Virtual Service – December 27, 2020

8:30 am

December 27, 2020

Welcome to virtual church!

Each Sunday morning we will be sending an email to everyone in the congregation for whom we have email addresses, offering an abridged Sunday morning service — “virtual church.” For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website.

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 – a 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

• Christmas office hours – The church office will be closed on Christmas Day December 25, and New Years Day, January 1. There will be no set office hours from Monday, December 28 to Friday, January 8. Please email staff members directly or leave a voicemail at 905-827-1643 with any requests or to set up an appointment to meet at the church. Regular office hours resume Tuesday, January 12th.

• MIKE’S SEVILLE MARMALADE is available for curbside delivery through the church office – $4.00 per jar. Please contact the office at 905-827-1643 or email the office at office@waltonmemorial.com to make arrangements. All proceeds to Walton Treasury to fund programs and ministries.

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 to our New Year’s Service

Call to Worship

We proclaim the birth of our Saviour, sent to nurture and protect us: Jesus, Emmanuel, the promise that God is with us.
In hope we follow.
We celebrate the wonder of Jesus, sent to heal and transform us: The Messiah, our heavenly Lord.
In awe, we follow.
We worship the light of the world, sent to guide us forward: Jesus, born of God, our eternal grace.
In faith, we follow. May God lead us in the New Year to know God’s will and Jesus’ Way.
(Gill Le Fevre, The Gathering A/C/E 2020/21)

Opening Prayer

The day of joy and love returns, Father in Heaven, and crowns another year with peace and good will.
Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men.
Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world?
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.
May the Christmas season have been a blessing for us.
May the love of Jesus carry us into the New Year with you.
Amen.
(by Henry van Dyke)

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.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Youth Story – “A Christmas Prayer”

Morning Message: “The Doors of Christmas – Herod’s Door”

Life is full of doors – some of which we choose to open, while others remain unopened or maybe totally closed to us. During Covid so many doors have been closed, whether for a period of time or permanently. The Christmas story features various doors as well. In this series of sermons let me ask you: what do the Advent and Christmas doors in Scripture mean when we open them this year? How do those doors speak to us in our lives during this Covid Christmas?

In this morning’s sermon, the door we are talking about is the tyrant Herod’s door. I assume Herod’s door had lots of soldiers protecting it. Sadly our world is increasingly full of doors that have behind them modern-day King Herods in positions of power. Behind these guarded doors are despots, dictators and authoritarian figures wanting to quell opposition, rig elections and suppress the freedom of the press.

The Herod story offers some learnings for us all in this very usual Covid Christmas season.

First, we learn that the wisemen, who were not Jewish, state a timeless truth in asking the question: ”Where is the one born King of the Jews?” These three travellers from the east clearly knew who the baby Jesus was. Jesus was for them the real king. Herod as King was truly, in more modern language, “fake news.” Jesus, however, was truly ”Good News.”
There is a huge difference between the two types of news. Herod was a green-eyed monster raging with jealousy. It is of course one of the seven deadly sins. Herod’s jealousy sought to eliminate his competition, as dictators usually try to do. The three magi knew the difference; they understand the good news that even Herod’s door could not keep from the world.

Secondly, we learn the wisemen had a purpose in coming to Herod’s door to seek Jesus. The Magi said they “had come to worship him.” That is what the real heart of Christmas is all about. The simple shepherds out in the fields went to the manger to worship the baby. Now we see in today’s story the opposite end of society – the Kings or Magi coming to worship the baby as well. Whether we are kings or shepherds this Christmas, we too come to worship.
The shepherds worshipped with the animals in the stable and today we do it virtually, wherever we might be. Maybe by ourselves or maybe in a watch party with close family members. Some people tell me they watch the weekly virtual services gathered around their 50 or 60-inch widescreen with those in their social bubble.

Third, we learn that behind his door, Herod was always scheming – even long before Jesus was born. With people like Herod, there is always a back story. Things are not as they seem to be. It is usually about them consolidating their power or wealth or both, rather than about helping others. You know that expression “Follow the money?” There’s a lot of truth in that expression. Herod knew he would be a lot less well off if this new king really did appear in Bethlehem to challenge his rule.

Fourth, we learn God warned the Magi not to go back to Herod. In a dream, God said to go another way. God often tells us that in various ways. Go another way. Open another door. Dreams are one of the many ways God is at work in the world guiding and directing us.
You see, there is a way around the doors of people like Herod. The wisemen returned by another way to their home country. Here is maybe the most helpful lesson of all. God will lead us to another way. Maybe today there is a door we cannot or should not walk through. “God, show me another way,” we ask. People like King Herod want to take the other doors away from us. God shows us another way. There is Good News.

This year that ends in just four more days has probably brought more changes in such a short time to our lives than we have ever experienced in, maybe, many many years or even in all our lives. Everyone has had their lives turned upside down in ways both big and small. This Christmas is one which you will always remember. Maybe it will be remembered more for what you didn’t do, than what you did. But I hope many of you have opened some new doors, rather than just closing the traditional doors.

It is the same with the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31. There will be no crowded parties in homes, restaurants or bars. There will be no midnight kisses with anyone not already in your long-established social bubble. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some safe new doors you can open instead. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Pastoral Prayer

Heavenly Father, together we start a new year, full of unwritten stories and new opportunities.
Together we pray that we can embrace all that the next twelve months have to offer us. We ask that you continue to be with us, and that your presence be felt in all things. We ask that you extend unto each of us the wisdom, the strength, and the courage to meet each new day and each new challenge head on, and full of eagerness. Give us the courage to accept the clean slate you offer.

Let this year be filled with things that are truly good. Let us look beyond the mundane or the struggles and see the blessings that wait for us at each corner. Bless us with the warmth of strong relationships, the strength to help those in our community that need help, and the courage and humility to accept it ourselves, in the moments when we need it too.

As we consider those around us who begin this year fighting sickness, disease, or battles beyond compare, help us to meet them with hearts full of compassion. Let us find the way to reach out to them, so that in each of us they find a strength that eases their pain, and reminds them that there are people who care, and will fight right alongside them.

Let all things be new this year. Remind us that you are a God of fresh starts. Let us become new creations again, beginning today in this moment. Let the ministry of all of your children, and of your church be not confined within these walls or the small circles of our lives, but rather be directed throughout our community and our world.

Remind us that it takes only one person…one person willing to step out, speak up, and take a risk… Remind us it takes only one person to change the world. Help us to be the people who choose to do just that. Help us to be the people who are willing to let our light shine, no matter the cost.

Together, we celebrate you in praise and prayer, and we do so as one voice, one people, and one church. Amen.
(By PASTORSCOTT2007)

Anthem – “12 Days of Christmas Praise”

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Let us bring to God our gifts in response to God’s gracious love. Like the wise men, we give offerings to offer to the King.

♥ by secure online payment from your bank or credit card – waltonmemorial.com/donate

*Important Note*Please enter the donation in one person’s name (preferably the name shown on the credit/debit card) even if you give jointly with another person. As with cheques and cash, donations made online are automatically credited to both adults in the same household regardless of which one made the donation.

♥ 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

We bring before you today God our gifts, not gold frankincense and myrh but gifts of time, talent and treasure to offer to you. Bless these gifts and bless us in our various ministries and activities as we journey to build your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Closing Litany

If you choose,
you can be instruments of hope in the world.
We so choose,
so we go to spread the hope and promise of a coming child.
If you choose,
you can counter the voices of anxiety and despair in the world.
We so choose,
so we sing songs of hope because the world can be changed
If you choose,
you can fight against the fear that freezes the heart of many.
We so choose,
so we will tell of the love that conquers fear,
the love of a child in a manger.
The choice is ours to make,
how we live into the possibilities of Christmas,
the beauty is that we do not live out the choice
by our own strength.
Go with God,
who feeds our hopes and quiets our fears
Always and everywhere. Amen.

(Rev Gord on his blog, Worship Offerings)


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!

♬ Song
♬ The First Nowell
♬ What Child is This?
♬ See Amid the Winter’s Snow
♬ It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
♬ God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, December 23rd