September 25, 2022 – Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, September 25, 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 25.
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Call to worship
One: Here God speaks to us words of challenge and comfort.
All: Here Jesus stands among us, calling us to acts of mercy.
One: Even now, the Holy Spirit is moving in our midst,
All: filling us with hope and inspiring us to faithfulness.
One: Let us worship God, ever Three and ever One.
All: Let us praise God’s holy name together!
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.
“You who dwell in the shelter” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 57). Words and music by American priest and composer Michael Joncas (1951–). Words based on Psalm 91, Exodus 19, and Matthew 13. Words and music copyright © 1979, 1991 New Dawn Music; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of grace, you have given us minds to know you, hearts to love you, and voices to sing your praise.
Compassionate God, you open your heart to those in need, and to your aching creation. We confess we often turn away so that we do not have to see pain, suffering or injustice, right before our eyes. We don’t like to feel uncomfortable or pressed into service. Forgive us, and give us courage to love others as you love us and reach out with the care we have witnessed in Jesus.
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
The prophet Micah declared that God requires of us three things: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. To all who repent, who act for justice and seek to serve God and neighbour in kindness, God offers forgiveness and peace. 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)
Guildwood Choir presents
“Make me a Channel of Your Peace” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 707). Words and music (both 1967) by South-African songwriter Sebastian Temple (1928–1997). Words and music copyright © 1967 OCP Publications; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
I want to watch a popcorn movie when I go to a movie theater. I don’t want to watch a movie that is too serious, sad, scary, depressing, or disturbing. I have enough problems I have to deal with each day, I don’t want to think about another issue. I want to relax and enjoy the time while I am watching a movie. So I want to watch a film that ends with ‘they lived happily ever after.’
But that does not always happen with the Bible. Yes, many comforting words, teachings, and parables give us strength and peace, but there are also many challenging, uncomfortable, and even disturbing words and stories. Today we read one of those disturbing parables, known as the rich man and Lazarus.
I am going to read verse 19, “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.”
This parable starts with the world’s most desired happy and content ending.
There was a man who lived happily ever after. There was a man who became successful and rich; he lived in this mansion with his own private jet and boat. He was dressed in purple and fine linen. His purple dress represents his status in society; he was recognized and admired as a wealthy and powerful individual. He had everything everyone wanted; he had this lifestyle everyone was pursuing.
Isn’t that the end goal of our world today as well? Isn’t it why our media keeps telling us how much athletes make? That is how we know a professional hockey player from Denver signed an 8-year contract worth 100.8 million dollars. Don’t you think our society is obsessed and fixated with how much a hockey player makes, how much a basketball player makes, what others make and what we make? We pay so much attention to what others drive, where they live, where they go for their holidays… where they eat and play… Because they are becoming our purpose and our ends in our society today.
Don’t get me wrong. I love our culture and our society, although it is far from perfect. I appreciate we have this freedom to find the work that we want. We have the right and privilege to earn and accumulate our own wealth. We have the freedom to spend it and to use it the way we desire. I love the fact I can have a meal with my friends, and we as a family can go out and eat out once in a while. I love that I can buy ice cream whenever I want, although my doctor disagrees with me.
However, we can be misled that our true happiness comes from owning and possessing more. We can be deceived that the ultimate purpose of our life is to possess more, to collect more, and hold on to more. We can give more meaning to what we end up earning than the kind of difference we make through our work and our wealth. And we can be misled to believe that our happiness comes from having more than others.
How nice it would be if we could all have more and more, but in our reality, not everyone can win, not everyone will win, sometimes we gain, other times we lose, and probably there are far more people who don’t have enough than those who have everything.
So this parable challenges us to stop looking at the rich man even for a second and start paying attention to people like Lazarus, who fell behind and failed….
I am going to read verses 20 and 21, “20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.”
We don’t want to know, and we don’t want to hear about this poor man Lazarus lying at the gate, being covered with sores… we don’t want to ask what happened to this poor man, we don’t want to ask why someone has to be on the street seeking food. We don’t want to know how we can succeed, but we don’t want to know what happens when we fail. We want to believe “If I try my best, I will have everything.” So when we see people on the street, we quickly tell ourselves, “They are lazy… they don’t want to work.”
The parable does not tell us why Lazarus ended up being so poor. The parable neither defends nor condemns the poor or the wealthy, although it seems to condemn the rich man for not helping the poor. The parable does not blame the wealthy for the poor, nor the poor for the wealthy, although it seems to challenge us to help one another. But one thing the parable invites us to recognize this poor man has a name. His name is Lazarus; he is a person. Yes, he is poor, but he is a person; he is a child of God.
However, that is not where the parable ends. It does not end by telling us, “You need to help one another because we are all God’s children.” This is not one of those parables. The parable invites us to take one more step further than knowing what we need to do for one another and what we can do with our wealth and poverty…. I am going to read verse 22 and 23. I can go on till the end of the parable, but two verses are enough to tell us what we need to hear, “22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.”
The parable invites us to think about Abraham, Moses, and the prophets. The parable invites us to think about what this heaven is, the hades where the rich man was trapped, what death is, what is life after death, what a resurrection is… who this God is….
When our world is so busy talking about our economy, what is the interest rate, what is the inflation rate, Jesus asks us how our faith is? How is your soul? How is your spirit? Have you seen Moses? Have you seen Abraham? Have you seen Jesus?
When our world is so busy telling us what to buy, what not to buy, what to own, and what not to own, Jesus asks, “How are you preparing for your death? Are you ready to face your end and what is waiting for us beyond?” When our world is so busy telling us, “You need more of this and that. You don’t have what he has, and you don’t have what she has….” Jesus asks us, “Do you have everything you really need in your life? Do you have the life of Jesus Christ? Am I in your plan? When are you coming to see me? Are you listening to me??” I don’t think this parable is meant to make us feel good or comfortable, but it is intended for us to deepen our questions about our life. Deepen our hunger for God, our hunger for eternal life, and our desire for God’s unconditional love….
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
Loving God, we bring you our gifts, grateful that we have something to share, and glad to be part of a network of mission and mercy which circles the earth. Bless the ministries supported by Presbyterians Sharing as well as the mission of our congregation. Use our gifts to multiply their impact in the world you love through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lighting the candles of peace, healing, and justice
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of mystery and wonder, We look around at the beauty of this world and the worlds beyond us, and sense that you have given each precious thing its place and a way to sustain itself. Thank you for the care you hold for your whole creation. We also look around at the aching of the world and sense that many precious things are under threat. Too many pieces of your creation have fallen out of balance with each other. Show us how we can help restore that balance and protect what is at risk for the health of your whole creation.
God of energy and life, We look around at the peoples of this world and see your image and dignity in every variety of face and culture. Thank you for the care you hold for all humankind. Yet we look around at the people of this world and see the aching of the hungry and hurting; we hear the groans of parents whose children die in their arms and feel the tears of children whose parents die too soon. We know neighbours who are suffering and hear of strangers who can’t imagine how to make it through tomorrow. Awaken our generosity to offer what healing and hope we can to the lives you cherish in every neighbourhood and nation.
God of promise and possibility, We look around at places where people collide with each other We hear the grumbling of nations locked into old rivalries and grievances. We watch the jousting of leaders impressed more by polls than effective policies. We worry about the future of our communities and our children. We hear your call to do justice and live generously. Guide us as citizens to act for justice that brings peace and well being to communities near and far. Bless the ministries supported by Presbyterians Sharing across Canada and around the world, and grow in us the interest and intention to contribute to this outreach. God of all creatures great and small,
God of faithfulness and surprise, We look at ourselves and sometimes doubt we can make a difference or have an impact. Challenge us to recognise the kinds of power we do have: The love and compassion, The courage and commitment, The laughter and friendship, The generosity and mercy You inspire within us. In all these gifts we know your power. Through all these gifts, our lives have been changed. Using these gifts in our lives, bring Christ’s love and mercy to the world you love, Amen.
“More love to thee” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 707). Words for verse 1 (1856) by American author Elizabeth Payson Prentiss (1818–1878). Words for verse 2 (1990) by Canadian elementary teacher Margaret Clarkson (1915–2008). Music (1868; tune: “More Love to Thee”) by American industrialist and hymnwriter William Howard Doane (1832–1915). Words verse 1 public domain. Verse 2 copyright © 1990 Hope Publishing Co. ; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music 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 2022-09-25 23:20 – Added Guildwood Choir presents info and Added Sermon text.