Virtual Service – January 30, 2022

8:30 am

January 30, 2022

Welcome to virtual church!

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – video and text.
• View the video below
• download and print the service from this document – link

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.

 


Announcements

• Looking for accessibility equipment? – We have had quite a few gently-used items dropped off at the church, which have been cleaned and disinfected, and are ready to be used again. We have walkers, toilet extenders, a bedrail, shower chair, and more, and would love to lend them to you if needed. Please contact the church office.
• Sam’s Lady Rose Relish and Sam’s Bread & Butter Pickles (a very limited quantity) are available for purchase at $5.00 each from the church office.
• Walton’s 2022 givings envelopes are available for pickup. You are invited to drop by the church and ring the doorbell and we will bring your box out to you during the week.
• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. The people in our Bible story this week get a stinky, rotten surprise. Ewwww!
• 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.


Honouring the Land and Territory

Halton Region, as we know it today, is rich in the history and modern traditions of many First Nations and the Métis. From the lands of the Anishinabe to the Attawandaron, the Haudenosaunee, and the Métis, these lands surrounding the Great Lakes are steeped in Indigenous history. As we gather today on these treaty lands, we are in solidarity with Indigenous brothers and sisters to honour and respect the four directions, lands, waters, plants, animals and ancestors that walked before us, and all of the wonderful elements of creation that exist. We acknowledge and thank the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for being stewards of this traditional territory.

Welcome

Jim: Good morning and welcome to Walton’s virtual service today. You can see how snowy it is outside the church today;  we have had so much snow this month, and there is expectation for more. But wherever you are we hope you are safe and warm and can participate in this worship virtually. Val, what are you doing?

Val: I’m hanging up the Valentine’s hearts, because the scripture this morning is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast,”

Jim: It is not jealous, rude, envious.

Val: Yeah that one. So, I thought I’d start to put out the Valentines stuff, the hearts, love etc.

Jim: But Val, Valentines isn’t for another few weeks yet.

Val: Are you sure, cause we always use that scripture on Valentines Day, don’t we?

Jim: Yes, we often do, we use 1 Corinthians 13 for more than just Valentine’s Day. It is used for weddings, funerals, any time of the year.

Val: So this scripture can be used all the time?

Jim: Yes. This message on love can be used anytime of the year.

Val: That’s true too.  But don’t you love the hearts being out? Doesn’t it make you feel happy?

Jim: Oh yes, it sure does.

Val: Something to look forward to. I guess that is love in general, isn’t it?  We think about love and it makes us happy and makes us feel good.

Jim: It sure does.  You know what I want to know is where are the valentine treats for me to eat, the cinnamon hearts, the red heart jube jubes?

Val: Oh Jim, you have to wait a couple of weeks for those.

Jim:  Well we have the Valentines up, and the 1 Corinthians passage on love in the service today,. Come let us worship.

Val:  Let us join together for the Call to Worship.

Call to Worship

One:  Amidst the rush of the world, the noise and the turmoil, remind us that only one thing matters.

Two: Calm us with your patient love.

One:  As we leave behind a week of struggle and striving, reassure us that only one thing matters.

Two: Comfort us with your caring love.

One: When we are swept away by our dreams or held back by our fears, steady us with the only thing that matters.

Two: Let us settle into the peace of your love, in our worship and our lives.

Opening Prayer

Loving God of overflowing blessings,
You know us and you see us and, despite all that, you love us, with an endurance and a depth that we do not understand. Remind us, God, to trust in your love, and let it shelter and soothe us in all our need. Encourage us to have hope through your love, and affirm that your love outlasts our troubles and will not let them overcome us. Inspire us to persevere, sustained by the strength of your love to build a life that honours you. Rescue us from the difficulties of our world or inside ourselves that would take us apart from you. 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 “Without love, we are nothing…”

Without love, we are nothing.

Does everyone see what I have in my hand? It’s a battery, and it’s something I bet all of you depend on every day. Batteries are little power packs that let us run all these things without having to be plugged into a stationary power source. We use batteries in all kinds of devices: cell phones, iPods, wireless microphones, toys. Even cars run on batteries. What other things can you think of that require batteries?

There’s nothing more frustrating than playing with your favourite toy or talking on the cell phone when all of a sudden – the battery dies! It doesn’t matter if it’s the coolest, flashiest toy or the most expensive phone available. If the battery goes dead, it’s completely useless.

Batteries remind me of something Paul wrote about love. In 1 Corinthians 13, verses 1- 3, Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

As you grow up, you’re going to discover the talents that God has given you. You can be the greatest singer, the smartest teacher, the most brilliant preacher. But as you do, remember this battery. And remember that without love, you are no better than a dead cell phone.

Thank you God for shining your light and love in us, charging our battery to share your love to others.  Help me to always remember to put love into what I do and share my love with others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Anthem: “My Lighthouse”

 

Scripture Reading:  Jeremiah 1:4-10, 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

The Call of Jeremiah
The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-7
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Morning Message: “Rescue Remedy” Gill LeFevre

At the beginning of January, I sent my team at work a short note. It began, “If it feels like this is hard.” Then I listed a few reasons why the first week back after the Christmas break might feel challenging, but as the list grew, I realized a more important truth, and so I ended the note: “if this week feels hard, it could be because it is hard.”

Sometimes life is just really tough, and it sucks, and it can help to name it. One theologian describes all that we are dealing with as living “in the middle of trauma.” The word shocked me when I first read it, until you add up all the different challenges and changes we’ve faced and are facing, and then it resounds with compassionate truth.

We have lost loved ones and jobs and lost touch with the milestones that give our life structure. We have worked online, tried to take school online, to celebrate or mourn or connect online. Many are overwhelmed by the demands of parenting, or caring for parents or even just trying to care for ourselves. We have made and unmade plans, we’ve socially-distanced and pivoted, all the while longing for relationships or community or purpose.

And regardless of how many of those challenges you personally connect to, or how much more difficult you may see the experiences of others as being, it’s vital to acknowledge – in the words of the Christian blogger, Heather King – “Your hard is hard.”

Because when we recognize where we are, both individually and collectively, we begin to create a foundation – emotionally and spiritually – for moving forward and keeping going.

Naming where we are also helps us to identify when we’ve been through times like this before; again individually and collectively. And as a community of faith, as individual believers, we can draw on the experiences throughout the history of God’s relationship with the world, to remember that we’ve been here before.

Our first reading this morning, from the book of Jeremiah, is set in just such a time of trauma, when the world was engulfed in upheaval and struggle and destruction. International political enemies, and their armies, are circling Israel. The kings of Judah and the people of Israel stray from the teachings of God and follow worthless idols; worse, they “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

It will end badly. By the end of the book of Jeremiah, the country will have been pillaged, and Jerusalem besieged twice. The second time lasted for well over a year, with the city afflicted by famine before enduring utter defeat. Jerusalem was ransacked, the temple destroyed, the people fled or were taken into captivity. They are expelled from their promised land, the physical centre of their faith is razed to the ground, and the Davidic line of kings brutally ended by the conquering forces.

This was the fate from which God wants to rescue them, sending Jeremiah to proclaim the need for repentance and to urge them to turn back to God.

Our reading is set at the outset of these events as God calls Jeremiah and prepares him for what lies ahead. Reminiscent of Moses, and indeed many others given a task by God, Jeremiah attempts to gracefully decline. Thanks God, but no thanks. It’s not right for me right now.

Nice try, but no dice. God doesn’t typically take no for an answer. And he reassures Jeremiah, that God will prepare him to be more than capable for the task at hand.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you” – the familiar divine reassurance offered by God throughout the Bible. Except in this conversation, it’s not quite so straightforward. There’s a sting in the tail: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you – and will rescue you.”

Will. Rescue you.

The future tense of God’s statement is inescapable. Where God is sending Jeremiah isn’t going to be plain sailing. Things are going to get bad. So bad, that Jeremiah is going to need rescuing.

It’s not just that the work is going to be hard, but don’t worry Jeremiah, God will be with you. No, it’s going to get worse. And you will need rescuing. Not exactly an optimistic note on which to start.

There’s another word that jumps out from this reading and compels our attention. Today.

Today – a present tense imperative that brings urgency and immediacy, not just for Jeremiah, but for us – today. The book of Jeremiah is not merely a distant history of past trauma, but an active witness to God’s work in the world – then and since and today.

Certainly, we need rescuing. We are captive to a virus that has uprooted our lives. We are oppressed by social norms that undermine our faith. We need rescuing as much as Jeremiah and the people of Israel did.

Back in 2016, the Old Testament professor, Richard Nysse, wrote a commentary on this passage which included the prescient line: “Undoubtedly we will resist understanding ourselves as already in captivity.”

A resistance clearly and emphatically demonstrated over the last two years. As Nysse wrote, “We want options that we can exercise; our doctrines of autonomy and free will scream in resistance to starting in captivity.”

And yet, here we are. Screaming in resistance, struggling in compliance, making the best of it where we can – and yet in captivity nonetheless.

Addressing the last line of our reading – “to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” – Nysse continued: “An optimistic culture will vehemently resist any suggestion that its projects will be shut down and disassembled.”

And yet again, that’s exactly what we’ve faced individually and as a community, over and over. The relentless uncertainty tearing down not just our activities and places to go, but too often also overthrowing optimism and purpose, security and peace of mind.

Certainly, we need rescuing.

And our rescuing can start in the book of Jeremiah, where Jeremiah’s encounter with God – as well as providing the understanding and empathy that we belong to a history of trauma and challenge – must also give us the confidence that God is with us in the world, and inspire in us faithfulness and hope. The details of the devastation of the people of Israel are not to overshadow the persistent and hopeful presence of God.

I came across the inspiring suggestion that this passage is less about the story of one person or one time, and more a “communal confession of faith,” reminding us of God’s enduring faithfulness to God’s people.

Perhaps that might go something like this:

O God, we affirm that you know us inside and out, from before we were even born. We affirm that our faith in you sets us apart, and confess that we do not always find that easy.

In the midst of our personal troubles and our communal trauma, we affirm that you are with us, and you will rescue us, and we gratefully accept your comfort from throughout the ages, “Do not be afraid.”

We affirm your caring love for us and desire for relationship with us. We seek your presence in the world, guiding us to discern the things that distance us from you, to be overthrown and torn down; inspiring us to look for ways to grow closer to you that we are called to build and to plant.
Put your words in our mouths and your love in our hearts. Today and always.

Admittedly, it is well hidden at times, but the book of Jeremiah is still a witness to God’s care for the people of Israel; a love story emphasizing God’s eternal compassion and promise.

This is the love story that Paul describes in his letter to the Corinthians; not a description of romantic love, but a testimony to God’s compassionate love for us that we are called to honour and to share.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

And we can see this in the account of Jeremiah, as God stays true to his promise to protect and rescue Jeremiah, affirming Jeremiah’s trust and faith in God’s word. Always hoping, always persevering, to renew his covenant with Israel and affirm them as God’s people.

This is why Paul teaches love as the cornerstone of our faith; to help us live in relationship with God and each other. Love is the “life ring” with which God rescues us.

God’s love for us, and God’s calling to us to love each other. As we look for the persistent and hopeful presence of God in our lives, as we seek the comfort of God’s promise to be with us, we will find it in acts of love, of compassion.

And this isn’t a rose-tinted view of the world, glossing over difference and dissent. You don’t need to like another person to extend to them dignity or acceptance or encouragement – all acts of love.

You don’t even need to know them, in the way that Nadia Popovici did not even know who Brian Hamilton was when she saw him at a hockey game last fall.

Nadia, a Seattle Kraken fan, was seated behind the Vancouver Canucks bench, where Brian, the Canucks’ assistant equipment manager was. All she saw at first was his neck. And more specifically the mole on his neck, which she did know. Years of volunteering at oncology wards meant Nadia recognized a cancerous mole when she saw one.

Trusting in her brief diagnosis, Nadia typed a message on her phone and then repeatedly knocked on the plexiglass divider that separated the bench from the crowd until she got Brian’s attention. She held her phone up to the glass, so that Brian could read her note: “The mole on the back of your neck is cancer.”

Brian nodded and turned away. Nadia figured he already knew about the mole and thought nothing more about it. Except far from knowing about the mole, Brian didn’t even know he had a mole on his neck.

Returning home, Brian asked his wife to look at his neck, and then followed up with the team doctor, who cut it out and sent the mole for biopsy. It was indeed cancer but with the early intervention the subsequent treatment was relatively straightforward, and the cancer has been removed.

Concern, caring, love. Always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

As Bishop Desmond Tutu once said, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

Love is both our calling and God’s promise. How we are encouraged and challenged to live, and how we will be rescued from our troubles.

Love is why we can trust in God’s promise to Jeremiah and receive that same promise, extended to us today: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you, and I am love.”

Praise be to God.

Pastoral Prayer

O God, we affirm that you know us inside and out, from before we were even born. Thank you for your accepting and inclusive love; for the unique traits you have blessed us with.

We affirm that our faith in you sets us apart, and confess that we do not always find that easy. Forgive us when we give into the selfish ways of this world.

In the midst of our personal troubles and our communal trauma, we affirm that you are with us, and you will rescue us. Save us from our fears and anxiety, from our doubts and uncertainty, from our anger and our stress. We gratefully accept your comfort from throughout the ages, “Do not be afraid.”

We affirm your caring love for us and desire for relationship with us.

We seek your presence in the world. Help us notice you in the beauty of your creation and in the miracles of each day. Help us recognize you in the faces of those around us and greet them with compassion.

Guide us to discern the things that distance us from you, to be overthrown and torn down.

Inspire us to look for ways to grow closer to you, that we are called to build and to plant.

Put your words in our mouths and your love in our hearts. Today and always, Amen.

Anthem: “He Will Carry You”

 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Our invitation to offering.  Often at this point, we take our offering and we place our envelope into the offering plate. We give our offering in many different ways, paper or electronic but in  all our offerings, we are really giving this.

We are placing LOVE in the offering plate, a love of God, a love of Jesus’ church, a love to make a difference for other people that we know, others we have never met, and people around the world.  Our offerings are now 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. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offering Prayer

Compassionate God,
You see the world in all its pain and sorrow, and call us to come forward in your name and give in love. In answer to that call, we offer these gifts to support the healing and reconciliation of all your children. May our giving tear down prejudice and oppression and help justice to flourish. May our giving overthrow poverty and bring hope in its place. And may our service build a community of your love that reaches out in welcome and acceptance. Amen.

Benediction

Catch hold of the life ring that is the love of God, and let it carry you into this new week. Let it hold you up when the waves of life engulf you, and steady you when you flounder. Relax and trust in the eternal comfort God provides. 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 and Find the Quiet Centre
• Healer of Every Ill
• God Will Take Care of You
• You Are My Hiding Place
• You are My All In All
• May God’s Sheltering Wings

 


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, January 26th