Virtual Service – July 24, 2022

2:00 pm

July 24, 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

• Are you wanting to spread God’s love and help the wider community?  The Outreach Committee is inviting you to join them!  If you are interested in hearing about their current projects and suggesting future ongoing projects, please join them at Walton on the third Wednesday of every month at 7pm. Please call the office for information or just join us!

• Bronte Coat Drive is back this year! …tentatively, on the third Saturday in October. This has become a co-operative effort between, Church of the Epiphany, St. Dominics Church and Walton Memorial primarily; all of us having the betterment of people of our area as our goal.  So, sew on that button, empty those pockets, sponge out that stain …… and, please give us your coats that you will not plan to wear next year or ever again! Donations will be accepted soon. Stay tuned!

• Calling all knitters! The Bronte COAT DRIVE Committee has a need for knitted scarves for our Annual Coat Distribution Event. If you could knit a scarf 5’ – 6’ long in black, grey or navy, we would be most happy to include it as a giveaway on October 15th, 2022. As you may know, there are many people in our community who are grateful to receive a coat from this event, and they are delighted to also receive a warm scarf (or hat or gloves)! 

• FOOD BANK…the need is real!  Every summer the food bank deals with reduced food and money donations because of families going on vacation and leaving town. Unfortunately, the families that depend on the food bank year-round still need that support. Please help by donating through your Walton envelopes, electronically through the website, or by bringing food items to put in our donation box outside Bronte Hall.  It was mentioned that canned fruit and cereal are items needed right now.  Go to the Fare Share website to find a complete list – www.oakvillefoodbank.com

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. Our Happy Campers curriculum continues and we want everyone to go take a hike!

• 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.


Land Acknowledgement

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

Good morning and welcome to worship at Walton. We’re delighted to have you with us, whether you’re joining us here in the sanctuary, or watching online later in the week. We invite you, through worship, to rest in the promise that God is watching over us.

Hymn: “You Have Searched Me, Lord, and Known Me” (Carolyn Gillette) on screen

Call to Worship

One: As sunlight dazzles on lakes, and sunsets blaze through the sky,
All: Let the brilliance of God’s love guide us to see God’s way for us.
One: With the cry of a loon rising up into the dusk, or the shouts of children playing in a field,
All: Let the melody of God’s love help us to hear God’s word for us.
One: Like granite running jagged through the hills, or creeks flowing from source to sea,
All: Let the presence of God’s love ground us to know God’s strength in us.

Opening Prayer

One: Peaceful God, in a world of conflict and confusion, soothe us with your eternal love.
All: Slow us from the suspicion that fosters distrust and ill will. Inspire us with your compassionate wisdom.
One: When we are limited by prejudice and judgment, heal us with your abundant love.
All: Awaken us to see your presence in everyone we encounter. Nurture us with your accepting grace.
One: As possibilities and opportunities challenge us, lead us with your courageous love.
All: Open our hearts to the places and people where we can make a difference. Lead us with your enduring strength.
One: Watch over us God and guide us in your way.
All: Help us live, walking in the footsteps of Christ, that we may more constantly and more generously love all your people.
Amen.

The Lord’s  Prayer

All: 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 Hymn: “Teach Me, God, to Wonder” verse 1 299 VU

Youth Story: Go in Peace

I love campfires. What about you?  Part of enjoying campfires are campfire treats. Some people just love to roast marshmallows.  So tasty. Mmm.  Other people just crave s’mores. What about you? Do you have a favourite?  I know people who dislike one and eat the other. They will not eat roasted marshmallows but will stuff themselves with s’mores. Is one right and the other wrong? 

Our Sunday School theme this summer is Happy Campers. One of the things you will be learning about in Sunday School today is how Jesus sent 72 people to go out and spread the good news about him. But he told them it wouldn’t be easy. In fact, it could even get a little dangerous, like camping or hiking in the wilderness. One of the things he told the 72 before they left on their mission is to “go in peace.” 

Not everyone was going to be happy to hear about Jesus. Some people might even want to argue or fight with the 72 about it. Jesus didn’t want his followers to get into fights, and he doesn’t want us to either. He wants us to embrace our differences, not argue over them. We don’t have to think the same things, believe the same things, or even like the same things. But we do have to respect what other people think. 

Who here likes marshmallows burned black and crispy on the outside? Who likes them just a little bit golden brown? Which group is right? Neither. And wouldn’t that be a silly thing to fight about? Most arguments are about silly things. Let’s remember, in the campfires of life there are countless differences among those sitting around the campfire. But one thing we all have in common is that we are all God’s children. And we can all go in peace.

Blessing: “Go My Children With Thy Blessing” 946LUYH

Scripture Reading:  1 Samuel 25:14 – 35  – The Message

Meanwhile, one of the young shepherds told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, what had happened: “David sent messengers from the backcountry to salute our master, but he tore into them with insults. Yet these men treated us very well. They took nothing from us and didn’t take advantage of us all the time we were in the fields. They formed a wall around us, protecting us day and night all the time we were out tending the sheep. Do something quickly because big trouble is ahead for our master and all of us. Nobody can talk to him. He’s impossible—a real brute!”

Abigail flew into action. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed out and ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes, and she had it all loaded on some donkeys. Then she said to her young servants, “Go ahead and pave the way for me. I’m right behind you.” But she said nothing to her husband Nabal.

As she was riding her donkey, descending into a ravine, David and his men were descending from the other end, so they met there on the road. David had just said, “That sure was a waste, guarding everything this man had out in the wild so that nothing he had was lost—and now he rewards me with insults. A real slap in the face! May God do his worst to me if Nabal and every cur in his misbegotten brood aren’t dead meat by morning!”

As soon as Abigail saw David, she got off her donkey and fell on her knees at his feet, her face to the ground in homage, saying, “My master, let me take the blame! Let me speak to you. Listen to what I have to say. Don’t dwell on what that brute Nabal did. He acts out the meaning of his name: Nabal, Fool. Foolishness oozes from him.

“I wasn’t there when the young men my master sent arrived. I didn’t see them. And now, my master, as God lives and as you live, God has kept you from this avenging murder—and may your enemies, all who seek my master’s harm, end up like Nabal! Now take this gift that I, your servant girl, have brought to my master, and give it to the young men who follow in the steps of my master.

“Forgive my presumption! But God is at work in my master, developing a rule solid and dependable. My master fights God’s battles! As long as you live no evil will stick to you.

If anyone stands in your way,
if anyone tries to get you out of the way,
Know this: Your God-honored life is tightly bound
in the bundle of God-protected life;
But the lives of your enemies will be hurled aside
as a stone is thrown from a sling.

“When God completes all the goodness he has promised my master and sets you up as prince over Israel, my master will not have this dead weight in his heart, the guilt of an avenging murder. And when God has worked things for good for my master, remember me.”

And David said, “Blessed be God, the God of Israel. He sent you to meet me! And blessed be your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and taking charge of looking out for me. A close call! As God lives, the God of Israel who kept me from hurting you, if you had not come as quickly as you did, stopping me in my tracks, by morning there would have been nothing left of Nabal but dead meat.”

Then David accepted the gift she brought him and said, “Return home in peace. I’ve heard what you’ve said and I’ll do what you’ve asked.”

Scripture Response: “Thy Word”  (on screen)

Solo: “Deep Within” – Emmanuelle Lopez

Morning Message:  “Someone to watch over me” Gill Le Fevre

It is with hesitation that I share this quote that I read yesterday. Speaking at a rally in Arizona on Friday, Former President Donald Trump told the crowd, “They are coming after me because I’m standing up for you. It’s very simple.”

Now what struck me about the quote, and the reason I mention it today, has nothing to do with whether you agree or disagree with either the person, the quote, or the circumstances surrounding it all.

What struck me was the way in which this statement so effectively, so starkly even, captures the essence of political appeal, by tying events and opinions back to a leader’s claim to protect others.

And this isn’t new. The Canadian politician Adam Vaughan was reflecting on the success of former Toronto mayor, Rob Ford, when he said, “Never underestimate what helping, or appearing to help, somebody does for a politician. If people feel you’ve gone to bat for them, they tend to look past whatever other challenges you may face.”

And while it is a sign of the troubled times we live in that this appeal has continued to grow in power and influence, this really isn’t new.

Fighting for power, differing views of how to lead, who to protect and who to attack – all of this is at the heart of our reading this morning.

Now, you can tell, when a reading begins with the word “meanwhile,” that there’s a backstory to understand, and in this case that story is all about protection.

The protection in question is that of the household belonging to a man called Nabal. Nabal is an Old Testament tycoon with three thousand sheep to his name, and our reading takes places during sheep shearing season, when the wealth of the flock is being harvested for the year.

This was a time of flourishing and feasting, and a promising time to ask to share in some of the prosperity, especially if you think you’ve helped to create it.

Because that’s what David was claiming. Before the sheep were gathered together to be shorn, they were grazing in the wilderness, being watched over by Nabal’s servants – and Nabal’s servants in turn were being watched over by David’s men.

Now this is the David who has famously killed Goliath, and who will go on to become King David. But he’s not king yet, and in fact he’s been on the run from the current king, Saul, for several years, which is why he was living in the wilderness, and looking for any opportunity to provide for him and his men.

Acting as bodyguards for the servants of a wealthy farmer seemed to be a good opportunity, and by all accounts David’s men had done their work diligently and effectively.

So David had a good case to be asking for food and support, and he’s timing his request well, when there is plenty to go around.

The flaw in the plan was Nabal himself, a man described as being “as rich as he was bad.” And as we’ve just seen, he was very rich.

Nabal was selfish, unreasonable, and foolish, and he refuses the request to feed David’s servants. And he doesn’t just refuse the request – he dismisses David’s men’s service and care entirely. He refuses to recognize who they are, and he rejects their claims to have looked after his servants and his flocks.

In Nabal’s mind, he’s the one looking out for his servants because he’s keeping his wealth to feed them.

Needless to say, this doesn’t go over so well with David, whose response is to tell four hundred of his men to “strap on their swords” and get ready to fight.

Two men, each claiming to protect the wellbeing of others, each prepared to back up their case with defiance and, in David’s case, murderous confrontation.

And so it is into this cauldron of violence and rage, that Abigail finds herself. Abigail is Nabal’s wife, so her life is already challenging, and that’s before the servant arrives and explains the crisis they are facing.

Now however, Nabal’s belligerence and unreasonable stubbornness have the potential to utterly destroy Abigail’s livelihood, maybe even her life.

I suspect on many levels we can all relate to Abigail’s plight, as we find ourselves in circumstances where other people’s aggression and violence create problems for us on a wider scale.

We’re seeing this right now with the war in Ukraine, creating global supply problems that threaten food security around the world.

Violent and conflicting claims of who to protect and who to attack mean that even the agreements signed this week are fragile and already under threat. A Russian missile attack on the port of Odessa just yesterday, shattered any expectation that the deal to allow grain exports was going to be straightforward.

Thousands of miles away, we will pay for this violence with higher food prices, while for many poorer countries the lack of agricultural essentials such as wheat, barley and sunflower oil has put them on the edge of bankruptcy and famine.

According to the World Food Programme, an additional 47 million people – that’s more than three times the population of Ontario – 47 million people are now in a state of “acute hunger” because of the war.

Around the world, we’re collectively doing a very bad job of watching over each other.

Similarly, for all Nabal and David’s conflicting claims to be watching over others, neither are doing this well. The hero of the day, the person capably watching over the household is Abigail.

Neither of the obvious, expected leaders do anything to reduce the tension or avoid the violence, but rather it is through Abigail’s actions that David’s wrathful vengeance is averted and her people are protected.

I find Abigail a most compelling character – unusually for a woman in the Bible, she is specifically described as intelligent, and certainly we can see her intelligence at work in these events. She is also incredibly brave.

Abigail leaps into action, gathering up a vast amount of food and setting out to intercept David and his men. A woman, virtually alone, riding directly up to what was effectively an army of angry armed men, fixed on revenge – this is not a safe situation. But Abigail is driven by her determination to watch over her people and save them from the foolish selfishness of her husband.

Of course, Abigail is not the only character watching over others in this account. God is very clearly watching over Abigail. God honours Abigail’s courage and purpose, and through her words the violence is averted.

As Abigail herself says, God is at work. God is at work, speaking through Abigail who is regarded in the Jewish tradition as an Old Testament prophet. Abigail speaks God’s truth of peace and forgiveness into the face of the violent power of David and his armies, and God’s peace prevails.

And it is not only Abigail that God is watching over. Through Abigail, God watches over David as well.

Abigail persuades David that God does not want him to kill. God will exact revenge, if only David will remain restrained. Abigail shares with David the plans God has for him, and emphasizes that his kingship must not be tainted by murder.

“Know this,” she says, “Your God-honoured life is tightly bound in the bundle of God-protected life.”

God, through Abigail, affirms that he is watching over David to keep him safe and ready for his future role as king and leader of Israel.

The biblical scholar Alice Bach writes, “When Abigail is placed at the center of her drama, she emerges as a redeemer whose action and prophecy are necessary in assuring the future role of David, the divinely chosen monarch of Israel.”

A story that begins with male violence and confrontation ends with God choosing a very different leader to show his way and guard his people.

And Abigail’s intervention recalls the words of another Old Testament woman, Hannah, whose prayer at the beginning of the book of Samuel proclaims:

“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he has set the world upon them. He guards the footsteps of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall perish in the darkness; for not by strength does one prevail.”

With so much violence and darkness in our world, remembering that God is watching over us can be hard, but equally is ever more important to affirm.

Even, and perhaps especially, in times of tragedy, when we are overwhelmed by how bad things are, light still shines in the darkness.

We saw this in early July, when a shooter destroyed a Fourth of July parade in Chicago. As gunfire caused the crowds to scatter and flee, accounts have since been shared of those who ran, not away from, but towards the gunfire and tragedy.

Like Bobby Shapiro, who wasn’t actually at the parade – he’d been out cycling and was changing out of his cleats when he heard the shots. He ran in his socks into the scene to help where he could, joining other bystanders in applying tourniquets and simply putting pressure on people’s wounds to try to stop the bleeding.

When ambulances arrived, Brad Hokin, a football coach, helped onboard the wounded to get them to hospital, while off-duty doctors and nurses triaged the victims and even administered IVs.

As the emergency responders were swamped by the scale of the casualties, these everyday humans did what they could to provide lifesaving help to support their community.

These accounts aren’t as clean-cut as the story of Abigail and David. There wasn’t a simple single intervention that changed the outcome from death to life. Our world is messier than that.

But God is still here, caring for us and guiding us.

Strengthening us with courage and persistence, so that we can run towards the difficulties in our world and in our lives and make a difference.

Nurturing us with compassion and forgiveness, so that we can reject division and judgment, and work to protect the lives of all God’s children.

Inspiring us with insight and direction, so that we can see where our skills, our service, even our mere presence, can have an effect and be a vehicle for God’s love.

We each have God-honoured lives and are called to be a light shining in the darkness.

Thanks be to God.

Pastoral Prayer

Guiding and watchful God,

As you guided the footsteps of the faithful throughout the ages, and watched over them with care and compassion, be with us today.

Watch over us and all those whose lives are afflicted by violence.

Guide us to provide support to those who are hurting, both near and far. Help us use our words as a beacon of courage and comfort, and to offer our lives as a shelter to those in need.

God of peace, be with us.

Watch over us and all who experience food scarcity, ending each day hungry.

Guide us to recognize the urgent need of so many and to affirm the role that we can play and the difference we can make. Inspire us to give from our blessings to lessen the suffering of others.

God of hope, be with us.

Watch over us and the choices we make.

Guide us in each day to choose your way and reject the call of anger or fear. Strengthen us to know right from wrong, and to discern purpose from selfishness. Give us courage to live in your light.

God of love, be with us.

All this we pray in Jesus’ name, our guide and our redeemer. Amen.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

As God watches over us, God also calls us to watch over each other, and particularly those most in need in our communities and around the world. We make our offering to answer that call and proclaim God’s ever-present love.

♥  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 monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offering Hymn: “Give Thanks”  (on screen)

Offering Prayer

All: Unchanging and ever-caring God,
As you watched over your children throughout the ages, watch over us now and protect us from harm. As you have led your people through strife and trouble, guide us today. Through our gifts and blessings, show us how you would have us care for those around us. With this offering, shine your healing love into our lives, our communities, and far beyond. Amen.

Hymn:  “O Lord My God, When I In Awesome Wonder”    238 VU verses 1 & 2

Benediction

Go into this new week, trusting in God’s promise to watch over you; alert to God’s calling to watch over those around you, and confident in God’s love that will see your needs and hear your prayer. Amen.

Closing Hymn:  “Go Now In Peace”

Announcements


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, July 20th