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 service are taken from Marking the Legacy of Slavery in Canada and the British Commonwealth, with the theme of All Are Made in the Image of God, by the Rev. Paul Douglas Walfall, First United Church, Fort Saskatchewan, AB[1]


     “The most dangerous part of lending books lies in the returning. At such times, friendships hang by a thread. I look for agony, ecstasy, for tears, transfiguration, trembling hands, a broken voice – but what the borrower usually says is, “I enjoyed it.”
I enjoyed it – as if that were what books were for.”

~Anatole Broyard


     The transfiguration is frustrating for disciples—past and present—who long for a direct experience of God. Jesus’ glory is revealed, and then, just as suddenly, a cloud descends and the vision fades. And even though Paul contrasts the Christian’s experience of God with Moses’s veiled experience of God, he notes that we see the glory of the Lord “as though reflected in a mirror” (2 Cor. 3:18). Even with unveiled faces, we don’t see directly, or even clearly. Even when God is revealed in shining glory, much remains veiled and hidden.

     As he witnesses Jesus’ transfiguration, Peter’s understanding remains veiled; ours does too. The glimpses we get of God’s glory—through the veil or reflected in the mirror—are expectation-shattering, alarming, overwhelming, and awesome. The love of God shines too brightly to view directly, and yet we do have the privilege of directly experiencing that love in baptism, in communion, in service to God, and in relationship with God’s creation and our neighbors in need. The veils we contend with daily are the barriers that prevent us from truly loving those neighbors, caring for creation, and seeing the shining face of Jesus in the faces of people who are different, hungry, difficult, enemy, invisible, or poor. God is always revealed in ways that surprise and confuse us, whether shining on the mountaintop or dying on the cross.


For thousands of years, First Nations people have walked on this land; their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives and spirituality. We acknowledge that we live, work and worship on Treaty 1 Land, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibwa, OjiCree, Dene and Dakota Peoples, and the homeland of the Metis Nation.  We acknowledge their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.


With what shall we come before our God?
God has already told us what is good.
Shall we come with gifts and offerings?
God wants us to do justice.
What does the Lord require of us?
God wants us to love kindness.
What does the Lord require of us?
God wants us to walk humbly with God.
Come then, let us worship God.

CHILDREN’S SONG:   WOV 651   Shine, Jesus, Shine


Hear us Holy One,

You created all human beings in your image and likeness. You have stamped each human person with a unique specialness, and all persons bear your image.

Through that image you call on us to reflect your goodness, justice, and love to all the world. Remind us that when we speak out for justice, mercy, and compassion we are displaying the attributes we find in you.

As we come to offer to you what we believe you are worth, show us how to display you in everything we do. Show us how to respect your image in all human beings. Help us to defend your image that is found in all human beings.  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.


Amazing things happen when we pray!  In today’s scripture story from Luke, Jesus and three of his disciples are on the top of a mountain.  While Jesus is praying, his face changes and his clothes glow so brightly it is hard to look at them!  Not only that, but Moses and Elijah, who have been with God for hundreds of years, show up to talk to Jesus about his soon-to-happen death on the cross.  WOW!

Now, we don’t know exactly what Moses and Elijah said to Jesus, however, we can make a pretty good guess.  Jesus knew he was going to Jerusalem to die.  That would be rather upsetting, no matter how strong a person Jesus was.  So the understanding is that as Jesus was praying, Moses and Elijah were sent from God to encourage Jesus, help him face his death and let him know that God was with him.  That is a very powerful response to prayer!  Not only that, I do believe it helped Jesus face what was coming.

I have always found prayer to give me strength and courage.  With God, I can just say what I am feeling.  It isn’t always pretty, especially if I am angry or frustrated.  Sometimes, I just need to rant.  I do feel calmer after I pray.  I do find I am able to cope better, even if the situation does not change.  I also experience people in my life offering me emotional support.  That is a big help!

The beauty of prayer is that you can be honest with God – hold nothing back!, and God listens and understands and gives you the strength to get through the tough times.  That is why it is important to read these stories from scripture because we learn that even Jesus got scared and prayed for help – and received it!

That is my encouragement.  Keep talking to God.  Keep being honest with how you feel.  God will hear you and God will help you.



You Give Skills For Life:  Kathleen’s Story

Camp is more than a holiday. It gives young people skills that last a lifetime.

Kathleen is a special education teacher, a busy mom of three children under the age of five, and a youth and young adults coordinator at her church. She says her early summer church camp experience continues to impact her approach to each of these important roles.

“Camp taught me that children are precious and we’re there to help them and guide them. Vespers taught me to take a deep breath in times of stress. Chaplains showed me how to bring out the best in children and draw out their talents. All those things I learned from camp I now apply to my everyday world, including motherhood,” says Kathleen.

Kathleen grew up in very formal churches where she felt she had to be perfect all the time. Outdoors, in an informal setting, her faith blossomed.

“I never felt really connected to God before going to camp. It opened up my perspective of what church is. My relationship with God expanded. I learned to pray, to reflect, and to experience God in nature.”

Those early lessons continue to ground Kathleen in trying moments.

“Today, because I learned to connect with God in nature, I can take time to reflect and I can show God’s love. When I’m too stressed, I can take a quick look at a bird or tree and remember that God is with me when a student is expressing their frustration. Staying calm and showing God’s love is huge. It goes a long way. I remind my own children that God is with them, even in the hardest times too,” she says.

Before COVID, approximately 20,000 children attended a United Church camp every year. During the pandemic, many camps provided virtual support to young people during lockdown.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to Mission & Service donors for their support of camps,” says Kathleen. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for their support. Thank you.”


God, source of all light, by your Word you give light to the soul.  Pour out on us the spirit of wisdom and understanding that our hearts and minds may be opened.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Exodus 34:29-35

Moses’ face shone with the reflected glory of God after he received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. The sight caused the Israelites to be afraid, so Moses wore a veil to mask the radiance of God’s glory, taking it off when he spoke directly with God.

29Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. 31But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. 32Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. 33When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; 34but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Psalm 99

R:  Proclaim the greatness of the Lord; worship upon God’s holy hill. (Ps. 99:9)

1The Lord is king; let the people tremble.
The Lord is enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth shake.
2The Lord, great in Zion, is high above all peoples.
3Let them confess God’s name, which is great and awesome; God is the Holy One.
4O mighty king, lover of justice, you have established equity;
you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. R
5Proclaim the greatness of the Lord and fall down before God’s footstool; God is the Holy One.
6Moses and Aaron among your priests, and Samuel among those who call upon your name,

O Lord, they called upon you, and you answered them,
7you spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; they kept your testimonies and the decree that you gave them.
8O Lord our God, you answered them indeed;
you were a God who forgave them, yet punished them for their evil deeds.
9Proclaim the greatness of the Lord and worship upon God’s holy hill;
for the Lord our God is the Holy One. R

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:12—4:2

In his debates with the Corinthians, Paul contrasts the glory of Moses with the glory of Christ. The Israelites could not see Moses’ face because of the veil. But in Christ we see the unveiled glory of God and are transformed into Christ’s likeness.

12Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, 13not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. 14But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. 15Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; 16but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
4:1Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.

Gospel: Luke 9:28-43a

The conversation about Jesus’ suffering and death is enclosed in a dazzling foreshadowing of the resurrection. God affirms Jesus’ identity, the disciples are stunned speechless, and Jesus resumes his mission with a demonstration of his power over evil.

28Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
37On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. 39Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. 40I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43aAnd all were astounded at the greatness of God.

HYMN OF THE DAY:  VU 339   When Morning Gilds The Skies


A young man came to the door of a monastery with a big fat duck in his arms, and knocked. His uncle, who happened to be one of the monks, answered the door.

“Hi Uncle Bartholomew, here is a gift for you and the other monks.”

Well, Uncle Bartholomew took and plucked, stuffed, basted and cooked that duck! All the monks lived high on the bird that night.

Several days later, there came another knock on the monastery door.

“Hello, I am a friend of the nephew who brought you the big fat duck! I am a bit down on my luck and I wondered if I might impose on you for a bite to eat and a place to sleep for the night?”

“Of course my son, you are most welcome.”

That night he joined the monks for duck soup.

A few days later, there came yet another knock on the door.

“Hi, I am a friend of the friend of the nephew who brought the duck. Could I impose on you for a bit of hospitality? He too was welcomed. That night he was given a steaming bowl of…water. The friend of the friend tasted it and asked, “What is this?”

“Well,” said Uncle Bartholomew, “this is the soup of the soup of the duck that my nephew brought!”

The moral of this story with regard to faith is that third or fourth-hand faith can end up being pretty watered down and not very personal. As adults, if we are living on the faith of the faith of our grandparents, parents or past Sunday School teachers, our faith can be pretty bland. The truth is that we have to own our faith. We have to experience the transforming love of God for ourselves in order to know who God is for each one of us.

That is sort of what it was like when Peter, James and John went up to the mountain top with Jesus. Although they had already spent many days with Jesus, shortly after arriving on the mountain they saw–or perhaps more accurately–experienced, Jesus for the first time for themselves. Suddenly, they understood within themselves who Jesus really was. It was a joyous and glorious moment! A moment they didn’t fully understand, and by their silence that followed, questionable that they wanted it.  Along with the joy and glory was a respectful feeling of fear. Jesus was more than a rabbi. Jesus was even more than their own limited understanding of what a Messiah was.

I recall the first time I ever drove through the mountains. My aunt and uncle took me up to Jasper, AB, from Calgary, for a long weekend. I had been feeling rather homesick for the glorious fall colours of the maple trees in the Ottawa area. As we wove our way through the mountains I was struck by the beauty of the varying colours of rock, and the intense red of the sumack trees and other shrubs contrasted by the yellow leaves of the poplars and the deep shades of the evergreens. The majesty and realization of the powerful force that created the landscape were humbling. The thought of being able to stand on the peak and look down on the rest of creation filled my imagination. As I gazed on the beauty around me, all other thoughts and stresses left me.

It is interesting how all the world’s problems seem to shrink to nothingness in that moment–the mountain top experience. However, as we all know, most of our mountain top experiences do not take place on mountains. Not only that, ordinary words are not always enough to describe such experiences. That’s why you sometimes hear the most bizarre things when people report their spiritual mountain top experiences. In telling their story they see it so clearly. We, on the listening end, might not grasp the intimate details of what they are trying to express.

A story is told of a NASA astronaut who, when he viewed planet earth while standing on the moon, observed that the earth had no geographical lines drawn on it. He heard a voice telling him that when he arrived back home he should spread the word that we are all sisters and brothers on this earth and we must stop killing and hurting one another. Upon his return to earth, the astronaut began telling others of his experience, particularly during his debriefing. He was sent to a psychiatrist. No matter how hard people tried, they could not relate to the astronaut’s expression of his spiritual mountain top experience, or in his case, a moon top experience.

We too at times may not be understood, and be rejected as Jesus was rejected. These experiences of life are sometimes difficult to share. Often, to sum it up, one simply says, “You just had to be there.” Yet as Jesus was transformed by the power of God we also can be transformed. God shines into the places we desire to hide, and can light up our hearts, our minds, our very lives. When we are able to embrace that moment of clarity, when we know in our hearts that God is real then our faith becomes personal–it is ours to claim.

Is it any wonder that Peter wanted that moment to last forever? We can’t blame him, when he blurts out, “Master, it is good for us to be here! Hey, I have an idea–we can build 3 shelters and stay here forever!” And then God said, “Listen!” In other words, “Close your mouth and open your heart.”

The most dangerous part of lending books lies in the returning. At such times, friendships hang by a thread. I look for agony, ecstasy, for tears, transfiguration, trembling hands, a broken voice – but what the borrower usually says is, “I enjoyed it.”

I enjoyed it – as if that were what books were for.”

~Anatole Broyard

It is only the next day that Jesus is asked to heal a boy possessed by a demon. Why? Because the disciples were unable to do the job. This causes Jesus to have a small rant. It is as if he was saying, “Seriously? You just went through this powerful, prayerful experience of God with me, yet you say nothing about it and can’t exorcise a demon?! Did it mean nothing to you? Do I have to do everything myself?!”

It’s like reading a powerful, life-changing book only to have your best friend say, “I enjoyed it.”

“Listen to him!” commands God! There is an exclamation point at the end of those three words. The disciples are hearing the conversation, yet they are not listening to the reality of the message. It is as if they deliberately do not want to embrace the upcoming reality of Jesus’ death. Yet by doing that, they close themselves off to a life-altering experience. How disappointing for Jesus! He apparently hand-picks these three only to have them go mute and powerless after this potent experience! Yep, I would rant too!

A relationship with Jesus means nothing if you do not allow the experience to transfigure you; that is, to allow the power of Jesus to reshape you, to exalt you. To put it even more simply – It needs to mean something to you! The expectation is that listening to Jesus, allowing your relationship with Christ to empower you, results in you working miracles for God. WOW!

Yes, it would be easier to stay on our mountain top where we are enlightened, where time seems to stand still, everything is grand and words can’t express how great we feel. We just “be”. Yet, God calls us to come down the mountain. All the way down the mountain, in order to come face to face with the challenges and realities of our everyday life. God calls us to be disciples, to have faith and bear the cup of humanity. That is why it is so important to cherish those mountain top experiences, to keep them alive in our hearts, as reminders of why we do what we do in the name of love. To hold onto that intimate moment with Jesus who is a very real and active presence in our lives.

There is nothing between us and God. Jesus removed the veil. We come down the mountain transformed, walking with Jesus into the lives of our families, communities, and into a world that is in desperate need of our love, our generosity and the living out of our faith. We will walk forward knowing the journey will not always be easy. As sisters and brothers in Christ, we will walk together and trust that God’s transforming love will guide us personally and corporately, through this life, and the life to come. Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH: MV 172   God Says


Litany of Remembering and Confession

Let us pause to remember those who have been enslaved. We recall that for over 400 years, more than 15 million people were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade. During this time human beings made in the image of God were bought and sold, treated as property, and considered to be less than human.

Have mercy on us, O God. Help us to regard all persons as made in your image. Create in us a clean heart, and put a new and right spirit within us.

Let us pause to remember the families that were broken by enslavement. We recall the parents who never saw their children. We recall the family ties that were broken because of forced separation, the tears that were shed, the bitterness caused, and the hurts that continue.

Help us O God, to regard others with love and kindness. Create in us a clean heart, and put a new and right spirit within us.

Let us pause to remember the ways we continue in our world to treat others based on the financial profit we can derive from them: the persons who work in poor conditions and who are underpaid, the children who are forced to work and receive less than minimum wage, the migrant workers who are exploited.

Help us, O God, to live in right relations with others. Create in us a clean heart, and put a new and right spirit within us.

Slavery still exists today. We remember the women who have been sold into slavery for prostitution. We remember the children who are sold into slavery left vulnerable by poverty. We remember persons who are enslaved because of their addictions.

Forgive us, O God, when we forget that we are each other’s neighbours. Create in us a clean heart, and put a new and right spirit within us.

Our neighbours include our family members, friends and community members.  Our neighbours include anyone who is in need of prayer and support.  We do not need to know someone personally for them to be our neighbour.  What we do need to remember is that God calls us to pray for each other.  And so, healing God, we bring before you the family of Kathryn Janke Schmidt.  After many months, she now celebrates her new life in your presence.  Comfort her family.  Surround them with loving neighbours and deep compassion.  We bring before you Douglas Pearson, Wendy, Tracy Skoglund, Phyllis, Brooke Alexiuk, Joan, Angèle Harmonic and family.

Loving God, help us to be diligent in prayer, raising up to you the needs of our neighbours.  We pray for the strength to serve others, and to be served in the Spirit of Christ.  Create in us a clean heart, and put a new and right spirit within us.

Into your hands we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.



SENDING SONG:  MV 212   Sent Out In Jesus’ Name


In a world where we have, in the past, enslaved and dehumanized others,
we go to treat each person with dignity and respect.
In a world where profit is valued more than human life,
we go to proclaim the priceless worth of each person.
In a world where the ugliness of racism and White supremacy is found,
we go to show that love conquers all social ills.
Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour everyone; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.




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-4