Virtual Service – May 23, 2021

8:30 am

May 23, 2021

Welcome to virtual church!

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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

• Looking for volunteers from our teens and older kids! If you’d like to take part in the virtual Sunday service for June 13, when we celebrate Pride month and God’s inclusive love, please email Gill at gill@lefevre.ca. There are long parts and short parts; prayers, bible readings or welcomes; and you can record on video or just audio if you prefer – there really is something for everyone! Get in touch for more details before May 31
Parents of Grade 3 Sunday School kids – Covid can’t cancel our Bible presentations for each Grade 3 student! We’d love your family to drop by the church and pick up your Action Bible in person so we can say hello, or we can deliver right to your porch. Please call or email the church office to schedule your pickup or delivery.
•  On behalf of the Walton Free Tax Committee,
the Outreach Committee is happy to announce the results of the 2021 community tax program. Despite not being able to meet with clients in person due to pandemic restrictions, our tax filers managed by drop box, porch pick-up, telephone and e-mail to successfully file 58 returns this year. This was an increase of 45% over our first year of operation. We also were not able to assist by referral more than 20 people who made an inquiry but did not qualify. This is an area where we see our one-on-one efforts having a direct effect.
• COATS, COATS, COATS!
In conjunction with the Bronte Village Stakeholders, we are planning to hold our annual coat drive this October – having missed last year due to the pandemic. We will be in need of gently-used, clean coats for our 10th annual coat redistribution event in mid-October 2021. All coats – adult, youth, and children – are so very much needed. We also welcome other outerwear in good condition, i.e. gently-used winter boots, and new hats, scarves and gloves. We feel there will be an even greater need this year. Items can be dropped off at the church Tuesdays through Fridays between 9-12. If you prefer, you may hold onto them until September, when you can deliver them to various drop-off locations OR call Ruth Perkins 905-220-8861 to make arrangements for pick up from you. You can make the difference between shivering in the cold, or cozy warmth for someone without a coat and with no means of purchasing one. At the same time, you will make room in your closet – maybe for a new coat!. Post-COVID we’re all feeling like a change. Thank you in advance for thinking of others, from your Outreach Committee
•  
Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. Can you see the Holy Spirit? Can you feel it?
•  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 our Pentecost Service. Today we are down here in Bronte Harbour, where we have so many sailboats just across the street from the church. It’s not a very windy day today. The boats are allowed to be in the water, but they aren’t allowed to be sailing yet because of the Covid restrictions. We wanted to come down here to start the service, because wind is an essential element of the Pentecost story, and of course to sail you need wind. Hopefully it won’t be long before the boats are back on the water. Let us join together now in this Pentecost service.

Call to Worship

The Holy Spirit came as fire and wind.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!

People of all genders, all ages, all cultures witnessed the day of Pentecost.
Come, Holy Spirit come!

The people were bewildered, astonished, amazed!
They wondered:
What are we to do?
Then Peter stood and raised his voice.
We need to know: What did he say?
He said “We’re not drunk. We are filled with God’s spirit so that we can tell you about Jesus of Nazareth.”
Come, Holy Spirit, come!

The Spirit danced in fire and in a multitude of languages. The Spirit was poured out on those from young to old.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Dare to be dreamers and to believe.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Dare to believe in what can and could be, for God is gracious.
God is the Creator.
God’s love knows no bounds.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Come, abide and empower us today!
(adapted Sandra Litt, The Gathering Pentecost 1, 2021)

Opening Prayer

You speak to your people in so many ways.

In wind and fire… in cloud and thunder… in moments of great confusion and in the spaces in between.
In our lives – in the busy-ness and the quiet and isolation – help us to hear your voice.
Help us to live your love.

Help us to be your people…this day and forever! Amen.
(Richard Bott The Gathering 2018)

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: “Wind is like God”

On this gorgeous day it is wonderful to be outside. I wanted to show you something kind of neat. I know you and Jim have been talking about the wind, and how at Pentecost it was described that the Holy Spirit came in like a huge wind. Wind is like God.

Sometimes kids have asked me, how do you know for sure God is real? You can’t see God, you can’t touch God, you can’t put God in a box, or draw a picture of what God looks like. I always say, well how do you know the wind is real? You can’t see it. You can’t put it in a box, or draw a picture of it. But can you feel the breeze blowing on you right now? You can feel the wind, and you can see the effect of the wind blowing on the grass and the trees all around you.

That is what God is like, what the Holy Spirit is like. He sent the Holy Spirit in all of us and we can’t see the Holy Spirit, but we can sure feel it, we can see the effect it has on everything around us, just like the wind. (Alison & Val blow the top of the seeded dandelion) That’s how you know the Holy Spirit is real.

Let’s say a prayer.

Dear God, Thank you for today. Thank you for having the Holy Spirit blow in and through each one of us. Help us to be open to watching the Holy Spirit work through and in each one of us. Thank you God, what an amazing gift. Amen.

Anthem: “A Joyful Jubilant Song”

 

Scripture Reading: Acts 2: 1-8, 12-21

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.

No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.

Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Morning Message: “Victoria Day in Jerusalem” – Rev. Jim Gill

We could call this month of May the “vintners focus.” Today we focus on something that was said about Jesus’ followers. It was said that, “they were filled with new wine.” This month we have been talking about grape vines, branches, bearing fruit and now “new wine.” The phrase “new wine” was actually an insult to those followers of Jesus who gathered together 50 days after the Resurrection. In those days, “new wine” was a special sweet wine with a powerful extra kick to it.

This weekend is what we in Canada call May 2-4. It has a reputation of being a party weekend, and it’s often spent camping, at the cottage or in the backyard enjoying a BBQ. A weekend where the products of Niagara wineries are enjoyed in abundance at homes and on their local wine tours. So it seems ironic that we are talking about the early church being accused of being too much into the “new wine” on this Sunday of the May 2-4 weekend.

You see, in Jerusalem on that first Pentecost the only way the Easter miracle could be understood by those who had crucified Jesus and tried to suppress his followers was to accuse them all of drunkenness. The crucifers could not comprehend Jesus when he was alive. Even more so, they couldn’t comprehend the coming of the Spirit Jesus had promised upon his church. They didn’t understand this was a fulfillment of Jesus’ words that when he ascended, the Holy Spirit would descend.

Now that we are able to use playgrounds again, think of teeter-totter to illustrate this action. One child goes up while the other child goes down. Jesus goes up. The Holy Spirit comes down.

So for us watching this virtual service and celebrating Victoria Day 2021 it is “Victoria Day in Jerusalem.” In fact it’s very much a party today, for Pentecost is the birthday of the church and that deserves a party! Though we can no longer blow out the candles and share a cake together in Bronte Hall, we can still celebrate.

The first Sunday of May every year is Walton Church’s anniversary. June 10th every year is the anniversary of the United Church of Canada. And the birthday of the worldwide Christian church is Pentecost – 50 days after Easter.

What exactly did Pentecost do from Jesus’ followers? Jack Lash writes: “Before Pentecost they had been ordinary – fishers, not scholars or leaders. And like us, they were often bumbling. At times it seems on almost every occasion that they did the wrong thing. They panicked in the face of danger. They kept not catching what Jesus was teaching. They had little sense of power: they definitely didn’t think they could feed the 5,000 when Jesus told them to. They kept taking eyes off of Christ.”

Lash continues: “yet after Pentecost they were completely different. They did not flinch in the face of danger. They stood up to the very ones they had previously been cowering in fear of. Instead of a constant flow of foolish and cowardly statements, there are strong and righteous statements coming forth from their mouths, like saying to the officials when called to account, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.’(Acts 4:19-20). Pentecost created the Christian Church.”

One of the joys of the May 24 weekend is evening campfires. It’s a great Canadian tradition to gather around a blazing campfire, hoping it will keep us warm and keep the bugs and bears away. It’s what we yearn for all winter long through the cold and sleet.

Do you remember what happened around a campfire in Jerusalem one night? “And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But Peter denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’ And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not.’ And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.”

Peter denied Jesus not just once, but 3 times. That was a major strikeout for Peter. On the day of Pentecost there was also a fire, like there was on that Maundy Thursday night of denial. But there was a very different fire on the day the Church was born. It was a fire that gave those followers the power, the gift, the conviction to speak out about Jesus, rather than to deny Jesus. No longer denying him at the campfire but doing what we now call now, “speaking truth to power.”

The Holy Spirit is captured in the image of fire, often seen on the stoles ministers wear or on the liturgical art hanging from pulpits and communion tables. Fire has long been a symbol of God at work in the world. We light candles in our sanctuaries especially during Advent, weddings and evening services. We do the same in our sacred spaces at home. A column of fire led the Israelites through the desert and God spoke to Moses in a fiery burning bush out in the wilderness. Psalm 29 describes the voice of God as a fiery flame. In Italy they have a wonderful Pentecost tradition of dropping red rose petals from the ceiling of the church to represent the flames of this day.

In the past, we’ve asked people at Walton to wear red coloured clothing to Sunday worship on Pentecost. The liturgical colour for Pentecost is red. The baptismal candle we use is not only a live flame, but has a printed flame of the side of the candle. The fire of the Holy Spirit can transform us into people of courage, boldness, and strength.

Have you ever been the one volun-told to build the campfire on a May 24 weekend? There is a secret to building a good fire. But sometimes the fire dies out and needs to be fanned. One time I was sitting in a lawn chair too near a campfire as it was being fanned to bring back the flames. The person was using a small sheet of plywood and it was working well. They got it starting to really burn, so they decided to do even more fanning. The person got so excited that they went back to fan the fire more and the plywood knocked my glasses off, hit me in the nose and I went backwards off my lawn chair into the sand. The person suggested they were only doing what Timothy said in his second letter, “For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.”

My nose did recover and it’s a great reminder for all of us that we are to fan the flame of God at work in our lives. Yes, sometimes in doing that we are knocked off the chairs of our own complacency, routine and the rut we can get into while going about in our daily lives. The flames of the Spirit changes our lives in ways both big and small.

Have a safe and healthy May 2-4 weekend and have a blessed Pentecost.

Pastoral Prayer

Let us invite the Spirit of God to blow through our lives and our world, as we lift our needs to God in prayer:

We pray, O God, for you to fill us with faith in ourselves, in others and especially in You in this changing time.
May Your Spirit renew and inspire us again.
We pray, O God, for hope in what life can become for ourselves and for all people.
May Your Spirit encourage and challenge us again.
We pray, O God, for the ability to love freely and recklessly.
May Your Spirit comfort and soften us again.
Our silent prayers are offered.

Holy Spirit of God, fill the world with your peace.
Fill each one of us with your purpose, and fill us with your power, your love and your hope, for the sake of your kingdom. Amen.
(adapted Pentecost © 2005 John van de Laar)

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

God’s Spirit reaches us wherever we are and whatever our circumstances. God’s blessings and strength – comfort, support, endurance – embrace us in good times and in challenging times. And as we are able, God calls us to make a difference to the day and place we find ourselves in, as we prayerfully consider our offering.

♥ 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

Loving God, you live in us through the Spirit.

We feel your holy breeze on our hearts, as surely as the trees feel the gentle wind on their leaves.
Thank you for always being with us, for giving us the courage and strength to let the Spirit into our lives, to let it fill our spiritual sails and carry us forward, so that we may be winds of change in a becalmed world.

Now we offer these gifts, through your love, O God, and ask that your Spirit bring them to life. Amen.
(adapted Dianne Young, Pentecost 1, 2020)

Benediction

We have opened our hearts to the Holy Spirit on this day of Pentecost. As you leave from this time together, let your breath give life and light to others and to all of God’s creation. Let God’s Spirit breathe into you goodness, faithfulness, peace and joy and the power of the creating and energizing spirit moved through us today in this place.

The warmth of the Spirit has entered our hearts; courage has been offered, and loving mercy granted. The Spirit has hovered around us, dwelt within us, and moved beside us in this time of worship, in scripture, in song, in being together virtually in community, and in prayer. Now as we move beyond this time together, we know the Spirit’s nearness always, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
(adapted G. Allan, The Gathering, Pentecost 2020)


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!

♬ It Only Takes a Spark (VU 289, v1,2)
♬ As the Wind Song Through the Trees. (R Klusmeier)
♬ Come, O Holy Spirit (Wind of Change) R Klusmeier. (More Voices)
♬ On Pentecost They Gathered. (VU 195, v1,4)
♬ Closing As a Fire is Meant for Burning (BU 578, v1)


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, May 19th – A shiny update about the kitchen!