Virtual Service – August 1, 2021

8:30 am

August 1, 2021

Virtual Service

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

• Going to a beach, near or far this summer? We walk this journey together, so we would like to share our journey together. In the summer of 2019, we started our walkway at the front of the church by asking you all to bring a flat stone from a beach you are going to, or from a special place you would be going to during the summer. The project was put on hold for the summer of 2020, but we are working to finish it this year and would love to receive more stones. We are hoping to dedicate the walkway and garden project in the fall.
The idea is to fill the little walkway behind the trellis, where the angel is in the garden at the front of the church. We are asking for flat smooth stones from a beach you might visit on vacation, from your cottage, or from one of our Bronte beaches. The stones should be from the size of your palm up to the size of your hand.
Please let us know the specifics of where your rock came from, whether in Canada or beyond. Email Rev. Gill at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com with the details. Please contact the church office to drop your rocks off; do NOT add them to the walkway yourself. Thanks for walking our journey together!
• 
A new way to donate to Walton — 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.
Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual VBS at Home lesson online. It’s a new month, which means the start of a new VBS program and we’re throwing it back to one of our all-time favourites – Shipwrecked! Over the next few weeks we’ll learn that no matter how stormy the seas of life get, Jesus rescues us.
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 and welcome to the service on this lovely, lovely day. Val is climbing over the rocks when she falls into the water. Val starts to blame Jim for falling into the water, because he picked this spot that made her climb onto the rocks to sit on the rock behind him.

Jim answers, “You choose the rock, not me.” Val says “No, not really, well sort of…Ok, yeah I guess it was my own fault I fell in then, not yours,.but I would like to blame you for it.”

Today we are talking about that in the service today,  where we blame other people for things that we have done. We want to find someone else responsible, have a scapegoat. The term scapegoat goes back to before Jesus was born, in the Hebrew scriptures. And that is the focus of the service today.

Come let us worship. Let us join together in the call to worship.

Call to Worship

(Ring a small bell)
Come into the softness and love that is God.
Spirit, gently embrace us, receive our laments, our pain, and our distress.
Our Creator calls us to come, to rest in moments of comfort and awe, declaring to each of us, speak.
Your voice is important to me.  Come into this time of worship.  Come into the softness and love that is  God.
(Ring the bell again)

Opening Prayer

Loving God, you live in us through the Spirit. We feel the holy breeze on our hearts as surely as the trees feel the gentle wind on their leaves. Thank you for always staying with us, for giving us the courage and strength to let the Spirit into our lives, to let it fill our spiritual sails and carry us forward, so that we may be winds of change in a becalmed world.  Through your love, O God, this is possible. Amen.
(Dianne Young, The Gathering, Pentecost 1, 2021)

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: Goats

Alison is a big fan of dogs and horses, as most people know. But she was surprised to learn that Rev. Jim has another favourite animal – goats! Jim explained that he used to work on a farm with goats, and that they are a lot like dogs in many ways. They come when they are called, they love to be petted, and they are very smart and funny.

But what does that have to do with today’s service, you ask? Jim felt really bad for the poor goat upon whom Aaron cast all the sins of Israel. The goat didn’t do anything wrong – he didn’t ask to carry the burden of all those sins. He became a scapegoat.

When we make a mistake, mess up, or sin, it’s really tempting to find a scapegoat. We want to pass the blame onto someone else so we don’t get in trouble ourselves. But that’s not what God wants us to do. Throughout our VBS at home lessons this summer, we’ve talked a lot about how God loves us even when we make mistakes, but he wants us to take responsibility for our choices and to face the consequences ourselves. Blaming someone else for something we messed up just makes the mistake worse! We need to admit what we did wrong, ask for forgiveness, and ask for God’s help to make the right choices, rather than finding a scapegoat. How can we talk to God and ask for his help? By praying!

Oh God, we bring to you those things which we aren’t happy about in our lives, the things that you’re not happy about. We seek forgiveness. We pray that you can help us change those negative things in our lives. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Anthem: He Put a New Song in My Heart

 

Scripture Reading: Leviticus 16: 3-10, Exodus 16: 2-4, 9-15  Derrahs

Leviticus 16: 3-10

Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and shall have the linen undergarments next to his body, fasten the linen sash, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy vestments. He shall bathe his body in water, and then put them on.

He shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house.  He shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting;  and Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel.

Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer it as a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.

Exodus 16: 2-4, 9-15

The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. He has heard your complaining.’”

And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said,  “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat .’ Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”

Morning Message: “Scapegoat”- Rev. Jim Gill

Sermon Series: Common Phrases You Didn’t Know were from the Bible               

Nearly everyone has heard of the Bible but not everyone has read it. However, even people who have never read the Bible quote the Bible in their daily speech. My first-year English professor would tell each incoming class that you cannot truly understand English literature without having a working knowledge of the Bible. So much of everyday language comes from the Bible. Phrases like “At your wit’s end,” “ Eat, drink and be merry,” “To move mountains,” and “ Like a lamb to the slaughter” are just a few examples of things we say from the Bible. In our readings today from Leviticus we hear expressions like, “Burnt offerings,” “Casting lots,” and “being sent into the wilderness.”

Today I continue my short summer series of messages entitled, “Common Phrases You Didn’t Know Were from the Bible.” Bible literacy is an important part of our walk of faith. I hope this series will help you better understand the Bible for yourself. Today’s focus is the word “Scapegoat” from the book of Leviticus.

As recently as the Euro Cup final match we read these headlines after the game, “Rashford, Sancho, Saka become scapegoats for England fans after the Euro Cup loss to Italy.” Sadly the Black players were blamed by some for the English team’s shootout loss. You see, the words of the Bible are still timely today.  We see scapegoating with Trump blaming rigged voting machines for his loss creating “the Big Lie.” Throughout world history we see, for example, Hitler blaming the Jews for the Germans’ WW1 loss and post-war economic conditions after the Great War. Or Catherine O’Leary and her cow being wrongly blamed for starting the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.

Psychology tells us, “Scapegoat theory refers to the tendency to blame someone else for one’s own problems, a process that often results in feelings of prejudice toward the person or group that one is blaming. Scapegoating serves as an opportunity to explain failure or misdeeds while maintaining one’s positive self-image. Essentially, scapegoating generally employs a stand-in for one’s own failures so that one doesn’t have to face one’s own weaknesses”

I recall talking once to a couple who were having marriage issues. One of them said their marriage problems were because their wedding reception was such a disaster, for the caterer and wedding planner did such a horrible job. Some caterers mess up. As do some wedding planners. As do some ministers, but that was not why their marriage was falling apart. Their scapegoat was their bad reception. A good or bad reception does not make a marriage. The scapegoat of the horrible wedding reception allowed them to not seriously look at and work on their real relationship issues.

The term scapegoat comes from the Bible in Leviticus’ instructions in our reading today. It involves a goat upon which Aaron cast all the sins of Israel and then banished the goat to the wilderness. Hence, the goat, though blameless, was essentially punished for the sins of the people of Israel. Psychologists have expanded the scapegoat concept to include not only looking for someone else to pay the price for one’s own immortality but also becoming the target of blame and explanation when outcomes are not what one hoped for.

In the Journal of Instructional Research it says: “Scapegoating is an old and refined practice that is often experienced in society today through social media. A scapegoat is a person or group made to bear the blame for the mistakes of others or to suffer in their place. Active blaming, recrimination and negative typecasting are used to deflect responsibility for some failure from the perpetrator to the scapegoat, and often the reasons for this are hidden from view. The effect is that the guilty persons or groups are not punished and this provides a mechanism for them to gain control of inner chaos or understanding, and it gives them the opportunity to seize control, exert power, or form allegiances.”

Even in the story of the Garden of Eden we see this scapegoating or blaming taking place.  “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’” (Genesis 3:8-11)

God spoke to Adam. Adam was responsible for the mess in Eden. Adam could have confessed his sin right then and there. “Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’” (3:12) Adam instead of owning up to what took place blamed the woman and blamed God for giving him the woman. “It wasn’t me! She made me do it!” Both God and Eve were Adam’s scapegoats.

The Exodus reading today shows classic scapegoating, “In the desert, the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.” When things got tough they not only “grumbled” against God but wanted to go back to slavery at the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt. Some versions of the Bible use the word “mumbling” against Moses and Aaron. It is a great word. How do we counter those who are always mumbling? It is always someone’s else’ fault from the dog who ate their homework to saying their horoscope said it was not a good day for them to complete their overdue work project.

There is that tendency to make someone else the fall guy. Real self-understating comes when we can clearly see our role in things. Rather than blame others all the time for everything bad that happens to us we own our role. We can be made free of always creating scapegoats. For unless we can clearly see our part we will be forever the helpless victim like Adam was trying to play in the garden of Eden.

You see this is one of the wonderful practical pieces of evidence that the Bible is the living word of God. It has a timeless message for each and every generation. While the Bible is full of history, it is also full of everyday coaching for life and living. This week,  when you catch yourself saying expressions, phrases, idioms and truisms, stop.  Wonder to yourself who first said those words. Look them up. I bet many come from the Bible.  Our common phrases like “The blind leading the blind”, “feet of clay” and “The fly in the ointment” are just three more examples of “Common Phrases You Didn’t Know Were from the Bible.”

Prayer of Confession

Patient God,

I think how you must look down on us and well up with tears. For you see the riots, pain, disrespect and hatred your children cast on one another.  It isn’t like it is a one-off; it is happening in so many places. I’m so sorry, God that we can’t seem to take responsibility for our actions, stop blaming someone or something else for how we behave, gossip about, judge and think we are better than others. We talk about not living in fear, but in not having fear, we seem to have lost respect and caring for one another.

We ask for your forgiveness, Lord.

We thank you for blessing us by finding people who speak your word, who build hope, love and peace. You give us strength in knowing you are in the midst of the wildfires that burn through the West, you are in the midst of the floods in Europe and you are holding up the parents who are struggling with lack of sleep and worrying about finances and the future for their little ones.

We thank you for those who bring us healing, aid, support, caring and hope. We thank you for those who remind us of how blessed we are, who point out the many blessings and gifts we receive daily, but quite often take for granted. The giggles of kids playing outside on the swings, the beautiful sounds of the water lapping against the beach, the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset. Gifts that you can’t buy, or recreate.

Thank you, God. Help us to be grateful and see you in everything we see and hear happening in our world.  Help us to focus on the good, not on all the challenges which seem to get all the attention and breed unrest. We pray all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

As we have been loved, so may we love others.
As we have been fed, so may we feed others.
As we have received from God’s hand blessings beyond measure, may we also generously share with one another and with God’s world.
Let us present our offerings.
(adapted Karen MacNeill, The Gathering, Pentecost 1, 2021)

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Offering Prayer

We don’t have an offering plate to pass around to each other, but we know God that your blessings are not limited to what we give in the offering plate. Lord, please bless what we offer and how we give of ourselves, our time and our talents in various ways to grow your kingdoms and ministries here on earth. Amen.

Benediction

God send you from here in the power of love.
God keep you filled with the Holy Spirit.
God build in you the reign of Christ.
(Robin Wardlaw, The Gathering, Pentecost 2, 2021)

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!

Here I am Lord (Voices United #509)
One More Step Along the World I Go (Voices United #639)
All Who Hunger (Voices United #460 verses 1 & 2)
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (Voices United# 651 Verses 1 & 2)
The Closing Prayer

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, July 28th