Virtual Service – August 15, 2021

8:30 am

August 15, 2021

Virtual Service

Welcome to virtual church!

For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos of service, the choirs and more!

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 – 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

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual VBS at home lesson online. When you struggle, Jesus rescues!
• Bronte Coat Drive cancelled for 2021. Thank you to those of you who already donated coats; they will be safely stored for use in next year’s drive.
• 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!
Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayer 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

V: Good Morning and welcome to the service. This morning we are at Cobbs Bread?
J: Yes, we are here at Cobbs Bakery Truck,  because I know you would like some special bread.
V: I love Cobbs special bread.
J: Here in Bronte we have a truck you can come and purchase some speciality breads.
V: There is one small problem Jim,  I believe the truck isn’t open today.
J: Oh really, I thought the problem was, I forgot to bring some cash to pay for the bread.
V: Oh, you mean you had no bread to pay for the bread?
J: Yes, you are right, no bread to pay for the bread!
V: This isn’t the way we thought the welcome was going to be this morning?
J: But the point is bread. Isn’t it?
V: Yes. Gill is going to talk about bread this morning.
J: Yes, and our scripture this morning talks about a special kind of bread. Not baked in the oven. But baked in the heart, in the soul,
V: In the spirit.
J: That is the bread we speak of today.  You may be watching this today, and having your toast, or you may be having a sandwich? Think about the bread of heaven as it is called in our scripture.
Come let us worship.

Call to Worship

We are called to worship God with all that we are: our whole selves, every hair on our body, every fibre of our being.

We bring before God our scars and bruises.

We carry these signs of mistakes made and hurt felt, as a confirmation of the forgiveness that we are given by God.

We bring before God our freckles and wrinkles.

We carry these signs of life lived, vigorously and whole-heartedly, as a reminder of the faith that we have in and from God.

We bring before God our dimples and grins.

We carry these signs of laughter and joy, as a promise of the hope that we have through God.

Embraced by God, accepted by God, beloved by God: let us give ourselves over in worship to God.

Opening Prayer

Selah was used in the Greek Old Testament to take a pause to think about what the prayer or scripture says – a  time to reflect on the meaning of the words before continuing to read the rest of the passage. Let us pray using selah this morning.

All-encompassing God,

We give thanks with our whole heart that you welcome us whole-heartedly. Holy and awesome is your name.
You receive our praise and our gladness; you sustain our worship and our service.

Selah

Encourage us now to acknowledge your love for us.
You receive our shame and our contrition; you hear our regrets with understanding and compassion.

Selah

Comfort us now to accept your mercy for us.
You receive our questioning and our aspirations; you endure our impatience and guide us on our way.

Selah

Inspire us now to hear your word.
We give you thanks with our whole heart, Lord. Holy and awesome is your name.

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: “Living bread”

Alison was excited to receive some coupons in the mail with a “buy one, get one free” offer at a local fast food restaurant. She admitted it wasn’t a restaurant she usually goes to, and probably wouldn’t again, if it weren’t for the coupons. She would only go for the free food, which got her wondering…what if that happened to Jesus?

Remember the miracle Jesus performed with the loaves and fishes? He was able to feed 5,000 people with just a tiny amount of food. I’m sure as word spread about the miracle, more people wanted to come and see him speak for themselves. But were they coming for the right reasons? What if they were coming just in case he had to feed everyone again? What if they were coming just to get some bread?

Bread was so important back then, as it is now. It was truly one of life’s essentials for without food, you would starve to death. And the miracles Jesus performed in his life on Earth were very important too, for they showed people he truly had a power that could only come from God. But if people only showed up to see Jesus because they wanted food, the way Alison was only going to this restaurant because of the coupon, they would be missing the whole point.

Jesus wasn’t there to give them bread to eat and keep them alive. “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven,” he said. What does that mean? The living bread, or Bread of Life, doesn’t feed your body; it feeds your heart and your soul. That’s what Jesus was offering to people – nourishment for their souls and the promise of eternal life in Heaven. He was there to give them God’s Word – truly one of life’s essentials. What a wonderful gift!

If you nourish your soul with God’s Word through prayer, through song, through praise, and through being thankful, your heart will never go hungry.

Let us pray:

Loving God, thank you for the gift of the Bread of Life. Thank you for giving us what we need each day, and for feeding our hearts and our souls. Amen.

Anthem: “Above All & All in All”

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 111; John 6: 51-58

Praise for God’s Wonderful Works

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.

John 6:51-58

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day;  for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.

Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Morning Message: “Plan Be”  Gill Le Fevre

Well now, this isn’t the summer we were promised. The talk of a “hot vax summer,” the optimism promised on Canada Day, has turned into what one writer described as “isolated, extended, slow-motion trauma,” as we head towards the uncertainty of fall.

Our efforts against Covid and its unnerving variants, while promising much, are again bogged down in confusion and fear. What was supposed to be a reopening summer, a summer of possibilities, has rapidly turned into a time of yet more questions and anxiety.

And while Covid may be the dominant threat we experience right now, it’s far from being the only problem we face. Wildfires have raged through BC, destroying homes, livestock and wildlife, and even entire townships have been burnt to the ground. Meanwhile, drought is devastating farms across Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with farmers struggling to grow crops or provide food and water for their cattle. Grasshoppers have decimated pastures intended for feed, described by one farmer as being “almost biblical [in] how bad they are.”

And when I stop to reflect on this, fully aware I’ve barely scratched the surface of the suffering in our world, it’s easy to cry out, “How long? How long will this go on for?”

Except that when you stop to think about it, there is nothing new in suffering. Both our readings today remind us of the turmoil of the people of Israel, journeying through the desert and crying out to God for food. The Psalm we heard recalls the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, while the reading from John immediately follows Jesus feeding the five thousand, in the context of the poverty and oppression of early New Testament life.

So we need a better question. Rather than looking for a time when all this might end, perhaps we should ask how do we keep going?

And I’m encouraged in this by the words of John Lubbock, the nineteenth-century British thinker who wrote, “You find what you look for: In this world we do not see things as they are. We see them as we are, because what we see depends mainly on what we are looking for.”

This is vital encouragement because who we are as God’s people gives us a transformative way to view the world. When we remember our identity as children of God, we are empowered to experience the world in relationship with God.

There is much that is complex and unsettling in the reading from John chapter 6 and for today, I want to put that to one side. Instead, let’s focus on two key passages, starting with the last phrase of verse 51: “the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The life of the world.

This is God’s treasured creation, cherished so dearly that Jesus would give himself to redeem it. We are God’s treasured creation: our lives, our communities, embraced by God in an eternal and all-encompassing relationship, as witnessed by the life and death of Jesus Christ.

We are sustained then, nourished moreover, by our relationship with Jesus.

Because that is what lies behind Jesus’ talk of flesh and blood. The theologian, David Lose, writes that ‘flesh and blood’ is a Hebrew idiom referring to the whole person. Not just one’s physical matter but our “hearts, minds, spirit, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, everything.”

So we need to set aside the contemporary idea that our minds and bodies are separate. Early Christians didn’t have this view. A being was one whole entity, and so Jesus is promising to transform and sustain the lives of those who would wholeheartedly embrace him: the physical lives, the emotional lives, the communal lives.

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” Or as Lose puts it, “In Jesus, you see, the whole of God meets us to love, redeem, and sustain the whole of who we are, good, bad, and ugly.”

The whole of who we are. In relationship with God.

A crucial implication of this all-encompassing love is that it demonstrates the nature of the relationship God wants – the faith we are called to have. This passage does not suggest at all that faith is a matter of belief or understanding. Jesus is not calling us to deeper study and insight, harder questions or more thoroughly defined precepts. As confusing as the reading is on many levels, Jesus’ message is powerfully direct: ‘BE’.

Be in Jesus, abide in Jesus, be in relationship with Jesus.

So when Jesus tells us that “the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh,” he is promising to nourish the world, to nourish our lives, through relationship – when we abide in Jesus. When we abide in Jesus, we are fully embraced and fully forgiven. God meets us where we are and loves us as we are.

And when we allow Jesus to abide in us, we have a relationship that calls us to love. A love so abundant that it courses through us, spilling over and into our lives, touching those around us, giving life to the world.

This can be in the most surprising and unexpected ways. I read recently of Hadassa Felix, a Miami hair stylist, who has developed a technique to detangle and restore deeply matted hair. It’s not the sort of skill that’s taught in hair school, but as Hadassa has discovered, there is a burgeoning need for her service.

With the pandemic initially closing hair salons, sometimes for months, and mental health challenges escalating at the same time, for many people personal grooming routines quickly became compromised. And if you have heavily textured hair, then just a few days’ neglect can make your hair harder to manage.

Psychologists note that “it can be challenging to even look at yourself when you feel tired and in a state of despair.” It’s survival mode, but with demoralizing consequences, for once the tangles take hold, addressing the damage can feel insurmountable, but at the same time cutting the hair off would represent utter and conspicuous defeat.

Instead, in Hadassa’s salon, clients are able to just ‘be.’ To feel safe, free from shame or judgment, to let go of the world and all that drags them down. The process often takes hours, sometimes even days, and as Hadassa detangles their hair, she so often also enables them to detangle their lives.

In a world so quick to judge others by their appearance, Hadassa gives her clients back their self-worth and self-respect, enabling them in some cases simply to leave their house. It is not an exaggeration, but rather the words used by many of Hadassa’s clients, to say she is saving their lives.

In this way, we are called to praise God with our whole selves. With the seemingly insignificant skills we may have, through the surprising and unexpected encounters we may have, in the small and everyday gestures we may make.

God, through Jesus, commits to sustain and to nourish the life of the world. To keep us going with the promise and presence of God’s love. To abide in us and through our living to reach and renew the life of the world.

Pastoral Prayer

God of grace and God of love, comfort us now as we open our hearts to you.
Hold us close to you, God, that we might gather your strength in us.
Be with those who are weighed down with grief and pain, suffering anxiety or fear.
Help us draw on your love, remembering your compassion for us, and sustained by the promise of courage.
Hold us close to you, God, that we might know your will for us.
Be with those facing uncertainty or change, contending with decisions to be made both large and small.
Help us draw on your love, trusting in your care for us, and guided by the comfort of faith.
Hold us close to you, God, that we might feel your peace in us.
Be with those who struggle with each day, stressed or overwhelmed, smothered by depression or despair.
Help us draw on your love, receiving your healing for us, and reassured by the power of hope.
Living God and eternal love, abide in us, now and forever. Amen.

Anthem: “Lamb of God”

 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

As we need air, water and food to live, so we need you, Lord. We offer to you this morning the best of our gifts, and blessings to help those around us, and those we may never meet, but know that you will see that a need is met through your love and support of all of your children. Your 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 (automatic withdrawal). To sign up, contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offering Prayer

Abundant and glorious God, living bread and eternal love.

We affirm your presence in our lives and give thanks for the blessings of faith. As your love enriches our lives, we pray that this offering can enrich and expand your work in the world – of healing where there is pain, of feeding where there is hunger, and of loving where emptiness would otherwise prevail. We pray all this in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Benediction

May the living God who is eternal love watch over you and keep you safe. In all you do, be guided by God’s word, strengthened by God’s promises, and blessed by God’s love. 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!

♥ Come Touch our Hearts (More voices #12)
♥ Like a Healing Stream (More Voices #144)
♥ Holy Wisdom, Lamp of Learning
♥ O Christ, the Word Incarnate (Voices United #499 verses 1&3)

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, August 11th