Virtual Service – May 30, 2021

8:30 am

May 30, 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.
• Pet Blessing Service on Sunday, June 27th. If you would like to have your pet blessed, we invite you to contact the church office to book a time to come and have your pet blessing videoed the week prior to the service. Rev. Gill will bless your pet, and take a picture/video of you all, to be included in the virtual service on Sunday, June 27th. No words need to be spoken by you (or your pet), Rev. Gill is happy to do all the talking. Let’s share our family pets with one another. We have all shared our pet stories with one another, right?
• 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. Do you always tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? There’s a verse for that!
•  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 Walton’s virtual service! This morning we are talking about the Trinity. Sometimes it’s hard to understand that concept. We are standing in front of a flowering tree that is absolutely gorgeous here in Shell Park, in Oakville. It is such a beautiful tree and it smells incredible. The aroma is so amazing, I don’t think I have words to describe it. We videoed the sermon part of this Trinity service a couple of weeks ago when hundreds of trilliums were blooming in the forest. It was so incredible to have the blanket of three-leaf trilliums over the forest floor. We stand today in front of this beautiful tree, and we talk about God the Creator, when we talk about the Trinity, so we celebrate the blessings of the Triune God. Come let us worship.

Call to Worship

In the holy name of God: Father, Mother, Creator, Life Giver…
We gather together virtually today.
In the holy name of Jesus the Christ: Son, Redeemer, Teacher, Friend…
We gather together virtually today.
In the holy name of the Spirit: Holy One, Sustainer, Daily Guide, Wisdom…
We gather together virtually today.
In the holy name of the one who is Three and the Three who are One…
We gather to celebrate new life.
(Richard Bott, The Gathering Pentecost 2021)

Opening Prayer

God, the Life-Giving Trinity
The words you speak, God, are the life and sustenance of all that exists.
The life Jesus gives is the re-creation and renewed birth of all that is broken and worn.
The Spirit’s stirring in our souls is the inspiration for creativity, compassion, joy, and community.
Life-giving, life-restoring, life-fulfilling God; may our whole lives be worship.
In all things, may we seek to connect with and to reflect your love and your hope. Amen.
(posted on The Minor Keys)

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”

The concept of the “3 in 1” God we celebrate on Trinity Sunday can be a tough one to wrap your brain around – not just for kids, but for grownups too. In today’s Youth Story, Alison demonstrates a simple way to understand how one God can have three different forms.

Let’s consider water, steam, and ice. Three different things, right? Or are they? Steam is water – evaporating water. And ice is water too – frozen water. And water, of course, is just water. So they aren’t three different things at all. They are all water, just in three different forms, just like God.

We know God in three forms: God our Father in heaven; God the Son – Jesus who lived in human form and walked among us; and God the Holy Spirit, which was sent down from heaven and lives inside each of us. One God. Three forms. Endless love.

Scripture Reading: John 3: 1-17

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Prayer: Born Yet Again

Why do we settle, O God, for only being born once, or even twice, as if the world never changes,
as if everything is just fine the way it is and we have no need for new life, new encounters with you,
new promptings of your Spirit, and new awakenings in our souls?

Why do we turn your invitation into a mark of our own achievement, as if your life is anything other than an extravagant gift, as if the glimpses of your reign that we receive are earned, or deserved, or make us somehow ‘better’ than others?

We praise you for the shocking miraculous truth, God, that we can always be – that we need to always be born again; that daily you welcome us into a surprising new life, the wonderful, creative, unpredictable world of your Spirit; and that all we can do is allow ourselves to be pushed – birthed, by your grace, into new experiences of your reign.

Here we are, O God; Let us be, once more, in this moment, in this place, born yet again.
Amen.
(by John van de Laar, and posted on Sacredise.com)

Morning Message: “Every Sunday is Trinity Sunday” – Rev. Jim Gill

Walton’s virtual services would not be what they are without the Trinity. You would feel pretty queasy in your stomach watching the services without the Trinity. Zooming in for closeups would be so difficult to create without the Trinity as well.

Have I confused you yet? This is the Trinity which we use every week (shows tripod). It is a Trinity of three legs. It is a tripod. Before our virtual Covid services we often used a tripod during the youth story to illustrate the meaning of the Trinity. We now use it every week to video services in the name of the Triune God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Today’s reading, along with the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer, is probably one of the best-known passages in the bible. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”

You often see hand-made signs up in the stands at sporting events with a giant 3:16 on them. For it is in John 3:16 where you find that verse and clearly see the reference to both the Father and the Son. Later in the same chapter the third part of the tripod gets mentioned: “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’”

So in this third chapter of the fourth Gospel, the Gospel of John, there is the Trinity plainly laid out for us by Jesus himself. We are an Easter people. But we are also people of the Trinity.

The Founding Articles of Faith of the United Church of Canada say in the language of their day these unshakable truths about the Trinity:

“Article I. Of God. We believe in the one only living and true God, a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being and perfections; the Lord Almighty, who is love, most just in all His ways, most glorious in holiness, unsearchable in wisdom, plenteous in mercy, full of compassion, and abundant in goodness and truth. We worship Him in the unity of the Godhead and the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three persons of the same substance, equal in power and glory.”

Note that phrase, “The unity of the Godhead.” There is a tendency in some circles to let the distinctiveness of the Trinity merge into one very different spiritual being. Rather than a “unity” it becomes like putting three distinct colours of paint into one can and mixing them all up until a completely different colour is created that shows none of the original colours. It is a new divine being created. The Trinity is lost.

Josh McDowell is a well-known Christian apologist who has written over 150 books, some of which we have studied here at Walton such as, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict.” He writes about the Trinity: “The Scriptures do not teach that there are three Gods; neither do they teach that God wears three different masks while acting out the drama of history. What the Bible does teach is stated in the doctrine of the Trinity as: there is one God who has revealed Himself in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three persons are the one God.”

The Trinity is one of the most challenging aspects of the faith to understand, yet it is foundational to our beliefs. McDowell continues in his writing: “Although this is difficult to comprehend, it is nevertheless what the Bible tells us, and is the closest the finite mind can come to explaining the infinite mystery of the infinite God, when considering the biblical statements about God’s being.”

You see, if you or I could fully comprehend the nature of God then we would be God. But we are not God, for we all need God. We all need the message of John 3:16.

The BBC did a great series on the Christian faith back in 2011 and part of it focused on the Trinity. In the series it reminds us that: “The idea that there is One God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit means:

There is exactly one God
The Father is God
The Son is God
The Holy Spirit is God
The Father is not the Son
The Son is not the Holy Spirit
The Father is not the Holy Spirit”

The BBC series also told us,

“We must worship only God
We must worship God the Father
We must worship God the Son
We must worship God the Holy Spirit
There is only one God.”

There are many popular illustrations used by preachers to in some small way attempt to try and illustrate the Trinity. For example, I am one person but play out three different roles in relationships with those who call me Poppa, Dad and Jim.

There is also the green shamrock and its three leaves, or here in Ontario our provincial flower – the trillium. The three states of water: liquid, solid, vapour. Or an orange with peel, fruit and seeds. But each illustration falls short in its purpose. No illustration by a human can fully capture the concept of the divine Trinity.

One writer uses an illustration which I had never heard used by anyone before. I will share it with you now. It says, “Perhaps the least flawed illustration we have of God’s triune nature is a musical chord of three notes. The three distinct notes work together to make one melodious sound, existing in the same time and space, and unified in purpose while remaining separate and distinct. Each note on its own fills the auditory space and creates a beautiful sound, and yet when combined with the other two notes continues to make a unified melodious sound that fills the auditory space while remaining distinct from the other two. So this example comes close to showing how God’s triune nature exists.”

So you are watching me today because of a camera supported by a tripod. It too is an illustration with limitations to fully explain the Trinity. If anything, moving forward from this message today I hope that when you are watching these virtual services on a very windy day or posed on a difficult slope of land you’ll think of the tripod we are using. But most importantly, think of the blessings of our Triune God.

Invitation to Communion

This is the table of God, the joyful host.
Everyone – child, youth, and adult – is welcome to eat at this table.
No matter what your religious affiliation, no matter what your particular beliefs or nagging doubts may be, you are welcome to share in this meal.
With the boldness of Jesus we invite everyone:
Come and joyfully share!

At this table all differences are put aside, and we share in the glory of our common humanity,
anticipating that day when all God’s creation will dwell together in harmony, prosperity and peace. Come then, as you are, in all your glory, to this feast of joy!

We dare not come to this table trusting in our own goodness or virtue.
We come knowing we need forgiveness and trusting God to grant it.
We come because we are hungry for meaning and need to be fed.
God, forgive and feed us.

We come because Jesus Christ invited us.
We come as Christ’s guests to the heavenly banquet.
We come in remembrance, but much more; in recalling the sacrifice of Christ for us we are moved to Christ-like identification with suffering humanity.

We join here not in passive recollection of ancient signs but in active reflection of the flesh and blood realities that these signs represent.
Jesus, stand among us today as host and celebrant!

Assurance of Pardon

The feast of God is designed to satisfy not our physical appetites but our hunger and thirst for righteousness. The table has long been set and there has always been a place reserved for you.  Jesus Christ beckons you, “Come.” Beloved, your sins are forgiven. In witness to your new life in Christ and communion with one another, you are asked to gather ’round this heavenly table.  Amen.

Among friends, gathered ’round a table, Jesus took bread, and, having blessed it, He broke the bread and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you.”

In the same way after supper, he took the cup of wine and gave you thanks. He gave it to them saying, “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”

So, now, following Jesus’ example, We take this bread and this wine; the ordinary things of the world through which God will bless us. And as Jesus offered thanks for the gifts of the earth, let us also celebrate God’s goodness.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus Christ, present with us now, virtually as we do in this place, what you did in an upstairs room, breathe your Spirit upon us and upon this bread and this wine, that they may be heaven’s food for us. Renewing, sustaining and making us whole, that we may be your body on earth, loving and caring in the world. Look, the bread of heaven is broken for the life of the world. Here is Christ, coming to us in bread and wine. The gifts of God for the people of God. Amen.

The body of Christ, broken for you.
The blood of Christ, shed for you.

(We give and receive the bread and wine) 

The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, nourish you and strengthen you to do the will of God.
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, grant unto you God’s gift of eternal life.

Prayer after Communion

Holy God, we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands the bread of life: strengthen our faith that we may grow in love for you and for each other, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Blessing God, may the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Go in peace to love and serve God. In the name of Christ. Amen.
(Adapted stnicholasmarston.org.uk)

Anthem: “We Believe”

 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

We don’t always know how much money we have, or how much we will need; in precarious economic times we are tempted to hoard our money for ourselves. In this offering we have the opportunity to show our faith that our God will supply all our needs.

♥ 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

We walk by faith, we live by faith, we give by faith. God of great gifts, you have given us so much. Accept these gifts from our hands, our faithful response to your abundant grace. Amen.
(adapted Carol Penner, Leading in Worship)

Benediction

As we leave this time together today, let us go into the world with God’s love shining on each one of us, with Jesus walking alongside us, and the Holy Spirit filling each one of us, giving us comfort and peace. Go in peace to love and serve God, in the name of Christ. 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!

♬ Holy Holy Holy (VU 315)
♬ Praise our Maker, Peoples of One Family (VU 316)
♬ Let Us Sing (Linda Fletcher)
♬ Jesus, Come to our Hearts (VU 324)
♬ The Closing Prayer (D. Besig)


In case you missed it…

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