Virtual Service – January 10, 2021

8:30 am

January 10, 2021

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

• Wondrous thanks from the Outreach Committee – We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Walton congregation to our White Gift campaign in our especially difficult year. Thank you for your contributions of knitting, toys, gift cards and donations.
– We delivered to Kerr Street Mission 50 hats, 10 scarves, 50 gloves/mitts, 50 pairs of socks.
– We delivered to Wesley Urban Ministries 18 hat/scarf sets, 146 hats, 53 scarves, 11 headbands, 16 gloves/mitts and 100 pairs of socks.
– As well you donated $615 in gift cards and almost $3,000 in donations to be spent by the agency where most needed.
Considering the extra effort getting all of this to the church – cheques and items, even through the mail slot, we are more than ever grateful for your response. Please know that every item and every dollar has been gratefully received as a welcome sign that people care about other people.

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s Sunday School At Home virtual lesson online: Jonah and His Big Fish #Fail

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

 •  Office hours resume again on Tuesday, January 12. There will be someone in the Church offices Tuesday through Friday mornings, from 9 am to 12noon to answer the door and provide assistance and offer curbside pick up / drop off for Upper Rooms, envelopes, marmalade and red pepper jelly, offerings, etc. Please ring the white bell to the far right side of the door at the rear Allan Entrance and remember to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Please note that access to the building during the lockdown is restricted to staff only, except by appointment in advance for maintenance and essential services. If you need help beyond these posted office hours please leave a message on the Church telephone 905-827-1643 and/or email the church office office@waltonmemorial.com which are checked regularly. You can also contact individual staff through their work emails. Be safe and healthy

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


Welcome

Welcome to Walton United Church’s virtual time of worship. This is the first Sunday after the Day of Epiphany and as is the tradition in many churches, this is a Sunday when we will focus on the Baptism of Jesus.

My prayer is that this time of worship will be a blessing to you.

Call to Worship

One: When Jesus came out of the water after his baptism, God announced: “You are my beloved Son.”
All: At our baptism, as we are anointed with water, God’s love for each of us is proclaimed.

One: We worship hoping to hear the message of God’s love for us today.
All: So let us open our hearts and souls and minds to God that we might be filled with the good news of God’s eternal love.

Opening Prayer & Lord’s Prayer

God of Living Water, we come before you, seeking your blessings. Shower us with your love. Bathe us in encouragement, forgiveness for mistakes, and healing for hurts. Anoint us with Christ’s Spirit that we will be empowered to share that love with others. We ask these things in the name of Jesus, the Christ, who taught his followers to pray:

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
For ever and ever. Amen.

Anthem: “Jesus, Light Of The World Is Come”

Spiritual Fitness Hint #45

Sometimes life is like being on a treadmill. Things just keep going on and on and on. There’s always something to do. There’s always some commitment to be met. There’s always stress of some kind. There are times when I wish I could just stop the treadmill and get off.

As someone who works out regularly for my physical fitness, I know that rest is an important part of our physical well-being. Sometimes it is important to stop.

That’s the way it is with our spiritual well-being. It’s important to pray, to worship, to read scripture, to give someone a helping hand, to be part of a Bible study or a faith conversation group. Those are all important spiritual disciplines.

There is another one. Psalm 46 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
So my spiritual fitness tip for you is to take some time each day – maybe 30 seconds or 5 minutes – and simply stop. Be still and acknowledge that God is with you.
Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God.”

Scripture Reading: Matthew 3: 13-17 (New Revised Standard Version)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.” And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Morning Message: “One Of Us” – Rev. Karen Inkster

Sandra (not her real name) lives alone after her husband of 42 years died. Her two sons live thousands of miles away. She no longer can drive the car or walk very far. The only human contact she has is when her groceries are delivered or when one of her sons phones her or when a member of the local United Church’s outreach committee calls to see how she is doing. Most of Sandra’s days are long, boring and lonely.

Mike (not his real name) is a grade 10 student who lives with his alcoholic mother. Sometimes she seems interested in him but there are days when she ignores him. And then there are the weekends when she takes off with her latest boyfriend leaving Mike alone to fend for himself. Mike often feels alone and adrift.

Ahmed (not his real name) lives with his three children in an overcrowded refugee camp. His wife was killed as they tried to leave the violence in Syria. There is nowhere for the kids to play, no school for them to attend, only basic medical care, and days when they don’t have quite enough to eat. Ahmed lives in despair worrying about what the future holds for him and his children.

Sandra, Mike, and Ahmed, like John the Baptist and like millions of others in the world, and maybe even like you and me some days, live in the wilderness. Joy springs up only as an occasional oasis. The winds of isolation, fear, despair and loneliness swirl around us grinding down our sense of well-being.

What’s worse, sometimes we may feel not only cut off from other people but also from God. Where is God when you are hungry? Where is God when your heart is breaking after someone tells you they don’t love you anymore? Where is God in the fear you might not have enough money saved for retirement despite years of careful budgeting? Where is God when you fear for your life because of the threat of violence? These are the kinds of things that grind down our sense of God’s presence with us.

John the Baptist was trying to strengthen people’s sense of God’s presence by calling them to turn from their sins and be baptized. Then Jesus approached John and asked John to baptize him. What a strange thing for Jesus to request! Why did Jesus need to be baptized? Wasn’t he without sin?

Jesus’ baptism was an act of solidarity with humanity, i.e. an act of being ‘at one with’ with humanity. It is as if at Jesus’ birth, God whispered “I am with you” and then at Jesus’ baptism, God shouted “I am not only with you. I am fully immersed in your lives.” God didn’t just dress up as a human like a child dresses up as Wonder Woman or Spider-Man at Halloween. Through Jesus, God chose to share fully our human experience – to laugh with us, to cry with us, to celebrate with us and to be afraid with us. Jesus’ baptism reflects God’s decision to live in solidarity with us, to be ‘one of us.’

This solidarity continues today. Through his Spirit, Christ is fully involved with our lives today, and through his Spirit, Christ is at work in our lives – bringing us healing, opening new paths for our lives, blessing us with wisdom, offering us guidance, comforting and challenging us, and surrounding us with the security that comes when we know that we are always loved by God.

Yet knowing we are loved by God doesn’t always seem quite enough.
A small voice called out in the night. “Mommy! Mommy, I’m scared!”
Sleepy Mommy replied, “You don’t need to be frightened; I’m just across the hall. Go back to sleep.”

After a few minutes, just long enough for Mommy to settle back into sleep, the voice called out again, “Mommy! Mommy! Come here! I’m scared!”

Again Mommy replied, “You don’t need to be afraid. God loves you and is right there with you.”
“I know,” replied her daughter, “but I want someone with skin on!”
Sometimes the world needs someone with skin on.

Jesus was someone with skin on. Today you and I are invited to be someone with skin on. God invites us to live in solidarity with the world. It is often through other people that God’s Presence is most deeply experienced.

I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation going on at the table right beside me when I stopped into a restaurant for lunch (before Covid!). Two men were talking with the waitress. It was obvious that they knew her from previous visits to the restaurant. The men seemed a bit unusual. They talked very loud, and the one man’s words weren’t always very clear. They were busy telling the waitress about a friend who had just died. They told her the details of his life and some of the experiences they had had together. It was noon and the restaurant was beginning to fill up. Yet the waitress patiently listened to their story, occasionally making comments that reflected her interest and care, even as details got repeated.

I couldn’t help but think that in that situation, that waitress was God with skin on. Her patience and kindness toward the two men was an act of solidarity that reflected the care that God has for each of them.

There are many situations every day when God invites and empowers us through the Spirit of Christ, to live in solidarity with others, to be God with skin on. Sometimes those situations are common, everyday ones like listening patiently to a customer’s story, phoning someone who is lonely, or helping a neighbour change a flat tire. Sometimes it is more difficult – like helping someone just released from prison to put their life back together again, welcoming into the neighbourhood a family whose ethnic background is different from other neighbours, or supporting the establishment of a much-needed youth group home in our neighbourhood when the rest of the community is against it.

As we share in the lives of others, they will experience the presence of God in real, tangible ways and so will we. As we share together, gradually there will be distance put between us and the desert of isolation, fear, aloneness, and despair.

So where is God in the loneliness and fear and heartache facing us and the world? Right here with us and often with others through us.

Live knowing that God is with you no matter what is going on in your life or what is going on in the world. Invite God to work through you to make God’s loving presence known to others in the world.

Pastoral Prayer

Ever-present, ever-near God we gave you thanks for this day. We praise you for the beauty of creation with all its seasons and changes. We thank you for the gift of your Christ who lived our human life. Who knew joy and sadness, who taught and lived your love. We are grateful for your Holy Spirit who teaches us, encourages us, comforts and challenges us as we try to be your faithful people.

Life-giving God, we ask that you immerse us in your love and raise us up to bring your love, acceptance, forgiveness, and hope to the world. Work through us and others by your Spirit to bring peace and justice and honesty and kindness into the world.

We offer to you now silent prayer:
– for those who are the victims of violence
– for those discriminated against
– for those working to research, produce, distribute and administer the covid vaccine and other important vaccines
– for those who don’t have enough food or safe shelter, for those who are lonely or fearful
for our family, our friends, our selves

We pray in the name of Jesus, our healer, our hope, our saviour, our friend, and your Beloved.
Amen.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Let us bring our gifts to God, in response to God’s gracious love. Let us bring our lives to God, in response to Jesus’s call to serve others.
The offering will now be received.

♥ 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 dedicate these gifts and our intentions to align with your will for the greater good of all. Bless and use these offerings, and us, to bring the light of your healing love to the shadowed places in this world. Amen.
(Jani Francis, The Gathering A/C/E 2021)

Commissioning

Go into this day and the days to come assured that God is with you and that God surrounds you with love. Share that love with all you meet.

Benediction

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God and
the communion of the Holy Spirit,
be with each one of us today and for ever more. 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!

♬ I am the Light of the World
♬ Will You Come and See the Light
♬ A Light is Gleaming
♬ When Jesus Came to be Baptized
♬ Walk in the Light

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, January 6th

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