Virtual Service – November 28, 2021

2:00 pm

November 28, 2021

Virtual Service - Recorded at 9:30am

Welcome to virtual church!

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.

Sunday Service Video

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.

 

Announcements

Our White Gift Service is next Sunday, December 5th, 2021. If you are able, we ask that you bring a new, unwrapped or white wrapped gift to church that morning, or deliver one to the office during the week prior. If you are not able to deliver in person, please contact the church office to arrange pick up by a member of the outreach committee. Some suggestions for suitable gifts are listed on the website at Wesley.ca/holiday-assistance-program but are not limiting. Note: Wesley requests no stuffed animals or toy guns, please. Wesley Urban Ministries in Hamilton, where many of our donations traditionally go to the “No-Cost Christmas Store” are preparing holiday hampers for their registered families, as there can be no shopping whilst Covid restrictions apply.  They will also be delivered to shut-ins.  Should you wish to give a monetary gift to Wesley through your givings account at Walton, we will send a joint cheque so that money can be spent where needed. We also donate on your behalf to the Kerr Street Mission in Oakville.  KSM has kept many families going through our pandemic/loss of income. Gift cards to grocery stores or superstores are most appreciated, allowing many families to have that special Christmas. Thank you so much in advance from your Outreach Committee, and from the many recipients.
• Christmas Benevolent Fund memorials- Benevolent FundEveryone has the opportunity of making a special memorial gift to Walton at Christmastime, in memory of a loved one, friend or family member.
You are invited to make your memorial gift:
By credit/debit card through the website by clicking here
By texting a dollar amount followed by the word “Christmas” to 84321. Please also email your dedication message to stuart@waltonmemorial.com
By cash/cheque through the church office — remember to attach your dedication message.
These memorial donations will be dedicated at a special time in the worship service on Sunday, December 19th, 2021. This list will also be emailed out after Christmas. In order for your donation to be included in the Christmas dedication, it must be received by Friday, December 17th, 2021.
All Christmas memorial donations will go to the Benevolent Fund, which is a confidential fund, managed by Rev. Gill with help from other staff, to help people in need due to illness, unemployment, or some unexpected accident, setback or tragedy.  Every year it helps people in the congregation in need through financial and material assistance, it also helps those in the community and occasional transients who stop by the church looking for assistance.
All donations to the Benevolent Fund receive a tax receipt.
• Walton’s 2022 givings envelopes Offering Envelope @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontarioare now available for pickup.  You are invited to drop by the church and ring the doorbell and we will bring your box out to you during the week. On Sunday mornings, you may notice your givings box is sitting in your assigned pew. Yes, if your name is on the top, those are for you.
ThePrayer Box has returned to our worship services. You are invited to drop your prayer into the Prayer Box on your way into service, it is on the table as you enter the Sanctuary.  Each week the box filled with prayers will be brought forward with the offering plate and placed on the Communion table, and then will be passed onto the prayer chain. Of course, you can always call the church or email any prayer request you may have through the church office any day of the week as we did through our Covid closure.
• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. The Advent countdown to Christmas begins today!
• Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayer 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.

Honouring the Land and Territory

Halton Region, as we know it today, is rich in the history and modern traditions of many First Nations and the Métis. From the lands of the Anishinabe to the Attawandaron, the Haudenosaunee, and the Métis, these lands surrounding the Great Lakes are steeped in Indigenous history. 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

Val: Today is such an exciting day!  It is the start of Advent and I brought you a treat. And in Advent we can start singing Christmas carols!

Jim:No Val, we can’t sing in church. It gives off aerosols and we aren’t allowed to do that yet.  You can hum along under your mask but your mouth needs to be closed.

Val;Oh no, that is going to be tough for me.  But if I want to have everyone safe, I guess that is how it is. I’ll be humming along to Joy to the World.

Val:Here is the treat I brought you!

Jim:Sorry Val, I don’t eat chocolate.

Val:What? You don’t eat chocolate? Oh yeah, but Jim you do that all year long.  It is Advent;, we do lots of things in Advent we don’t usually do throughout the year. Sing carols, ok hum carols, buy poinsettias, have a Christmas devotional each day. Eat an Advent calendar.

Jim:You are right,  Advent is very special. By the way, I see by your chocolate advent calendar in the office, tomorrow is Christmas!!

Val:Ha, ha…. I had some help….

Jim:Church mice?

Val:Advent is not for you alone. It is the gift of giving, more then the gift of receiving.  Advent allows us to prepare our hearts and our minds for the coming of that little baby Jesus, each year.

Jim:You know we can’t do that alone.

Val:  What do you mean?

Jim: The shepherds went all together, a multitude of angels, and even the wisemen were a trio.

Val:So let’s start our journey to the manger today together. Let’s count down together  our Chrismon tree lighting..  Ten

Jim: Nine

Lighting of the Chrismon Tree

Duet: “O Come Emmanuel”

Call to Worship

One:“What’s this Advent all about?
All:It’s about waiting.
One:Waiting for what?
All:Waiting for the Christ Child.
One: But wasn’t he born a long time ago?
All:Yes! But we wait for him to be born again, in our hearts, in our minds, and in our actions.
One:But how?
All:When we speak words of peace.  When we live lives of justice.  When we work for hope and joy. When we worship God. Then the Christ child lives in us.
One:In all of us?
All:In all of us!
One:Alleluia!
All:Alleluia, Amen.
(Richard Bott, The Gathering Advent 2015)

Opening Prayer

All: Ever-faithful God, once again we begin our hopeful journey to Bethlehem.
We reflect back over many years, our own, as well as those of our ancestors.
We seek peace, we seek joy, we seek love;
But we are not always able to find them.
Today, as we begin the waiting time of Advent, we pray that your Spirit will fill us with the confident expectation that your promises will be fulfilled.
Help us, as Advent people, to do our part in bringing hope, peace, joy and love to your struggling world. Equip us and fill us with your hope, love and understanding, that we can make a difference.  Amen.
(adapted Fern Gibbard, The Gathering A/C/E/ 2019)

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.

Advent Candlelighting

One: Today we light a candle of hope.
This is the hope we search for:
Two: Hope found in times of a new beginning.
Three: Hope for the coming of Jesus is clearly ahead of us.
Four: Hope found in the time of getting ready.
One: Hope reflected in the smiles on our faces as we prepare and anticipate celebration.
Two:Hope found in a time for thinking things over.
Three:Hope woven as we plan our Christmas carefully.
Four:Hope found in the coming of Jesus.
One:Hope calling us to give generously and share freely.
(The first candle is lit.)
Two: This is the candle of hope, hope for which we search.
Three:In its glow, the powerless, the downhearted, and the poor will take courage.
Four:    And we will take courage, too.  Amen.
(Author unknown)

Hymn: “Hope Is A Star”

Hope is a star that shines in the night,
Leading us on till the morning is bright.
When God is a child there’s joy in our song.
The last shall be first and the weak shall be strong, and none shall be afraid.

Youth Story:  “Who’s First?”

Val: You know the kids in Sunday School downstairs are having a great time right now looking for a special part of the Christmas story to put in the stable as we start our Sunday School lessons for Advent.

Jim:  So you are putting Mary in the stable first right?

Val:  I guess traditionally in telling the Christmas story, Mary would be the first person added to the stable. But in Sunday School today we are talking about the donkey.

Jim: The donkey?

Val: Yes, the donkey, for if it wasn’t for the donkey how would Mary ever have gotten to Bethlehem? With Mary being so pregnant, there is no way she could have walked all that way; she couldn’t have done it alone. If it weren’t for the donkey carrying them, Mary and the baby Jesus would never have made it safely to Bethlehem.

Jim:  You are so right, I never thought of it that way before.

Val:   Isn’t that the way God looks after us too? God steps into the tough times of our lives and carries us when things are too hard to do on our own.  Sometimes he sends other people, or furry donkeys to help us. Yes, the donkey was very important in the Christmas story. Each character in the story is all part of God’s plan to come to Earth as the little baby Jesus. So, let’s add the donkey and Mary to the stable this morning and let us continue our advent journey to the stable.

Jim:   Can we say a word of prayer:  Loving God, we thank you for the many blessings you set before us to help us journey closer to you through this Advent time. We give thanks for the donkey and for Mary, as we tell the Christmas story each week. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture Reading:  Luke 2: 1-6,  Luke 2: 38-40

The Birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered.

Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Return to Nazareth

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

Morning Message:  “Which Nativity Character are you?” #1 –  NazarethRev. Jim

How do you tell a well-known story from a new point of view? For example, the Nativity story. We know the basic story. It is retold each Advent and Christmas. A number of years ago I read to children the Nativity story told from the point of view of a cow in the Bethlehem manger. So this year, based on that idea, our Advent-Christmas series of messages is called, “What Nativity Character are you?” Think about it. The choices are not limited to people, but can be animals, places, and objects too. Let your imagination wander.

Some of you might want to be the huge star in the sky or the gold, frankincense, or myrrh. What about the sheep in the fields the shepherds were keeping watch over at night, or even the inn door? For this Advent 1 message, I chose Nazareth, for it always plays second fiddle to Bethlehem. It gets the silver medal to Bethlehem’s gold. Ever feel like that in life? In the World Series beaten 4 games to 3 in the bottom of the ninth?

There are various scholarly understandings of the name Nazareth that hold significance to us, I feel, in this Advent 2021. “Nazareth” is derived from one of the Hebrew words for “branch,” and alludes to the prophetic words in the Book of Isaiah 11:1, “from (Jesse’s) roots a Branch will bear fruit.”

We do know that Jesus is from the line of David. Luke 2:4 says, “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.” Again, Bethlehem takes the gold, if you will.

Alternatively, Nazareth may be an example of a tribal name used by resettling groups on their return from exile. We understand that in our times. So many refugees from political, social and religious persecution, along with refugees from the growing affects of climate change. Nazareth’s most famous citizen certainly welcomes all today returning from exile, both literally and figuratively. “Come unto me all you,” Jesus says.

Of course we recall how Mary, Joseph and Jesus were in exiles in Egypt where they went as refugees to escape King Herod’s genocide. Seems most appropriate that Nazareth with it’s name is such a place of refuge. I think the character of Nazareth is more and more appealing as a character of Advent. What about you?

As well, the name Nazareth may derive from the words for “watch, guard, keep,” or understood in the sense of “watchtower” or “guard place.” There is the implication that the early town of Nazarene was perched on or near the brow of the hill, which certainly is the case for the geographic placement of the current town of Nazareth. It may well be the passive sense of the Hebrew roots of the word Nazareth as “preserved, protected” in reference to its secluded position. All this makes me think of Jesus becoming the protector. “What a friend we have in Jesus, our sins and griefs to bear” comes to mind.

It is rather appropriate this Nativity story starts in Nazareth. These last 20 months we have sought protection and refuge. We have been on guard whenever leaving our homes. We are always watching the media for the best ways to be careful and be protected.

In Luke’s Gospel, Nazareth is first described as “a town of Galilee” and home of Mary (Luke 1:26). Following the birth and early years’ events of Chapter 2 in Luke’s Gospel, Mary, Joseph and Jesus eventually, “returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.”

The phrase “Jesus of Nazareth” appears seventeen times in English translations of the New Testament. It is like being called Betty of Burlington, Grant of Grimsby, Orville of Oakville, Harriet of Hamilton, Marianne of Milton and so on. But being the hometown boy was not always easy for Jesus. You recall Jesus was rejected in Nazareth when he read from the sacred word. So Jesus went on and performed his first miracle at Cana at the wedding feast. You see, the people in Nazareth could not conceive that the long-awaited Messiah was the son of Mary and the carpenter Joseph rather than a child of some great palace somewhere.

In Jesus’ time Nazareth was known as a Roman garrison town. It had a reputation, we might say. Like years ago Bronte had a reputation compared to Oakville. In fact, we read in scripture the phrase: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Have any of you ever been judged by where you came from or who your family were? We see here prejudice and maybe even classism, if not racism. When I visited both present-day Nazareth and Bethlehem neither were what I expected. In fact they flipped what I thought they would be like. Nazareth was like the Bethlehem I had in my mind and Bethlehem was like the Nazareth I had in my mind. I could have stayed in Nazareth much longer than my visit. Bethlehem I just wanted to get out of asap. Of course, lots of that has to do with the history of the area since the first Nativity. The only site in Nazareth that can be identified as dating back to New Testament times is the town well, now called St. Mary’s Well. I found it a profoundly spiritual place of living waters.

So as we begin Advent 2021, may the Nativity character of Nazareth on this Advent 1 Sunday challenge us all in our preconceptions and biases in life. The silver medal should not be discarded for the gold. People are not defined by where they came from or who their family was. God worked incredible wonders and fulfilled God’s will in both Nazareth and in Bethlehem. Just like God can do here today, or wherever you are worshipping with us virtually.

Sacrament of Holy Communion

Invitation

Here is bread – Good News for the world with a headline that says:
let all who are hungry for justice come and eat.
Here is wine – Good News for all who long with a headline that says:
let all who thirst for righteousness come and drink.
Here is the table – Good News for all who are lost with a headline that says:
all who are weary come and gather here.
Here is community – Good News for all whom the world ignores with a headline that says:
behold I make all things new come and be renewed.
Here is Jesus – Good News for all who wait with a headline that says:
I have come that all may have life come and live life fully.
(written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws.)

Prayer of Confession

Holy God, Open our eyes to the presence of your Spirit upon us, within us, among us.
For our apathy in the presence of oppression,
All: Forgive us.

If we have contributed to the brokenheartedness of anyone,
All: Forgive us.

For our participation in systems that enslave,
All: Forgive us.

When we are deaf to your good news,
All: Have mercy and open our ears.

When our mouths remain too tightly closed,
All: Loosen our lips with songs of praise.

Hear our prayer, O God, and forgive our sins.
All: Hold us in your mercy, now and forever.  Amen.
(Author unknown)

Consecration of Elements

We thank you Father, that on the night before he died, Jesus took bread, and when he had given you thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying,

‘Take, and eat. This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

After the meal, he took the cup, and again giving you thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying,

‘Drink from 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.’

Therefore Father, we thank you for these gifts of bread and wine, and pray that we who eat and drink them, believing our Saviour’s word, may share his body and blood. Amen.

(Australian Prayer Book)

Prayer after Communion

All: God our Father, you fill the hungry with good things and send the self-satisfied away empty.
In this eucharist, you have filled us with the word and the bread of life of your Son Jesus Christ.
Make us hunger now for his coming in the hearts and the homes of all. Fill us with his spirit of service and self-forgetting love, that through us, he may become near to people. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
(adapted Liturgies Alive, Models of Celebration)

Anthem:   “Once In Royal David’s City”

 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

We live in a world of hope. We hope it is sunny tomorrow; we hope that our tests come back negative; we hope that this covid pandemic will end. God gives us hope in everything we do. We respond with thanksgiving.

♥  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 Prayer

One:  For all that we are –
All:    Thank you, God of hope.
One    For all that we have –
All:    Thank you, God of hope.
One:   For all that we are becoming-
All:     Thank you, God of hope.
One:   Now. Forever.
All:    Thank you God of hope! Amen.
(Richard Bott, The Gathering A/C/E/2019)

Benediction

One: If you choose, you can be instruments of hope in the world.
All: We so choose, so we go to spread the hope and promise of a coming child.
One: If you choose, you can counter the voices of anxiety and despair in the world.
All: We so choose, so we sing songs of hope because the world can be changed
One: If you choose, you can fight against the fear that freezes the hearts of many.
All: We so choose, so we will tell of the love that conquers fear, the love of a child in a manger. The choice is ours to make, how we live into the possibilities of Christmas, the beauty is that we do not live out the choice by our own strength.
One:Go with God, who feeds our hopes and quiets our fears always and everywhere.
Amen.
(by Rev. Gord on his blog, Worship Offerings. http://worshipofferings.blogspot.ca/)


In case you missed it…

Here is the mid-week update for Wednesday, November 24th