June 25, 2023 – Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, June 25, at 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EDT on Sunday, June 25.
Call to Worship
One: To you, O God, we lift our hearts.
All: Listen to our voices and answer.
One: The Lord is good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love.
All: God does wondrous things with grace and mercy.
One: So let us glorify God’s holy name together!
All: We come to worship God in love and loyalty.
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.
“The Lord’s my shepherd (Psalm 23)”. (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 11). Words Psalm 23; paraphrase, Scottish Psalter, 1650. Music (1872; tune: “Crimond”) by Scottish amateur hymn composer Jessie Seymour Irvine (1836–1887). Harmony by Thomas Cuthbertson Leithead Pritchard (1885–1960). Descant by W. Baird Ross (1871–1950). Words, music, harmony and descant all public domain.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of grace, you created our minds to grow in wisdom. You created our hearts to expand with love for you and your world. You created our voices to sing your praises forever. Fill us to overflowing with your Holy Spirit, so we may worship you in spirit and in truth, bold and unafraid to follow Jesus, even when challenges confront us. In this time of worship, assure us of your presence with us and reveal to us the path you open before us, for we live to serve as your people wherever you lead. Amen.
God who creates the future, you call us to follow you, yet we prefer familiar paths. You offer us new beginnings, yet change makes us uncomfortable. You invite us into the fullness of life, yet we resist more than we already know. Forgive us, O God, and make of us courageous disciples ready to serve in Jesus’ name.
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
In Christ, we are a new creation; the old life is gone and the new life has come! Trust that God loves you and forgives you. Do not be afraid to make a new start!
All: Thanks be to God!
One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.
Guildwood Senior Choir Presents
Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
Matthew 10:24–39 <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible
4 “A disciple is not above the teacher nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, fear the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Everyone, therefore, who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
The scripture reading is followed by:
One: The Word of God.
People: Thanks be to God.
On both this Sunday and the following Sunday, we will be focusing on the final section of the gospel of Matthew chapter 10. To deepen our understanding of today’s text, we may want to look at the entire chapter 10, starting from the first verse.
10: 1, “Then Jesussummoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.”
The partnership and relationship between Jesus and his disciples began, when the disciples met Jesus on the shore of Lake Galilee or Tiberias, where Jesus invited them by saying, “Come and follow me.” Ever since that day, the partnership and relationship between Jesus and the disciples grew. In the chapter 10, we witness how Jesus deepens the faith of his disciples.
This is what Jesus does: Jesus summons, chooses, empowers, and sends out his disciples.
The gospel of Matthew does not just try to tell us that Jesus chose and sent out these twelve individuals as his disciples, but it tries to tell us that all of us, you and I have been chosen and sent out by God. We are entrusted with a divine task. Our lives come with God’s calling, and we carry a sacred and holy purpose. That is what make us valuable. Our human life is an opportunity for us to recognize, accept, understand, and fulfill this sacred task bestowed upon us.
This sacred task does not refer to a specific career or profession. Rather it refers to the sacred responsibility for us to live each day faithfully and show one another that God is here with us.
Peter or Andrew were not the only ones Jesus chose and sent out. We truly believe each one of us here is chosen and sent by God to this specific place and time, to show one another that God is alive, and we are alive because of God’s grace and we need to celebrate this God who loves us unconditionally surpassing our human struggles.
Whether at work, at home, at church and wherever we may find ourselves, we are given a task to reveal the presence of God through everything we choose to do and everything we choose not to do. Through what we say, and through what we choose not to say,
After telling us this divine task we are given, Jesus proceeds to explain how to carry the task. Jesus tells us what to do, what not to do and what we should refrain from bringing alone on this journey.
Matthew 10:7–23. I am not going to read the whole text, but here is the famous teaching from Jesus, (verses 8 to 11)
“Don’t take anything with you. 9 Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff, for laborers deserve their food. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave.”
Then Jesus goes on and tells us, “It is not going to be easy. Don’t expect everyone will welcome you and understand what you are trying to do. There is a good chance you will be misunderstood; you will be rejected and you will be persecuted. When that happens to you, depend on the Holy Spirit….
Then here comes our text today, verses from 24 to 39. I would like to highlight verses from 26 to 31:
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, fear the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” [Greek concordance Me (no) 5399: Phobeiste (Phobeó, should be afraid)]
“So have no fear of them… Do not fear. You should be not afraid! Because you are more value than many sparrows.”
This text reminds us of the conversation between God and Moses in the Old Testaments, the conversation between God and Joshua, God and Elijah, God and Daniel, God and Jeremiah in the Old Testaments…. When the disciples heard this text, they probably remembered the stories of Abraham and Sara, Jacob and Rachael, Joseph, Esther, Moses, Daniel and the ancient people of Israel had with their God….
And as they remember those old stories, and conversations, they would also remember something they had forgotten. Their conversations with God that they had on the day they were born into this world, on the day they had to be separated from their parents and going to the school for the first time, when they got their first job, when they were let go and had to find a new job, on the day they saw their child born, on the day their loved one died, on the day they were not sure who they were and what they could do…
When we allow theses words of Jesus speak to our hearts, we will remember the conversation we had with God sometime ago…. We may not remember the conversation with our mind, but our human spirit and our collective memory will remember.
Here in the gospel of Matthew 10, I believe Jesus is not trying to explain to his disciples why we should not be afraid when we find ourselves in the darkness. Here Jesus is not trying to discuss with us how to find light when we end up in a dark place…. Rather Jesus ignites this candle we carry in our human spirit…. Jesus evokes and invokes the memory of God’s courage and love that is written in our spirit as well as in our human collective human history and memory. Or perhaps s God spoke on the first day of creation, “Let there be light….”, Jesus commands our human hearts.
Jesus is not saying, “Don’t forget God will be there for you,” Rather, “Don’t forget God was there waiting for you before you got there.” What Jesus is trying to tell us is not that God will be there for us when we need God, but rather we can never get rid of God from our lives. We can never be alone.”
May we present our gifts to God in response to what we have received from 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
“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
O God, we offer you our gifts in thanksgiving. Pour out your Spirit upon them and upon us. May the gifts we offer bear the fruit of your Spirit in every life we touch in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of compassion and courage,
In our weakness you are strength. In our sorrows you are comfort and peace. We thank you for your embracing presence in our lives. Embrace each situation we lay before you today with your steadfast love.
We thank you for moments of joy that break into our lives, for love given and received, for friends who furnish our life with meaning and happiness, and for family who embrace us with love and understanding. We pray for those who cannot feel joy today, for any estranged from family or friends, for those feeling stress as the costs of living rise, and for those who face any kind of loss. Embrace us all with your mercy, O God.
God of the nations,
We pray for our country as Canada Day approaches. We give thanks for peace and plenty in this land and for resources to support those facing difficulties in our communities. Challenge those who govern to share resources as a generous global partner, and commit to international efforts to preserve the earth for future generations. Guide leaders to set fair policies that protect vulnerable groups, and ensure equity and dignity for all. Embrace us all with your mercy, O God.
We thank you for your people in every age who have entered into your heavenly presence, especially those dear to our own hearts. Thank you for memories that inspire us, for love and laughter shared and lessons learned.
We sum up our prayers, spoken and unspoken,…
“Called as partners in Christ’s service” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 587). Words (1981) by American Presbyterian church member and hymnwriter Jane Parker Huber (1926–2008). Music (1870; tune: “Beecher”) by German-American composer John Zundel (1815–1882). Words copyright © 1981 Jane Parker Huber, admin. Westminster/John Knox Press; 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.
Copyright © 2023 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2023-06-26 22:20 – Added Sermon text.