July 2, 2023 – Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, July 2, 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, July 2.
Call to Worship
One: Let us sing of God’s steadfast love.
All: We will offer our praise in songs of joy.
One: God’s faithfulness is as vast as the heavens.
All: We will proclaim God’s faithfulness to all generations.
One: Let us worship God in our prayers and our praise.
All: We will give God glory now and always!
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.
“All things bright and beautiful” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 435). Words (1848) by Anglo-Irish hymnwriter and poet Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895). Music (tune: “Royal Oak”) 17th-century folk melody, adapted (1916) by English conductor and composer Martin Shaw (1875–1958). Harmony (published in “The Hymnbook”, 1953) by John Ribble. Words and music public domain. Harmony copyright © 1955, 1983 John Ribble, admin Westminster/John Knox Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Lord God, Loving God, how majestic is your name in all the earth. From north and south, from east and west, drawn by your majesty, we come to worship you. For the gift of this new day, fresh from your hand, we rejoice. For the renewal we know through friendship with Christ, we praise you. For the Spirit’s energy, blessing us in each moment, we honour you. Lord God, Loving God, all of life is your gift, so give us glimpses of your splendor and love in this time of worship. Accept our praise offered in word and action, Creator, Redeemer and Holy Spirit, here and everywhere, now and always.
Lord of all life and each life, we confess we can forget that life is your gift, especially when we face struggles or feel hard done by. We confuse our own desires for your will, and stop listening for your guidance. Forgive any hurt we have caused by action or inaction, and show us how to make amends. May we live with you and with each other in reconciling grace through the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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, Jesus knows we have fallen short of his intentions for us, yet in his great mercy, he welcomes us back into his embrace. Thanks be to God that we are forgiven, refreshed and restored for ministry by God’s grace.
All: Thanks be to God!
One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.
Special Musical Presentation
Kristyn Chepelsky, soprano: “Grace Alone & Song of Ruth”.
Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
“Be still and know that I am God” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 64). Words and music (tune: “Be still and know”) anonymous. Words and music public domain.
Matthew 10:40–42 (34–42) <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible
Matthew 10:40–42 (34–42)
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.
40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
The scripture reading is followed by:
One: The Word of God.
People: Thanks be to God.
Today our focus is on the final three verses of Chapter 10. To understand the text we read today, it is very important for us to remember this whole chapter 10 begins with Jesus choosing and sending out his 12 disciples.
One of the core messages that Jesus shares with us through his ministry is that each of us is chosen, empowered, and sent out by God with a unique purpose and intention. This implies that God has bestowed upon us the gift of life, accompanied by a sacred duty. Our duty is to live faith/fully every day, helping one another recognize God who loves us infinitely and eternally.
Our Christian faith begins when we realize this sacred task that God has entrusted to us. Faith entails discovering, acknowledging, and embracing this sacred duty and the blessing bestowed upon each of us. Each individual is given a distinct gift that only they can offer, as God has endowed us with different talents.
Yes, God can utilize anyone at any time. Yes, there is always someone who can do a better job or worse job than we can and we do, but they are not you. God did not ask them to be you or you to be them. God desires us exactly where we are today. We have been placed in this specific life to serve God according to His will.
This core message that God sent us and we are sent by God is found throughout the entire Bible and the text we read today. I am just going to read the verse 40, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Jesus reminds us again that you are, I am, and we are sent by God…. We are the apostles…. You are not really here by yourself or for yourself, you are here to reveal someone and something that is far greater than you….
My best friend, Kahlil Gibran, writes:
“Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”
This applies not just to our children, but to everyone we meet and everyone we work with. No, it does not mean we can always be everyone’s best friend. It does not mean we can please everyone around us nor can we accept people’s hurtful behaviors. There are times we must be angry just like Jesus got angry at the temple, there are times we must confront and address issues and problems.
Everything we Christians try to do with our lives starts from this awareness that we are sent and God sent us here. We are sent as a witness to serve and to represent God… Yes, we can spend our entire lives pursuing what we want and what we need, but we can also realize that there is something more important than pursuing my superficial needs. We are placed on this earth to show one another how much God loves us.
Faith begins when we start realizing this scared inner calling from God. Chuck, there is something I want you to do. No one else can tell you what you are called to do, other than God who lives in you.
I know some may say, “What do you mean I am sent here? God sent me here? I chose to get up this morning and I chose to come here with my willingness.” The question of we are being sent is the question of why are we who we are today? Understanding and embracing the truth and mystery of being sent and the one who sent us is to confess, “You know what? We don’t hold all the right answers for who we are and whose we are? Why we are here now instead of there then? Many philosophers and theologians have tried to respond to such questions….
I believe each one of us must come to our own answer. No one can tell you why you are here other than God who lives in you. I cannot say I came to a clear conclusion, but I am beginning to see each day, there is something God desires for me to do and there is something I can do because God who lives in me.
Faith allows us to open our eyes so that we can see the one who sent us, the one who is with us and the one who is praying for us, the one who is crying with us…. God chooses to love us despite all the struggles we carry, God loves us all of us, not just the things we are proud of, but even the things we are so shamed to talk about……To serve God, we must accept God’s choice, the choice Jesus Christ made to carry the cross for you and for me. “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”
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
Our offering will now be received.
“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
Generous God, what we return to you today has first come to us from you. Bless what we offer so that those in need may taste your abundance which we know already in Christ, our Living Lord. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
Lord God of heaven and earth, with joy and thanksgiving we praise you for you create, sustain, and redeem all things. For making us in your image to love one another and to care for your creation, we give you thanks. For the gift of your Son whose life is the pattern for our lives and learning, we give you thanks. For the energy of your Spirit to inspire us in times of challenge and change, we give you thanks.
Strengthen us in these challenging times to show your love to others as we pray…
For the Church and those who lead it to find new ways of reaching out in a culture with changing values…
For creation that we may learn to reverence and care for it…
For those who lead the nations of the world that they may work for the wellbeing of the most vulnerable and seek peace together…
For those who make decisions about health care, education and social services in these times when there are many demands in every area…
For the poor, the hungry and those struggling to find affordable housing when prices for everything seem to rise each day…
For those who struggle with illness, addiction, disability or despair, and for those who mourn the loss of someone dear…
For the powerless and the oppressed, wherever they live, and for those who work to defend them…
Hear us now as we pray in silence for situations on our hearts this day…
Eternal God, thank you for listening to us in every situation. Keep our eyes open for your Spirit at work among us. Amen.
“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 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 2023-07-03 23:35 – Added Sermon text.