June 26, 2022 – Third Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, June 26, at 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6 PM on Sunday, June 26.
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Call to worship
Call to Worship
One: It is good to give thanks to the Lord;
All: Let us sing praises to God’s holy name!
One: We will declare God’s steadfast love in the morning,
All: And God’s faithfulness night after night.
One: Let us make a joyful noise to the Lord!
All: For God is good and we know God’s blessings.
One: Let us worship God with grateful hearts;
All: We will give God thanks in our prayers and praise.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
This is the Christ Candle. We light the candle to help us remember that Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is with us in every place and every time.
“Great is thy faithfulness” (Book of Praise 1997, hymn 324). Words (1923) by American songwriter Thomas Chisholm (1866–1960). Music (1923) by his friend, American composer William M. Runyan (1870–1957). Words and music in the public domain.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Faithful God, you created our minds to grow in wisdom. You created our hearts to expand with love. You created our voices to sing your praises forever. We bring you our worship with joyful praise, turning to Jesus for grace and guidance. Empower us to worship you in spirit and in truth, and serve you in the example of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
O forgiving God, you give us a place in your creation, and you intend that we live in love with all that you have made. We confess that we abuse what you give us. By our thoughts, actions, and the meditations of our hearts we show how fragile we are. Far from walking in the Spirit, we stumble on paths that lead to death. O loving God, have mercy on us. Satisfy the longings of our souls by taking us up into your Spirit that we may love our neighbor. Rekindle our desire to follow our friend, Jesus Christ, whose passion for obeying you leads us to our inheritance, which is your promised kingdom. To you and the Son and the Spirit, one God, be all worship and praise now and forever.
We pray in Jesus’ name, and continue to pray as he taught:
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
Hear the good news of the gospel. In Jesus Christ 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)
Today we celebrate the faithful service that both Rev Bob and Rev Helen Smith provided to our congregation as our interim moderators. We celebrate the working hands of God we experienced during the vacant years through them and each other. We celebrate how they helped you be patient, to trust, and to grow together during two years of vacancy filled with many dramas and the pandemic. We give thanks to God for allowing us to work together. Whether it is an interim ministry or any form of ministry, I think we need to celebrate more often for every little or significant occasion. So that we can encourage each other and help each other recognize this joy and strength of serving God.
Because we need it, Christian ministry can be very challenging, especially in 21st century, very easily, we can become consumed by fear and worries that come from the uncertainty of tomorrow, the reality of declining memberships is hard on all of us, including myself not only that the work of putting God first in our life and trying to follow Christ with all our hearts and minds can be very difficult. We should do it whenever we can celebrate together, whenever we can laugh and encourage each other.
Today the gospel of Luke chapter 9 helps us understand how difficult it is to follow Christ and how challenging it is to serve God.
Luke 9:57 to 62, 57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
When I read these verses, I wonder if I fit for God’s kingdom. I mean I know I am not a fit for the kingdom of God. I am not qualified to follow Christ. Here is what I mean.
Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” But I do; I look back holding the plow. I do sometimes to say goodbye and other times to remember the ways I experienced God’s grace. I cannot just keep working and working, I need to pause once in a while, and I need to look back. I need to look back and remember the blessings of God I experienced in the past. I gain strength by looking back.
Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their own dead; go and proclaim the kingdom of God…”.
When someone dies, I will be there as long as I can, I believe proclaiming the kingdom of God can wait. Yes, I get it. Sometimes I need to put ministry ahead of everything, but there are times I need to do the opposite. Sometimes I have to say no to spend time with my family so I can spend time for myself. It is an ongoing struggle for me, I don’t know I can quickly say yes. Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head,” but I need a place or places to lay my head. I need a place where I can sit back and rest. I need a place where I can be nurtured, loved and accepted.
According to these verses, I am not qualified to follow Christ. I am unsure how many of us are qualified to follow Christ. I believe Following Christ, whether as a pastor or not, is never about how good we are…. It is never about how good we can be, but how willing we are to love, forgive, and accept ourselves as Christ has accepted us.
Each day, it becomes that much more clear to me that following Christ is not so much about how good we are or how good we can become, but more about how much God loves us and how much we love God despite all our human inadequacies, shortcomings, and struggles.
When Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head,” or, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God,” or when he said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
I don’t think Jesus was trying to discourage anyone from following Christ. I don’t think Jesus is telling us you need to be this good to follow Christ. Perhaps Jesus is telling us that following God is not straightforward. But I think Jesus is offering many questions to those who are taking our faith seriously.
When I close my eyes and listen to Jesus I hear this question, “Could you stop even for a moment trying to follow Christ with your own plan, intention, goodness, strength, and knowledge, and allow Christ to lead you?” Could you follow Christ even when you don’t know what you are doing? Could you follow Christ even when you are afraid?
Following God is not about following God because we can, or because we know how or because we are good at it or because we like it… but we follow God because we must because something within us dies when we don’t. May God bless our faith journey!
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.
Dedication of our Gifts
Prayer of dedication
O God, we know you to be kind and generous, so we bring our gifts in gratitude and joy. Pour out your Spirit on these gifts and on our lives, so that we may bear the fruit of your Spirit in every situation and relationship, through Christ, our Living Lord. Amen.
Lighting Candles of Peace, Justice, and healing in the world
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of the angels and the saints in light, head of the church catholic and apostolic, midwife of the new creation, hear us as we pray for the coming of your kingdom….
Cleanse the pollution of the world caused by human sin. Receive the body of the earth, and the bodies of your children into your holy presence. Dwell with us and be our light. Hear us as we pray for the healing of the nations…. Silence the wars and rumors of terror that plague the human family. Guide leaders of the world to the river and the tree of life. May the fruits of the Spirit feed the people of the earth. Hear us as we pray for all who suffer…. Lift the yoke of human pain from the sick, the hungry, and the grieving. Move the hearts of your people to serve all who are in need. Hear us as we pray for the Church…. Lay the mantle of Elijah on the shoulders of the people of God. Let the Spirit shine in the eyes of the body of Christ. With a mighty voice, let the church roar, “Justice!” With a tender kiss, let her pray, “Mercy.” With the sign of the cross, let her say, “Peace be with you,” in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
“Will you come and follow me” (Book of Praise 1997, hymn 634). Words (1987) by Scottish hymn-writer and Church of Scotland minister John L. Bell (1949–) and his Scottish hymn-writing partner Graham Maule (1958–2019), both affiliated with the Iona Community. Music (Scottish traditional; tune “Kelvingrove”) arranged in 1987 by Bell. Words and arrangement copyright © 1987, Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc. agent; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1987 GIA Publications; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15: 13)
- 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 © 2022 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2022-06-26 – Added sermon text.