Virtual Service – September 19, 2021

8:30 am

September 19, 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

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. Our “Back to school with Jesus” series continues this week and we explore just how much God really knows. He’s the ultimate know-it-all!
Spaghetti Dinner UpdateGreetings from the Outreach Committee. We are disappointed we won’t be having our Spaghetti Dinner this September once again, but we have chosen a charity we would like to support in lieu of the event. The charity we would like to support this year is Food4Kids Halton, which currently provides weekly fresh food packages to 854 children in the Halton area. Wow, isn’t it amazing that they have been able to help so many kids during this pandemic time we are living in? If you would like to support our Spaghetti Dinner charity, you may donate online at the Walton website, drop a cheque marked ‘Food4Kids’ through the mail slot at the church (ring the bell and say hi), or post your donation to Walton United Church, 2489 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville, Ontario L6L 1H9. You can also text a dollar amount followed by “spaghetti” to 84321 to give by text. All donations will be added to your annual Walton givings and tax receipt. Thank you for your generosity, and for thinking of others in our current situation.

• 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

V: Good morning and welcome to this service today!
J: Good morning!  Val, could you give me a hand to move the piano? (Jim is holding the piano bench)
V: (surprised) To move the piano?
J:  Yes. I’m sure you can do it.
V: (reluctantly) Ok, I can try… I’m not sure I can do it by myself.
J: You can do it, Val. I believe in you. I’ll encourage you. Push the piano,  just a little harder. You can do it! Look, it’s moving. great job Val!
V: I got it! I’m glad you believed I could. Yeah, I did it! If it wasn’t for your encouragement Jim, not sure I could have done it.
J: I knew you could do it; you just needed a little encouragement.
V:  Thanks, you know what might have been easier though? If I held that little piano bench, and you moved the big, heavy piano. But, you know you are doing a great job holding that little piano bench.
J:   Thank you for that encouragement.
V:  You’re welcome. Do you know what the service is about this morning?
J:  Encouragement.
V: Yes, when we are encouraged to do something it makes it a little easier, but it also gives that little bit of power that we can do it, and we try just a little harder.
J: We can, and even if it is pushing a heavy piano across the Bronte Hall floor, we can do it. We can do it!
V: We can do it!
J:  So, come let us worship.

Call to Worship

Perhaps it’s been a tough week, with frustrating hurdles or maddening disappointments. Comfort us, Lord, with your peace, to recharge and recover. Maybe it’s been an uplifting week, with bubbling joy or heartfelt triumphs. Settle us, Lord, with faith in your presence, to reflect and give thanks. Almost certainly we face an unpredictable tomorrow. Strengthen us, Lord, with hope in your love, to meet the unknown with courage and compassion. Together let us now, in faith, hope and peace, join to worship our God.

Opening Prayer

Nurturing God,

Open our hearts to your Spirit today, to sustain us as we work and play, through our successes and our setbacks, that we might be encouraged by your love. Inspire us through your Spirit to recognize our impact on those around us whose lives we touch and the difference we can make through acts of empathy, listening and calm. Challenge us through your Spirit to answer the call of the communities we aim to serve, to support and appreciate the efforts of others creating a wave of persistence and strength. Remind us in the words of your apostle Paul to be joyful in hope, patient in trouble, and faithful in prayer. 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 – A little goes a long way – Alison

Good morning my friends. The topic of today’s sermon is encouragement, and that’s what I’d like to talk about in the youth story today too. To help illustrate just how big a difference a little encouragement can make, I’ve got a glass of plain water and a small bottle of food colouring. Let’s pretend the water represents a person, and the food colouring represents acts of encouragement.

What is an act of encouragement? It’s anything you can do or say to let someone know you support them, you believe in them and that you stand up for them. It can be as simple as cheering someone on or holding up a sign at a race. Maybe it’s giving someone a thumbs up or a smile. Or even taking the time to write someone a letter and encouraging them to keep going with whatever they are trying to do. You can help someone when they need a hand, or just let them know you’re thinking of them.

Those are all acts of encouragement, but they might seem kind of…small. They’re easy to do and they take almost no effort at all. Can one little act of encouragement really make a difference? It seems like just a drop in the bucket.

Well, let’s see what happens when we put one drop of food colouring in the glass of water. All the water is transformed! That one tiny drop had a huge effect on the water and completely changed it. It’s the same with encouragement. Just one small act from you has a huge effect on the person you are encouraging, and it can completely change them too.

Let’s say a prayer together:

Loving God, help us remember to encourage others. To support them, to cheer for them, to take the time to smile, to share with them, or to help them out when they need a hand. In that way we share the love you gave us through Jesus, and we get that love, encouragement, and support shared back to us through Jesus. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Anthem: “This Little Light of Mine”

 

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1-12, 1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

Romans 12:1-12

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Morning Message: “Two steps forward” – Gill Le Fevre

“I am sad and tired and angry, so time for Twitter!”

That was the ironic proclamation of a tweet I read last week, and while it was meant partly in jest, I fear it’s the default status of so many people posting online – especially the angry part.

It seems barely a day goes by when you don’t read of yet more hostility being amplified by online platforms. I’d love to think that this is a uniquely American problem, but events of recent weeks have demonstrated that online vitriol is thriving in Canada as well.

To take just one example, I was frustrated to read this summer of the growing pattern of online reviews being used to attack and denigrate Toronto restaurants that had indicated a level of support for Covid vaccines, whether that was by mentioning that their staff were fully vaccinated through to requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining.

The backlash each establishment experienced was immediate and fierce, with one-star reviews flooding in and rapidly harming their online reputation. These attacks are especially vicious given that hospitality is an industry which greatly depends on public reviews to grow and sustain its business. And in Ontario, this is an industry already carrying double the amount of debt, compared to small businesses in another sector, because of Covid restrictions and closures.

So much rage and hostility. So much pain and despair.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But do we just retreat into our already isolated and disconnected lives, hunker down and hope things get better?

Or do we have a role to play – a role to play as Christians – in this social reckoning? And regardless of whether we feel we can make a difference, are we perhaps simply called to try?

There is clear and direct guidance for us in the letters Paul wrote to a range of early Christian communities in the middle of the first century. A calling to act and the reassurance that we are not alone.

Paul’s letters are the earliest New Testament writings and are generally regarded as having been written between 50 and 57 CE, so roughly 20-25 years after Jesus’ crucifixion and Paul’s subsequent encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. In these years, Paul has been teaching and spreading the good news of Jesus, helping to create Christian communities around the Roman empire, which he was then to write to.

Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is generally regarded as the earliest of his letters that we have copies of, while Romans is probably the latest, so our readings today represent both the start and the end of Paul’s letter writing, where he is providing instruction and support to newly-formed communities of Christians, with specific regard to how to live according to the Christian mission. And from the outset, Paul is clear that living a Christian life puts us at odds with mainstream society.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed,” Paul wrote.

We are to let our faith shape our lives and not the demands of the world. Specifically, we are “to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is our true and proper worship.”

Paul is forthright that worshipping God is not just something we do in church or through a service, but demonstrated through how we live. Our thoughts and feelings, our actions and behaviours are all signs of our commitment to God.

And if that feels overwhelming, then it’s not intended as such, for Paul is clear that our faith is given to us from God, our purpose has been given to us from God, and that God will use our lives in all their diversity.

The theologian Sarah Bessey encourages us that when we affirm our love of God we are,: “declaring in a defiant act of faith that there is no futility, not to God’s economy, where nothing – not even our failures and our discouragement and our disillusionment – is wasted.”

So then, here we are: willing to try to commit our daily life to God, mistakes and all. Ready to fail and trust that God can use our failures nonetheless. But how are we to act?

Paul lists off a diversity of gifts and services that Christians can engage in, but if there’s one thing you remember from today, let it be the one trait the two letters both advocate. Encouragement.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”

“Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, and always strive to do what is good for each other.”

Encouragement.

This calling is at the heart of the early church as they grappled with the difficulties of living out their faith in the decades after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.

Fun fact: the word encouragement appears 29 times in the New Testament, but not once in the gospels. It is used entirely after Jesus’ life. Because Paul and the authors of the other apostolic writings recognized how vital feeling encouraged was for the first Christians if they were to endure the challenges of their world and continue to grow in faith. Vital for them and still vital today for us.

As it was for J.B. Phillips, a New Testament scholar, renowned for having produced an updated translation of the New Testament to help bring Christianity to a younger audience. But he was also plagued by recurring bouts of depression.

One day he received a letter from a lady thanking him for his translation of the New Testament. She wrote:

Time and time again, during the past ten to a dozen years, as I have used your translation in devotional reading, I have felt deep gratitude to you for the special enlightenments that touch my spirit….

I can’t explain the compulsion I feel to write to you today. I want so very much to thank you personally for the peace that your great efforts often brought me.

To her astonishment, Phillips replied,

Thank you very much for your encouraging letter. You say that you ‘can’t explain the compulsion I feel to write to you today.’ Well, I think I can!

I am myself in the middle of a depressive illness and I have noticed that the good Lord seems to arrange matters so that I get a letter such as yours at a time when I have little sense of spiritual reality and am tempted to feel that my life is pretty useless.

The power of encouragement.

A letter, a phone call, a quick text. Perhaps even an encouraging restaurant review. You can’t imagine the difference you might make.

How about a “hang in there,” “you can do it,” or “you’ve come so far.”

Take it up a level. Try “I see you,” “I support you,” “I appreciate you.”

Encouragement. Living out our faith, simply yet powerfully.

As Sarah Bessey reminds us – no, as she encourages us: Small acts of faith are still acts of faith.

Thanks be to God.

Pastoral Prayer

Encouraging God,

We pray for your help in our lives, as we seek to follow your way. We pray for strength to know and use the gifts you have blessed us with, to share your love in our communities. We pray for patience and grace as we strive to do what is good for one another and for everyone else.

Empowering God, we pray for those who serve. Encourage and support those who give of themselves to do your work, in churches, charities and communities, in large ways and small. Help us with the resources and direction to know your will and bring your healing love to those in need. Inspire us all to find acts of service that are pleasing to you.

Nurturing God, we pray for those who teach. Encourage and sustain those who work to educate others in our schools, universities and workplaces. Help us to have minds willing to learn, patience in the face of setbacks, and a commitment to growth and understanding. Inspire us all to share our experiences in ways that are pleasing to you.

Forgiving God, we pray for those who show mercy. Encourage and protect those who work to advance peace and justice in our world and in our communities. Help us to appreciate the perspectives of others, to withhold judgment, and to build bridges too often torn down by prejudice and fear. Inspire us all to show mercy and compassion in ways that are pleasing to you.

In everything we do, help us to encourage each other, that we may build up each other and our world to be a more loving place. Amen.

Anthem: “Teach Me To Dance”

 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

On their own, each of our individual offerings can seem so small – insignificant even. It can be easy to lose sight of the abundant work God empowers when we gather our giving together. So as we reflect on our offering now, remember Jesus’ teaching that no gift is too small when offering in the name of God. Let us instead give to encourage and sustain the wider community of faith at Walton and around the world. We will now receive and bless our offering.

♥ 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

Inspiring God,

We make our offering today as part of this community of faith, affirming the work our gifts can do when made together. Take these resources, we pray, to sustain and support those in need and strengthen the networks of aid so many turn to for help. Use our own gifts and personal resources to nurture and develop our Walton community to be a place of welcome, of trust and of caring. Amen.

Benediction

Go forward today to approach uncertain moments with empathy and strength; to explore unexpected encounters with welcome and grace; and to receive unforeseen opportunities with faith and gratitude. Inspire us with your love to encourage those around us and nurture the communities we are called to serve. 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!

♥ God of Creation (L Fletcher)
♥ Morning Has Broken (Voices United #409)
♥ Now Thank We All Our God (Voices United #236)
♥ Take My Life and Let It Be (Voices United #506)
♥ The Closing Prayer

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, September 15th