Sunday, October 4th, 2020.
Preamble / info.
It's a new season, and there's a touch of autumn in the air!
And, even though the seasons are changing, we continue to find ourselves in extraordinary times. Today, the 20th of September, we will be worshiping in-person at the church, with careful protocols and practices in place to ensure everyone's well-being. Note the new time: 10:00 a.m.!
You are warmly invited to come to church as you are able. But, you are also advised and encouraged to make the right decision given your own circumstances, and that may mean staying at home. If you may be particularly vulnerable, may have been exposed to COVID-19, or may have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we ask that you remain at home and contact your health professional before venturing out.
At the church, we are designating seating to ensure physical distancing (you might even have to sit in a different pew!), providing hand sanitizer, asking everyone to wear a mask, and we are recording all attendees for possible contact tracing. Lastly, as we can only accommodate about 40 people in the sanctuary, we ask that you contact the church office each week to let us know you're coming.
It's a lot, I know. But, these are the things we must all do to 'flatten the curve' and protect one another. And, whether you worship at home with our on-line services (which will continue, even though the church is re-opening), at the church, or even behind a mask, none of this (not even a virus) can separate us from the love of God.
In preparation for the following service, you may want to have a candle handy (either a real candle or one of those little battery-operated ones). We always light candles in church because they remind us of the presence and beauty of God.
God be with you!
Under the COVID guidelines, singing is discouraged because it can spread the virus. So, we'll be clapping, humming, using noise-makers, and percussion instruments to get into songs like this one. At home, you can do that, or sing out loud as you wish!
We've sung this a number of times at SPUC, so it is hopefully familiar. Written by Ron Klusmeier, one of the United Church's great contemporary hymnists.
This is the season of creation, a time when we see the abundance of the harvest, celebrate the generosity of life, and pause and give thanks, in wonder, for the many blessings God, through this marvel of creation, offers us. Because it is good.
God created the heavens and the earth, blessed it, and said it was good.
God gave us the dark sacred night and the bright blessed day and said it was good.
God gave life to the plants and animals, birds and humans, water, land, and sky, and said it was good.
And so, with God, with all of creation, we echo God’s own words in our prayers, in our songs, in our praise, and in our very lives, and say, IT IS GOOD. Amen.
Lighting of the candle.
We light this candle to remind us of God’s abiding presence. Like the glow of this candle, God’s love shines through the darkest hours, into the deepest shadows, through the thickest gloom, bringing us to the light of Christ. Amen.
Scripture reading: Today's reading from Exodus, when God gives Moses the Ten Commandments. We've got a slightly different presentation of that story today:
Sermon, by Rev. Dan.
Music: As we prepare for communion.
To prepare for communion, you will want to have a small glass of wine or grape juice and a small piece of bread befoe proceeding.
Even though the days are getting shorter and some glimpses of red can be seen amid the green, the summer suns shines brightly. The isolation and cautions of COVID linger like clouds that seem to block the sun, yet give no comforting shade.
In all this, we continue to be the church, to be Jesus' hands and feet in the world, to do what God will have us do to bring about God's kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.
Our offering is both a practical and symbolic act of our commitment to serve Christ and build His church. Although we can’t actually ‘pass the plate’ online, you are encouraged to continue your gift to the church, as the work of the St Paul’s and the staff continue:
Drop your envelope (cheque or cash) at the church;
Mail your cheque to the church;
Go on PAR (call Rosie for details);
Use the Donate button at the top of the page (it will take you to SPUC’s Canada Helps page where you can donate online and get an instant tax receipt).
May my gifts of time, talent, and treasure generously and lovingly offered, be instruments of change and instrumental in God's mission in the world!
Prayer. Below are both a video and a written text of the prayer of concerns and gratitudes for Creation Time. Choose which way you'd like to follow this prayer, either listening to it or saying it aloud. Or both?
These have been trying times, O God. These last months have been a whirlwind of isolation and anxiety, constant handwashing and disinfectants, masks and tests, so much bad news. So, it’s good to come together today with our church family, in the shelter of your love, in the familiarity of these walls. In this season of Creation and amid all the confusion of these times, we long to be reminded and assured of the goodness of your creation, and the goodness you have given each one of us.
Of the ordeals, struggles, and challenges we face in our lives these days, we pauses and name them to you, O God, praying for your grace, wisdom, and blessing to help us get through.
Of the injustices, violence, anger, and hatred that tramples the flower of humanity’s potential, we pause and name them to you, O God, praying for your grace, wisdom, and blessing.
Of the environmental degradation, abuses, and harms that stain your beautiful creation, we pause and name them to you, O God, praying for your grace, wisdom, and blessing.
Of all countless blessings, joys, and beauties that surround us and give us life, we pause and name them to you, O God, praying for your grace, wisdom, and blessing.
And, of all the prayers silent and spoken, we pray the one prayer that unites us in your presence:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
We are the light of God; we are the love of Christ; we are the breath of the Spirit. Let us leave this place, taking the light, love, and breath that we have been given, sharing it with one another and the world. To this, you have been called by the One who creates us, sustains us, and comforts us. Amen.
One Last Thought.
Don’t forget to extinguish your candle!
Watch your e-newsletters for the return of: Muffins with the Minister on Tuesday morning, Meditation & Prayer on Wednesday at noon, and the next meeting of the Book Club!
Please call the church and let us know if you're coming to in-person worship next week so we can plan appropriately.
Join us for coffee after church on Zoom:
Daniel Benson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: SPUC Coffee after Church
Time: Oct 4th, 2020 11:30 AM America/Toronto
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 829 432 3094
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Meeting ID: 829 432 3094