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.


Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.

~Gilbert K. Chesterton


     How does faith in the risen Christ call one to live? What shape does one’s life take?

     The readings for this fourth Sunday of Easter are rich in their imagery, and at the center is the image of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. Five times in eight short verses Jesus mentions laying down his life for the sake of the sheep.

     The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, and joined to the risen life of Christ, the lives of the baptized are shaped by generosity and sacrifice. Giving one’s life, resources, gifts, or whatever one holds most dear for the sake of another is both a witness to the love we have first been shown and an act of faith. Hearing Jesus’ words in this Easter season reminds us that laying down one’s life is not an act to be feared; rather, it is an act that defies death, as we trust that, washed in the waters of baptism, we already live in the resurrected life of Christ.


We are summoned here by our holy God,

who calls us each by name, and gathers us together in the unity of Jesus Christ.

From home and community, from camps and classrooms,

we are called into God’s presence.

Young and old and middle-aged, individuals and families, soft-spoken and outspoken,

we hear our names being called to join in worship.

This house of worship is a place to pursue God’s vision for all people:

unity and joy and faith expressed through different gifts.  Let us worship together!

CHILDREN’S SONG  VU 639 One More Step Around The World I Go           


Creator God, we hear your wilderness cry from the depth of our souls and long to answer. We seek you out in the silence and beauty of nature, in the sound of the birds, the rustling trees, the lapping water, and the crunching of branches. Our eyes and ears are opened to your presence in the newness of day, the brisk air, and the colours of the sunrise. Be with us in this time of worship and celebration, guiding us along the forest’s edge into oneness with you.  In your name we pray.  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.


     Do you think you have what it takes to be shepherd?  Let me be more specific.  Do you think you have what it takes to have been a shepherd when Jesus walked the earth?  You would have been out all day in the extreme heat, no outdoor bathrooms, protecting your sheep from wild animals such as bears and lions, also from thieves.  There were no electronics.  You had to pay attention to your whole flock the whole day, and sleep with them at night.  Any food you had needed to be able to survive without a refrigerator.  Most often shepherds ate the same food every day – dried fruit, bread, hard cheese and olives.  Do you think you could eat the same food several times a day, every day, for a month?

     What would you need to be a shepherd?  You would need to wear the proper clothing to protect you from the heat of the sun during the day and the cold at night.  Psalm 23 mentions a shepherd’s rod and staff.  The rod looked more like a club for chasing away wild animals.  The staff was long for prodding the sheep, or keeping away wild animals.  Sometimes the staff had a curve at one end to grab the sheep around the neck or waist if it got into trouble. 

     Did you know shepherds in Jesus’ day often had a flute?  Many shepherds today still carry one.  The music helps to keep the sheep calm and to encourage them to follow the shepherd.

     A ram’s horn, filled with olive oil, was kept to put on any injuries the sheep received from sharp rocks or thorns. 

     Being a shepherd was not an easy job.  It required a lot of patience and hard work to keep the flock together and safe; to find places where there was enough grass and enough still water.  That could mean a lot of walking in the heat until a suitable spot was found. 

     Jesus says that he is our shepherd.  We don’t hear much about shepherds in Manitoba.  We hear more about ranchers and pig farmers.  It makes sense that a rancher would need to look after the cattle and a pig farmer look after the pigs so that their animals would remain safe and healthy.  Even though we may not be familiar with shepherds, we understand what it means to have someone look after us, care for us, love us, protect us.  That is what Jesus says he does.  He died for us.  Jesus says that a good shepherd will protect the sheep with their life.

     So, do you think you have what it takes to be a shepherd?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any sheep.  I do have three daughters, my dad, two sisters and my friends that I love, care about and would protect with my life, so I guess in some ways, I am a shepherd. 

     Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, thank you for being our shepherd.  Thank you for loving us, forgiving us and giving your life for us.  Help us to care for others so that they know you are their shepherd too.  Amen.


When Being Born With White Skin Is Dangerous

     When Ikponwosa Ero was five years old, she couldn’t walk down the street without being taunted for having albinism, a genetic condition that results in lack of pigmentation in skin, eyes, and hair.

     Children would taunt her with rude songs and pull her hair. When she told teachers she couldn’t see well (a condition common for people with albinism), they accused her of lying.

     Today, Ero, a lawyer, advocates for people with albinism. In 2015, the United Nations appointed her as the first Independent Expert on the subject. Ero’s priority is to end brutal attacks against people with albinism. More than 600 attacks have taken place in 26 African countries since 2007; two-thirds of the victims are children.

     Being born with light skin is particularly dangerous in Tanzania, where 1 in 1,400 people have albinism. Few of these people live beyond the age of 40, not only because of high rates of cancer but also because of belief systems.

     Some belief systems portray people with albinism as magical. As a result, there is a lucrative trade in their body parts, which are believed to hold special power.

     The COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation even worse because people can’t get to medical appointments or purchase sunscreen. In some communities, people with albinism are blamed for the outbreak of the pandemic.

     That’s why your generosity through Mission & Service is supporting the Morogoro Women’s Training Centre to host seminars for young Tanzanian women with albinism. Topics like disability rights, legal protection, and entrepreneurship will be covered.

     “The seminars are really important because they will not only provide training and give women a greater sense of their rights but also an opportunity to share experiences and talk about how their condition and the stigma around it affects them,” says Wendy Gichuru, the United Church’s program coordinator for Africa and the Middle East.

     Your Mission & Service gifts support a variety of critical seminars like the Morogoro ones around the world. Thank you so much! Through Mission & Service, your generosity addresses prejudice and violence―and helps change lives.


Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death and opened to us the light of eternity.  Enlighten our minds and kindle our hearts with the presence of your Spirit, that we may hear your words of comfort and challenge in the reading of the scriptures, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Acts 4:5-12

Peter and John had been arrested the previous day because they were proclaiming the news of the resurrection to the people. In today’s reading, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit so that he can proclaim salvation in Jesus’ name to the religious authorities.

5The next day  rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’  12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

  • Psalm 23

R:  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
2The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
3You restore my soul, O Lord, and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil;
  for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. R
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
  you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
  and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. R

  • Second Reading: 1 John 3:16-24

Jesus’ death on our behalf is the clearest demonstration of divine love. This is the very love we share with others, not just through our words but especially through our deeds. In sharing such love we fulfill God’s commandments.

16We know love by this, that  laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

  18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

  23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

  • Gospel: John 10:11-18

In language that recalls the twenty-third psalm, Jesus describes himself as the shepherd who cares for his sheep. He is willing to die for them, and he is able to overcome death for them.

 11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”


The focus of the annual study conference at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, in May of 2000, was the Jubilee.  The 50th year when, according to the LORD’S command, land was to be returned to original owners, debts forgiven, slaves set free.  Looking at this millennial year of Jubilee, the preachers and speakers at the study conference asked the question of how one could preach, proclaim and live out Jubilee in this present day.  Several people shared stories of how their congregations, families and communities were trying to do this.

A young girl was having her birthday party.  She had seen on the news the state of the Kosovo families as a result of the war.  Rather than ask her friends to bring her presents, she asked that they bring a cash donation which would be sent to help the children of Kosovo.  She raised over $300.00.

In Vancouver there was an Anglican congregation who decided that they would be a Jubilee church.  This was passed unanimously.  All was well until they came to the subject of coffee.  The congregation wanted to serve only fairly traded coffee at coffee time.  This was fine.  The problem was that the congregation ran a lunch program for the homeless and poor of the area and the coffee for this program was graciously donated by Starbucks.  What to do?  One suggestion was to keep accepting the Starbucks coffee, but to write a letter to the company explaining the new goal of the congregation and challenging Starbucks to become more responsible regarding their coffee suppliers.  Others felt that the coffee from Starbucks should no longer be accepted, and that coffee from organizations such as Mesh, 10,000 villages and Oxfam should be purchased.  This in turn raised another dilemma.  The coffee from such organizations was higher priced.  The coffee budget would have to be increased to cover the extra.  The discussion, I am sure, wages on to this day.  However, the priest who served the parish was, at that point, not so concerned about the outcome.  His joy was that the process was helping people to ask questions, evaluate, think critically about what they had, where it came from and were the workers who produced the goods being treated fairly and paid adequately for their labor.  All part of choosing to be a Jubilee congregation!

Jesus speaks of the shepherd laying down their life for the sheep.  Here in Canada, there seems very little reason to lay down one’s life for another.  In fact, when the issue concerns Native Land Claims, or the sovereignty of French speaking people, love seems to get tossed out the window!  And yet, these are issues that, biblically, are at the heart of Jubilee – land and sovereignty. 


The apostle Paul encourages us to love, not just in word or speech, but in action.  The year 2000 was a year of Jubilee opportunity to live out the shepherding skills of Jesus; to look at what we have, evaluate our needs against our wants and see if there was not some way we could help others.  It was an opportunity to look at where products are made and the working conditions of those who make them.  It was an opportunity boycott sweat shops in developing countries, to do without for a while in order that our sisters and brothers overseas would have anything at all.  The year 2000, the year of Jubilee, was an opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ words that he has other sheep who do not belong to his fold; that he must bring them also, that they would listen to his voice.  The voice of one who lays down their life for the sheep.

As Canadians we tend to be a passive lot.  In China, when the government passed a 3% increase in taxes, the entire nation boycotted and overthrew the government!  And yet, in 1995, when the vote in Quebec was taking place over whether or not to secede from Canada, look at the response! 

In the year 2000, that year of Jubilee, national church bodies of various denominations sent letters to the government and questions to the faithful.  Could we gather as a nation in support of our farmers; could we gather as a nation to challenge our governments about fiscal accountability; could we gather as a nation to work on eradicating poverty; could we gather as a nation and challenge corporations to refrain from using slave labor to produce their goods cheaply in order to achieve massive profits?  As far as the east is from the west, it became apparent that we had forgotten that we are one flock.  As far as the east is from the west, it became apparent that we had wandered from God.  Or, perhaps, we just didn’t like the idea of laying down our life for another.

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.

It is easy to get caught up in fear, in self, in the what ifs of the future so that we forget we are living in the present.  It is easy to get caught up in fear, in self, in the what ifs of the future so that we forget that God will help us, if we would but ask. 

As I reflect on my first year of living on my own in Calgary, and on the years of being a student, I have to admit that although I had very little, I always had enough.  I have to admit that when I had less, I trusted in God more.  I have to admit that when I was lacking, God, through my friends, provided for me – when I did not fight their generosity!  In many ways, my friends and I laid down our lives for each other in terms of love, support, compassion and just being there.  I believe our lives were richer for doing that. I believe we became better people because of it.

After a conference convention, synod convention and a study conference, I was more than convinced that we, as national church bodies, needed to focus on being one flock.  I am convinced that community, as well as individual prayer, is necessary for the building up of the flock and maintaining communication with the one who leads us.  I also believe that when, in love, we work together, all things are possible in Christ. 

The year of Jubilee is not a pipe dream – a nice idea, but….  The year of Jubilee can be a reality if we but step out boldly in love and trust in God who desires that all should have life and have it abundantly.  Not in material things, but in having enough and having an intimate relationship with our creator.  We are a community, a body of Christ, a nation.  One flock.  May God grant us the wisdom, and courage to acknowledge and live out this reality in love and action.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH     WOV 669  Come Away To The Skies  


Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring our prayers before God who promises to hear us and answer in steadfast love.

Loving Shepherd, you know your own and your own know you. Your voice calls us to your loving embrace. Strengthen your church throughout the world that we bear witness to your expansive love. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Gracious Shepherd, you are generous with the gifts of goodness and mercy. Restore your creation to wholeness so that cities and towns, countryside and wilderness, may abound with life. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Hope-giving Shepherd, the nations and peoples are your heritage. Place into the hearts of all leaders and rulers the passion to serve. Crucify any desire to overpower others and give leaders joy in lifting up the lowly. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Abiding Shepherd, your love flows as we reach out to those around us. Move us with your Spirit, so that we lay down our lives for those in need. Help us love one another in truth and action. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Saving Shepherd, you restore us to wholeness. Help our community in our life together and give us vigor as a people of faith. In the midst of challenges and opportunities, fill us anew with your Holy Spirit. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Healing Shepherd, we pray for our family, friends and community members.  We thank you for healing that has taken place, we pray for healing to continue and we pray for patience and understanding when healing does not take place as we desire.  We remain faithful in raising up before you Lil Schieman, Larry McCrady, Mike Froese, Brooke Alexiuk, Tracy Skoglund, Matthew Grossman, Lorraine & Walter Pokrant.  Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Eternal Shepherd, you hold us securely in your loving hands. In the assurance of resurrection hope, we remember our loved ones who have died in you. Bring us, with them, to dwell in your house forever. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



SENDING SONG  VU 635  All The Way My Saviour Leads Me


May our glorious God grant you a spirit of wisdom to know and to love the risen Lord Jesus.

The God of life, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.


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