September 26, 2021 – Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
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 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 100.
“Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come into God’s presence with singing!
For the Lord is a gracious God,
whose mercy is everlasting; and whose faithfulness endures to all generations.”
Hymn (Book of Praise) 670 – “Amazing Grace”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
We gather together in your name. Abide with us — as we seek your will for our lives.
Creator, Christ, and Spirit; When we hunger for fulfillment: you are our bread, you are our sustenance, you are the one who meets all of our needs. When we desire what is true and enduring: you alone are truth, you alone are the one who was, who is, and who shall be. Holy One, you are our hunger filled, and you are our desire fulfilled, so to you, now and forever, O God, we give your our praise.
Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, By what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us amend what we are, and direct what we shall be, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name.
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 mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are all forgiven and given a new life to celebrate.
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 26, 2021, at 12:15 AM.
Sermon text – “Transforming our stumbling blocks”
During May this year, in the middle of the pandemic, few churches fought to open their church building. I was reading an online newspaper article about a Calgary pastor who was arrested for violating public COVID 19 health restrictions. Sometimes the best part of reading an online article for me is that you get to read comments people write. There were many comments following the article about the pastor who was arrested. Some noted how upset they were with Christians, and others were unhappy with their government. There was this comment that made me think, A person wrote, “Please, dear Jesus, protect me from your followers!” I thought it was funny at first, but then I found it very sad. Sad because it is true. We as Christians don’t always represent the name of Jesus well with our own lives. We can sometimes push people away from God because of what we say and what we do. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus warns us about pushing others away from God, putting a stumbling block before others.
He does it so frankly, going to read Mark chapter 9 verse 42 to 48,
42 “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me,[b] it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; you should enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell,[c] to the unquenchable fire.[d] And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; you should enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell.[e][f] And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell,[g] 48 where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
I do not think this warning applies to a small group of people, but many of us if not all of us. Jesus speaks to me directly as well. I thought about stumbling blocks I have placed before others, some unintentionally, others intentionally. These are some of those stumbling blocks I left before others: Careless words and actions…self- righteousness and self-holiness… In the gospel of Mark chapter 9, Jesus talks about our need to control. John, one of his disciples, was distraught that someone was casting demons out using the name of Jesus without their permission. Jesus did not care less about whether they used his name or not, but whether people were healed and freed from evil spirits. But that was not the case for John and other disciples. They cared more about whether they asked for their permission and approval… I know as a pastor, we as pastors can become very particular with who does what and how it is done…and forget for who we are serving. I don’t think that is only with pastors but all of us. Our love for God and the love of God for us can quickly become our entitlement and our possessiveness of God. But we are humans. We can be understanding but also petty. We can be loving but also controlling. We can be forgiving but also merciless. The truth is as long as we are humans, we will continue to leave some stumbling blocks before others, we can try to do less, but we will continue to leave those blocks behind…
Then, so what can we do? In the gospel of Mark verses 40 to 41:
40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
I would like to highlight verse 41, For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. Yes, we can throw a stumbling block to others, but also a stepping stone to others. Yes, we can make others stumbled, but also help others to stand up and go on. I believe the good news is that we can leave far more stepping stones than stumbling blocks in our life, our words of kindness and encouragement, our actions of love and compassion, prayerful presence, and non-threatening presence. We pray that we did not always say the right thing at the right time, but people would still hear the voice of Jesus Christ through us, despite many shortcomings we carry. We believe that God transforms our stumbling blocks will turn into God’s stepping stones in God’s grace as Jesus has transformed our human death into a new life. I believe the gospel reading today invites us to look at our heart and see if Christ Jesus is whom we serve, not our need to be recognized, our need to be liked and praised. I believe our faith invites us to discern our heart each day and listen to Christ each day who reminds us when we become petty: Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
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
We bring our gifts to you with gratitude, O God. May we see you in longing faces, so that we remember where you may be found and where our responsibilities for care may lie.
Ordination and Induction of Ruling Elders
Narration of Steps
Approved, 1971 Revised, 1992, 1998.
All ministries of the Church proceed from and are sustained by the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Prophet, Priest and King, the Minister of the covenant of grace. By the operation of God’s Word and Spirit, the Church is gathered, equipped, and sent out to participate in this ministry. All members of the Church are called to share the Gospel with the world, and to offer to the Father the worship and service that are due to the Creator from the creation, through Christ, the only Mediator, until he comes again. That the Church may be continually renewed and nurtured for ministry, Christ furnishes the Church with pastors and teachers. He requires and enables the Church to discern and to confirm by ordination those whom he calls to this pastoral and teaching office. The standards of his Church he entrusts in a special degree of responsibility to their care.
The Form of Presbyterial Church Government of the Westminster Assembly reminds us that Christ has furnished some in the Church, beside the Ministers of the Word, with gifts for government and with commission to execute the same, when called thereunto, who are to join with the Minister in the government of the church, which officers reformed churches commonly call Elders.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada is bound only to Jesus Christ, the Church’s King and Head. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as the written Word of God, testifying to Christ the living Word, are the canon of all doctrine, by which Christ rules our faith and life. We acknowledge our historic continuity with the Holy Catholic Church and our doctrinal heritage in the ecumenical creeds, and the confessions of the Reformation. Our subordinate standards are the Westminster Confession of Faith as adopted in 1875 and 1889, the Declaration of Faith Concerning Church and Nation of 1954, Living Faith (Foi Vivant) as adopted in 1998, and such doctrine as the Church, in obedience to Scripture and under the promised guidance of the Holy Spirit, may yet confess in the Church’s continuing function of reformulating the faith.
What does an elder do?
- Do you believe in God the Father, made known in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom the Holy Spirit witnesses in the witnesses in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments? I do.
- Do you accept the subordinate standards of this Church, promising to uphold its doctrine under the continual illumination and correction of the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures and to be guided thereby in fostering Christian belief, worship and service among the people? I do.
- Do you accept the government of this Church by sessions, presbyteries, synods, and general assemblies, and do you promise to share in and submit yourself to all lawful oversight therein, and to follow no divisive course, but to seek the peace and unity of Christ among your people and throughout the Holy Catholic Church? I do.
- In accepting the office of Elder, do you promise to perform your duties in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, striving to build up his Church and to strengthen its mission in the world? I do.
Questions to the congregation
- Do you confess your faith in God as creator and ruler of the world, in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, and in the Holy Spirit as your inspiration and strength? We do.
- Do you receive Chris Aleong, Niki Aleong, Carolyn Ward Glasgow, Bill Holly, Christianne James, Susan Tomkins as an elder, chosen by God through the voice of this congregation to lead you in the way of Christ? We do.
- Do you agree to encourage her, to respect their decisions as they guide you, serving Jesus Christ, who alone is head of the church? We do.
The Right Hand of Fellowship
Hymn (Book of Praise): 592 “I, the Lord of sea and sky”
Go in peace to enjoy and employ your gift of faith. Fear nothing!
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 2021-10-01 14:00 – Added Sermon title.