Virtual Church – June 28, 2020

8:30 am

June 28, 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.

Announcements

    • A Special Thank you to Susan Derrah for her many years of exceptional, passionate, dedicated service, organization, programming, and Christian teaching of our Walton Junior Youth. The Junior Youth ministry has grown and flourished under Susan’s leadership, and we are so grateful for all her time and effort.

      The kids and their families are going to miss you Susan! Thank you so much for answering the call 5 years ago.

      We wish you well in your new endeavours and look forward to hearing about them, as you continue to worship and be part of the Walton Family.

      “God bless you and thank you, good and faithful servant.”

    • 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

Hello and welcome to Virtual Church at Walton. This Sunday is always a very special Sunday for Walton as – in acknowledgement of the Pride events taking place around the world – we particularly celebrate and emphasize God’s inclusive love.

Our service today is also led by members of Walton’s Junior and Senior youth groups and their leaders. As we are finding our way in the world – now in even more difficult circumstances than before – it is particularly important for us to affirm and proclaim that we each matter to God.

So welcome, one and all, and let us worship God.

Call to Worship

Welcome! Welcome to worship!
Although we are apart, we are united in this time of praise and thanksgiving.
Loving God, help us glorify your name.

Welcome! Welcome to God’s peace.
In this time, may we put aside our urgency and anxiety, and resist the distractions of our fear.
Caring God, open us up to receive your healing.

Welcome! Welcome to God’s love.
At the height of our joy or the depths of our despair, in the sunshine of our hope of the shadows of our shame, God’s love seeks us out.
Inclusive God, in your arms we are always welcome.

Opening Prayer

Merciful God, whose name is love. Abundant, overflowing, unceasing love. Hold us close to you today.

Love us with compassion, Lord. During all the moments when we are overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty, undermined by doubt and distress. We give thanks for your understanding love.

Love us with patience, Lord. Despite all the mistakes and missteps we make; despite all the times we ignore your teaching and forget your grace. We give thanks for your forgiving love.

Help us to love others as you love us. To accept others without judgment. To see difference as your gift of creation. To remember that love is our greatest calling.

All this we pray, in the name of God, creator of love who loves this world; Jesus, the life of love, our inspiration and our friend; and the Holy Spirit, who comforts and sustains us with love each day. 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.

Reflection: Rainbows

You might notice as you listen to today’s service that we’re talking a lot about rainbows. You might also be seeing more rainbows if you’re out and about because the rainbow is a symbol of Pride Month, which happens in June, and rainbows have also become a symbol of hope during the COVID-91 lockdown. Around the world, people have been colouring rainbows and sharing them. You can see them in windows and on sidewalks and sometimes also on rock paintings.

Those of you who know the story of Noah, from the Old Testament, will know that God shared the rainbow with Noah as a sign of the promise God was making, never again to destroy the world with a flood. So when we see a rainbow – in the sky or on a sign, we can remember God’s love for the world.

In the Bible we read that God says,

“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

Now there are two very important things in that promise:

Firstly, God chose a rainbow to make his promise. A creation that included all the colours. God didn’t just choose one colour and make a rainbow only blue or only red; he included the whole range of colours, because God is a colourful and creative God who loves variety.

And secondly, God made his promise to all living creatures of every kind; to all of us. The Bible is very specific here – God didn’t make his promise to just some creatures, or just some people – God’s promise included all living creatures of every kind.

And if we look around us, we can see all the colours of the rainbow – of God’s creation – growing everywhere in the world.

Here in my garden, I’ve got plants starting to flower that have all the colours of the rainbow. I have red geraniums, and orange marigolds and hibiscus, and purple petunias, and even some lavender that is almost blue. And in another corner, I have pink and yellow daisies, and the whole garden is filled with wonderful shades of green. I have the rainbow of God’s creation growing all around me.

Now, just as a rainbow wouldn’t be the same if it was only one colour, my garden would be really boring if it was all one colour. And our parks and trails would be really dull if they were all the same colour.

Because God is a creative God who loves diversity and all the ways we can be different. God created all living creatures of every kind on the earth – in every shape, size and colour. And God loves each one of us. So whether you are tall or short, or old or young. If you have straight hair or curly hair, wear glasses or not, have brown skin, or black skin, or really pale skin, whether you’re gay or straight, whether you’re at ease with yourself or trying to work out who you are – all of these differences are treasured by God.

So know today, that whatever way you’re different, and each one of us is after all different, that you are part of God’s glorious, colourful creation, and you are loved and valued by God, just as you are. Thanks be to God.

Music: World of Difference

Reading: Rainbow God

Rainbow God, creator of all the colours of the world. In your abundant diversity, may we find welcome and acceptance.

We celebrate the power of red, which represents life.

We affirm the life-giving unity of blood, acknowledging that we all bleed the same when we’re hurt. Our blood connects us—we are one people, one family.

We embrace the warmth of orange, which brings healing.

In Canada, orange can remind us of Orange Shirt Day; a time to acknowledge the past hurts inflicted out of a lack of tolerance and understanding.

We celebrate the joy of yellow, of sunshine and hope and renewal.

We affirm the shining courage needed to be our true selves, to claim a life fully alive, not hiding in the shadows. We delight that we are nurtured by God’s love.

We proclaim the vitality of green, a symbol of nature and creation.

Creation is God’s gift to us, and we are equally part of creation. We are called to care for creation; to protect the green of forests, which still and soothe us in return.

We embrace the peace of blue, which brings serenity.

From the sky above to the sea below, blue reminds us of the calm and all-embracing comfort given by God who knows us and welcomes us just as we are.

We rejoice in the spirit of purple, pouring into our hearts.

We affirm the life-giving strength of the Holy Spirit, and the universal encouragement the Spirit brings. God’s Spirit sustaining, inspiring, and protecting us.

We are the rainbow people of God; we are loved and valued as one all-encompassing family. We are all children of God.

Inspired by and adapted from a message delivered by Rev. Ruth Noble to celebrate the first-ever PIE Day (National Affirming Day) on March 14, 2019 at the United Church’s General Council Office.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:37-42 (NRSV)

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

Morning Message: 40 Seconds

Chris Rock, the acclaimed American comedian, has an acerbic take on racial prejudice in the United States. ‘‘No white person wants to change places with a black person,” he bluntly states.

For those of you who haven’t seen Chris Rock, it’s probably helpful to note at this point that he is black, so this isn’t a baseless view.

And his complete assessment is as follows: ‘‘No white person wants to change places with a black person. They don’t even want to exchange places with me, and I’m rich.’’

He’s right. Being black in North America brings with it an unenviable sense of being “other,” that not even fame or fortune can undo.

And the world, it seems, is beaming a spotlight on that this month; bluntly exposing the far-too-many ways in which our white western society labels, judges and excludes.

Like many of you, I suspect, the time 8 minutes and 46 seconds is indelibly etched in my memory. And part of me doesn’t want us ever to forget that time, because forgetting would suggest that we somehow manage to pass through this moment unchanged.

For the memories of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others, this reckoning must amount to more meaningful change than a fleeting black square on our social media feeds.

While anti-racism protests in Canada have perhaps made fewer headlines, we can’t be complacent – and events in recent weeks have highlighted the extent to which Indigenous people are still discriminated against in our society. I was saddened to read the allegations from British Columbia of hospital staff playing “guess the blood alcohol level” when Indigenous patients arrived at the ER. In one instance a patient seeking help for concussion was presumed to be drunk and left to “sleep it off” with tragic consequences.

The church is not exempt either and too often continues to be a source of pain and prejudice for the many it views as “other.” Only this week, a church in Detroit dismissed Terry Gonda, a music director, after the regional church hierarchy discovered she was married to a woman. Less significant is the loss of income; what is confronting for Gonda, is that her church is taking away her place to express her faith and spirituality.

All of these events are symptomatic of the problems our society faces, of the way in which we define groups as ‘other’ and subject them to exclusion and discrimination.

All of these events challenge us to ask the question: who do we welcome in our society and communities? Who do we welcome in our lives? And how do we show our welcome?

These are questions posed by our reading today, and Jesus gives us unequivocal guidance.

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, says Jesus. “And whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

I don’t hear any criteria or qualifications in that statement. Just a simple, straightforward welcome. And a reminder that when we welcome another, when we greet another with compassion and acceptance, we are welcoming God.

This is not a demanding or heroic task, being asked of us. It’s as simple as offering a cup of cold water, of recognizing and meeting the need of another – in the case of the disciples, probably on a hot day or after a long journey.

In biblical times, water was the smallest and slightest way to meet the obligations of hospitality. Water could be offered by even the poorest in a community and was, very often, life.

This year, the COVID pandemic has thrown into stark relief how much our society takes life for granted, as we’ve been faced with overflowing hospitals and no sign of a cure.

Jason Denney has lived through this. He was in an Orlando hospital suffering with severe COVID-19 and he was not doing well. A Catholic priest visited Jason to give the last rites; his family said their goodbyes on a video call. But one hospital employee, Rosaura Quinteros, encouraged Denney not to give up.

Quinteros told him that “his life was in good hands, both the doctors’ and God’s” and urged him to keep fighting. She visited him briefly every day, exchanging small talk at first, and then bonding through conversations about their families and their faith.

Denney remembers that at a time when he was almost always alone, “She was not scared to be close to me,” and her compassion and care made all the difference.

Rosaura Quinteros is a hospital housekeeper. This is a role sometimes described as an “invisible worker,” but one which is taking on untold significance in this crisis. As visitors and support staff have been strictly limited for COVID patients, housekeepers are often the only ones interacting with patients for any length of time.

And it doesn’t need to be long. 40 seconds is all it takes, according to a study from John Hopkins University. 40 seconds of caring and compassion. 40 seconds of “don’t give up,” “have hope” and “hang in there.” 40 seconds of “how are you doing today?”

40 seconds of welcoming and accepting another human being. In the case of Jason Denney, it saved his life.

What a difference could 40 seconds of care and compassion made for George Floyd? 40 seconds is enough time to hear “I can’t breathe.” 40 seconds could have changed the path of George’s life.

And although perhaps less dramatic, how many others do we unknowingly encounter in our lives where 40 seconds of care and compassion could change their lives?

40 seconds is enough time to ask, “How are you, really?” or “How did you sleep?” or “What’s on your mind?”

40 seconds is not demanding or heroic; it’s trivial. Like a cup of cold water.

Maybe Jesus knew how hard we’d find it to approach those we encounter with compassion and acceptance. Maybe that’s why he made it so easy – so that even the slightest gesture of love and welcome would be precious in the eyes of God.

This is the challenge that awaits us this week, and every week. Who do we welcome in our society and communities? Who do we welcome in our lives? And how do we show our welcome?

Can we find 40 seconds for compassion with each person we meet? Can we look past the circumstances of those we encounter and remember that in every person we are welcoming Jesus, that we are welcoming God?

40 seconds; a cup of cold water. Change a life. Save a life.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

One: Welcoming and inclusive God, in Jesus you embraced the outcast and the downtrodden, the scorned and the shamed, showing us that all are worthy in your eyes.

Two: Help us, we pray, to open our hearts and our minds; to learn to love and welcome others as you do.

One: Guide us, Lord, to reach out with compassion to those who suffer in pain or poverty. Lead us to respond without preconditions or reservations, seeking only to serve in your name.

Two: Help us, we pray, to recognize the needs of others without judging. Inspire us to make a difference in our communities and the world.

One: Guide us, Lord, to reach out with forgiveness, to those where our relationships have broken down. Give us the humility and awareness to see our own role in disagreements and strife.

Two: Help us, we pray, to heal past hurts and build bridges. Bless us with patience and perspective.

One: Guide us, Lord, to reach out with curiosity to those whose views are different to our own. Encourage us to set aside division and prejudice, in favour of respect and reconciliation.

Two: Help us, we pray, to seek understanding. Awaken us to see new paths forward that leave behind entrenched beliefs.

One: Guide us, Lord, to reach out with acceptance to those we see as ‘other’: different race, different sexuality, different gender, different faith. Let our lives affirm that we are all your children and precious in your sight.

Two: Help us, we pray, to greet everyone we encounter with kindness. Support us as we try to live out your commandment to love our neighbour, and strengthen us to shine into the world as a beacon of your welcoming love.

Both: Amen.

Anthem: Building a Circle of Love

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Our offering today, and every day, is an act of love. We give from what we have, and as we are able, but always we give in hope and faith and love.

We now receive our offering – if you don’t already have a regular giving set up, please consider a donation today, either online at waltonmemorial.com/donate or by cheque which can be mailed to the church or hand-delivered.

♥ 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 God, you give so freely of your love and mercy and grace. Prompt us to share our blessings and respond to the cries of the world. Encourage us to give in hope – that the pain of those who face discrimination and prejudice may be healed. Nurture us to give in faith – that our gifts today will reach those in need, both near and far. Inspire us to give in love – a love that encompasses all your children equally, and that answers your call to love our neighbour without exception. Love is love. Let us give and receive in your name, O Lord. Amen.

Benediction

Let us welcome in this new week, with God in our hearts and by our side. Let us welcome those we encounter with love and compassion, striving to welcome one another as we would welcome Christ. 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!

    • We Are a Rainbow
    • All Are Welcome
    • Help Us Accept Each Other
    • In Christ There Is no East or West
    • We Shall Go Out With Hope

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, June 24th
https://youtu.be/yKMfqmpEmZc

 
 
Skip to content