Virtual Service – August 29, 2021

8:30 am

August 29, 2021

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

• Relief for Haiti – If you would like to make a donation towards a Haitian relief fund through Walton Church, please donate online to the “Disaster Relief” fund,  by cheque in the mail, or through the door. Make your cheque payable to Walton Church and note “Relief for Haiti” in the memo line. All donations will be added to your annual Walton givings and tax receipt.
Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual VBS At Home lesson online.When you feel powerless, 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!
•  Spaghetti Dinner Update – Greetings from the Outreach Committee. We are disappointed we won’t be having our Spaghetti Dinner this September once again, but we have chosen a charity we would like to support in lieu of the event. The charity we would like to support this year is Food4Kids Halton, which currently provides weekly fresh food packages to 854 children in the Halton area. Wow, isn’t it amazing that they have been able to help so many kids during this pandemic time we are living in? If you would like to support our Spaghetti Dinner charity, you may donate online at the Walton website, drop a cheque marked ‘Food4Kids’ through the mail slot at the church (ring the bell and say hi), or post your donation to Walton United Church, 2489 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville, Ontario L6L 1H9. You can also text a dollar amount followed by “spaghetti” to 84321 to give by text. All donations will be added to your annual Walton givings and tax receipt. Thank you for your generosity, and for thinking of others in our current situation.
•  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. I have a question for you, Jim.  When is the last time you got a letter? I mean a real letter, not a bill or a  business letter about getting a bank loan. I mean a real letter.  A letter from a friend, a love letter, or a letter from the heart?

J: Good question. I don’t know the last time.

V: Isn’t that interesting? I don’t remember the last time  either, it has been a while. A long while.

V: I do remember I used to write little love letters and put them in my kid’s lunches way back when I used to make lunches for school for them. I think sometimes they may have been embarrassed by them, but mostly I think it reminded them I was thinking about them when they were away at school, and I was busy working. Sometimes they had to do things out of their comfort zone, and I was hoping it was like I was there cheering them on, although I wasn’t. That feeling that we aren’t really that far away at all. You know, it’s kind of like that now isn’t it? Now we have text, right?  Texting,  it is kind of like getting a letter right? An instant connection.

J: Yes, texting is like that. It has been so long since I got a letter out of a mailbox like this. Or one mailed out of one of these units.  But texts, we get them all the time.

V: Yes we do, but they are short – usually one line right? It is instant, so no matter where we are, or who we are with, we can be in touch. I guess it is like talking to them. You know it is kind of neat how we have always had that with God. What a gift!Just a thought of him brings him close, brings our awareness of his presence with us.

J:  Yes, we can always talk to God, at any time and any place.

V: It doesn’t matter if we are in the basement or the CN Tower, as long as we can stop and remember that through prayer,  or sometimes just laying out a problem and talking through it, and giving it to God.

J: Exactly. Today we are talking about a different kind of letter, but it is still about love. And it is about what Jesus and Paul have to say about living under the letter of the law, and living under God’s grace.

V: Wow, this could be very interesting, let’s learn more about the letter of the law this morning. Let us join together in worship.

Call to Worship

Jesus became the talk of the town and was highly criticized
when he ate with those considered unclean and unacceptable.
The apostle Paul was challenged and criticized
when he visited those considered unclean and unacceptable.
Acceptance, generosity, healing, forgiveness:
those are the words that defined what Jesus was all about.
Acceptance, generosity, healing, forgiveness:
The early church shaped their life together around those spiritual practices as well.
Acceptance, generosity, healing, forgiveness:
May these words define our life together as a congregation and the way that each of us lives and works in this world.
Come, let us worship God, who strengthens these gifts within us!
(Susan Lukey, Pentecost 1, 2021)

Opening Prayer

This morning, Creating, Loving God, we want to send you a little love letter, thanking you for all you have blessed us with, for this incredibly wonderful day. We come to celebrate your gifts of faith: forgiveness, compassion, peace, and love. In these changing seasons, and in this ever-changing world, your love and support are constant. We come to renew our spirit and relationship with you and all those we virtually and physically meet on our journey. We pray all this in the name of your son, Jesus, who taught us when praying to say:

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 “Icky Sticky Mess”

We are so lucky that God gave us the Bible – a roadmap or instruction book for how he wants us to live. And one thing is very clear; God wants us to tell the truth. When we mess up it’s so tempting to blame someone else, or to tell a little fib so we don’t get in trouble. One small lie may not seem like a big deal, but here’s the thing: One lie often turns into another, and another, and another…and before you know it, you’ve got an icky, sticky mess of lies on your hands.

Alison demonstrated using a bottle of chocolate syrup to show what happens when you don’t tell the truth. At night your mom asks if you did your homework. You don’t want to stop watching TV, so you lie and tell her yes. (Alison pours a small amount of syrup on her hand).

When you get to school, the teacher asks if you did your homework. You don’t want to get in trouble for not doing it, so you tell him yes. (Alison pours more syrup into her hand).

Your teacher asks you to hand in your homework. Obviously, you can’t, so you tell him your dog ate it. (Alison pours more syrup and it starts to drip out between her fingers everywhere.)

The teacher sends a note home to your mother, who wants to know why. You tell her that some mean bullies on the bus stole your homework. (More syrup, more mess).

Alison’s hand is now covered in gooey syrup, and it is dripping and pooling everywhere. That one little tiny lie turned into a giant, icky, sticky, mess! Luckily, there’s a solution when you make mistakes and create a big mess – you turn to God! Alison grabbed a bottle of dish soap, and a bowl of warm water to demonstrate.

God is like the soap – when you do something wrong, and ask his forgiveness, he washes the mess away. Even better, when you use God regularly, he can help prevent you from making bad choices in the first place. When you follow his Word, and live the way he wants you to, God helps you make the right choices.

We can’t see the icky sticky mess lies make, but we can feel it in our hearts, and we can see it in the hearts of others when they lie. Turn to God every day through prayer, praise, music, Bible reading, or just quiet thought, and he’ll help keep your heart clean.

Scripture Readings: Mark 7:1-8,14-15, 21-23, 2 Corinthians 3:1-6

Mark 7:1-8,14-15, 21-23, The Message

The Source of Your Pollution

The Pharisees, along with some religion scholars who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around him. They noticed that some of his disciples weren’t being careful with ritual washings before meals.

The Pharisees—Jews in general, in fact—would never eat a meal without going through the motions of a ritual hand-washing, with an especially vigorous scrubbing if they had just come from the market (to say nothing of the scourings they’d give jugs and pots and pans).

The Pharisees and religion scholars asked, “Why do your disciples brush off the rules, showing up at meals without washing their hands?”

Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact: These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it.  They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy, ditching God’s command and taking up the latest fads.”

Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”

He went on: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 (NRSV)

Ministers of the New Covenant

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Morning Message: “The Letter of the Law”  Rev. Jim Gill

Sermon series: “Common Phrases You Didn’t Know Were From the Bible”

Parking in Bronte is a really, really big issue. No one wants to get towed away to the lock up on Speers Road when you are visiting Bronte Harbour, getting an ice cream, shopping, or having a meal on a patio. Walton Church is fairly lenient about people using our lot for short-term use during business hours for parking. However, we do have a very rare situation where our generosity in the use of our parking lot is abused again and again.

In the spring we learned that the metal parking signs mounted on the fences around our parking lot were out of date. The wording of the signs no longer allowed us to tow a problem vehicle away when the need arose. So you see, we had to have all new metal signs made and mounted by the Property Committee and Trustees which followed the exact “letter of the law.” In this case that was the most current Oakville parking bylaw.

Today I conclude my summer series of messages, “Common Phrases You Didn’t Know Were From the Bible.” Each Sunday that I have spoken, we’ve looked at common phrases people use in their everyday speech that come from the Bible. We looked at their meaning and significance both in the Bible and our use today. Today’s phrase is “the letter of the law.”

In both our readings today in the words of Jesus and the words of Paul we have this sense of dealing with the letter of the law. In these cases, both Jesus and Paul are talking about the Jewish law. Romans 6:14 reminds us, “For sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law, but under grace.” This is a basic tenet of our faith; we are not under the “letter of the law” but the Grace or under the Spirit of God.

The dictionary tells us this phrase means: “The law exactly as it is written, as opposed to a more liberal interpretation.” For example, I know he’s the mayor’s cousin, but we need to stick to the letter of the law so as to not get accused of giving him preferential treatment. Or, “the precise wording, rather than the spirit or intent.” For example, since it was the first time the student had broken the rules, the school decided to ignore the letter of the law and just give him a warning.

The Pharisees were always trying to catch Jesus and his followers out one way or another – catch them misspeaking or acting inappropriately. As we say in our time, the Pharisees wanted to cancel Jesus and his disciples. In our Mark reading today, the issue for the Pharisees is about some of Jesus’ disciples not strictly following the Jewish dietary laws.

The Jews lived by 613 religious commandments. Imagine having to strictly follow 613 laws involving daily life and living to be a faithful Jew. Then there were still all the Roman laws to follow in civic life as well.  People today are struggling just trying to follow the simple mask and social distancing bylaws we have. How many people have not got the concept that the mask also goes over the nose as well as the mouth?

In Corinthians Paul writes, “not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” I’ve got two examples to illustrate this concept of “the letter of the law.”

The first is how Walton has bent over backwards to follow the letter of law around Covid. We have really tried hard to observe all the provincial and regional requirements. Walton has erred on the side of caution and care again and again. We don’t want anyone to get sick because of something we didn’t do properly here at the church. In our seating plan for the sanctuary, for instance, we make sure two metres is always two metres. Brides and grooms wear masks, even during their weddings, and we maintain a record of everyone who comes in and out of the building. These are just a few of the things we do to keep everyone safe. With Covid, “the letter of the law” is a very good thing to follow.

The second example is how the church is usually run following the spirit of the law rather than with a letter of the law approach. Some other denominations have so much of their daily life directed by a hierarchy beyond the local church. Thankfully, this is not the case in the United Church; even more so it is not the case with Walton.

Here we follow what the spirit of the law says, rather than the letter. We base congregational life upon the needs of the congregation and the local communities which we serve as a family of faith. For example, some denominations have directed that all their local congregational offices be totally closed since Covid began, with clergy and others working from home. We have tried to have someone in the office at Walton every day in one way or another, especially to greet those who come to the Allen Entrance door and ring the bell. They often need a helping hand, a listening ear, and a friendly face, and we want to make sure someone is here to provide it.

Jesus quotes Isaiah’s words, “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules”. It is the heart that must be closest to the Lord. Actions without the heart are only actions. Those actions are hollow or one-dimensional in nature. God’s guidance encompasses more than mere human rules.

Constantly in our Christian walk we need to discern where God is at work in any circumstance or setting. What is God’s intention in any situation? We need to be open to the Holy Spirit leading us when deciding about this or that. Laws should serve the people as Jesus tried to do, rather than the Pharisees, who wanted the people serving the law. Actions also have to be authentic and of the heart. Not just an outward observance of rules, but an inward living of what we believe is right. Hence living out the spirit of the law. Why was this law given? How can I live it out in an authentic way?

You see this is more of the wonderful, practical evidence that the Bible is the living word of God for 2021. 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 familiar 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.”

Anthem: “Greater”

 

Love Letter from God

…throughout the bible, God speaks his love to us….. Listen…

My Child,
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1)
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2)
I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3)
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31)
For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27)
In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)
For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28)
I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12)
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. (Psalm 139:15-16)
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. (John 8:41-44)
I am not distant and angry but am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16)
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. (1 John 3:1)
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1)
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11)
For I am the perfect father. (Matthew 5:48)
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17)
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33)
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalm 139:17-18)
And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40)
For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5)
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. (Jeremiah 32:41)
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3)
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. (Deuteronomy 4:29)
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13)
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18)
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:3-4)
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4)
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.  (John 17:23)
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26)
He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrews 1:3)
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. (Romans 8:31)
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (1 John 4:10)
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 8:31-32)
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:23)
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. (Romans 8:38-39)
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:7)
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15)
My question is … Will you be my child? (John 1:12-13)
I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)
Love, your dad,
Almighty God

Pastoral Prayer

Loving God,
Your son taught us to pray and to never lose heart.
But frankly God, there are times that wear us down and we feel disappointed.
We feel weary and close to giving up.
There are times like now when they talk of another Covid wave.
I’m not sure I can handle another shutdown and the isolation, the fear of getting sick.
It is times like these that we need to hold each other up in prayer.
It is times like these that we need to encourage each other.
It is times like these that we need to be there for one another.
It is times like these that we need to cry out to God for all those in need,
for food, shelter, clean water, freedom, peace and safety.
Lord, we seek peace, strength and hope for those who need it.
We pray for justice for those who are the weakest and feel hopeless.
We thank you for hearing our prayers and answering them.
We thank you for comforting us, guiding us, supporting us and carrying us through whatever comes next.
We thank you for the mercy and grace that you give each of us.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

As God has been abundantly extravagant with us, let us be extravagant with God, offering not only our treasure but also our being. We present the gifts of our offering

♥ 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

Offering Prayer

Loving God, we offer to you today the best that we have, trusting that you will help others and guide them to your everlasting peace and love. Please guide us to use these gifts in your name, so that with grace and hope, you will be known to all. Amen.

Benediction

We head into the week ahead filled with renewed hearts and minds, and knowledge that God’s love is for each one of us, and all God’s children. God’s love reaches into the loneliest, darkest places and fills them with light and love. May you shine with the love of God in all you say, in all you share, and in all you do. 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!

  • Shine Jesus Shine (Graham Kendrick)
  • As the Wind Song Through the Trees (Ron Klusemeier)
  • Spirit of the Living God (Voices United #376)
  • Though I May Speak (Gift of Love) (Voices United #372)
  • Olde Irish Blessing (Linda Fletcher)

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for date Wednesday, August 25th