Virtual Service – July 4, 2021

8:30 am

July 4, 2021

Virtual Service

Welcome to virtual church!

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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

• Christmas in July – Yes, you read that right, and we want to hear from you!  We would like to know what your favourite Christmas carol is. I know… how do you pick one? Ok, we’ll let you choose two. We would love to sing Christmas carols together and celebrate Jesus’ birth in July. Of course, we will celebrate again in December too. Christmas in July will be just that, a joyful summer celebration of Christ’s birth.
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 VBS at home lesson online. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and everything in between. And he loves you so much, he’s over the moon!
• 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, on this beautiful sunny day. Where do you like to go to relax, be at peace, to just chill?

I think out in God’s creation, out of doors, away from the cities and suburbs we live in, out in nature.

We are at a beautiful lavender farm this morning. It is so wonderful, there is this incredible beauty, calmness and tranquillity. Isn’t it amazing one of God’s many plants, lavender, is so beautiful, it smells so incredible, it is so relaxing? We thought we would start the service here and share this part of God’s creation with you today.  Come let us worship.

Call to Worship

In a world of unbelief, we set aside this time to connect with faith.
We come carrying worries and fears, losses and dreams;
Ready that we may open our hearts to God’s grace.
We come bearing the stresses of our week and conflicting concerns;
Ready that we may open our minds to God’s word.
We come feeling overwhelmed and unsure of ourselves, with too much to manage and too little hope;
Ready that we might open our lives to God’s Spirit.
We come as we are, to be embraced as we are, by God’s eternal love.

Opening Prayer

Surprising God,

We confess before you now that we are a lost and wandering people, distracted by the world around us and easily diverted from how you call us to live. We are quick to anger and slow to forgive; we are quick to judge and slow to accept; we are quick to doubt and slow to understand. All too often we place barriers in the way of seeing you in the world, and shun opportunities to share you with the world.

We pray to you now for support and compassion: that we may always, however tentatively, proclaim the joy and hope of your promise to us – that we are forgiven. We gratefully affirm that your love will always welcome us, comfort us and heal us. Be with us now in this time of worship and help us accept you into our lives, as you will always accept us. 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:  “Where’s Waldo?

Nearly every week in Sunday School, we talk about how Jesus is always with us. And he is! Sometimes we see and feel him everywhere, without even trying. Other times, it can be harder to find Jesus.

It reminds me of those “Where’s Waldo” books. There’s a big picture, full of hundreds of tiny people and objects, all crowded together on one page. Somewhere in that crowd is a picture of one little guy wearing a red and white striped shirt. That guy is Waldo, and boy he can be hard to find! Sometimes I spot him right away, like he jumps off the page at me. Other times I can go over every inch of the page with a magnifying glass, and still not see him.

It’s the same when I’m looking for Jesus. Sometimes I see him at work all around me – in the sound of the birds singing themselves to sleep at bedtime, in the warmth of a friend’s smile, in the kindness of a helping hand. But other times? I feel like no matter how hard I look, he’s nowhere to be found!

But guess what…no matter how tough it is to spot him, Waldo really is somewhere on every single page of those books. It’s not a mean trick; there are no pictures without him. And Jesus really is with us all the time, even when we struggle to find him. Sometimes, the harder you look, the harder he is to find – that goes for Jesus and Waldo! So relax. Soften your eyes. Take in the whole big picture and…boom! You’ll see he was there all along, inside your heart. And just like Waldo, once you find Jesus the first time, you can find him so much more easily the next time you look!

Let’s say a prayer:

Jesus, when we have a million things to do and look at, it can be hard to see you too. When we get frustrated and tempted to stop looking, remind us not to give up! Help us find you in our hearts and see that you are with us all the time, no matter where we are. Amen.

Anthem:  “A Kyrie for Our Time”

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 6: 1-13

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary  and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honour, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”  And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching.  He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.  He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;  but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.

He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”

So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.  They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Morning Message:  “Ordinarily Extraordinary” – Gill Le Fevre

One of the biggest socio-economic shifts occurring due to the pandemic has been the acceleration of working from home. For over 15 months, a huge percentage of the workforce was required to adapt and innovate to undertake their employment from their home.

At the outset of the crisis, it wasn’t just information work that moved to this model. The seemingly fixed-location world of TV broadcasting did too, and almost overnight TV hosts, news anchors and all their interview subjects were broadcasting from their homes.

All of a sudden, watching the background sets became surprisingly compelling, as we got a peek into the actual rooms of the media personalities we would normally only see sitting behind a desk. The dazzle and glamour of the TV studio was gone and while there’s no doubting the luxury of some of the rooms you see, it also often felt wonderfully ordinary.

But we’re not used to seeing so much ordinary in our celebrities and it can be unsettling to connect the two. Ironically, we see this also in the first half of our reading today. Jesus was arguably a first-century ‘celebrity’ – people everywhere were talking about him, great crowds followed him, and now he is coming home.

But the community at Nazareth can’t reconcile their memories of the child and young man that they knew as Jesus with the person they are hearing so much about and now seeing, teaching in the synagogue.

Mark’s account makes it clear that Jesus’ presence that day was mesmerizing, he exuded wisdom and power, astounding those who were there. In almost every respect, the community at Nazareth were experiencing the immensity of the ministry of Jesus that had already drawn multitudes of followers. You get the sense, even through Mark’s brief account, that the Nazarenes present were beginning to get caught up in Jesus’ teaching.

And then: they remembered. They remembered who Jesus was, the carpenter; and who his family was. Jesus was “the son of Mary” – no mention of Joseph, so the likely insinuations surrounding Jesus’ parentage hang in the air. They name his brothers and sisters, and they remember no doubt the child that Jesus was, the growing up, the backstory.

And once all this is recalled, “they took offense at him.” The idea that the Jesus they knew could be a prophet, a teacher and a healer, was outrageous to them.

Jesus’ deeds of power that they mentioned, the wisdom they had heard, could not overcome their view that Jesus’ background and early life was not suitable for a prophet. Too common, too familiar; probably illiterate, likely seen as illegitimate – he could be nothing special.

God was in the world, but the people of Nazareth refused to see it.

God gets even more ordinary as our reading continues. Because if we just stop at the end of this first section, we still have God working through one person, Jesus. He may have been an unsuitable hero, especially to the Nazarenes, but he was a singular, heroic figure nonetheless.

Except that is not how God works in the world, as Mark’s gospel goes on to make clear. Rather than starring in a one-man tour of Galilee, Jesus turned to his disciples and sent them out to teach and heal. God was going to be present in the world through the work of many. Common and ordinary, unprepared and unlikely, the disciples begin to spread God’s word in the world.

It is humbling how little was required of the disciples. They had neither lengthy training nor extensive equipment – the two items mentioned, a staff and sandals, would have been regarded as the bare essentials for travelling from town to town. Beyond that, nothing. Not even the reassurance of a warm welcome wherever they went; that possibility was explicitly excluded with the guidance on how to respond to rejection. Nazareth won’t be the only place that doesn’t recognize God in the world.

All that was required was the disciples’ belief in God’s participation in the world; that belief, and their willingness to be a vehicle for God to work in the world.

God is in our world today, but all too often because God doesn’t look like what we’re expecting – spectacular, heroic, dramatic – we don’t see him clearly either.

It’s easy to keep God in a book, that we open from time to time. Or limit God to a building, where we can visit. Perhaps we save God for the really special occasions or the big crises, when we can pray to God to pull out all the stops.

So much harder, intimidating even, to recognize that God is working in the world in ordinary and everyday ways. Not to mention the realization that God is working in us and through our lives, even if that is in ordinary and everyday ways.

Which is not to say that we’re somehow special, but rather that God’s love is overwhelmingly special, with an immensity that cannot be contained, if only we open ourselves up to the possibility and let ourselves see it.

And so while you might believe “in God,” if you don’t also believe in the idea that God can and does intervene in the world and your life directly and powerfully, then at best your life may be shaped by some wonderful coincidences.

I shared a story a few weeks ago about a set of inspiring and encouraging sticky notes I found most unexpectedly in a nearby park. These notes embodied for me God’s love appearing in surprising ways, and I knew immediately that I would use them in a service. What a wonderful coincidence.

But there’s more to this story, that for me moves it far beyond mere coincidence.

I didn’t want to be in that park. I wasn’t meant to be in that park. I had come out to call my son home for dinner, but he wasn’t playing where he said he’d be. And so I had to keep walking – resentfully, grouchily – until I found him. But before I found my son, I found the first note.

I didn’t even find the rest of the notes until the following day, when I came back to take a picture of that first note, and then I carried on walking further along the trail. I took a picture of each subsequent note I came across as I went, walking for no more than 10 minutes before turning to head home. And in that short time, when I retraced my steps, the notes were gone.

Our reading today helps me comprehend that the sticky notes were far from coincidence. Mark’s emphasis of the ordinary in the life of Jesus and the work of the disciples, and yet the extraordinary healing and teaching that was shared, reminds me that we each have a role to play in recognizing God in the world, in being open to experience God in our lives, and in letting God work through us in the world.

That’s right – through us. Through each ordinary, everyday one of us and our ordinary everyday lives.

I know of a minister who finishes every service she leads with the same phrase. Just before she gives the benediction, she reminds her congregation, “Our worship in church is ending; our worship in the world is just beginning.”

It is a simple yet powerful reminder that worshipping God in church is only ever part of what we are called to do as Christians.

The other part, emphatically the more important part, will shape how we and others see and experience God. Through the ordinary moments of our days, God’s extraordinary power can break through.

We don’t always know when a welcoming smile provides acceptance, or an encouraging word inspires perseverance. Even a compassionate silence radiates healing and comfort. You may never even know the lives you touch, through your ordinary faith and God’s extraordinary love.

Praise be to God.

Anthem:  “Let His Love Be Found in You”

 

Pastoral Prayer

Faithful God,

It is easy to cry, “Where is God in the world?” as disease disrupts lives and illness induces grief and pain. Help us to see you, Lord, in the dedication of nurses and doctors, in the wonder of science and research. Help us to serve you, Lord: by comforting those who suffer; sitting with those in distress.

It is easy to cry, “Where is God in the world?” as war and violence spread fear and entrench hostility.

Help us to see you, Lord, in unexpected bonds of peace, in the provision of refuge and shelter.

Help us to serve you, Lord: by confronting aggression and the abuse of power; protecting those displaced by conflict.

It is easy to cry, “Where is God in the world?” as racism diminishes our society and prejudice fuels distrust. Help us to see you, Lord, in the friendships that bridge cultural divides, through the allies that speak up for the exploited. Help us to serve you, Lord: by adding our voices to calls for justice; replacing suspicion with a desire for understanding.

It is easy to cry, “Where is God in our lives?” as hopes are dashed and dreams delayed. Help us to see you, Lord, in the small moments of each day, reminding us of your persistent love for us. Help us to serve you, Lord: with welcoming hearts and acts of compassion, sharing your love in the world around us.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Our offering today, and every day, is an act of love.
We give from what we have and as we are able; but always, we give in hope and faith and 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
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

Empowering God,
Your love touches our lives in many different ways, through the varied talents and diverse interests you have blessed us with. Your love guides our lives in many different ways, along the varied paths we travel and the individual choices we make. In gratitude and reverence, we offer the fruit of your love – the gifts of what we have and who we are – for use in your service. Inspire us, exactly where we are today, to see the needs of those around us. Work through us, just as we are today, to heal your broken world. Amen.

Benediction

“Our worship online is ending; our worship in the world is just beginning.”

Go forward this day: Ready to find God in the world, in small and surprising places. Willing to see God at work, in intriguing and unexpected ways. Eager to serve God in the world, where you are, as you are, and as God calls you to love. 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 God of Creation, We See All Around Us (Carolyn Gillette)
This is God’s Wondrous World (Voices United #296)
I Sing the Mighty Power of God (Lift Up Your Hearts #10)
Let There Be Light (Voices United #679 Verses 1,2,6)

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, June 30th