June 20, 2021 Service




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.


“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”  ~  Nelson Mandela


  • “I see you. I hear you. And I believe you.” ~ Marie Wilson 
  • (One of three Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners, she dedicated six and a half years to witnessing 7000 testimonies from residential school survivors across Canada.)


     The storm as a metaphor for life’s challenges is common in both biblical literature and our own culture. It would be easy on a day like this to speak a great deal about “storms” in abstract ways, leaving Christ’s power over these “storms” equally abstract. The Christian community has the capacity for a more powerful witness when we bring our struggles out from behind the shadow of metaphor and name them. What specific injustices, forces, and struggles bring chaos into your community? Challenge yourself and your assembly to name your storms. In the midst of the real storms you name, call on Christ to rouse and rebuke more than just metaphorical winds and waves.

     To Jesus, God opened up possibility for relationship, friendship, where others saw only reason to condemn. His capacity to see a friend in a stranger is humbling, isn’t it? I often wonder how he managed it on a day-to-day, practical basis. Can you really go through life thinking the whole world is your neighbour?  It’s a question that becomes especially captivating for a celebration of kinship like the one we gather for today. You see, for many Indigenous peoples, one could say that the whole world actually is their neighbour!


Be still my soul and wait for God: from God comes my salvation.

God alone is my rock; I shall never be shaken.

On God rests our deliverance and our honour.

My mighty rock, my refuge, my strength is in God.

Trust in God at all times, O people.

In love, we pour out our hearts before the Lord our God.

CHILDREN’S SONG  Jesus Calms The Storm


Holy One, you are our rock, a foundation upon which we stand. Fill our hearts now with joy at your deep, abiding presence.  Encourage us by the teachings of Christ to live with care and compassion for self, friend, and neighbour.  In your name we pray.  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.


     Have you ever been in a small boat on the ocean?  Have you ever been in a small boat on the ocean at night, without a light?  Have you ever been in a small boat on the ocean at night, without a light during a storm?   It was very, very scary!

     I was visiting my friend, Barb, who lives in the Bahamas.  Barb had to work from home this particular day.  Her husband, Barry, was spending the day showing me around the resort island where he and Barb worked.  It was a very fun day.  We were just finishing supper and the sun had set.  The weather had become stormy.  Barry said it was time to head for home. 

     They lived on a small island about a ten-minute boat ride from the resort island.  It was a terrifying ten minutes! 

     The waves were high enough that we dropped down hard from the crest.  There were no life jackets!  I was soaked to the skin, hanging on for dear life to the passenger seat in Barry’s small boat – there was no seat belt!  The headlight didn’t work and we had to pass through rocks to get to their house on the island. 

     I thought, “This is it!  I’m going to die!  I’m going to get washed overboard and become shark food!  Oh, God, help!”

     I gave myself a stern talking to.  I took some deep breathes.  I kept my eye on Barry.  Funny, Barry didn’t seem worried.  He stood at the wheel with a wide stance, braced himself and bent his knees every time we dropped between the waves, and, he was singing!  Yep, definitely going to die!

     Suddenly, I understood the whole situation of the disciples in the boat, the storm, and Jesus calming the storm.  The disciples were never in danger because Jesus was with them.  I’m thinking they would have survived the storm because if Jesus was able to stay asleep, he wasn’t worried about drowning!

     Barry wasn’t afraid of drowning, being swamped or capsized because Barry had been making this trip through all kinds of weather for years!  He didn’t need the headlight because he knew exactly where the rocks were.  He knew his boat could handle the waves at that height, and that is why he was able to relax and sing all the way home! 

     I calmed down.  My fear didn’t totally leave; my panic was gone.   We made it home, soaked to the skin, and in one piece.  I hear you, Jesus.  I continue to learn to trust you.

     Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, sometimes life gets pretty stormy, and we can feel very scared.  Help us to trust you when we pray to you, knowing that you are always with us, protecting us.  Amen.



     We all have superpowers. Generosity is one of them. But did you know that the power of generosity through Mission & Service supports real-life superheroes?

     Esbikenh was once a junior kindergarten teacher. While he grew up knowing his ancestral language, Anishinaabemowin (pronounced Ah-nish-nah-BEM-win), sadly the children he taught didn’t. “One day I turned on YouTube and saw superhero videos. I thought, ‘Why not make these videos and we will just have all the superheroes speak in Anishinaabemowin?’” says Esbikenh.

     The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action include reclaiming, revitalizing, strengthening, and maintaining Indigenous languages. This is critical for cultural revitalization. It’s also important because when people are able to speak their ancestral language, self-understanding and self-esteem grows, health improves, and the sense of connection and relationships with others flourishes. Knowing how important learning Anishinaabemowin is to the children he once taught, Esbikenh applied for a project grant from the United Church. The Healing Fund, which is nearly entirely funded through Mission & Service, addresses the ongoing impacts of the residential school system.

     With financial support secured, Esbikenh’s filming has begun. When the videos are finished, they will be used as an educational resource for teachers, parents, and anyone who wants to learn the Anishinaabemowin language.

     Ashley Riley, the librarian and arts coordinator at Antler River Elementary School of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Ontario, plays a starring role in the films. She describes the systemic oppression of Indigenous peoples in Canada that results in the loss of language, among other things. Ashley’s mother is a residential school survivor, and because she wasn’t allowed to speak her language at school Ashley didn’t learn it growing up. “We weren’t allowed to speak our own languages. We weren’t allowed to be who we were. We weren’t allowed to practise our own ceremonies. My mother grew up thinking the language wasn’t that important. She’s slowly learning now. She says a prayer every morning in her own language. I’m hoping the community will get involved in creating more language videos,” Ashley says.

     Why did Ashley decide to participate in the video project? She believes each one of us has the power to make a difference. “Every single person is a superhero. Every single person has a gift to share with the world. I think the most important thing is realizing the gift you can bring to your community,” she says.

     Through Mission & Service, your generous gifts help repair harm and extend hope. Please support the vital, healing work we do together. We can do much more together than we ever could alone. Thank you!



God of mercy, you promised never to break your covenant with us. In the midst of the multitude of words in our daily lives, speak your eternal Word to us, that we may respond to your gracious promises with faithfulness, service and love. Amen.


Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Job 38:1-11

At the end of the book of Job, after Job and his companions have argued about the cause of the great suffering Job endures, God finally speaks. These verses begin that speech, which is a grand vision of creation, describing God’s ordering of the cosmos and inviting Job to marvel at its beauty.

1The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
2“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
 Tell me, if you have understanding.
5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
 Or who stretched the line upon it?
6On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone
     7when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

8“Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?—
9when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors,
11and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?”

  • Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32

You stilled the storm and silenced the waves of the sea. (Ps. 107:29)

1Give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good, for God’s mercy endures forever.
2Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim that God redeemed them from the hand of the foe,
3gathering them in from the lands; from the east and from the west,

       from the north and from the south.
23Some went down to the sea in ships, plying their trade in deep waters. R
24They beheld the works of the Lord, God’s wonderful works in the deep.
25Then God spoke, and a stormy wind arose, which tossed high the waves of the sea.
26They mounted up to the heavens and descended to the depths;
  their souls melted away in their peril.
27They staggered and reeled like drunkards, and all their skill was of no avail.
28Then in their trouble they cried to the Lord, and you delivered them from their distress.

29You stilled the storm to a whisper and silenced the waves of the sea. R
30Then were they glad when it grew calm, when you guided them to the harbor they desired.
31Let them give thanks to you, Lord, for your steadfast love
  and your wonderful works for all people.
32Let them exalt you in the assembly of the people;
  in the council of the elders, let them sing hallelujah! R

  • Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Paul and his fellow workers experience great hardships and even rejection while carrying out their missionary work. Nevertheless, Paul continuously proclaims that God has not rejected us but is graciously working for our salvation.

1As we work together with God, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For God says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,

      and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

  11We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

  • Gospel: Mark 4:35-41

Jesus’ calming of the storm on the sea reveals his power over evil, since the sea represents evil and chaos. The boat on the sea is a symbol of the church and invites us to trust God amid life’s turbulence.

35When evening had come,  “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”



     When actor, Will Smith, turned 50, he decided to confront his fears.  He bungee jumped from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, went sky-diving for the first time, fed sharks without benefit of a cage in the Bahamas, drove a race car in competition with his son, Trey, ran a half-marathon, was part of a Bollywood dance sequence and tried his hand at stand-up comedy.  More power to you, man!  I prefer to remain in the spectator’s chair!

     When it came to sky diving, Will said, “The guy said we would jump on three, but he pushes you on two because people grab on three…You realize that at the point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear….God placed the best things in life on the other side of fear.”[1]  Amen brother!

     Perhaps Jesus knew this and insisted the disciples take him across the Sea of Galilee, to the Gentile side, after preaching and healing most of the day.  Perhaps, this was Jesus counting down from three for the disciples and the storm was number two!  And yet, looking at their response to Jesus stilling the storm, maybe that was their moment of maximum fear, and the acknowledgement of who Jesus was, even at a gut level, was the step over the fear.

     Nothing Jesus does can ever be taken at face value.  He is like the best Sherlock Holmes story – looking at every angle of a situation beginning with the end and working back to the present moment.  The disciples had to be in the boat in order to face the storm together, in order for them to see for themselves what they were made of, in order for Jesus to do something totally, humanly impossible, so that his power would be shown for what it truly was…terrifying!  My first thought would have been, “If he can do this with a storm, what can he do to me?!”  Yep, I would go there!

     Why this pressing need to get to the other side of the Sea of Galilee?  Someone possessed of many demons needed him, that’s why.  It would be another display of power that would leave many in fear, and in awe, of Jesus. It would also be the opportunity for the one healed to share the Good News of God’s mercy to the Gentile communities. 

     Another question:  Why would Jesus chastise the disciples after such trauma?  True, they had witnessed Jesus’ many healings and exorcisms, yet when one reads other literature of the day, healers and exorcists could be found in and around the land of Judah.  The key difference with Jesus was his lack of tools of the trade, such as incense, spices, herbal cures and spells.  The key difference with Jesus was that his power to heal went beyond the personal into the natural.  Stilling storms was above the average pay grade of a first Century healer and exorcist!  One feels empathy for the apostles after Jesus’ chastisement.  They had just about died after all! 

  1. Mark Davis, Presbyterian Minister and Greek scholar, reminds us not to judge the apostles’ reaction to harshly when he writes,

I think it disingenuous for a pastor, on a calm Sunday morning when everyone is quietly listening, to treat the disciples’ words as the silly expressions of those who don’t really trust in Jesus’ love. I think perhaps we ought to imagine ourselves and our entire congregation in an airplane that has lost its engines when we preach this text. Then we can explore panic and pious together.[2]

Perhaps Jesus felt hurt that, after everything they had witnessed, the apostles didn’t fully comprehend that Jesus would protect them, no matter what.  Easier said than done when one is going down with the ship and your rabbi is in the back of the boat sleeping!

     “God placed the best things in life on the other side of fear.”

     When they land in the country of the Gerasenes and witness a legion of demons possess over 2,000 pigs, who then plunge themselves into the lake to their deaths, there is no mention of any reaction by the twelve.  Having seen nature stopped by a word from Jesus, this exorcism may pale in comparison.  Or, now that they are on the other side of fear, they do not fear. Maybe this is the reason that Jesus wanted to go to the other side of the lake after all.  But then, once there, they have to get back in the boat and head back the way they came.

     Getting into the boat signifies change in our lives.  Getting into the boat changes us.  Not getting into the boat also changes us, and not necessarily for the better.  Like it or not, we need change.  Like it or not, we need to be changed.  Like it or not, we need to move beyond fear into trust.  In order for that to happen, we need to get in the boat, jump out of the plane, swim with the sharks, bungee jump off a helicopter, forgive our spouse, sibling, parents; step out of our comfort zone; take a risk; pray; ask for forgiveness; bust a myth, destroy racism, get excited for God!

     Today you are the sum of every day you have lived, every experience you have had, every feeling you have felt.  I am hoping that you are not the same person today that you were a year ago, five years ago, fifty years ago…I am hoping that you are more enlightened, patient and compassionate than you were yesterday.  In other words, when Jesus tells you to get in the boat, I hope you get in the boat, because Jesus has something he wants you to experience to help move you to the other side of fear into the realm of faith and abiding trust.  Amen.


HYMN OF THE MONTH     MV 190  Laughter Lit The Stars Of Morning 


O God, we come together as a human family, blessed to be alive, blessed to be on this land, blessed to have neighbours as diverse as your creation. You surround us with air we breathe, water we drink, all manner of living plants and animals that delight us and sustain us. Thank you, Creator, for all you provide. We ponder the blessings you give us―of family, friends, places to call home, the food we eat, the web of life in which we with all creatures live, move, and have our being.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

Compassionate One, our society has failed you.  You were a refugee, seeking safety and freedom, and we did not welcome you.  You were naked and exposed, with inadequate shelter and insufficient pay, and we did not fight with you for equal rights.  You were fearful of being detained or deported without a just trial, and we did not provide you sanctuary.  We seek forgiveness for the ways we have forsaken you, and offer our thanks for the communities, people, and organizations who have extended welcome, advocated for justice; and provided sanctuary to people seeking refuge despite opposition.  LORD God, we pray for our Muslim sisters and brothers as they mourn the deaths of the Afzaal family.  More than ever, we need to be a people of love, compassion and understanding.  We pray for Nathaniel Veltman, the one who did the killing.  We are at a loss to understand.  Holy Spirit, send your healing, deep and wide, to all who grieve.

            Hear us, O God,

            Your mercy is great.

O God, for the witness of strength, caring, and love of Indigenous peoples, and for the struggle for what is just and right, open our hearts this day. Encourage us to listen more, speak less, participate in the movements for change that will bring us together in good and respectful ways. Encourage us to make friends, get to know someone’s story, and share our stories too, without fear, for in Christ we know we are all kin.

            Hear us, O God,

            Your mercy is great.

Teacher, your instructions are clear:  We shall not oppress migrant people, nor deprive them of justice, nor practice extortion or commit robbery against them; We shall love strangers as ourselves, for we have all been strangers; We shall share our harvest, our homes, and our lives with others, thus extending the same hospitality that you have selflessly shared.  We shall advocate for the human rights of all people.  Give us the steadfast persistence needed to follow your commandments in these challenging times, remembering that the love and respect we show to each other is the love that we show to you, our Compassionate Teacher.

            Hear us, O God

            Your mercy is great.

Divine comforter, you show compassion to those in need and provide relief to those who call on you. Bless all who suffer, especially people trapped in cycles of poverty, addiction and homelessness. We pray especially for all of Canada’s indigenous peoples.  We grieve the deaths of 215 children who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School.  May our actions speak louder than our words as we strive to work together to end systemic racism and live lives of compassion and caring for our neighbour.    LORD God, we raise up our family, friends and community members who are in need of your presence; Lil Schieman, Larry McCrady, Mike Froese, Brooke Alexiuk, Dwayne, Tracy Skoglund, Matthew Grossman, Lorraine & Walter Pokrant.

            Hear us, O God

            Your mercy is great.

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





May the beauty of God be reflected in your eyes,
the love of God be reflected in your hands,
the wisdom of God be reflected in your words,
and the knowledge of God flow from your heart, that all might see, and seeing, believe.




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[1] https://youtu.be/bFIB05LGtMs
[2] https://leftbehindandlovingit.blogspot.com/2015/06/piety-and-panic.html