Virtual Church – September 13, 2020

8:30 am

September 13, 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

•  *NEW OFFICE HOURS* As of Tuesday, September 15th, the church office will be open from 9am – 12pm Tuesdays through Fridays.

–  A locked door policy is in effect to limit traffic flow. Please use the rear entrance and ring the white doorbell to the right of the window.
A reminder that masks are required to enter the building and all staff and visitors must read the health declaration and sign in and out.
– Not all staff members will be in the office each day during this time; please make an appointment if you need to see a specific person.
– We encourage you to continue dealing with staff by phone or email as much as possible. Staff can be reached at their individual emails, via the central email office@waltonmemorial.com, or by the central telephone number 905-827-1643.

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

•  *CHOIR NEWS* – Understanding the strong need for social interaction, this fall Walton singers can continue to experience the joy of singing from the safety of your own home. Choir rehearsals will take place online via Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions. New members are always welcome!
Please contact Linda Fletcher – music@waltonmemorial.com

Chancel Choir will resume on Thursday, Sept 17th at 7:45. We will work on musicianship skills, learn new songs for our virtual choir projects, and continue to foster a sense of community within our choir.
Youth choir
will resume on Thursday, Sept 24th at 6:45 -7:30. The youth choir will be a time of social interaction, working on musicianship skills and vocal production, building confidence, and the joy of singing with friends.

•  Your contact information needs to be updated! 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 your 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.
•  Email 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!

•  RED PEPPER JELLY by jerry & MIKE’S SEVILLE MARMALADE are available for curbside delivery through the church office – $5.00 per jar. Please contact the office at 905-827-1643 or email the office at office@waltonmemorial.com to make arrangements. All proceeds to Walton Treasury to fund programs and ministries.

•  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

Welcome – Light of the World

Rally Day sure looks different this year. Get a hamburger – picture Bronte Hall so empty…
Banter about BBQ not on the lawn, the excitement of Sunday School and Choir starting up. Can’t wait to see everyone! Rally Day is kind of like Christmas for me.

Call to Worship

Gather around your screen or your phone. You are welcome here, and you will hear Good News.
In a world where there are so many discouraging and negative voices, it is the God of encouragement who will speak to you today. The God of Jesus Christ.
So open up your screen, come join together virtually, relax, let your tiredness roll away. Lift up your hearts, and listen.
(adapted by Ann Siddall, and posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Faith Community website)

Opening Prayer

God of Light, we confess that we have gone astray and have left Your light.
We follow the dim lights of the world of success and fortune.
We follow the dim lights that call us to be more religious by following rules.
We follow the fading light of personal salvation.
Forgive us for not seeking the true Light of Your love for all the world.
Forgive us for not following the ways of Jesus, who commanded us to love one another.
Call us to be light-bearers of love, compassion and justice, in which the Mystery of Your Love is revealed.
In the name of Jesus the Messiah, we pray. Amen.
(written by Rev. Mindi and posted on her Rev-o-lution website. http://rev-o-lution.org/)

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.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:21-35

Forgiveness
Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church[a] sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
“For this reason, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Youth Story

Morning Message: The Power of Seven

Do you know the old adage, “Do not wear white after Labour Day?” As both the magazines Marie Claire and Time have pointed out, wearing white in the summer months may have been a way for the ultra-rich to self-identify as separate from the working masses (and the nouveau-riche). In short, if you lived in the big dirty city, you wore dark clothes. If you were wealthy enough to escape to a vacation home for the summer in places like the Toronto Island, Bronte or Lake Muskoka, you wore white “leisure” looks — until it was time to return to urban life, that is after Labour Day.

It is Labour Day Sunday and I am both wearing white and going to be talking about the colour white today. But I did not escape for the summer to a vacation home on a steamship like the Seguin out of Gravenhurst off a train from Toronto where that wearing white idea began. I was in the air-conditioned church office most of this summer while those coming and going who were working on the Walton commercial kitchen did that huge upgrade. Today is the last of my series of summer messages on the colours of the Bible which I began a few months ago.
White biblically refers to holiness, light, purity, redemption, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Jesus is often portrayed in art as wearing white garments, or with a white countenance around him in some way. We see it in paintings, sculpture, mosaics and tapestries, both ancient and modern.

White, we are told, is an uplifting colour which is defined in terms of purity, light, goodness, heaven, safety, illumination, understanding, cleanliness, faith, beginnings, possibility, humility, sincerity, protection, softness, and even perfection.

Think of the white sheets of a hospital bed, or the white gown at a wedding, or the white table cloths at a fancy restaurant. In movies, the colour white is typically worn by the good character in the plot. People who have had near-death experiences talk about going towards a white light.

One of our readings today is the Easter account from the Gospel of Mark:
“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise (see the white light here in this description), they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe (the angel is always in white, whether it is in a Christmas Eve Nativity play or the Easter story). They saw the angel in white sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

Ironic, is it not? My sermon today is entitled “The Power of Seven.” Of course seven is supposed to be the best lucky number of them all. But I am preaching about the power of seven on Sunday, September 13, which is supposed to be a very unlucky day, thanks to the number 13. This is not a sermon about numerology, but it is a message about the power of following the number seven that Jesus talks about in today’s reading.

In Covid our living arrangements while quarantined with others, in a social bubble of only 10 people or less and sheltering in place has for many of us meant at times an extra dose of forgiveness has been needed. Covid has been hard on our lives individually. I found August to be the second-worst month after March, which was the worst. This Covid is a marathon, not a sprint. Covid has been hard on relationships of all types. Covid has been hard on family life and on work life. Hence the power of seven to help in these Covid times is even more essential.

The Bible tells us one day, “Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times.”

Imagine 70 times 7, which is 490. That is lots of forgiveness. The power of seven. The power of forgiveness. There is no limit to the power of forgiveness, Jesus is saying in our reading today. It is not a measured number, but more an unlimited number.

An unforgiving heart leads to separation in life in different ways, while a forgiving heart leads to closer relationships. But there are boundaries. Hear this please. Let me explain. Back in August, Sheree Anderson spoke one Sunday on the passage about Jesus telling us about turning the other cheek. It seems a hard passage, given the way some people treat other people. Forgiving someone does not mean what they may be doing is right. Nor does it give them permission to continue to do something to you which is wrong. We need to stand up against abuse of every kind in our society and in our own lives. The forgiveness, you see, is within us. Even if they do not confess, repent, and seek forgiveness we can forgive. We forgive so we do not become bitter and even sick of heart, body and spirit. With the power of seven, Jesus calls us to forgive. It is an inside job that can change our lives for the better.
I have an extra sense of thanksgiving for those who have forgiven me when I’ve been short, impatient, critical and just plain grumpy. What about you? Have you needed to be forgiven? It is often about what is called HALT. Have you ever heard the phase HALT? H.A.L.T. stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. Often we need forgiveness because we are one or more of those four things: hungry, angry, lonely and tired. By addressing those four things in our lives, amazing things can happen.

Talking about being hungry, I can just about imagine the smell of those delicious hamburgers and hot dogs being BBQed outside. For decades on this Sunday after Labour Day, the Walton Congregational Life Committee has put on their Annual Rally Day BBQ on the front lawn. It is the kick-off of the new Sunday School, Youth Group, and Choir’s year, which we hold every fall.

So please imagine with me those burgers and hot dogs on the BBQ. While we are not actually having them today, Rally Day Sunday still marks for Walton the passage from summer to fall. In this new season of the year we will need even more of the power of seven in adjusting to all the Covid changes – from schools opening up this week, to lining up to get into a bank or store in more chilly temperatures. At least on the colder mornings the masks we are wearing now will keep us warmer while out walking or lining up.

The new Sunday School theme that starts today is most appropriately called “Do Not Be Afraid.” We do not need to apologize for feeling afraid. Going back to school for the first time since March Break, or maybe for the first time ever, can be pretty overwhelming. Not just for students but parents, teachers, administrators, support staff and all those in education from JK to post-grad university work. Approaching it all with a more forgiving heart might just lower the worry and anxiety.

Forgive ourselves for feeling how we feel and forgiving others for how they feel. Let go and let God. I don’t know if seven is truly a lucky number, but I do know it’s a very powerful number when it comes to forgiving. The power of seven. What a powerful lesson of Jesus. God bless.

Pastoral Prayer: Do Not Be Afraid Litany

(based on the Matthew 14:22-33; Genesis 37:1-28; I Kings 19:9-18; Isaiah 43:1-3a)

When the wind is strong and the waves are high, remember the words of Jesus:
Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.
When our dreams come to nothing, and we wonder what lies ahead, remember the words of Jesus:
Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.
When those we love disappoint us, or hurt us deeply, remember the words of Jesus:
Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.

When we begin to question God’s call, or doubt God’s love, remember the words of Jesus:
Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.
When we’ve lost all hope, and don’t know where to turn, remember the words of Jesus:
Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.
When our faith is stretched to the breaking point, remember the words of Jesus:
Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you pass through rivers of difficulty, you will not be overwhelmed.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
(https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/07/litany-do-not-be-afraid.html)

Anthem – Together As One

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Invitation to Offering
We don’t always know how much money we have, or how much we will need; in precarious economic times we are tempted to hoard our money for ourselves. In this offering, we have the opportunity to show our faith, that our God will supply all our needs.
(adapted David Lander, The Gathering Pentecost 1, 2017)

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

We walk by faith, we live by faith, we give by faith.
God of great gifts, you have given us so much, accept these gifts from our hands, on PAR, online, our faithful response to your abundant grace. Amen.
(adapted Carol Penner, Leading in Worship)

Benediction: Do Not Worry

“Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs,and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”
Matthew 6:32-33

Do not worry about anything in life— what you’ll eat, or what you’ll wear. Look at the birds of the air, or the flowers in the field. If God takes such good care of birds and flowers, how much more will He care for you? So don’t be afraid.

Instead, let your lives be marked by compassion and generosity, sharing what you have been given with those in need, storing up your treasure in heaven instead of here on earth.
And may the blessing of God—Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer— encourage and strengthen you in every good word and deed.
(Christine Longhurst, on the Canadian Foodgrains Bank website.)

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 In, Come In and Sit Down
♬ All Are Welcome
♬ Draw the Circle Wide
♬ Joyful, joyful, we adore you
♬ We thank you, God, for churches

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, September 2nd

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