Virtual Service – October 17, 2021

8:30 am

October 17, 2021

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 (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

• Walton Church is opening its doors for in-person worship on Sunday, October 24th! Two identical services will be held at 9:30 and 11:00 am each week, along with a virtual service for those who prefer it. Please carefully review our Return to Church Guidelines as in-person services will be quite different than before Covid. You MUST register in advance each week by phone, email, or online.  Watch your inbox this evening for a very important email containing all the information you need on how to register.
•  Grief support group – Walton United Church and other area churches are sponsoring a grief support group beginning Wednesday, October 27th, running for 6 weeks – December. 1, 2021 + one follow-up session January, 5th, 2022,  7:00 pm to 8:30 pm online by Zoom. This education and support group is designed for those who are dealing with the death of a loved one.  We will explore various aspects of grief — how grief affects our emotions, behaviours, body, mind and spirit — from a faith-based perspective. We will look at ways to work through our grief, making suggested adjustments and helping participants find ways to find hope and a future in meaningful ways. The course is based on materials by Dr. Bill Webster, Centre for the Grief Journey. The cost per participant for the course materials is $20.00. Please contact Maeva Donaldson at 905-845-7454 or maeva.k.d@hotmail.com for more information or to register.
Leadership – The Rev. Dr. Deborah Hart, Minister of Deer Park United Church in Toronto, who has been facilitating grief support groups for over 25 years.
Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. What’s rule #2 of the Ten Commandments? God is our Bible Idol!
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.

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.

Information about Opening and Registration

Welcome

J:  Val, I’m hungry!V:  You are hungry?
J: Every time I come to Lowville Park, I get hungry.
V:  Sitting at a picnic table makes you hungry?
J: Well, it makes me think of the Sunday School picnics we held here for years.
V:  You’re right, and we are at Lowville Park today and welcome to Walton’s virtual service. Yes, we used to have our picnics at Lowville for many years.
J:  I’ll never forget, I tried to play Moses at one picnic. I came down the river behind us in a rubber raft, and I got stuck. I had to be rescued.
V:  Yes, a memorable church picnic!
J:  Something I like to do on the way up is to stop at a wonderful bakery near Guelph Line and Hwy. 5, and get some nice fresh bread and come here for a picnic, put some butter on it. It is soooo tasty.
V:  Yum, you are making me hungry now.
J:  That is the theme of the service today – bread and butter.
V:  Oh so, should I go get some bread and butter so I don’t starve to death during the service?
J: Well, you are watching it virtually, so you could have bread and butter if you would like, but we would   like you to be part of this worship.
V: Come let’s join together in the call to worship.

Call to Worship

One: From the bustle of the world and the silence of our wilderness, we pause together for worship.
Two: At times, we can be a grumbling people, quick to focus on the lack and the gaps.
One: Yet in love, God, you listen to our cries and provide for us.
Two: Impatiently, we are a searching people, craving peace and purpose.
One: And with patience, God, you offer us hope and sustain us.
Two: Help us to be a thankful people, recognizing your love for us in all its abundance.
One: Through your presence, God, you turn us towards you and nourish us.
Two: In this time of worship, let us open our hearts and be filled.

Opening Prayer

Understanding God,
Thank you for listening to us, when we gripe and complain. Thank you for watching over us, when we stumble or lose our way. Help us to recognize that you are our bread and butter. You are our daily bread and the foundation on which our lives are built. You are our evening meal and the substance with which our wilderness journey is sustained. Feed us with your care and comfort us with your peace. Fill us with your presence and shape us for your purpose. In love and thanksgiving, we proclaim that you are the Lord our God. Hallelujah, 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: “Thanksgiving every day”

I’m sitting here with a giant package of Charmin. Why? Because today’s reading reminded me of toilet paper! I know that sounds weird, but bear with me and I’ll explain. In today’s reading, God had freed the Israelites and they were really thankful…at first. But before long they were tired of wandering in the wilderness and they were grumpy. There’s no drive-thru restaurant in the wilderness and they were hungry!

God promised to provide them what they needed, and of course, he kept his promise because that’s what God does! He sent them bread from heaven and they found it scattered over the ground. Some people took just what they needed but others took as much as they could gather. Maybe they wanted to save some for another day? They didn’t trust God’s promise to provide just what they needed. And that reminded me of toilet paper.

Remember way back in the beginning of the pandemic, when we first had lockdowns and had to stay home? Some people got really worried that they wouldn’t have what they needed for two weeks at home, so they went to the grocery store and filled up their carts. And one of the things everyone was really worried about not having enough of was toilet paper. I get why…running out would NOT be a good thing. But they were so worried that they took more than they needed. WAY more. Some people bought every package of toilet paper in the store! And when others wanted to buy some, all they found were empty shelves.

It’s important to realize that what we want isn’t always what we need. Sometimes having just enough is enough. We should be happy about what we have, instead of worried or sad about what we don’t. Last week was Thanksgiving, and I bet you spent some time being thankful for all your blessings and everything you have. Hopefully, you remembered to say thank you to God on Thanksgiving. But have you done it since? We need to be thankful for what God has given us every single day. When we get too focused on things we want – maybe something we want for Christmas, or a toy that another friend has, or we worry about not having enough toilet paper – we stop feeling grateful and happy for what we do have.

Let’s remember to have Thanksgiving every day – to be thankful for what God has provided us with, and not to want more than we need.

Anthem: “Giving Hands”

 

Scripture Reading:  Exodus 16:2-18

The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.  The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt,  and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?”

And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’”

And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said,  “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”

For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’”  The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed.

Morning Message: “Bread and Butter” Gill Le Fevre

Pre-covid, for me to earn my bread-and-butter typically involved a commute to downtown Toronto. Roughly 35 minutes, bleary-eyed in the mornings, ever-grateful for a seat as I travelled through the gloomy dawn, and then worn out in the evenings, squeezed shoulder to shoulder on the platform where the regulars knew the doors should open. That, of course, was on the days when the train wasn’t unexpectedly short several carriages, which would lead to frantic jostling along the platform with hundreds of other frustrated and angry travellers, as we tried to cram into any available space that might take us home.

I never realized, until a few months into the pandemic, that on my commutes home I was actually experiencing a calming and essential transition period, as I released the worries and stress of work and realigned my attention to thoughts of home. At least that is the view of a growing number of journalists and commentators who have written in rather romantic terms about the lost benefits of the daily commute.

And while their ideas do have some merit, I can’t help but think they are idealizing our past experiences and have all too quickly forgotten about the grinding realities of most people’s journeys.

It’s easily done. When things start to go wrong for us in the present, when “right now” is the source of struggle and complaint, it’s almost inevitable that we look back to the past and start to idealize how things used to be.

Because the past has one wonderful advantage over the challenging present and looming future. We know the past. It’s familiar. We lived it. And more than that, “we know that we can get through the past.”[1]

We are not the first and we certainly won’t be the last to convince ourselves that our past was preferable to our present. A quick glance at today’s scripture shows us that.

We pick up the story of the people of Israel about a month or so after their escape from slavery in Egypt, with the dramatic events of the plagues, the Passover slaughter of the Egyptians and the crossing of the Red Sea.

They are now a free people, but with just one problem. They’re hungry. And not just a little bit, ready-for-dinner, sort of hungry. They are end-of-their tether, days without food, stomach-distorting levels of hungry. They can see their demise and question why they couldn’t have died with a full stomach rather than an empty one.

Now the Israelis are not exaggerating their situation, or overlooking a raft of blessings, but look how quickly they idealize their conditions in Egypt and forget their unrelenting suffering in slavery. Look how quickly they turn against Moses and Aaron and complain.

Crucially, look also at what they ask of God.

Nothing. Not one word. They’re angry at God for the predicament they’re in, they even wish he’d killed them in Egypt, but despite everything they’ve seen God do for them, they don’t call on him now. Not a word, not a prayer, not a hope.

Lucky for Israel that God was listening anyway, that God heard their cries and provided for them.

Well, not so much luck, but love. And more than love, grace. The forgiving love that looks out for us when we complain and argue and loves us anyway. The accepting love that reaches out for us even when we try to ignore God and push God away.

The theologian Stan Mast calls it “incomprehensible grace.”

“God gives Israel exactly what they need, even though they don’t have the faith to ask for it.”[2]

Now let’s be careful that we don’t idealize this past. That we decide that the past was when God worked miracles, but that it doesn’t happen in the present.

There’s one interpretation of these events in the desert that shows God at work to save the people of Israel through the miracle of the natural world.

As Terrence Fretheim, the Old Testament scholar, explains: In this part of the world there is “a type of plant lice [that] punctures the fruit of the tamarisk tree and excretes a substance from the juice, a yellowish-white flake. During the warmth of the day it disintegrates, but it congeals when it is cold. It has a sweet taste. Rich in carbohydrates and sugar, it [can be baked into bread] … Regarding the quails, migratory birds flying in from Africa or blown in from the Mediterranean are often exhausted enough to be caught by hand. Such gifts of God’s good creation are placed at Israel’s disposal.”[3]

Just because we can find the miraculous in the every day doesn’t make it any less miraculous.

And so too today, God provides for us, not by literally raining down gifts of sustenance or support from out of the sky, but through the God-inspired miracle of you and me and how we go about our lives in the world.

One of the main ways Walton earns our bread and butter, outside of congregational donations, is through our rental ministry, and a significant factor in our appeal to potential renters is the kitchen. For many groups and events, being able to provide refreshments, to prepare, heat and serve food, while keeping to health code standards, is a key requirement when they look for somewhere to host their event.

Our old kitchen sadly wasn’t up to the task and needed substantial, top-to-bottom modernizing. The work required looked daunting, the disruption it would cause to the church and the congregation was significant. It would have been easy for us to turn a blind eye to the limitations of the situation, to pretend that how it ‘used to be’ was just fine, but if we’d stayed tied to the past, we’d have slowly and steadily reduced a major source of Walton’s income and our ability to serve our community.

And throughout covid, despite covid and because of covid, through the God-inspired miracles of how we go about our lives in the world, we’ve just undertaken this major, transformative renovation project.

There wasn’t any disruption to the congregation because we haven’t been able to hold an in-person service with a coffee hour in many months.

There was no need to work around the presence of renters because there haven’t been bookings or events in many months.

Most incredibly of all, we haven’t needed to run a special fundraising campaign, or tap into our general funds, to pay for this work. Throughout covid, despite covid and even because of covid, through the God-inspired miracle of so many of you and your generosity, the kitchen is fully paid for.

This project that at the outset seemed so daunting and even contentious, has fallen into place. God heard our cries and provided for us. Through the “incomprehensible grace” of God’s love for us, God has given to us – transformed our circumstances – without necessarily being directly asked.

Our present reality is now a modernized, health-code compliant, fully upgraded kitchen, ready to do God’s work, whatever the circumstances and wherever that may take us. Our past now includes this wonderful example of God’s provision.

But we are not to be tied to our past, however much it is filled with God’s miracles. This past is only helpful to us if we use it to remember that we got through it with God’s love and support, and the God-inspired miracles of you and me.

We are now called forward. God calls us forward into new opportunities to serve and share God’s love.

In due course we will be called to reimagine how we share the bread and butter that accompanies our soup socials, as well as the bread and butter and gravy that trim our turkey dinner. These events, and others, might not be exactly as they were before, but with the God-inspired miracles of you and me, we’ll still be able to support and strengthen our ministries and reach out to those in need.

The wonderful thing about God working in our lives in this way is that you don’t need to be able to imagine how this looks in the future; you just need to stay open to God working in you and through you to share God’s love.

So when the cozy familiarity of the past starts to creep up on us, let’s remember that its chief appeal is that “we know that we can get through [it].” And redirect our attention to remembering that we got through it with God’s love and support, which is still with us in our present, which calls us into the future, and which will never let us go.

Thanks be to God.

[1]Desert Scribblings: September 21, 2008 – Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost (typepad.com)
[2]Exodus 16:2-15 – Center for Excellence in Preaching (cepreaching.org)
[3] Terence Fretheim, Exodus: Interpretation Commentary. Louisville KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1991, 182.

Pastoral Prayer

Listening God,

You hear the cries of our hearts and see the longing in our every day. You know what we need before we even ask. Turn us now towards you to remember your provision for us and recognize your grace in our lives.

When we are unsure of what the future holds, remind us of the direction you have already given us. Soothe us with your presence that we may grow in trust for your purpose in our lives. Guide us forward to abide in your love.

When we are uncertain that we have the strength to go on, remind us of your support and care for us. Sustain us with the peace of knowing you are with us always. Protect us from our fears.

When we are wistful, that life is not as it was, remind us of all that you have already brought us through. Comfort us with the evidence of your blessings in each day. Encourage us to step forward in faith.

Remind us, loving God, that your glory surrounds us: in the wonders of your creation, in the miracles you inspire in our lives and through our lives. Lead us forward into closer relationship with you, and bless us with the confidence to serve you and share your love, wherever that may take us.

Amen.

Stewardship Minute

Welcome to our first Stewardship Sunday.  Our theme this year is Bread and Butter so it seems appropriate that I am here in our newly renovated commercial-grade kitchen.  We have been so fortunate over the last year to be able to complete all the renovations and are now ready to host many suppers and events when we can gather safely once again.

The other amazing news about the kitchen is that the entire cost was covered through donations, undesignated memorial funds and a New Horizons for Seniors government grant. No money from our general fund was used in this renovation.  And that’s a good thing because the general fund is our “bread & butter.”  It is the staple that keeps Walton running and it relies on the generosity of our membership.  It is your givings that pay the staff, fund our ministries, and pay the bills. The kitchen is more like the jam – it’s delicious, colourful and makes it extra special, but without the bread and butter, there is nothing to put it on.

Over the last few years, we have seen an overall downward trend in contributions to the general fund and this is worrying, particularly now when we can’t hold fundraisers like our annual turkey dinner and have less income from rentals.

We know these continue to be challenging times for many, but please consider an increase to your support of the general fund this year if you are able. Thank you so much for your ongoing support. We appreciate you all and can’t wait to see you in person again.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

God blesses us in many ways, especially in the autumn season, in the colour that surrounds us,  with the jumping of the salmon in the creek behind us. We are blessed in so many ways. Now we offer our gifts, our tithes our time, our talent, to the ministry of Jesus church in the wider world.

♥ 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

Life-giving God,

The earth overflows with your abundant blessings, the miracles of your creation, and yet there are too many shortages in our world. Your love knows no bounds, your care for us is limitless, and yet there are too many who gather more than they need. Awaken us, your people, to hear the cries of those in need, and rouse us to feed the hungry in our midst. Take these gifts as our promise today to trust in your unfailing goodness. Amen.

Benediction

Go on from here and forward into this new week, trusting in the love of God to guide and support you. Open your hearts to God’s presence and your lives to God’s purpose, living each day with hope and thanksgiving. 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!

•  Working Together
•  The Song of Love
•  Pass it On
•  Count Your Blessings
•  The Closing Prayer

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, October 13, 2021