Virtual Service – May 15, 2022

2:00 pm

May 15, 2022

Virtual Service

Welcome to virtual church!

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – video and text.

• View the video below
• scroll down and read the entire service and annoucements
• 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

• An evening of song and story – Join Ron Klusmeier in the Walton Church sanctuary on Thursday, May 19 at 7:00pm for an intimate evening of piano, prayers, gently hummed hymns, and stories from the road. Masks must be worn at all times. Suggested admission is $15, payable at the door. Register online.
• Ready, set, summer – starting Sunday, June 5, Walton will offer a single Sunday worship service at 10:00am until September 18th. Sunday School for grades JK – Grade 5 will continue weekly throughout the summer. Members of our junior and senior youth groups are welcome to assist.
• Exciting news for Grade 3 students! – Each year Walton Church is proud to present our Grade 3 Sunday School students with their own copy of the Action Bible. For the past two years we have done curbside pickup and porch deliveries of these special gifts. This year I’m happy to announce that Bible presentations will take place in person in the Sanctuary on Celebration Sunday, June 12th during our 10:00am service. Please mark your calendars for this day as we hope all Grade 3 children and their families can take part in person. If you are unable to attend on June 12, please contact the church office and we will arrange a special delivery to your door.
• Register now for VBS – Welcome to Knights of North Castle – Walton’s 2022 Vacation Bible School summer day camp. We invite children and youth to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of God’s power by exploring how we put on the Armour of God.  Important update: We will be running one week of camp this year, from Monday, July 11 – Friday, July 15. Space is limited so register early to secure your spot as a camper or leader..

Camp hours
Full day: 8:30am – 4:00pm
Half day: 8:30am – 12:00pm
Ages and eligibility
Campers  – SK to Grade 5
Junior Leaders – Grade 6-8
Teen Leaders – Grade 9-12
Cost*
Full day camper – $110
Half day camper – $55
Junior leader – $55
Teen leader – No charge. Earn volunteer hours for school!
*Confidential fee assistance is available. Please contact the church officefor information.
To register online, log into your Church Centre account or visit waltonmemorial.com

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. Today we’re jumping in the hot tub time machine and going back…WAY back…all the way to the beginning. The beginning of what? Check out today’s lesson to find out!
• 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 here at Walton, on this the fifth Sunday of the Easter season. Whether you are worshipping with us in the sanctuary here this morning, or online later in the day, or even later in the week, we give thanks for your prayers and your praise, as we affirm together our Easter joy and nurture it to strengthen our Easter faith.

Hymn: “Come and Find the Quiet Centre”   vs. 1 & 3374 Voices United

Call to Worship

One: In our lives and in the world, we bear too much mourning.
All: We seek your presence, Lord, to make our hearts new and sustain us in your love.
One: With setbacks and crushed expectations, we have known too much crying
All: We crave your comfort, Lord, to make our dreams new and refresh us in your love.
One: Despite our striving, our hoping and even our praying, we feel too much pain.
All: We need your healing, Lord, to make our souls new and strengthen us in your love.
One: Be with us, God, and make us your people.
All: Wipe away our tears and renew us in your love, through our worship and in our lives.

Opening Prayer

One: Renewing God, whose glory is above earth and heaven,
All: Abide with us and make your home in our lives.
One: When we struggle or hurt, held down by the suffering of life,
All: Be with us and remind us of your tender love. Console us to feel your concern for us.
One: When we are overwhelmed or adrift, lost in the strain of life,
All: Be with us and remind us of your steadfast love. Guide us to follow your path for us.
One: When we celebrate or triumph, swept up in the jubilation of life,
All: Be with us and remind us of your joyous love. Inspire us to see you at work in the world.
One: In all things and at all times,
All: Let our hearts overflow with praise for all you do. 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 Story : “Hope In A Jar” Video

Alison and Val are taking a coffee break in the office and chatting.
A: You look busy Val, what are you working on?
V: I’m just reading through this week’s service. Gill’s sermon is called “Where is hope?” That’s a good question, isn’t it? Where do we find hope?
A: Well I bought some hope in a jar on Amazon.
V: Hope. In a jar? Hope doesn’t come in a jar!
A: Oh yes it does! There’s a wrinkle cream called Hope In A Jar, made by a company called Philosophy. Isn’t that the perfect name? I wish they sold Miracle In A Jar for my wrinkles. But all joking aside, where do we find hope?
V: Well, there’s hope in the cross. Where else is hope? Jim, can you come here for a minute and help us? Where is hope?
J: Hope is in British Columbia!
Alison and Val groan at Jim’s joke.
J: But seriously, you find hope in a belief in the future. It’s a faith that things will improve, or change.
V: The way things are changing right now, there should be a lot of hope then!
J: There is! Look at all the people starting their gardens right now. They wouldn’t plant seeds if they didn’t have the hope, the faith that they would grow into plants.
A: And I see signs of hope just looking out the window at the leaves budding on the trees. And right out this window last week I saw so many people smiling, chatting, and enjoying coffee time together. A year ago I hoped coffee time would come back, but I didn’t really believe it. I kind of gave up hope. But one of our Sunday School kids didn’t give up. He’s been waiting and hoping and asking almost every week when coffee time would come back. And last week it did!
V: Kids can teach us a lot about hope, and not giving up. Hope is believing.
A: Believing. We can all do that. Jim, would you say a prayer for us?
J: Of course! Loving God, we give thanks for the hope you have given each of us as your children. You give us the hope that things will change. You work in our lives to bring hope each day. Bless us in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Youth Hymn:  “In the Bulb There Is a Flower”     vs. 1703 Voice United

Anthem:  “Creation Sings”

Scripture Reading:  Revelation 21:1-6, Psalm 148 (Responsive)

Revelation 21:1-6

The New Heaven and the New Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

Responsive Psalm 148

One: Praise the Lord!
All: Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
One: Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host! Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
All: Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise the name of the Lord!
One: Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed. Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
All: Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him from the earth!
One: Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
All: Young men and women alike, old and young together! Praise the Lord!
One: Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him.
All: Praise the Lord!

Scripture Response:  “The Light of God” – on screen

When we hear the word of God,
Place it in our hearts, plant it in our lives,
Help us feel the hand of God.
When we hear the word of God,
Living in our hearts, growing in our lives,
Help us be the light of God.

Morning Message: “Where is hope?”Gill Le Fevre

As a child, I vividly remember being terrified by the idea of the end of the world. I recall on one occasion going with a friend to her Sunday School where the lesson was about the wide road and the narrow road depicted in Matthew 7. It’s heavy stuff for a 10-year-old and I’m sure it can be handled sympathetically; except it wasn’t. Illustrations were held up that clearly demonstrated people walking along the wide road and falling into a pit of flames, and I had nightmares for weeks.

As an adult, my feelings have become much more complicated. On the one hand, the prospect is still utterly terrifying, and in recent years the end of the world has felt sometimes all too imminent. And yet there are points where the stereotypical notion of the end times feels almost aspirational. We’re messing up this world so terribly and so totally; the idea of a do-over, of wiping it all away and starting again has its appeal.

And further complicating things, this world, this existence, is all we know. And it’s not all bad. Even some of the things that we perhaps feel we’re not supposed to like. Sometimes the trappings of the world that the Bible in places says we should reject can be desirable, enjoyable even. So how do we fix it? When we’re exhausted by crisis, depleted by trauma, and still attached to our lesser earthly joy, where is hope?

It’s a question that was equally asked by the early Christian communities. The people that John of Patmos shared the book of Revelation with – seven emerging congregations of Christians based in modern day Turkey – could certainly share our misgivings with the world.

The 1st century Roman empire was a tough place to be a Christian. Those who converted to Christianity discovered that this brought about social and economic ostracism, as they were shunned and punished when they rejected the pagan religious rituals that were inextricably entwined with business dealings, or if they refused to worship the emperor, an obligation viewed as a prerequisite for civic stability and social belonging.

We see a hint of this in the reference to the end of the sea in our reading, which probably strikes you as strange. But rather than a source of life, or even leisure, as we might describe the sea, in Revelation, the sea is a symbol of chaos and the location of evil. The sea – literally the Mediterranean Sea – is the conduit for the Roman empire’s military, economic and political domination. Hence envisioning the end of the sea is a rejection of the powers that use war and commerce equally as forces of oppression.

Living through crisis, scarred by trauma, struggling to make their way in a conflict-ridden world – we have more in common with those first-century congregations than we might immediately imagine. They, like us, were asking, “Where is hope?” And perhaps the last place you’d expect to look is the book of Revelation. Revelation does not immediately conjure up images of optimism and confidence. The scripture reference alone recalls images of malignant horsemen riding in on a wave of destruction, angry armies of angels sweeping the earth, and those fiery pits that so terrified me as a child. Popular culture has a lot to answer for when we think about Revelation.

And worse, this view of Revelation takes us to some pretty bleak places. This view of Revelation justifies the destruction of our planet in the name of profit, because who cares about the state of creation if it all gets wiped out? This view of Revelation justifies, even encourages prejudice against those who are different, if they don’t fit a narrowly defined, self-selecting, so-called Christian model. This view of Revelation justifies, even instigates military aggression and war, validated as a holy act, as God’s will, and perhaps even a prerequisite to bring about a second coming. Bleak times indeed.

Worst of all, this view of Revelation leaves God faraway in heaven, remotely viewing our struggles on earth; perhaps even unable to hear our heartfelt cry, “Where is hope?” Best of all, this view of Revelation is completely inconsistent – more, it is utterly contradicted by – the actual text of Revelation we heard today. The holy city, coming down out of heaven; the home of God is among mortals; God himself will be with them. These are not destructive warnings of obliteration. These are vital, regenerative words of hope, for today and right now; for tomorrow and forever.

We have, wonderfully, got Revelation wrong.

We need to return to the meaning of the original text and the original Greek. Now the first word of the text in Greek – apokalypsis – might sound like apocalypse, taking us rapidly back to fire and brimstone, but it means unveiling, or to reveal. Revelation is not a text trying to predict the future, but one wanting to open us up to a different way of looking at the present. John wants us to see our lives on earth, revealed, “without the veil of human destruction and violence” to obscure our view.

God is restoring the world and making things new, but not by wiping out creation and scooping up a select few to heaven. “See, I am making all things new.” I am making. Present tense. “The home of God is among mortals.” Is among. Present tense. God wants us to see our lives right now, in the present tense, in a different light, because how we generally see the world blocks out the deeper reality that God wants to bring about.

Where is hope? Hope is in God himself being with us in our lives. God dwelling with us and making us God’s people. Hope is in the renewal of our lives and our world that Revelation calls us to be a part of. Revelation sees the pain of our lives, but Revelation also challenges us, encourages us, promises us to change the script.

The writer and pastor Tish Harrison Warren, writes, “This means that death is real, but there’s something greater than death. Injustice is real, but it’s not the end of the story. Heartbreak is real but it gives way to redemption. Suffering is real, but it cannot erase beauty.”

This is the good news of Revelation; that there is a different way to look at and to experience our world today – with God by our side; letting God wipe the tears from our eyes, making us new, and sustaining us with God’s love. This is the challenge and the promise of Revelation.

And this reshaping of how we see our lives, this unveiling of a different way to look at each day, is a deep affirmation of God and God’s love for us; consistent with and totally based on God’s very essence.

God restoring the world, renewing creation, dwelling with us – all this affirms and treasures God’s faithful love for God’s diverse and abundant creation. We are God’s beloved creation, and as God proclaims in Genesis 1, God’s creation is good.

Where is hope? Hope comes from remembering the delight God takes in creation, and asserting God’s commitment to the earth and to God’s people. God’s promise to be with us, even if we can’t always see this or feel this. The hope of Revelation proclaims that God is here. Here is the hope that Revelation reveals to us: the home of God is among mortals. God will dwell with us; we will be his people, and God himself will be with us.

And for those of us who might, on some level, have welcomed a totally fresh start, and a wiping clean of the slate, we already have that. We have that in Christ Jesus.

We have a fresh start in the humanity of Jesus Christ, who lived among mortals, healed and loved us, and whose resurrection proclaims new life. And we have a fresh start in the divinity of Jesus Christ, who lives in our hearts, who heals and loves us, and whose resurrection promises us new life.

Revelation reminds us that, as the gospel of John proclaims, “the Word became flesh and lived among us.” Or as the gospel of Matthew tells us, “they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’” Here is hope. Here is the hope that is nurtured by our faith that Christ lives and reigns and is making all things new.

Where do we see this hope today? Where can we look beyond the headlines and see God at work, renewing and restoring our world? Where might we accept the challenge of Revelation, to look at our world through faith in God’s love, and to join God in renewing and reshaping our reality.

Here is hope. Here is Yuri, a Ukrainian farmer working near the frontline of the war with Russia. Yuri wears body armour and a helmet as he ploughs his fields, driving a tractor in a bulletproof vest. Yuri and many of the farmers in his area know that spring will not wait for the war to end, and they are determined to plough their fields and plant their crops. They are determined to see, and live into, a future where they harvest their crops, and feed their families. Here is hope.

Here is a team of botanists scouring satellite images of Western Ecuador looking for glimpses of survival amidst the vast destruction of forests given over to extensive and obliterating farming.

Looking for a beautiful, blazing orange flower, native to Ecuador. It is part of the plant family, Gasteranthus, and in 1985 it was named Gasteranthus Extinctus, such were the bleak prospects for the plant when it was first documented. Where is hope? The satellite research revealed sufficient hope to justify a field trip, where scientists found the plant within the first few hours of searching.

Nigel Pitman, one of the botanists behind the discovery, triumphantly tweeted, “Taxonomists, please take note. If you ever name a species extinctus again? We will go to the ends of the earth to prove you wrong. We will search until we find it. We will never give up.”

Sound familiar?

Searching until he finds us. Never giving us up.

Here is hope.

Here is the hope that we are called to live into. That God sees the world in a different way and through faith we can too. Here is the hope that we are promised through the life and resurrection of Christ Jesus, that is proclaimed throughout the New Testament. That God’s love can make us strong, even when we feel overwhelmed or defeated. That God’s love can give us comfort, even when grief or pain engulf us. That God’s love is making us new.

Here is hope, given for each one of us when we accept this promise into our hearts: that God sees us, dwells with us. That God soothes and sustains us. That our past and our circumstances do not define us, because God wipes that away and is making all things new. Here is hope. That God loves and restores us. Now. Every day. And forever.

Praise be to God.

Pastoral Prayer

Reassuring God,

Thank you for dwelling with us in our lives in our human chaos; for abiding with us despite all our transgressions.

Bring us closer to your love, so that through your grace you may reveal to us the world as you desire it, and that with your power we may strive towards the fulfilment of your renewed creation.

We pray for the passing away of mourning. Be with us, Lord, that in our times of grief we may feel your soothing presence. Console those who sorrow at this time for loved ones. Wipe away our sense of loss and restore us with peace in Christ Jesus.

We pray for the passing away of pain. Be with us, Lord, in our times of suffering that we may feel your enduring mercy. Comfort those who struggle at this time with ill health, in themselves or others. Wipe away our sense of hurting and renew us with faith in Christ Jesus.

We pray for the passing away of crying. Be with us, Lord, in our times of disappointment that we may feel your guiding word. Encourage those who flounder at this time for purpose or direction. Wipe away our sense of anxiety and refresh us with hope in Christ Jesus.

Nourish us with your eternal love, and make us new. Restore in us the peace, faith and hope given to us through your Easter love that we may draw on your life-giving spirit to strengthen and sustain us.

Amen

Hymn:  “Let All Things Now Living” vs. 1242 Voices United

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

In worship today, we affirm our Easter faith which through the love and sacrifice of Christ makes all things new. And so in service, we answer the call to live out this faith; that through our offering we can help make all things new. Whether you give through a donation made today, or online or with PAR; whether your offering is of your time or your talents – together we offer what we are able to and commend it to the renewal of our world and the bringing about of God’s kingdom here on earth.

♥  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

Offering Hymn: “Give Thanks”on screen

Offering Prayer

All: Creator God,

Our world needs your restoring love in too many ways to name. At home, in our communities, and around the world, we face too much crying and pain. Accept these gifts as an act of worship, praising the abundance of your care for us. Bless these gifts as signs of our thanksgiving for all you have given us. Magnify these gifts to serve you and to repair your creation that our suffering may be no more. Amen.

Benediction

Go out this day with hope in your heart. The hope given to us from our God who dwells with us and holds us close. The God who wipes away our pain and makes us new. Go out this day with the hope of God’s love to restore you and all those you encounter. Amen.

Closing Hymn: “You Shall Go Out with Joy”884 Voices United


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, May 11th