Worship Service for March 3, 2024

March 3, 2024 – Third Sunday in Lent

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



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

From the the PSW&D Lenten Liturgy.

One: On this third Sunday of Lent, we see Jesus, overturning the tables of the money changers as he drove them out of the temple.
All: We are surprised by his actions.

One: Yet there is much in our lives and the world that needs to be overturned and driven out.
All: In the name of Jesus, we work to overcome oppression, poverty, and injustice in our local communities and with partners around the world.

Opening Hymn

Make me a Channel of Your Peace” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 740). Words and music (1967; tune: “Make Me a Channel”) by South-African songwriter Sebastian Temple (1928–1997). Words and music copyright © 1967 OCP Publications; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

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

God of majesty and mercy,
you set the whirling cosmos in motion and call all creatures into being. Mountains and molehills alike speak of your majesty, for no detail misses your care and attention. You know each of us by name, and make yourself known to those who seek you. We gather in your presence to listen for your wisdom for our times and our lives. To you, O God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, we offer all honour and glory in our prayers and our praise this day and every day, now and always.

Wise and welcoming God,
You are always seeking us out, yet we confess we are easily distracted from your presence. We envy those who are successful in the world’s terms, and pursue our own desires. We fail to question the cost of our desires to the earth or those in need. Forgive us, O God. Re-awaken us to your purposes and re-ignite our commitment to pursue them for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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

The Apostle Paul wrote that the Cross of Christ is foolishness to many, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. By this power, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God for the wisdom to live as forgiven people.

All: Thanks be to God!

The Peace

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

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)

Guildwood Senior Choir Presents

All things bright and beautiful” (also in the 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). This arrangement (1983) by English composer John Rutter (1945–). Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1983 Oxford University Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

Mission Moment – Black History Month –journey of transformation

(the Mission and Outreach Committee – by Kunle Akingbola)

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

Exodus 20:1–17  <– this links to on-line texts 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.

Exodus 20:1–17

Then God spoke all these words,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above or that is on the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me 6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it. “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female slave, ox, donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

The scripture reading is followed by:

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


I cannot believe that I am doing this, that I am preaching on the Ten Commandments. In my 19 years of preaching, I have never preached on them. Partly because ……

Exodus chapter 20:1–2, “Then God spoke all these words, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’”

The book of Exodus reminds us that the Ten Commandments were given to a group of slaves so that they could become free, so that they could work on their freedom. The people of God did not become free simply by leaving the house/land of slavery or by running away from their oppressors after 400 years of bondage, but they became truly free when they learned how to use their freedom to love God and to love one another.

The commandments of God are not given to the people of God today so that we can separate the holy from the unholy, one of us from one of them. Rather, they are given to us so that we remember we need to work on our freedom, taking actions however small they may be, to recover the image of God we carry in our hearts.

Freedom is not about simply doing things we desire, but about revealing the image of God through all we choose to say and do. It does not give us unlimited choices but helps us make choices that reflect who we are and who our creator is.

This is how Abraham Joshua Heschel approaches freedom and about being free.

Freedom means more than mere emancipation. It is primarily freedom of conscience, bound up with inner allegiance. The danger begins when freedom is thought to consist of the fact that “I can act as I desire.” …The glory of a free society lies not only in the consciousness of my right to be free, and my capacity to be free, but also in the realization of my fellow man’s right to be free, and his capacity to be free……

The Ten Commandments help us understand the desire of our creator God: that God desires to liberate the people of God through the people of God. God desires for us to live free, be free, and ensure that others are as free as we are. We can never be free when our brothers and sisters are not free.

God gave a group of slaves the Ten Commandments so that they could work on their freedom, and so that they could ensure they protect each other from becoming slaves or oppressors.

The spirit and the intention behind the Ten Commandments have not changed.

The commandments are not given to us as a tool of judgment to separate one of us from one of them, the holy from the unholy. They are given to us, so that we can continue to be free and work on the freedom for everyone. When we read the Ten Commandments, we must remember the intention, the purpose, and the spirit of them.

Please, join our Sunday worship service 11 am, either in person or virtually, to hear the full version of the sermon.


“With the Lord as my guide” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 574). Words and music (1977) by American musician and composer Jim Strathdee (1941–). Words and music copyright © 1977 Desert Flower Music; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.


May we present our gifts to God in response to what we have received from God?

Musical Reflection

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

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

Lord Jesus, you challenge your followers to offer God commitment and gratitude. Receive our gifts as an expression of our commitment to you and your ministry. Use all that we can give to offer hope and healing in the world you love. Amen.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving and Hope

Loving God,
we thank you for the world you created, its beauty and its life sustaining promise. When we breathe in fresh air and enjoy the outdoors this winter, remind us of our partnership with you to care for creation. As spring comes closer and the sun shines longer each day, reawaken our hope in your promise of new life.

Ever present God,
thank you for walking with us through days of uncertainty as well as times of pleasure and satisfaction. In times of stress and worry, you provide a still point of calm. In times of challenge, you inspire courage and confidence in us. Thank you for the wisdom and encouragement we receive from you.

Today we pray for those who find this winter hard going, For those who are shut in by the weather, For those worrying about making ends meet, And for those concerned about the way the world is going. Give us all peace and patience through your love.

We pray for all churches searching for new ways to worship and witness in a changing culture. Keep us strong in faith and fellowship, and make us creative agents of healing and hope in our communities.

We pray for our nation and the nations of this world. Raise up leaders the with courage, wisdom, and compassion to confront the challenges of these times. Guide citizens to discern the difference between conspiracy theories and truth telling.

We pray for innocent victims of violence around the world. Work through advocates for peace with justice to bring an end to conflict, to inspire change where it is needed, and offer daily bread to those whose lives and livelihoods have been disrupted.

And we pray for all those who are enduring pain and illness, those who are facing grief and loss, and those who work to relieve suffering and respond to crises in so many ways. Grant rest and renewal to all who find their situations exhausting. Be our comfort and encouragement day by day. Amen.

Closing Hymn

Lord, I Want to Be a Christian” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 571). Words and music (tune: “I want to be a Christian)” African American spiritual likely from the 1750s. Words and music in the 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.

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.


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