Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.

This year, for the season of Lent, we are following the United Church liturgy focusing on Lenten practices, Called to Be the Church. The services were prepared by United Church Moderator, the Rt. Rev. Richard Bott. The reflection for each Sunday was written by the Rev. Dave Jagger.[1]


Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.  

     ~Joseph Addison


The final verse from today’s second reading is often summarized in the saying, “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Usually this is delivered to someone suffering in a situation that is beyond the speaker’s power to fix. The speaker who offers such “comfort” may think that they’re being helpful without noticing that their words come across much more as law than gospel—particularly because people often assume that the “you” in the phrase is singular. (This assumption carries the added benefit of removing any responsibility from the speaker to actually do anything concretely helpful.) But in Paul’s letter, he is addressing “my dear friends”—and the pronoun translated “you” should be understood to be plural. Paul calls upon the community to help one another bear suffering, not upon the individual to “buck up” and endure suffering silently so that others won’t be discomfited.    



In Jesus’ name, welcome! First-time participant or one who’s been here many days; child or elder or somewhere in-between; stewards, caretakers, disciples, children of God— neighbours all, loved and loving. Welcome. Welcome in Christ’s name!


For thousands of years, First Nations people have walked on this land; their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives and spirituality. We acknowledge that we live, work and worship on Treaty 1 Land, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, OjiCree, Dene and Dakota Peoples, and the homeland of the Metis Nation.  We acknowledge their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.  We respect the Treaties that were made on these territories, we acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and we dedicate ourselves to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.


It is in God that we live, and move, and have our being.

And so, in every moment of every day, we dance with God, and God dances with all creation.

We don’t often notice that we’re dancing, but sometimes, every once in a while, God’s music and movement breaks through, and we know!

When we gather together, as community of faith, we gather to help one another become open to the presence of God;

we gather to help one another be intentional in that relationship;

we gather to help one another, and in helping one another, we worship God.

CHILDREN’S SONG:  MV 109   My Soul Is Thirsty For You


Creator, touch our minds that we may worship with understanding. Christ, touch our eyes that we may recognise each other. Holy Spirit, touch our voices that our words would always praise you. Love Divine, touch our hearts that your compassion would overflow. God of all, touch our hands that all we touch would be blessed, that all we touch would be transformed, that all we touch would be made new, by your love. With all that we are we worship you. Amen.


We are not alone; we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:  who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:  to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.


Scientists have discovered that flowers can sense sound waves.  When a flower picks up the sound waves from a bee, it makes more nectar to attract the bee.

Scientists have also discovered that trees communicate with each other.  Long, hair-like roots connect one tree to another.  When a destructive insect attacks a tree, the infested tree communicates with its tree friends to let them know an attack is coming.  The other trees then produce a special sap that is bitter and stops the bugs from attacking.

My dad discovered that plants also understand the threat of death.

My grandparents Poulin would spend the winters in Florida.  My dad was responsible for watering his mother’s houseplants while they were away.  His place of work was not far from their house, and he would take his lunch hour, once a week, to go and water the plants.  My grandmother had a LOT of houseplants.  So many plants that my dad had to bring a co-worker to the house to help him water them all in order to get back to work in an hour!

A few months before my grandparents were to come back to Ottawa, my dad discovered a plant that wasn’t doing well.  Dad got a fork and stirred up the soil in the pot.  He came back the next week.  Nothing.  Dad put a fertilizer stick in the pot and gave it some water.  He came back the next week.  Nothing.  Finally, dad was fed up and yelled at the plant, “If you don’t perk up by the time I come next week, I am throwing you in the garbage!”

When dad walked into the house the next week, not only had the plant perked up, it had also produced a flower!

Jesus tells a story of a man who planted a fig tree and when it didn’t produce figs after three years, he yelled at the gardener to cut it down.  The man, like my dad, was out of patience.

The gardener, who represents Jesus, calms down the man and saves the fig tree.  The gardener will nurture it and care for it for a year.

The point of the story is that there is always hope.  Jesus loves us and will do everything necessary to give us life.  Love and nurture can bring about miracles.

God never gives up on us.  God calls us to love others and not give up on anyone.  If that wilting plant could revive and produce a flower because of a threat, imagine how a person would bloom with love, nurture and acceptance!


Your Generosity Inspires Purpose: Nicole’s Story

Nicole was in crisis. Her mental health had taken a turn for the worse. She hit rock bottom and turned to 1JustCity, a Winnipeg-based Mission & Service partner that supports three drop-in centres, for support.

Before long, Nicole was not only attending programs but also started volunteering. She carried boxes, made coffee, and ran the dishwasher. She laughs as she talks about how trucking boxes up stairs is a good way to get in shape.

It’s been seven years since Nicole first walked through 1JustCity’s doors. She’s never looked back.

Last year, Nicole applied to enter a job-training program. Now, she is staff at 1JustCity.

“I love being staff. I feel respected. Working gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I feel mentally better about myself. It gives me a routine. Having something to do each day improves your mental health,” she says, smiling.

Above all, what warms Nicole’s heart most is making a difference in someone else’s life.

“Helping people feels awesome. Every single day you are there you are helping people. Giving them food. Giving them hygiene. Sometimes we have clothes. We help with emergencies. People meet in groups to support each other. It makes a difference.”

Your Mission & Service gifts help people like Nicole not only find support but also discover what is meaningful to them.

“1JustCity has been my rock, and without it I would be all over the place,” she says. “The Mission & Service of the United Church has changed my life because it gives me purpose every day.”

Thank you for your generous support.



Holy God, reveal your presence to us this day as we journey this path with your Son.  Through all of life’s trials and tribulations your Word sustains us for the journey ahead.  Send your Spirit upon us that we might listen, discern, and take heart.  Be near us this day and may your Word with us stay and dwell with us forevermore.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-9

To those who have experienced long years in exile, the return to their homeland is a celebration of abundant life. God calls them into an everlasting covenant of love. Those who return to God will enjoy new life and forgiveness, because God’s ways are not our ways.

1Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not
     satisfy?  Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

3Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.  I will make with you an everlasting
      covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

4See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
5See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
6Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;
7let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that

he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my

thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalm 63:1-8

R:  O God, eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you. (Ps. 63:1)

1O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a

     dry and weary land where there is no water.
2Therefore I have gazed upon you in your holy place,
that I might behold your power and your glory.
3For your steadfast love is better than life itself; my lips shall give you praise.
4So will I bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your name. R
5My spirit is content, as with the richest of foods, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips,
6when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches.
7For you have been my helper, and under the shadow of your wings I will rejoice.
8My whole being clings to you; your right hand holds me fast. R

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Paul uses images from Hebrew Scriptures and prophecy to speak the truth of Jesus Christ: He is our rock, our water, our food, and our drink. Christ is the living sign of God’s faithfulness.

1I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.

6Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. 7Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.” 8We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. 10And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. 13No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9

Asked about current tragic events, Jesus turns a lesson about whether suffering is deserved into a hard call to obedience. He then tells a parable that holds out hope that the timeline for ultimate judgment will be tempered by patience.

1At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.2 asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”


HYMN OF THE DAY:  VU 412   This Is the Day

Reflection:  Are You a Regular?

In Lent Week 1 we explored the Lenten practice of saying “No!” It is easier to say “No” to something when you have already said “Yes” to something else. As those who follow Jesus, each of us, constantly, gets to choose “No” or “Yes.” Will I do this or will I do that? How will I use the time and resources I have be given? That’s a stewardship question.

Then last week we looked into being a blessing. We have been blessed in order to be a blessing to others. We looked deeper into THE stewardship question. As people of faith, it’s up to each of us to decide: How are we going to use everything God has given us?

Stewardship is really all about caring for, managing, and using something that is not yours, but which you have been given for a time. It’s yours to look after and use on behalf of its rightful owner. A good steward always manages what they have been given as a response to the one who owns it and who has given it to them. And that includes our time, as well as our physical resources.

Now, maybe we should have started with this Lenten practice two weeks ago, but today we’re going to talk about worship—worshipping regularly and often.

… One day, two people from the same congregation were having coffee and talking about church stuff: you know, the regular chitter chatter. Finally, one says to the other, “You know I’ve gone to worship for 30 years now, and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time, and the ministers are wasting theirs by their giving sermons at all.” Well, the other person thought for a moment and then replied, “You know, I’ve been married for 30 years. In that time, my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this, they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to worship for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

According to N. Graham Standish, a Presbyterian minister in the United States, worship must provide, “…a tangible sense that Christ is in their midst,” “…an encounter and experience of God.”[2] Worship is not just a show we attend on those Sunday mornings when we have time. Worship is not a spectator sport. Worship is not something that can only occur in this building and this space. Worship does not even require the traditional trappings of minister, organist, and choir; hymn book and bulletin.  “In worship, as we sing songs, listen to messages, read through scripture, and pray together, we can experience that precious love of God that is for each of us, and in that love discover a sense of belonging and perhaps even purpose for our own lives…worship takes us into the heart of God.”[3]

Worship, like stewardship, is about our response to God; who God is and what God does.

Who is God? God is great! God is the creator. God made it all and owns it all. And God is good. God provides everything for us. All that we have has come from God.

So we thank God by using some of the time God has given us to come together with other followers of Jesus for worship. Regularly and often.

When we worship: We enter into God’s presence. We start by settling ourselves and centring ourselves. Often that involves silence, prayer, and music.

We listen for what God is saying to us: reading scripture, hearing a sermon or message, watching a video, talking with someone, or practising quiet meditation. Any of these can become vehicles through which we listen for what God is saying to us.

We respond: As a result of our experience of God’s presence and listening for God’s message to us, now what do we have to do? A time of dedication or commitment. Praying both for ourselves and for others. Each of us responds differently depending on what we heard or felt from God.

And we need to do this thing we call worship regularly and often, as the church-goer said about being spiritually nourished. So, here’s what we’re going to work on this week for our Lenten practice: worship regularly and often. 

This week, I want you to use some of your time (remember also the stewardship of time) every day to worship. No, we won’t be holding daily worship here in the church building. You can do this—together with others or on your own. 

Worship at home with your family. Worship in an arena with friends. Worship wherever is convenient.  Just worship, regularly and often.

Use the outline for worship we have talked about – enter into God’s presence, listen, respond – offer some of your time EVERY DAY, to worship God. This is a great Lenten practice to do together as a family, or with a good church friend or two.

To start, offer a prayer and a bit of silence to enter into God’s presence and into worship. Maybe sing or listen to a worship song. There are lots online. Then, read the scripture from today’s worship. Listen to what God, through the Holy Spirit, is saying to you through them. Consider what will be your response. If you are worshipping as a family or a group, talk about it. What did you hear God saying? Pray for your family and friends; and pray for your church.

In order to build a habit, I encourage you to choose the same time each day. Pick a time that works for you, but every day this week use some of your time to worship. Then, come back next week ready to share a brief story of how this Lenten practice worked for you and how it helped (or didn’t) open you up to God as you made space in your life to actively live out the Way of Jesus.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH: ELW 327   Through The Night Of Doubt And Sorrow


Our hearts beat with thanksgiving, God.  They mark every moment that we live in you!  For the earth and all its goodness; for the seas and the waves so high; for the air, which surrounds this planet; and for all the creatures with whom we live—we say,

Thank you, loving God!

For the relationships we share with all creation, with each other; for the love that brings new life—we say,

Thank you, loving God!

For your presence in and with all things, every heartbeat, every day, for the fact that you are always with us—we say,

Thank you, loving God!

Even as we celebrate, in praise and thanksgiving, we remember that we have also sinned in our thoughts, our words, and our actions.  There are times we have failed to love you as completely as we could have; times we have failed to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.  Forgive us, God. But, even more than that, we ask that you help us to make the choices and live the decision to love more completely, today, tomorrow and the days to come—we say,

Thank you, loving God!

As a forgiven and forgiving people, we remember others who are in need. For the world and all that lives in it…For people and places damaged by war and conflict, especially Ukraine…For people whose humanity is diminished by racism, ableism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and all the other –isms we live….we pray for all indigenous people in Canada.  For all who are afraid, all who are lonely, all who are hurting, in body, mind, or spirit–Evelyn Watt, Marlene Buhler, Douglas Pearson, Wendy, Tracy Skoglund, Brooke Alexiuk, Joan, Angèle Harmonic and family.

… For our neighbours— those we know and those we will never meet… For our families… For ourselves… –we say,

Thank you, loving God!

We pray all of these things, sharing the words that Jesus gave to all of his disciples, including us…


SENDING SONG:  WOV 734   Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling


Creator, touch our minds—

that we may worship with understanding.

Christ, touch our eyes—

that we may recognize each other.

Holy Spirit, touch our voices—

that our words would always praise you.

Love Divine, touch our hearts—

that your compassion would overflow.

God of all, touch our hands—

that all we touch would be blessed, that all we touch would be transformed, that all we touch would be made new, by your love.

As we go into your world—

we worship you!  Amen.




Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS011617.
© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca.
[1] https://united-church.ca/worship-liturgical-season/first-sunday-lent
[2] N. Graham Standish, Becoming a Blessed Church (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2016), p.73.
[3] Jamie Holtom and Debbie Johnson, Bullseye: Aiming to Follow Jesus (United Church Publishing House, The United Church of Canada, 2015) p. 45.