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.


However strong the branch becomes, however far away it reaches round the home, out of sight of the vine, all its beauty and all its fruitfulness ever depend upon that one point of contact where it grows out of the vine. So be it with us too.

~ Author: Andrew Murray


In today’s gospel many people take offense at Jesus’ invitation to eat his flesh and drink his blood; even many of Jesus’ disciples peel off. This is the backdrop in John’s gospel for Peter’s confession of faith. “To whom can we go?” asks Peter. “You have the words of eternal life.” In order to take such a stand, as Peter and Joshua did, Paul tells us to arm ourselves with the word of God. We pray in the Spirit that we might be bold ambassadors of the gospel.

     As implied in John 21:19, Peter’s confession in today’s gospel will eventually cost him his life. At age thirteen, Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai began blogging about conditions in schools in the Swat Valley under the Taliban, advocating for opportunities for girls. Two years later, she was targeted by a gunman. Today, as a student at Oxford, she continues her commitment to the goal that “all girls receive twelve years of free, safe, quality education.” No matter one’s religion, following shalom and human dignity as proclaimed by Jesus will be met with resistance and often violence. Knowing the outcome of Peter’s story heightens the pathos of this confessional moment.


We come, like Abraham, Sarah, and John the Baptist,

people with vision.

We come, like Job, Thomas, and the Samaritan woman,

people with questions.

We come, like Moses, Jeremiah, and Mary,

people with self-doubts.

We come, like Joshua, Deborah, and Stephen,

people with courage.

We come, like David, Mary Magdalene, and Paul,

people with regrets.

We come, like Hagar, Uriah, and the Syrophoenician woman,

people with wisdom from the margins.

We come, like Rebekah and Samuel, like Hosea and Esther, like Nathaniel and Martha, like John, Mark and Priscilla,

people with a part to play in the story of faith.

CHILDREN’S SONG    Be Strong In The Lord (Ephesians 6:10)


Gracious God, who creates, sustains, and redeems all life, we come seeking your disturbing presence

and comforting peace.  We praise you for the joy of being your people.  May your Spirit be with us and move within us, in this time of worship. Give us hearts that hear your Word, and minds that are open to the transforming power of your love.  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.


Have you ever seen a suit of armor?  Google it.  A full-body suit of armor weighed about 55 pounds, about as much as a medium-sized dog, such as Mack – Jilly and Carson’s bulldog.  The wearer usually had to have some help with getting the armor on and the straps done up.

Today, in the reading from Ephesians, we hear about the armor of God.   God’s armor is made up of the following:

the belt of truth

the breastplate of righteousness.

the shield of faith

the helmet of salvation

the sword of the Spirit

The apostle, Paul, says we should wear the armor of God so that we are able to stay strong in the face of evil in the world.

Battles are never fought by one person.  God does not expect us to take on the whole world by ourselves.  That is why we have communities of faith.  We help each other in our struggles.  Just like those who wore armor to fight their battles had help.  They fought in groups for strength.

Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help.  If we don’t ask for help, then life will just get harder!  Better to put on our shield of faith, throw in some courage for good measure, and ask for help.  God does not want to us suffer.  God wants us to have joy in our lives.  When we work together, it is easier to face our fears and put our trust in God.  God’s love is stronger than any armor and bigger than any battle!  Thank you, God, for armoring us up with a faith community!



When news of the pandemic struck, congregation members at Beaconsfield United Church in Beaconsfield, Quebec, were immediately concerned about their most vulnerable parishioners, especially newly arrived Nigerian refugees who joined their community of faith.

“We wondered, would they be able to get out and buy food? Would they be able to remain in contact with their families? Then, our Nigerian friends began to lose their jobs at an alarming rate and everyone quickly came together. Food and financial donations poured in. This allowed the staff to quickly assemble care packages that included canned goods, fresh produce, milk, fresh chicken and fish, as well as sanitary products,” says Jennifer Forest, the Administrative Program Assistant at the church. Congregants showed their care by delivering familiar food. “Semolina, rice, tomato paste, groundnut oil, and spices brought comfort in an uncertain time. They were delivered on a weekly basis and were tearfully and graciously received by those in need,” says Forest.

Beaconsfield United Church received a grant from Embracing the Spirit, a fully Mission & Service‒supported fund set up by the United Church to inspire innovative ministries across the denomination. With help from the fund, Beaconsfield United Church’s Nigerian Refugee Integration and Support Program extends belonging and a home away from home for refugees.

“An extremely generous and compassionate church member even made a dozen gift bags filled with crayons and markers, colouring books, and candies that brought joy to isolated children who hadn’t seen their friends and teachers in two months,” says Forest.

The pandemic hasn’t slowed the wider United Church’s refugee sponsorship work. “We are still processing cases; it’s just travel into Canada that is the challenge. We have submitted a number of cases over the last month, but because of the pandemic, people can’t travel to do their visa interviews with immigration officers overseas. The medicals and security checks can’t be done. But we continue to submit cases and continue to get approvals,” says Khwaka Kukubo, the General Council’s Refugee Program Advisor.

Despite the challenges, United Church congregations across the country like Beaconsfield United Church are finding innovative ways to continue to support newcomers. “I know many who are offering virtual language lessons, helping newcomers file taxes, supporting children to do their homework. Congregations continue to do that, but now it’s happening online,” says Kukubo, “The communities of faith are really committed.”

Your gifts through Mission & Service are providing much-needed support in these challenging times through Embracing the Spirit grants. Thank you!


Almighty God, you are the source of all light. You divinely separated light from darkness so that we may have the beauty of the light of day. Dear Lord, illuminate this day and enlighten us as we seek to know you through your word. May we be led by your light so our hearts may be opened to your word.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18

In the Near East, covenant means “agreement” or “alliance.” It describes relationships and is the primary word used to characterize the relationship between God and Israel. By delivering Israel, God has already begun the relationship. Joshua calls upon the people to respond.

1Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. 2aAnd Joshua said to all the people, 14“Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve God in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

16Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. God protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for the LORD is our God.”

  • Psalm 34:15-22

The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous. (Ps. 34:15)

15The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and God’s ears are open to their cry.
16The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to erase the remembrance of them from the earth.
17The righteous cry, and the Lord hears them and delivers them from all their troubles.
18The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those whose spirits are crushed. R
19Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them from every one.
20God will keep safe all their bones; not one of them shall be broken.
21Evil will bring death to the wicked and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22O Lord, you redeem the life of your servants,
and those who put their trust in you will not be punished. R

  • Second Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

Like a general giving a rousing speech to troops before battle, this letter closes by calling on Christians to be equipped for spiritual warfare against evil. The full armor of God includes truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the gift of salvation, and the word of God inspired by the Spirit.

10Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of God’s power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

  • Gospel: John 6:56-69

The “hard saying” that offends Jesus’ disciples is his claim that his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood. The followers who return to their old lives know something about how odd this sounds. Simon Peter, on the other hand, knows something about the scarcity of living, gracious words. He asks the most important question: “To whom shall we go?”

 56“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”


Leviticus 17:10-14:  If anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut that person off from the people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the blood that makes atonement. Therefore, I have said to the people of Israel: No person among you shall eat blood, nor shall any alien who resides among you eat blood. And anyone of the people of Israel, or of the aliens who reside among them, who hunts down an animal or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For the life of every creature—its blood is its life; therefore, I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.

And you wonder why the people got upset when Jesus said they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood!  Every Jewish person knew this law from Leviticus 17.  They observed it in practice every time they took a sacrifice to the priests.  They learned it as children, lived it out in their homes, taught their own children.  Jesus would have learned this law as a child studying the scriptures.  He would have observed his parents offering sacrifices to the priest.  So, then, WHY does Jesus go against everything he and the Jewish people have learned and tell the people they need to resort to cannibalism!   It doesn’t make any sense.  Except, it does.

The Greek language is far more suited to expressing the Divine than the English language.  English is limited, and therefore any translation from the original Greek into English will also be limited.  In the Greek language there is a distinct difference between Jesus using the word ‘esthio’, meaning to eat, and the word ‘trogo’, meaning to gnaw, crunch or chew.  One eats a meal with their family.  One gnaws on a bone or crunches their vegetables.  The visual picture is equally different with the two words.

When referring to the feeding of the 5+ thousand, Jesus uses the word ‘to eat’.  Now, in our text from John for this Sunday, Jesus uses the word for ‘gnaw or chew’.  Jesus says that those who follow him must chew on his flesh and drink his blood.  Not a comforting visual!  Yet, if we want to live, literally, ‘into the ages’, this is what we must do. 

Similarly, in Greek there are three words for life.  One is ‘bios’, which is the root for our word biology.  That refers to our physical being and all its systems that keep us alive.  ‘Psuche’ refers to the psychological life of the human soul, that is, the mind, emotion and will. The English word psychology comes from psuche.  The other word is ‘zoe’ which refers to the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God.  It is ‘zoe’ that is used by Jesus in this particular text from John.

Back to Leviticus… To drink human blood is to drink life. Blood is reserved only for the altar because it is life and life is sacred. To drink blood is indeed to have life within oneself, but in the most sacrilegious fashion possible. It is to pretend to be like God.

Up to this point in John there are more than the twelve who are following Jesus and whom the writer of this gospel calls disciples.  They have witnessed water being turned into the best wine, numerous healings, the feeding of thousands from five barley loaves and two fish.  Obviously, no one else has been able to do what Jesus has done.  He must be from God because his touch, his presence, the words he uses bring healing and goodness.

So, if people recognize that Jesus is the holy one of God, that he can only do miracles because the Spirit of God is in him, then surely the disciples must realize that Jesus is not saying that they must literally chow down on his flesh and suck on his veins!

Jesus’ commitment to God is 100%.  Jesus is faithful to God’s call to saving humanity to the point of willingly going to his crucifixion and death.  Jesus gives his all to God, surrenders his body and blood for the salvation of all.  To those who embrace the ministry of Jesus, they ‘consume’ Jesus words, wisdom, guidance and trust in Christ’s Spirit to sustain and strengthen them for their ministry journey.  To eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood means to embrace fully the love of Jesus and trust that love implicitly, as it is intimately connected to God, especially during difficult times.  As the Christian church took root and the Spirit fed the people, the Eucharist, Holy Communion, became known as eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood.  In this sacrament was the forgiveness of sins, the presence of Christ and the promise of abiding, living-in, Jesus.

The Gospel According to John was written around the year 90 C.E.  The second Temple had been destroyed by the Romans, synagogues were now the centers of Jewish worship, and Jewish Christians were meeting in house churches.  There was a split between the Jewish community and the Jewish converts to Christianity.  Those who chose to believe in Jesus were cast out of the synagogues, many also from their families.  To follow Jesus meant to lose everything they had known and trust that God, through Christ, would look after them and guide them.  To say it was a leap of faith was an understatement.

The disciples of Jesus knew that he was not speaking literally of eating his flesh and drinking his blood.  At issue was not his power and his obvious connection with God.  At issue was believing that Jesus was descended from God.  At issue was believing that Jesus was the manna of God, that Jesus was the Word of God, offering eternal life.  After all, wasn’t this Joseph and Mary’s son?  How could he be descended from God?!  Just as the Israelites in the wilderness grumbled against Moses, who was sent to them by God, so too did the Jewish people grumble against Jesus, also sent by God, about committing to this carpenter’s son and his ministry.  Sure, it was amazing to watch thousands of people being fed a miraculous meal, it was quite another issue to give up one’s family and Jewish faith family to follow Jesus!

Who is left standing before Jesus but the twelve.  I do not want to assume that Peter speaks for them all.  However, since none of the others contradict what he says, the argument could be made that a conversation had taken place among them and Peter was the designated spokesperson.  What I do want to stress is that these disciples had left their vocations to follow Jesus.  They seemed to connect with Jesus at a deeper, spiritual level than those who walked away.  Their relationship with Jesus filled a void in their lives, in their very souls.  Indeed, Peter’s words confirm it:   “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”  This was all the food they would ever need!  They don’t have a clue into what situations their faith in Jesus will lead them!  It doesn’t matter, because they trust that Jesus will guide them and give them strength.

Where does that leave us?  We would like to believe we stand with the twelve.  This does not mean we will not have struggles, times of questioning and doubt, or even times of grumbling at God!  What it does mean is that upon examining our lives, hopes, dreams, fears and faith, upon reading the words of God, feasting on the Word of God, we come to a place of absolute trust and proclaim with Peter,  “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”  Amen.

SONG OF THE DAY   VU 582  There’s A Spirit In The Air


Made children and heirs of God’s promise, we pray for the church, the world, and all in need.

God of courage, bless all leaders of your church. Make them ready to proclaim the gospel of peace and strengthen them to preach your loving word.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of creation, bless fields and orchards. Protect the land from drought and bring life-giving rain to support growth. Instruct your people in wise treatment of the world you have provided for all your creatures.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of community, bless all who seek justice between nations and peoples. Give guidance to bridge-builders, heal divisions, and inspire cooperation in times of crisis, disaster, and war.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of compassion, bless all who are in any need. Accompany all who are lonely and feeling abandoned and remind them of your abiding presence. Accompany all who are persecuted and exploited and open us to their cries.  We pray for our indigenous sisters and brothers.  Help us to understand the long-term, generational effects of abuse and trauma.  May we move forward in our commitment to reconciliation and healing.  Keep us open to seeing, hearing and believing the pain of so many survivors.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of change, bless our transitions. Guide all who are embarking on new stages in life such as a new job, new school, or new community. Sustain enduring friendships and kindle new relationships and interests.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of healing, there is so much anger, hatred and greed in the world.  Help to armor us so that we respond with love, patience and forgiveness.  More than ever, we need to be a people of love, compassion and understanding.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God, there is so much pain, illness and loneliness in the world.  Touch those who call on you and grant healing and peace.  We pray for Sandy Belisle, Margaret, the Goertzen family, the family and friends of Andrea Grozli, Mike Froese, Brooke Alexiuk, Dwayne, Tracy Skoglund, Matthew Grossman, Lorraine & Walter Pokrant.

Lord, in your mercy

hear our prayer.

God of comfort, bless all who mourn the deaths of their loved ones. We give you thanks for the saints who have gone before us. Renew our confidence in your promise of resurrection and life in the world to come.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Receive these prayers, O God, and those in our hearts known only to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



SENDING SONG  VU 651  Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah


In the midst of a world filled with clamour and boasting, may our faithful presence be for others a quiet moment filled with the love of God that reveals the good news of the kingdom of God to those who are searching for hope.  Amen.


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