November 7, 2021 – Twenty-fourth 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
One: In the name of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, we welcome you.
All: We are here because his grace has enfolded us.
One: In the name of the Spirit of truth, we welcome you.
All: We here within a fellowship Divine.
One: In the name of the loving God, we welcome you.
All: We are here to worship and adore.
One: This is a golden opportunity which the Lord has given.
All: We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Hymn (Book of Praise) 420 – “Praise, I will praise”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Almighty God, you are our refuge and strength; we humble ourselves in your presence, and remembering the great things you have done for us, we lift up our hearts in adoration and praise.
God of peace, we confess before you this morning that we are not always a people of peace. We are not always a people of love, and a people of forgiveness. Help us to remember how Jesus lived among us and how Jesus forgave us.
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
Sisters and brothers, not because we deserve it, but because our God is a God of mercy, we have been forgiven. And so, as God has forgiven us, let us now forgive one another, and let us now forgive ourselves. We are forgiven, set free to worship and serve our 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, November 7, 2021, at 12:15 AM.
We understand our perspective matters. It matters to our happiness, our relationship, and our faith. It can help us to go on with courage, or it can make us consumed by fear. Faith often offers a different perspective on our life, on our challenges, our relationships, and the love of God. Today the gospel of Mark chapter 12: 38–44 invites us to deepen our perspective on our faith and the love of Jesus Christ. I believe the text invites us to think about the way God looks at us, the way God receives, and the way God blesses us.
Verse 43 and 44,
“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
According to Jesus, two copper coins that the poor widow offered were far more valuable to God than anything else the others put in the treasury. The poor widow gave less than anyone else, but according to Jesus, she gave more. Those two copper coins were nothing special, but perhaps because the way they were presented or the kind of person who offered them made them special to God. They became something more than two copper coins. Jesus indeed said it was because she gave everything she had. Or perhaps it had nothing to do with who the poor widow was or how she offered those two copper coins. Maybe it had to do with to whom they were offered. Perhaps it had nothing to do with two copper coins, but it had to do with God, who accepted and blessed the poor widow and her offering.
If the poor widow had offered one copper coin instead of two, would God not receive her coin? If the poor widow had offered two copper coins to another poor widow, would God not bless her and her two copper coins? If the poor widow could not offer two copper coins that day because she had to feed her children, would God not receive her and her two coins? Perhaps it is not so much about what we offer or how much we offer, but about God who knows us more than we do ourselves, perhaps it has to do with God who gives meaning and value to what we do and what we have, even if all we have is 2 copper coins. God understands who we are. God accepts all of us. It is not just the poor widow who experiences poverty, all of us. There are many forms of poverty, the poverty of relationship, love, patience, courage, knowledge, and understanding. Perhaps it is hard for us to see ourselves from this poor widow, but I see myself from her. I have many different struggles and poverty in my heart.
Yet, the good news is that God accepts me and my poverty, my gifts, and my poverty. We, humans, are funny. We like to earn God’s grace and favor. We want to control the love of God. We try to turn the story of two copper coins into a formula that tries to rationalize why God values two copper coins that the poor widow offered than any other gift, how to make God bless our offering and our lives. We want to be able to predict how to please God and how to make God love us…. We want to control God’s blessing and love for us….
Except, God’s grace cannot be earned, but it is given to us. We can accept God’s blessing only when we give up trying to earn it and control it. Perhaps the question we need to ask is not what those two small copper coins can do for us. But, do we trust God that God will accept us, welcome us, forgive us, and love us even if all we can offer to God is two copper coins?
We need to ask ourselves not to have you offered your two copper coins to God, but have you experienced God who accepts us and everything about us.
Faith is not about having confidence in our two copper coins, but about experiencing God who accepts everything from us. God accepts our abundance as well as our poverty. God accepts and blesses us despite all our human paradox, pretense and contradiction.
I believe that is what it means to receive God’s grace. That is what it means that we follow Christ.
Dear friends, God accepted two copper coins that the poor widow offered. Yes, we can try to understand why God valued her copper coins more than anyone else’s offering, but we may never fully understand God’s choice. God accepts us today. Whatever we have and whatever we don’t, we can try to come up with a reason to justify God’s love for us, but no human reason is big enough to rationalize God’s love for us. God loves us, God accepts us, God receives us, and God blesses 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
We raise these offerings to you and pray that through your grace your will shall be accomplished in these gifts. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
Hold our lives in stillness, O God, that we may listen and hear new voices around us. Give us pause that we may see what we have not seen in the needs and sufferings of others, especially in the lives of those who may be outside our usual places of looking. Gather the pain of the people into our life here, Jesus Christ, whether they are like us or not. Translate their shouting for you into words that we can recognize. Make us more aware of the needs in each other, O God, creating pathways for people to share their truths without fear, and spreading carpets of care and acceptance before them so that they do not fear judgments or simplistic solutions to complex problems. Fill our lives with the openness of grace and lift up gifts of healing among us, O God, that we may be those who transform the future of others with love. Amen.
Hymn (Book of Praise) 794 – “Abide with me”
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 2021-11-05 23:20– First version