October 3, 2021 – Nineteenth 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
God is with us, right here and now.
We open our lives to our creator.
God cares for us and gives us glory.
We open our hearts to our creator.
God appoints us keepers of the earth.
We dedicate ourselves to our creator.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Hymn (Book of Praise) 307 – “God of the sparrow, God of the whale”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
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 you our praise.
God of mercy, we confess that too often we have failed to speak and act with kindness; to care for others as we have been cared for, to welcome others as we have been welcomed, and to live as forgiven and beloved people. We remember the good not done, words not spoken, and grace not given or received.
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
Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation; the old life is fading; the new life has started to emerge. Know that you are forgiven and have the courage to forgive one another. 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, October 3, 2021, at 12:15 AM.
Sermon text – “Let’s talk about relationships”
Today we read the gospel of Mark chapter 10, which is the kind of text that makes preachers nervous, but I think it makes congregants even more nervous. Why? The text begins with the question, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” It makes people nervous because the church has not been supportive of divorce or troubled marriages for so long.
I also recognize that divorce can be a very sensitive and hurtful experience for many of us. So before we look at the text, may we remind ourselves? Our Christian responsibility is always about supporting those who are deeply struggling with their relationship and those who are deeply wounded. Our task is not about judging or blaming but supporting, listening, and praying for each other.
Let us look at verse 2,
“Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’”
I have a strong sense these Pharisees who asked this question were not married. I mean it has to be. It goes the same for Jesus. If Jesus were married, I don’t think Jesus would entertain such a question at all. If any of them were married, they could not talk about divorce in such manner. I feel that they had no clue what they were talking about. That is not how things work in real life. That is not what happens in our human life. I know that is what the Pharisees asked Jesus, but that is not an important question. I believe the question we need to consider today as we read the gospel of Mark chapter 10 is not whether it is okay to divorce or not, but how do we continue to love God, others, and to live our life the best we can each day. The question is not whether it is okay to divorce or not. How can we go on with our lives the best we can? What is the choice that brings life back to our hearts?
And as a married man, I know marriage and divorce are not that far away. What separates marriage from divorce and divorce from marriage is can be something so small. Sometimes it is one word away from each other, one argument, one hurtful word, one friend, what happens to children, one job loss or one decision or someone in the family…I will stop there.
Our life is not about whether we are married or divorced or not married, but the kind of person we become, the way we live, the way we depend on God despite our human shortcomings? How do we forgive ourselves, and how do we forgive others?
How do we celebrate our life with others and with God?
I believe what we need to think about as Christians is not whether it is okay to divorce or not, but how do we live out each day of our life despite many challenges we face in our human life journey. Our life is never about celebrating our perfection and holiness, but the God’s grace we receive.
Why can we not always love everyone the way God intends us from day one in our life?
Why can we not just understand but also misunderstand?
Why can we not just trust others but also mistrust others?
Why can we not just forgive but also hate?
Whether we are married or not, whether we are separated or not, whether we are divorced or not, we learn that in the end, we all need God’s grace, and we need to share it with others. We all need forgiveness and healing in our lives. I believe what we need to think about is not divorce or marriage, but our human life before God and the love of Jesus Christ. Whether we are married or divorced or not married, we are loved by God, and God cares about what we go through. God cries when we cry.
We need to bring every relationship before God, where we were hurt or where we hurt others with our human words and actions… times when our impatience and frustration got the worst out of us. Whether we are married, divorced, or not married, we all carry brokenness in our hearts, loneliness, fear, and deep wound. We need to bring our brokenness before God and ask God to transform our hearts today.
I believe our life is given to us as an opportunity to grow and to become. It is the process of becoming. Once again, at the end of our life, we all need to ask forgiveness and blessing from God. None of us has lived a perfect life, but a human life filled with many ups and downs. Yet through those ups and downs, we figure out who we are and who our God is, how much God loves us and how forgiving our life is.
I would like to finish today’s sermon by listening to what Henri Nouwen (from Bread for the journey), wrote, “Jesus was broken on the cross. He lived his suffering and death not as an evil to avoid at all costs but as a mission to embrace. We too are broken. We live with broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds, or broken spirits. We suffer from broken relationships. How can we live our brokenness? Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission. He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God’s blessing for our purification and sanctification. Thus, our brokenness can become a gateway to new life.”
May we ask God’s blessing and forgiveness in our hearts today? May God bless you. Amen
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. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
Loving God, be with us and place your love and peace in our world,
In countries caught up in fear, hatred, terror and bombs, come with your reconciling love; In circumstances of suspicion and distrust, new slights and old misunderstandings;
In terminated relationships where past resentments and hurts continue to sour the present; In communities that permit racist, sexist, or class structures to cripple the hopes of many; In families for which past or present abuse continues to rob people of trust and respect; Loving God, please give us the courage, sensitivity and humility to be your agents of reconciliation, neither glossing over the awkward issues nor relying on our own strength. Through Christ Jesus your supreme gift of reconciliation. Amen!
Hymn (Book of Praise): 763 “To show by touch and word”
Go in peace to enjoy and employ your gift of faith.
Our help is in the name of God who made heaven and earth.
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 – First Version.