September 18, 2022 – Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, September 18, 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 18.
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Call to worship
One: Our help is in the name of the Lord
All: who made heaven and earth.
One: Help us, O God of our salvation for the glory of your name;
All: deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.
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.
“The church’s one foundation” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 479). Words (1866) by English Anglican priest and hymnwriter Samuel John Stone (1839–1900). Music (1864; tune: “Aurelia”) by English organist and composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876). Words and music in the public domain.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God our Creator, You sustain your creation as the source of life for every precious thing. You have given us more than we could ever earn or deserve, and so we offer you our love and loyalty, for without you, we would not be. Receive our worship this day, O God. Speak to us in the sounds and silence of this hour, and amaze us with your promise of new life revealed in Jesus Christ, and your power at work in us and among us through the Spirit.
Generous God, You have enriched us with life worth living, but we confess we often squander your good gifts. We have wasted our time and energy, but held tightly to things we think we need. Forgive our foolish priorities and those times we overlooked the needs of others. Inspire us to live more generously, trusting your goodness to sustain us always.
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
Beloved of God, the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. I declare in the name of the risen Christ that our sin is forgiven and our lives are made new.
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)
Guildwood Choir presents
Today we read the parable of the dishonest manager, which is difficult to understand. What the manager in the parable is doing is stealing. I don’t know what else we can call it. The dishonest manager uses his master’s money to earn favor from his clients. That is stealing. Yet the master commends his manager for what he is doing.
Perhaps we, as the North American middle-class Christians, read this parable very differently from those living in poverty, those living in Somalia, Afghanistan, Liberia, and many suffering places of the world where no real job is available for anyone…. I will, we will perhaps, never understand why someone chooses to become a pirate in Somalia, why any parent would allow their child to become a child soldier, or why so many of these young people become a member of organized crime.
I think my being a North American Middle-Class Christian gets in the way of understanding this parable of the dishonest manager. I don’t like what the master is doing. I don’t like this rich man who represents God more so than what the dishonest person did in the story. I believe what the manager did in the parable is a crime, and there is nothing good in what he was doing. Yet the rich man, the master who represents God sees something good from the dishonest manager.
Perhaps what I don’t understand in this parable is no other how God looks at us, how God loves all of us, how God finds good in all of us. Perhaps what I don’t understand in this parable is how God tries so hard to find something good in every one of us.
God finds something good in us even when we cannot find anything positive and good in us. What this parable does for me is to see me and my self-righteousness and pettiness clearly. Although I preach about the unconditional love of Jesus Christ each week, I live by the conditional love and the self-righteousness our society has been building on us each day.
There is no way Jesus is defending what this dishonest manager is doing, but I would like to believe Jesus invites us to pay attention to how the master who represents our divine God finds something good from his dishonest manager.
I just cannot understand the master in the story. How could he laugh when his manager stole his money?
This parable also reveals something about God I don’t understand or agree. God justifies even those we cannot accept and comprehend…. I believe this parable of the dishonest manager reveals to us that the unconditional love of God is far more disturbing and uncomfortable than we would like it to be. It should be uncomfortable because it is something we can never comprehend.
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
We bring our gifts to you, O God, in gratitude for all you give us. Bless them and make them a source of healing for a world in need, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who sends us out in love. Amen.
Lighting the candles of peace, healing, and justice
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God in whom we live and move and have our being, each week our prayers join with those of Christians around the world to seek your healing grace for those in need and to pray for justice and mercy in your fragile creation. We thank you for the ways in which your Spirit can surprise us, bringing healing and hope in situations which cause us to despair. Encourage us when we feel overwhelmed.
We remember before you today people living with illness and suffering, for those struggling with disability or waiting for treatment, and for those who know grief or fear or loneliness God, speak to us a word of healing
Embrace us with your love.
We remember before you today people facing discrimination and social prejudice, for those who are bullied at school, at work or at home, and for those who are made ashamed of who they are God, speak to us a word of dignity
Embrace us with your love.
We remember before you people caught up in economic uncertainty, those worried for the future, or struggling to make ends meet God, speak to us a word of reassurance
Embrace us with your love.
We remember before you today your whole creation in its increasing vulnerability. Teach us how to care for the rips and tears in the fabric of the world you love so that all your creatures may live together in health and wholeness. God, speak to us a word of wisdom
Embrace us with your love. Amen.
“Love divine, all loves excelling” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 371). Words (1747) by English Methodist leader and hymnwriter Charles Wesley (1707–1788). Music (1844; tune: “Hyfrydol”) by Welsh composer Rowland Prichard (1811–1887). Words and music in the public domain.
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. 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 2022-09-17 23:15 – First version.