July 17, 2022 – Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, July 17, at 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6 PM on Sunday, July 17.
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Call to worship
One: The Lord is our light and our salvation! Whom shall we fear?
All: The Lord is our stronghold. Of whom shall we be afraid?
One: As we wait on the Lord, let us be strong and of good courage.
All: God has called us together, and we have come.
One: Let us thank God forever, because of what God has done.
All: We will proclaim God’s holy name, for God is good. Let us worship God!
Lighting of the Christ Candle
“O Jesus, I have promised” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 569). Words (1869) by English Anglican priest and hymnwriter John Ernest Bode (1816–1874). Music (1881; tune: “Angels Story”) by English organist, composer, and choirmaster Arthur Henry Mann (1850–1929). Words and music in the public domain.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of majesty and mystery, your love and purpose embrace the whole world. You set us in a world of beauty and bounty and invite us to meet you in the midst of its wonders. You call us to love each other in the example of Jesus to make your world a place of justice and compassion. In this hour of worship, send us your Spirit of wisdom and grace so that we can live out the praise on our lips in our day to day living, which we offer to you, our one and only God.
Lord Jesus Christ, You came to teach us God’s truth and touch us with God’s mercy. We confess we sometimes try to push you away. We cling to what we think, and resist your challenge to open our lives to others. We limit our generosity, convinced we can’t give any more. Forgive us, Lord Jesus, when we turn away from the example you set for 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
Hear the good news! In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and set free by God’s generous grace. 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)
Ben Heitmeyer became the first athlete with Down Syndrome to compete in the first triathlon (swim, bike, and run) in Special Olympics. He swam 750 meters. He cycled 12 miles. And he ran 3.1 miles more. He came in the last place… but he was so filled with true happiness. I would like us to remember Ben’s story as we look at the gospel.
Today we are looking at one of my favourite people in the Bible, Martha. Both Martha and her sister Mary are my favourite characters in the Bible. It is too bad they did not write a gospel. I wonder why there was no gospel of Martha or Mary? I would love to hear who Jesus was in their eyes and experiences.
I have learned from my own life and ministry. Our life and ministry become abundant because of people like Martha and Mary, who love Jesus, doing everything in their lives to share their love.
Martha is a doer, and Mary is a listener. The gospel of John (11) describes how different they are the best when their brother Lazarus dies. When Jesus visits them after their brother died, Martha is the first one to put behind her grief, thanking Jesus and thinking about what needs to be done next. Mary is the last person who comes out to meet Jesus; not being afraid of showing her emotion, she cries and asks Jesus, “How come you did not come sooner? If you were here, this would not happen…”
Today, the gospel of Luke does not compare Martha and Mary and says who is better or not. But the gospel of Luke invites us to encounter Martha, who suddenly lost her joy of serving others and became overly tired and overwhelmed with unending tasks. Martha felt no one cared about what she was doing, including Jesus; she felt Jesus cared more about Mary than herself.
I am sure all of us have experienced this breaking point in our life that Martha experienced in this chapter. You want to do well and a good job, so you give your best, but somehow it does not work. It is just not enough! It seems you give, you give, and you give…yet they ask for more…. We understand entirely how Marth felt that day. When things don’t go well, we get discouraged. When it continues, we sometimes look for why things didn’t go well. If it is not me, it has to be someone else.
I wonder this story of Martha is the story of North American Christianity in the 21st century. Being worn out….being frustrated that things are not going the way we want… It is not because of a lack of trying.
Unfortunately, we have seen too many churches and Christians becoming like Martha in this chapter. Minsters are blaming their members, members blaming their ministers for our struggles today… “I am doing my best, so it must you, that is why the church is declining….”
Instead of encouraging each other by saying, “I know you are trying your best and I don’t know what else we can do, but perhaps together we can help each other to depend on God more,” too often we choose to say “You are not doing enough!”
I wonder if we need to take the words of Jesus to our hearts.
“41 But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things, 42 but few things are needed—indeed only one. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’”
When I read what Jesus was telling Martha again and again, why do I feel Jesus is telling me and telling us the same message again and again. Yes, you are trying to do much, you are worrying about things you are not in charge of, but don’t worry about others, but remember one thing I am with you. I am your God, and you are mine. It is not the other way around.
I believe the story of Ben Heitmeyer finishing his triathlon race summarizes our lesson today and everything we try to accomplish in our life.
Our life or faith journey is not about finishing faster than others or becoming successful or stronger than others, but about completing our journey with the risen Christ, about how faithful we were to our own lives and to our Lord Jesus Christ….
It is not about how much we accomplish but how we complete our life with the risen Christ….
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
Living, Loving God,
Martha offered the work of her hands to Jesus and Mary offered her close attention. We bring the gifts we have to offer to you. Bless and multiply them. Show us how they can best serve your purposes in our church and in your world. Amen.
Lighting the Candles of Peace, Healing, and Justice
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
Grant us this day, O God, not to be overtaken by anxious thoughts that can make us feel that you are not near. Give us the chance, to sit at your feet, to enjoy every word and every musical note that we may feel your real presence and in turn live out that presence within our families, our communities, our jobs, and our schools. Prepare us as we journey as your people, to worship an to obey through Jesus Christ our Lord; the image of the invisible God, and the firstborn over all creation. AMEN.
“Be still, my soul!” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 749).
Original German text (18th century) by German hymnwriter Catharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel (1697–after 1768). English translation (1855) by Scottish hymnwriter and translator Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813-1897). Music (1899–1900; tune: Finlandia) by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957). Arrangement (1933) by the The Hymnal 1933, Presbyterian Board of Christian Education. Words, music and arrangement in the public domain.
Changing the Light
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (the risen 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 © 2022 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2022-07-16 – First version.