Virtual Service – March 14, 2021

8:30 am

March 14, 2021

Welcome to virtual church!

Each Sunday morning we will be sending an email to everyone in the congregation for whom we have email addresses, offering an abridged Sunday morning service — “virtual church.” For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website.

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

• Tax preparation for people with modest incomes: The Walton Tax Clinic will be starting up again on March 1st, 2021, as part of the Walton Outreach Committee. Due to COVID precautions, we will manage with an “exchange of documents” in the Walton parking lot and follow-up telephone calls. If you have an interest in having us assist you, please call: 905-631-6188
• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. The countdown to Easter is on! Can you feel the egg-citement?
• Walton’s Love Your Neighbour Lent Project – A few weeks ago we talked about our Sunday School / Youth Group Lent project in the service during the youth story, and many of you have asked how to send an Easter Hug card to a senior in the Walton community. It’s easy and adults are welcome to participate as well as kids! Click here to download and print the cards, then colour them in or add a personal note if you wish. You can even address them to a specific person if there is someone in particular who you miss seeing at Walton. Please drop your cards off through the mail slot at the church no later than Tuesday, March 23rd, and they will be included in our Easter mailing to seniors. Thank you for sharing God’s love with your neighbours!
• Givings envelopes
– A reminder if you have not yet picked up your 2021 givings envelopes, please do so at your earliest convenience. Please call the church office before coming by to make sure someone will be here. If you are unable to pick them up please let the office know and we would be happy to arrange delivery to your home.
•  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 United Church’s virtual service. Jim, what are you doing?

I’m trying to undo this knot in the microphone cord.

You can do this Jim, you got it! Just bend that back this way, push the cord up, you’ve almost got it. You are doing great. Yeah! You got it. You did it!

You know it seems every time we use these cords, they get tangled up. They seem to do it themselves. It seems we are always trying to get them untangled.
Yes, it is kind of frustrating, isn’t it…

So this morning, what is our step on our Lenten journey about this week?

Well, I think it is exactly what you did for me Val, you gave me a word of helping encouragement, positive encouragement, that I could untangle this cord for this recording.

That is right. There are lots of ways we can encourage people, isn’t there Jim? You know God has given us these beautiful sunny days, and yet sometimes it’s still freezing outside. We can’t really get out for very long. But we have beautiful sunny days to enjoy… is that God giving us a word of encouragement? “Spring is coming.”

Spring is coming.

That is our next step, a word of encouragement. Will you join us?

Let us worship.

Call to Worship

We gather in Lent not to beat ourselves up, not even to confess our sins or to be gloomy, but to be real, to be authentic, and to be as wholly ourselves and in our relationships, as we can muster.
We worship.

Opening Prayer – Waiting

As Sarah waited…Ninety years for a son to fulfil God’s promise.
We wait in hope for what we thought had been spoken to us.

As Moses waited…40 years in the desert,
being prepared by God to lead his people.
We wait for emptiness and humility;
for bravado to wither.

As Israel waited…40 years of wandering,
hungry, depressed, thirsting, unsure.
We wait for the right time to act

As the Prophets waited…1,000 years of promises
that God would raise up a Saviour.
We wait for the signs that God has not forgotten.
As Mary waited…9 months of her 14 years for the child of God.
We feel the birth-pains, yet fear for the child.
As John the Baptist waited…
Scanning the crowds for the one whose sandals
he would not be worthy to untie.
We long for an experience of the Divine

As Jesus waited… 30 years of creeping time.
40 days in the desert of temptation.
3 years of misunderstanding.
3 days in the depths of hell.
So we wait for God’s time.
Preparing the way.
Our turn to toil on levelling mountains
and straightening paths.
Our turn to watch the horizon.
Our turn to pass on the hope
that He who promised is faithful and will come back. Amen.

(adapted) 67 on Johnny Baker’s Worship Tricks website)

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.

Installation of Council & Committees

Leader: As you come to assume the duties of your office, let us make a covenant before God and with one another.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, will you continue to live out your faith with praise and thanksgiving?
Will you carry out your responsibilities in this congregation with integrity and joy?

Council & Committee Members: We will, God being our helper.

Leader: Will you, the people of Walton Memorial United Church, honour the leadership of these people? Will you assist them through daily prayer, generous support, and personal example, so that, together, we may be a faithful church of Jesus Christ?

Congregation: We will, God being our helper.

Prayer: Loving God, you have called these people to serve you. Send your Holy Spirit upon them and upon us all, that we may keep the promises we have made today. Help them, and us to fulfill their responsibilities. May their leadership help us all to reflect your love and grace always, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Leader: In the name of God, Creator, Christ and Spirit, we recognize and affirm you in your ministry as members of the Walton Council and Committees.

Youth Story: Rock or Sand?

 Have you forgotten how it feels to get or give a hug? Some people who live alone may not have enjoyed a warm hug for a whole year now! That’s why we created Easter Hug cards, that you can download from the link in the announcement above. And that’s why today’s youth story video resonates so deeply with many of us. 

Anthem: “Only God”

Scripture Reading: Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2: 1-10

From Death to Life
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ[a]—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Morning Message: “It is All About the Order” – Rev. Jim Gill

The other day I watched a new teenage driver in the empty Walton Church parking lot trying to learn to drive a standard shift car. There were a lot of jerky starts trying to learn the right order for the three pedals instead of just the gas and brake. That clutch is a real challenge to learn.
If you are making tea for coffee hour what is the right order? Is it the tea bag or water in the pot first? Apparently, it is tea bag first. But in saying that, I may get some texts telling me that I have the order wrong.

Once during a communion service, I served the wine before the bread. Wrong order. I did not live that wrong order down for a while.

In life so often it is all about the order. That is my topic today on this fourth Sunday of Lent, which is one of the five Sundays before Holy Week. During Advent, there are only four Sundays before Christmas. When we are asked to light the Advent wreath in a December church service we make sure we light the candles in the right order, for one of the four is a different colour than the other three.

Ephesians 2:5 is our reading today. Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus this pivotal phase, “by grace you have been saved.” You see, we get right with God through grace. We get right with others through grace. We get right with ourselves through grace. That is the first step in the order. It begins with what God does. It does not begin with what we do.

This concept of grace is a core belief in the Christian faith. It is also a huge blessing for each of us, for it means it is not all left up to us to make things right in life. Grace is a free gift of the Divine’s love, given by God through Jesus. All we need to do is accept it, live it and share it. It is why that beloved hymn has spoken to generations of people: “Amazing Grace, how sweet a sound that saved a wretch like me.”

Now, some people have changed that classic hymn’s words to, “Amazing Grace, how sweet a sound that saved and strengthen me.” It is true; grace both saves and strengthens us. But I think we lose something by dropping the “wretch” part of the lyrics. One of the meanings of the word wretch is an “unhappy person.” I am sure we all have known unhappiness in our lives at one point or another. So maybe think of that song as, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved an unhappy person like me.”

When we do that, we have the right order. Seth Godin, a blogger I follow, writes: “If you put the jelly on before the peanut butter, the sandwich will fail. And if you try to spread the peanut butter on the plate and then add the bread, it will fail even worse. Like so many things, the order is not optional.”

Yes, first comes grace, then comes works or good deeds or service. We can never do enough good deeds to earn God’s love. God in grace extends that love to us first and foremost. Then, in response to God’s grace, we respond in love with works, good deeds and service. Simply put, you do not need to work your way into heaven. Jesus said, “God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in this does not perish but has eternal life.”
Today we celebrate and prayerfully install many people whose good works, good deeds and service is an expression of God’s grace in and through this congregation, this family of faith. Today we have the installation of the Walton Church council and committees. We thank them for their ministry and mission and ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance on all they do individually and in groups, teams, and committees – whether in person or virtually.

I wish we were doing this all in person. That way the whole congregation could be present to pray over them and clap our appreciation for them at the end of the installation. This is a weird year, as most of last year was in church life.

We know that Covid has placed far more responsibilities on some of those being installed. For others, their ministry and mission has been placed on hiatus until widespread vaccination has taken place. Many others still have pivoted to new areas or means of expressing God’s grace at work in the world.

It’s harder to be coffee hosts with no coffee hour. Harder to cook a turkey with no turkey dinner. Harder to usher with no live services.

But it’s easier to increase calls, emails, and texts to reach out to people in the congregation. There’s more time to talk to people when you are instructed to stay home except for essential trips. Not to mention more time to pray for others.

It’s challenging to learn new ways of ministry and mission like virtual choir practices, meetings and youth groups. We are all learning new ways of giving, like online or through the Allen Entrance mail slot, and new ways of worshipping through services emailed to you, on the Walton website and on YouTube. Hosting watch parties with others rather than driving someone to church. Sharing the services on social media and catching up through Wednesday check-ins.

Walton has done amazing work through COVID. The works, good deeds, and service of the congregation has been a real witness to the faith of this church family. We have stuck together, supported one another, and done whatever we are able to do, given whatever colour zone we might find ourselves in. Those being installed today have led the way since last March in ways big and small, known and unknown, both inside and outside the physical building. Well done good and faithful servants. It is all about the order!

Pastoral Prayer: “A Prayer on the Anniversary of Not Being Able to Worship God, in-person…”

Holy One, it’s been a year. A year since the pandemic hit this part of the world, and we realized that – for the safety of each other and all of our neighbours – we needed to be a congregation that wouldn’t congregate.

Well, not in-person, at least.

We’ve found other ways using our virtual service. Through old technologies like paper mail and telephone trees, and new technologies like “zooming” and pastoral care by video, we’ve found ways of being together with each other, and with you.
Church is not the same – and there are parts of it that we’re missing, but we’ve found ways to live the ministry you have given us, to be Jesus’s disciples, to share your love with each other and with the whole world.

We remember those who have died from the virus.
We remember those who are ill.
We remember the healthcare workers, the researchers, the grocery clerks, the delivery drivers – all who must work for the care of the world in their own way.
We remember all those who are grieving.
All those who are afraid.
All those who wait.

And we pray.

So, on this anniversary, we ask that you would help us to recognize each other and to know that, in all of this, you have been, are, and always will be with every part of your creation.

Give us strength to keep on.
Give us grace in our frustrations.
Give us hope for tomorrow.
Give us life, and life abundant, that we might be people who live it in the world.

Physically distanced, but socially together; faces masked, but hearts open; hands washed,
but ready to get to the work you have for us – we pray.

In Jesus’ name, carried by the wings of the Holy Spirit enmeshed in the Creator’s love, we pray.

Amen.

Anthem – “Only God”

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

For the love of the world, Jesus offered everything he had, even life itself. In response to this powerful gift of love, let us offer our gifts and our lives to God, as we share our offering.
(Frances Flook the Gathering L/E 2021)

♥ by secure online payment from your bank or credit card. Click here to go to our donation page to make a single or recurring donation. Multiple funds (including Sleeping Children) 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 Prayer

Grace is a free gift of God. A gift we are most grateful for, Lord. An ongoing gift.
For me. For you. Let it be, dear Lord, let it be. We offer to you this morning Lord, our gifts,
gifts of time, talent and treasure to build your kingdom here on Earth and to help one another. Amen

Commissioning & Benediction

Will you receive the blessing?
May you find the road in the journey in life to “right” relationships.
May you find the calm and peace of God’s grace.
May that grace nurture you and strengthen you this day and forevermore.
Amen.

Closing: “Olde Irish Blessing”


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!

♬ Only by Grace
♬ Come Thou Font of Every Blessing
♬ God’s Mercy by Sheree Anderson
♬ God, Whose Giving Knows no Ending
♬ Amazing Grace
♬ Closing Prayer


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, March 10th