September 4, 2022 – Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, September 4, 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, September 4.
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Call to worship
One: Those who follow the Lord are like trees planted by the river, bearing fruit each season.
All: May our lives be fruitful and blessed by God!
One: Worship the Lord who leads us to joy and abundance.
All: Let us worship God now and for all our days.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
“Praise, I will Praise” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 420). Original French words (1976) by French composer and musician Claude Fraysse (1941–2012); English translation (1989) by American hymnwriter Kenneth I. Morse (1913–1999). Music (1977; tune “Je louerai l’Éternel”) by Fraysse; arrangement by Alain Bergèse. Original French words copyright © 1976 Claude Fraysse; English translation copyright ©1989 The Hymnal Project; used by permission of Brethren Press. Music copyright copyright © 1977 Claude Fraysse.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Eternal God, you have called us to be members of one family. So we are here to praise you and to remember your eternal love for us humanity and your plan for each one of us. With one heart and mind, may our worship today show the unity of your church and our love for you, our risen Christ.
Forgiving God, forgive us when we forget that you love all of us and we belong to each other. Forgive us when we turn away from those who are in need and when we hurt others with our words and actions. Continue to create our hearts and our relationship with one another. In this hour of prayer, recenter and reshape us, bring us low and raise us up. Then rekindle our hearts and our love for you!
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: If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
Today we celebrate our one year together. It is hard to believe that it’s been a year already. Today we give thanks to God for bringing us together. I would like to thank you for your patience with me and the way you shared the love of Christ with my family and me.
I spent the last month of August resting and reflecting on what I had learned during my first year. … (Chuck will expand his personal experience) … I have learned that certain things don’t change, no matter wherever you go. Yes, you moved to a different congregation, but certain things don’t change, and you should not change. When I look back at my own life and ministry, God was so gracious to me. God was patient with me and showed me many wonders. Many times I did not know what to do, but God continually showed me a new door after another to open. I don’t think God will change how God loves me and works with me simply because I moved to a different congregation. I should not change my confidence in God’s unconditional love for the people of God and me. Sure I will face different tasks and challenges. Sure I need to make adjustments and many changes in what I do. I cannot pretend I am suddenly a different person simply because I have moved to a congregation in this beautiful and congested city. During the year, I have learned that the way people express the love of God may differ from one place to another, but the desire of people to love God and to welcome everyone is the same.
We don’t know what kind of challenges and blessings we will be facing tomorrow, but I firmly believe everything we experience in our human life will teach us how much God loves us. One thing that I cannot change is doing everything in the confidence of God’s grace and love… Sure, things may not go the way we plan or want, but I am confident that everything we experience will help us to deepen our love for God and for each other.
Putting our confidence and our faith in the love of the risen Christ for us has been the work of my faith, life, and ministry. I am not about to let it change. We are not about to let it change. No matter what we face tomorrow, God will show us how much God loves us. With that confidence in God’s unconditional love for us, may we look at the word of God we read today? I would like to highlight Luke chapter 14 verse 26, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple”.
What a challenging teaching that Jesus shares with his disciples today. Such teaching can be easily misunderstood as if we are somehow taught to hate our family. As if going to church is more important than spending time with our family on Sunday.
But Jesus, who has taught us to love everyone, and Jesus, who has given his life to show us how much he loves us, cannot possibly teach us to hate our family. I don’t believe that Jesus is asking us to hate our family, but Jesus is inviting us to pause and reflect on how we love our family and our loved ones. Sometimes, it is what we love that can destroy our life. Sometimes it is whom we love that can blind our eyes. Or perhaps Jesus is inviting us to put God first in any and every relationship.
Since our human love can easily and quickly become destructive and toxic. Yes, we can build our relationships on trust, respect, and affection that can help all of us to grow and experience freedom and positive energy. But we can also build our relationships on power struggles, controls, and blaming. I don’t have to go on some of the harmful experiences that we humans have been experiencing in our own families. I don’t have to mention some of the destructive things Christians did in the name of God.
Yet, I don’t think Jesus is inviting us to be hard on our family and criticize how our own family does not get along. I believe Jesus is asking us to look at our own hearts and our own relationships and see whether we help each other to experience the presence of God. See if our love helps those we love find God’s hope and love in their lives…
As a parent, I think it is essential to teach our children that we are not their gods. Of course, every parent will say they know they are not their gods, but we know many parents are too busy playing God, believing we can give everything they need and want just like many pastors are playing God in the church. I don’t think we can teach our children by telling them there is God or by telling them to go to a church, but we can only show them God through our humility and acceptance that we have our limitations in what we can do and by depending on God more. I believe that applies to me as a pastor and a Christian; we share the presence of God, not by telling them what to believe, but by sharing our weaknesses, struggles, shortcomings, fears, and uneasiness. By accepting them and by bringing them before Christ. By praying with one another, we show there is God who is beyond us…. I am not, we are not here to replace God, but to depend on God more. We come to church not because we have figured out everything about God and about our life, but we come to church we need God’s grace tremendously.
“Lord, I Want to Be a Christian” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 571). Words and music (tune: I want to be a Christian): African American spiritual. Words and music in the public domain.
Performed by GCPC music director Rachelle Risling (piano) and Cindy Similas (soprano).
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 offer these gifts to you. Bless them and use them to heal and reshape the world you love with the Good News we celebrate in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lighting the candles of peace, healing, and justice.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of all times and all people, on this Labour Day Weekend, we thank you for all the skill and talent with which you bless your people. Thank you for what we have accomplished through the work we do, and for what each one of us contributes to the wellbeing of our community. Inspire us to work together on the challenges we face and surprise us with the solutions to problems that once seemed overwhelming.
Today we pray for all those who labour in difficult situations: for children who work in terrible conditions and are paid very little; for migrant workers who must labour far away from their families; and for all those who are underpaid or unjustly treated in their workplace.
We pray for those who cannot labour: for those who are unemployed or underemployed; for those who have become injured on the job or too sick to keep working; for those who are denied the opportunity to earn a living because of war or discrimination.
We pray for those who labour in our community. for those who must work today and tomorrow instead of enjoying this long weekend; for those who must work several jobs in order to care for their families; for those who work at jobs we wouldn’t to do ourselves because they are messy or unpleasant.
And on this Labour Day, O God, we offer gratitude for laws that protect children, for health and safety practices that prevent tragedies in the workplace, and for generations before us who advocated for vulnerable employees, fair wages and equal opportunities. Thank you for the work that goes on behind the scenes, delivering things we enjoy and services we rely on. Help us to look beyond these things to picture the faces of those whose work provides for all our needs. Through their faces, let us see your face, Creator and Sustainer of all that is. Amen.
“O Love that wilt not let me go” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 209). Words (1882) by Scottish minister and hymnwriter George Matheson (1842–1906). Music (1884; tune “St. Margaret”) by English composer Albert Lister Peace (1844–1912). 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 2022-09-09 – Added Musical reflection info.