Virtual Service – March 7, 2021

8:30 am

March 7, 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

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. What’s our Bible pet this week? It’s a horse, of course!

• 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

Welcome to this time of worship for March 7, the third Sunday in the season of Lent.

Lent is a journey, a time to prepare for Holy Week, Good Friday and the celebration of Easter. Lent is a time to prepare for our journey of life as followers of the Living Christ.

Sometimes the journey is easy. Sometimes it is more difficult. We might come to times when we’re not sure what way we should go. There are other times we might stumble along the way. Yet always, God shares the journey with us.

I pray that this service of worship will help you on your Lenten journey and you will experience more fully the blessings and the challenges of being a follower of the Living Christ.

Call to Worship

One: We are on a journey of faith
All: travelling toward the cross.

One: We are on a journey of faith
All: travelling toward the empty tomb.

One: We are on a journey of faith
All: accompanied by the Living God.

Let us worship God as we journey alone, with others close by and with all in the world trying to follow the way of Jesus.

Opening Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray:

Companion God, we pause from our usual activities and commitments of life to worship you. We worship you with all our faith and all our doubt, all our confidence and all our uncertainty, all our desire to help others and all our hesitancy to share our blessings with others. We ask that in this time of worship you assure us of your love for us wherever we are on our faith journey. Bless us, we pray, and empower us to be a blessing to others. We pray in the name of Jesus, the Christ, who taught his followers to pray:

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
For ever and ever. Amen.

Youth Story: Rock or Sand?

Do you remember the scripture about the wise man who built his house upon rock, and the foolish man who built his house upon sand? Watch as Val and Alison put this Bible tale to the test in today’s youth story.

Anthem: “Only God”

Introduction to Scripture

This scripture is part of a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. In it, Paul tries to help the early church deal with the shame associated with crucifixion. Paul refers to Jews, Greeks and Gentiles in what could be seen in a negative way. It is important for us today to realize that Paul was not condemning any group of people but rather pointing out the different perspectives held about the cross.

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (New Revised Standard Version)

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discerning of the discerners I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demanded signs and the Greeks desired wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and the foolishness of the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Morning Message: “God’s Foolishness or Human Wisdom?” – Rev. Karen Inkster

A couple decided to be chicken farmers so they purchased 200 baby chicks. They weren’t sure what they should be doing as chicken farmers so they contacted someone who was known for their agricultural knowledge. They emailed, “We want to be good chicken farmers. Please advise us how far apart and how deep we should plant the baby chicks.” The reply to their email read, “I can’t possibly answer your question until you first send me a soil sample!”
I doubt that this is a literally true story! However, like most good stories, whether factually accurate or not, it does contain an element of truth. Sometimes the wisdom of the world leaves much to be desired!

Today’s scripture from 1 Corinthians challenges the world’s wisdom. It doesn’t challenge the world’s scientific knowledge but rather the values the world teaches us, values which can greatly influence our living.

Today’s scripture gives us some hints about the world’s wisdom. In the days of the early church, there were some people in the community who wanted to see miraculous signs or in other words they wanted certainty. We’re not so different. Assure me that every can of food I give to the foodbank goes to someone who truly needs it and then I’ll donate. Why would I financially support a group trying to help addicts when there is no guarantee that they’ll be able to set aside their addictions and even if they do there is no guarantee they won’t revert back to old behaviours.

There were also people in those days who trusted only logic. Why choose an average paying career that you think you will enjoy instead of one that will give you lots of money and prestige?!

So much of the wisdom of the world is based on material comfort, money, certainty, security for the future, looking good to others, and looking good to ourselves.
There’s nothing wrong with these things in themselves. The problem is when we use them as the main reasons for the decisions we make. They can even become roadblocks that impede our ability to follow God’s will for us.

The wisdom of God is in sharp contrast to the wisdom of the world, so much so that it often is labelled as foolishness. God’s wisdom is based on the cross. The way of the cross is a way of selflessness, of uncertainty, of caring about others, of forgiveness, of hope when there is no logical reason to hope. Only the foolish would choose such a way!

A highly educated and well-paid couple lived in a modest home with thread-bare furniture. They spent much of their hard-earned money financially supporting an outreach ministry at their church trying to help ex-prisoners get a new start on life. Foolishness! Why not buy a nice car, build a beautiful home, travel?!

A teacher in a poor area of a large city spent many extra unpaid hours in the summer running a free sports program for her students to help give them a sense of purpose and simply a fun experience. Foolishness! Play some golf, stay home and read a book! Enjoy those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer doing things for yourself!

A church opened their building to the homeless on cold winter nights so they could have a warm meal and a safe place to sleep. The neighbours were outraged! “How dare you bring those kinds of people into our neighbourhood!” they lamented. Some church members threatened to leave. Others withdrew their givings. Foolishness! Why would you rock the boat?! Things are difficult enough for church congregations these days!
I can’t believe how foolish some people are!

Interruption: “Excuse me, Karen. You need to read this.” An opened Bible is handed to Karen.

Karen reads in silence.

Karen reads out loud, “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.”

Karen nods and says, “Thanks for the reminder.”

God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom because it opens the door to the kind of world not otherwise possible. God’s foolishness, God’s wisdom, builds a world where people matter more than things; where caring for the vulnerable is more important than wealth or prestige; where everyone has safe shelter and enough to eat; where working together is more highly valued than trying to do it all by yourself; where every person, with no exceptions, is valued. This is a way of living that makes the world a safer, kinder, fairer, less violent, more caring place for all – even for you and me.

So here is a question. It’s a question that each of us needs to answer every day. Will we choose God’s foolishness or the world’s wisdom? Which will we follow as we respond to people in our community who are homeless; to those in other countries who literally are starving to death because of prolonged drought; to those shunned in our neighbourhood because they have mental illness, a physical disability or simply are ‘a little different’? Will we choose God’s foolishness or the world’s wisdom when we shop, work, vacation, plan our budgets, when we decide how to use our time, when we vote, when we select our leaders?

Lent gives us an opportunity to think about these difficult questions. It is a time to think clearly about what is God’s way and what is the world’s way. It is a time for us to open our eyes, our hearts, our souls and our minds so we can recognize more easily, God’s way. It is also a time to remember that Jesus not only shows us the way. Through his Spirit, he shares that way with us.

God’s foolishness or the world’s wisdom? Which will you pick?

Pastoral Prayer

Faithful and wise God, we thank you for your never-ending presence – in times of celebration, in times of hardship, in times of health, in times of fear, and in the everyday experiences of life.
We ask that you open us to know your wisdom, to be able to distinguish between your wisdom and the world’s wisdom. Give us the courage to follow your way even when others label it as foolishness. Give the church the desire and the strength to follow your way even when it is labelled foolishness. Empower us through Christ’s Spirit to nurture our homes, our church and this world in ways that reflect your wisdom. Remind us each day that you invite us to follow the way of your wisdom, the way of the cross, the way of Jesus.

Hear now our silent prayers:

for the church of all traditions in all places… (silence)
for health care workers … (silence)
for teachers, custodians, administrators and students…(silence)
for those anywhere who suffer for any reason…(silence)
for political leaders in every nation… (silence)
and for our families, our friends and ourselves…(silence)

Thank you, Caring God, for hearing our prayers. Open us, we pray, to recognize your loving response and to be that loving response for others.
We pray in the name of the Living Christ. Amen

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

God blesses us in many ways. One of the ways we thank God for our blessings is by sharing them with others so their lives may be enriched.

♥ 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

Let us pray.
Blessing God, in an act of thanksgiving and worship we make our offering to you. Use these gifts and our life, we pray, that others may experience your love, your peace, your kindness and your justice. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Commissioning & Benediction

Let us continue our Lenten journey seeking to follow God’s wisdom in all we do and think and say.
The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
the Love of God, and
the Communion of the Holy Spirit
be with each one of us today and forevermore. (based on 2 Corinthians 13:13)
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!

♬ God Who Gives to Life His Goodness
♬ O God, How We Have Wandered
♬ God of Grace and God of Glory
♬ Just a Closer Walk with Thee
♬ Closing May the LIght of God Go With You


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, March 3rd, featuring Bronte’s famous beaver