Worship Service for August 29, 2021

August 29, 2021 – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

graphic of a movie film reel

Whenever you see this movie reel symbol, you can click on it to view a video segment on YouTube. If you experience any difficulties, please contact our webmaster.

Message from the Rev. Helen Smith

Welcome message and Call to Worship in spoken audio by Rev. Helen Smith. Click on the triangle at left to start listening.

Dear Friends,

Welcome to this service.  As this is our swan song as Interim Moderators, thank you to all those who have helped keep our worship and service going during this vacancy, from guest preachers, to those who hand deliver the hard copies of the service, to our organist, Rachelle.  I don’t think she took any time off during these pandemic times. Thank you to our webmaster, Rob Quickert, Tidbits editor, Carolyn Ward Glasgow, Administrator, Lisa Milroy, Custodian, Wayne McDowell, Clerk of Session, Bruce Morrison, former CE co-ordinator, Laura Alary, The Care Team under the leadership of Catherine MacOdrum, Village Fair facilitators Sandra Robertson and Bonnie Horton, (who is also our Amnesty International co-ordinator), the Mission Team under the leadership of Don MacOdrum, Heart Garden gardeners Maggie Donnelly and Cindy Similas.  The list goes on.  Apologies and gratitude to any we have missed.

Rev. Helen Smith

Call to Worship

You can listen to the audio recording of the Call to Worship with Rev. Helen Smith while consulting the text below (the audio is part of the Welcome message recording above); or just use the text below.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.  The whole earth is full of God’s glory. We come into God’s presence with thanksgiving. Come, let us worship God.

Opening Hymn

Book of Praise – 478 “To Abraham and Sarah

graphic of a movie film reel
Click to listen to or sing along with the hymn at YouTube.
  • Video with on-screen words, exactly as those in the hymnbook.
  • Words (1984) by Canadian Judith Fetter (1937–). Music (1613; tune: “St. Theodulph” — a different, but still well-known tune, than in the hymnbook) by German cantor, composer and theologian Melchior Teschner (1854–1635). Words copyright © 1984 Judith Fetter; music in the public domain.

Prayers of Approach and Confession

Prayers of Approach and Confession, the Lord’s Prayer, the Pardon, and the Peace in spoken audio by the Rev. Helen Smith. Click on the triangle at left to start listening and responding.

All praise and glory be to you, O God, who surprises us every day, who is doing a new thing, who makes all things new.

We confess, O God, that we have failed to love you with all our heart, soul and mind; we have failed to love our neighbours as ourselves.  We have strayed from your ways, to follow the faulty ways of our own selfishness.  Have mercy on us. Create in us clean hears, and renew right spirits within us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation and sustain in us a willing spirit.
We pray in Jesus’ name and continue to pray as he taught, saying:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.

Assurance of Pardon

God’s mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning.  Great is God’s faithfulness.

The Peace

The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Scripture readings

Scripture readings of Joshua 5: 10–12 and John 16: 12–15 read by the Rev. Helen Smith. Click on the triangle at left to start listening.

Joshua 5: 10–12 <– these link to on-line text of the NRSV bible
John 16: 12–15

Click here for additional scripture readings from today’s lectionary. Links courtesy of the Revised Common Lectionary, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.


Edict of Induction – Rev. Chuck Moon

Edict of Induction for the Rev. Chuck Moon, read by Bruce Morrison. Click on the triangle at left to start listening.

The Presbytery of Pickering, having completed the necessary steps for the Induction of Chuck Moon, called to be minister of this congregation, notice is hereby given that the said presbytery will meet in Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church on the first day of September in the year two thousand and twenty one, at 6:45 o’clock pm, for the purpose of inducting the said Chuck Moon into the pastoral charge of the said congregation, and notice is hereby given to all concerned that if any of them have any objection to offer to the life or doctrine of the said Chuck Moon, they may repair to the presbytery, which is to meet at the time and place aforesaid, with certification that if no valid objection be then made, the presbytery shall proceed without further delay.

J P (Ian) Morrison
Clerk, Presbytery of Pickering


Sermon in spoken audio by the Rev. Helen Smith. Click on the triangle at left to start listening.

George Dawson of Dallas, the grandson of a slave, attended school for the first time at the age of 98.  What prompted him to start school, at this ripe old age?  “I was lost in a sea of words”, he explained, “and I’d like to be able to read my Bible.”

George Dawson reminds us that we are never too old to start something new. Granted, some things are more difficult to do with age, but such things are probably fewer than we think.  A friend of mine, a Roman Catholic nun, started to swim at age 70.  Another started her writing career at age 76.  I am always impressed by those who return to school and graduate from university in their 80s.  Even in the Bible we have the example of Abraham, who at age 75, was called by God to start a new life in a brand-new land.

If we are alive, we will be moving, learning, growing, changing.

“I still have many things to say to you but you cannot bear them now.”  Jesus is saying that Christian experience has no horizon.  He is telling us that the Word of God is alive, confronting us, challenging us, in the circumstances of the day.  Have you ever read, or heard read a really familiar passage of scripture, and all of a sudden, because of where you are at, a new understanding, a new message comes to you from it?  A message coming out of the particular situation in which we find ourselves?

Everything that Jesus says here points to the Christian life being precisely that, a life, a life-long growing and experiencing of different things.  He is saying to his disciples that what is being said and experienced in that upper room is not final.  What they have experienced with him over the last few years is not everything. Growing, learning, journeying in our faith goes on all through life and then through successive generations.

There is no question of the church or the individual arriving at some point in history when they possess all the necessary insight about Christian faith. Jesus is promising to call Christians to further discovery until the end of time, and to give us grace to live in our world of turmoil and ambiguity.  “When the Spirit of truth comes, the Spirit will guide you into all the truth.” We are reminded of this during this season of Pentecost, a season when we look at the gift of the Spirit to the church. There is no end to what can be discovered, learned, lived.

In our reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, the children of Israel, freed from slavery in Egypt, have been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.  Almost two generations.  It is the life they know.  For anyone 39 and under it is the only life they know.  God has brought them through, has provided water, has even provided the food, the manna, the white stuff that was on the ground every morning.  It was new every morning, so they were not to hoard it or it would rot.  There was always some there every morning, every morning that is, except the Sabbath.  They got a double portion the day before the Sabbath and it did not rot, so they did not have to gather manna in on the Sabbath.  Such is the providence of God. God’s providence adjusted to the situation. For forty years the gift of the manna kept them alive.  It was God’s generous provision for their living.

And then, one day, the manna stopped.

They are in the Promised Land.  They celebrate the Passover, and then the next day is such an auspicious occasion the writer, many years later, remembers what was on the menu.  “On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.  The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land.”

There is no doubt here that the Israelites have arrived at a time of great change.  And what do they do?  They celebrate the Passover.  They remember God’s goodness in the past, God setting them free, providing for their needs.  And they see new ways God is providing for them.  The manna stops and they eat the produce of the land.

There’s a little exercise we can do as a congregation, with the themes of the Bible.  Look at the Scriptures and think about where we are at right now.  Is it a time of exile, where we are far from home, and nothing is familiar?  It was a bit like that at the beginning of the pandemic.  Are we in a boat on rough seas and feel Jesus is sleeping in the back?  Or perhaps for Guildwood, we have been wandering in the wilderness, and while not at the promised land, (You can take these analogies too far. I am sure the Search Committee might feel like it has been 40 years in the wilderness) while not at the promised land, we are at a crossroads.  Things are changing.  The menu is changing.  Think of it as a time when the end of one blessing marks the beginning of another.  The future lies ahead, a future of new ideas, new growth, new energy, under the leadership of the Rev. Chuck Moon.  The menu is changing.  We’ve been eating manna for a while.  Actually, I never thought manna sounded all that delicious, — flaky white stuff on the ground, and there were certainly some complaints about it.  If we jump to the 21st century, there have not been many complaints over the last 23 months.  You have all been very kind, but regardless, now the menu is changing.  It changed for the children of Israel from manna to the produce of the land, the crops of the land of Canaan, the land of milk and honey, of wheat, orchards, vineyards, of rich harvests.  We look forward to even better things for Guildwood from the providence of God, under Chuck’s ministry, and that is very exciting!

When we come to the end of one set of resources, God makes available others, more suited for the time.  God gives us new messages.  Maybe we couldn’t handle it before, but now is the time for it.  God does indeed provide for God’s children.  Over and over again we need to be reminded of this truth.  For us, often when the manna runs out, we feel we are still far from the produce of the land, not just for us corporately here at Guildwood, but also personally, in our own lives.  It’s hard to summon up the courage and the faith that there is another opportunity around the corner, a solution to the problem we are facing, a new job, a resolution of a broken relationship, a finding of inner peace, a response to this illness. On a global scale, as I work on this sermon, I think of Afghanistan and the turmoil there, of the earthquake in Haiti and the devastation there.

We don’t have the advantage of seeing the future.  We walk by faith, by hope and not by sight.  And, as the Psalmist writes in the 59th Psalm, “My God in his loving kindness will meet me at every corner.”

When the manna stops, it is no longer needed.  There is new food, food that is appropriate to the situation.

George Dawson started school at the age of 98.  We live in a time of rapid change, mobility, changing neighbourhoods, information overload, economic disparity.  There are changes in the church, new words for God, changes in mission strategies, in worship, in leadership, in buildings, in music.  New things are happening.

As the children of Israel celebrated the Passover, we remember the goodness of God in the past.  We give thanks for those much-loved ministers who have led Guildwood in the past.  And then we get ready to eat something different, to move forward in the knowledge that God provides for us what we need.  We remember and give thanks and remind ourselves and each other of God’s presence with us and provision for us, appropriate for the situations in which we find ourselves.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”

The children of Israel celebrated the Passover and then, on the next day, on the day the manna stopped, they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year. And it was delicious.


Musical Meditation

The musical meditation will be captured live at the service on August 29 and added to this virtual version afterwards.


We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.

Prayers of Dedication, Thanksgiving and Hope

Prayers of Dedication, Thanksgiving and Hope in spoken audio by the Rev. Helen Smith. Click on the triangle at left to start listening and responding.

Great, giving God, accept our gifts, bless them, multiply them, that your love, your healing presence, your grace will be known here in our church community, and beyond to the community which is this earth.

Loving God, for long, warm, bright summer days, the change that is in the air, the knowledge that you are faithful no matter what, for your constant provision of food for body and food for soul, the warmth of our homes and the warmth of your love, for your church, we give you thanks.  For the sure and certain hope that regardless of what is happening now, you are carrying us forward into the future, we thank you.  For new life, now and forever through Jesus Christ, we give you thanks.

God we pledge again to serve you and in that service we bring before you the concerns that weigh heavy on our hearts.  We pray for the people of Afghanistan, facing such turmoil in their country.  We pray for the people of Haiti, once again victims of disaster. We pray for all refugees, all without a home.  Help us to do what we can for them.  We pray that governments, including our own, will be guided by your word and led by your Spirit.  During this election campaign, give us wisdom to listen for your voice.  Help us to hold the party platforms up to the illumination of the Holy Spirit.   We pray for your Church — help it to be faithful, attentive to your word, ready to hear and obey.

As we go through a time of transition we pray for our congregation, for the Session as it leads us in our mission and ministry, for the Rev. Chuck Moon, who this week will begin his ministry among us.  Gracious God, you are always faithful, giving us what we need, guiding us with new insights.  Keep us open to your leading.

We pray for healing, O God, for those ill of body, mind or heart.  For those who mourn, we ask a special blessing.  Use us, in whatever way you can, in your healing work.

God who is love, keep us faithful and active in your church.  Send us out into the world to share your love and justice.

We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Closing Hymn

Book of Praise – 472 “We are God’s People

graphic of a movie film reel
Click to listen to or sing along with the hymn at YouTube.
  • Video with on-screen words, with some differences from those in the hymnbook.
  • Words (1976) by Anglo-American minister and composer Bryan Jeffery Leech (1931–2015). Music (1877; tune: “Symphony”) by German composer Johannes Brahms (1833–1897). Words copyright © 1976 Fred Bock Music Company; music in the public domain.
  • This recording made January 24, 2016 at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, California.


Benediction in spoken audio by the Rev. Helen Smith. Click on the triangle at left to start listening.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Choral Amen

graphic of a movie film reel
Click to listen to the Choral Amen at YouTube.
  • “Go Now in Peace”. Words by American educator, lyricist and composer Don Besig (1936–) and American lyricist Nancy Price (1958–). Music by Don Besig. Words and music copyright © 1988 Harold Flammer Music, a division of Shawnee Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
  • Performed by Rachelle Risling (keyboard) and the GCPC Senior Choir. Audio and video production by Rachelle Risling.
  • Audio and video recording copyright © 2021 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church.

Copyright © 2021 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church

Last updated on 2021-08-28 19:05 – First version.