “feed my sheep”.

And it suddenly clicks for Peter. What? You want me to continue your work? Me? He looks at Jesus incredulously and Jesus is looking back at him as if to say – that’s all it takes, that’s all you need to know. You love me, you follow me. That’s enough. Trust the love you have.

What is it that Jesus does to move both these men past the point where they are stuck?

The first thing that is quite shockingly clear, is that there is no judgement in Jesus about their behaviour. There might be questions, but there is no ‘beating them up’ for their failure to act a different way.

The second thing to notice is that there is an understanding of human limitations in the way Jesus deals with both. Jesus knows that we are prey to forces that undermine our desire to do our best. He understands our inner and outer battles. He too, has experienced it.

And thirdly, and I believe most importantly, Jesus communicates to each of them in a way that reminds them ‘they are more than who they think they are.’ He awakens them to a greater fullness of the spiritual nature they carry within them. His love, in presence and in Spirit, awakens and strengthens the love that is within them and empowers them to live a truer version of themselves. Both shift their focus to a different source of strength within them. Both Peter and Paul go on to become powerful agents of change in the world, strong in their true spiritual nature.

In chapter 8 Paul expresses that our spiritual nature is not one of fear. How does he know this? I presume because he has come to know the love that is at the core of this spiritual nature we all possess. He will go on to claim, further in chapter 8, that ‘nothing can separate us from God’s love’ or God’s ability to flow through us, and he calls on us to remember this and not become a slave to fear. This is a better concept of the battle we are all engaged in, fear versus love; not so much our bodies versus our minds or physical against spiritual, but love versus fear.

When we are stuck in seeing ourselves as merely human, as only physical beings here on a physical planet, we lose sight of our spiritual heritage as children of God. We are born with the gift of divine love within us, but the circumstances of our physical world can lead us to feel and believe 3 things about ourselves which are not true; that we are powerless, that we are alone and that we are unloved in the face of fear. The world can make us believe we are small and insignificant and have no power to change things – and this can cause us to adopt patterns of behaviour that are damaging to ourselves and others, as we try to establish the opposite of these beliefs…or we succumb to their story.

Whoever said there are only 2 things, fear and love, was right; two forces, two choices, but only one of these connects us to the power of spiritual strength we all have inside us.

I believe our biggest fear today, in these times, is that love is not powerful enough to effect any change, yet Jesus visibly demonstrates to us how powerful love is to change each life he meets. It is not the sentimental wishy-washy love of a Hallmark card but love that speaks truth to fear. Jesus comes to remind us of our forgotten spiritual heritage. Rooted in divine love we are never alone, never unloved and never without a greater power to stand against fear and darkness.

Next time we get caught in a self-defeating loop, we need to ask ourselves – ‘What is the fear behind the action or response that I am stuck in?’ Believe me, fear is operating whenever we are at odds with ourselves or others.

How can we bring ourselves into the non-judgemental love of Jesus for strength and healing as outlined by the stories of Paul and Peter?

Can we choose to be opened to a new way through the working of love? It may take a while. We will need to be faithful to this new orientation of our true strength.

The battle in ourselves, with ourselves, is but a mirror of the forces operating in our outer world. Jesus calls us again and again, to choose love over fear, to choose the power of our true heritage as children of God.

Pastoral Prayer

Truth-telling God, who speaks love to fear and love to power,
we can call on you to strengthen and guide us into love’s wisdom
when we find ourselves disappointed, frustrated or angry with ourselves.
We know that you meet us with understanding, without judgement and
with eyes that see through to the goodness of our true spiritual nature of love.
Help us to see the world through your eyes.

In truth, we come before you to acknowledge those situations where others
disappoint and frustrate us; where people have different convictions from us
that irritate and annoy us.

Teach us the patience of true love
when motorists tail-gate us, cut us off, run the red light
or when we are put on hold, endlessly, when seeking customer service.
Teach us the humour of true love
when we are judged by others for what we wear
when unaware people walk five abreast down the footpath
when the person we talk to thinks they have all the answers.
Grant us the courage of true love
when neighbours play loud music at 2am
when businesses put profit over people
when governments care more for economic deals than the state of our planet
Show us the mercy of true love
when ‘rule-breakers’ seem to have no conscience or consideration of others
when ‘rule-makers’ seem to want to enforce compliance and order in the
name of good.

Lead us into the fellowship of true love
when we struggle to build community with the gifts of free will and choice
that you give to all of us, O God.
Grace us with the growing power of Christ within, to hold this world
in the light of your love. Amen.

(loosely based on “Those who rile us” Australians at Prayer, Bruce David Prewer 2004)

Prayers for the Walton Community

Dear Heavenly Father we pray this morning for the family and friends of those who have left this earthly realm to be with you in heaven. May there be peace, hope in love in knowing they are with you, and help us in remembering we will meet again in your heavenly realm. Grant us comfort and peace in this time.

And Lord we lift up those this morning who live in fear, fear of Covid, fear of financial issues, fear of job security, fear of our economy, fear of what is next. Help us to trust in you and in your promises. We are not alone in all of this.

Lord we ask you to be with the people this week who are undergoing medical tests and procedures, those who are in hospital, be with them as they walk with fear into the hospital, grant them courage to know that is a helpful place for them. Lord, also hold up their families, loved ones who are unable to be with them during their hospital stay, give them courage, strength and peace that you are guiding others to watch over them and be their loving hands and hearts. May their procedures go well and may they be granted healing.

Lord, we thank you for the love of family and the many friendships and blessings we have been given, and we give thanks for our Walton community, our Halton community and this wonderful country, Canada that we have been blessed to call home. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Anthem: “Greater”

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

This morning God calls us to look at all that we have, with thanksgiving. For when we look with thanksgiving, fear, hopelessness and doubt are put in second place, as God gives us the gift of knowing His love for each one of us in our gratefulness. Let us present our offerings.

♥ 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:

Lord, we thank you for the gifts and talents you have given us to broaden your kingdom. For the gifts of the Spirit, granting us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Help us to remember you have gifted us this way, and guide us to use these gifts with others as we travel together through this time. We give as we are able this morning to help others, and to thank you for the many gifts you have shared with us this week and every week, when our eyes are truly open and looking for you in all that we say and do, then we are truly blessed. Amen.

Benediction: (based on Ephesians 3:16-19)

May God strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you may be filled to
the measure of the love of God.
Go in peace to love and serve the God of love. Amen.

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!

    • Come and Find the Quiet Centre
    • Let There Be Light
    • Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
    • Renewing Our Spirits (River of Tears)
    • Go Now in Peace

In case you missed it…

A Happy Canada Day mid-week update from Rev. Jim

 
 
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