Virtual Service – July 25, 2021

8:30 am

July 25, 2021

Virtual Service

Welcome to virtual church!

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.

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

• Going to a beach, near or far this summer? We walk this journey together, so we would like to share our journey together. In the summer of 2019, we started our walkway at the front of the church by asking you all to bring a flat stone from a beach you are going to, or from a special place you would be going to during the summer. The project was put on hold for the summer of 2021, but we are working to finish it this year and would love to receive more stones. We are hoping to dedicate the walkway and garden project in the fall.
The idea is to fill the little walkway behind the trellis, where the angel is in the garden at the front of the church. We are asking for flat smooth stones from a beach you might visit on vacation, from your cottage, or from one of our Bronte beaches. The stones should be from the size of your palm up to the size of your hand.
Please let us know the specifics of where your rock came from, whether in Canada or beyond. Email Rev. Gill at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com with the details. Please contact the church office to drop your rocks off; do NOT add them to the walkway yourself. Thanks for walking our journey together!
A new way to donate to Walton — 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.
Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual VBS at home lesson. How far would you go to save someone you love?
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

Good morning! Here you are on one of the hottest days of the year and you’re talking about Christmas?

Yes,  Christmas! No, we haven’t lost our marbles, well not of all of them anyway.  We thought we needed to celebrate. As things open up bit by bit, we need to remember to keep the spirit of Christmas alive and well not only today, July 25th, but every day!

We need to have hope in how things are moving forward bit by bit, as people are vaccinated, and we venture out into parts of our world that we haven’t had access to in a while. We hope that we are moving in the right direction to having the church doors open wide, to seeing more of our church family before too long.  We so miss our church family!

We need to be aware of others around us. We need to remember to share the hope, peace, joy and love of the Christmas season with all those we come into contact with, especially now. We need to walk in their shoes, know their challenges and even fears as things change each week. May God grant unto each of us the feeling, the peace and calmness of holding a little baby, the hope and peace of rocking a little one back and forth, singing a lullaby.

We also need to share the joy of God with us. The little baby Jesus brought God to us, to be one with us here on earth. God shared his absolute, unconditional love with each one of us. He asks us to share his love with others. What better way to do that than to help, walk alongside others, and go slowly into our next steps without judgement, but with understanding and love.

Come let us join together in worship this morning with that spirit of love, joy, peace and hope. Merry July 25th Christmas!

Call to Worship

All creation holds its breath.
The time is almost here.

The heavenly choir of angels waits for its cue to sing.
Excitement is all around us.

Prepare your hearts – the grace of God takes on human form.
Good news! Emmanuel, God-with-us, comes to us.
We gather to make ready our hearts for the coming of Christ, our love, our hope, our peace, our joy.

(adapted Rev. Nancy J)

Opening Prayer

Dear God, loving Father, humble child,

One: You came to this world as a baby, born in a stable, to save and redeem us.
Two: Inspire us through the story of your birth to live in your love.

One: We remember Joseph, trusting as he travelled into the unknown.
Two: Steady us also, when life gets overwhelming, to trust in your love for us.

One: We are encouraged by Mary, perhaps tired and anxious, yet reassured by your word.
Two: Comfort us to find hope in your promise to be with us always.

One: We think of the innkeeper, too busy to stop, his life full of other priorities.
Two: Slow us down to notice your presence, in the world and in our lives.

One: We are dazzled by the angels, proclaiming the joy of your birth, singing glory and praises.
Two: Help us to praise and worship you, in song and in service.

One: We understand the shepherds, afraid and trembling, unsure of their welcome at your birth.
Two: Reassure us with your accepting love, healing the scars and stains we might try to hide.

One: We are inspired by the magi, who followed your star in search of Christ the King.
Two: Strengthen us to follow you, and guide us in our lives.

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: “Hay there”

Jim is standing in the middle of a hayfield.

Val asks him if he is keeping a watch over his flock by night.

Well sort of, were we not told that Jesus was born in a manger. There would have been animals and I would imagine they would have eaten hay.

But I’m not sure everyone has seen what hay looks like before it is cut. So this hay,  will be cut very shortly, bailed and prepared in this case on this farm for the horses.

Now in Jesus day, in the place where Jesus stayed in the manger, they couldn’t afford a horse, it was only the Roman authorities and soldiers that had horses.

We think about Jesus being born in a manger, that is sort of like born on the dinner table, if you will, for animals?  This is one of the wonderful ways God feeds all God’s creatures and today with Christmas in July, I thought I would be out here in a hayfield to show you what one looks like and it is part of the Christmas story of Jesus born in a manger.

Anthem: “Once in Royal David’s City”

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 2: 1-20

The Birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered.  Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.  He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:  to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[a] the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[b] praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Anthem:  “Mary Did You Know?”

 

Morning Message: “Christmas in July”Rev. Jim Gill

I have a bad reputation. Often on the 24th of any given month, I will remind other staff members in the office just how many months are left until Christmas Eve, which is our big night of four services. They all groan loudly when I say it is only five months to Christmas Eve.

Last year, our December 24th services were all virtual. This year I hope we can hold live Christmas services with restricted numbers, and will still offer virtual services as well. Today is, in fact, 5 months until Christmas Eve so we thought why not celebrate Christmas in July? We asked you to let us know your favourite carols, and of them are used in the service today.

When the actual Advent season comes around in December, it often seems as if we get motivated to become more giving, more loving, and more focused on Jesus’s birth. We buy gifts, embrace traditions, and reach out to those in need more than any other time of the year. Christmas is a great time because it usually brings out the best in us, right?

During Advent and Christmastime, we seem to be kinder, happier, and more forgiving – except for the person who takes that parking space at the mall we were waiting for. Maybe we think more about those in need and actively do things to help them as we are able. Maybe we make Christmas donations to the Walton Outreach White Gift program, the Benevolent Fund, or our food bank box. Maybe we pray more, read scripture more, sing Christian songs more in the form of Christmas carols or watch our favourite Christmas movies. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” after all, right?

Have you ever been to Frankenmuth, Michigan, especially in the heat of the summer season, to visit Michigan’s little Bavarian Christmas Town on the Cass River? It’s Christmas all year round there. Did you know this year Hallmark is even releasing a new Christmas in July movie? The idea for our service today on this July 25th is that we can celebrate Christmas today – and every day – in Bronte here at Walton. Even better, we don’t need to do all the usual work which comes with the holiday.

Today there are no gifts to buy, no decorating to do, no turkey to stuff, no cards to send, and no lights to put on the house high up on a ladder with frozen fingers. Pinterest is just full of ideas on how to celebrate Christmas in July. Since we couldn’t gather with anyone outside of our bubble indoors for Christmas in the cold weather last December, maybe Christmas in July with small outdoor gatherings now allowed will be a huge event for many people. At very least we get an idea of how Christians in the southern hemisphere celebrate December 25th each year in their summer. There, Christmas is often spent on the beach with a BBQ.

In 2021 with our Covid Christmas in July, I wonder why do we have to save all these awesome Christmas qualities and actions I mentioned earlier for only just one season of the year? Sure, Christ’s birthday is acknowledged to be in December, but the birth of Jesus should be celebrated throughout the year. Why? Here are three reasons:

1) There is so much about Jesus to celebrate besides the day of his birth. Let’s not forget the basic reason why God sent his son Jesus to us as a baby in the Bethlehem manager. I mean, think about the impact of Jesus’ birth from that day forward. The word is changed. We are changed. Think about the whole point of his life, as determined by his Father, God. The impact of Jesus’ whole life lasts throughout the year, every year, and it will continue to do so until the end of time. Jesus is not to be spoken of simply in the past tense, but in the present tense and in the future tense.

2)   We can maintain the positive qualities of Christmas all year. We can be at our best year-round, not just during the Christmas season. We can be giving, loving, and forgiving, regardless of what time of year it is. Those qualities are not ever limited to a date on the calendar. Jesus’ birth was the beginning of an amazing lesson on how to treat one another, whether the date is July 25, February 25 or September 25.

3)   We can be joyous every day. The joy of Christmas is definitely a unique sentiment. And granted, it’s not an easy one to maintain throughout the year, especially when those around you may not be sharing the moment. It usually doesn’t feel like Christmas every day, especially when those around us resume the normalcy of life – say somewhere around January 5. But to have a continuous joy in our hearts can reflect the love of Jesus Christ on the outside.

We don’t have to have a Christmas tree year-round or give gifts every day in order to celebrate Christ’s birth all year. But we can maintain the virtues often reserved for the Christmas season, such as charity and forgiveness. Wally Bronner, who created the world’s largest Christmas store in Frankenmuth, says on his website, “ That good news of Christmas is this: Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, came from heaven to be supernaturally born that first Christmas over 2,000 years ago. God’s love showed through the gift of his Son, as the Bible says: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son’ (John 3:16a).

About his final wishes we read, “Always a man with a big smile and a quick wit, Wally quipped near the end of his life that he was preparing to go to heaven ‘to make sure the decorative touches are in place!’ However, he knew that everything would be in order for his arrival when his battle with cancer ended on April 1, 2008.”

May you have a merry Christmas this July 25th, and may the birth of the baby Jesus be in your heart and in your life 365 days of the year. Joyous Noel.

Anthem:   “Joseph’s Lullaby”

 

Pastoral Prayer

Ever-loving Lord, God with us always,

As we celebrate the birth of your son Jesus Christ again today and your presence here on earth, help us not only to celebrate Christmas but also to live it each day.

Compassionate God, help us to feed the hungry.

Be with those who are unable to feed their families, and support those worried for the stability or safety of their work. Sustain those who continue to work to bring food to us, from farms and factories to grocery store workers. Keep them safe.

Merciful God, inspire us to comfort the distressed.

Console those who are mourning the loss of loved ones, or struggling with their grief in these strange times. Be with those who need healing this Christmas, and every day,  those with anxiety,  ill-health, awaiting test results or treatment.  Support our health care workers and all who work to look after the wellbeing of others. Keep them strong.

Welcoming God, encourage us to love the stranger.

Although our doors are just starting to open, keep our hearts open to support newcomers in our communities and let us strive to make people feel at home. Help us to look out for those who are lonely or isolated, those who are feeling alienated or overwhelmed by these current times. Give them joy.

Generous God, remind us to forgive each other.

Nourish our souls to let go of grudges and forgive those who have hurt us. Help us to reach out and renew the relationships in our lives. Encourage us to see each other with compassion and understanding. Give us peace.

Loving God, nurture us to inspire the hopeless.

When the darkness and loneliness seem like it will never end, help us to reach out, to be the light for someone else. In each day, sustain us to remember the depth of your care for us and awaken us to notice your surprising presence in our world. Abide with us that we can lean on you in our times of fear and despair. Give us love.

Remind us that you hear our prayers, this day and every day.

Amen.

(adapted Gill Le Fevre)

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

God gave us a piece of himself on that Christmas when he came to Earth as a tiny little baby in Bethlehem. Let us give what we can today to show God’s love and understanding to live out the greatest commandment to Love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbour as yourself.

♥ 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
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 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 thank you God for the hope, peace, joy and love that you give us through the birth of that little baby Jesus so long ago. How each year we are able to recreate and live that story of the gift of Jesus through our ministries here at Walton, through our caring and helping one another in and through this covid time and as we come into a new way of living and being together. We pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Benediction

May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the Magi, and the peace of the Christ child each day of the year.  Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.

Merry Christmas in July. 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!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Voices United #1 verses 1,4,5)
• While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night (Voices United #75)
• Angels We Have Heard on High (Voices United #38. Verses 1,2,3)
• Silent Night (Voices United #67)
• Joy is Now in Every Place (Voices United #45)

 

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, July 14th