Virtual Service – July 31, 2022

2:00 pm

July 31, 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. Dominic’s 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 15 th , 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 who 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. When it comes to the bread of life, we could all use s’more!

• 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

Welcome and thank you for joining us for worship on this Civic Holiday weekend. Whether you’re joining us in the sanctuary this morning, or watching online – perhaps from the cottage, or a campsite, or you’re simply finding a quiet moment during the week – we’re grateful for your presence and for the faith that has brought you here.

Hymn: “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky”  verse 1509VU

 

Call to Worship

One: Seeking God’s way, unsure of what lies ahead;
All: Let the wisdom of God’s word help us learn to love.
One: Confronted by difficulty, stretched by possibility;
All: Let the strength of God’s faith help us grow in love.
One: Challenged by setbacks, disconcerted or confused;
All: Let the promise of God’s grace help us persist in love.

Opening Prayer

One: Guiding Lord God, light of direction and discernment,
All: Shine in our hearts today.
One: As we journey through life, with events and upsets we do not understand,
All: Steady us with the patience of faith.
One: When all feels lost and we are tired by our days,
All: Strengthen us with the persistence of faith.
One: Daunted by obstacles in our lives and in the world,
All: Embolden us with the courage of faith.
One: When hurts and slights sting or indifference isolates us,
All: Soothe us with the essence of faith.
One: Embrace us in your eternal love and remind us of your reassuring promise,
All: To be with us always, to the end of our days. 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: “God the Spirit, Guide and Guardian” vs. 1    514VU

 

Youth Story:  “Camping Sounds”

Ever been out camping and heard sounds you maybe seldom hear at home? I think it is one of the great joys of camping for it is so noisy where most of us live that we miss out on sounds other than the prevalent motorcycles, gas powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers, cars with loud mufflers and construction activity.

What are some camping sounds maybe that you have heard when you have been out camping? Woodpecker, lapping waves, bird song, frogs, splitting wood for campfire, bears, rain on canvas, tent pegs being put into the ground, a roaring campfire, crickets and wind blowing through the leaves.

And one of the wonderful things about camping is when we slow down and take the time to listen to all these varied sounds that we wouldn’t hear at home.

“Happy Camping”  is what we have been talking about all over the summer Junior Congregation. Today our message here in the sanctuary is that “God Listens”. That is right just as we can listen out for the wonderful sounds of camping, God listens to us and that can make us happier. In the summer or winter, spring or fall. This is still the same “God listens” whether we are in a tent or house, trailer or condo, cottage or apartment. God does listen to us.

Yes, when we pray God is listening. God is not affected by loud noise or total silence. God is still listening whether 10am Sunday morning or 10pm Wednesday night. However it does help us in our prayers if we follow this piece of scripture, Psalm 46, verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God”  This summer when you are out in the stillness of “ Camping “ speak to God, God is listening.

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

 

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.”  But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”

He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

And her daughter was healed from that moment.

Scripture Response:  “Thy Word” (on screen)

 

Solo: “How Can I Keep From Singing” – Emma Smith

 

Morning Message: “Speaking Truth to Jesus”  – Gill Le Fevre

My lowest moment as a parent is when I yell at my kids. I was reflecting on this a while back, and I realized that while I sometimes yell in anger, that is actually easier to control. Apparently, or so my son tells me, I have a quiet angry voice that he doesn’t like.

What I struggle to control, and what bursts out of me at volume, is frustration; when I don’t feel heard.

I’m not alone in this, and because misery loves company, there’s a great deal of humour and understanding to be had on Twitter where many other parents share their experiences.

Take this Tweet: Having kids on summer break is just yelling, “SHUT THE DOOR!” until September.

Also: you can ask your kids to get dressed 10 times, or just repeatedly bang your head into a wall. Each choice is equally effective.

And finally: Parenting is basically just listening to yourself talk because nobody else is.

Whether you’re a parent or not, many of us feel unheard in our lives.

Perhaps in your role as a parent or grandparent, or as a caregiver for an older family member, and you have values or priorities that you feel are discounted. Maybe you’re the child or the elder in this scenario and you are frustrated that your autonomy is not respected. In any situation, this frustration can build if you’re lacking recognition – for your choices or your experiences, or simply the person you are.

Lacking recognition is at the heart of our reading today, beginning with the unexpected location of the events. Because Jesus is on the wrong side of the tracks. Jesus has been teaching and healing and now is taking some time to regroup, but for some unknown reason, he’s chosen to visit the region of Tyre and Sidon. This is not safe territory. Think of the region as a spiritual slum, and not the sort of place “good people” should visit.

And if the disciples were likely troubled by this dubious location, their fears are confirmed when Jesus is set upon by a Canaanite woman; an outsider, a member of an ethnic group that was viewed as culturally different at best, if not spiritually deviant. Our woman is so much of an outsider, that she’s not even named.

And our woman doesn’t just start talking to Jesus and the disciples, she’s shouting at them. Repeatedly. Persistently. Relentlessly. And Jesus doesn’t listen.

To begin with, Jesus doesn’t answer the women. He simply ignores her. Maybe if he doesn’t acknowledge her, she’ll leave him in peace. But she persists, demanding attention, and so Jesus responds, explaining that he’s not there to help her; his ministry is only for Israel, not for Canaan, not for the undeserving. And still she keeps coming. Now she’s kneeling, supplicating herself before Jesus to beg for help. And still Jesus doesn’t want to listen.

So he snaps, brutally disparaging the woman and her request: “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Our desperate woman, urgently seeking healing for her own daughter, is compared to a dog, no better than a rodent in Jewish tradition. And by Jesus. Now she’s not just unheard, she is insulted, scorned, and rejected.

Abused, scorned, and rejected. This is the pain and anguish that has been carried for so long by Canadian Indigenous communities and survivors of the residential school system. Their persistent anger in the face of disbelief, ignorance, and denial have needed to endure for decades. Certainly, our First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities have much they can share about feeling unheard.

At the end of a historic week, where much was achieved on this front, we must also remember the other enduring needs of Indigenous Canadians that still need to be heard.

On a pragmatic and immediate front, the papal apology fell short, by neither mentioning residential schools specifically, nor by apologizing for the church as an institution. Similarly, a direct test of the apology will be seen in the church’s willingness to provide access to its records and release any and all documents relating to the residential schools.

More substantially, there are loud and critical calls for the church to overturn the doctrine of discovery.

This doctrine, given a level of authority and infallibility by its religious status, is the basis on which the colonization of Canada, and many other nations, was justified and even advocated.

For over five hundred years, this doctrine has said that in the eyes of the church, indigenous people do not matter, do not count. The doctrine created the pretext firstly for the colonial occupation of land and then the assimilation policies of Canadian governments that established the residential school system.

This doctrine codifies white, European privilege and prioritizes wealth and domination over respect and diversity.

It is wrong, and we need to reject the doctrine, and then reject the values it perpetuated and that still pervade our society today.

In Madeleine Engel’s famous book A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs. Whatsit says to our heroine, “Stay angry, little Meg. You’ll need all of your anger now.”

It is advice that the Canaanite woman wholeheartedly embodies.

She’s just been compared to a dog, and dismissed out of hand. It would be easy to slink away, rejected and abandoned.

But Jesus is the only hope our woman has. And her love and concern for her daughter outweighs any injured pride. So she leans into the insult, accepts it, and turns it to make her point.

“Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

It’s a mic drop moment.

“Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” And the insult becomes insight.

No matter how low and unworthy I may be, she says, even your leftovers, the scraps of your healing, can make a difference.

And in this moment, God is at work, hearing the need of the Canaanite woman.

Indeed, if this was a parable being told by Jesus, we’d easily cast the woman in the role of God. She’s willing to risk anything, to go to any length, to obtain healing for her daughter and to end the suffering she is tormented by. This is exactly the ministry of Jesus on earth.

And through her retort to Jesus, through the courage of the woman brave enough, or desperate enough, to challenge Jesus’ initial response, Jesus also hears the need of the Canaanite woman.

In this moment, God listens, and Jesus learns.

It is indeed a strange thing to consider; Jesus learning. But when we remember that Jesus was fully human, then maybe learning was part of his journey, as much as it is part of ours.

Certainly the event was considered significant enough to be included in the gospels – both Matthew and Luke recount this story. And it reminds us that God will hear our views and is open to change – a characteristic of God that can be seen in several other places in the Bible, from as early as Genesis 18.

This is a vital truth. God listens to us. And to confirm that we have a listening God, Jesus praises the woman, and heals her daughter.

A learning, listening God can be seen at work in the papal visit to Canada this week. So while recognizing the short-comings of the apology in places and the work still needed to be done, we can also affirm the value and significance of the sin acknowledged and the forgiveness sought.

“I am deeply sorry.” “I ask forgiveness.” Words of repentance and regret that affirm the pain of the Indigenous communities and recognize the many abuses they have suffered.

This is the witness of a listening God in action, and the result of our listening God opening the mind and the heart of Pope Francis.

As was acknowledged this week, “This apology would not have happened without the long advocacy of survivors who journeyed to tell their truths directly to the institution responsible and who recounted and relived their painful memories.”

They spoke truth. They spoke truth and God listened.

A learning, listening, loving God can be seen at work in the healing that the pope’s visit and apology have generated.

Sandy Robinson, a Naskapi-Cree man, attended the apology held at the site of a former residential school, south of Edmonton, Alberta, and described hearing the Pope ask for forgiveness as a spiritual moment for him. “I could feel my energy just getting positive and positive,” he said. “At the end of it, I actually cheered up. I waited over 60 years and it’s happening at this very moment.” Robinson continued, “It was like a release of the pain I knew my parents had carried with them before, while they were with us. It was for me, like letting go of the pain as well.”

The event also helped renew his faith. Robinson reflected that last summer’s discovery of unmarked graves at the sites of several former residential schools had challenged how he thought about the church and his faith, and left him disconnected from God and worship. Hearing the apology, witnessing the acknowledgement of his community’s suffering, has brought healing for his faith and his relationship with God.

The progress of the journey of pain and courage and renewal is perhaps encapsulated by the experience of the crowds attending the papal apology in Alberta. Indigenous music accompanied attendees there; “elders danced, and the crowd cheered and chanted war songs, victory songs and finally a healing song.” From war, to victory, to healing. A journey of being heard and affirmed and valued in God’s eyes and in the world.

Importantly, these events demonstrate the way in which recognizing that God listens is an act of faith and calling for us. When we affirm that God listens, we allow ourselves to express righteous anger, and to look to God to engage with our anger. The Canadian Christian author, Sarah Bessey, describes this type of anger as “an invitation from the Holy Spirit.”

Bessey writes, “Our anger is a reasonable, legitimate response to something which is also angering to God. This anger is also an invitation to pray, to advocate, to learn, to become educated, to support, to protest.”

This anger, then, is the way in which we are called to listen, as God listens. Crucially though, while anger may be the beginning of the journey, anger is not the destination. Anger may highlight the pain of the world, the places where we are called to help, but it will always be love that sustains us. We can see this in the account of the Canaanite woman for it was her love for her daughter that moves her to speak – and moves Jesus to act.

Love, that is the essence of our listening and learning God, who loves us without limit. A love that we are called to share, in all its abundance. And most importantly, a love that we are called to embrace, by bringing our whole selves to God in worship and prayer, and then to listening to God in our lives, as God listens to us. Holy, listening love.

Praise be to God.

Pastoral Prayer

Listening God,
Have mercy on us, as you see our struggles and hear our cries. Be with us and renew us in hope.
When we are lost, or uncertain of the direction of our lives, steady us to remember your word. Help us to strive to serve you in the choices we make, and surround us with good advice and positive examples. Be with those who lead in our communities and bless them with generous and compassionate insight and purpose.
Guiding God, have mercy on us.
When we are unwell, or troubled by health concerns in our lives, comfort us with your peace. Grant us courage and endurance as we face tests or treatment, and support us with restorative care and renewal. Be with those who serve our world by caring for others, and bless them with patience and understanding.
Healing God, have mercy on us.
When we are lonely, or struggling with the relationships in our lives, reassure us with your presence. Help us to find contentment in our solitude and connections and possibilities in the communities around us. Be with those who provide counselling and guidance and bless them with empathy and tender discernment.
Loving God, have mercy on us.
Listening God, have mercy on us. As we offer you our prayers, help us listen to you.
Amen.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

One of our most tangible acts of faith is our offering. Our contribution to the life and ministry of the church, made with trust that God will magnify the impact of our service and take our financial gifts and use them in ways and in places that we could not reach alone. And so in faith, and hope and love, we will now bring forward our offering.

♥  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:  “Thank You Lord on this Day”  (on screen)

 

Offering Prayer

All: Generous God, whose love knows no boundaries, work in us to remove the limits of our love. Bless this offering to heal those we repel as untouchable, to feed those we reject as undeserving, and to comfort those we dismiss as incomprehensible. Expand our love and our offering to see you in the world and to serve you in our lives. Amen.

Hymn:  “Come and Find the Quiet Center” verse 1& 2  VU

Benediction

Depart from here renewed in your worship, restored in your mercy, and revitalized in your faith. May you meet the days ahead with vigour and determination and the confidence of God’s love planted deep in your heart where it might grow.

Closing Hymn:  “Olde Irish Blessing” on screen

 

Announcements


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, July 27th