Virtual Church – October 18, 2020

8:30 am

October 18, 2020

Virtual Service

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

• THANKSGIVING FOOD DRIVE – It’s not too late!!
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.
We respectfully ask you to donate if you possibly can spare something. You can donate online, which means that the amount will go through your Givings Statement, or drop a cheque through the mail slot at the church, or surface mail your donation to Walton Church, 2489 Lakeshore Rd. West, Oakville, ON, L6L 1H9. 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.
Thank you for your generosity and for thinking of others through our current situation in this Thanksgiving season. Until we meet again…

•  GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP
Walton United Church & other area churches are sponsoring this Grief Support Group starting up on Wednesday, October 28th, running for 6 weeks 7:00pm -8:30pm on line by Zoom.
This education and support group is designed for those who are struggling with the death of a loved one. We will explore various aspects of grief, how grief affects our emotions, behaviours, body, mind and spirit, in a faith-based perspective. We will look at ways to work through our grief, making suggested adjustments and help find ways to find hope and a future in meaningful ways.
The course is based on materials by Dr. Bill Webster, Centre for the Grief Journey.
The cost per participant for the course materials is $20.00. Please contact Maeva Donalson 905-845-7454 or maeva.k.d@hotmail.com for more information or to register.

Lead by: The Rev. Dr. Deborah Hart
Minister of Deer Park United Church in Toronto, who has been facilitating grief support groups for over 25 years. 

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

• THANKSGIVING SPECIAL….MIKE’S SEVILLE MARMALADE is available for curbside delivery through the church office – $3.00 per jar. Please contact the office at 905-827-1643 or email the office at office@waltonmemorial.com to make arrangements. All proceeds go to Walton Treasury to fund programs and ministries.

Welcome

Thank you! Thank you very much for joining us this morning!

Minute for Stewardship

Good morning everyone. My name is Tricia Blakeley and I’m the chair of the stewardship committee.

This year, is of course, unlike any we have ever experienced. We are now in the second wave of COVID-19 and are tightening our social circles once again and limiting our outings. But we are still able to worship and feel a connection with our Walton community through these recorded services, although I am sure we all miss being in our beautiful building, worshipping together and socializing between services.

This year, the Stewardship committee is not sending out an estimate of givings. It didn’t seem practical or helpful at this time. Instead, we simply want to express our deep appreciation for the tremendous support that so many of you have provided. Givings continue to come in through PAR (pre-authorized remittance), mail, drop-offs and through the secure link on our website. So for now, with your ongoing generosity and the help of government grants, we are doing ok.

So really, we just want to say to all of you, thank you, thank you so very much. Our Walton family is the best. Blessings to all of you.

Call to Worship

When we are troubled by scarcity and loss, God, you remind us of your abundant love. For nourishing us, we thank you God.

When we are lost and anxious, God, you comfort us with your eternal peace. For rescuing us, we thank you God.

Almighty God, in times of fear and uncertainty, you shine a light into our lives that we may know your way. For guiding us forward, we thank you God.

Opening Prayer

Help us remember today all your goodness to us, Lord. From head to toe, you have made us in your image; vibrant witnesses to your creative love.

Let our feet dance and jump for joy, celebrating that we are your beloved children. Let our arms stretch out to welcome each new day you give us, filled with hope and possibility. Let our hands come together in prayer, affirming that you are with us always and especially in our moments of need.

Let our breath burst out in shouts of delight and songs of praise. Let our heart beat your name, echoing the way your love pulses through our body and resounds into the world.

Yahweh, Yahweh. Our God. 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 Story – Pumpkin Prayer

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Invitation to Offering
I’m here in the beautiful Bronte valley not far from the Church. We have been blessed in so many different ways. Now is our opportunity to present our gifts, our time, our talent, our treasure. Our gifts will be received.

♥ 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

Thank you God. Thank you so very much.

In this season of gratitude, help us pause to recognize all that is good and fruitful in the world. For friendship, or for healthcare, or for sunshine, let us give thanks.

In a spirit of giving, help us appreciate all that we have in our lives. For spare time, or spare change, or a spare room, let us give thanks. For the ability to pray, worship and share, let us also give thanks.

In our calling to service, prompt us to recognize the many places our help is needed. For those donating to shelters, working for justice, or supporting a neighbour, let us give thanks. For words of encouragement, moments of comfort or a silence that brings peace, let us always give thanks.

Thank you God. Thank you so very much.
Amen.

Anthem – God’s Many Blessings

Scripture Reading – Psalm 78: 1-7, 12-16

God’s Goodness and Israel’s Ingratitude
A Maskil of Asaph
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn,and rise up and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;

In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap.
In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all night long with a fiery light.
He split rocks open in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
He made streams come out of the rock, and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Morning Message: Thank you! Thank you very much!

“Thank you. Thank you very much.” Even to the TikTok generation those words are immediately linked to one man. Elvis may have left the building, but he hasn’t left our cultural language, and isn’t going to any time soon if the – literally – millions of memes sporting his grateful catchphrase are anything to go by.

But if Elvis isn’t your thing, perhaps you’d prefer the remarkably similar approach taken by William Shakespeare, who is documented as saying, “I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.”

And if “ever thanks” is sounding rather daunting and eternal, perhaps this quote from A. A. Milne can provide some encouragement: “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

I really like Piglet’s observation, because I have days, maybe this year more than ever, when I feel that I perhaps have a Very Small Heart.

And then that makes me feel, well, almost blasphemous to be honest, because how can I have the nerve to struggle with being grateful when I have so much to be grateful for. And my guilt is compounded by the deluge of articles telling me how good gratitude is for me, and reminding me that studies have shown that if you express gratitude, it raises your happiness by 25%, and this year, more than ever, who doesn’t need to raise their happiness by even 5%?

And yet it all leaves me feeling kind of like I’ve been told to eat a bowl of kale. Without any dressing.

So, I was oh-so-grateful when I read in an email newsletter the encouragement to, “Be grateful for what got you here.” And then in the very next sentence, the author, Kara, wrote, “Actually, let’s swap out ‘grateful’ this time because sometimes we hear a word so often it loses meaning.”

The relief I felt was visceral. Like when you hold your breath for five seconds and then let it go. It was ok. I was allowed this once not to need to feel grateful.
Then came the alternative. Instead of trying to feel grateful, why not: “reflect on what’s going right.”

Kara continues: “Amid all the changes (or stasis), or scary new tasks (or tedious old ones), there are likely a few things going right in your life. Reflect on that.”

And it turns out my Very Small Heart could do that.

Today is the first of our Stewardship Sundays this year. It’s a time each year when we reflect on how we’re using God’s gifts to us to share God’s love with our community and our world. And with the upheaval and uncertainty that we’ve all had to face this year, it makes it especially fitting to reflect on what’s going right.

And there’s a lot to reflect on. As our Stewardship letter says, we are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support from you, our Walton family. To each one of you who has given, as you are able, we say, Thank You. Thank you very much.

The presence of our church online and in your lives is a huge thing that is going right. This service now reaches many who can’t physically attend Walton, regardless of Covid. Some of you are in other provinces or countries, some in homes or hospitals. Some of you may have attended Walton and then moved away, while some of you are meeting us for the first time. For all of you and our time together, we say thank you.. Thank you very much.

Even the not-so-interesting nuts and bolts of operations are worth celebrating for going right. There’s the kitchen work, making progress with less disruption to the congregation than we would have had in a ‘normal’ year. In the office, there’s new software and contact monitoring and database updating – and all sorts of logistics that are making it steadily easier for the staff team to focus on the hearts and needs of our Walton family. Thank you. Thank you very much.
As we do this, reflecting about what is going right, and expressing gratitude for what has got us here, we are joining with the people of Israel, thousands of years ago, who first heard the Psalm we read this morning. Although the Psalm talks not so much about what has got us here, as who.

This Psalm, like a cozy and familiar story told ‘round a fire, is a joyous reminder of things that have gone right, and a song of praise to the one who got them there.

“My people, gather round, and I will tell you sweet things from of old; stories we heard from our fathers, wisdom we learned at our mother’s knee – the glorious deeds of the Lord, and the marvellous things he has done.”

The people of Israel could certainly look to their past for a litany of reasons to be grateful, for the wonders God had done for them – rescuing them from Egypt, guiding them through the desert, providing them food and water in the most unwelcoming environments. The myriad ways God sustained them as they journeyed to the fulfilment of all God’s promises to them.
And yet, in between the lines of the Psalm, there are signs that the people of Israel sometimes had a Very Small Heart. And the account takes a bittersweet twist with the suggestion that despite all these blessings, even the people of Israel, delivered from slavery, could struggle with their gratitude.

And in a funny way, I’m grateful for this. For knowing that I’m not the first person to take my blessings for granted and I won’t be the last. To feel encouraged to persevere and find creative and surprising ways to express the gratitude that is always inside me, buried deep down. For God watching over his people, with all their flaws and stubborn ungratefulness, and deciding to persist with us, and to forgive us and forgive us again.

God’s unceasing love for each one of us. In theological shorthand, we call that grace. Which is apt, because the Latin word for grace – gratia – is one of the linguistic roots of the word gratitude. And knowing this, as I reflect on what is going right, I am also reminded – and reassured – that these blessings are God’s gift to me, regardless of my gratitude not because of it.

I came across a lovely prayer, made by the Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld. He wrote, “For all that has been, THANKS, for all that is to be, YES!” In these trying times, that spirit of affirmation and hope, the simplicity of gratitude and grace of that prayer, reconnects me with the eternal and yet personal love of God for each one of us. It helps my Very Small Heart feel not quite so small after all.

And for that, I say, Thank you God. Thank you very much.

Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

Amazing and inspiring God, we praise and worship you, not because you need our honour, but because in doing so we reconnect ourselves with your gifts and grace, alive and abundant in the world. Ground us we pray in a spirit of gratitude, that we may more fully recognize your generosity to us, and seek to share and reflect that love in our practice of encouragement and thanksgiving.

Majestic God, we give thanks for the big and wondrous workings of this world. For healthcare and research, and all those whose purpose is centred on healing and life. For farmers and factories, and the network of supply chains that keep us fed. For all this and more, O God, we give thanks.

Caring God, we give thanks for the fleeting moments of our days that touch our hearts. For laughter with a friend or a thoughtful, “How are you?” For a fond memory resurfaced and a passing smile in the street. Encourage us to notice those moments in our days, that we might be renewed, and to create those moments for others. For all this and more, O God, we give thanks.

Empowering God, we give thanks for words and songs of worship, that help us connect with your presence in this world. For the uplifting power of our favourite hymns, and for the consoling lament of a Psalm, reminding us that we are not alone. For the silence in between the words where we might know you are our God. For all this and more, O God, we give thanks.

Creative God, we give thanks for your diverse creation. For the joy of fall colours and the sky ablaze at sunset. For soaring mountains and wandering streams and the smell of a crisp morning. Encourage us to treasure the beauty of your world, enriching our lives and safeguarding your abundance for generations to come. For all this and more, O God, we give thanks.

Nurturing God, we give thanks for all those who have appreciated us, in big ways and small. For the unexpected thanks or for the surprising recognition. Inspire us through our lives to encourage those around us to come to know your love. Encourage us through our service to remember that we might never know the lives we reach or fathom how you use us for your divine work.

In Jesus’ name we pray, the greatest gift and grace we are given.

Amen.

[Inspired by a gratitude prompt from Sarah Bessey]

Benediction

Loving God, encourage us in our praising and our thanking; inspire us in our helping and our giving; and send us out into this new week renewed and uplifted by your eternal love for us. 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!

♬ Thanks Medley:
– Now Thank We all our God
– In All Things Give Him Thanks.
– We Gather Together
– Jesus We Just Want to Thank You
♬ Grateful
♬ Let All Things Now Living

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, October 14th

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