Virtual Service – June 20, 2021

8:30 am

June 20, 2021

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

•  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 Sunday School lesson online. Today is Father’s Day and I bet you won’t be surprised to hear there’s a verse for that!
•  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 and welcome to Walton’s virtual service on this full morning. Today is Christian Family Sunday, our graduation celebration, National Indigenous Peoples Day, and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, friends, mentors, and other father figures in our lives. Our Heavenly Father has welcomed us home so many times – the story of the Prodigal Son comes to mind. There was forgiveness and love even when the son did something dumb, squandered all the money, and was so disrespectful. When the son came crawling back dirty, and hungry, and full of shame, asking for forgiveness, the father picked him up, hugged him close, and told him how much he loves him. Then he cleaned him up and put on a wonderful banquet and filled him up. It’s such a beautiful way to look at everyone, not just our blood sons and daughters, but everyone. Let us worship our Father who loves us and welcomes us home each and every day.

Call to Worship

This is the day the Lord has made!
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!  (New Revised Standard Version)
We have joined together as the family of God today!

This is the day the Lord has made!
Let us be full of joy and be glad in it. (New Life Version)
And we come together the way we can this week for worship.

This is the very day God acted—
Let’s celebrate and be festive! (The Message)
We come to worship as we can today, curious, happy, certain, sad, or even troubled.

This is the day of the Lord’s victory;
Let us be happy, let us celebrate! (Good News Translation)
For you will meet us where we are, may we know ourselves to be blessed in it as we gather together from near and far to worship you! 

This is the very day of the Lord that brings
gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee. (Passion Translation)
Come, let us worship!

Anthem:  “Never Forget to be Thankful”

 

Opening Prayer

Lord God, Son of God and Heavenly Father, we pray for all the members of our family. You know them all so well and love them all. We ask that you enfold us in your embrace of hope.

Hope that draws us together to work out our differences, gives us patience and kindness.

Hope that connects us to celebrate together and share times of joy and friendship.

Hope that awakens us to care for one another and watches over us wherever we go.

Hope that overcomes adversity and gathers strength to endure.

Hope that guides us and gives us vision for our future.

Hope filled with love.

Hope that fuels faith.

Hope that breathes peace. May our family live in you, sheltered in your loving promises. 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 Celebration:  Happy Graduation!

Today we celebrate a major milestone in the lives of so many young Walton members. We celebrate those graduating from college or university, and beginning the next phase of their adult lives. We celebrate those whose high school journey has come to an end, and who look ahead with excitement to the next chapter. We celebrate those finishing grade 8, with the excitement of starting high school just around the corner, and those who are ready to move on from senior kindergarten into “big kid” school.

Of course here at Walton our children and youth have their own major milestones too – little ones who have been in our Nursery look forward to starting Sunday School in Bethel Hall. Those beginning Grade 1 in the fall celebrate moving up from Bethel Hall to Bronte Hall. Those entering Grade 6 look forward to all the fun of Junior Youth Group, while the Grade 9s will start their first year of Senior Youth Group in the fall.

So much accomplished, so many lessons learned, and so much ahead to look forward to. While we may not have the traditional graduation ceremonies and celebrations we’re used to, it’s important to recognize these milestones and to ask God’s blessing upon all these bright young lights in our church family. We are proud of each and every one of you!

 In gratitude, We pray….

God of joy and hope,

We thank you for this time of graduation, it might be different for each one of us…. Your spirit of wisdom has empowered our hard work and discipline in such a way that our hunger for learning has been nourished with knowledge, discovery, creativity, and determination.

As we receive our diplomas, in so many different ways…. let us walk in prayerful gratitude for the many blessings that have made this moment real and filled with great potential.

In gratitude, we pray for our families and the many who have sacrificed and worked to see us to this hopeful moment.

In gratitude, we pray for the teachers, professors and administrators who have challenged, cared, and mentored us along this academic journey.

In gratitude, we pray for classmates and other students who have taught us more about friendship, collaboration, and sharing.

God, even as we have faced challenges and accomplished much, we understand that our lives move into a new chapter, whether that be high school, college, university or the workforce.,  where there will be more challenges to face and more will be demanded of us in order to accomplish good things. May your grace cover our anxieties and fears so that we may stay encouraged about the future.

Those of us graduating from college and university, give us patience and hope to energize our search for work that is just and makes proper use of our gifts. Give us courage to face the challenges of carving out a place in society where we might live in peace, service, and gratitude.

Those of us moving into post-secondary and secondary school education, give us strength to resist the temptations of greed, laziness, pride, and envy as we strive to do and be our best. Help us to share the gifts of the spirit with others, and show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and just be a good neighbour to all.

May your spirit guide us as we unfold the next chapters of our lives. Help us to enliven hope in the world and bring good things to Your Kingdom. And, may this celebration be a reflection of the blessings that we find in knowing and loving you. For this is the day that You have made.

We are glad and rejoice in it!
Amen.

– Author Unknown

Anthem:  “Brave”

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 4: 35-41

Jesus Stills a Storm

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”

And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.

A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him,

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.

He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

And they were filled with great awe and said to one another,

“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Morning Message: “Swamp Walk”- Rev. Jim Gill

Some summer camps were recently allowed to reopen this year for overnight programming. As a teenager I worked as a camp counsellor at the overnight camp the United Church owns on 400 acres on the west shore of Sparrow Lake.

The campers came for 12-day camps. They paddled, swam, played sports, did crafts, had campfires and outdoor chapel times. But what they liked best was once in each camp session they would put on their oldest and dirtiest clothes and we took them on a hike.

This was just not your standard hike over pre-Cambrian rock and through the mixed boreal forest and deciduous woods around Sparrow Lake. No, the best part was that the hike was through a swamp. Yes, a swamp! We walked through all the muck and the guck. When we got to the camp after the walk, we went directly into the lake to wash it all off. It was great fun, and different from anything the campers had ever done in their lives.

A swamp is a forested wetland. It’s critical to a healthy environment. The campers learned all about this on their swamp walks. As Canadians we need to protect all our wetlands from destruction. It’s interesting that one of the most watched “Walton Mid-week Check-in” videos was about the fire in the Bronte marsh earlier this year. That video had nearly 1,000 views. Bronte marsh is now growing back, but other wetlands across the province are being developed and forever destroyed. They need to be protected.

Today’s reading mentions a swamp. A different type of swamp, but still a swamp. Jesus and the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was taking a nap at the back of the vessel when this huge storm came up. The reading tells us the storm was so bad that they were in danger of being “swamped.”

Late afternoon storms often develop on the Sea of Galilee. Being surrounded by those high hills creates a topographical funnel to send the winds across this inland sea. The disciples were so afraid in the storm. They were afraid the vessel would be swamped and sink. But Jesus had everything under control even when he was napping. Jesus has a way of having things under control, even when you and I are napping. Jesus calmed those fierce, wind-driven seas. The boat was not swamped. The boat safely got everyone to its harbour.

During our Sparrow Lake camp swamp walks we took a route through the wetlands where the kids would not be swamped by the deep murky waters which were over their heads. Have you ever been swamped by life’s storm-filled waters? Have you ever been bogged down in the murky areas of life? Have you ever just felt overwhelmed by it all? I think we all, at one time or another, have known that place. Maybe we are right now feeling swamped in these Covid days?

I was talking to one of you recently who was telling me that they had six Zoom meetings in a day. They didn’t know if their eyes or posteriors would give out first. So many feel overwhelmed with online home-schooling, or managing increasing debt personally or in their business, or living life as if they were in the movie Groundhog Day, where each day is just like the one before one.

Our relationship with our Heavenly Father through his son Jesus is a place we can always turn to when we are feeling swamped by life. Our divine parent is there for us, whatever our age and stage of life. We can turn to God 24/7. We are not alone. There is a way through, over, or around the swamps of life. We may not see the way out but God does. The way out of the storm often lies beyond our limited abilities to see. However, the safe harbour still exists.

As a young teenager I was out on a large inland lake in an old Grew wooden boat. I was in the back of the boat with a friend and the friend’s father was driving the boat in choppy afternoon waters. All of a sudden, water started to gush into the boat through the seams in the wooden floor of the boat.

We were a far distance away from the shore. I wondered whether we would make it to shore? The father gunned the engine to get more speed, trying to get us all to safety before we sank. But then he turned the steering wheel and headed away from the shore into the open water. I thought, what is he doing? The shore is that way, not this way.

We all had life jackets. I certainly could swim well, but the water was still cold at that time of year. As every second passed, we were going further and further away from the shoreline at a very fast rate. Then all of a sudden it was over. We were safe. What happened was that the fast speed of the boat had lifted us up and on top of a rock shoal hidden just below the surface of the water. We didn’t know that shoal was even there. But the father driving the boat knew. He knew going out further from the shore was where safe harbour was to be found. We waited on the shoal for another boat to come along and bring us back to shore.

So often life is like that. Our Heavenly Father has a plan to help us out when we are getting swamped. There is always some blessing in store. Often it is hidden just out of sight. God sees it. We just need to trust that God is driving the boat, not us.

Today is Father’s Day, also known as Christian Family Sunday. I think of those fathers and father figures who are at their very best helping people when they are swamped in life. What men have rescued you from the swamps of your life? What have they done? When have they been there to provide a safe landing? Let’s give special thanks for these men’s care and concern in our lives this Sunday.

In this service today we also acknowledge those graduating this year whether it be from kindergarten, a post-grad program, or everything in between. Students and parents look forward to graduation ceremonies with anticipation and joy. Like last year, the graduations are very different than usual. Some will be virtual, others out of doors and others will have no actual ceremony at all. We congratulate everyone watching this virtual service today who is graduating and congratulate their families.

As a father, I know I had tears in my eyes each time each daughter walked across that stage to receive the graduation certificate, whether from daycare or grad school . You know all the hard work that went into that graduation. At times the kids were certainly swamped with tests, papers, exams and projects.

I recall my own dad driving downtown to the Robarts Library at U of T one rainy night to get an overlooked book I needed for an essay due in the morning, as I stayed at home writing the paper for 8am delivery. Dads so often help those who are swamped.

This Father’s Day we are so aware that fathering is very different. We celebrate those overseeing and facilitating homeschooling, often while also working from home themselves. We feel the loneliness of those cut off from family due to distancing, quarantines and lockdowns. Those who do their fathering through a window, a computer screen, or at the end of a driveway. Fathers who have not seen family in person for months. Those fathers who face steep learning curves with technology they have never used before. Fathers unable to hug their kids and grandkids.

Yet fathers and father figures have persevered over these last 15 months. They have adapted, pivoted, made do, and created new ways of being. In doing such, they have been there when we are overwhelmed. Today we celebrate and give thanks for this and so much more on this Covid Father’s Day. God bless all those who father: past, present and future.

Prayer

Today, Gracious God, we think of what family means to us. This last year and a half has made us long for the place where we are welcomed and accepted just as we are. We long for the hugs, kisses, and comfort of being in the arms of our loved ones from whom we have had to keep a safe distance.

We thank you for the invitation you give to each of us to be part of your family, God, to make our home with you where no one will be turned away, and where we are accepted just the way we are. Help us to be welcoming and sensitive hosts to all who join us virtually, and to those who come to the church seeking you, God. Help us to be welcoming and giving to all those as we travel this unknown Covid road to reopening. Help us to use the gifts of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as we journey together through the next unknown while. We give our thanks to you Lord, who always welcomes us and loves us unconditionally. Amen.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Thank you God for the gift of the men and women in our lives who have guided us to you, who have taught us to be grateful for the blessings we have, and to share those blessings with others. Help us to honour their teachings and help us to give in love, not because of guilt, or shame. We lovingly give our offerings this morning in your name.

♥ 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 monthlyPAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offering Prayer

Loving God, we give our gifts this morning in love. Help us to remember the greatest commandment “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.”  We offer these gifts this morning to those many ministries which help our neighbours. Thank you God for our many blessings. Amen.

Benediction

As you leave today, please remember, honour, and talk about the role model in your life who has brought you closer to God, who has walked through the tough times with you, pulled you out of the swamp, celebrated the best joys, and who has encouraged, supported and loved you when you thought you were unlovable.

We thank you God, for through each of those people, we have grown to love you more.

Help us to be like them as we walk into this week. Help us to honour you and the gift of them in our lives, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

“We Receive Your Blessing”- “Spirit Moves”

 


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 Let Us Sing of a Wonderful Love (Voices United #574. Verses 1,2,4)
Put Your Hand in the Hand (of the Man Who Stilled the Water). (Gene McClelland (as sung by Anne Murray)
When Jesus Called You “Father” (Carolyn Gillette)
God Made From One Blood all the Families of Earth (Voices United #554. verses 1,3,4)
We are Called (Lift Up Your Hearts #296 v 2)

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, June 16th