September 19, 2021 – Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
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Message from the Webmaster
We welcome the Rev. Chuck Moon to his third virtual worship service at Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church. With a new minister comes a new approach: Rev. Moon has recorded a video of a message, the scripture passage and his sermon which you will find linked below.
– Your webmaster
Call to Worship
Today’s call to worship comes from Psalm 103.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Hymn (Book of Praise) 626 – “Lord of all power”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of all creation, you have opened the world around us and filled it with purpose. We pray that our work will honour your intention and your teaching. May our relationships reveal your love and compassion. So may we praise you, O God, not just in this hour of worship but in all the hours you grant us, as we follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Friend.
God of all creation, you have opened the world around us and filled it with wonder, but we confess our eyes are not always open to its harsher realities. Our ears are sometimes deaf to cries of need. Our minds are often shut to opinions which differ from our own. Forgive us when we seek greatness instead of goodness. Forgive us when we miss the wisdom you intend us to embrace.
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.
Declaration of Pardon
The prophet Micah reminds us that God requires of us three things: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.
To all who truly repent and seek reconciliation with God and neighbour in kindness and humility, God offers forgiveness and peace. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. We are forgiven by God’s grace, thanks be to God.
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Message, scripture reading and sermon video
The video will become available on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at 12:15 AM.
I will never forget what happened and whom I met on Friday, August 6th. It was the day of moving and unpacking, moving from Port Elgin to the GTA after 15 years. Six members of the congregation, including two beautiful children, came to our apartment to greet our family and to welcome us. My family and I were very grateful and even overwhelmed by such a kind and generous welcoming. Your welcoming made our transition much more manageable. When you are in a new environment, you go through many different emotions, excitement, nervousness, worries, and even fear. But knowing some people are thinking of you reminded us that we are not alone, which has brought a sense of peace and comfort. I want to thank every member of the congregation.
In the gospel of Mark, Jesus emphasizes the importance of welcoming others (Verse 37):
“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
Yes, it is important to worship God; it is essential to serve God with our talents, resources, and time, but so is welcoming everyone as God’s children. Welcoming everyone in the name of Christ matters to God and it matters to our faith. However, welcoming everyone does not mean we are to please everyone or agree with everything everyone does. Yes, there are times we have to say, “It is not working.” “No, it is not okay.” Yet, our welcoming helps our difference not turn into hatred but into willingness and openness, allowing us to continue our dialogue. “It is not working; we want to talk when we are ready again.”
Welcoming everyone with the name of Christ is a lot more powerful than we think.
Whether we go into a grocery store, go to a restaurant, go for a walk or go home after a long day at work, people we meet, how they receive us can make a difference in our lives. Welcoming does not cost us money. It may start with a simple smile or saying, “Hi, How are you?”. Although our welcoming does not or should not end with “How are you?”, you never know what our small welcoming can do for others. Welcoming requires us to look at people in front of us as one of us.
In a way, it is very sad that Jesus has to teach us to welcome others and that we have to learn to welcome others. Why do we need to know to treat others as one of us? Because that is not how our world has been teaching us.
Unfortunately, we know our world is not always a welcoming place.
We are all aware of many different forms of human hatred and fear that have been separating one from another in our human history: racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, Islamophobia and so on. I am not sure why there is so much hatred in the world. I am not why our skin color bothers some people. And why does a different last name or a different accent bother some people so much.
Perhaps some of us feel better about ourselves by putting others down.
Perhaps such hatred comes from our insecurity or our own need to be better than others. We may not fully understand there is so much hatred and fear in this world, but we also understand there are so many kinds and welcoming people in our life. Many of our mothers and fathers welcomed us into their lives. Although I know that is not always the case, we can continue our life today because we have people who deeply care about us and who welcome us into their lives. We may not fully understand why there is so much hatred and fear in our world, but I believe we know how to shine God’s light into darkness.
According to Jesus, when we welcome others, not only we welcome them, we also reveal the life of Jesus Christ by welcoming a child of God. It is a great homework for many Christian churches. Because sometimes church is not the most welcoming place. We are too quick to offer judgment but slow to offer welcoming at times. Church has always been both the welcoming and the unwelcoming place throughout church history. The church sometimes forgets the church is a place for sinners, and it needs to offer God’s forgiveness, Unfortunately, sometimes church becomes a place for self-righteousness. I believe the church is called to become God’s welcoming to people who never experienced welcoming in their lives.
I have seen and been to many churches and organizations talk about welcoming everyone, but not welcoming. Of course, I have seen and been to many churches that do what they preach. Welcoming might not cost us any money, but there is a steep price to be paid. It is easy to talk about welcoming, but it is more challenging to stand up and name when people are not accepted.
We are to welcome others, not because they can offer something valuable to us, but because that is what God asks us to do. I know I can do a far better job welcoming others, and probably all of us can do a better job. It matters to God, and it matters to our faith.
Here is what Jesus said once again, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” You never know what our small and simple welcoming can do to other people…
We may even encounter the risen Christ in our welcoming.
We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at 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.
Prayer of dedication
Gracious Giver of gifts that make us who we are, we offer back to you the person we are becoming as we discover more and more about each other and about ourselves. Receive our gift, offered as one, blended from many stories, which was always yours and is now returned to you. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of all people and places and situations, we come to you in prayer seeking your strength, your peace, your direction, and to hear your wisdom. You bring us strength and courage when we are anxious or afraid. You provide wisdom and direction when we face choices and challenges. Thank you for your faithfulness to us. In this time of prayer, enlarge our love and sharpen our vision so that we may serve the well-being of the world you love more faithfully.
We pray for those who dwell on the margins of the economy, facing the challenges of unemployment or financial insecurity in these days of transition.
We pray for all those facing famine and drought this year, and for those who have lost everything through fire, storm, or pandemic. Bring support to those people and agencies who work to alleviate suffering and help them rebuild lives and communities.
We give you thanks for those who work for peace and mercy in a world divided by bitter conflicts, and for those who keep peace and lead negotiations in international disputes. Give them courage and perseverance.
We remember those who face violence, persecution, or discrimination daily, and pray for all whose lives are marked by danger or upheaval. Send your Spirit to protect the vulnerable and shame the vicious so that justice and well-being will prevail.
We pray for teachers, students, educational administrators and support staff as another school year begins. Thank you for the gifts of education, for insight into this ever-changing world and the ability to distinguish truth from error. Grant those in education this year mutual respect and commitment to the shared venture of learning. Help each of us bring the benefits of our education to our life of faith and give us all a teachable spirit.
We pray for all those anywhere who struggle with pain or illness, disability or daunting diagnosis. Stay by their side. Be with those who face death this day, and those who weep for loved ones who have died. Unite us in love, whatever we are facing, and grant us the peace and hope you have promised us in Christ Jesus. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Hymn (Book of Praise): 632 “Help us accept each other”
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN.
- “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 2021-09-17 17:25 – First Version.