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.

Parts of this worship service are taken from How Long Will We Have To Cry?  A Service of Lament for anti-Black Racism.[1]


“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”

— Albus Dumbledore, ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows’.



     The promise and its fulfillment may not look at all alike, even though they are intimately connected. Paul speaks about seeds and plants as he tries to picture resurrection life. Joseph’s brothers never thought they would see him alive again, so how shocking he must have appeared to them as an Egyptian leader! Jesus invites us to sow seeds of new life by loving enemies.

     Jesus’ words in Luke are challenging. As we wonder what Jesus’ words mean for us today, consider studying the work of spiritual and civil rights leaders committed to nonviolent action. Krista Tippet, host of the podcast On Being, interviewed the late congressman John Lewis in a 2013 episode called “Love in Action.” Lewis speaks of his commitment to nonviolence and change-making for the sake of beloved community and his belief that the divine dwells within every human being. He says, “It was love at its best. It’s one of the highest forms of love. That you beat me, you arrest me, you take me to jail, you almost kill me, but in spite of that, I’m going to still love you.”


Friends, the God of hope is calling, offering refreshment to those who are weary and heavy laden. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Come, O Holy Spirit, Come

Friends, the God of peace is calling, offering tender words of comfort to those in distress.

Come children, how often I have longed to gather you together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.

Come, O Holy Spirit, Come

Friends, the God of love is calling, offering friendship and communion to those who feel alone.

Come everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come buy and eat without money and without cost.

Come, O Holy Spirit, Come

Friends, come, God is calling us to worship.

It is an offer too irresistible to refuse.

CHILDREN’S SONG:   One Tin Soldier


Today in our worship, we lament anti-Black racism and violence in North America.  We pray that the Spirit will reorient us: challenging us to live by grace rather than entitlement; expecting us to be a blessing to the earth. We pray that by acknowledging our brokenness, we will be closer to becoming a church where the good news is lived out: faith nurtured and hearts comforted, gifts shared for the good of all, resistance to the forces that exploit and marginalize, fierce love in the face of violence, human dignity defended, members of a community held and inspired by God.  Through our tears, may we witness to your love and grace. 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.


     I have here a lovely, pink calculator.  I love my pink calculator because my brain has a hard time doing math.  Then there is my best friend, Carma, who can add up a column of numbers faster than I can punch them into the calculator!  Impressive!

The handy thing about calculators is that if you make a mistake, there is the “clear” button that erases everything so that you can start over and get the numbers right. Handy button!

Now, that is easy enough to do on a calculator, but what if you make a mistake in life?  There is no “clear” button” for that!  What if you say something hurtful, or do something hurtful – there is no taking back your words or “unhurting” someone!  What’s done is done.  How do you erase that?  Can you?

Well, that is where forgiveness comes in.  God loves us so much that when we are truly sorry and ask for forgiveness, it is like God hitting the “clear” button.  The hurt we have said and done disappears, as far as God is concerned.  We start fresh in God’s love.  We try not to repeat our hurtful ways.  We apologize, work to build people’s trust again.  It can be hard to do.  It is definitely worth it!



Support Canadian Families

Record numbers of families are turning to our Mission & Service partners for support.

In the last two years, visits to Canadian food banks have climbed 20 percent. Today, over 33 percent of foodbank users are children. For families already struggling, there’s no relief in sight. Food prices are set to rise another 5 to 7 percent this year. Record numbers of families are turning to our Mission & Service partners for support.

That’s why on February 21—as many provinces celebrate Family Day—Mission & Service is launching a special appeal to support Canadian families. Your gift of just $25 will provide a family of four with a warm, nutritious meal. $50 will support a family with two meals. $175 will ensure a family can eat a good, healthy meal every day of the week.

Whether you are celebrating Family Day, Heritage Day, or if it’s just another day, let’s make February 21 a day of generosity. If you are able, please make a special gift to help families, and make sure your friends know there is an opportunity to give. With new variants, rolling school closures, lockdowns, fear, and uncertainty, families are more stressed than ever. It doesn’t cost a lot to show we care.

Above all, let us pray for families:

O God, bless our families.
Bless parents who are on edge balancing parenting and work responsibilities.
Bless those who feel isolated and alone without childcare supports.
Bless parents who are physically and mentally drained.
Bless those who are unable to find or afford safe housing and stable jobs.
Bless those giving it their all to approach this time with creativity and compassion.
Bless children who feel the uncertainty of these days most acutely.
Bless those living in unsafe home environments.
Bless young people who are missing friends and gatherings.
Bless teens who grieve the loss of graduation celebrations, who have delayed further education and work opportunities, and who are waiting for driver’s tests.
Bless families facing financial insecurity, struggling to put food on the table.
Bless all experiencing anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.
Bless those waiting for vaccinations and tests, worried about staying or recovering well.
Bless families to express warmth, caring, patience, forgiveness, and love toward one another.
Bless them to know it’s okay to not be okay, and to reach out for support.
Bless them with the peace and grace of your holy spirit.
Bless them to know they aren’t alone.



Holy God, Word made flesh, let us come to this word open to being surprised.  Silence our agendas; banish our assumptions; cast out our casual detachment.  Confound our expectations; clear the cobwebs from our ears; penetrate the corners of our hearts with this word.  We know that you can, we pray that you will, and we wait with great anticipation.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Genesis 45:3-11, 15

Many years after being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph reveals himself to them. Now the second-in-command in Egypt, Joseph reassures his brothers that God has used their evil intentions for good to preserve life during a devastating famine, and Joseph forgives them.

3Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ ” 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

Psalm: 37:1-11, 39-40

R:  The lowly shall possess the land; they will delight in abundance of peace. (Ps. 37:11)

1Do not be provoked by evildoers; do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
2For they shall soon wither like the grass, and like the green grass fade away.
3Put your trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and find safe pasture.
4Take delight in the Lord, who shall give you your heart’s desire. R
5Commit your way to the Lord; put your trust in the Lord, and see what God will do.
6The Lord will make your vindication as clear as the light and the justice of your case like  

the noonday sun.
7Be still before the Lord and wait patiently.
Do not be provoked by the one who prospers, the one who succeeds in evil schemes.
8Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; do not be provoked; it leads only to evil. R
9For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord shall possess the land.
10In a little while the wicked shall be no more; even if you search out their place, they will not

be there.
11But the lowly shall possess the land; they will delight in abundance of peace.
39But the deliverance of the righteous comes from you, O Lord;
you are their stronghold in time of trouble.
40You, O Lord, will help them and rescue them;
you will rescue them from the wicked and deliver them, because in you they seek refuge. R

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50

In the Apostles’ Creed, we speak of the “resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” Using the metaphor of a planted seed and the story of Adam, Paul preaches passionately about the mystery of following Christ’s perfect life into eternity.

35But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.

42So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.

50What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Gospel: Luke 6:27-38

Jesus continues to address a crowd of his disciples. He invites his followers to shower radical love, blessing, forgiveness, generosity, and trust even on enemies and outsiders. Living in harmony with God’s intent brings the reward of overflowing blessing.

 27“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”


HYMN OF THE DAY:  VU 232   Joyful, Joyful 


For many people, even those who identify themselves as Christians, this may be one of the most difficult passages in the Gospel. It seems to express an idealism that is totally unrealistic and unattainable.

We live today in a world of great violence, terrorism, increasing litigation – suing and counter-suing, torture and murder, vicious vendettas often stirred up in the tabloids and other media, the horror of attacks on the innocent. Are these things not to be avenged?

Where do Jesus’ words fit in? In order to understand what Jesus is really saying to us, we have to put aside our prejudices and assumptions and really listen to what he is saying. This passage, in particular, is one where we are likely to react emotionally.

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.” We may feel that to follow this teaching is to try something which is totally beyond our ability, that it would require a tremendous amount of will-power and that it would only encourage abusive people to behave even worse. In the Old Testament hatred of evildoers is presumed to be the right attitude to have. But Jesus is extending love to the enemy and the persecutor.

This is the core of Jesus’ teaching, which he himself practised – The Golden Rule.

The first big hurdle is the word “love”. For us it is a very emotional word, implying both affection and intimacy. For us to “love” is often to “be in love with”, to “be attracted to”. But Jesus is not telling us to be in love with our enemies. He is not even telling us to like them. The Greek verb which the gospel uses is agapao from which the noun agape comes. Agape is a special kind of love. It is not the physically-expressed love of lovers, eros, nor is it the love of close friends, philos. It is, rather, an attitude of positive regard towards other people by which one wishes for their well-being.

This, in fact, is the love that God has for us. It is a one-sided love in the sense that a return is not expected. God reaches out in infinite love to every single person without exception. God wishes every person to experience that love; God wishes the fullest well-being of every single person. That love of God’s is often not returned; it is often rejected or ignored.

But it continues persistently, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son waiting for his boy to come back. The father continued to love his son even in his son’s lowest moments of debauchery and degradation. It was the same with the people who were nailing Jesus to the cross. He prayed for them, for their being forgiven and that they might come to a realisation of just what they were doing.

In this sense, loving our enemies seems altogether reasonable. It not only seems possible but really the only thing to do.

Who are our “enemies”? First of all, they are not our enemies in the sense that we hate them or want to harm them. Rather, they are people who are hostile to us. They want to harm us, have power over us, take revenge on us, perhaps even destroy us.

There are two ways we can deal with such people. We can set out to do more harm to them, to take revenge on them, or try to wipe them out completely. Or we can try and work to turn them around in love.

The reality is that all of us are broken in some way.  Being human has a way of doing that.  While this reality does not excuse hurtful behaviour, it does help explain it.  How can love help overcome the pain of this person’s soul?  By responding with love, rather than reacting with anger, the emotional tinderbox can be diffused and, hopefully, conversation can begin.

Is not this a much better solution to the problem? To bring peace back into that person’s life and initiate a healing process and communication.

Jesus is not asking us to do something “unnatural”. We do not, naturally, want to hate or be hated. We want to love and to be loved. We see many parts of the world where – for years – there has been a process of hatred and retaliation in a never-ending spiral of vengeance and loss of life.

The only way to break this cycle is to follow Jesus’ advice. It is not a lose-lose or lose-win situation; it is a win-win situation where everyone benefits.

Perhaps words of the late Mother Teresa are appropriate here:

“Love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”[2]

To put Jesus’ teaching into effect is not a matter of strengthening our will to do something very difficult but to change our conventional thinking at the deepest level, to see things his way. Once we do that, it becomes much easier.

Jesus’ application of this teaching also has been the subject of much mockery. “If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” In a world where violence and power reigns, this is asking too much. Or is it?  In the Middle East in antiquity, the left hand was considered unclean and not used for touching people.  The culture of the day operated with the understanding that you backhanded someone inferior.  You slapped an equal.  The implication is that if a person is back-handed as an inferior, they are to offer their other cheek, the left cheek.  A slap on the left cheek with the offender’s right hand makes the unspoken statement that the person slapped is being acknowledged as an equal.  By offering the other cheek, one is forcing the offender to admit equal status of his victim.  Suddenly, there is a balance of power.

Jesus sets the principle: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.” You do not want to be hated or struck so you refuse, no matter what happens, to hate or strike another person.

As followers of Christ, we see things in a completely different way and we want to behave differently. We believe that not only do we personally benefit from following Jesus’ way but that others too will benefit.

Jesus asks us to give not only our cloak to someone asking for it but our tunic as well. Given that the poor in those days only had two garments, that would leave the donor totally naked!  But that is the point: the one filled with the spirit of Christ has nothing to lose, nothing to be ashamed of. Life consists in what we are able to give and not what we can get. “The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.”

And that, above all, applies to agape. Everyone can give an endless supply of that.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH: MV 172   God Says


Prayer of Lamentation

In many Black traditions, “hush” is a word of comfort, not a word of silencing. It is what a loving parent might say to console a child who has fallen and hurt themselves; it is a word of comfort, reassurance, and love often used when someone is acutely experiencing pain, grief, or suffering. Today, as we celebrate Black History Month, we pause to lament and use words of comfort to those who are deeply feeling the pain of racism and anti-Black violence…

God, we lament a world where the quality of a child’s life can still be accurately predicted by the colour of their skin; Black and Brown skin tones are perceived as weapons; White supremacy goes unchallenged; discrimination is expected and planned for; and racism is known to be woven into the fabric of society.

Lord, what shall we do?

Hush! Hush!

God, we remember our children who have inherited racism overtly through the teaching of hate, and covertly through the lived experience of prejudice. We lament that children have the unfair burden to unlearn the lessons of discrimination that they have been taught. We lament that children are fighting against low expectations placed on them by a biased society. And we lament the children who are angry when chastised for reflecting back the hateful language they have been taught.

Lord, what shall we do?

Hush! Hush!

God, we remember our parents and guardians who have experienced friends, loved ones, and children dying from the physical and emotional wounds of anti-Black violence and who have worked thanklessly and prophetically for equality. We lament the protectors who feel helplessly unable to shield their loved ones from harm. We lament that our protestors are tired yet still persevere without signs of rest or progress. We lament that there are people who live in fear of hateful violence because of what they look like.

Lord, what shall we do?

Hush! Hush!

God, we remember our elders, who created paths where there were none and sacrificed so that other generations could live in peace and freedom. We lament that they are being forced to relive the violence of racism in both different and familiar forms. We lament that they are not able to live with the peace and dignity that they fought for. We lament that they are forced to watch their children suffer. We lament the elders who are tired, weary, and worn, with no signs of rest.

Lord, what shall we do?

Hush! Hush!

God, we remember our Canadian ancestors, who despite great opposition and persecution thrived to become role models. We remember Lincoln Alexander, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Viola Davis Desmond, Elijah McCoy, Portia White, Carrie Best, Fergie Arthur Jenkins, Wilbur Howard.  We recall more recent role models; Winston LaRose, Jean Augustine, Rosemary Sadlier, Dudley Laws, Michaëlle Jean, Charles Roach.  We lament the stories that we do not know, the histories that we have failed to share and the names that we have forgotten.

Lord, what shall we do?

Hush! Hush!

God, we remember our family members, friends and community members who are in need of your healing touch.  May physical ills be cured, may emotional wounds be soothed, may minds be made clear and anger faced.  We bring before you Douglas Pearson, Tracy Skoglund, Mike Fraese, Dwayne, Phyllis, Alice Pomrenke, Brooke Alexiuk, Joan, Carrie, Kelly & Randy, Kathryn Janke Schmidt, Angèle Harmonic and family.  We lament those who are dying.  We rejoice in life everlasting.

Lord, what shall we do?

Hush! Hush!

God, we remember…we lament…and we wait, trusting that you will comfort us, while providing us direction.  Amen.


SENDING SONG:  VU 684   Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace


Although the road is long and the journey is hard

Although the mountains are too high and the valleys are too low

By your grace, give us hope

By your power, give us strength

By your mercy, give us wisdom

So that we may continue to go where you lead us

Until all your children are safe from harm.

May we go + with your light shining in us. 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-special-days/black-history-month-3

[2] https://www.google.com/search?q=mother+teresa+quotes+about+love