Virtual Service – March 27, 2022

2:00 pm

March 27, 2022

Virtual Service

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

• Ukraine Relief-Support for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine – If you would like to make a donation for relief for the people of Ukraine, you can do it through your givings account at Walton. No amount is too small in such dire circumstances and we will be sure to direct your donation carefully through the Canadian Red Cross.
(1) To donate by credit card – You can click on this Walton link: https://waltonmemorial.churchcenter.com/giving/to/disaster-relief-outreach-ukraine
(2) You can also text a donation by sending a text to 84321 with a dollar amount followed by “ukraine” e.g. “$25 ukraine” (Standard Message & Data Rates May Apply — Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions)
(3) You can also drop a cheque made out to Walton United Church with “Ukraine” in the memo line, through the mailbox slot at Walton Church, or sent by Canada Post, Walton Memorial United Church, 2489 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville L6L 1H9. Any donation for Ukraine will be added to your annual givings and will be included in your end of 2022 official tax receipt from Walton.
Thank you in advance for anything you would like to donate. ~ The Walton Outreach Committee

• The CVITP Committee (Community Volunteer Income Tax Program) will begin making appointments in 2022 for March and April. If you need help filing your return, have a modest income, and a simple tax situation, the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program may be able to help you. For details about the Free Tax Clinic, you can visit the following online page: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/free-tax-help.html or call Ruth at 905-631-6188 or John at 905-869-1484 for further details. Tax assistance will be by appointment only – if we remain on COVID watch, we will operate out of the Walton parking lot, and by phone and by e-mail/internet. If the closure has been somewhat lifted, we will have you come to Walton masked for an appointment with a tax preparer.

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. This week we’re talking about sin and we have some bad news and good news for everyone.
• 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

Good morning and welcome to worship on this fourth Sunday of Lent, as we continue our journey of reflection and turning closer to God.

As we worship today, we hold in our hearts the war in Ukraine, and the pain and fear, the suffering and grief of an entire nation.

Whether you are worshiping online or in the sanctuary, we give thanks for your time and your presence here in worship as we seek to encounter the accepting and eternal mercy of our reconciling God.

Call to Worship

One: In worship, we come to shut out the shouting and rushing of our world.
All: We seek the joy of Christ to renew our patience.
One: As we pray, we search for a different way of being.
All: We seek the compassion of Christ to renew our gentleness.
One: We honour the word of God, to show us the path to follow.
All: We seek the teaching of Christ to renew our faithfulness.
One: In worship, we grow to shut down the hostile priorities of our world.
All: We receive the love of Christ to make us whole.

Opening Prayer of Confession

All: Reconciling God,

We confess before you now that we are a people in need of renewal. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

We name before you now our unworthy desires, that these may pass away from us. Renew in us, a faithful heart.

We name before you now our selfish apathy, that this may pass away from us. Renew in us, a generous spirit.

We name before you now our distractions and despair, that these may pass away from us. Renew in us, a hopeful heart and turn us closer to you.

Assurance of Forgiveness

One: We receive from God this promise of grace — be reconciled to God. For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we are forgiven. For in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

All: Our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled to God through Christ. Thanks be to God. 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.

Hymn : “O God, How We Have Wandered”

 

Youth Story

Alison is standing outside in front of the Angel Garden this morning, looking for signs of spring. The weather is still chilly and at first glance, everything in the garden looks brown and sad and…kind of dead.

But, when she looks closely, among the dead leaves and bare branches, there are signs of spring, signs of life, signs of hope! The little green daffodil shoots have pushed their way above ground and before long will be beautiful flowers.

But why do the flowers have to die in the first place? To create new life! Many of the plants and trees and shrubs here drop seeds in the fall when they die. One plant can drop dozens of seeds, and they become new plants in the spring. And when those plants die in the fall, each one will drop dozens more seeds, and the plants continue to grow and spread each year.

Those signs of new life remind us of Easter. One of the questions kids ask most often in Sunday School this time of year is why Jesus had to die. The answer is the same as for the garden – to bring new life. When Jesus died, he not only rose from the tomb with new life but he gave us the gift of new life with God in Heaven too.

He planted the seeds of faith in everyone who witnessed that Easter miracle. And those people shared that faith with others, spreading it around the world. That’s why now, 2,000+ years later and on the other side of the globe, we are followers of Jesus. We are his seeds, planted through his death and the miracle of his resurrection. Our job is to grow our faith and share it with others, to ensure it keeps spreading, just like those spring flowers that will soon be everywhere.

Let’s say a prayer:

Loving God, thank you for the gift of spring – of leaves and flowers, birds and sunshine, new hope and new life. Thank you for the gift of Jesus and the miracle of Easter. Help us to share that gift with others. Aaaaaaa-men!

Music: “Go My Children”

 

Solo: “How Can I Keep From Singing?”

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Scripture Music: “Change My Heart O God”

 

Morning Message: “New Creation”

I receive via email a daily Lenten reflection from an Anglican community of monks, and when I opened Tuesday’s email the first line struck me with such force, it was like a slap across the face.

“The values of the world are killing us. They are poisoning the creation around us.”

Killing. The world. Poisoning creation.

The phrases immediately drew to my mind the bleak and despondent images that have pervaded our news showing the destruction in Ukraine, caused by the Russian invasion and the subsequent war, now into its second month.

You’ve likely seen the pictures as much as I have. Buildings reduced to rubble or burning, with one or two survivors looking shell-shocked and lost. The grim determination of newly-recruited soldiers entrenching themselves into defence in a cold and bleak countryside. Statues and stained glass being wrapped in padding or boarded up in a desperate attempt to protect these symbols of history, culture, and faith from indiscriminate bombing.

Vika, a Ukrainian journalist, who fled her home in Bucha, a small town northwest of Kyiv, described the desolation caused by the Russian attacks:

“At night, it was as if we were on the steppe, somewhere with no light. Only a sky so black, as if you were somewhere on the outskirts of civilization. Some kind of apocalypse. That was what our beautiful town had turned into.”

Another journalist, writing some time later, described the town as “a hell unending that I’m not sure I’m ready to see.”

So much killing. So much poisoning of creation. All fuelled by the relentless aggression of a person with the values of the world run wild. Anger, resentment, egotism, greed; all driven by an uncompromising need for and unrestrained wielding of domineering power.

And yet, as I reflected on the text, I realized I was overlooking one small yet vital word. Us. The values of the world are killing us. They are poisoning the creation around us.

Anger, resentment, egotism, greed – these are challenges for each one of us, as much as we see them played out on an international realm.

These were the buttons the devil attempted to push with Jesus, tempting him in the wilderness, and they’re the values of the world that try to pull us away from God as well.

And perhaps this duality, of the despair of the wider world and the struggles in our lives, is encapsulated in the opening lines of the anthem Stuart just sang.

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation

The pain of the world can threaten and upset us, making an unstable foundation for how we live in ourselves and our communities. And yet, at the end of the day, how we live is all, and only, about us. To the flow of our lives towards or away from God.

And it is this flow that is the focus of Lent. Because Lent is personal. Profoundly so.

Lent is both a challenge and an opportunity to reflect upon who we are in our relationship with God and with each other.

A writer I know, Kara, provides a quirky parable for this human condition, describing a strange habit she has inadvertently adopted.

Every morning, when she wakes up and heads to her kitchen, she brings a book with her. And the book follows her around all day. Her rationale is, if the book is always close at hand, then eventually, at some point, she’ll read it.

But most of the time, she doesn’t.

The book keeps her company at her desk, sitting by her elbow as she works, and goes with her back to the kitchen while she eats lunch. Eventually, when it’s time for bed, Kara faithfully brings the book back to her nightstand.

As she puts it, “The book watches while I scroll my phone.”

Writing about this daily ritual, Kara reflects, “On one hand, it’s a little funny. I continue to have faith that I will change my habits, that carrying the book on its own might have meaning. Yet, it’s a reminder that hoping is very different from acting.”

She concludes, “Eventually, carrying around your best intentions can become exhausting.”

I love that phrase and all it understands in our lives: carrying around your best intentions can become exhausting.

Because when how we live our lives, how our days are unfolding, when this is out of sync with the wholeness and acceptance that the love of God offers, and the healing Jesus embodies, we are drained. Little by little, but relentlessly, emptied.

It is to this exhausted, emptied being that Jesus calls out, “Come to me all who are weary, and I will give you rest.”

It is to our troubled, scarred, and fearful selves, that Paul reassures us, “Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Because God offers to reconcile himself to us and to renew us.

In the words of the anthem, “The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart.”

God renews us.

God renews us through our faith, and through us to each other; through our ministry of reconciliation.
This ministry of reconciliation, of renewal and healing, is powerfully encapsulated in a newspaper headline I read this week: “The poor help the desperate.”

The article described the generosity of the people of Moldova who, despite living in one of the poorest nations in Europe, have opened their homes and their hearts to host and care for over 370 thousand Ukrainian refugees – about one refugee for every 25 Moldovan citizens.

Details from the refugees themselves sum up the personal devastation and cataclysmic trauma of their circumstances:

“One day you are driving to the dentist. The next you are whispering with strangers in a dark basement. It is a moment when instinct — to save your children, to get through the next checkpoint — takes over and emotions are blocked. Finally, it is the shocking realization that suddenly, unwillingly, you are a refugee, dependent on the generosity of strangers, no longer a middle-class person in charge of your own life.”

And yet, thankfully, mercifully, and out of nothing, that generosity flows.

The poor helping the desperate.

So as the war still rages, the pain and terror have not yet passed away; the new creation is still waiting; its need increasing with each destructive day.

And yet, as one Kyiv reporter wrote, “Around the broad red strokes of violence and sadism, one can see the little brushstrokes filling the negative space. Strokes of kindness and self-sacrifice, of heroism and defiance, of quiet grace and nobility in the face of annihilation. The best that humanity has to offer.”
The best that humanity has to offer can be found in the Polish town of Przemysl, less than 10 miles from the Polish-Ukrainian border, which has been transformed into a giant instrument of aid.

From food, to shelter, to trauma counselling, the town is working to provide virtually everything those fleeing the Russian bombs may need.

They have set aside the complex and violent history of this part of the world, that made Ukrainians and the Polish vicious and murderous enemies for much of the twentieth century, and they have instead led with healing and compassion.

With a population of only 60 thousand, they have cared for more than half a million Ukrainian refugees who have travelled through the town. Including caring for their pets.

Radek Fedaczynski is a vet who runs an animal shelter located near to the border. Daily, he sends a truck across the border and into Ukraine as a virtual “pet rescue squad” saving animals from abandoned apartment buildings, shelters at risk of attack and besieged cities.

For those Ukrainians still in the country. Radek said it has helped them to know that their pets are safe. But it helps him too.

Describing the war as “the worst dreams come true,” Radek reflected:

“When you think about it, you can go crazy, so you need to do something. It makes you feel good.”

A wide-reaching ministry of reconciliation.

From the hope blossoming in the ruins of Ukraine, from the hope promised to us through our faith in God, we can also find renewal in our lives.

As Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians: ““I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Through Christ, God promises to reconcile himself to us and to renew us.

The peace of Christ, the love of Christ, does make fresh our hearts.

Where do we start? Perhaps by taking inspiration from the people of Moldova, of Poland, of Ukraine – and leading with kindness.

I read a wonderful riposte to the workplace cliché – there’s no I in team – that we are called to be the I in kind.

And not just reactively, if the moment presents itself, but actively. To remember and to demonstrate that kindness is an action. There is perhaps no better way to live God’s ministry of reconciliation, to be a part of everything becoming new, than by seeking out ways to share kindness in our days.

As Radek Fedaczynski would tell us, “we all feel better when we are kind to each other.”

And then we are invited to extend that sense of kindness to ourselves. To allow ourselves to put down the best intentions or unmet expectations we are carrying and rest in the accepting love of God.

To remember that God’s love promises to forgive us and seeks to renew us; that each day is a brand-new chance to make fresh our hearts.

And the season of Lent, in particular, is a journey of this re-creation and renewal. As we remember Christ’s journey to Jerusalem and the cross, we are called to journey with God, or perhaps more correctly, to remember that God journeys with us.

Like Advent, we know where this journey goes and yet we are invited every year to follow it; to reassess how we need to turn closer to God; to reassess what in our lives needs to pass away; and what needs to be made new.

Above all, to accept and affirm the wondrous good news that God renews us.

Praise be to God.

Anthem: “Creation Sings”Video

 

Pastoral Prayer

Almighty and renewing God,

Reconcile our hearts and minds to you, now and in the days to come. Help us draw closer to you and re-create us as ambassadors of Christ.

We pray for the passing away of illness and pain. Be with us when our lives are weighed down with suffering; waiting for tests or treatment, caring for loved ones, or struggling in their body and mind to endure another day.

May our hearts become new, and bring about your ministry of healing. Strengthen us to face the challenges in each day with hope and persistence. Bless us with patience and compassion, and comfort us with your presence when we might falter.

We pray for the passing away of violence and hatred. We pray for an end to the war in Ukraine and the destruction and suffering it has brought about. We pray for recognition of that nation’s borders and the autonomy of its people, and an end to the selfishness and greed that drive invasion.

May our hearts become new, and bring about your ministry of peace. Guide those in positions of power to discern your will, to work to bring about the peaceful restoration of Ukraine and to protect and care for the stability of the world. Encourage us to find ways to support the work of healers, builders and peacemakers, to safeguard and renew your creation.

We pray for the passing away of fear and despair. Be with us when our lives are undermined by uncertainty, and we feel lost or insecure. Be with us when our lives are overwhelmed by anguish, and we feel abandoned or crushed.

May our hearts become new, and bring about your ministry of acceptance and love. Inspire us to reach out to others with generosity and understanding, offering support, guidance and relief. Reassure us with the eternal promise of your mercy, and the security of your grace.

All this we pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, who reconciles each one of us to God through his everlasting sacrifice.

Amen.

Hymn: “Making Things New”

 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

We are called to play a vital role in the making new of all creation; as ambassadors of Christ called to share in God’s ministry of reconciliation. Our gifts of our time, our God-given talents, and the resources God has blessed us with, are instrumental in this work, and we are assured that God sees with gratitude each gift, given according to our own circumstances. We humbly and thankfully therefore make our offering to God.

♥ 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 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 monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Music: “Take These Gifts”

 

Offering Prayer

Faithful God,

Your generous creation surrounds us and sustains us, from the blessings of the world’s rebirth in spring, to the renewal of our hearts in each new day. Inspire in us your ministry of reconciliation: healing where there is hurt; nourishing where there is hunger; encouraging where there is despair. Take these gifts, the work of our hands and our hearts, and use them to bring about your new creation of wholeness and peace. Amen.

Hymn: “Love Divine”

 

Benediction

Go out into this fresh week, reconciled and renewed by the grace of God. Be courageous in the face of fear; be peaceful in the presence of anger; and be joyful in the gift of each new day. Amen.


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, March 23rd