Virtual Service – February 28, 2021

8:30 am

February 28, 2021

Virtual Service

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 – 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

• Annual General Meeting – Virtually – TODAY! Sunday, February 28th at 12:00 pm. Please follow the linked instructions to take part in the Zoom meeting. If you would like an electronic copy of the Annual Report emailed to you, please contact the office.

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. In our Bible Pets series, we’re learning this week what turtles can teach us about keeping our eyes on the prize.

•TAX PREPARATION for people with modest incomes: The Walton Tax Clinic will start up again March 1st, 2021, as part of the Walton Outreach Committee. Due to COVID precautions, we will manage with an “exchange of documents” in the Walton parking lot and follow up telephone calls. If you have an interest in having us assist you, please call: 905-631-6188

• Givings envelopes – A reminder if you have not yet picked up your 2021 givings envelopes, please do so at your earliest convenience. Please call the church office before coming by to make sure someone will be here. If you are unable to pick them up please let the office know and we would be happy to arrange delivery to your home.

• To mark Lent this year – Sadly there can be no Shrove Tuesday Pancake/Sausage Supper. The Outreach Committee would like to suggest a modest program for your household Lenten givings.
– If you choose to participate, you decide on an amount of money you can afford to donate over the period of Lent, which is February 17 – April 4, 2021.
– There are two ways to participate:
1. You make a straight donation of suggested $0.50 per day to the Lenten Givings fund, for 40 days, equalling $20.00. Click here to donate online, or send in your donation marked “Lent”
OR
2. You put a non-perishable item into a box each day throughout Lent, which can be dropped off at the church after Easter (April 4, 2021).
– As we usually ask you to make a financial donation, or to bring a non-perishable item for our Easter food drive, this program would replace that initiative.
– As always, we appreciate anything you can donate, however, the food bank does have a list of “really required” items: cake mixes, prepared icing, dish soap, bar soap, shampoo for both babies and adults, body wash, deodorant, baby wipes, Goodnights pull-ups for girls and boys.
– We miss seeing all of you!

•  Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayers requests can be sent to office@waltonmemorial.com

 • Church office open by appointment only – Church office hours have been suspended to comply with the provincial government stay at home order. Staff members are working from home and may be reached via their individual email addresses. For general inquiries or to schedule an appointment please leave a message on the church voice mail at 905-827-1643 and/or email the church office at office@waltonmemorial.com. Both the voicemail and email are checked regularly.

•  If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com


Welcome

Welcome to the second Sunday of Lent. We are on the shore of Lake Ontario as we continue on our Lenten path, as we continue on our journey. On our second step of our journey, we are looking at God’s incredible creation. Which, today, there are so many things we can point out. This morning as we were walking towards the lake, the amazing colours, shades and hues of blue in the water today. Maybe you can hear the background of the waves slapping against the shore. You know what else I noticed? All the footprints in the fresh snow. All the rabbits, dogs, squirrels, there might have been a coyote or two, or a fox too. This year Bronte homes have seen many wild animals in their backyards. Wow, what a wonderful gift of creation God gives us each day. Let’s take the second step on our journey, looking at God’s incredible creation.
Let us join today in our Call to Worship.
.

Call to Worship

On this second Sunday of Lent, we come seeking God. In this time of uncertainty in our lives, we come seeking God. Quieting our minds, opening our hearts, and waiting for the divine mystery to make itself known, we come to worship God.

Let us worship God, who has done great things.
We rejoice in our God, who made a way through the desert of this world.

Let us worship God, who has caused streams of mercy to flow in the wasteland.
We are the people God has formed through Christ; we worship him, and we rejoice!

Let us worship God in spirit and in truth.
We praise God for the grace that has saved us. Alleluia! We rejoice!
(adapted from The Worship Sourcebook, posted on the Sojourn Music website.)

Opening Prayer

Lent makes me so uncomfortable.

I prefer to remain in my ‘zone:’ lounging in my chair, glued to my plasma screen, relaxing after a long day, but you would lead me into the wilderness…

into those uncomfortable places
of tempting,
of power,
of testing.

I would like to hear words about success, and praise, and feel pats on my back, but you talk about
self-denial;
you mention the cost of following God;
you invite me (!) to shoulder
a cross.

couldn’t you have sent a more comfortable
Saviour, O God?
Amen.
(Thom M. Shuman. Posted on Prayers4Today)

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: Hope Floats

In this week’s youth story, Val shows us how hope in God keeps us afloat when we feel like we are sinking under the weight of all our burdens. Imagine we are floating along the sea of life in a little boat. When our burdens become too heavy, that boat starts to fill with water and sink. But God is there to save us. He cradles us in the palm of his hand – like a bigger, stronger boat surrounding our little one, lifting it up safely above the waterline so it can’t sink.

Scripture Reading: Romans 4:13-25 (NRSV)

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Morning Message: “Hoping against Hope” – Rev. Jim Gill

When you say the word “Lent” do you automatically think of the word hope? No; you probably think of self-denial, sacrifice or maybe introspection. Most people would say hope is more of an Easter word than a Lenten word. But is it?

Pope Francis said that Lent is, “A path that’s a bit challenging, as is just, because love is challenging, but it’s a path full of hope. In fact, I would say more: the Lenten exodus is the path in which hope itself is formed.” Even in the Catholic tradition Lent and hope are linked.

In the month of January, we have heard a lot about the Irish poet Seamus Heaney who once wrote: ‘History says / Don’t hope on this side of the grave / But then, once in a lifetime / The longed-for tidal wave / Of justice can rise up / And hope and history rhyme.’”

On the steps of the American Capitol we heard also these words:
“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried.”

There are times in our life, whether during Lent or not, when we have to hope and believe God will do what God said He would do. Even when our circumstances and the evidence are to the contrary. This is hoping against hope. In our Romans reading today Paul says about Abraham: “hope against hope he believed.” Friends, watching from both near and far, that is that type of powerful hope. Hope offered to you and me in our time.

What do you do when, for example:
►There is not enough money from EI to pay your bills, let alone buy essentials, and it is only the 12th of the month?
►Your business closed and your partner has been laid off since March 15?
►Your 2005 car just broke down and you have no credit to get it towed, let alone get it repaired?
►You just received news you have a terminal illness?
►You found out your only parent just died of Covid and they were the rock you leaned on?
►God promised you, like Abraham, a promised land but all you can see is trial and trouble ahead?

Paul tells us that Abraham hoped against hope!

In Romans 4:18, hoping against hope Abraham believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said: “So numerous shall your descendants be.” Abraham was at 99 to become the father of many nations. Abraham is the common patriarch of Judaism, Christianity and Islam He truly hoped against hope and Abraham sets an example for our hope in these Lenten days and nights.

Hope against hope. What exactly does that mean? It means an abundant, life-changing hope. Some modern online dictionaries tell us it means: “To have hope even when the situation appears to be hopeless.” “To hope very strongly that something will happen, although you know it is not very likely to.”

How often in my own life have I come up against a dead end? But then God provides a way ahead; a door is opened, and a never-considered option appears. We continue to work towards the second phase of Walton’s commercial kitchen being built this summer. It is the sixth kitchen project I have been involved with over the years. The first kitchen project was when I had just been ordained for only five months. It was presented to me as a vision of what was needed for that congregation I was serving. The budget for that first kitchen seemed so immense. How would the congregation raise that much money? It just seemed impossible. But we hoped against hope. In the end, we raised two-and-a-half times what the original fundraising goal was and we were able to do far more than we planned at the beginning of the project.

Why would anyone in their right mind believe in this biblical concept of hope against hope? Logic tells us otherwise, that this or that should not work. It is easy to take the comfortable road of logic. It is the road most travelled in society today. But as the poet Frost reminds us in the classic poem:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Our logic can fight with our faith every day of our lives. It can be a constant struggle. It is logical and understandable to look at the facts and base our decisions simply on what you can know, see, and touch. God asks us to step out in faith and believe, to hope against hope.
Just like Peter stepping out of the boat in the rough seas we portray in the liturgical banner at the front of the Walton Church sanctuary, it defied logic, yet it happened. Logic would have told Peter to stay in the boat and not go to Jesus. But staying in the boat means you are, as Steele says, “a boat talker and not a water walker.” This concept helps me in understanding better what Paul said about Abraham hoping against hope.

In Reginald T. Steele’s book, “Get Out Of The Boat” he states: “A boat mentality is a mental condition that only functions in logic. A person who has a “boat mentality” always wants to play it safe; rarely taking a risk that is beyond their own comprehension. They want to remain in the boat because the level of risk is comfortable. Rarely do people with a “boat mentality” remain in uncomfortable situations; they would rather stay in the boat and be a “boat talker,” but never a water walker.”

Go forth into these Lenten days and nights hoping against hope.

Pastoral Prayer

Let us pray, O God, in a world that seems to have gone crazy and lost its way, we come to you this morning, not just seeking answers, but seeking strength and courage and hope for the days ahead.

We pray for courage to be the people who you have called us to be –people who seek justice and peace through your love for all of your people. We struggle with questions that seem to have no answers and problems that have insurmountable solutions. We seem to be a deeply divided people. But as we look and listen to people around the world, so many seem divided and at war with one another either through words or worse, through guns and killing.
Surely we humans must test your patience, but we know that your love is all-encompassing, never-ending, always forgiving.

This is our hope – that you love us unconditionally. For we know and struggle with our imperfections and our shortcomings, know all the while that in the end it is you who loves us the most and is always there waiting for us.

You are our hope for the world and it is in this hope that we live and move and have our being. God, this morning we lift up the people of Ontario, the families and friends who have lost loved ones. Give them strength and courage for the days ahead. Help us to find ways to not alienate people, to affirm all of your people. Surely we know that you love us all and consider each one of us important and a part of your creation. Help us to be more like your son who you sent to show us how to live and respect others.

This morning we lift us those in our congregation who are sick or hurting in any way. Give them peace and strength to face their situations. Give strength to the addicted, comfort those who are victims of violence, help us find ways to feed the hungry.

But God we also lift up those who are bullies, persons who are perpetrators of harm, those who feel the need to put others down through name-calling and jokes. For these too need your love. Use people in their lives to show them a different path, a path of goodness and hope.
God, we ask you to help us be change agents in this world. Give us the courage to speak out about our faith, to teach those around us about your love for all people, and to lead by example showing and speaking with respect to others.

Dear God, help us to remember that, no matter how bleak things may seem, you are still God. We know that this, too, will pass; but sometimes we get caught up in wondering when, how and at what cost. Please calm our fears Lord and help us remain focused on you and on the immediate tasks at hand. We pray all these things in the name of the Prince of Peace.

Amen
(adapted from fumcr.com PDF Pastoral_Prayer)

Anthem: “Bridge over Troubled Water”

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

We make our offerings to God: the gift of our abilities, our talents, our kindness, our time, our material possessions, our money. Let us give the whole of our lives to God.

♥ by secure online payment from your bank or credit card. Click here to go to our donation page to make a single or recurring donation. Multiple funds (including Sleeping Children) 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 monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com.

Offering Prayer

God of the wilderness,
We give these offerings in gratitude,
rejoicing in the abundance of your gifts to us.
We give these offerings in faith,
trusting that you will provide for our needs.
We give these offerings in hope,
knowing you can use them to spread your love in this world.
And with these offerings, we give ourselves;
May we live with generous hearts, with open hands. Amen
(Written by Joanna Harader, and posted on her Spacious Faith blog)

Affirmation

I believe in God the Creator, who made me and all things, who set me on my path in this world.

I believe in God the Saviour, who is one with the Creator, who rescued me and all creation from the depredations of our violations against God and creation.

This man, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, walked a path through this world, taking on human form having been born of a woman through the power of the Holy Spirit. He lived and worked in this world among people just like me. He walked God’s path to death on a cross and rose from the dead to open our pathway to eternal life.

I believe in God the Holy Spirit, my counsellor and guide, who is one with the Creator and the Christ, who through the body and blood of Jesus brings me into communion with all people, past, present and future; who calls me to walk a sacred way of life through this world, caring for creation and the people I meet on the way, loving them, helping them, welcoming them without prejudice, being God’s hands and feet in the world.
(written by Lisa Frenz, and posted on Lisa’s Liturgies)

Benediction

As we leave this time together, let us take the gift of Jesus out with us into the world. May we share with those we meet the gifts of hope, of gratefulness, of grace, of love. Spreading God’s love and light to others in whatever way we are able today and every day. 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!

♬ In the Bulb There is a Flower
♬ Eagles Wings
♬ My Faith Looks Up to Thee
♬ Be Still My Soul
♬ Throughout these Lenten Days and Nights


In case you missed it…

 Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update about today’s Annual General Meeting…