Worship Service for September 3, 2023

September 3, 2023 – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, September 3, 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, September 3.

Previous livestreams and other worship and musical content is available on our YouTube channel. You can also check out our entire worship services archive. Our SoundCloud channel has yet more music and worship content.



Call to Worship

Give thanks to God and tell of God’s gifts.
We will sing praises for all that God has done.

Let your hearts be joyful!
We will seek God’s presence continually.

Call to mind God’s wonderful works.
We will always remember the blessings of God and glorify God forever!

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

Holy, Holy, Holy” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 299). Words (early 1800s) by English Anglican bishop and hymnwriter Reginald Heber (1783–1826). Music (1861; tune: “Nicaea”) by English hymnwriter and clergyman John Bacchus Dykes (1823–1876). Words, music and descant public domain. Descant by New-Zealand born British organist and composer Craig Sellar Lang (1891–1971).

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

Holy, Mysterious, Eternal and Ever-loving God, in You we live and move and have our being. You are the beginning and end of all things. In your depth, we find mystery. In your breadth, we know your tender embrace. We can only wonder at your love for us, so small a part of your whole creation are we. Yet in Jesus Christ we meet your generous grace. In the Holy Spirit, you move with us to inspire our action and fill us with hope. Our thoughts cannot exhaust your wisdom, nor can our hearts fathom your mercy. And so we worship you in humble praise, Holy God, ever Three and ever One, now and always.

Faithful and forgiving God, we confess we do not live out your love and mercy. We cling to old hurts and familiar habits. We nurse anger and envy. We are often so self-absorbed that we turn our backs on those in need. Forgive what we have been, amend who we are, and guide us toward who we may become according to your generous grace.

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

If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. Thanks be to God that we can all make a new start through God’s embracing grace.

All: Thanks be to God!

The Peace

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

Special Musical Presentation

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

(Practicing faith)

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)


Take up your cross” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 211). Words (1833) by American priest and poet Charles William Everest (1814–1876). Music (1854; tune: “Hesperus”, also known as “Quebec” and “Quebec (Baker)”) by English engineer and musician Henry Baker (1835–1910). Words and music public domain.

Scripture Reading

Matthew 16:21–28  <– 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.

Matthew 16:21–28

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me, for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any wish to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

27 “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The scripture reading is followed by:

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


To start, a few words about my time away….

May we look at the text from the gospel of Matthew chapter 16 today (verses 21–28). Let’s look at the verse 21,
21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders…

I would like us to focus our attention closely on how the Gospel of Matthew commences this specific narrative… “From that time on” …. “Apo Tote” …. From then…from that particular time on….

The gospel of Matthew often starts telling a story by “at that time, on the same day, … Probably the most frequently used phrase to start a story in the gospel of Matthew is “And then… Kai tote.” Here, in this place, the writer of the gospel writes, “From that time on….”

In the Gospel of Matthew, the phrase “from that time on”, or “apo tote”, is employed twice. The first occurrence is found in Matthew chapter 4, verse 17, when Jesus begins his ministry following his baptism by John the Baptist and His forty days in the wilderness.

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  The New International Version (NIV) does a better job of translating the Greek text, “From that time on (apo tote) Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” In verse 17, it shows something within Jesus has changed and moved Jesus to start his ministry.

The second time, the phrase is used is found from the text we read today. Matthew 16: 21, From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders… In both cases, the phrase indicates something has changed within Jesus. The phrase signifies a transformation within Jesus, embarking on a new course of action.

In the text we read today, the phrase indicates something between Jesus and his disciples has completely changed…. Something within Jesus has changed, the ministry is about to change completely.  We can divide the ministry of Jesus and his disciples at this place, the ministry before Matthew 16:21 and the ministry after the verse.

The phrase, “From that time one, apo tote”, serves as a clear marker, that shows the commencement of something fresh, profound, and more significant in the heart of Jesus.

In order for us to understand this phrase….

At certain points in our live, we experience something within us changes. The gospel of Matthew invites us to remember those moments something within us is changed.

I remember reading Paul Tillich’s book on God’s grace and Henri Nouwen’s book on healing and faith. I remember reading the gospel of Matthew, not too long after moving to Canada at the age 16, “Ask it will be given to you…seek you will find.” I remember a phone call with Bob which led to a meeting with the search committee and listening to their questions…. Not to mention the day I got married, the days my children were born….

There are days something within us changes forever. When we truly realize and accept that God is very much alive, our lives cannot stay the same…. Something within us will be changed and our lives will be changed forever.

This God, the concept, the narratives, and the understanding of God that we gained from people around us…. This God, this Jesus when they become our personal God, our confidant, our companion, our friend, our lives are profoundly changed, for we ourselves are no longer the same individuals. We may not notice any change from our outer appearance, but from inside, we are not the same people we were yesterday.

Matthew 24:40–41,
Then two will be in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken, and one will be left.

The gospel of Matthew, as we listen to the moment where the ministry of Jesus and his disciples is changed, it invites us to pay attention to those moments where our life has changed, where our relationship, our sense of who we are, our understanding of what our life is about has changed….

In fact, every day, each day we live is an opportunity to welcome God into our lives. Yet, I have to confess to you, I struggle with welcoming God into my life…. I feel sometimes I take a step forward but the next day I take 3 steps back… Yes, we will stumble and will continue to make a wrong turn at times…. Yet despite all our struggles and failures, God changes us through our struggles….

The rest of the text shows us the kind of changes our faith in Christ brings to our hearts. What it means to deepen our relationship and fellowship with Christ. What it means to deepen our faith….We will look at it next Sunday….

Matthew 16:24,
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any wish to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Musical Reflection


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.

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

O God, we offer these gifts to you in hope and thanksgiving. Use them to transform the world you love with the mercy and compassion we celebrate in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope

O God in whom we live and move and have our being, we come to you in prayer as the summer season draws nearer to its close. We give you thanks for the occasions we have enjoyed this summer, savouring the beauty of your creation right outside our doors, catching up with family and friends, and enjoying times for recreation & restoration. We recognize how blessed we are to live in Canada with many opportunities to find rest and relaxation in the summer. Thank you for every good thing that has refreshed us.

Yet we remember those for whom this summer has been difficult: Those whose homes and communities have been ravaged by fire, storm or flood this year; Those who go hungry or face violence in forgotten corners of our own community and around the world; Those whose face economic struggles at home or at work, those whose crops have withered in heat or drought; May each one find courage to face tomorrow in your company.

O God, Jesus walked with so many people in their pain and grief. We remember those who have faced crises this summer – Through tragic death or unexpected loss, through critical illness or injury, through pain or problems that seem to have no end…. Surround them with your comfort and compassion.

O God, Jesus often faced many demands and pressure from his critics, So we pray for all those who have not found rest this summer: For leaders trying to figure out ways forward for their communities when resources are tight;  For those whose jobs and responsibilities present new challenges; And for all who seek secure and affordable housing when supply is low; may they know your strength and assurance day by day.

O God, we need the embrace of your presence, each in our own way. Bring healing and peace to our lives and to this world you love. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we may offer healing and peace to those we encounter, in the name of Christ Jesus, Amen.

Closing Hymn

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.

Choral 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 2023-09-04 00:35 – Added Sermon text.