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.

Parts of this service are taken from:  Day of Prayer 2024: We Are All Spirit First —Co-written by Co-Chairs of the National Indigenous Council, the Rev. Kimberly Roy and Student Minister Wayne Monague.


I think faith is the small mustard seed of opportunities every day. For example, ‘Am I going to love this person? Am I going to share my faith with this person? Am I going to pray that little prayer?’ It really is a daily thing where you seize those little mustard seed opportunities and then see what God does.

~Mark Batterson

Before we worship, we reflect…

The growth of faith is a mystery. We can do the best we can to provide good soil, in the form of teachers and mentors, parents and pastors. Still, the faith seems to take root and grow in some people and not in others. And then there are people raised in the worst conditions who grow to be strong people of faith.

Jesus reminds us that faith is a gift which comes to us from God. We cannot control it in ourselves, and we cannot control it in others. We can plant, we can water, and then we can sleep and wake until the plant grows. In the end it is God who brings the growth and the Holy Spirit who gives us faith. As people of God we are called to be good soil. As people of God we are called to trust that God will do what we cannot. Faith will grow, and the church will flourish, not because of our grand schemes and plans, but because God will have it no other way.


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]


Grace and peace be with you, beloved children of God.
And also with you.
We gather today in prayer and thanksgiving for National Indigenous Day.
Creator, be with us as we journey forward in a good way.
We share scripture and stories that warm and challenge our heart.
Creator, be with us as we listen in a good way.
We sing with lightness and praise.
Creator, be with us as we respond in a good way.

GATHERING SONG:  VU 227  For The Fruit Of All Creation


Loving and ever-present Creator, we ask in this time together that we have open hearts and minds to hear your Word and be reminded that we are all Spirit first. The grass around us, the feathers of the birds, the eagles, the trees and the rocks and the frog, we are all connected; we are all part of creation. Amen.


     In many of the regions where CLWR works, women have fewer opportunities than men to find employment, and the opportunities that do exist are difficult to access. This exacerbates existing economic and social barriers, compounding the challenges they already face. For women with disabilities, the situation is even more difficult. Your support allows us to provide these vulnerable groups with access to technical and vocational training programs suited to their specific needs, helping them get jobs and gain financial independence.


O God, you are the tree of life, offering shelter to all the world. Graft us into yourself and nurture our growth, that we may bear your truth and love to those in need, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.


First Reading: Ezekiel 17:22-24

Tree imagery is used in a messianic prophecy to tell how the Lord will choose someone from Judah’s royal family (the cedar tree) to reign over all creation. This tree will be planted on Mount Zion, the location of the holy temple.

22Thus says the Lord God:  I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out.  I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
23On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar.  Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind.

24All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord.  I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.  I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it.

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

The righteous shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. (Ps. 92:12)

1It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, O Most High;
2to herald your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night;
3on the psaltery, and on the lyre, and to the melody of the harp.
4For you have made me glad by your acts, O Lord; and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands. R
12The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.
13Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God;
14they shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be green and succulent;
15that they may show how upright the Lord is, my rock, in whom there is no injustice. R

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:6-17

Paul encourages believers to live by faith and not by sight. We do not consider Jesus from a human perspective but through the eyes of faith, believing he died for all and was raised. All who are in Christ are now in God’s new creation.

6So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
16From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Gospel: Mark 4:26-34

Jesus frequently uses parables to teach ordinary people as they are able to hear and understand. Images of sowing and growing show the vitality of God’s kingdom.

26 said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God or what parable will we use for it  It is like a mustard seed which when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth  yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs  and puts forth large branches so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it he did not speak to them except in parables but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

HYMN:  WOV 713  Lord, Let My Heart Be Good Soil (x2)


Written by Bishop Michael Pryse of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

During the few brief years of his public ministry, one thing Jesus never tired of describing
was the kingdom of heaven: the reign of God. Often, he did so by using parables, stories or
images from lived situations that his listeners could readily identify with. But Jesus’
descriptions of the kingdom often came as a contradiction to what his listeners expected or
want to hear. They sought a new reign—a new kingdom—that would come to God’s people
in a big way; powerfully, decisively and quite deservedly! But, instead, Jesus persists in
describing the kingdom as a reality that comes slowly, unexpectedly, and undeservedly!

It’s all about grace and the parables included in today’s Gospel lesson are pictures that
describe a kingdom of grace, a reign of grace. Seed is scattered, it sprouts, and grows! We
know not how! And yet we reap the harvest! The tiny mustard seed grows into a tree that
becomes a nesting place for the birds of the air! The birds didn’t and couldn’t do anything
to make it happen. The seed—the kingdom—grew of its own volition and nature! It’s pure

The rhetorical weight of Jesus’ many descriptions of the reign of God, in these and so many
other parables, is all about the graciousness and universal breadth of the reign of God. They
teach us that kingdom of God is a free and undeserved gift that you can’t earn, create, or

These lessons point us toward the very heart of the Christian Gospel and describe with
clarity and power the wondrous message of God’s good and gracious intentions toward the
world and its inhabitants! We can never stray beyond the reach of God’s grace. No matter
what happens to us in life; no matter what wrong choices we make or sins we commit—
there is always a gracious, loving and forgiving God who waits with arms open to welcome
and receive us.

This is, indeed, good, affirming, grace-filled news; news that is very different from the bad
news messages that the world tries to convince us of; messages that come at us every day
…sometimes from other people…sometimes from our own minds…certainly through social
media and advertising. And sadly, those messages often come to us in the guise of religion.
You know the kind of messages I’m talking about? “Not good enough…not faithful enough
…not spiritual enough. Not pretty enough…smart enough…or flexible enough. Not
aggressive enough, successful enough or progressive enough. Not fast enough…young
enough or old enough.”

And invariably, there is a follow up message. All you have to do is take this course, read this
book, wear this paint; go to this store; or follow this diet and then everything will be fine!
But in this economy, no matter what you do to overcome a particular inadequacy, you can
never quite make it can you? That’s just the way it is when you are in bondage to the false
gospels that define our ultimate value on the basis of works or self-image.

But the Gospel tells us something quite different and reveals these collective lies for what
they are. Our ultimate value is not based on works or self-image but upon who God ways
that we are in Christ Jesus. It’s well described in that wonderful passage from 1 Peter,
chapter 2 where we read, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you
out of darkness into his marvellous light. Once you were no people, but now you are god’s
people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

We aren’t “no people” we are “God’s people!” Once there was no mercy, but now, in Christ
we have received mercy. Our loving heavenly father is always waiting with arms open to
welcome us. As such we are a royal priesthood, God’s own people. We’re not children of
of darkness…children of shame. We’re children of light…children of grace. We have received a
new truth…a new truth born in Christ Jesus that pulls us from the downward spiral of
despair and sets us on an upward trajectory of grace!

You have often heard it said that the church is like a family. And certainly, the most
important thing a family does for us it to tell us who we are. The family gives us identity …
gives us place … gives us, hopefully, a true sense of self.

That is one of the church family’s essential tasks…to tell us who we are…to nurture and
sustain the baptized in their God-given identity. That’s part of what we do every week in
our worship services. “Rise and go, your sins are forgiven.” The body of Christ given for
you.” “Go in peace, serve the Lord.” We’re practising the virtues of the kingdom. We’re
affirming and building up our essential and fundamental identity as baptized children of
God…an identity that we’re always growing into…always experiencing in a fuller way.

Think of baptism, if you will, as a garment. Only it’s kind of like the sweaters that your
mother would buy for you when you were a kid. Remember…arms down to the knees? She
always bought them a few sizes too big so that you “had room to grow into them.” Baptism
is kind of like that. Galatians talks about baptism as “putting on Christ.” But baptism is a
garment that we’re always growing into…always in the process of filling out.

Luther called baptism a “once and for all event which takes your whole life to complete.” I
really like that! Baptism happens but once…but it is a beginning point in a never-ending
process of renewal. We’re always growing into it…always in the process of reclaiming its
promises and benefits. Baptism gives us an identity…but it also gives us a purpose and a
task that we carry with us throughout our earthly lives.

It has been said, and wisely so, that it is only by being little that we can ever discover
anything that is big. To a small child everything seems big. Mom and Dad are like giants. You
go to school for the first time and the place is huge! It’s only when you grow up that you
come to see that mom and dad weren’t so big after and that the vast school only had eight
classrooms. When you are little, everything seems big. Likewise, in matters of faith, it’s only by being little that you can really imagine and experience those things that are big.

I think this is also a key point of the gospel. The kingdom that Jesus describes is always
recognized from a perspective of smallness and humility; a perspective where the first
become last and the last become first. And maybe the only way for us to start recognizing
the reign that Jesus points toward, the only way for us to experience God’s reign of grace
more fully; the kingdom of heaven; is by taking the risk making ourselves just a little bit
smaller; like a mustard seed!

Today we are given an opportunity to renew our residency in that special kingdom whose
embrace has come to us as a gift that is predicated fully and completely upon God’s grace;
not upon what we have or don’t have; not on what we’ve done or not done. The kingdom is
already within us and around us! God’s already given it!  All we need to do is live it!  AMEN.

HYMN:  MV 172  God Says


Loving and Grace-Filled Creator, we show much gratitude for the gift of faith and life in this world.
We pray for open hearts and minds, that we may be a part of your transforming love
and true reconciliation.  We pray for your wisdom and guidance, that we may live as a blessing for all of creation.  Whether we identify as traditional, religious, or spiritual, may we live with trust, love, honesty, and humility.

Creator, receive our prayers…

We give thanks today for The United Church of Canada and its leadership. For their dedication to reconciliation and trying to act and do on their faith journey.   Help us to be filled with your Spirit of Compassion.  We pray for all people who suffer in the world, those we know and those we have not yet met.  And may we generously pray for continued relationship building, flourishing ideas, and bold discipleship our wonderful church.

Creator, hear our prayers…

We give you thanks for the good news in our sacred scriptures and our traditional teachings. May those amazing teachings spread goodness and love to all corners of creation.

Creator, hear our prayers…

We pray today for those who struggle with illness or disease, whether of health, heart, mind, or relationship. For those who struggle with addiction, relationship breakdown, and to those who sit with our most vulnerable, may your constant love and compassion surround them.

Creator, hear our prayers…

May your sacred presence come to those who need you most. Bring them peace and reassurance of your unconditional love through friends, family, and the prayers of people in churches and places of worship around the world.

Creator, hear our prayers…

In this season of renewal, we are called to let our light shine bright and to allow and encourage others to let their light shine even brighter. We are Spirit first, and that Sprit knows to soar like an eagle, up high in the blue sky.

Creator, we ask for the grace to lead a faithful life, to walk with a deep sense of spirituality, to live radical hospitality, and to journey forward in a good way, always.

We pray all these prayers in the name of the one who taught us to say…


SENDING SONG:  VU 660  How Firm A Foundation


May Creator’s eternal love warm your Spirit like the sun on an autumn day.
May the Spirit guide your path with gentleness and strength.
May we always seek to move in a good way.
May it be so.




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