Virtual Service – April 18, 2021

8:30 am

April 18, 2021

Welcome to virtual church!

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

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – 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

• Tax preparation for people with modest incomes: The Walton Tax Clinic will be starting up again on March 1st, 2021, as part of the Walton Outreach Committee. Due to COVID precautions, we will manage with an “exchange of documents” in the Walton parking lot and follow-up telephone calls. If you have an interest in having us assist you, please call: 905-631-6188
• Children and youth
are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online.  This week we begin our new series, “There’s A Verse For That.” Just like there’s an app on your phone to help you do everything you want to do, there’s a verse in the Bible to help you through every struggle, every choice, and every situation.
•  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

Good morning! Welcome to Walton’s virtual worship service this morning. Spring is here and we are in the beautiful woods of Shell Park off Victoria. We have the beautiful bluebells surrounding us today as we begin this service of worship.

Call to Worship

In our Easter joy, we find a God of new starts and fresh growth.
In our Easter grace, we find a God of renewal and transformation.
In our Easter faith, we find a God to carry us from darkness and despair.
In our Easter peace, we find a God to nurture us in hope and love.
In our Easter lives, let us glorify God’s name, now and forevermore.

Opening Prayer

Energizing God,
On this new day, let us jump up to proclaim the splendour of your care for us. Fill us with wonder and guide us to walk forward with faith and gratitude. Renew us with your Easter love, so that our faith in your transforming power leaps from our hearts. Recharge us with the immensity of your mercy and grace, that we whoop praise for your goodness, and whisper thanks for your gentleness. In the name of the risen Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, let our lives shout hallelujah.
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.

Youth Story

Good morning. Do you ever wonder how you can pass the same thing so many times, and never really see it until you really see it?

Like in the scripture reading today..the man sitting by the gate every day asking for alms and everyone just walked by him pretending he wasn’t there.
We had a bird that was sitting out on the black rail at the back of the church the other day. We were all busy with people coming in and out of the church all morning doing construction on the kitchen.

This mourning dove was sitting on the railing. I noticed it but didn’t pay much attention until Greg, our kitchen contractor, came and told us that the bird was now perched on the railing at the top of the stairs where you go into the Sanctuary. Funnily, this bird didn’t look like the bird we all passed going in and out of the church. This one was smaller. I realized it was the Momma bird that we had passed a bunch of times outside, and the one now inside the building was her baby.

I found some gloves, and went to the top of the stairs. I frightened the bird by just being there, and it kept trying to fly out the closed window. The poor little thing was going to hurt himself. I patiently waited and talked to him, saying I was going to pick him up and taking him out to his Mom. I scooped him up. trying not to squeeze too tight, took him outside and let him down gently.

He kind of stood there trying to find his bearings, and started to make a sound telling his Mom where he was. She cautiously flew a little closer but not too close. She landed on the top of a nearby parked truck, while the baby started to walk around a little more. The Momma bird let the baby get his feet grounded and was chirping at him, I think giving him heck, then she calmed down and just told him he was ok, and she was there, she was never very far away. As the baby moved away from the building the Momma moved closer onto the railing, with more of a cooing sound coming from her now.

Isn’t that kind of like how God is with us?

We get busy. Life takes all our time and we drift away from God, and sometimes the church. But God is never very far away. He is always close by just waiting patiently for us to come back. And we always do, for without God in our lives, there is always a feeling of something missing.

As we move closer to God, his arms open wide. It doesn’t matter where we have been, what we have done, he always welcomes us back, no matter what. Aren’t we blessed! Let us draw close to God. Let us pray:

Loving God, thank you for your patience with us, for always being close by and watching over us and loving us no matter what. Help us to remember that no matter what is going on around us, you will always be there to help us, and to guide us. Thank you, God. AAAAAmen.

 

Anthem: “Greater”

 

Scripture Reading: Acts 3: 1-16

Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico
While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico, utterly astonished. When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.”

Morning Message: “Transformed by Christ” – Gill Le Fevre

I didn’t think it was possible to crave spring more than I did last year. That is, until this year came along. Last year, spring was like being let out of school on a warm, sunny day. We were released; confident and expectant. This year, there’s a greater urgency and yet also a greater tentativeness; we bear more scars and less certainty.

And my fear that this year is still waiting to trip me up is, I think, a big part of why I find today’s reading so nurturing. More than that: utterly uplifting.

“Jumping up, [the beggar] stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”

Walking and leaping and praising God. Maybe you’ve felt something similar. When something entirely wonderful has happened and you feel so much joy that the energy is rushing through your body and you just can’t keep still.

And so it brings me joy to imagine the beggar that day, overwhelmed by the immensity of what has just happened. Moving around in a daze perhaps, dizzy with the delight of his healing, wanting to show everyone who was there, and at the same time not wanting to stray far from Peter who had brought this miracle about.

Walking and leaping and praising God. Utterly transformed by Christ.

And yet, the beggar’s new-found energy, as joyful as it is, is not on its own what lifts me up. Because the beggar is not the only person in this account whose life is transformed.

Just look at Peter. In his own way, walking and leaping and praising God. Walking straight into the temple at the hour of prayer. Straight into what was effectively the headquarters of the Jewish leaders who had arrested Jesus and had him killed. Remember that immediately after Jesus’ death, Peter and the other disciples were so terrified of what might happen to them, that they hid behind locked doors, paralysed by fear.

Now look at him: walking and leaping and praising God. Leaping into action. This is the man who on the night Jesus was arrested, claimed he didn’t know Jesus’ name. He called down curses, according to the account in Matthew’s Gospel, such was the vehemence with which Peter tried to reject the name of Jesus.

And here he is, continuing Jesus’ ministry, healing the beggar, directly and explicitly “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”

And praising God. Telling those present of the glory of God’s love. Proclaiming the power of the risen Christ. “And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong.”

It took me a few read-throughs of this passage to realize what is perhaps the key element of this one line. When Peter says, “And by faith in his name,” I don’t think he’s talking about the beggar having faith. It’s an easy assumption to make – the beggar is healed, Peter attributes that to faith, ergo the beggar has faith. Except nowhere in the reading are there any indications that the beggar believes in Jesus; perhaps he doesn’t even know about Jesus.

The beggar is at the temple because that’s where he goes each day, and when he sees Peter and John, his request is for alms. Healing isn’t on the beggar’s mind. The faith is Peter’s.

Peter’s faith in Jesus’ transforming love is what heals the beggar. Peter’s faith that, throughout the gospels, has appeared timid and fragile has been transformed by the risen Christ.

Now Peter speaks boldly, heals resolutely, and proclaims Jesus raised from the dead. Peter’s faith in Jesus’ name has made the beggar strong and has made Peter strong. Transformed by Christ.

And this is the transformation that I want to be a part of. The transformation that reminds us that our faith can make us strong. At a time when we are being confronted by so much, tested every day, I am hungry to affirm that my faith in the risen Christ can make me strong.

That transformation, that promise, is there for us in our reading this morning – because the beggar and Peter are not the only ones in this account whose lives are transformed. There’s a place too for “all the people.” All the people who saw the beggar, who heard Peter, and who were “filled with wonder and amazement.”

The reading doesn’t tell us what happened to them specifically, but as thousands more are baptized and become believers in the months following Jesus’ death and resurrection, I think it’s clear many were transformed by what they saw and heard that day at the temple.

And we can be too. Acknowledging the unknowable wonder of God at work in the world, in miracles as everyday as the unfurling of a flower. Affirming Jesus as “author of life,” who has erased the grip of death and who writes hope into our lives in each new day. Amazed perhaps by the difference it makes to remind ourselves that we can call on God at any point, and that just knowing God is with us can give us strength.

Will Willimon was a bishop in the United Methodist Church in Alabama. He tells the story of a visit he made to the homeless ministry of one of the churches in his district. It was a ministry that prided itself on treating the homeless people it served with respect, right down to serving meals with proper china dishes, flatware and glasses – nothing plastic or disposable.

While Willimon is there, he notices a volunteer at the kitchen sink, “up to his elbows in dishwater.” He knew the man was a lawyer, and from a large affluent church in the area. As Willimon recounts, he greeted the man with what he thought was an encouraging opening remark: “I think it’s wonderful that you are here, washing dishes for the homeless.”

“Good for you,” the dishwasher mumbled, not looking up from his work.

“Have you always enjoyed ministry with the homeless?” Willimon tried again.

“Who told you I enjoyed working with the homeless?” he asked. “Have you met any of the homeless out there?
Most of them are so addicted or messed up that nobody, not even their family, wants them home.”

“Well, I, er, uh, think that makes it all the more remarkable what you are here doing. How did you get here?”

He looked up from the dishwater and replied, “I’m here because Jesus put me here. How did you get here?” [1]

Was the lawyer shaped by his faith? Certainly. Out of place and uncomfortable, absolutely. Made strong? Without a doubt. Transformed by Christ.

Praise be to God.

1 Will Willimon, “Life with Laity” Journal for Preachers, Pentecost 2009.

Pastoral Prayer

Revitalizing Lord,
You who have known suffering and despair, who have cried out from pain and rejection, be present in this moment as we share with you the burdens weighing down on us and those we love.

In this Covid world, we struggle with illness and fear. We pray that you support and sustain those worn down by poor health, going through tests or coping with treatments. Be with caregivers and healthcare practitioners, and nurture them that the care and advice they provide brings ease and healing. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, dear Lord, make us strong.

In this divisive world, we struggle with hostility and rage. We pray for an end to misinformation and divisiveness, and ask that you suppress the fervour of those who try to foster hate and suspicion. Help us bring tolerance and compassion, calm and openness, to everyone we encounter. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, dear Lord, make us strong.

In this changing world, we struggle with the unknown. We pray that you guide us through the choices and decisions we face, and steady us to help those around us in the face of uncertainty. Grant us patience and clarity for the changes we pursue, and give us peace and courage when we are surprised by life’s events. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, dear Lord, make us strong.
Amen.

Music: “Let His Love Be Found in You”

 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

We thank you Lord for the wonderful blessings we have received from you. May we generously share with one another and build God’s kingdom here on earth. Let us present our offering.

♥ by secure online payment from your bank or credit card. Click here to go to our donation page to make a single or recurring donation. Multiple funds (including Sleeping Children) can be included in one donation by using the “Add Donation” button.
♥ 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

Triumphant God, we bring before you now our gifts, perhaps not of silver or gold, but all that we have to share at this time. Bless our giving and inspire those who receive this offering to seek to redeem the suffering of your children, near and far. Bless our helping and inspire us to seek to transform the needs of our communities in your name. Grant that by faith in your name, we are made strong to share your love with those around us. Amen.

Benediction

Go into this new week sustained by your faith in the Risen Christ that will make you strong. Whatever troubles you face, let God’s grace lift you up. Whatever joy you are blessed with, let God’s grace leap in your heart. And may you praise God and witness to God’s love in each and every moment of your days. 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!

♬ Hymn of Promise (In the Bulb There is a Flower) – VU 703
♬ Come to Us, Beloved Stranger – LUYH 207
♬ Now the Green Blade Rises – Vu 186 verses 1&4
♬ Lord of the Dance (I Danced in the Morning) – VU 352
♬ May the Light of God Go With You (D Besig)


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, April 14th