Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of 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 of one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have the internet may find the songs on YouTube.


God doesn’t call the qualified; God qualifies the called.


Faith cannot be stockpiled. It needs a pattern of replenishment. Today, the disciples are hungry. While their stomachs may not be rumbling, their hunger is shown in their lack of certainty about who Jesus is. Even though they were just talking about how Jesus walked with two of them on the road to Emmaus, his real presence now frightens them. Doubt, disbelief, and fear are like hunger to the disciples.

     Jesus relieves the hunger with his risen presence. When the disciples are unsure what to make of the mess that life has become, Jesus shows up. When their hunger for truth and certainty is most apparent, Jesus walks into the room. The answer to someone’s hunger is not to ask why they are hungry. Nor is the answer to doubt a question about why they cannot believe. The answer is food. The answer is the real Jesus showing up and easing fears. Everyone’s faith needs sustenance. Those who listen to the preacher and gather at the table today are looking for the God of truth and love to settle their doubts.


We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

We come before you this morning with our hearts full of love and concern for our community.   In Christ, we know that we are forgiven. In Jesus, we are a new creation, called to love each other as you love us, and called to act as God’s ambassadors of love and of reconciliation.  We ask you, Beloved, to pour out your Spirit upon us, upon our neighbours, upon our leaders, and upon those who have come to this place with hearts and minds eager to help. We lift up our prayers to you and look to receive your blessing.  Amen.

GATHERING SONG:  Voices United 409  Morning Has Broken


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Peace be with you.
And also with you.
Come and see the love God has given to us.
Come and see what it means to be children of God.
Come with this hope, that Christ’s presence is real.
With joy, we come to see the Lord.


Miraculous God, come to us now, even as your Son came to those first disciples on the shores of Galilee.  Speak your peace to our hearts.  Touch us with your Holy Spirit.  Reveal your word, that we may hear your message this day, and live as your disciples in the days and years to come.  In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

~ Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009, © 2008 Abingdon Press.  Posted on the Worship Elements page of the Ministry Matters website.


The Association of Economic and Social Development Santa Marta (ADES), a Mission and Service partner, is located in an area of Central America that is very vulnerable to climate change. This hot, dry region regularly experiences drought. Mining projects have also negatively affected the environment and the people in the region. ADES and other community organizations decided to act to protect the community’s right to a healthy environment.

An example of how ADES has responded is a three-year agroecology project co-funded by the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation and The United Church of Canada Foundation, along with Mission and Service. Agroecology benefits the land and water because it recycles nutrients back into the soil. It also reduces production costs, lessening the financial burden on rural farmers.

In this project, ADES works closely with the community to grow food in a rural region of El Salvador, promoting sustainable agriculture that protects biodiversity, maintains the integrity of the land, and upholds rural culture.

At the centre of the project is the Dora Alicia Sorto School Farm, where rural families, mainly led by women, learn about agroecology. The school provides training, technical expertise, and seeds indigenous to the region. It focuses on preserving the surrounding environment and on upholding gender and human rights as part of its approach to food security.

Your gifts to  Mission and Service help support ADES’ agroecology project. Thank you for your generosity!


Since we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from your mouth, make us hunger for this heavenly food, that it may nourish us today in the ways of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, the bread of heaven. Amen.


First Reading: Acts 3:12-19

After healing a man unable to walk, Peter preaches to the people, describing how God’s promises to Israel have been fulfilled in Jesus. Through the proclamation of Christ’s death and resurrection, God is offering them forgiveness and restoration in Jesus’ name.

12 addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?13The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

17“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.”

Psalm 4

The Lord does wonders for the faithful. (Ps. 4:3)

1Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause; you set me free when I was in distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2“You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory; how long will you love illusions and seek after lies?”
3Know that the Lord does wonders for the faithful; the Lord will hear me when I call.

4Tremble, then, and do not sin; speak to your heart in silence upon your bed. R

5Offer the appointed sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

6Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”  Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.
7You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine abound.

8In peace, I will lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me rest secure. R

Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-7

God has loved us in order to make us children of God. Though we do not yet know the full details of our future existence, we trust that God will reveal it just as God revealed Jesus to take away our sins.

1See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
4Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

Gospel: Luke 24:36b-48

In this account of an appearance after his resurrection, Jesus opens the minds of the disciples to understand him as Messiah. Jesus convinces them that he has been raised and sends them on a mission to proclaim the message of repentance and forgiveness.

36bJesus himself stood among  and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.

44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.”

HYMN:  Voices United 190  The Head That Once Was Crowned

SERMON:  written by Rev. Richard Swanson[1]

This is an odd scene.

Only Luke reports it, and only Luke needs it: Luke’s whole story is built around going to Jerusalem and coming back home (“every year … as usual” Luke 2:41f). This time people try to leave the Holy City, the center of the Jewish universe, only to be pulled back in.

The vocabulary in this scene is also odd, though that is normal for Luke, who frequently uses words found in no other gospel. For instance, the women who report the resurrection are dismissed when they speak to the male disciples. The NRSV says that the men dismissed it as an “idle tale” (Luke 24:11). The word in Greek implies that they dismissed the story as being no more important than “women’s trinkets.” Odd, and a little offensive.

And now, Luke tells us that the travelers (previously unmet and otherwise unknown) were “talking and discussing” about the things that had happened. The Greek implies that they were not only talking; they were “examining evidence together.” This picks up a theme that has been prominent in Luke’s story ever since we met Mary talking with Gabriel: she was confused to have encountered an angel, but not so confused that she couldn’t debate the issue back and forth. And when Jesus stays behind in the Temple, talking with the teachers, he (just like his mother) asks and answers analytical questions. This is a story loaded with rational discourse. The disciples walking to Emmaus fit right in.

But the most important aspect of this odd (yet familiar) scene, at least in this reading for me, is a small, utterly ordinary verb in the imperfect tense: hlpizomen (Luke 24:21). The NRSV translates this word as “we had hoped,” which is a perfectly good way to read this ordinary little verb.

The Greek imperfect tense suggests continuous action, perhaps because it took numerous attempts, or took a long time to complete, or was simply an old habit. To this is added a temporal augment (in this case, the lengthening of the initial vowel), which indicates that the action flows from the past. But is this action still going on? Or were the efforts, despite repeated attempts, finally abandoned? The tense doesn’t tell you, at least not so that the matter is fully settled. The storyteller helps make sense of this: they had been hoping that Jesus “was the one to redeem Israel,” but the events of the past days had brought an end to that habit of hoping.

For this, Jesus calls them “foolish and slow to believe.” Older commentators often pile on and blame them for imagining that the messiah would actually make a difference in the world, that the messiah, at a minimum, would be able to stand up against Rome, the representation of all that was wrong with the Jewish world in the 1st century. In this, older commentators are wrong. That’s a little like blaming a baseball manager for imagining that a shortstop would field grounders and throw the ball to first base. It’s a little like blaming a bereaved family for being astonished to discover that a surgeon played mumbley-peg on a patient instead of performing a proper operation.

You can extend these outrageous examples as far as you like, and it all comes down, in the end, to oddity. Shortstops field and throw. Surgeons excise tumors. And messiahs make a difference in the face of imperial violence. The walking disciples know that, and they are analyzing the situation carefully.

The scene, to be sure, ends with joy and excitement. It ends with them thrilled to discover that death and resurrection are deeply rooted in both Jewish Scripture and Jewish tradition, so that Jesus’ crucifixion actually fits into a pattern that can arguably be seen throughout God’s dealings with the Jewish people.

But the thing that catches my eye is that little imperfect tense verb: “we had hoped.” I have heard families use that phrase when they were packing up the things they had brought with them to the ICU. “We had hoped … ,” they say, and then they go home alone. I have heard families use this phrase when addictions return, or jobs go away. Although theologies of hope focus on a dawning future, the moment that catches me is that moment of deep disappointment, when only a painfully imperfect verb tense will express what needs to be said.

We like to hear future tenses. We like it when families say that everything will be okay, that they will go on, that they will get everything back to normal. We like future tenses so much that we reward people in deep grief for reassuring us that the sun will rise tomorrow and that life will go on. But in this unguarded moment, the walking disciples give voice to a discovery that every adult shares: very often, often when it matters most, we find ourselves speaking of matters of hope (and faith) in the imperfect tense: we had hoped … We can rally ourselves and polish up our future tenses when we must, but often that involves skating on thin ice over the shifting, flowing waters of past imperfections, confounding disappointments.

This is one of the things I love about the gospels: they know what we sometimes don’t dare to say. Crucial hopes have collapsed. Any congregation that gathers to hear a sermon will contain people who will hear the imperfect tense and will recognize it as a true statement of their current situation: we had hoped …

Those people will be waiting, listening to hear whether the preacher dares to acknowledge the reality of disappointment. If she does not, they will notice, and remember. They are listening also to hear whether the preacher simply uses that disappointment as a cheap set-up for the knockout punch of the gospel. If the preacher pretends that the resurrection easily and automatically overcomes all disappointment, they will notice, and conclude that the preacher doesn’t get it. They may even resent the preacher’s willingness to use their pain as a pretext for a cheap gospel sales gimmick.

The joy at the end of the scene is real, as is the racing report of the resurrection in the scene immediately prior to this one. Death and resurrection do indeed fit into a long-established pattern of the way God works in a world as unrelentingly real as this one is. But truthful preaching on this text requires an honest recognition of the reality of deep disappointment.

Don’t pretend to talk about resurrection unless you are willing to acknowledge the depths of deadly disappointment that make it necessary. Find something else to preach on, or find another (easier) way to make a living. Preaching resurrection requires honesty, and the truth is that “we had hoped … ” Maybe we still do. Some of us (sometimes) don’t, or can’t, or won’t hope, at least not yet. But we had hoped that you, as a preacher, would understand that.

HYMN OF THE MONTH:  VU 563  Jesus, You Have Come To The Lakeshore


Rejoicing that Jesus is risen and love has triumphed over fear, let us pray for the church, the world, and all those in need of good news.

O God our holy one, you feed our deepest hungers. As we share the holy meal that is the body and blood of Jesus given for us, lead us to share all that we have, and find, in generosity, abundant life. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

O God our creator, you bring forth all life on earth. Calm storms, bring water to parched places, and protect the climate, that this planet would sustain life in all its variety. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

O God our savior, you offer wisdom and guidance beyond all human knowledge. Instruct lawmakers, judges, and elected officials to make decisions grounded in your justice and care for all people. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

O God our elder, you care for all your children. Encourage those who are in times of transition, facing the loss of old ways and routines and anticipating change. Guide those who journey in grief, hope, and uncertainty. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

O God our center, you bring all people together in you. Help us to remember our identity and purpose in our ministry. Move us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to share in beloved community. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

O God our resting place, your Son Jesus promised that we are held in your love forever. We remember our beloved who have died. As we remember and share their love, comfort those who mourn. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Into your hands, most merciful God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your abiding love; through Jesus Christ, our resurrected and living Lord.



SENDING SONG:  Voices United 189  Hail The Day That Sees Him Rise


Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

The God of resurrection power, the Christ of unending joy, and the Spirit of Easter hope ☩ bless you now and always.


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