October 31, 2021 – Twenty-third 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, portions of the scripture passage and his sermon which you will find linked below.
– Your webmaster
Call to Worship
One: Praise the Lord at all times. We will constantly speak God’s praises.
All: Spread the news of God’s greatness. We will exalt God’s name everywhere we go.
One: O Lord our God, you hear the voice of those who cry out to you and you respond with love. You reach out to us when others have turned away. You look on us with compassion when others have dismissed our worth. You heal us when we have thought that we are beyond repair.
All: Gracious God, Your presence among us brings us peace and makes us whole. And so, we praise you and lift up your mighty name.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Hymn (Book of Praise) 625 – “Seek ye first”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of Truth, God of Light. You are present, Divine Healer, calling us into a new relationship with each other and with you. Transform us through our worship into joyful servants who are always ready to praise you, to witness to you, and to serve you.
We confess, God of mercy, God of healing, that despite our knowledge in the Bible, we have hesitated to call on your name when we needed you most. We have insisted on bearing our burdens in silence, and alone, instead of taking hold of the promises you have given us of hope and prayer. No more. We pledge to reach out to each other, and to listen to each other, and to your suffering children around the world. May we be healed, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and eternally.
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
There is nowhere we can go where God is not already waiting. Take heart; get up, Jesus is calling you. We are forgiven! Thanks be to God. AMEN
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
And also with you!
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 31, 2021, at 12:15 AM.
Today we are looking at the two most fundamental teachings of our Christian faith: First, We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.’ Second, ‘We are to love our neighbor as yourself.’ Many of us know them by our hearts. They sound so charming and attractive. We are very quick to turn them into a pleasant sermon or beautiful song but good at forgetting how messy it can become when we try to love God and love others….
What God invites us to do is not an easy task but a very demanding and challenging task. We are not asked to love God with just our mind, not just our feelings, not just our experiences, knowledge or abilities, but with everything we have. If we are serious about loving God, it would require everything from us and everything about us. It requires our prayer as well as our actions. It requires our spoken words as well as our silence. We cannot just love God on Sunday and take a day off on Monday and try to love God on Tuesday. That is not how it works. It requires all our time, our emotion, our energy, and our being.
Loving God is not about celebrating what we did for God yesterday or planning what we like to do for God tomorrow. Loving God is always about what we choose to do for God this moment and always. It is an endless task to love God or others; that is why loving God and others often feels like pouring water into a bottomless pit. That is not all! We are asked to love our neighbors as ourselves. Here is our problem, we are very clumsy at loving ourselves. We don’t always know how to love others and ourselves. We know how to please others, we know how to dominate or compete with others, but we don’t always know how to love others as ourselves. We struggle between selfish love and self-respect. We struggle between our needs and the needs of others.
Loving God and loving others as ourselves is not a pleasant and comfortable task. It often comes with struggles, questions, failures, and tears. It can get messy, chaotic, confusing, discouraging, and even scary.
We can go on for a while, how hard it is to love God and our neighbors. But let us stop there and ask ourselves, “Why do we bother to love God and others as ourselves? God invites us to love God with everything and love others as ourselves because we gain so much from doing them.
May we pause and meditate about the blessing and the grace we experience through these two fundamental teachings of Christ? First, God loves us with everything God has to us. Not only are we to love God with everything we have, but God loves us with everything God has. Everything we offer is far smaller than everything God offers to us. We can even argue God does not need anything from us, yet when we love God with everything we have, we experience the kind of relationships God desires us to celebrate. In the gospel of John 17:10 as well as in the gospel of Luke chapter 15, in the parable of the prodigal son, the kind of relationships God desires us to experience, “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine” that is the promise of God we celebrate each day.
Unfortunately, we turn too many of our human relationships into, “Yours is mine and mine is mine”. We turn our human relationships into competition where winners take all. That is not the kind of relationships God wants us to experience and celebrate.
Second, God desires us to experience true acceptance.
God indeed requires everything from us, but God does not expect what we don’t have…. Unlike our human love for each other, unlike how we sometimes expect from each other to bring something they don’t have, God accepts whatever we offer before God. God does not ask to give something we don’t. God accepts whoever we are and whatever we carry in our hearts. God blesses us for whatever we offer….and whatever we don’t.
We experience the love and the forgiveness of God surpassing our human abilities and knowledge, not when we try to do what we cannot do, but when we humbly recognize our limitations and struggles.
Yes, God’s commandments to love are very difficult to fulfill, however, these commandments of love are not given to us as a burden or punishment but as a gift to celebrate.
It is an impossible task if we try to love God alone. It is an impossible task when we try to do it by trusting our human abilities and knowledge. No, we cannot love God and others by trusting our abilities. Still, when we learn to trust God and depend on the power beyond ourselves, we learn to experience and celebrate God’s infinite and unconditional love for us.
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
Receive these offerings, Almighty and Merciful God. Receive us as well, who anxiously seek to be your people, uncertain of ourselves, yet certain of your love. Transform these gifts into works worthy of your name. Transform our lives into polished mirrors, that we may reflect your glory. Giver of all good things, we pray in your name. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
Lord God, friend of those in need, your Son Jesus has untied our burdens and healed our spirits. Hear our prayers that we may love you with our whole being and willingly share the concerns of our neighbors.
At those occasions when world hunger & homelessness seem overwhelming, give us the tenacity to do what we can and encourage others to do likewise;
In moments when the threat of disease or disablement looms over us, and what is worse, when it threatens our loved ones, please help and guide us;
At those seasons when the world seems to have gone crazy with suspicion and fear, and when they turn again to more violence and terror, come to our aid;
In situations where politicians seem arrogant and foolish, and the church looks like wringing its hands, please give us wisdom to seek solutions;
At those times when the divisions in the church provoke scorn, and when we are tempted to make excuses rather than repent and mend our ways, living God hear our prayer. On occasions when death, broken relationships and divorce, cause havoc among our friends or in the church, show us how to be agents of Christ Jesus, living God hear our prayer. God of infinite reserves, you have entrusted people with a massive responsibilities. With your help we can do far more than is humanly possible, without you we will do far less. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may be channels of your saving, healing love. Through Christ Jesus, light of the world and the love of our lives. Amen!
Hymn (Book of Praise) 677 – “My faith looks up to thee”
Changing the Light
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 2021-10-29 14:10– First version