Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of 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 of one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have the internet may find the songs on YouTube.


A bad act done will fester and create in its own way. It’s not only goodness that creates. Bad things create. They have their own yeast.

~Dennis Potter


When we read articles or hear reports about the state of our planet, we can quickly become overwhelmed. It seems like there is no hope unless the entire population of Earth changes their ways, which, even for the most optimistic of us, is disheartening. What can one person or a small family do? Change often begins with examining our habits and making one small adjustment. When that has become a regular part of life, we make another change. Then another. Slowly but surely, continually making small adjustments to our lives makes a difference. If we look at everything all at once, we likely become overwhelmed and will give up even before we start. Yet just like the growth of the mustard seed in Jesus’ parable, we are reminded that even a small seed, a small action, can make a huge impact.


We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Creator of all life, as long as there is breath in our bodies, and minds that function, fill us with your love for all, that we take the time to learn about the horrors endured, past and present, of the indigenous peoples of Canada, and around the world; to listen to the stories of those who endured, and overcame; to repent our corporate sin and strive to be people who choose to make a difference.  May our words not be false or idle, our intentions paving the way to complicity.  May we, like Jesus, truly seek justice, equity and respect for all our relations.  Amen.


Awe-inspiring God, we gather together to praise you for your tender compassion and care of needy people.
Come, all who seek the Lord God, offer your prayers.

Listening God, we gather to revere and honour your supportive concern for people who cry to you for help.
Come, all who seek the Lord God, offer your praise.

People of every nation are called to gather together to worship God, in thankfulness for God’s loving mercies.
Come, all who seek the Lord God, offer your worship. Amen.

— written by Joan Stott


CHILDREN’S SONG:   VU 356  Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God


Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

MINUTE FOR MISSION: Learning the Gospel at Camp

Lindsay Vautour, the United Church’s Engagement and Stewardship Associate, started attending a United Church camp at the tender age of five. There, she not only met lifelong friends and gained job skills as a counsellor, but it also helped chart her course to eventually work for The United Church of Canada.

“Coming from a financially tight background, I’m extremely grateful for the assistance available that let my brother and me attend camp every summer. I met so many different people from different cultures and regions, and got to learn their journeys in faith. I still keep in contact with some camp friends over 20 years later,” she says.

“One of my most prominent memories was with a fellow 13-year-old camper who told me that she loved camp because she could be herself without any expectations. She said, ‘I’m not the weird kid or the foster kid here, I’m just me,’” she recounts. “That’s something I resonate with because I wasn’t particularly popular in school, but popularity never mattered at camp, and it’s beautiful to know that that’s a widely shared perception.”

Children come together at United Church camps across Canada to learn the gospel in a safe and supportive environment. Through campfire stories, hiking, music, canoeing, and so much more, campers gain confidence while enjoying unique activities and exploring their curiosity. At camp kids learn soft skills like self-confidence, patience, and organization as well as hard skills in sports, crafting, and music.

Without the generosity of supporters, children who attend camp wouldn’t be able to continue having such affirming and defining experiences. Your gifts through Mission and Service are deeply appreciated.


Access to adequate food is the most basic of human needs and rights. Food not only affects people’s health and well-being but also their productivity. Food security is consistent and reliable access to adequate and nutritious food for all people. A person’s food security is affected by factors like supply and income as well as how food is distributed within households. Adverse weather conditions, political instability, or economic factors (unemployment, rising food prices) also have an impact on food security.  CLWR is a member of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, whose goal is a world without hunger.


Jesus speaks of the realm of God as being like yeast that is mixed into flour to make it rise into a large loaf of bread.  If you want to see exactly what yeast does, get an adult to put two teaspoons of yeast into a bowl.  Add some warm water and watch what happens!!  Do you like your bread to be big and fluffy?  Well, that is the work of the yeast.  Without the yeast, your loaf of bread would be small, heavy, more like a rock than a loaf of bread.  What Jesus is saying is that God makes a difference in our lives!  Our lives and relationships are bigger, better and more rewarding when we add the yeast (God) to our day!  What adventures will you have with God today?!


Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


First Reading: 1 Kings 3:5-12

Because Solomon did not ask for long life, riches, or the defeat of his enemies, God gave him what he asked for: wisdom to govern the people well.

5At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” 6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”

10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.”

Psalm 119:129-136                                                                                                   

129Your decrees are wonderful; therefore I obey them with all my heart.
130When your word is opened it gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
131I open my mouth and pant because I long for your commandments.
132Turn to me and be gracious to me, as you always do to those who love your name. 
133Order my footsteps in your word; let no iniquity have dominion over me.
134Rescue me from those who oppress me, and I will keep your commandments.
135Let your face shine upon your servant and teach me your statutes.
136My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your teaching. 

Second Reading: Romans 8:26-39

These words celebrate the depth of God’s actions for us. Through Christ’s death for us and the activity of the Spirit praying for us, we are fused to God’s love poured out in Jesus Christ. Nothing, not even death itself, is able to separate us from such incredible divine love.

26The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Throughout Matthew’s gospel, Jesus and his disciples proclaim the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is near!” Here, Jesus offers several brief parables that explore the implications of this announcement for people’s lives.

31 put before  another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
33He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

HYMN:  WOV 718  Here In This Place

SERMON:  Bishop Jason Zinko
Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod

Grace, mercy, and peace to you through Christ, our Saviour. Amen.

Hello, and thank you for inviting me into your worship today. I am happy to explore God’s Word for us in this 9th Sunday after Pentecost.

Today we have a reading that seems to go all over the place in its examples—seeds, yeast, buried treasure, jewels, and fishing. I’d like to focus on just one of those examples: yeast. But before I do, let me share with you my story of how I ended up where I am—serving the church as a bishop.

I grew up in the Lutheran Church. My family is not what I would call devout. We went most Sundays. My dad took a turn on council. My mom sang in the choir. But we didn’t go every Sunday, and I missed church for hockey games or just to sleep in. But, when we did go to church, my mom would always ask me and my brother what we heard in the sermon. We had about 25 minutes on the drive home to really think about the message and talk about how the sermon impacted us—to reflect on what we learned about God and faith.

At my first Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (now called CLAY), one of the musicians played guitar and led us in singing. To this day I don’t know who it was. But that person brought me to a new way of connecting to God and inspired me to want to share that with others. When I got back from the gathering, I started teaching myself to play the guitar.

When I knew a few chords, a friend who was involved in campus ministry invited me to play with them at the monthly services. I learned more about music and about God than ever before thanks to Pastor Art’s leading. Soon after, that group started travelling to other congregations to give them a taste of contemporary music. Spending time in the car and on the road with Bishop Elaine (she was Pastor Elaine back then) helped me to grow more as she mentored our group and left space for open questions and discussions. She eventually asked me to take a small leadership role at a youth retreat, then bigger roles later on.

After a while, it became clear that pastoral ministry was my calling. Doing church work during business hours and then lying on my time sheet about it was the big hint. I completed my undergraduate degree while still working in my previous profession, then went to Saskatoon for seminary. I continued to be formed through my schooling, through internship, and in each call I have had since.

The Spirit has since seen fit to put me in this role serving the church. And in this role, I need to make sure I pay attention to my faith practice—to learn even more how I need to rely on God for the strength and direction in what I do. While many people assume that a bishop’s role is to have power or authority, it is actually a role of service to our church.

Through this ongoing series of small—almost invisible—events beginning in my childhood, I was formed and incorporated into a larger body of believers. I was influenced and surrounded by those who were witnessing to God’s reign, and actively following Christ. Through those many people and examples, I was changed. And through me, I hope the people around me were changed as well.

That’s my story of faith and vocation.

Why did share that? Well… two reasons. First, I want to give an example of how we can tell our stories to other people—how we can talk about faith and about our journey with the people we worship and serve with. Secondly, I wanted to share that story because I think it fits particularly well with the reading for today.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said that God’s reign in the world is like the yeast that a woman baking bread might mix with flour. To a large extent, the yeast stays hidden in the dough. We can’t see it, and we can’t separate it out. But it is vital in order for the dough to rise. The yeast changes the flour and water into something else. Even a small amount can have a drastic effect on the development and shape of something.

When I look back, I can see how many small, almost invisible actions became part of who I am. I can see how people, events, interactions, and experiences have: changed me; shaped my faith and life; moulded me; and made me grow. Individually, those things would have stayed hidden, but together they have a profound effect.

What is your story? What brought you to faith? Who or what has helped you grow in your faith and develop into the person that you are? How is your faith still vital to your life?

Think about those questions.

And then, think about how you have acted like the yeast for someone else’s faith story. How have your faith, your words, and your example helped others to grow and to be shaped in faith? Do others know your story or how faith plays a role in your life?

You see, in Matthew’s story, the woman is making the equivalent of about 40 loaves of bread. It takes more than one grain of yeast to have an effect. So, your pastor, deacon, or other leader can’t do this on their own. Transforming someone’s path of faith takes a lot of little instances to transform. We need each of our members to claim and share how you see yourselves as children of God. We need more than one story of how God leads and empowers God’s people. We need more than one voice talking about God’s centrality in our lives so that others can also hear this story and be transformed by it.

You…yes, each one of you is engaged in this task and has an important part to play in growing faith in the people we share our lives with. And it is the cumulative effect of these small interactions and experiences that has the biggest impact. So you are helping to shape faith every time a member of the congregation calls our youth by name; every time some-one is thanked for their contribution to ministry, no matter how small or imperfect; every time a person’s gifts are recognized and when they are asked to build up the community by using them; every time we welcome someone with open arms when they are not normally
welcomed in other places; every time we engage in conversation with someone about why faith matters to them and to us; and every time we pray for one another.

It is through this work that we walk alongside God’s reign in the world. This is how we transform the church and build health within the church. This is how we are able to recognize the immeasurable gifts that God gives the world—so valuable that we are willing to give up everything else in order to pursue them.

Because, let’s be honest, without faith we’re just a group of people trying to maintain a building and sing some songs together. Without faith, none of this really matters. Faith must be central to who we are, what we do, and how we engage in the world. And Christ is the one who continually reaches out to us through the waters of baptism to immerse us and shower us with the gift of faith so that we can be God’s people.

It is only through faith that we encounter the God who enlivens us, animates us, inspires us, leads us, and sends us into the world to transform those around us. It is only through Christ that we have the ability to do these things and to share in the life and ministry that God is already doing in the world.

So please, share your story. Let others see how you have been transformed by your faith, and help others to transform. Be the yeast that grows and makes your community what it is. Look for where God is already active in your community and take part in that life-giving work. This is the most important work that we can do as members and as congregations. I will pray for you in that work, and trust that you will see God’s richest blessings as you continue on that path of faith.


HYMN:  VU 642  Be Thou My Vision


Confident that God receives our joys and concerns, let us offer our prayers for the church, those in need, and all of creation.

Almighty God, we pray for the church and all servants of the gospel. Equip rostered and lay ministers to proclaim that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Form confirmands and catechumens into disciples. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Gracious God, we pray for the well-being of creation. Safeguard the environment, clean polluted rivers and lakes, preserve the mighty tree and the tiny mustard seed, and send advocates for sustainable practices. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Compassionate God, we pray for the nations. Instill in all who govern the ability to discern between good and evil, free those who are oppressed, and protect those facing danger. Promote peace across the world and in our towns and neighborhoods. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Merciful God, we pray for all in any need. Protect those fleeing from war, shelter any who are in poverty, clothe the naked, soothe all who grieve, and heal the sick. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Holy God, we pray for this congregation, both those gathered today and those absent from our assembly. Grant safety to travelers and refreshment and safety for children attending summer camps or community programs. Give direction to any experiencing life transitions. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Eternal God, we give thanks for your saints who now rest from their labors. Inspire us by their witness to treasure the gospel, and continually nourish us with your grace. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Into your hands, O God, we commend all for whom we pray, in the name of the one who reconciled all creation to himself, Jesus Christ our Savior.



SENDING SONG:  VU 481  Sent Forth By God’s Blessing


God’s peace be known deep within your soul when anxiety and fear assail you, when daily life becomes a burden that is difficult to carry.  God’s peace be known and felt, as those arms reach out to hold you.  God’s peace be known and heard, in words of comfort and release.  God’s peace be known.  Amen.



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