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.


“Too many disciples neglect their thorn-like qualities. For instance: Opting for singleness doesn’t count if you can’t attract a mate. Patience doesn’t count if you are too cowardly to defend what is right. Forgiveness doesn’t count if the offender never respected you enough to ask for it. Don’t label your character flaws as noble sacrifices.”

~Michael Ben Zehabe, Song of Songs The Book for Daughters, p. 47.


     Where does power come from? The usual answers—family connections, reputation, possessions—are all rejected in this reading from Mark’s gospel. Jesus’ power is not only independent of his family connection—it is hindered by it. While it isn’t entirely clear why the people of Nazareth reject Jesus, the fact that they do may sound familiar to us. How often do we find exactly what we expect when we encounter something new? How open are we, really, to the possibility that God’s power might come from an unexpected corner? The first part of today’s reading suggests that even miracles take two things: both divine power and willing witnesses.

     The willingness to bear witness, even when we are not certain of answered prayer or mission success, is a theme that unites all this day’s readings. Even the Psalm, in its simple gaze of faith, invites us to let go of results in favor of relationship. Paul’s sometimes confusing logic about spiritual experiences becomes clear as he sums up God’s word to him: “My grace is sufficient for you . . . .” That is a powerful word, which can make almost any experience an opportunity to witness to Christ’s power.


You will say in that day:

God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid;

for the Sovereign God is my strength and my song.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  And you will say in that day:

Sing praises to the Sovereign God who has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.

CHILDREN’S SONG  Pharoah, Pharoah  


God of the covenant, in our baptism you call us to proclaim the coming of your kingdom. Give us the courage you gave the apostles, that we may faithfully witness to your love and peace in every circumstance of life, in the name 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.


     Let us pretend that you are going camping.  Tenting, actually, and you have 1 day to get everything you need packed up before you leave.  Go!

     Hold on!  Before you go running around grabbing items, throwing them in a suitcase and possibly forgetting a lot of stuff, let us take a deep breath and think.  What would be the best use of our time and intelligence to prepare for this trip?  You guessed it – make a list!

     When I was a child, my mother used to do all the packing for our camping trips.  She was very organized!  She would think about what she would need to do what she needed to do throughout the day and then she would make a list.  She would think about what she would do from the moment she woke up.  Mom made sure we had pyjamas, toothbrush, toothpaste, food, clothes, bathing suits…you get the idea.

     Well, in our reading from Mark’s gospel today, Jesus sends the disciples out to different communities to share the good news of God without any preparation, no list and taking only the clothes on their body, the sandals on their feet and a walking stick!  What?!  Jesus, what are you thinking?! 

     I will tell you what I understand Jesus to be thinking.  Jesus is thinking that if people truly want to learn about the love God has for them, they will welcome the disciples, take them in, feed them, give them a place to sleep and sit and listen.  Then, the disciples will move on to the next house.

     If they go to a home and the people do not want to hear about God’s love for them, then the disciples are to wipe the dust off their feet at the door of the house, and move on.  There is no need to argue or to try to persuade people to listen.  If they choose not to listen, move on!

     So you see, the disciples really didn’t need anything else.

     When I was in university, I took the city bus every day.  Some days, without any preparation, list, extra clothes, money belt, Bible or communion kit, I shared the good news of the love of God with strangers – on the bus, on the campus, after class, after work…and I found I never needed anything else.  Just me, my faith and my faith story were enough.

     Bottom line, when going camping, prepare a list and make certain you have everything on it!  When following the call of the Holy Spirit, trust the Spirit’s guidance and don’t worry about anything else, because the Love of Jesus is enough.  YOU are enough.



     Hard work doesn’t always pay off. Around the world, many people work hard and still can’t feed their families. Your gifts through Mission & Service turn hard work into true hope for the future. Thanks to your support, resourceful people like Margaret Kagundu don’t just survive but thrive.

     Margaret and her children live in challenging conditions in Nyeri, Kenya. In an area of widespread poverty, families live in makeshift homes without running water and have very little access to healthcare. Disease is so rampant that the average woman like Margaret can expect to live just 30 years.

     Margaret struggled to meet her family’s basic needs before she received a micro-loan from a lending program called Jamii Imara (pronounced Jam-ee EE-mara), which your gifts support.

     Wanting to improve her life, Margaret applied for a small, interest-free loan from Jamii Imara to lift herself out of poverty. She used it to purchase a home to rent out. With the rental income, she paid back the loan and then applied for another. She has received and paid back many loans to date. Margaret now owns two rental homes and is a proud landlord. The income is helping her feed and educate her family.

     Your support teamed up with Margaret’s hard work means that Margaret’s son is in high school today. Considering 90 percent of children living in poverty in Kenya don’t finish grade 8, that’s a remarkable achievement.

     “I was granted 10,000 shillings four times. I have even started keeping goats that reproduce. I have educated my children,” Margaret says.

     The Jamii Imara project helps women like Margaret establish their businesses. Together, the businesswomen share best practices and help each other financially to survive difficult times.

     “We help our fellow members. If one’s husband is ill, we continue to help her. If one’s child is ill, we contribute to help her,” says Margaret. “There are many women who want to join the group because they see that I have progressed a lot. I am no longer the way I was before.”

     Supporting women like Margaret who are determined to change their lives is just one of the ways you are helping to turn hard work into hope every day. Make your Mission & Service gift today to help transform and save lives.


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: Ezekiel 2:1-5

In 597 BCE, the priest Ezekiel was removed into exile in Babylon. While there, he received a vision of God appearing majestically on a chariot throne. Today’s reading recounts God’s commissioning of Ezekiel during this vision. The prophet is to speak God’s word to a people unwilling to hear.

1 said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you.2And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. 3He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. 4The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God.” 5Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.

  • Psalm 123

Our eyes look to you, O God, until you show us your mercy. (Ps. 123:2)

1To you I lift up my eyes, to you enthroned in the heavens.
2As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you, O Lord our God, until you show us your mercy. R
3Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy, for we have had more than enough of contempt,
4too much of the scorn of the indolent rich, and of the derision of the proud. R

  • Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

Christians do not boast of their own accomplishments. Rather, Christian boasting focuses attention on how the power of Christ is present in our lives, especially in times of weakness and vulnerability. No matter what our circumstances in life, Christ’s grace is sufficient for us.

2I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. 3And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—4was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. 5On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, 7even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. 8Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

  • Gospel: Mark 6:1-13

At home and abroad, Jesus and his disciples encounter resistance as they seek to proclaim God’s word and relieve affliction.

1 came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.2On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief.

  Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


July 4, 2021:  Pentecost 6, Mark 6:1-13

Bishop Larry Kochendorfer, Synod of Alberta and the Territories

Welcome to this Summer Sermon Series that our Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is providing for congregations. I am Larry Kochendorfer and I serve as the Bishop of the Synod of Alberta and the Territories.  It is great to be with you this Sunday and to be able to give your dear pastor or deacon and lay leaders some much welcomed relief. Our rostered and lay leaders have been offering an incredible ministry over the course of the past year. But it’s hard work and we need to do everything we can to give them our encouragement and support!

As I prepared today’s sermon, I want to acknowledge my appreciation for the writings of Karoline Lewis, Bradley Schmeling, Barbara Brown Taylor and the preaching resource, Feasting on the Word.  I have significantly borrowed their wisdom and insights, and their words, in the shaping of today’s sermon.

Let us pray:  Into your hands, almighty God, we place ourselves: our minds to know you, our hearts to love you, our wills to serve you, for we are yours.  Into your hands, incarnate Savior, we place ourselves: receive us and draw us after you, that we may follow your steps; abide in us and enliven us by the power of your indwelling. Into your hands, O hovering Spirit, we place ourselves: take us and fashion us after your image; let your comfort strengthen, your grace renew, and your fire cleanse us, soul and body, in life and in death, in this world of shadows and in your changeless world of light eternal, now and forever.  Amen.

     (Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Additional Prayers –Commitment. ©2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Augsburg Fortress, p. 86.)

When our family moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 2002 I recall getting stuck in a traffic circle near our home and the congregation to which I had been called. This was a traffic circle with five entrances, and of course, five exits, and I would get stuck in the inside lane, going round and around, passing my exit several times.

Our minds can be like that. Or, at least, mine can. I can get stuck in a loop. I revisit conversations in my mind wishing that I had said something different, or at least in a different way, practicing in my head what I wished I had said. 

I revisit arguments, and I make my case, point by point to my invisible and absent antagonist.  Sometimes I just stew, usually over something ridiculous. Or, lately, I seem fixated on a theme: politics, or COVID, or details for our son’s wedding service which took place recently. 

At times, my mind is like a dog with a bone. I can hardly let go.

I suspect that some of you may understand. There are times, even during a ZOOM meeting, that I see a participant’s lips moving I check to see if the individual is unmuted. Sometimes their lips are moving even though nothing is being said. And sometimes there’s just a look in someone’s eyes on ZOOM and I know that something is going on; that something is going round and around in their mind. 

There’s huge energy in stewing. It is circular energy. It moves round and round, with no exit ramp. No entrance ramp for anyone else, either. Just round and round.

I wonder if this kind of circular energy gives us a way of considering the two brief stories that appear as our gospel text for today. 

In the first, Jesus comes home and on the sabbath preaches in the synagogue. What strikes me is not that the people are upset about his preaching. People have always gotten upset about preaching. What surprises me is that, as a result, Jesus is not able to do any deeds of power–except for the few sick people that he laid his hands on and healed. Something happens in that synagogue that keeps the energy of God’s reign–already drawing near–from getting in.  There is no entrance ramp. Even Jesus is shocked at its strength.

The gospel writer does not actually tell us what Jesus said in his sermon. He only tells us their reaction to the message. The energy in the synagogue turns–they were astounded, and they become critical.  Their comments turn to insults.  Jesus is mentioned as “son of Mary,” a strange construction in the first century when the father would have been mentioned. 

Are they saying something about this “fatherless” child? This illegitimate voice? And they say that he is nothing but a carpenter. We hear “carpenter” as a skilled and prized trade. However, the actual meaning here is more like, “manual laborer.” Who does this illegitimate, laborer think he is?  He was familiar to them. They knew him as the eldest child of a large clan, a child like their own children, none of whom was traipsing around the countryside cleansing lepers and casting out demons.  Who does he think he is?

I suspect that all of these comments and more, you know how it happens, were made at the coffee hour. You can almost picture the crowd turning from Jesus toward one another, whispering in each other’s ears, their communal connection closing off this outside influence. 

As a community, they draw the circle closer, their connection becomes a kind of centripetal force pulling them harder and tighter together. 

Is it any wonder that a community that uses insecurity and anxiety and suspicion as its connection is impervious to the reign of God? It is no wonder that Jesus cannot break through.  It is no wonder that this community cannot experience deeds of liberating power.  It has closed itself off. 

This is a warning to any community of faith that it should evaluate what it is that connects the community.  Is it this kind of narcissistic energy, always turned inward?  Does it spin so strongly round and around that there are no longer any entrance ramps for new voices, new energy, new ideas?  No exits ramps to get away from the fear and anger?  Is it a closed system, unopen to change, to possibility, to opportunity, facing only inside the circle?

This happens so easily in communities because almost by nature we use our deep insecurity or our prejudice, our anxiety and suspicion to keep connected.  As church we will even couch it all in God language.

We want to belong, but we organize around judgment of the other–the stranger, the enemy, the wounded, the voiceless. We create a community that looks and sounds just like we do. God help the prophet who comes to announce a different perspective!

You can see this in churches that become rigid and hardened theologically; no questions allowed.  You see this in politics where there is only win or lose.  You see this in family systems that assign members to particular roles that are not allowed to change. You see this in congregations that are organized around the past or one personality or a particular cultural expression. It happens in just about every community.

In the second brief story in today’s gospel, we see what is instructive for us through Jesus’ reaction. He is amazed by the power of their unbelief.  He is amazed at how it can stop even the grace of God.

And, instead of stewing, or arguing his case, or justifying his perspective, or just getting stuck in the traffic circle, he moves on to another village. He sends the disciples out two by two to find places that will come alive with a new Spirit. Strap on your sandals, take your staff, and find the households that are open to you. Find the places, the communities, where connections are open and wide and welcoming of the message, places where the circle of the people will welcome this new way of love, compassion, healing, and justice to enter.

And, when you are rejected, pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and move on.  Do not do what everyone else does: fight about it or stand your ground or prove that you are right or just lay in bed terrified of being terrified.  This is the grace of Jesus’ action here: deep within his own being is love, compassion, healing, and justice, and he moves on. 

The crucifixion is symbol of the world stuck in this loop – this circle.  Organized around fear, it marshals the weapons of power to kill the messenger; to demean the opponent; to silence the prophet.  It is terrified of forgiveness and weakness, scared to death of losing, and it cannot trust vulnerability, love, or compassion.

And here is the good news for us today: Easter is God’s answer to the loop – to the circle.  Jesus suddenly appears on the inside of the locked doors; on the other side of our walls; inside our circles. 

Easter life provides a way out, even as it lets the new voice in.  Instead of limits, this Easter life is one of possibility and of opportunity.  This Easter life enriches deeds of healing and peacemaking. This Easter life brings people together.  This Easter life spins the circle toward openness, where each of us find, and our faith communities find ourselves turning outward to the world with a kind of grace and generosity that is truly prophetic, and truly good news for all.

The Spirit of Jesus leads us, pulls us together, makes us a new community, and then sends us out two by two, three by three into the neighborhood where the love of God is already flowing, where God’s presence is known in the eyes of the other –the stranger, the enemy, the wounded, the voiceless. Where we too will discover that Jesus is enough. That the good news is sufficient. That God’s love and forgiveness is enough. That the Word and the water of baptism is enough.  That the meal of bread and wine, Christ’s own body and blood, is enough.

Where the circle of our lives spins toward openness, and we find ourselves turning to the world with a kind of grace and generosity that is truly prophetic, and truly good news for all.

May it be so among us.

Prayer:  Come to us, risen Lord Jesus, and grant us faith enough to share the good news.  Send us, filled with the breath of your Holy Spirit, To breathe peace into fearful lives, To love one another as we have been loved, To welcome the stranger and make friends of enemies, To forgive the sins that bind others to the past, To serve, on bended knee, all in need of care; To be your wounded and risen Body in the world And to enter with joy God’s in-breaking, startling future. Amen

(adapted from The Rev. Susan R. Briehl.  Day 1, April 30, 2000.)

Bottom of Form

Bottom of Form

HYMN OF THE DAY  VU 575  I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me


Let us come before the triune God in prayer.

God of all, through the waters of baptism you claim people of all races, ethnicities, and languages as your beloved children. Sustain the baptized and increase their faith, that your gospel may be proclaimed throughout the earth.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of the heavens, your creating Spirit animates the universe. We give you thanks for the moon and stars, for the planets and the Milky Way Galaxy, and for all of the mysteries of the cosmos that remain unknown to us.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of freedom, you have liberated us from sin and death and rescue us from all forms of spiritual, social, and political oppression. Defend us from tyrants in our midst; confront us when we become the ones we deplore; deliver us from all forms of slavery or corruption. Make us aware of how we feed the problems of the world, guiding us to be the means for your change.  Direct our freedom for works of liberation and wholeness.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of compassion, you became vulnerable in the person of Jesus Christ in solidarity with the disempowered. Strengthen those who feel faint, give courage to those who fear, and bring wholeness to those in need. We pray for those ill in body, mind and spirit.  We call upon your healing power, in its many forms for Lil Schieman, Larry McCrady, Mike Froese, Brooke Alexiuk, Dwayne, Tracy Skoglund, Matthew Grossman, Lorraine & Walter Pokrant. You know their need.  We trust in your healing.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of holiness, you send us out into the world to proclaim your love. We pray for our outreach ministries. Equip us as we leave this place to witness and serve our neighbors.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We give you thanks that in every time and place you call forth prophets who move us towards freedom. Thank you for those who work for human rights, community organizers, and all who strive for liberty for all.


Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We lift our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your abiding grace.




SENDING SONG  MV 176  Three Things I Promise


The blessing of God, who provides for us, feeds us, and journeys with us, ☩ be upon you now and forever.  Amen.


Resources used in the shaping of today’s sermon:
Barbara Brown Taylor, Bread of Angels, “Sapping God’s Strength.” © 1997 Barbara Brown Taylor, Cowley Publications.
Evangelical Lutheran Worship. ©2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Augsburg Fortress.
Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B, Volume 3 Pentecost and Season after Pentecost 1.David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, editors. ©2009 Westminster John Knox Press.
The Rev. Anthony Robinson, “Buying the Ticket,” July 8, 2012. https://day1.org/weeklybroadcast/5d9b820ef71918cdf20031aa/buying_the_ticket
The Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling, July 8, 2018. The 7th Sunday after Pentecost. https://www.gloriadeistpaul.org/mediacast/7th-sunday-after-pentecost-pastor-bradley-e-schmeling/
The Rev. Erik Parker, “Why Churches Need to Stop Being Good Hosts,” July 5, 2015. https://millennialpastor.ca/2015/07/05/why-churches-need-to-stop-being-good-hosts/
The Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis.  “Rejection.” July 1, 2018.  Dear Working Preacher.
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 Noncommercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca.