September 11, 2022 – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, September 11, 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, September 11.
Whenever you see this movie reel symbol, you can click on it to view a video segment on YouTube. If you experience any difficulties, please contact our webmaster.
Call to worship
One: O God, you have searched us and known us.
All: You know when we sit down and when we rise up.
One: You discern our thoughts from far away.
All: Before a word is on our tongues, Lord, you know it completely.
One: Such knowledge is too wonderful for us, and so we humble ourselves in worship.
All: In this hour, search us and know our hearts, O God, and lead us in the way everlasting.
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.
“O Lord my God / How great thou art” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 332). Words (1885) by Swedish poet Carl Boberg (1859–1940); English text by English missionary Stuart K. Hine (1899–1989). Music (tune: “O Store Gud”) based on a traditional Swedish folk melody; arrangement (1955) by Hine. English text and arrangement copyright © 1955, 1981 Manna Music, Inc.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Loving God, we gather in your presence this day, You are the source of wisdom we seek, Your mercy eases the troubles that stir our hearts. And we come to praise you.
Draw near to us as we draw near to you this day. Speak to us and transform our hearts in this hour of worship through the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Forgiving God, sometimes our pride prevents us from recognizing your voice, and that we resist the power of your Word to change 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: Christ died for us; Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us”. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and set free by God’s most 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) (Practicing faith)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
“Praise, my soul, the King of heaven” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 407). Words (1834) by English Anglican hymnwriter Henry Francis Lyte (1793–1847), a paraphrase of Psalm 103. Music (1868; tune: “Praise, my soul”, also known as “Lauda Anima”) by English organist and composer John Goss (1800–1880). Words and music public domain.
Performed by the GCPC Senior Choir; Rachelle Risling at the organ.
Have you ever disliked somebody? Sometimes we dislike someone because we don’t know them. Other times we dislike someone because we know them so well. Then there are times we dislike someone for no reason.
We know how much the Pharisees and the scribes, the religious and political leaders in the New Testaments, disliked Jesus. I think the Pharisees and the scribes disliked Jesus not because they did not know him but because they knew who Jesus was and exactly what Jesus was trying to do.
I would like to read the first two verses from the gospel of Luke, chapter 15, “Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
I don’t think there is any better description of who Jesus was and what his ministry was about than what they described. “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The Pharisees and the scribes precisely knew who Jesus was and what Jesus was doing.
Jesus welcomed sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and foreigners and ate with them. I would like to think eating with them meant offering his intimate friendship to them and accepting their friendship.
That bothered many…especially many righteous religious and political leaders…. They disliked Jesus for welcoming sinners and eating with them at the same table. For them, sinners were like a virus; you were supposed to avoid, rebuke and condemn sinners. Their society was busy separating the holy from the unholy, the good from the bad, saints from sinners ….
Yet Jesus did everything in his life to break the wall that separated the holy from the unholy… saints from sinners… one of us from one of them. Because Jesus saw sinners or people we dislike as people who were lost, people who got lost, people who took a wrong turn, people who fell behind, people who were misled and misguided, people who started late or behind… people who failed and people whom we failed. Jesus did not see sinners as people to be condemned or separated but as the people of God who need to be encouraged, embraced, accepted, forgiven, and welcomed.
I am not sure our society today is much better than the Jewish society 2000 years ago. Are we still not separating the unholy from the holy, the haves from the have-nots, one of them from one of us… Do we not divide those who agree with me and those who disagree with me and my ideology and theology?
We, humans, are good at building walls, physical, emotional, psychological, and theological walls by saying, “You are not one of us, you are not good enough for me, you don’t belong to us…”
I am not sure if we get to know Jesus more, how many of us will like him anymore. We like our friends to be on our side; if I don’t like someone, we want our friend to dislike the person with us. However, that is not who Jesus is. Regardless how much we don’t like someone, Jesus welcomes everyone and invites us to welcome everyone. I don’t know how many of us can make peace with that. Just like the older brother of the prodigal son did not want to welcome his younger brother back! Because it was not fair to him.
Yet, we are here worshipping God and praising Jesus, despite at times, we don’t understand how the love of God works in our human life, although we don’t understand why some suffer more than others, although we don’t always why we are blessed with so many wonderful gifts in our life…
Because we have experienced this Jesus Christ who comes after us again and again. Many of us, if not all of us, have experienced what is like to be found by God in our own human life. We know too well what it is like to stumble, get lost, and get disappointed. We know what it is like to lose hope and to experience our rock bottom…. What do we know about God? Our God will not settle until we are found. No, we will not understand everything that is happening around us. But one thing we know for sure is I am, and we are found by God.
Our God is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. God gives hope to the hopeless and forgiveness to the unforgiven….
One of the reasons we have built this faith community is to remember and share this experience of being found, welcomed, forgiven, and accepted by our risen Christ.
God Save the King
“God Save the King”, performed by: Carolyn Glasgow (soprano), Brooks Gorst (percussion), Rachelle Risling (piano).
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.
Musical accompaniment during the offering collection was an improvisation on “Angel” by Canadian musician Sarah McLachlan (1968–). Performed on the piano by GCP music director Rachelle Risling. Music suppressed in the recording of the live stream of the service for copyright reasons. You can view the official music video instead.
Dedication of our Gifts
Prayer of dedication
Lord God, receive our gifts offered in a spirit of generosity and humility. Bless and use them for the work that you long to do in the world in Jesus name. Amen.
Lighting the candles of peace, healing, and justice
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
Ever seeking God, we come before you in prayer, for you have sought us out and claimed us as your own. Thank you showing us how we are precious to you through the life and love of Jesus Christ. In our prayers we name before you other precious souls and situations. With your Spirit, seek them out:
We pray for those who feel lost in life: those who are frightened or anxious, those who are struggling with addiction or mental illness, and those who are lonely or dispairing: May your reassurance and comfort find them. God of mercy,Draw near to all who need you.
We pray for those who have wandered away: for those separated from their families by conflict or distance; for those whose relationship with the church is broken or forgotten; and for those who have given up on the future in despair.
May your healing and mercy find them. God of mercy, Draw near to all who need you.
We pray for those who feel forgotten: for those who think that they are worthless or unloved; for those who believe that their sins are too great to forgive; and for those who are convinced that not even God can love them.
May your love and grace find them. God of mercy, Draw near to all who need you.
Ever watchful God, you keep seeking out wandering sheep and lost coins, lives of all who are precious to you. Thank you for your attentive love and your patient compassion for us all. May we rejoice with you when any lost soul is embraced, and never substitute our judgment of them for yours. Make us servants of the mercy we meet in Jesus Christ. 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.
The performance was accompanied by Brooks Gorst (piano) and Rachelle Risling (organ).
Changing the Light
Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.
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.
- 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 2022-09-12 – Added various musical and text elements arising from the live service.