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.


On the highest throne of the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.

            ~Michel de Montaigne


Psalm 112 and Luke 14:7-14 offer a counter-narrative to the myths that undergird an economy of accumulation: that one must generate and protect one’s wealth within a tightly controlled inner circle of like-minded colleagues, and that the spoils gush around the head of the table and trickle down to the bottom. But the psalmist and Jesus assert that blessedness comes, foremost, from generosity toward those who have neither the resources nor the ability to repay. We might draw on illustrations from science and nature to enhance this message: When a tree, animal, or human body is healthy, nutrients flow to all parts of the body. But when a group of cells clusters and encloses itself, growing by drawing in resources without any regard for the health of the body, we call that cancer. The church should be a model of God’s community that distributes freely and ensures blessings for all.


We acknowledge that we gather to worship on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people.

Creator of all, we ask that you fill us with your justice and your passion so that we strive with all indigenous peoples to move forward from the abuses of the past and work hard to build respectful relationships.  Open our hearts and minds to learn new ways of being, to embrace new teachings and experience your presence in all we meet.

CALL TO WORSHIP:  Written by Nancy Townley

With all your strength, sing aloud to the Lord, who has brought you here and blessed you.
Our voices shall shout forth praise and thanksgiving to God.
With all your heart, reach out in service to those in need, remembering God’s mercy in your own life.
Our lives shall be witnesses to the love of God which has been lavished upon us.
Come, let us worship the Lord with Great joy!
Let us bring all that we have and all that we are to God in gratitude.  Amen.

CHILDREN’S SONG:  The Wedding Banquet Song

I cannot come,
I cannot come to the banquet, don’t trouble me now,
I have married a wife, I have bought me a cow,
I have fields and commitments, that cost a pretty sum,
Pray hold me excused I cannot come.

A certain man held a feast on his fine estate in town.
He laid a festive table, he wore a wedding gown,
He sent out invitations to his neighbors far and wide,
But when the meal was ready each of them replied:  Chorus

The master rose up in anger called his servants by name,

Said, “Go into town, fetch the blind and the lame.
Fetch the peasant and the pauper for this I have willed:
My banquet must be crowded, and my table must be filled.”  Chorus

When all the poor had assembled There was still room to spare,
So the master demanded:  “Go search everywhere.
Search the highways and the byways, and tell them to come in.
My table must be filled before the banquet can begin.”  Chorus

Now God has written a lesson for the rest of mankind:
If we’re slow in responding may leave us behind.
preparing a banquet for that great and glorious day,
When the Lord and Master calls us be certain not to say:  Chorus

            ~ This hymn, by American Medical Mission Sister Miriam Therese Winter, is based on the parable of the wedding banquet, from Matthew 22. It was originally published in her 1966, collection “Joy is Like the Rain“. It has subsequently been published in other books, including Songlines. 


O God, you resist those who are proud and give grace to those who are humble. Give us the humility of your Son, that we may embody the generosity of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  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.


When our daughters were young, their school had a rule that birthday party invitations were not to be handed out in class.  Rather, they should be mailed or hand delivered to people’s homes.  Why do you think they made this rule?

What would it feel like, do you think, to be sitting having lunch with your friends only to have someone come up to your table and hand out birthday party invitations to everyone at the table – except you!  Yep, it would hurt, wouldn’t it?

Or, what if you were having a birthday party, and you only invited the children in your class whose families were wealthy, just so you could get better presents!  Hmmm, I don’t think Jesus would be impressed by that choice.  Do you?

Jesus loves everybody.  If Jesus had a birthday party, he would probably invite the entire school!  The point is that Jesus wants everyone to be included in our love, just as they are included in his love.  When we ignore people, find excuses not to include people, we are hurting Jesus, not just that particular person.  Makes a person think, doesn’t it?

We like to think that loving people is easy.  Well, some people are easier to love than others.  AND, sometimes, it is those people, whom we find harder to love, who become dear to us and help us see Jesus in everyone.  I would call that a win-win situation.  I think Jesus would be happy with that.  Don’t you? 

MINUTE FOR MISSION:  Small Church With Big History Attracts Pilgrims

Since Jesus first walked on this earth, Christians have been spiritually drawn to make pilgrimages to places connected to his birth, life, crucifixion, resurrection, and legacy. Today, pilgrimage hot spots include Oberammergau in Germany, Lourdes and Taizé in France, and of course the Holy Land.

Here in Canada, thousands of Christian pilgrims make their way to the small town of Napanee, ON, to visit Old Hay Bay Church each year. The last Sunday in August is the highlight of the season, when the church hosts its annual pilgrimage service.

What’s the attraction? It’s a mix of the history, scenery, spiritual connection, and community.

An unassuming building clad with greyed wood siding and wide doors that open to a plain but sturdy sanctuary, Old Hay Bay Church was originally built on the shoreline of Hay Bay, which connects to the Bay of Quinte, in 1792. It is the oldest Methodist building―and one of the oldest churches―in Canada. Now, it belongs to The United Church of Canada, and your generosity through Mission & Service helps ensure that it will continue to be a place of pilgrimage for years to come.

Elaine Farley, chair of the Board of Trustees and one of the church’s custodians, explains that the building, originally referred to as the “meeting house,” was the centre of the rapid growth of Methodism and hosted the first camp meeting in 1805. “Methodism grew into the largest Protestant group in Canada and was the largest communion that became the United Church in 1925,” she says.           “The Founders reflect any United Church congregation today. They came from various countries of origin and had a wide variety of skills and knowledge, but together they made a strong voice, speaking of God, their community, and their future.”

Farley warns that she could enthusiastically “go on and on” about why the small church in rural Ontario is so important, but she sums it up with three short sentences: “Old Hay Bay Church has earned its place in the history of Methodism and The United Church of Canada. It is not just a building but also a sacred place of our ancestors, as well as a pilgrimage place for us and our descendants. It has a special place in peoples’ hearts.”

Thank you for helping to preserve important historical, theological, and pilgrimage sites through your Mission & Service gifts.


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. We pray that we receive every word you speak to us today. Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Proverbs 25:6-7

The book of Proverbs is part of a collection of writings known as wisdom literature. Wisdom literature gave directions to Israel’s leaders and people for the conduct of daily life. Today’s reading is about humility.

6Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great;
7for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

Psalm 112

R:  The righteous are merciful and full of compassion. (Ps. 112:4)

1Hallelujah! Happy are they who fear the Lord
and have great delight in God’s commandments!
2Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed. R
3Wealth and riches will be in their house,
and their righteousness will last forever.
4Light shines in the darkness for the upright;
the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.
5It is good for them to be generous in lending
and to manage their affairs with justice.
6For they will never be shaken;
the righteous will be kept in everlasting remembrance. R
7They will not be afraid of any evil rumors;
their heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8Their heart is established and will not shrink,
until they see their desire upon their enemies.
9They have given freely to the poor, and their righteousness stands fast forever;
they will hold up their head with honor.
10The wicked will see it and be angry; they will gnash their teeth and pine away;
the desires of the wicked will perish. R

Second Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

The conclusion of the letter to the Hebrews contains suggestions for the conduct of a holy life, all of which are shaped by God’s love toward us in Jesus Christ.

1Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. 4Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 6So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper;

I will not be afraid.

What can anyone do to me?”

7Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 15Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14

Jesus observes guests jockeying for position at the table. He uses the opportunity to teach his hearers to choose humility rather than self-exaltation. Jesus also makes an appeal for hosts to imitate God’s gracious hospitality to those in need.

1On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

HYMN: MV 12   Come, Touch Our Hearts


The church pot luck lunch.  Growing up in my home congregation, I believe Jesus would have had a few things to say about the table manners of several people.  Or, at least I hope he would have.

It was always the same scene at every pot luck.  My parents, and the parents of all the other children in the congregation, would restrain their off-spring from the banquet table so that the elderly in the congregation might eat first.  Without fail, the seniors of the two richest families in the congregation would jump in at the front of the line and pile up their plates, their sense of entitlement as evident as their lack of concern for the rest of the people waiting for food.  They were known to clean up several dishes so that the rest of us could only appreciate the aroma of what had been in that pot!

To an outsider, one would look at these seniors and see only a bunch of greedy, old people.  To those who were members of the congregation, too fearful to say anything, this display of disrespect and greed told a much deeper story.  These line-busting, food grabbing elders were the people whose money was dangled in front of everyone else when the need arose to put a new roof on the church, a new furnace in the hall, new windows in the church basement, or much needed updates to the parsonage.  The money was given, oh yes, and the string of entitlement that was attached to it was lost on no one.

While the middle and lower-middle classes of members struggled with a changing economy and gave what they could, they knew they, and the future life of the congregation, were being held hostage by those who had it all.  While I may have been a child, I was not immune to the anger and tension in the room.

Outwardly, the Gospel for this Sunday seems to be offering just wise advice.

Do “this or that” and you will profit. It would be simple to read the text as good table manners for living wisely.

Luke, however, gives us some reasons to believe that he does not want us to read the text quite in this way. We begin with the setting. In Luke 14:1 we learn that the teaching in our text is given in the context of a Sabbath meal in the home of a Pharisee. The fact that they were “watching closely” sounds odd, but makes more sense in light of their suspicion of Jesus earlier in the Gospel and the fact that this text takes place in the context of Jesus’ long journey to Jerusalem to the cross. The cross casts its shadow even here.

When we dig deeper into the text, however, we discover even more. It is true that the advice Jesus gives about choosing a low place in the hope of being publicly directed to a more favorable one sounds pretty shrewd. This point is not rocket science.  Anyone with street smarts can understand what Jesus is saying. But lurking behind the seemingly obvious, everyday choices made at a public banquet is perhaps something of a more theological nature. When Jesus notices the guests at the Pharisee’s house choosing “places,” Jesus tells his hearers a parable. As fascinating as Lukan parables are (the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son), this particular one seems rather every-day and not extraordinary at all. This “parable” in Luke seems designed to help the reader recognize the typical and the ordinary. A little insulting, really.

Perhaps, the questions to ask are:  what is a parable? and, “What is the purpose of this parable?

A parable is a short teaching story designed to illustrate some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.

The language of a parable typically frames a story which helps us understand God’s reign. The parable is supposed to invite “you-the reader” to see more deeply. This is confirmed with the closing of the story. Here we have moved away from good advice about table manners to explicit theological language: “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” The use of the future tense suddenly places the advice within a theological frame of reference. In typical Jesus fashion, the real issue has gone from not presuming one’s upper place at a banquet table to how our choices in humility reflect our relationship with God and ultimately our place at the eternal heavenly banquet!  How is that for a leap in logic?!  In our table manners we may see poking through not just our real selves revealed for what we are, but God’s true table purposes. Like it or not, Jesus is always thinking about God’s eternal realm and our place in it.  In other words, this life is not just about us, now.  How we live and relate to others has permanent ramifications!

With the second half of our gospel text, Jesus’ words are directed to the hosts and not just the other guests. Jesus launches immediately into what appears counter-intuitive advice! If you are celebrating a meal, do not think in terms of the typical guest list. All they will do is repay you and then the circle is complete. There is something more at stake with inviting those who cannot repay: “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind”. They cannot repay you as the others do in a typical social setting. Yet stepping back from life as lived, we suddenly find ourselves standing in the eternal banquet hall: “ … you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous”.  This is not mere wise advice, but something profoundly prophetic, even theological.

The question becomes: “what you do with it?”  Frankly, a parable on manners does not sound attractive. We may not always agree on what the core of the gospel message is, but few of us would equate gospel with books on etiquette or instructions on table manners. There is also a further theological danger: that we turn the sage advice into a way to manage God — what must I/we do to secure God’s good graces and the right heavenly payback? Apparently, we should be strategic about seating charts!

Thinking eternally and pondering our relationship with God and neighbour, table manners matter because of what they reveal about God’s good purposes and intentions, and our dislike of God’s good purposes and intentions.  Parables make us look inward, brutally inward, to acknowledge all within us that is not loving, generous, compassionate, while at the same time forcing us to look outside of ourselves to stare into the eyes of the one who is both Guest and Host. Theologically, we will have discovered that the tables have been turned: turned in humility, welcome, and above all, grace.

As I reflect on this text, I wonder what Jesus would have said to those rich folks who ate as if they were not going to eat again for a week.  Who donated their money, yet the strings attached could choke the congregation.   Who appeared to be nice people, yet chose their friends for their quid pro quo.  In typical Jesus fashion, he probably would have turned to the rest of us in line and said, “Pray for these people.  They have lost their connection to God.  Pray for these people, they have forgotten how to trust.  Befriend these people, teach them what true friendship is!

And then, in typical disciple fashion, those beautiful people with whom I worshipped and was raised in the faith, would have obediently done just that.  Amen.

HYMN:   MV 135  Called By Earth And Sky


Trusting in God’s extraordinary love, let us come near to the Holy One in prayer.

For the church and its leaders, we pray. Uphold all deacons, pastors, bishops and moderators who serve and teach your people. Awaken in your church a spirit of invitation that reaches ever outward. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

For the well-being of creation and its inhabitants, we pray. Stir in us reverent awe for the beauty of the natural world, for oceans and lakes, rivers and streams, forests and deserts. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

For the nations and peoples of the world, we pray. Sustain the efforts of those who pursue justice and equity for all. Defend and accompany all immigrants and refugees and all who are persecuted for their ethnic origin or religious beliefs. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

For all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit, we pray. Be present with those who live in isolation or fear, especially those who are incarcerated or detained. Comfort all who are sick or grieving. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

For this congregation and its ministries, we pray. Prepare children, teachers, and youth for a new year of learning. Embolden our witness to invite others to the table. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

For all the saints who confessed God’s name, we give thanks. May we cling to the promise of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Receive the prayers of your children, merciful God, and hold us forever in your steadfast love; through Jesus Christ, our holy Wisdom.  Amen.


SENDING SONG:  VU 600   When I Needed a Neighbour

BENEDICTION:  (by Nancy C. Townley)

Beloved of the Lord, go in peace, knowing that God’s peace will be with you always. Go in service in God’s world, helping those in need, sharing the gifts you have been given. Go in love, + bring hope to all.  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.