Worship Service for February 12, 2023

February 12, 2023 – Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, February 12, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EST on Sunday, February 12.

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Call to Worship

One: How blessed are we when we meditate on God’s teachings;
All: and when we desire God with our whole hearts.

One: Let us praise God with attentive minds and eager spirits,
All: for we are God’s servants, working and praying together.

One: So let us worship God and praise God’s holy name.
All: Let us seek God’s path and listen for God’s call.

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.

Opening Hymn

“Can a little child like me” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 441). Words by American author and editor Mary Mapes Dodge (1931–1905). Alternate words used in the hymnbook (1997) by The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Music (19th century; tune: “Thanksgiving”) by American composer William Kipp Bassford (1839–1902). Original words and music in the public domain. Alternate words copyright © 1997 The Presbyterian Church in Canada; used by permission.

Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)

God of all life and each life, You are the light of minds that seek to know you. You are strength for those who seek to serve you. You reveal truth to those who search for you. In worship, we pause in your presence, resting from our work and responsibilities, from our worries and distractions. We come to enjoy your presence and praise you for the gift of life in Christ and in creation. Receive our prayers and praise this day, for we open our hearts in love to you, O God, our All in All.

God who is all in all, You call us to choose life and walk in your ways, but we are tempted by short cuts and easy solutions. You ask us to turn from anger and settle our differences, but we cling to grievances and point fingers at others. You ask us to be true to our word, but we prefer to keep everyone happy. Forgive us, O God; and give us courage to follow the paths you set for your people.

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

God invites us to choose life and find the blessing that comes from following God’s ways.  Accept God’s gift of forgiveness and choose new life. Forgive one another and discover the peace of Christ. Amen.

Thanks be to God!

The Peace

One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.

Guildwood Senior Choir Presents

“Come with shouting”. Words (2000) by American James Paul Williams (1937–2010) based on Isaiah 35. Music (2000) by American composer Douglas Nolan. Words and music copyright © 2000 Harold Flammer Music and Malcolm Music, divisions of Shawnee Press, part of the Hal Leonard Corporation; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)

(Practicing faith)

A Welcome Moment

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)

Scripture Reading

Matthew 5: 21–37  <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible

Click here for additional scripture readings from today’s lectionary. Links courtesy of the Revised Common Lectionary, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment, and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council, and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.”

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you: Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”

The scripture reading is followed by:

One: The Word of God.
People: Thanks be to God.


“Love the Lord your God” (Book of Praise 1997, hymn 715). Words (1991) and music (1991; tune “Love the Lord”) by American musicians and hymnwriters Jean Strathdee (1944–) and Jim Strathdee (1941–). Words and music copyright © 1991 Desert Flower Music; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.


What we read from the text today is the work of rethinking, redefining, reforming, and reimagining of ten commandments, the last five commandments by Jesus.

It would be very helpful to look at the ten commandments.

Exodus 20: 1–18:
Then God spoke all these words, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me.” 4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol,…”
“You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God,…”
“Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy…”
“Honor your father and your mother…”
13 “You shall not murder.”
14 “You shall not commit adultery.”
15 “You shall not steal.”
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female slave, ox, donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

We Christians believe that these commandments were written in our human hearts to teach us what it means to be the people of God. These commandments were first adopted by a group of slaves, outcast and the marginalized. Then over the time, these 10 commandments grew into 613 commandments and many unwritten rules.

During his ministry, Jesus challenged the entire society, but especially the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the teachers of the law in how they applied and created more rules to maintain their power and how the commandments were used to oppress the powerless, the vulnerable, and the marginalized. Jesus made it crystal clear why we are given the commandments. Matthew 22:37-40, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

In his entire ministry, Jesus challenged the people of God to rethink, redefine, and reimagine what it means to be the people of God.  Through the text we read today, Jesus invites us to join him rethinking, redefining, and reimagining what it means to be the people of God and what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ. Our task as Christians is not about just getting familiar with what is written in the Bible, but to keep asking, questioning, reforming, and reimaging who we are and what we choose to do in the eyes of God.

Our task is never to condemn those who don’t come to church on Sunday. The question we should ask is never, “Why don’t you come to church more often? but “How do you and how do I discover God’s peace in my life today? How do you and do I fulfill this precious life God has given us?” The question we should ask is not, “Where were you last Sunday?” but “Where is our heart today? What are we looking at today and what are we thinking about today?  Is God relevant in our life today? Does our faith make any difference in each decision we make?”

Yes, we need courage to say ‘no’ when someone is hurting others out of anger. However, our task as a Christian is not to condemn the emotion of anger, but to embrace our anger, and work on our healing. Our anger is often the sign of something that is broken in us. We can never get out of the cycle of anger by getting angry at ourselves for being angry. Yes, Jesus made it clear that we should never look at another person to gratify our unending desires or needs but our task as a Christian is not to condemn or hurt those who have gone through a divorce or a difficult marriage or a family feud, but we are called by God to remind each other that is why we are here, and we are here for each other, we create a community to help us to go on beyond our personal struggles, because things don’t always go the way we plan. We need one another to find God’s peace and love.

We are given the commandments, every scripture so that we love each other better. We are not given the commandments or the scriptures to achieve perfection nor to condemn those who struggle.  But we are given the commandments and the scriptures, so that we can help each other go on beyond our failures and struggles.

Musical Reflection

Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor, Op. posth.” (1830) by Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849). This arrangement (2023) by Rachelle Risling. Music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 2023 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

Doxology 306

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 306) Based on the tune “Old 100th” with words (1989) by English hymnwriter Brian A. Wren (1936–). Words copyright © 1989 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise God all creatures high and low;
praise God in Jesus fully known,
Creator Word and Spirit One.

Prayer of dedication

Gracious and generous God, we bring our gifts to you in thanksgiving. Bless them and surprise us by all the Holy Spirit can accomplish with them. Bless our lives, too, so that our choices will always honour you for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope

God of Life and Love, in spoken words and in the silence of our hearts, we give you thanks for all of life, for the grace you provide to creation in its diversity, and for your loving kindness known in the details of our lives. Hear us, we pray, as we speak of matters on our hearts and minds this day:

Where the church is divided by squabbling or deep disagreement, where Christians emphasize our differences instead of seeking unity in Christ, where we put energy into guarding tradition at the expense of honouring new life and relationships with our neighbours.

Where families are divided by old hurts or new tensions, where friendships have ended through misunderstanding or neglect, where relationships have been severed by betrayal or thoughtlessness.

Where countries are torn by war and conflict, where communities are divided by prejudice or unexamined privilege, where leaders provoke anger instead of building understanding co-operation: transform us and make all things new.

Where the poor and lonely find little support or comfort, where people are tired from overwork or pressured by rising costs; where workers fear for their jobs in the present or the future.

Where people suffer pain with physical, emotional or spiritual roots,   Where loss marks the beginning and ending of every day, Where young people fear for the future of the planet and their elders mourn the loss of what they once assumed would last.

God, our Source and Saviour, in Christ you make all things new. Amen.

Closing Hymn

“A New Commandment” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 225). Words John 13: 34, 35. Music (tune: “A New Commandment”) anonymous. Arrangement by Australian clergyman, organist and composer Lawrence Bartlett (1933–2002). Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1977 from the Australian Hymn Book.

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

Choral Amen

“Celtic Blessing”. Words Irish traditional. Music by former GCPC Music Director Carmen Lappano. Words public domain. Music copyright © Carmen Lappano; used by permission.


“The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” from the oratorio “Solomon” (1748; HWV 67) by George Frideric Handel (1685–1759). Music in the public domain.

Copyright © 2023 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church

Last updated 2023-02-14 22:39 – Minor format tweaks.