Virtual Service – April 24, 2022

2:00 pm

April 24, 2022

Holy Humour Virtual Service

Welcome to virtual church!

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – video and text.

    • View the video below
    • download and print the service from this document – link

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Land Acknowledgement

As we gather today on these treaty lands, we are in solidarity with Indigenous brothers and sisters to honour and respect the four directions, lands, waters, plants, animals and ancestors that walked before us, and all of the wonderful elements of creation that exist. We acknowledge and thank the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for being stewards of this traditional territory.

Hymn:  “This is the Day”   vs. 1175 Voices United

Welcome

Good morning. This is the day the Lord has made! We should sing that every morning, shouldn’t we?

Well, as you have probably seen, this is Holy Humour Sunday, and that is one thing for sure we have needed over the last couple of years of Covid. We have needed to laugh. For we have planned things, we have arranged gatherings and programs, and we’ve changed, rearranged, and even cancelled them.

You know the saying: “We plan and God laughs.” Well, here are a couple of our laughs we have had over the last couple of months. Enjoy!

Videos

Call to Worship

One:Arise, Shine! Embrace laughter’s light!
All: Even in the midst of challenge,  we should laugh?
One:Come and embrace God’s gift of healing-mirth within the shadows of life.
All:Surely you jest, for life demands our sombre best.
One:Come to chuckle at the overwhelming irony of living.
All: To laugh in this place of holiness and of reverence?
One:To laugh and in the laughter to share,
and in the sharing to care,
and in the caring to love one another.
All:Glory to God through all our relationships! 
Glory to God as we meet our call within Christ’s mission.

(adapted Gord Dunbar, The Gathering L/E 2021)

Opening Prayer

All: Holy One, keep us from taking ourselves too seriously. By your grace, you set us free from the illusion that we are in control of everything we are part of.  Help us to shed our worries and fears and to take up your gift of a light heart and a joyful spirit. Amen. 

(adapted Wendy MacLean, The Gathering L/E 2020)

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.

Hymn:  “Morning Has Broken”  vs. 1 & 3409 Voices United

Youth Story: “Try Not To Laugh”

Have you ever watched those “Try not to laugh” videos on YouTube or TikTok? It’s a contest where two people tell each other jokes. Whoever laughs first loses the contest. So Val and Alison decided to give this game a try – who do you think will win?

Alison: “Where was Solomon’s temple located? On the side of his head.”

Val manages to restrain herself and doesn’t even giggle.

Val: “What is Eve’s favourite food? Ribs.”

Alison: “Yup. Ok, I get it. But you’re not going to make me laugh. Try again.”

Val: A Sunday school teacher asked the children why it’s necessary to be quiet in church. A little girl answered, ‘Because people are sleeping!’”

Alison struggles to keep a straight face.

Alison: “Last one. What did pirates call Noah’s boat? “The Arrrrrrrrk.”

Both Val and Alison try their best to contain their giggles but burst out in gales of laughter instead. The more they try to contain it, the harder they laugh.

Val: (wiping away tears) “Oh that was so good, I needed that! Thanks for the laugh.”

Alison (still giggling) “You know, we should never try not to laugh. God wants us to laugh. Laughter is part of joy, and that’s a gift from God. Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit. Our laughter is music to his ears.

Val: “It really is. Let’s say a prayer.”

Prayer for kids:

Loving God, we thank you for the gift of laughter. Help us to make friends, to be silly, to forgive, and to share your love and giggles.  Jesus is risen, and we are so happy. Amen.

(Elaine Bidgood Sveet, The Gathering L/E2014)

Youth Hymn:  “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down In My Heart”

 

Scripture Reading:  John 20: 19-31

Jesus Appears to the Disciples
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus and Thomas
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”  Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

The Purpose of This Book
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.  But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Scripture Response: “Thy Word”

Solo:  “Walking in Sunlight”

Morning Message:  “He Nailed It!”- Rev. Jim Gill

One Sunday, near Good Friday, we had a guest speaker here at Walton talking about the crucifixion of Jesus, which we just celebrated earlier this month with Communion. The guest speaker said Jesus was led away to be crucified on the hill called Calgary. Of course, she meant the hill called Calvary.

Not long after  that service I was celebrating Communion and lifted up the bread and said “The blood of Christ, broken for you.” Of course, it is properly said, “ The body of Christ, broken for you.” It is easy to misspeak while leading worship. I had a supervisor as a student minister, who always said when you misspeak, either ignore it, or make a joke about it. But always make the joke at your own expense, not that of others.

Today is Holy Humour Sunday. It has become a yearly Walton tradition on the Sunday after Easter. This idea of setting aside one Sunday each year to celebrate God’s gift of laughter and joy may be new to you. But it’s got a long and rich history in many congregations around the world. The scholars tell us Holy Humour Sunday (also known as Laughter Sunday, Hilarity Sunday, God’s Laughter Sunday, Bright Sunday or Holy Fools Sunday) has its roots in a number of different Christian traditions.

Churches in 15th century Bavaria used to celebrate the Sunday after Easter as Risus Paschalis (‘God’s Joke,’ or ‘the Easter laugh’).  Priests would deliberately include amusing stories and jokes in their sermons in an attempt to make the faithful laugh.  After the service, people would gather together to play practical jokes on one another and tell funny stories.  It was their way of celebrating the resurrection of Christ. The heart of Holy Humour Sunday is the supreme joke God played on Satan by raising Jesus from the dead.

In the Orthodox tradition, people would gather on Easter Monday to tell jokes and funny stories, and to dance and eat together.

In 1988, the Fellowship of Merry Christians began encouraging churches to resurrect some of these Christian traditions. Particularly to, “celebrate the grace and mercy of God through the gift of laughter and joy.”

On past Walton Holy Humour Sundays, various speakers have told jokes. I have more recently told funny real-life stories from actual church life that I could tell privacy-wise or with permission. Last year Val and I focused on the many video bloopers and funny experiences we had filming the outdoor virtual services and mid-week check-ins. Who could forget the cow that came right up behind me while doing the Benediction at the end of the service by a country road? You have heard already about the lint and Lent and headless mic videos.

Sometimes we tell a joke and really want to, “nail it” using a Holy Week analogy, while other times we misspeak, bringing Holy Humour and often learning from mixing up words. A blog I follow asked clergy to submit the times they misspoke over the years. I share here parts of their list of misspoken bloopers and the learnings for you.

One preacher was speaking on Stewardship and said, “God loves a cheerful liver.”  Well,  having a cheerful liver is important but the preacher meant, “God loves a cheerful giver.” It was actually Paul who said this, not this particular preacher. The actual verse goes this way in 2 Corinthians 9:7:

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” It is an important teaching. We give in response to God’s love, blessings,  and the mission and ministry of Jesus’s Church.

Another preacher said in a sermon on pride, “We must guard against that four-letter word called pride.” Obviously, pride has 5 letters, not four. But it can become like a four-letter word. Proverbs 16:18 reminds us: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Pride can be our downfall if unchecked and unbalanced. We certainly need healthy self-worth and self-esteem, but unhealthy pride is totally something different.

Still, another preacher in the sermon was supposed to say the word “enemies.” Instead, the preacher said, “God has given you power over all your enemas.” I am sure that speaker is still living that one down. It is like the time I described how the Walton servers would use tongs to serve Communion to make it more hygenic. I said instead that the servers will use “thongs”  to serve the bread today.

A few weeks ago on one of the Sundays of Lent, I spoke on the passage about Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive ointment. Fortunately, I did not say what one minister said talking about the same passage of scripture during Lent,  “Mary washed her hair with Jesus’ feet.”

No wonder people learning English as a second language must struggle, for we who know English as our first language mix it up so often, like a pastor talking in his Christmas message about how beautiful the Christmas tree was in his home. The minister said, “I just love sitting in the living room with nothing on but the Christmas tree.” I guess that was an Adam and Eve type Christmas, with fig leaves instead of the holly and the ivy.

I am so careful what I say at weddings. There may be dozens and dozens of cameras recording every word and it is probably being live-streamed to who knows how many people.  One clergyperson speaking at a wedding said, “Marriage should be endured, not enjoyed.”  The real message was that marriage should be “enjoyed, not endured.” Tongue twisters we easily mix up.

At a funeral, another pastor meant to say Jesus will wipe away the tears from our faces. Instead, they said “Jesus will wipe away our faces.” It is as bad as the preacher who said instead of, “Jesus eats with sinners,” the pastor said, “Jesus eats sinners.”

As Christians, we do not need to always be somber and stone-faced. We can laugh. We can also laugh about when we mix up this or that. God did make us with a funny bone.

In addition to misspoken words, there are wonderful Christian memes out there. They can be so timely and bring a much-needed laugh in the inflationary days we are living in. A few examples:

“The gas prices are probably the reason that in the Book of Revelation the armies are riding horses.”

“Again this year for Lent I am giving up Hershey kisses for Lindt.”

“I got kicked out of the church choir for trying to sing the high parts. They said I was a treble maker.”

There are, of course, real chestnuts of Christian humour that ”nail it“ every time they are told:

“Billy Graham, the well-respected evangelist, was returning home after a speaking engagement years ago, before he died. When his plane arrived at the airport, there was a long black limousine to transport him. Just as he was about to get in the back of the limo, he stopped. He whispered to the driver who was holding the door open for him.

“You know,” he said, “I am 87 years old and I have never driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?” The driver said, “No problem. Have at it.”

Billy got into the driver’s seat and they headed out to the interstate. Lurking behind an exit ramp a short distance from the airport, sat a rookie State Trooper operating his first speed trap. The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone. The trooper pulled out in pursuit and easily caught the limo. He pulled up behind and got out of his North Carolina State patrol car. The young trooper walked up to the driver’s door. When the window was rolled down he was very surprised to see who was driving.

Trying desperately to maintain his professional attitude, he immediately excused himself and walked back to his car and called his supervisor. He told the supervisor, “I know we are supposed to enforce the law but I also know that important people are given certain courtesies. I need to know what I should do because I have stopped a very important person.”

The supervisor asked, “Is it the governor?”

The young trooper said, “No, he’s more important than that.”

The supervisor said, “Oh, so it’s the President.”

The young trooper said, “No, he’s even more important than that.”

The supervisor finally asked, “Well then, who is it?”

The young trooper said, “I think it’s Jesus because he’s got Billy Graham for a chauffeur!”

Great classic joke. But one that reminds us all that whoever we are, we all serve Jesus. Maybe not driving a limo for Jesus, but maybe driving others in Jesus’ name to church services,  medical appointments, or to help others in outreach.  You see, even in Christian humour there is learning, insight and inspiration.

Here now is quite a monologue of Christian humour, most of which one or more of you sent to me over the past year.

When is the best time to run a marathon? During Lent, that’s when you fast.

To all the parents who are trying their best but still feel like failures, remember Mary and Joseph lost Jesus at the Temple for 3 days and look how he turned out.

Not going to church because of hypocrites is like not going to a gym because of the out of shape people.

Me yelling at a squirrel to move off the road so it’s not crushed by tires is probably the same feeling God has watching me live my life.

Practice what you post.

So many people these days are judgmental. I can tell just by looking at them.

It takes 6 to 8 pallbearers to lift you up when you are deceased. Imagine what you can accomplish if you had 6 to 8 people lifting you up while you are living.

I wonder who the smartest guy in the bible was? Abraham; he knew a Lot.

How I managed to inherit Adam’s sins and not Solomon’s wealth is always beyond me.

So the man asked Jesus, “ How do you want your steak?” So Jesus said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant, well done.”

Until God opens the next door, praise him in the hallway.

You come from dust and you will return to dust. That’s why I do not dust. It could be someone I know.

The teacher says, “Matthew, Mark and Luke see me after class. Your book reports are surprisingly similar.”

Who in the bible was upset the prodigal son returned? The fatted calf.

Have a happy Holy Humour Sunday, 2022.

Pastoral Prayer

O Lord, giver of joy and laughter, we thank you for giving us these gifts.
For the moments of laughter and unbridled joy you give to us:
for opportunities to laugh at ourselves,
for the belly laughs of children,
for friends and family who love us because of our quirks, and not just in spite of them,
for artists who give us the opportunity to see the world through the surreal,
for the courage to smile even when difficulties arise,
for those who have hope even when others think there is no hope,
for saints in the Lord who overflow with laughter and spread your joy to all of us.
For the words of Jesus that defy our logical minds;
for teaching us that we can be born again,
for the woman who finds a lost coin and calls her friends and neighbours to celebrate,
for the absurdity of a camel trying to fit through the eye of a needle,
for the father of the Prodigal Son who is willing to look like a fool as he runs to greet his son,
for the generosity of the landowner who will pay workers a whole day’s wage when they only worked
one hour,
for tiny bits of faith that can move entire mountains,
for the reality that nothing can live unless it first dies.
For the great reversal of the Gospel:
that the last shall be made first,
that the rejected stone became the cornerstone,
that those who wish to become great must serve,
that the lost will be found,
that the small will become great,
that though you are Wisdom, you choose to forget our sins,
that when we are weak, your strength shines through us.
O Lord, giver of joy and laughter, we thank you for giving us these gifts.
Thank you for the gift you give us that allows us to enjoy these things to the full.
We can laugh because of the most amazing thing of all –
that you conquered death,
that the tomb is empty,
that light shone so bright
that it overcame the darkness.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Amen.

(written by April Fiet, and posted on At the Table with April Fiet)

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

When we look at the newborn baby, when a little one giggles uncontrollably and we can’t see why, but we feel that absolute wonderful feeling of joy, of love.  Maybe it’s God showing us his joy, his love, his closeness to each one of us.  Let us share back his love today, by sharing with others,  by helping bring joy to others in whatever way we can today.

The offering will now be received.

♥  by secure online payment from your debit or credit card. Click here to go to our donation page to make a single or recurring donation. Multiple funds 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 Text to Give. Donate securely at any time just by texting a dollar amount to 84321 (eg. $5).  See our Text-to-Give page for more information.
♥ by monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offertory Hymn: “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Give Thanks”  vs. 4179 Voices United

Offering Prayer

One: When we give of ourselves, of our time, or our talent and of our treasure we experience God’s squeals of delight from within as joyous fulfilment.

All:      Laugher bubbles like champagne, kisses of blessing in dedication. Continue to bless what we offer, O God, in Christ’s liberating name. Amen. 

            (Gord Dunbar, The Gathering L/E 2020)

Anthem: “I Sing Because I’m Happy”

 

Benediction

May the God of surprises bring smiles and joys to the everyday and ordinary.
May the God of love be seen in all we do and say.
Go forth rejoicing, for the good work has just begun!
Amen.

(excerpted from a slightly longer benediction by Rev. Susan A. Blain and Rev. Scott Ressman. Posted on the United Church of  Christ website)

Closing Hymn:  “You Shall Go Out with Joy” – 884 Voices United


Announcements

• On a recent grocery shopping trip, I came to realize that my dollar was not going as far as I wished.  I was there to buy fresh vegetables, like broccoli, celery, lettuce, tomatoes etc. After a few tough weeks of grey skies, and alternating weather of rain, freezing rain and even snow flurries, I had become a ‘couch’ potato(or sloth), watching t.v. and over-snacking.
I decided to ‘get green’ and get healthier. My shopping experience was an eye-opener. If I bought all the vegetables I desired, I’d have to cut my meat budget in half (at least). I ended up buying a veggie platter with a variety of vegetables instead of my original list. I’m only buying for two right now, and I could manage that for now and reconsider for next time.
It made me think…how do families of four or more do this every week? Obviously, some can’t and have to make tough choices, harder than mine.  They then consider going to a food bank to feed their families. My plea today is for all of us to help those families making these tough choices every week for their families. By donating to the Fare Share Food Bank we can help stock the shelves so that these families can get the help they need.  Of course, you can bring items to the church on Sunday or throughout the week or you can donate through your Walton envelopes. The money received can be used to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, eggs, cheese and milk to share with their clients on their next visit.
Every donation helps. Items needed most can be found on their website (www.oakvillefoodbank.com) Please donate throughout April and beyond.
On your behalf, Walton Outreach

• SPRUCE UP DAY – May 14th, 2022 – 8:30AM TO AFTERNOON  —
We have a variety of jobs needing done around the church, basically involving: Cleaning, Painting, Repair, Gardening and General Arrangement. There’s room for any skill level on the day. If you can do 1-2 hours or the whole time, please contact the  Church Office or email office@waltonmemorial.com. See you there!

• VBS Volunteers Wanted – Calling all adults and university students! We need your help to make our VBS day camps the most fun and exciting week of the summer. We are looking to fill a few key roles on our camp leadership team. Volunteers for these positions should be able to commit to a full 5-day week from July 4-8 and / or July 11-15. Full days are ideal, but some roles can be divided into morning (8:30-12:30) and afternoon (12:30-4:30) shifts. Leaders will work with a team of helpers, and will have detailed manuals, training, and support. 

➤ Bible Study Leader – Leader delivers age-appropriate lessons and supporting activities based on the VBS theme of the day. Leader is responsible for preparing each day’s materials and supplies, setting up the Bible Study area before lessons and cleaning up after. Lesson plan outlines and suggested activities / games are provided.

➤ Snacktivity Leader – Leader plans, prepares, and serves healthy and fun snacks based around the VBS theme (2 per day). Leader is responsible for stocking and preparing ingredients and supplies needed each day, along with ensuring all snack items meet food allergy restrictions. Leaders should be familiar with safe food handling guidelines and kitchen hygiene, and are  responsible for set up and cleaning of the kitchen daily. A planning guide with suggested snack ideas is provided. 

➤ Games Leaders – Games leaders plan and supervise a variety of high-energy, age appropriate group games which can be enjoyed outdoors on the front lawn or in the mini gym. Leaders are responsible for preparing each day’s materials and supplies, and setting up and cleaning up the games area each day.

➤ Craft leader – Craft leaders are responsible for planning, preparing, and supervising 2 daily craft activities that fit the VBS theme. Leaders are responsible for sourcing and organizing all materials and supplies, and for daily set up and clean up of the craft area.

High school students and junior leaders stay tuned – we will have lots of volunteer opportunities for you as well!

• Ukraine relief We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.  We have sent your donations totalling $6,270. to the relief effort for Ukraine through the Canadian Red Cross. We believe in the generosity of the Walton membership and ask you to continue with this very critical help. We are so grateful for your caring. If you would like to make a donation for relief for the people of  Ukraine, you can do it through your givings account at Walton.  No amount will be too small in such dire circumstances. Click here to go to our website to donate by credit card, or drop a cheque through the mail slot at Walton marked for Ukraine relief. Thank you in advance for anything you are able to donate. ~ The Outreach Committee

• Gift Card Sale – Now’s your chance to  “Shop ‘Til You Drop” and support Walton’s Ministry and Mission at the same time, with our Gift Card Sale.
Here’s how it works:
Many generous businesses and individuals have donated gift cards to the church for local businesses, services, restaurants, and experiences. We have also received a number of discounted tickets for the Stratford Festival to sell as a fundraiser. The church office is selling these cards and tickets at face value, with all proceeds going to support our General Fund, on a first-come, first- served basis.
At each entrance/exit of Walton, there is a paper list of gift cards. Please pick up a copy and take it home if you wish. Read it at your leisure, and select the card(s) or tickets of your choice from the list and contact the church office, Tuesday through Friday to arrange  payment and pickup/delivery time, office@waltonmemorial.com or  905-827-1643. It’s that easy!  Thank you to our generous donors and purchasers for your support.

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. We start a new curriculum this week called “Try not to laugh.”

• 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


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, April 20th