October 23, 2022 – Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, October 23, 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 23.
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Introit – Choir
Call to Worship
One: From the routines of work and school, home and play,
All: we have come to worship God.
One: With the weight of the world heavy on our hearts,
All: we have come to worship God.
One: In the midst of our fears and our hopes,
All: we offer our prayer and praise in Jesus’ name.
One: For we trust in God’s power and presence,
All: so let us worship God with heart, mind, soul and strength.
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.
“One more step along the world I go” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 641). Words and music (both 1971; tune: “Southcote”) by English poet, songwriter and musician Sydney Carter (1915–2004). Words and music copyright © 1971 Stainer & Bell Ltd; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Creating God, the mountains you raised reflect your strength and majesty. Sunrise and sunset frame the day with your light and joy. Fields bursting with grain and trees coloured with autumn glory sing of your steadfast love. Pictures from the depth of space give a glimpse of your infinity, yet in Christ you have walked the humble earth. You alone are worthy of our praise. You alone give us hope. Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of Life, we praise you, and join our voices to those of every precious thing to wonder at your mystery and majesty.
Merciful God, You created human beings with gifts of intelligence and imagination. Yet we confess we often use these gifts to exploit your creation and put others in their place. So often we think that we are great when we are small. Or we claim smallness when you set a challenge before us. We convince ourselves that our sin is not nearly as great as others, yet, every sin offends your purpose for us. Forgive us, we pray, and grant us a truer picture of ourselves.
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
Friends in Christ, God is gracious. Christ has promised that those who humble themselves will be exalted. Having confessed our sin, let us trust the good news of the Gospel. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Thanks be to God. Thanks be to God!
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Fun with the young at heart:-Mission Moment
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
Guildwood Choir presents
“Hymn of Promise”. Words and music (1985) by American composer Natalie Sleeth (1930–1992) and dedicated to her husband Ron. Words and music copyright © 1985 Hope Publishing; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Today we are looking at the second Timothy. The pastoral letter addressed to Timothy from the Apostle Paul, his mentor. Although we are not sure whether this letter was written by Paul or someone who followed Paul, we can agree that this letter was written to teach and encourage Timothy and many Christians who were trying so hard to follow Christ Jesus in their lives faithfully.
The Apostle Paul is no longer traveling; his adventuring days are finished. Spending his days in a roman prison, he reflects on his life. His life was far from a pleasant, easy life; his life filled with many challenges. I will read 2nd Corinthians chapter 11, verses 24 to27, which tells us some of the challenges that the Apostle Paul endured in his life. “24 Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked.”
No wonder the author of the letter said, 7 “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” He expressed his life as a fight, a struggle, a battle…
I know that many of us have not experienced the kind of persecution that the apostle Paul and the early Christians faced, but our life remains a battle, a fight, and a struggle. Perhaps not a physical struggle, although many of us face many physical challenges, the battle many of us face is a spiritual battle. We try to make sense of this broken world. We try to find a way to go on when things go wrong or when a tragedy hits us. We try so hard to love one another. We try to find meaning, purpose, and peace.
Each congregation is composed of people who care about God and each other. There should be no issue in a congregation. Right? Each family is created by people who care about each other, then there should be no disagreement, argument, and rejection. There should be only happiness and laughter in every family. Yet, we humans struggle in every place.
Our life is far from perfect. It is not easy. At times our life becomes a fight, a battle, and a struggle. We go through many ups and downs. Sometimes we lose ourselves. But the good news is that our life is not just an endless fight, but also a race with its finishing line. “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”
The word of God we read today reminds us that our life is not an endless fight, but our life is a race, a journey. It is a race that has a clear end. It might be a temporary end, yet nonetheless, an end that we all must embrace. Every problem we carry here on earth will eventually pass. This end and this temporality we face teaches us that we are given this special life to prepare ourselves for something beyond what we see and what we know today. Our earthly life is not about who comes first or last; it is not about how fast we run or how slow we walk, it is not about how much we accumulate or how successful we become, but about how faithful we were to our faith, how faithful we were to God.
According to the apostle Paul, this is what he has learned from his race, his life, his fight… I am going to read verse 17 and 18, “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Just like the prophet Isaiah and the people of Israel, the apostle Paul learned that God was the one who gave him strength and rescued him from the dangers and the darkness he faced. That is what the word of God desires to remind us today. Yes, at times things will go wrong… at times we will experience failures and disappointments. But if we dare to live our life each moment by trusting God, we will also find the fingerprints of God in our own life. One thing we will learn from our life is that we were not alone; we were never alone.
“Blest are they” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 624). Words and music (both 1985) by American author and composer David Robert Haas (1957–). This arrangement by GCPC music director Rachelle Risling. Words copyright © 1985, music copyright © 1985, 1991 GIA Publications. Both used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Arrangement copyright © 2022 Rachelle Risling; used by permission.
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
Just and merciful God, we lift our eyes to you in hope and gratitude. When the world around us seems troubling, we are grateful for your steadfast love. Thank you for your Spirit at work in all times and places, calling out the best in your people, showing us when we must repent, opening paths to reconciliation where we have offended. With the humility of the tax collector in Jesus’ story, may we seek your justice and know your mercy.
We pray for justice for the earth: Protect those creatures and habitats that our way of life is threatening. Protect those communities and island nations at risk from climate change. Open our eyes to see how we can live more responsibly and change our hearts to know we must.
We pray for justice among the nations: Create more generous sharing of resources between countries with good harvests and those depleted by famine. Where resources are extracted for export, protect brave advocates for fair wages and environmental protection. And where there is aggression and intimidation between nations, raise up the willingness to make peace and settle differences fairly.
We pray for justice in our court systems: Guide those who judge and defend to serve with integrity, that those who are accused may receive fair trials, and that those who have been wronged or harmed are restored to fullness of life. Grant those who are convicted humane treatment so that your Spirit may lead them to rehabilitated potential.
We pray for justice in the work place: May those who work for others be treated with dignity and earn a fair wage. May all who create that work earn a fair return. Create equity and respect between those of different backgrounds and identities and guide young people to opportunities to develop their gifts.
God, we all need some kinds of healing in our lives: We remember before you those struggling with illness of body, mind or spirit, those waiting for diagnosis or treatment, and all whose health challenges are invisible to others.
Your Spirit prays within us, O God, even when we cannot find the right words. So hear us this day and answer us in ways that encourage our faith and change the world for the good, for the sake of Jesus Christ who taught us this prayer:
“Lord, Jesus, you shall be my song” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 665). English words (1970; translated from the original French words of 1961) by Anglo-Canadian priest, musician and theologian Stephen Sommerville (1931–); music (1961; tune: “Les Petities Soeurs”) by Les Petites Soeurs de Jésus. English words copyright © 1970 Stephen Sommerville. Music copyright © 1987 Les Petites Soeurs de Jésus.
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 2022-10-29 00:05 – Added closing hymn info.