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.


Without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible. There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the Spirit of truth, no fellowship without the unity of the Spirit, no Christlikeness of character apart from His fruit, and no effective witness without His power. As a body without breath is a corpse, so the church without the Spirit is dead.

~John Stott

Before we worship, we reflect…

One side of the environmental movement is like Ezekiel (2:5): “Whether they hear or refuse to hear . . . , they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.” One among us today pulled to stand on her feet by a prophetic spirit is Greta Thunberg, uttering oracles to those who refuse to listen. Another side of the environmental movement is more like Jesus’ apostles, empowered to heal directly. Some of today’s authoritative healers are crafters of emerging technologies, like Energy Dome’s CO2 batteries that store carbon dioxide to run through turbines to generate electricity. Talk about exorcising the demon of too much CO2! We need both prophets who name our sins against the earth and apostles gifted with concrete good news in response.


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

Dear Loving Lord, Creator of all, you created us all in your own image, one image – many colours, one image – many cultures.  You made us come together like a rainbow, separate parts but coming together in one creation.  Help us to see the beauty you have created in each and every one of us.

Dear Loving Lord, we are your creation, hear the cries of your people.  You gave us ears to

hear and eyes to see, open our eyes to what you want us to see, help us always to look to you to see the wisdom of your ways.  In the name of your dear son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.[1]


God’s greatness is wondrous to behold.
Everywhere we look, we can see the imprint of God.
From the loftiest mountains to the crashing waters of the sea,
There God’s greatness stands majestically.
God’s greatness can be within the human heart.
Let us honor and praise God with acts of loving kindness and compassion. Amen.[2]

GATHERING SONG:  With One Voice #756  Lord, You Give the Great Commission


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.

MISSION AND SERVICE: Ministers’ Retreat: Respite and Reflection

Northern United Church ministers are facing a crisis. The number of deaths in northern communities has been immense, and the grief of burying community members, especially young people, has been overwhelming. The emotional toll of ministering to a grieving community is enormous, and ministers are in dire need of rest and renewal.

A ministers’ retreat is being planned for October 2024. The retreat will provide rest, training in crisis management, and spiritual renewal, and will allow leaders to return with renewed strength to help those in need. Ministers will participate in a blend of training and respite opportunities, including learning about vicarious trauma and administering Naloxone, and relaxation opportunities through art therapy, beading workshops, and sharing circles.

Through your generous support of Mission and Service, this retreat is on its way to being a reality.

If you would like to support the retreat, please give. Every dollar donated will be matched by a contribution from the Healing Fund. Thank you.


Gracious God, give us humble, teachable, and obedient hearts, that we may receive what you have revealed, and do what you have commanded. Amen.


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.2 And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. 3 He 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. 4 The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God.” 5 Whether 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

1 To 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. 

3 Have 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.

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.

2 I 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. 3 And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—4 was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. 5 On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6 But 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, 7 even 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. 8 Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9 but 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. 10 Therefore 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.2 On 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! 3 Is 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. 4 Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.

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

HYMN: With One Voice #712  Listen!  God Is Calling

SERMON – Rev. Matthew Senf, Assistant to the Bishop, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, BC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Let us Pray:

Lord between what is spoken and what is heard, let there be truth.


Some weeks back I preached on Jesus’ first homecoming in the 3rd chapter of the gospel of Mark and, like today’s story, that first homecoming was pretty disappointing.

One could not help but hear, there in that first reunion, the resonances of John “He came to His own and His own knew Him not.”

It begs a question of us, doesn’t it?

When Jesus returns, will we know him? Will we recognize Him for what He is, or, like His family, will we wonder at the legitimacy of someone who seems so familiar to us but who we believe might be punching above their weight?

Or asked another way…

Will the messiah we have imagined, the messiah we are desperate to meet, the messiah we are so convinced we know, impeded us from ultimately accepting the messiah that is, even if that One is quite close to us?

I suppose this week’s lesson is about rejection.

Who is doing the rejecting?

What is the Lord’s response to it?

What should be ours?

In Mark 3 the rejection is quite active in that we are told that:

“When his family heard it — (all the fuss caused by Jesus’ teaching and healings — they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”

Remember that this is right after Jesus has appointed the 12 and He is once again engaged with the “scribes from Jerusalem” which is to say those who ought to have known better.

The Lord’s response to His family’s rejection of Him at that first reunion is to effectively disown them.

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” He asks, and looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

That’s pretty powerful stuff. It points at a radical restructuring of the way family works in the inbreaking reign of God.

But why, after such a disappointing family reunion on the first pass, does Jesus return home for more?

Maybe He is not quite ready to give up on mama Maria and His siblings… after all they surely will have heard now about all the awesome deeds of power he has been performing all over the countryside?

He commands the wind and the rain on the sea of Galilee, the weather recognizes His authority.

He casts out demons on the other side of Gennesaret who, immediately, upon simply looking at Him, cry out “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”

One can imagine that, even as He is walking up the road passing the “Welcome to Nazareth” sign, He is thinking in His head “if even the weather and the demons of hell recognize and obey me, surely the folks who saw me growing up will?

But instead…

“Isn’t that the carpenter’s kid?”

“Isn’t that Mary’s son?” A question which many who study scripture think is a sort of backhanded calling into question whether or not Joseph was really Jesus’ dad.

Where did He get all this…who does He think He is?

What is it about familiarity that breeds contempt?

Why is it so hard to see and accept God “making all things new” in someone we know?

Today’s gospel continues with the writer describing the fact that so deep was the incredulity and unbelief of the hometown crowd that they “took offense” at Him, which is to say “they were scandalized” by Him…which is also to say “they stumbled” over Him.

And that particular way of describing their reaction will be important for them… and for us later… because it will be ringing in our ears when we see Jesus for what He truly is at the end of the gospel.

When the hometown kid is taken into custody in Gethsemane, 4 chapters from here, when He is beaten and brutalized and rejected by everyone, even the 12 who themselves performed deeds of power in His very name!

When the simple carpenter’s son from Nazareth, this time not in His hometown but in Jerusalem, this time not as “Jesus the son of Mary,” hometown kid turned bigshot but rather Jesus, “king of the Jews,” and Son of the living God.

When the building block that was rejected by His own family, by His own people, by the whole of the world and ultimately even by us, whom He was saving even as we rejected Him…becomes the chief cornerstone of a heavenly family into which all of creation is being redeemed…well then, there will be no doubt about who Jesus is.

And we will all wonder then…how come we didn’t see it?

How could we have missed it??

Crestfallen and rejected in today’s gospel, the Lord’s response is not what we expect, it’s not the slinking off in defeat and depression or the riling at and cursing of our contemporaries that, if we are honest, might have characterized our own responses.

Jesus instead is renewed in His salvific mission. The 12 he called and appointed 3 chapters ago at the first disastrous hometown return, He now commissions and sends out.

He imputes in them, the same power by which He has been exorcising and healing and liberating.

He admonishes them to go out in faith, to seek hospitality and to preach the good news of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

And this would have been sufficient I think, don’t you?

But today’s Gospel leaves us with this kicker:

“If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, then as you leave, shake even the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”

We can surely understand how Jesus might be frustrated, even fed up with those who have ears to hear but still will not.

But, shake the dust from your feet?!

That does not sound to me like the making of all things new.

That does not sound to me like the final position of the God who is redeeming all in all.

People of God, you will inevitably be frustrated by those, who simply will not come out of their prison cells into the light of the Living God who has freed them even with the door wide open.

Sure, shake the dust from your boots.

But know that God is capable of redeeming everything and that your message, the good news that you have been entrusted with, whether it is accepted or not, is ultimately that, in Jesus, God has already done it.


HYMN:  With One Voice #755  We All Are One In Mission


One in the communion of saints and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we join our voices in prayer.

Glorious God, you bend down to wash the feet of your disciples. Let the servant church arise in our teaching, our praying, our healing, and our doing. Make all your faithful people powerful in weakness and strong in grace. In your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Life-giving God, your fingers trace the heavens and your hands mold the earth. Where there is drought, bring nourishing rain. Where there is devastation from fire or flood, bring relief. Sustain the well-being of every living thing. In your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Merciful God, you speak and the nations listen. Open those who govern to the cries of all who journey with no food or shelter, particularly people fleeing violence, those seeking freedom, and those in search of community. In your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Gracious God, your embrace brings wholeness to those who are troubled. Anoint all who suffer in any way with the oil of healing and grant them renewal. In your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Welcoming God, in your presence strangers become companions and enemies become neighbors. Open our doors to those we have so easily shut out, particularly people who are different from us or who are marginalized by church or society. In your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Eternal God, you gather us into your house of many dwelling places. We give you thanks for our faithful departed. Inspire us by their lives of faith until, with them, we rest forever at our journey’s end. In your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Holy God, holy and merciful: into your outstretched arms we commend ourselves and all for whom we pray, trusting in the one who is the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.



SENDING SONG:  More Voices #212  The Lord New Sends Us Forth


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



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[1] Rev’d Robyn Davis, NATSIAC Life Member, Diocese of Bendigo,