July 24, 2022 – Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, July 24, 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 24.
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Call to worship
One: Show us your steadfast love, O Lord and grant us your salvation!
All: The Lord will speak peace to the faithful to those who turn to God in their hearts.
One: Surely salvation is at hand for those who fear the Lord,
All: And God’s glory will dwell in our land.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
“This is my Father’s world” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 328). Original words (1901) by American Presbyterian minister Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1858–1901). This version of the words (1997) by The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Music (1915; tune: “Terra Beata”) by American Presbyterian hymn-writer Franklin L. Sheppard (1852–1930), based on a traditional English melody. Original words and music in the public domain. This version of the words copyright © 1997 The Presbyterian Church in Canada; used by permission.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Ever present God, we seek and you offer. We ask and you give. We knock and you open the door.
Ever gracious God, you hear the requests of your people and in your goodness, you answer. In Christ, you offer the gifts of new life and hope to all who seek your blessing. Through your Spirit, you pray within us, even when we cannot find words ourselves. Receive our praise and our prayers this day, O God, and draw us into your holy presence, so that your love will transform us to serve you in the world you love.
Ever faithful God, quickly we forget the gifts we have received from your grace; instead of giving thanks, we ask for more. We complain about what we lack and fail to trust your generosity. We refuse others the forgiveness we seek for ourselves. Forgive us, O God. Transform our hearts and reshape our desires to reflect your goodness in the way we live. Amen.
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: God is generous and merciful, ready to forgive, offering us new life in Christ Jesus. Accept God’s gift of forgiveness and share this gift with others. Thanks be to God!
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Fun with the young at heart (children’s story) (Practicing faith)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
These are the famous pictures of galaxies in the vast universe taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. Apparently, these stars or galaxies are 7,600 light years away. One light year is about 9.5 trillion km. Dr. Chris Willott was one of the Canadian scientists developing the James Webb telescope project. This is what he said, “I’ve been working on studying distant galaxies at the far reaches of the universe for 20 years, and it still blows my mind just how big everything is. What keeps me going is I know that there’s a lot of things we don’t understand. With the Webb telescope, we’re going to learn more in the next few years, but there will still be a lot of mysteries beyond that as well.”
What Dr. Willott said struck me, “What keeps me going is I know that there’s a lot of things we don’t understand. We are going to learn more in the next few years but there will still be a lot of mysteries beyond that as well.”
To me, that is a prayer. Living with this humble knowledge that there are many things we don’t understand and there’s a lot of mystery in the universe is a true prayer.
Someone once said, “The beauty of education is that it teaches us how little we know.” I believe that is the beauty of faith as well. Faith teaches us how little we know about God and our human life. And that humble awareness of how little we know becomes the source of our inner strength. It is when we realize how hungry we are that is when we look for a fridge and open its door. For me, prayer is that process of seeking and opening a door that connects us with what is beyond us, God, eternal and infinite.
I would like to read Luke chapter 11, verse 1 and 2,
“He (meaning Jesus) was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ 2 So he said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, may your name be revered as holy. May your kingdom come.’”
Jesus prayed in a certain place and in a certain time. Whatever the disciples saw and heard from Jesus that day, they discovered their need and their hunger for prayer and asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray!”
I am sure these disciples had prayed before; when they were in a synagogue, when a sabbath meal was celebrated; when they went to a temple; when they grew up, they learned the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and David, and their prayers and I am certain they learned to pray.
But probably, just like many of us, as they got older, they probably became skeptical and cynical about prayer and all this church stuff. “What I need is not prayer, but more money, more power, more connections, more knowledge… or where was God when I needed God? Where was God when I prayed for my family?”
Yet, when they saw Jesus praying, when they heard Jesus praying, something happening to them. I would like to think they realized what they missed in their life. They discovered or rediscovered this hunger in their spirit to pray.
I think it is very important for us to remember that it was not Jesus who initiated this conversation with his disciples by saying, “You are not praying enough, You should pray more often. Let me teach you how to pray.” It was the disciples who approached Jesus and asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
I would like to believe Jesus was waiting for them to ask that.
It is not that Jesus did not want to teach his disciples how to pray; but perhaps it is because you can only teach people to pray when they are ready to pray…
Perhaps that is where our prayer begins.
“Lord, teach us to pray!” What a beautiful and powerful prayer that is. “Teach us how to pray, teach us what to pray.” I mean, forget the Lord’s prayer for today. I am sure we could spend hours on the Lord’s Prayer but let us look at this powerful prayer.
“Lord, teach us to pray!” “God, we don’t know what to say, we are struggling to find our words, but we need to pray, so we place ourselves in your hand, please, listen to our concerns, struggles, questions, doubt, and prayers.
Perhaps prayer is less about saying the right words or memorizing a beautiful prayer, but humbly placing ourselves before Christ Jesus, placing all of ourselves, not just what we want, what we are not happy with, but entrusting all of us in the hands of our creator God. “God, I am not finished, I know you are not finished with me, please be patient with me and keep working in in my life.” Dear friends, may Jesus Christ who taught his disciples how to pray, also teach us how to pray.
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
Generous God, we offer you our gifts, thankful that your love is overflowing. Bless these gifts so that your love will flow through them to meet the needs of those who cry out to you and to us, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
Lighting the candles of peace, healing, and justice
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
For your whole, hurting, hating world: Lead us in the ways of peace, especially in places where tyrants reign and people eat the bread of conflict every day.
For your church, whose body is strong in some places, and frail in others: Nourish your church in the world, O Lord, that those who are flourishing might proclaim your word with power, and those who are weak might be strengthened to do your work.
For your earth, that suffers at the hands of your own people: Pour out your healing mercy on this planet you have made, and prod us to be worthy stewards of its beauty and its gifts, that in honoring the earth we may also honor you.
For those who suffer because of disease or injury, the addicted, the abused, the feeble, and the ill: Soothe our suffering and heal our wounds. Protect us from evil and calm our anxious hearts. Make us whole in you. and welcome them into the company of the saints in light.
For all those whose burdens we carry in our hearts, and those known only to you: Bestow your good gifts as you see fit, supplying every need by the power of your Spirit. Accept all these prayers we offer in faith, even as you continue to teach us to pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“What a friend we have in Jesus” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 746). Words (1855) by Irish-Canadian poet Joseph M. Scriven (1819–1886). Music (1868; tune: “What a friend”) by American lawyer and composer Charles Crozat Converse (1832–1918). Words and music 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 2022-07-26 – Added Sermon text and image.