October 17, 2021 – Twenty-first 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, portions of the scripture passage and his sermon which you will find linked below.
– Your webmaster
Call to Worship
(taken from Psalm 91: 14–15)
One: Those who love me, I will deliver;
Many: I will protect those who know my name.
One: When they call to me, I will answer them;
All: I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Hymn (Book of Praise) 746 – “What a friend we have in Jesus”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
O God, we know that we cannot demand your presence here. You come as gift to us and we wait in faith to know you more deeply. We pray that your Spirit will invite in us a greater truth and love within our life together and in your world.
Forgive us, O God, when we believe that we are better than others.
Forgive us, O God, when we believe we can control your love for us and for others.
Forgive us, O God, when we forget we need you in our life.
Have mercy on us in this hour of prayer. Remind us that we all need your grace.
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
In Jesus Christ, our sin is forgiven. Be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another. (We are forgiven)
Thanks be to God.
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Fun with the young at heart (Children’s story)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
Message, portions of the scripture reading and sermon video
The video will become available on Sunday, October 17, 2021, at 12:15 AM.
Sermon text – “Our life is an opportunity to serve”
In the gospel of Mark, James and John ask Jesus, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus responds to them by saying, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” I wonder it is not just James and John who need to hear Jesus but all of us. Not just those who go out to the hospital protesting antivaccine, but many of us, if not all of us, need to hear Jesus. “You do not know what you are asking?” Because at times, we don’t know what we are asking and what goes behind what we are asking for. It is like growing up when we were asked, “What do you want to do for your life?” Almost everyone said they wanted to be a doctor or a teacher or a hockey player…. Although if we ask kids today, many of them would say, “Youtuber.” However, not everyone becomes what they want to become, because sometimes what they want to do is not the same as what we are good at, other times we don’t do the things that we need to do to earn what we want.
In the gospel of Mark today, James and John asked Jesus for more power and authority. Thinking more power and authority would bring them happiness or could fix problems in their lives. Yet, Jesus reminded them that Jesus does not offer the kind of power or the authority they were asking for, neither was that not what they needed. Jesus reminded them that is what Rome did: they colonized Israelites and many other nations with their power and authority. That is how Rome has created their peace: By silencing others with their power, by dominating others with their authority. Even today, we still hear the same message, “Dominate, control and overpower others….” It is not so different from what we hear in our world today. We are constantly being told that we need to have this and that we need to have more than others, we need to buy more than others, we need to know more than them….That is how you find peace and happiness. Except, that is not what Jesus was teaching them and us…. The way of Christ is very different from the conventional wisdom of the world. Verses from 42 to 45,
42 So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Our true happiness does not come when we overpower others but when we serve others. We experience Christ when we serve others with humility and inner strength, not when we dominate others with our external power. To serve others does not mean we allow others to take advantage of us. It does not mean we allow others to dominate us or others. It does not mean we should remain silent when we need to speak out. However, I believe it means we are to depend on the power of God that can be found in our human hearts. I believe that it is about approaching our life as an opportunity to serve something more than serving our selfish interests. It is about experiencing God, who offers far more blessings than what we seek. The external power we seek tends to isolate us from others, but our willingness to serve, humility, and inner strength tend to welcome and bring ourselves closer to others and even to God.
I like how Jewish Rabbi [Abraham Joshua] Heschel’s understanding of what our life is about. He believes “Life is a mandate, not the enjoyment of annuity, a task, not a game, a command, not a favor.” “It is a flow of opportunity for service, every experience giving the clue to a new duty, so that all that enters life is for him a means of showing renewed devotion.” (“Man is not alone”, page 294)
May we experience the risen Christ this week by serving others in the name of Jesus Christ. The others we can serve are not always on the opposite side of the world. They can be our children, parents, neighbors, and strangers around our corner.
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
Great and gracious God, we offer you these gifts, small tokens of our love for you. Bless them with the power of your Holy Spirit so they may accomplish more than we can even imagine, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our Friend. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of each and every life, You open our eyes on the world you love to show us your presence and your purpose in all creation. We thank you for the wonders of the seasons as they change, and for gifts of love and compassion you offer us through friend and stranger. We pray for the earth as it struggles to support your many creatures. Make us better stewards in creation, and kinder neighbours to both friend and stranger.
God of justice, You open our eyes on the world to show us struggle and conflict. We see the burdens many are carrying, and the way differences create division. We pray for all those still struggling with the economic impact of the pandemic and for those feeling the stress of these days in deeply personal ways. Show us how to support those in difficulty and mend relationships in our community.
God of compassion, You open our eyes on the world to show us suffering and despair. We see challenges for health care all around us, and know many still face the effects of COVID-19 or other illnesses and complications that make life hard to cope with. We pray for those who suffer here and in so many places in the world you love.
Give strength and compassion to all who offer treatment, and courage and hope to all who wait for healing.
God of wisdom, You open our eyes on the world to show us its complexities. We see countries locked in old animosities and communities overwhelmed by fresh upheaval. We pray for the millions displaced in current conflicts and by natural disasters, and for leaders here and around the world. Open their eyes to the suffering of the earth and those in their jurisdictions. And open all our eyes to ways we can participate in solutions to situations which break your heart and ours. God, in your deep mercy, Hear our prayer.
Hymn (Book of Praise): 57 “On eagle’s wings” – for Psalm 91
Changing the Light
Let us go into the world in humble faith with Christ as our company.
May all that is Holy protect us, all that is kindly watch over us, and all that is true, speak to us of freedom.
- “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 2021-10-15 19:50 – First version