Virtual Service – March 6, 2022

8:30 am

March 6, 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.

 


Important update regarding live services

We are delighted to resume in-person worship and Sunday School programming as of Sunday, March 27, 2022 at 9:30am and 11:00am. For those who prefer to worship at home, virtual services will continue to be sent out weekly by email and posted online.

The format and procedures for live worship are the same as when we paused services in December 2021 with one notable exception. With the change in provincial rules on vaccination (March 1, 2022), proof of vaccination is no longer required to attend in person. Medical masks (no cloth masks or plastic face shields) must be worn at all times inside the church building by everyone age 3 and up. If you do not have a medical mask, one will be provided to you at the entrance at no cost.

Advance registration is still required each week, and seating will be assigned by household bubble to ensure physical distancing. Registration opens at 9:00am on Mondays and closes at 11:59pm on Thursdays. Entry is through the main tower door unless you require the elevator, then it is the Allen entrance at the rear of the building.

Please note that choir, congregational singing, and coffee time are still paused for the time being.

Sunday School, Junior Youth Group and Teen Talk also resume in person on Sunday, March 27.

Children and youth programming is offered during the 9:30am service</span
Advance registration is required – when registering for the 9:30am service, there is an option to register for Sunday School and youth programs
Parents/guardians: please drop your kids/youth off at the Bronte Hall front entrance before you proceed to the Tower Door to enter the sanctuary for service. Pick up at the same location following the service.

JK to Grade 5: Bronte Hall
Grade 6-8: Gym
Grade 9-12: Youth Hall

A reminder that medical masks are required at all times for children and youth indoors. Proof of vaccination is no longer required to attend Sunday School and youth programs.


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 will be too small in such dire circumstances and we will be sure to direct your donation carefully through the Canadian Red Cross.
To donate by credit card – You can click on this Walton link: https://waltonmemorial.churchcenter.com/giving/to/disaster-relief-outreach-ukraine
You can also text a donation, by sending a text to 84321 with a dollar amount followed by “ukraine” e.g. “$25 ukraine”
You can also drop a cheque made out to Walton Untied 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. We’ve got an “egg”-cellent series of lessons planned throughout these Lenten days which lead us to Easter.
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 Walton United Church’s virtual service. As we come together today on this first Sunday of Lent, let us begin with a prayer written by the United Church Moderator, written for the meeting this week between a delegation from Ukraine and a delegation from Russia.

(If you would like to donate to Ukraine Relief Support, please see the Announcements for more information on how to do this.)

Let us pray:

God of all Creation, God of the heights and the depths, and everything in-between, God of this blue-green bauble, spinning in space, a place of such wondrous creatures, and abundant life… we are praying for a miracle, one of the smallest of changes, but one that would have immense consequence.

As a delegation from Russia meets with a delegation from Ukraine on the border of Belarus, seeking to end the war that Russia has perpetrated on Ukraine, seeking to end the death, seeking to make a peace, what I am praying for is a change of mind, a change of heart, a change of worldview, in the Russian leadership who brought this into being.

Help them, God of all hope, to see that this is the chance to step back from the war, to pull back the escalation, to let go of whatever it is that made them choose the path that has led to the chaos, the destruction, the death in Ukraine.

We need a miracle that will help them to not only pull back their forces to within their borders, their rhetoric of nuclear option; but to be part of the rebuilding of the nation they sought to overtake… in the midst of the grief and tears and anger and rage, of the parents and grandparents, of the siblings and children, of the friends and neighbours, of those who have been killed in this act of aggression.

Help us to bring this to an end, God,one that will allow the sunflowers of Ukraine to reach their growth, sprouting in the soil of peace, under a hope-filled sky.

Help us to make that miracle, God, for it is truly needed.

In Christ’s name, in the Spirit’s power, in the Creator’s love, I pray.

Amen.

(Richard Bott, United Church Moderator)

Anthem:  “Let There Be Peace On Earth” Junior Choir

 

Call to Worship

Now is the time for returning,
Returning to God, our first love.
Now is the time of turning away,
Turning away from the sin that wastes us.
Now is the time of lifting,
Lifting guilt’s heavy burden.
Now is the time of renewing,
Renewing heart, mind, and soul.
Now is the time:
Lent’s hard, joyful pilgrimage begins.
Let us worship.
(adapted John Moses, The Gathering L/E2013)

Opening Prayer

Faithful God, we thank you for your church, Christ’s body of celebration, compassion and cooperation. We thank you for the variety of people and gifts that come together in your name.  Forgive us when we become self-righteous and impatient with one another.  Help us work for the common good. We pray through Christ, our foundation, who taught us when praying to say:

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 – “Waiting is the hardest part”

Can you believe it’s Lent already? Like Advent, this is a season of waiting. We know Easter is coming but we have to be patient and open our hearts to God while we wait. We are asked to do something difficult during Lent – to give up something we love that can distract us from God. Maybe that something is a special treat you like to eat, or time on your favourite electronic device.

Think of those distractions as a hard shell between us and God. We don’t want anything to separate us from him, do we? But that shell can be pretty thick and wearing it down takes time, and patience. Lent is a great time to practice patience. We’ve got 40 days to work on softening our hearts and getting a little bit closer to God every day. And I’ve got a little science experiment that shows how that can happen.

All you need is one regular, uncooked egg in its shell. We want to find a way to get through the shell to the heart of the egg, just like God wants to get to our hearts through the shells we create when we don’t focus on him. We could just break the shell open, but then all the egg would run out and be wasted.

So put the egg very gently in an empty glass, and then fill it up with plain white vinegar. That was easy, right?

Now for the hard part…we have to wait. And wait, and wait. For 24 whole hours resist the temptation to touch the egg or to take it out of the vinegar. Be patient! We want what we want right now, but remember, God gives his blessings in his own time.

When 24 hours have passed, gently remove the egg from the glass. How does it feel? The egg is soft and bouncy and the hard shell is gone! That’s what happens when we focus on God every day in Lent – our hearts get softened and we get rid of the shell that’s keeping us from God. It doesn’t happen immediately, so be patient and keep praying every day.

Loving God, thank you for this time of Lent. Help us be patient and draw closer to you in our hearts and minds. Amen.

Installation of Council and  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:  I will, God being my 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 (unison): Loving God, you have called all 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 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.

Hymn: “Will You Come and Follow Me”

 

Prayer of Illumination

Holy Creator, who loves us so, we have followed Jesus to Jerusalem.
It has been a long journey this year.
Please help us receive your word today and let it bring hope to us as we start our Lenten path today.
Help us as we stumble through the next few weeks.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Scripture Reading:  Luke 4: 1-13

The Temptation of Jesus
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,  where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please.  If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,  and serve only him.’”
Then the devil  took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,  for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’  and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”  When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Morning Message:  “The Intent of Lent” Part 1 – Rev. Jim Gill

Today is not the kick-off to the countdown to Easter chocolate or treats like the ones in front of me. It certainly is a time of preparation, but not for Laura Secord eggs. Lent, it seems, often plays second string to Advent with all its decorations, candles, gathering and festive music.

So we ask ourselves, what is the intent of Lent? Sarah Phillips tells us, “Every year, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.” Well said, Sarah.

My Lenten series of messages this year is entitled, “The Intent of Lent.”  Phillips gives us a basic explanation of the intent of Lent. In some ways, Lent is a time for turning inward into ourselves to prepare for Good Friday and Easter, which turn us outward into the world. We are walking in the footsteps of Christ in the wilderness over these 40 days.

Luke recounts the story this way. ”Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.”  What a wilderness we have been living in since March 2020. Today we have the Installation of the 2022 Walton Council and committees. For those who serve in leadership at Walton very little has been the same since Covid struck. From a virtual Annual Meeting last Sunday to Zoom committee gatherings, things have changed. There was no working at a badly needed spring Spruce Up Day or fall turkey dinner over these last two years. Nor have there been in person Friendship and Visiting Committee visits in homes or Soup Socials after Sunday worship. We only held 9 Sundays of live worship in 24 months.

But hear this! Please put Sunday, March 27 into your calendar as we start live worship services again. Yes, on Sunday,  March 27 there will be live worship, Sunday School and youth groups at Walton. Of course, we will always be offering virtual services as well.

The wilderness where today’s story took place is beyond the Jordan. It is incredibly beautiful but also incredibly barren – not the rich boreal forest of our Canadian wilderness. Jesus was out in this brutally sterile wilderness for 40 days. What happened there was that “he was tempted by the devil.”

Have you known temptation over these COVID days?  Maybe binge watching Netflix endlessly, binge eating constantly from Skip the Dishes or binge buying from Amazon? Maybe the temptation is throughout each day you are living on social media, or the direct opposite – being disconnected totally from everyone and withdrawing like a bear hibernating in the winter.

Covid has changed us all. Some changes have been good, like better overall hand hygiene, staying home when we are sick, or appreciating what we do have and appreciating those that we do have in our lives. Our course Covid has brought us these virtual services, which will continue as we again start up in-person services. But Covid has also changed us in some not so good ways. Maybe we find ourselves less tolerant of those who hold opinions different from ours. Covid has brought more divisions in our society and the deterioration of what we could describe as our mutual social contract of how to live as Canadians.

Out in the wilderness beyond the Jordan, Jesus “ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them, he was hungry. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ ”

The devil was tempting the belly. In our COVID days, we are often tempted by what we consume, especially consuming in unhealthy ways. For some of us, it may be wine, chocolate, liquorice, chips, prescription drugs, or a thousand other things we digest. Many Lents ago I gave up buying pizza just for myself for lunch. I couldn’t say no and ate too many slices. What might you need to say “no” to this year? In Christian tradition and practice, Lent is more a time of self-reflection and change than the end of year New Year’s resolutions tend to be. Consider this intent of Lent: It is not about giving up something up for Lent, but being more be blessed in your choices by saying no.

The temptation didn’t end for Jesus. “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” Today we say thank you and install many of those who serve in their leadership on Walton Council and on its committees. Our Walton Church Council has probably never faced such critical health and safety decisions as they have since March 20, 2020. Behind the scenes, the Council has, with a few of the staff,  made numerous critical decisions about both our live and virtual services, as well as daily Covid procedures and requirements. It has not been easy. There were and are no easy answers. Not everyone in the congregation would agree with whatever was decided. But the guiding principle in every choice has been what would most protect the Walton flock? How can we most care for our people?

In the final temptation for Jesus, “The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, ‘It is said: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

We could call this temptation the “Show-off Temptation.” It was not only a way of testing God but doing it in the most public way possible to make it a show-off stunt. In life, we certainly can be tempted to show off. Often in following people on social media I see people showing off by saying “Look how great I have it.” Then there are the others who show off saying, “Look how bad I have it.”  They are saying, “I have it so much better or so much worse than anyone else.”  Maybe the intent of Lent this year is to recall that Jesus turned down the highest place in the temple. It really is not about ourselves.

The intent of Lent is to free us, liberate us, even turn us upside down. It is a time of self-reflection, reordering priorities and could we say inward cleansing. Maybe it means fasting from those things we put in our mouths. It can also mean fasting from those attitudes we put into our hearts. The intent of Lent is the intent of blessing.

Prayer of Confession

Beneath the winter snow, many things lie concealed:  bits of trash casually discarded, the debris of last year’s garden, the deposits of the neighbours’ pets, the rusting tools we forgot to put away.

When the warm days come and the snow melts, all will be revealed.

Sometimes, our lives are like that, God.

We don’t want you to see them; we try to cover up the mess.

In these pandemic times, we think we have been able to hide those traits we are ashamed of, those addictions, those regrets, those indulgences we wish we hadn’t splurged on, or eaten, or acted upon.

But in the light of your presence, nothing can be hidden.

Have mercy on us. (prayer of silence)

Have mercy on us and send the gentle rain of your love to wash us and reclothe us in the greening promise of spring.

We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(adapted John Moses, The Gathering L/E2013)

 

Anthem: “God of Heaven”

 

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 in 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 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

Hymn: “Give Thanks”

 

Offering Prayer

Because we live in a world right now, where many are at the limit of their strength and patience, we bring these gifts for the building of a church that will share burdens and gladden hearts. Help us to do that here at Walton, Lord. Amen.

Benediction

May Jesus, the one who overcame temptation, lead you through the wilderness of your life, even when it means taking up the cross and following him, so that you may follow him faithfully from suffering to redemption, from death to life.

(Alwin Maben, The Gathering L/E 2022)

Hymn: “Closing Prayer”

 

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!

Open the Eyes of My Heart
Be Still and Know
Spirit, Open My Heart
Come to My Heart
Change My Heart O God

 


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Ash Wednesday (March 2, 2022)