October 16, 2022 – Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, October 16, 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, October 16.
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Introit – Choir
Call to Worship
One: God promises us justice,
All: and teaches us persistence.
One: God promises us compassion,
All: and teaches us not to lose heart.
One: God promises to be with us
All: and teaches us to tend to each other.
One: So let us worship our God of comfort and challenge,
All: We will offer prayers and praise to our God of hope and healing.
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.
“Great is thy faithfulness” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 324). Words (1923) by American poet and Methodist minister Thomas Obadiah Chisholm (1866–1960). Music (1923; tune: “Faithfulness”) by American composer William M. Runyan (1870–1957). Words and music in the public domain.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit, you breathe life into all things and nourish your whole creation. You are a rock and refuge for your people, for you are trustworthy in all things. Your desire for peace with justice can never be defeated. You alone can bring life out of death, and restore wholeness to broken lives, so we praise you and rejoice in the hope you offer. For your love is the power at work in every situation, seeking goodness and revealing truth, a love that will never let us go. In our time of worship, we offer you our love and loyalty through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
God of our hopes and our hearts, You provide the gift of faith but we lose heart quickly. Troubles weaken our trust and disappointments eat away at our commitment. Forgive us and create in us clean hearts and in your love, give us peace and perseverance.
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
Remember the promise St Paul declares: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Hardship? Distress? Peril or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through the God who loves us. Neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Let us rejoice that, no matter what is happening around us, no matter what we have done, God’s deep love will never let us go. 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
“Grace Alone”. Words and music (1998) by American singer and songwriter Scott Wesley Brown (1952–) and American songwriter Jeff Nelson. Arrangement (2017) by American musician and composer Molly Ijames (1978–). Words and music copyright © 1998, arrangement copyright © 2017 by Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (administered by CapitolCMGPublishing); used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. The Senior Choir is accompanied on the piano by GCPC Music Director Rachelle Risling.
Søren Kierkegaard said, “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.”
That has been my personal experience. God has always been the same loving God. When we pray, we are changed by our prayers to God. Although I am not sure we are changed because we pray to God or because God listens to us. In my experience, prayer is less about what we say but more about who we are and whom we are praying to. Prayer is less about what we get, what we become, and who we become.
Today the gospel of Luke invites us to deepen our prayers. I am going to read verse 1, “Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart”.
The scripture we read today reminds us that we deepen our prayers first) by praying more and second) by not losing our hearts when we pray. Jesus gives us this important reminder because at times, we lose our hearts and stop praying. Because at times, it seems that our prayers are not working because at times, we feel our prayers are ignored, rejected, and abandoned. At times, we feel we are wasting our time when we pray.
Jesus does not answer our questions about our unanswered prayers, he simply asks us to pray more with persistence and tenacity. Jesus does not try to explain why some of our prayers are not answered nor does he try to defend God for not answering our prayers. Jesus invites us to deepen our prayers.
I am going to read verses 3 and 4, “3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my accuser.’ 4 For a while, he refused…”.
Jesus invites us to pay attention to the widow and her prayer in the parable. She keeps coming at the unjust judge and keeps asking for justice. Even though the judge keeps refusing her, she keeps coming back to him and demands justice. If we open our eyes, we will see many people around us who don’t give up praying just like the widow…
By doing so, Jesus asks, “What do you do when your prayers are not answered?” “Do we deepen our prayers? Or do we stop praying? Does our prayer become more persistent and consistent when we face challenges? Yes, we sometimes feel God is unfair and unjust, but for this moment, Jesus invites us to stop looking at what God isn’t doing but invites us to look at our prayers and ask ourselves, “What does God desire from us?”
I am going to read verses 4 to 6, “4 For a while he refused, but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ 6 And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says.’” This unjust judge says, “Because she keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out!”
We may hear this question in our hearts, “Do our prayers bother God?” You know what? The last thing we want to do is to bother someone! We don’t like to make others uncomfortable, perhaps because we don’t want to place ourselves in uncomfortable situations. But that is only possible with strangers. You turn left, and I turn right, and we will never see each other. We don’t have to ask a favour; we don’t have to ask for forgiveness.
“Leave me alone. Don’t bother me!” Isn’t that what our children say when they are annoyed and upset. But we as parents, know we can not leave them alone. Sure, we give them their time and space, but sometimes we have to bother them because that is what we are supposed to them. It does not mean we can give them what they are asking or everything they need, but we can be there for them. But we share their suffering. Should our children bother us at times? Should we bother our children at times? What about our family and our church family? Yes, we love each other, we forgive each other, we make each other to cry and laugh, we build each other up, but we bother each other at times.
That is why sometimes I as a pastor, get a call in the middle of the night, “My mother is dying, can you come and pray with me at the hospital?” That is not just with your pastor. We bother each other at times by saying, “I am going through this and that; could you pray for me? Could you help me?” That is why we sometimes say to each other, “I want to know what is going on with you. That is not so like you” Isn’t that how we deepen our love and appreciation for each other?
I wonder if “Leave me alone. Don’t bother me” has become the mantra of our individualistic society. Isn’t that what we say to God when things go wrong?” I don’t think we really know how to depend on others and depend on God. We are supposed to bother God, that is our privilege of being the children of God. Even when we don’t get what we want, we will find God when we pray. God will find us, we will be strengthened by God, we will be welcomed by God.
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
God of the great and the small, we bring what we have to share, the fruit of our lives. Bless our gifts and our lives so that generosity and justice will join hands to surprise the world with your goodness in Jesus’ name.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of life, You open our eyes on the world you love and show us your presence and your purpose. We see the beauty and wonder throughout creation and feel the love and compassion you offer through friend and stranger. For all these gifts we give you thanks. We pray for those who cannot recognize these gifts in their lives. Open their eyes to your presence and our companionship so that they may know your steadfast love.
God of justice, You open our eyes on the world and its anxiety and show us struggle and conflict. We see the burdens many carry in these stressful times. Today we pray for those whose businesses are struggling; for producers unsure they will receive a fair return; for workers uncertain about their jobs prospect; and for families weighed down by rising costs. Open their eyes to new possibilities and open our eyes to ways we can support them.
God of compassion, You open our eyes on the world in pain and show us suffering and despair. We see all the challenges in health care and tired professionals stretched beyond their limits. Renew their strength of purpose. We pray for communities struggling with chronic hunger as well as the shifting reality of the pandemic, and for all who face difficult diagnoses, painful illness, or delays in treatment.
Open their eyes to your mercy and open our eyes to ways we can offer support.
God of wisdom, You open our eyes on the world out of balance and show us its many complexities. We see old animosities and fresh upheavals that put innocent lives at risk. We pray for the millions displaced by current conflicts and natural disasters, and pray that leaders in every country and community will attend to the suffering of their people with mercy and justice. Equip all those who prepare for ministry in our Colleges with the knowledge and commitment needed to serve in complicated times. Open all our eyes to creative solutions for situations which break your heart and ours. God who listens, hear our prayer, and in your mercy, answer.
“Precious Lord, take my hand” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 675). Words (1938) by American composer and evangelist Thomas Andrew Dorsey (1899–1993). Music (1938; tune “Precious Lord”) also by Dorsey, drawing upon an 1844 hymn tune, “Maitland”. Words and music copyright © 1938 Unichappell Music Inc; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
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 God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 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.
Variations on “Come thou almighty King”. Words anonymous (first published in 1757). Music (1769; tune: “Italian Hymn”, also called “Moscow” or “Trinity”) by Italian composer and violinist Felice Giardini (1716–1796). Arrangement by GCPC Music Director Rachelle Risling. Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 2022 Rachelle Risling; used by permission.
Copyright © 2022 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2022-10-18 20:10 – Added Prelude, Postlude, Guildwood Choir presents and Musical reflection info; added Sermon text.