October 29, 2023 – Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, October 29, 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, October 29.
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.
Prelude by The Bells of Guildwood
“Blessed Assurance”. Music by American composer and organist Phoebe Knapp (1839–1908). This arrangement by American bell composer Cynthia Dobrinski (1950–2021). Music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1990 Lake State Publications.
Call to Worship
One: The Lord has been our dwelling place in all generations.
All: From everlasting to everlasting God is God, and so we come to worship.
One: God satisfies us every morning with steadfast love;
All: Let us rejoice and be glad all our days.
One: Tell of God’s glorious power and praise God’s holy name.
All: We will offer God the work of our hands and praise from the depths of our hearts.
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 creatures of our God and King” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 433). Words based on Canticle of the Sun (1225) by St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226), translated (between 1899 and 1919) by English clergyman and hymnwriter William Henry Draper (1855–1933). This version of the words (1996) by The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Music (tune: “Lasst uns erfreuen”) from “Auserlesene Katholische Geistliche Kirchengesänge” (Cologne, Germany; 1623). Harmony (1906) by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958). Descant by English cathedral organist and choirmaster Christopher Gower (1939–). Words copyright © 1996 The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Tune and harmony in the public domain. Descant copyright © Oxford University Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God, our God, You are gracious and loving, holy and eternal; your love is steadfast, your presence ever near. Your wisdom is older than time and as fresh as the morning dew. Your name has come to us through the centuries, yet you can always do a new thing to draw us back to you.
God, Creator, Christ and Spirit, we offer you our prayers and praise this day in humble expectation; surprise us in this time of worship and refresh our readiness to serve you.
God, our God, You know our hearts, the times we truly loved one another and the times we merely tolerated each other. You know our minds, the times we truly focused on you and the times we pursued our own purposes. Forgive us those times we went our own way, and renew our commitment to live lives marked by your 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
Friends in Christ, we are forgiven people, set free from past failures, to make a fresh start this day and every day. The Holy Spirit empowers us to love God and to love others. Thanks be to God for such everlasting grace! In Christ Jesus, we are forgiven and set free to begin again. 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) (Practicing faith)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
“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.
Ecclesiastes 3:1–8, 14–15
For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it; God has done this so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is already has been, that which is to be already is, and God seeks out what has gone by.
34 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, 2 all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. 4 The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” 5 Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. 6 He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. 7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired, and his vigor had not abated. 8 The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.
9 Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him, and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.
10 Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. 11 He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, 12 and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.
The scripture reading is followed by:
One: The Word of God.
People: Thanks be to God.
Today, as we bid farewell to Rachelle and celebrate the musical ministry, she has shared with us over the past nine years, one of the lectionary readings for today invites us to reflect on the farewell story of Moses. This final chapter from the book of Deuteronomy not only marks the conclusion of Moses’ journey in the book but the conclusion of the 40 or 42 years of the Israelites’ journey in the wilderness as well as the entire Pentateuch, which is the first five books in the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This farewell story of Moses invites us to contemplate the many endings where we have experienced God’s presence. As we bid farewell to Rachelle, we are encouraged to reflect on the countless goodbyes of the past that have enriched our lives, and the many goodbyes in the future that will further deepen our appreciation for our lives and God.
This is how Moses says goodbye, how God gets involved in his farewell. It is the same God who showed up to Moses about 40 years ago on Mount Horeb, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham and Sarah, the God of Isaac and Rebekah, the God of Jacob and Leah and Rachel…Go, I have chosen you, Go and free my people out of slavery and oppression, lead them to the place I promise.” Forty years later, God guides Moses to Mount Nebo and showing him the promised land and tell Moses, “I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”
Don’t you love God? This is how say goodbye to Moses who has served God for the last 40 years, “I will show you the promised land, but you cannot go in there.” Moses does not demand he is allowed to go into the promised land he has pursuing with all his life. I wish Moses would say “Are you kidding me? God? Is this how you treat me after serving you over the last 40 years?”
Moses remains silent. Moses likely experienced a complex mix of emotions upon hearing the news. It’s possible he felt a sense of relief, knowing that his duty was finally coming to an end. He might have also felt gratitude for the experiences he had throughout his life. However, it’s also possible that Moses felt some regrets, particularly regarding his inability to bring his people to the promised land sooner. Yet he remains silent. I want to know what that silence was like…..We don’t know what Moses said or not, but we know Moses heard. “I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there,”
God shows Moses something which is unfinished and incomplete…Our human ends unveil not just what has concluded but also what remains unresolved, what has reached fulfillment and what remains unfinished. While we aspire for our ends to be only tidy, positive, complete, and inspiring, our ends are also messy, incomplete, and unsettling. Our human ends reveal not only our achievements but also our unfinished matter, the areas where we excelled, and where we could have done more. Our human ends and endings often show how incomplete and unfinished our human journey has been.
Yet God invites Moses and all of us to look at what is incomplete and unfinished. What does God desire us to see, we may ponder in this moment? What does God want us to see through our shortcomings, incompleteness, and limitations? Does God want us to be trapped in our own regrets, sadness, anger, or disappointment? Or does God want us to deny or ignore them and focus on what we like to remember? Or is there something else we can see through them and perhaps beyond them?
I am confident that God invites us to see the divine love of God which completes our incomplete human life. What completes our life, what gives meaning and purpose to our life is up to God, who says, “Well done my faithful servant….”
We don’t often see God’s blessings through our strength and success, because we feel it is we who accomplish what we have, but through our struggles and incompleteness, we experience God’s blessings. Moses remains silent, I cannot help but to wonder if Moses is seeing something that he cannot describe with his human language. As we say goodbye to Rachelle, may we also see God who has been with us and God who loves us beyond our human words and understanding which completes our faith.
by Music Director Rachelle Risling
May we present our gifts to God in response to what we have received from God?
Invitation to the Offering – The Bells of Guildwood
“Thaxted”. Music by English composer Gustav Holst (1874–1934) based on the “Jupiter” theme from this work “The Planets” (composed 1914–1917). His hymn tune adaptation first appeared in 1926. This bell arrangement by church musician and bell music composer and director Lee J Afdahl. Music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1999 Augsburg Fortress; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
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, you are both faithful and fruitful as you embrace each new generation. Bless our gifts and make them fruitful beyond our imagining. Keep us faithful in this generation so that the inheritance we have received in Christ will continue in generations yet to come. Amen.
A Moment of Appreciation for Rachelle Risling
- From the session/Congregation
- From the Choir
- The prayer of blessing
“Joyful, joyful we adore you” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 410). Words (1907) by Henry van Dyke Jr. (1852–1933). Music (composed between 1822 and 1824; tune: “Hymn to joy”) is the Ode to Joy tune from the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Arrangement by English organist and composer Edward Hodges (1796–1867). Words, music and arrangement 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.
The Right Hand of Fellowship
Copyright © 2023 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2023-10-30 23:30 – Added Sermon text. Added details of Bells of Guildwood pieces.