October 30, 2022 – Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, October 30, 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 30.
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Introit – Choir
Call to Worship
One: Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.
All: They shall mount up with wings as eagles;
One: They shall run and not be weary;
All: They shall walk and not faint.
One: In the company of all God’s saints and pilgrims, come and worship.
All: We come with prayer and praise to find our strength renewed!
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.
“Unto the hills around” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 81). Words (1877, 1909) by English nobleman John Campbell, the 9th Duke of Argyll (1845–1914), better known as the Marquess of Lorne, the Governor-General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. The words are a paraphrasing of Psalm 121. Music (1860; tune “Sandon”) by Scottish composer Charles Henry Purday (1799–1885). Words and music in the public domain.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Ancient of days, God of our everyday lives, we praise you for your guidance and care in every generation, and for the example of those who have gone before us, who taught us your name and brought us to faith. In the great mystery of your love, we know these saints gather with, to praise and adore you for your wisdom that instructs, your grace that redeems, your Spirit who guides us, and for the comfort and hope we claim in the knowledge that neither death nor life can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Gracious God, you have been faithful to us in every generation. Yet we confess that we are not so faithful to you. We shrink from costly discipleship and we seek cheap grace. Forgive our fleeting enthusiasms and our shallow commitments. And guide us always with the love and mercy we witness in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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
Dear friends, while it is true that we have all sinned, it is a greater truth that we are forgiven through God’s love in Jesus Christ. Be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another. 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
“Fairest Lord Jesus”, also known as “Beautiful Saviour”. The original words (1677) in German are anonymous. English words translated and by American theologian and Lutheran minister Joseph Seiss (1823–1904). Music: the tune is originally a Silesian folk song but has become known as “Crusader’s Hymn” and was first published in 1842. This arrangement (2000) by American composer Mark Hayes (1953–). English words and music in the public domain. Arrangement copyright © 2000 Beckenhorst Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Performed by the GCPC Senior Choir accompanied on the piano by Music director Rachelle Risling.
Luke 19: 1–4:
“He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.”
In the gospel of Luke, we are invited to meet and greet a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector, meaning he was a wealthy, powerful individual. But, at the same time, he was also a despised and hated individual. Every choice we make comes with a price. To become a tax collector in the New Testament is to choose the wealth and power of Rome over his relationship with his people of Israel, and perhaps even with God. The wealth and the power he enjoyed came with the price of exclusion from his people and faith community. Whatever his reason was, he came to see Jesus. He could not see anything because of the crowd and because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead everyone and climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus.
When Zacchaeus saw Jesus, Jesus saw him as well and this is what Jesus said to him. I am going to read verse 5, “When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’” Jesus said to Zacchaeus, ‘Hurry and come down.’ I don’t think Jesus was just talking about coming down from the sycamore tree, a physical tree. I believe Jesus was inviting Zacchaeus to come down from the place of pride, the place of ambition, the place of fear, and the place of loneliness, and to welcome Jesus into his house and to his heart.
Our world teaches us that for us to survive this world, we need more of this and that, and we need to step upward, to be more assertive, more powerful, to be more forceful… but the way of Christ is very different. It asks us to be kind, humble, patient, and loving. It is downward.
As I was meditating on this story of Zacchaeus, I wondered if Zacchaeus represents our society and our faith community today. Just like Zacchaeus, do we sometimes not value wealth over relationships, success over faith, or power over humility? As long as I have this and that, that is not my problem. And somehow end up either excluding ourselves from others or excluding others from us. Perhaps it is not just Zacchaeus who needs to come down. Perhaps all of us need to hear this invitation of Jesus Christ. Perhaps we are all invited by Jesus come down from the place of pride, ego, and endless ambition to the place of humility. Perhaps all of us are invited by Jesus to come down from the place of self-righteousness and self-serving to the place of welcoming and accepting. Perhaps all of us are invited by Jesus to come down from the place of fear and loneliness to the place of peace and compassion.
We Christians call that movement of coming down from the place of fear to the place of eternal peace ‘prayer’. Prayer is about moving away from the place of darkness to the place of light. Prayer allows us to move away the place of our self-righteousness to the place of humility, where God is waiting.
Isn’t that what our life is about? We are given this wonderful life not just for us to enjoy our human success and achievement forever but to find our place in God and to be found by Jesus Christ. Everything that happens in our life and each person we meet in our life helps us move away from the place of fear and loneliness to the place of compassion where God is waiting.
Dear friends, we don’t know what kind of challenges are coming in our ministry tomorrow. Still, one thing I am confident of is that God will help us to see and experience God’s abundant grace through our faith community together. God will, and we will continue to help each other to move away from the place of fear and loneliness to the place of compassion, forgiveness, and God’s abundant grace.
“Just as I am, without one plea” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 682). Words (1835) by English poet and hymnwriter Charlotte Elliott (1789–1871). Words (1849; tune: “Woodworth”) by American musician and composer William Batchelder Bradbury (1816–1868). This arrangement by GCPC Music director Rachelle Risling. Words and music in the public domain. 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
Generous God, you are faithful and fruitful in every generation. Bless our gifts and make them fruitful beyond our imagining in the work of your kingdom. Keep us faithful in this generation so we can offer the inheritance we have received in Christ to the generation that comes after us. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God who calls throughout the ages, we give thanks that you have spoken to your people in every generation, calling them into the light, showing them the paths of justice, guiding them out of the bondage into freedom. In every age, you have called leaders to guide your people with courage and insight, speaking through them to offer comfort and challenge. We give you thanks for your Holy Spirit, who offers the gift of faith to us, and for the ways that those who came before us have handed that faith on to us. As we give thanks for all that we have received, remind us that we are but a small part of your creation, its history, life and love. May such a reminder keep us humble in our mission, even as you call us to take up our place in the ongoing story of your love with courage and creativity.
Hear our prayers, O God, for your church in this place and around the world. Sustain and support the work of the Gospel. Where the church is in physical danger, protect it with your Spirit. Where the church is facing division, unify it through your love. Where the church lacks courage to stand up for justice, embolden it with example of those saints who have gone before us. Where the church lacks energy or vision, renew its hope in the presence of Christ who is with us always.
God of the past, the present, and what is still to come We thank you today for all those saints who have shown us how to love each other, and for those who still touch people in trouble with tenderness, caring for the sick, cheering the lonely, helping the poor. In this quiet moment, we remember those around us who need a saint to reach out to them in their need this day:
Give each of us the courage and compassion to be your saints alive today, touching the world in Jesus’ name, as we pray in the words he taught us:
“I, the Lord of sea and sky” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 592). Words (1981) by American composer and Christian songwriter Daniel Laurent Schutte (1947–), based on Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3:4. Music (1983; tune: “Here I am, Lord”) by Schutte with harmony by Michael Pope and John Weissrock. Words copyright © 1981 and music copyright © 1983 by Daniel L. Schutte and New Dawn Music; 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.
Copyright © 2022 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2022-10-31 22:40 – Added Choir piece, Musical reflection and Postlude info; added Sermon text.