Worship Service for February 4, 2024

February 4, 2024 – Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, February 4, 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 4.

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.

Introit

Prelude

Bells of Guildwood

On Eagles Wings”. Music (1976 or 1979) by American priest Michael Joncas (1951–). This handbell arrangement (2002) by American composer Douglas E. Wagner. Music copyright © 1979, 1991 New Dawn Music; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Arrangement copyright © 2002 ; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

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.

Call to Worship

One: God has invited us to come.
All: So we gather.

One: God has spoken to the world.
All: So we listen.

One: God has given us glimpses of grace and mercy.
All: So we wait, longing for healing, eager for hope.

One: God has been faithful to all generations.
All: So we offer our praise to God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

Opening Hymn

“God of the sparrow, God of the whale” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 307). Words (1983) by American hymnwriter Jaroslav J. Vajda (1919–2008). Music (1983; tune: “Roeder”) by American composer Carl F. Schalk (1929–2021). Words copyright © 1983 Jaroslav J. Vajda. Music copyright © 1983 G.I.A Publications; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

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

Creator God, Source of all life, in you all creatures are connected, all creation redeemed and made new. Day by day you reveal yourself to us. In the beauty of the heavens we see your glory. In the bounty of the earth we know your generosity. In strength for our bodies and minds we experience your energy. Delighting in all that we have seen, heard, and known, we worship you, one God, Creator, Christ, and Spirit, holy and loving, now and always.

Creator God, Source of love and mercy, We confess to you our sins of busy-ness. Sometimes we’re so busy we overlook those we love. Sometimes we think we’re so busy, we make excuses and avoid important commitments. Sometimes we make ourselves busy and neglect you. Forgive us. Calm our minds and hearts so we can set priorities and honour them – and you.

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.
Amen.

Declaration of Pardon

Dear friends, while it is true that we have all sinned, it is a greater truth that we are forgiven through God’s love in Jesus Christ. Be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another.

Thanks be to God!

The Peace

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

Bells of Guildwood

“Takeda Rhapsody”. Music (1996), based on an old song of the Kyoto district in Japan, by Japanese composer Tomoko Kanzaki. Music copyright © 1996 Agape; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)

Guildwood Senior Choir Presents

Amazing Grace”. Words (1772) by English composer and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807). Music (1835; tune “New Britain”) by American composer William Walker (1809–1875). This arrangement (1993) by American composer Jay Althouse (1951–). Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1993 Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

Fun with the Young at Heart (children’s story)

We sing verse 1 of “Jesus loves me this I know”.

Jesus loves me, this I know” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 373). Words (1859 or 1860) by American writer Anna Bartlett Warner (1827–1915). Revisions to v2 and v3 by Canadian Anglican priest David Rutherford McGuire (1929–1971). Music (1862; tune: “Jesus loves me”) by American musician William Batchelder Bradbury (1816–1868). Words, revisions and music in the public domain.

Scripture Reading

Mark 1:29–39  <– 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.

Mark 1:29–39

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

32 That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons, and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

A Preaching Tour in Galilee

35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also, for that is what I came out to do.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Sermon

Today, we are looking at the gospel of Mark. Chapter 1:29–31, just three verses. When we pause and prayerfully listen to each verse, we gain a better understanding of what it means to choose the narrow gate over the wide gate. Mark 1: 29 “As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.”

After visiting the synagogue, Jesus chooses to visit the house of Simon and Andrew, along with James and John. He could have chosen a busy marketplace to reach out to more people, helping the poor and the sick, a palace or a temple to challenge those in power, or a quiet place on the mountaintop to teach and pray. However, he specifically chooses to take his disciples to a house – not just any house, but the house of Simon and Andrew, their own house. Let us pause and think about what that means. Mark 1:16–18, 16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Just a few verses ago, Simon and Andrew, these fishers, out of nowhere, gave up their job and security. How do you think their family would respond to them? These fishers were not poor; they had their own boat and even had hired men. One day, coming home, they tell their wives and parents, ‘I am quitting my job. I am going to study to be a pastor. I need to go away for a few years.’ May we read Mark 1:30, “Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once”.

Many scholars agree that Simon’s mother-in-law is not just physically lying in bed and dealing with physical fatigue and fever. She is also experiencing emotional, spiritual, relational, and mental fatigue and feeling deeply hurt, angry, and disappointed. … Jesus invites Peter and his disciples to go back to their house, to the place of disagreement, the place of brokenness, the place of hurt, the place of disappointment and anger instead of running away from the place… .

The gospel of Mark is only interested in telling us what happens between Jesus and her, not as someone else’s mother-in-law, but her as her own person, as a child of God. The gospel of Mark pays only attention to what Jesus chooses to do in the place of brokenness, disagreement, and disappointment in our lives.

May we look at verse 31, “He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.” Jesus takes her by the hand and lifts her up. Jesus is not interested in becoming a judge telling them who is right or wrong. Jesus is not interested in going back and forth between her and Peter. Jesus does not take sides. But Jesus takes the hand of the brokenhearted and help her to get up.  The Greek word used to describe lifting her up is “Egerien” which comes from “Egeiro.”

We don’t know what happened to the relationship between Peter and his mother-in-law, but we know something has ended in her and something new has begun in her. I cannot help but ponder what has ended or what has begun. The gospel of Mark invites us to ponder what has ended and what has begun.

The text describes the kind of transformation that occurred in the place of brokenness this say, ‘She began to serve them.’ I cannot emphasize enough how powerful that sentence is. Perhaps one of the most important words in the gospel of Mark is none other than the word to serve, “diekonei-diakonia”…where we get the word “deacon.”

Our faith journey with Jesus may truly begin when we start to serve. When our life of self-serving transforms into a life of serving and giving, we reveal Jesus Christ.

Please tune into our live streaming service or join us on Sunday to hear the conclusion (and the full version) of the sermon.

Hymn

“Those who wait on the Lord” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 662). Words are English traditional from Isaiah 40: 31. Music (tune: “Eagle’s Wings”) is English traditional arranged by Scottish hymn-writer and Church of Scotland minister John L. Bell (1949–) affiliated with the Iona Community. Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © WGRG The Iona Community (Scotland), used by permission of G.I.A. Publications Inc.; used in the video by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

Offering

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

Generous God, we bring our offering to you, trusting that you will bless our gifts and use them in ways we cannot even imagine. Jesus touched so many lives in so many different ways. We ask that these gifts will touch many lives, too, with your healing and hope in these challenging times. Amen.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving and Hope

Holy and loving God,
we thank you for the story of Christ’s life among us, offering a pattern for the way we live, assuring us of your love. We thank you for moments of quiet and contemplation that restore us, and the energy of your Spirit at work in the world and in our own lives, even when we are at rest.

In the quiet of these moments we hand over to you all those concerns stirring within us today:

Anything that has been distracting or hurtful…

Anything that makes us worry or brings sleepless nights…

Our hopes and dreams for the future…

and for the lives of those we love….

We hold before you the needs and hopes of those who need your comfort, especially remembering those facing grief and loss….

We pray that the dignity of each creature be honoured and the earth itself be treasured….

May peace with justice thrive in the world you love. Amen.

Closing Hymn

Love divine, all loves excelling” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 371). Words (1747) by English Methodist leader and hymnwriter Charles Wesley (1707–1788). Music (1844; tune: “Hyfrydol”) by Welsh composer Rowland Prichard (1811–1887). Words and 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.

Benediction

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.

Postlude

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