Virtual Church – Advent I – November 29, 2020

8:30 am

November 29, 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

• Walton is implementing a new software system which can accommodate all our varied administrative requirements: people/membership database and facilities scheduling, donation tracking and receipting, and event registrations. “Planning Center” has been selected by the office staff, council and financial committee as the program that will best suit our needs. However, in order for us to be able to use the new program effectively, we need your help to update our contact information.

•  In many cases, we only have one email or phone number on file for each household. (For example, do you get this Virtual Service directly to your email, or does your spouse have to forward it to you?) Accurate email addresses and mobile phone numbers for each adult are key pieces of information for staying in touch with many in our congregation. If you think we may have out-of-date/incomplete email addresses or phone numbers for your household please let us know.
•  For those who receive letters or tax receipts we also need to make sure we have the correct postal address on file. If you have recently moved or are not receiving any correspondence from us, we may not have your new address.

For any updates please drop an email to office@waltonmemorial.com, with the subject line being “CHANGE IN INFORMATION”, or call the office 905-827-1643. This would really be helpful to make our new program work to benefit both staff and congregation. Thank you!

Daily Advent Email Devotional – Find greater meaning and inspiration as you prepare for Christmas, with a daily moment of guided reflection and prayer. Inspired this year by the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (made famous by Kings’ College, Cambridge, in the UK), each day you’ll be sent either a Scripture passage or an excerpt from a carol, as well as a short reflection and a prayer. Internet links will also be provided so that you can watch and listen to the carols and readings offered up in worship.
– Throughout Advent, we will affirm and remember our endeavours across the centuries to glorify God and give thanks for the birth of God’s Son. Each day, the devotionals will remind us of God’s enduring relationship with humanity and encourage us to welcome and praise God in our world today.
– If you’ve received the Advent emails in a previous year, you should have received the Advent emails automatically, starting today, Nov 29th. To sign up to receive the emails, please visit: waltonmemorial.com/advent-devotional

•  Food Bank: On behalf of the Burlington and Oakville Food Banks, the Walton Outreach Committee would like to thank you for your generous financial donations since we entered the COVID-19 world. The need has increased hugely in our local areas – families who used to be able to scrape by have been forced to use the services of the food banks to put meals on the table. Families who were already registered are feeling the severity of their situation more than ever. The demand on the food banks is well-documented and we’d like to ask you to donate if you possibly can spare something. You can donate online at the Walton website, which means that the amount will go through your Givings Statement, or drop a cheque through the mail slot at the church, or post your donation to Walton Church, 2489 Lakeshore Rd. West, Oakville, ON L6L H9. We have been able to send your donations of $1400 to date – thank you for your generosity and for thinking of others through our current situation. Please be sure to designate either Oakville or Burlington Food Bank if you have a preference and add your envelope number if you know it.

 •  Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayers requests can be sent to office@waltonmemorial.com

•  If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com

• Your generosity is so appreciated! The Mitten Tree is up and ready for your donations! We know many of our knitters have been working hard on mittens, hats and scarves. Our shoppers have been picking up items when they see them on sale. All donations welcome!
“Warm hands …and feet… and hearts”

Welcome

Welcome to Walton United Church’s virtual service of worship on this the first Sunday of Advent. Walton is located in Oakville, Ontario although parts of the service have been recorded near Huntsville, Ontario.

Wherever you may be and on whatever day you share in this time of worship, I pray it will be a blessing to you.

Later in the service, we will share in the Sacrament of Communion, so you might want to take a few moments to find some bread or crackers, some juice of wine.

Let us take a few moments to centre ourselves, to focus as we prepare for worship.

Call to Worship

Advent is a time of waiting and hoping.

It is a time of preparing to celebrate Christmas even though our celebration of Christmas might look differently from other years.

It is a time of giving thanks that even in the midst of change God’s Presence remains constant.

Let us worship God.

Opening Prayer

Holy and Loving God, Source of hope, we thank you for the gift of this day; we thank you that you are always near, and we thank you that you are always willing to forgive.

In this time of silence, we bring those things we regret doing or saying as well as those we regret not saying or doing. (silent prayer)

Forgiving God, we also ask for your Blessings to be upon us as we worship. Renew our hope; open our souls to hear your word; and strengthen our resolve to follow Jesus’s Way. We pray in the name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen.

Advent Candle Lighting: Hope

One: Our Advent journey has begun. We prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Two: We come to embrace the good news of the Light of the World.

Three: It is within the hidden mysteries of life we discover vulnerability. Within the dancing shadows cast by a flickering candle flame, we discover the promise of new possibilities.

Four: We come to be transformed despite and because of our weakness.

One: We light a candle reminding us of the way of hope. Let us join together in our Advent candle lighting song.

Sing: Light one candle for Hope,
One bright candle for Hope,
Christ brings Hope to every heart,
He shines, He shines.

Two: Let us join as one community of faith in prayer:

All: We come to worship with the image of flickering light seared in our minds. It dances as you. Spirit dances within our hearts, gracious God, drumming the rhythm of hope that enlivens us all. As you bless us with the Way of Jesus, may we invite others to Christ’s dance of transformation. Amen.

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9 (New Revised Standard Version)

Introduction: Modern day scholars believe that the book of Isaiah was written by three writers: the prophet Isaiah and two unnamed sources. Today’s scripture was written by someone called ‘Third Isaiah’. The setting for this passage is shortly after those exiled in Babylonia had returned home. It was a difficult time of adjustment both for the returning exiles and those who had remained at home during the Exile. Today’s scripture is a prayer of lament asking for God’s help. The scripture was written in the 6th Century before Jesus walked the face of the earth.

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence – as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil – to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. We have all become like one who is unclean. And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people

Youth Story: Chrismon Tree Lighting

 

Message: Waiting… Waiting… Waiting…

Has there ever been something you really, really wanted for Christmas? And you had to wait and hope until Christmas morning arrived?

I remember when I was nine years old. I knew exactly what I wanted for Christmas. I can still picture it where I first saw it. It was sitting on a table at the top of the stairs in a nearby department store. I loved stuffed animals and I had fallen in love with this one the moment I saw it. It was a Dalmatian dog with shiny white fur, black spots and a big red bow. How I wanted that dog for Christmas!

I also remember how slowly the time seemed to go. The closer it got to Christmas, the slower the hours dragged by. I thought that Christmas would never arrive. I had to wait and wait and wait…

Waiting is difficult. We see that reflected in this morning’s scripture from Isaiah. The people of Israel had to wait. They thought that once the exiles returned from Babylonia, all would be well. However, it didn’t turn out that way. It was a time of adjustment between those who had returned from exile and those who had remained in the homeland. It was a time of conflict and despair. They urged God to hurry up and save them; to bring them back to a time of prosperity, harmony and happiness. But it didn’t happen overnight. They had to wait and wait and wait…

Today, the world waits. The world waits for the reign of Christ to be fulfilled for all. Not everyone in the world would use the expression ‘the reign of Christ’ yet most people yearn for a time of peace, a time when people get along with each other, a time when all people would have enough to eat and a safe place to live. People yearn for a time of justice and fairness. The people of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria and many other countries yearn for political conflict to end. Some Canadian Aboriginal communities yearn for clean water. Families who live in constant bickering and conflict yearn for a moment of peace. And we all yearn for the nightmare called ‘COVID 19’ to be over.

And so we in the world today wait. We share in the lament of the people of Israel reflected in today’s scripture. Sometimes we wait patiently, sometimes angrily, sometimes fearfully.
Advent is a time when we are invited also to wait hopefully. We can dare to wait with hope because, in the birth of a baby named ‘Jesus’, God entered the world profoundly, deeply, intimately. Jesus’ resurrection promises us that what began in a stable is coming to fulfilment.
But how do you and I go about waiting in hope?

One of the ways is by putting our lives into God’s hands. We wait by saying to God, “You be the potter, I’ll be the clay. Mold me, transform me, nurture me, help me to grow into being the person you would have me be.”

We wait in hope not only by putting ourselves into God’s hands but by becoming God’s hands, inviting God to work through us to bless others. Every time we phone someone who is isolated just to say ‘hello’; every time we treat an overworked cashier politely; every time we refuse to support a company that mistreats its workers; every we stand up for the child who is abused; every time we financially support the church or another organization which is working to alleviate the suffering of others, we birth Christ into the world.

There is another important way that we wait hopefully and it may be the most difficult way. We wait hopefully by looking realistically at the world rather than pretending there are no problems and no suffering. We wait with hope as those who dare to watch the news and read about the problems of our world. We wait with hope as those who dare to admit that there are problems in our lives, our schools, our churches, and our communities.

Our hope this Advent, doesn’t come from adopting a ‘holly, jolly’ or ‘pie in the sky’ kind of outlook where we close our eyes to the reality of suffering. Rather the hope of Advent is rooted in God, who through Jesus has entered our human life and who through the Spirit of Christ is at work bringing the blessings of Christ to the world in places where we can identify that happening and also in places where we can’t identify it happening.

Oh, by the way, I did get that stuffed Dalmatian dog I wanted so badly for Christmas. I named it ‘Buttons’ and it lived in my bedroom for many years. What I hoped for became a reality.
Today we celebrate Communion as people who are waiting with hope. We wait with hope because God entered the world through Jesus and we wait with hope because through Jesus’ resurrection, we are promised that what began in a stable is coming to fulfilment.

So let us eat bread and drink wine as people who are waiting with hope.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

♥ by secure online payment from your bank or credit card – waltonmemorial.com/donate

*Important Note*Please enter the donation in one person’s name (preferably the name shown on the credit/debit card) even if you give jointly with another person. As with cheques and cash, donations made online are automatically credited to both adults in the same household regardless of which one made the donation.

♥ 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

O Holy One, these are the gifts of our hands and our hearts shared in thanksgiving. May they touch the lives of many. Where brokenness resides, may our gifts offer healing and wholeness. In the name of Christ. Amen.

Duet: O Come O Come Emmanuel

Sacrament of Holy Communion

Invitation

This is Jesus’ Table. Wherever you are on your faith journey, you are invited to share in this feast of God’s love, this feast of God’s hope.

Communion Prayer

We praise you, Loving God, Creator of Light, Source of Hope.

We thank you for seeking us when we turn from you.

You send your messengers to prepare the way through the wilderness of our living, and to call us to repent. In Mary, woman of your promise, you showed us courage and faith; in the fullness of time, you entered the world through your greatest gift, Jesus, the Prince of Peace and the Herald of Hope.

So it is that we join the Advent prayer of all your people, “O come, Emmanuel”; “God with us”. And as we wait and watch, we proclaim your goodness:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!

We share this meal in remembrance of the Living Christ, offering you our lives in praise and thanksgiving.

At this time, we also remember all with whom you would have us share your feast. We pray for those who grieve the loss of a loved one through COVID 19 or other health issues; those who face discrimination for any reason; those who struggle with a relationship break-up or financial insecurity or failing health. We pray for political leaders here in Canada, south of the border and in all parts of the world. Give them the desire and the wisdom to work for peace, justice and enough for all.

O God, fill us with your Spirit, to make us one in Christ, and one in love for you and for all people – as in word and deed, we seek your reign of peace and justice on earth.

Glory be to you, eternal God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. 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, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Breaking of the Bread and Pouring of the Wine

Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life.
Amen.

Jesus Christ, the True Vine.
Amen.

Prayer after Communion (in unison) *

Gracious God, may your gifts of love transform and enliven us that we may live lives of thanksgiving. May your presence among us provoke such longing for your realm, that we will never be satisfied until the whole earth knows your justice, your peace, and your love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen
(adapted from “Celebrate God’s Presence”. Used with permission)

Benediction

Step into the season of Advent as people of hope.

Wait hopefully, trust in God, and shine God’s hope into the lives of all you meet..

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!

♬ Advent 1 introit
♬ O Come, O Come Emmanuel
♬ Hope Candle Medley – A Candle is Burning, Hope is a Star, Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
♬ People Look East
♬ Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
♬ Saviour Dwell With Us

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, November 18th