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.


The ultimate test of faith is not how loudly you praise God in happy times but how deeply you trust God in dark times.

~Rick Warren

Before we worship, we reflect…

Following the celebration of Juneteenth over the past week, the West African teaching of Sankofa is a helpful framework to contemplate the storms of life. Sankofa is illustrated by a bird facing forward with its head turned backward and an egg in its mouth, and it translates, “Go back and retrieve it.” This tradition teaches the importance of reaching back into the past to learn from what has gone before, to let the wisdom that’s been handed down guide us forward into a future with hope. Although it may be difficult to find God’s presence in the current storms of life, we are encouraged to look back on storms of the past and notice how we survived, what love and wisdom anchored us, and how God brought us through.


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]


From fears that paralyze us;
Heal us, O Lord.

From illness that strangles us;
Heal us, O Lord.
From sorrows that weigh us down;
Heal us, O Lord.

From aimlessness that plagues our visions;
Heal us, O Lord.[2]

GATHERING SONG:  Put Your Hand In The Hand


O God of creation, eternal majesty, you preside over land and sea, sunshine and storm. By your strength pilot us, by your power preserve us, by your wisdom instruct us, and by your hand protect us, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

MISSION AND SERVICE  An Act of Generosity

Those who work in the United Church’s Philanthropy Unit have the privilege of hearing the stories of generous supporters. Each story shared is inspiring, but this note included in a cheque sent by Rock Lake Pastoral Charge in Manitoba is especially delightful:

“Please find enclosed our cheque for $125.00. One of our member’s great-grandchildren rolled loose coins they found around the house. There was 1 roll of loonies, 6 rolls of quarters, 6 rolls of dimes, and 5 rolls of nickels. The three children ages 12, 9, and 7 were told if they rolled the coins, they could use the money however they wanted. They decided very quickly that they wanted to give it to children/people of Ukraine. They brought the money to Rock Lake Pastoral Charge and asked to have the money sent through The United Church of Canada for Emergency Response―Ukraine. They wanted it to go through the church because their great-grandmother loved the church.

“The children could have gone and bought a toy or chocolate bar but they thought about it and decided to give it to help the people of Ukraine. They were so proud when they came into the office. It was a big heavy bag of coins they carried for seven or eight blocks to get here. They were really pleased to present it,” says office administrator Linda Sharpe.

This story represents thoughtful, intentional giving at its finest. Every gift given is a treasure. Every gift given tells a story about generosity.

Thank you for supporting the work we do together as a United Church. May the story we tell in our giving and receiving bring us ever more near the heart of God.


     The disciples were afraid of their boat sinking and them drowning during a powerful storm.  Jesus was asleep in the boat.  They woke him up.  He stood up and said to the wind and the waves, “Be still!”  Suddenly, all was peaceful and quiet.  Now the disciples were probably as afraid of Jesus as they had been during the storm!

Why would they be afraid of Jesus?

Well, it takes a lot of God power to stop a storm at its peak.  Perhaps the disciples were afraid of Jesus using that incredible God power against them?!

Power can be used to help or hurt.  Jesus only ever used his power to help people.  He NEVER used his power to hurt.  Even when he could have used his power while dying on the cross, he didn’t.  Jesus’ power is the power of love.  Jesus’ love heals people, helps people, accepts people.

You NEVER have to be afraid of Jesus.   Thankfully, the disciples came to understand that.  Thank you Jesus!       


Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that as the Scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen.


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,  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

R:  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 him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he 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?”

HYMN:  Voices United 637  Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me

SERMON – Bishop Larry Kochendorfer, Synod of Alberta and the Territories of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In Canada.

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 offer an incredible ministry 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, David Lose, and Ted Wardlaw, and the preaching resource, Feasting on the Word. I have significantly used their wisdom and insights, and their words, in the shaping of today’s sermon.

In the spirit of respect, reciprocity, and truth, I honour and acknowledge that I live and work and pray on traditional and ancestral territory of the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for centuries. I am speaking to you today from Treaty 6 territory and Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III, in Edmonton. I invite you to hold a moment of reflection for the ground under your feet where you are today, giving thanks for the peoples who have come before us and in a spirit of care for this land on behalf of future generations.


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.[3]

There is danger in the water. There is danger in the water. That’s the point of today’s text and of this sermon, and on at least one level, we understand that point well.

Oh, sure, there’s also beauty in water. There’s a fascination with water whether it be the mud puddle in the back yard stomped in by a two-year-old adventurer, or the sound and sight of the rolling of ocean waves toward the shore. There’s something about water that beckons us—especially at this time of year!

We make our plans to go to the beach, we head for that mountain getaway and a familiar canoeing spot, or we get our fishing tackle ready for that fly-fishing trip at a favourite stream. That’s the beauty in the water! We love it. Even the domesticated water of a swimming pool has its appeal, it is inviting on a hot, sweltering day. Or think about water that comes in a gentle summer rain—we watch it and smell it and listen to those big, beautiful drops falling out of the sky to nourish the parched earth!

And yet, for all its beauty, we know enough about water to be cautious—to have a fear of it—for we know that there’s danger in the water, too. That’s why we build fences around pools and put life jackets in our boats and fortify our children with swimming lessons. There’s something dangerous about the water that we ought to fear.

So, we are sure this morning that we understand the fear of those disciples when we hear, once again, this familiar story. They are crossing the Sea of Galilee—an area of water some 700 feet/213+ meters below sea level where unexpected, violent storms develop quickly on the warm surface of the lake and where waves can easily reach thirty feet/9 + meters. The danger is not moderate, it’s deadly.

The disciples are afraid because they know something about the danger in that water—the danger of what can happen in a storm: the danger of capsizing, of being overwhelmed by the wind and the waves, of drowning.

And we know the story backwards and forwards, we tell ourselves, so we are sure that that’s the danger in the water that they fear. As a result, we often spiritualize this danger in the water—applying this story to all the things about life that we fear. We look at this fear of the disciples and we relate that fear to the fear we have of the storms that surround us. The storms of life, the storms that trouble the church.

This is how we are often tempted to interpret and apply today’s reading. So sure of what it’s saying to us in fact, that we go tramping around in it until it is thoroughly sanitized of its—real—terror.

To understand the disciples’ fear only in this way, it seems to me, is to misunderstand the text. It’s not just the storm that blows up on the open water that causes the disciples to fear—because the storm, after all, isn’t the real danger in the water. You might be surprised, but I don’t think this is the real danger at all. No, the real danger in the water is Jesus!

Look at what happens in this text: Jesus travels with the disciples out to sea, “Let us go across to the other side,” he says, a storm blows up, he wakes up and he rebukes the wind and says to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”, and the wind ceases, and there is a dead calm.

“Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Jesus asks. Unfortunately, the English translation masks the disciples’ fear. “And they were filled with great awe”—would perhaps better be translated— “they feared a great fear.” They feared a great fear.

The real danger in the water is Jesus!

“’Who is this,’ they question, ‘that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” They sense that there’s something about this One that is dangerous. For if Jesus can do what he did with the great windstorm and the beating waves, then what might he have in mind to do with them? It’s an important question: “Who is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

It’s the kind of force—of authority—that can turn not just a storm inside out but can also turn us—you and me—inside out and upside down. And who wants to be turned inside out? Who wants to be turned upside down? This is the kind of power that makes people tremble down to their toes, however seaworthy the boat they’re in.

No, there’s something about the power of God that calls for distance. And it’s not a lack of faith, but rather a sign of faith—of trust—when you recognize it.

Pastor and teacher, Fred Craddock, tells the story of a pastor who went to visit one of his parishioners in the hospital. The congregational member was suffering from a terminal illness, and the pastor went to visit her knowing that, at the end of that visit, he would pray one of those prayers that acknowledges the desperation of the situation, and that accepts, as fact, that not much is going to change. These are honest and pastorally sensitive prayers, and often they are the only appropriate kind of prayer to pray.

The pastor went there prepared to pray that kind of prayer, but the woman prevailed upon him to beg God to heal her. And so, against his better judgment, the pastor, as Craddock tells the story, prayed a different kind of prayer altogether. He prayed fervently, even while he understood what a long shot that prayer was. And then when the prayer was over, he left the room.

A few days later he was back for another visit. The woman was sitting up in the bed. The tubes had been removed, and the curtains were open. She said to him, “You won’t believe what has happened. The doctors noticed some changes the other day, and called for more x-rays, and they have told me that they can no longer see any sign of a tumor! I’m going home tomorrow.”

The pastor said later, “When I got out to the parking lot, I looked up into the skies and said, ‘Don’t ever do that to me again!’”

There’s something about the power of God that ought to make us fear because it’s that unmanageable.

Maybe the disciples knew that—there in the boat looking face to face with Jesus—looking at the danger in that water. Jesus Christ, that mysterious One, that disturbing One, that demanding One, had done the unlikely thing with that storm, so what unlikely thing was he about to do with them?

And what unlikely thing does Jesus desire to do with us?

We are in the midst of Synod Convention season. This weekend the BC Synod, the Eastern Synod, and the Synod of Alberta and the Territories are meeting. Already the MNO Synod and SK Synod have met.

What unlikely thing does Jesus desire to do with us? To turn us inside out and upside down.

Re-focus on faith formation and discipleship rather than holding on tightly to the institutional church? Celebration of diversity and welcome of strangers and neighbours beyond our familiar circles? Working together in interfaith partnerships for justice and peace? Living out our baptismal promises in grace widely cast?

We look at water, sitting in a baptismal font so placid and serene as it is cupped in the hand and splashed upon some unsuspecting child, and we are tempted to think that it’s so tame and so comfortable. Moreover, we are tempted to think that baptism itself is so respectable and proper until being shaped by that water, being formed by it and living under its terrifying challenge, becomes a radical and necessary calling.

The Affirmation of our Baptism calls us to return again and again to this challenge: remember the covenant God made with you in holy baptism? To live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and to share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?

There is danger in the water for we are called to lives turned inside out and upside down—to live our baptismal promises in grace widely cast.

Remember that wonderful conversation in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when the children are asking the beavers about Aslan—the great lion: “Is he safe?” they ask.  “No,” the beaver responds, “but he is good.”

The promise of this text, the good news in this text, is that Jesus is with you, but it is not only that Jesus is with you. Notice that Jesus does not say “You go over to the other side,” but “Let us go over to the other side.” Jesus was there all along, no matter what Jesus was doing, whether that be preaching about parables or sleeping on a pillow or stilling a storm or stirring up conversation and decision-making on a synod convention floor.

The promise of this text is also that there is something on the other side that Jesus knows about—and needs to get us to. Of course, the reality for the disciples, and for us, is that the other side is unknown, unfamiliar, it will require change and transformation and letting go. It has its own set of challenges—the disciples have to see Jesus differently—see themselves differently. It means living into a new reality.

Perhaps the act of faith is not just the trust that Jesus will still the storm. The act of faith is taking Jesus’ invitation to heart. The act of faith is getting into the boat. The act of faith is believing—trusting—that another side is not only possible—it is essential.


O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings, and strengthened dreams. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.[4]


Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis, Working Preacher, 2015

Rev. Dr. Davis Lose, …in the Meantime, June 15, 2015

Rev. Dr. Ted Wadlaw, Day 1, 1997

HYMN:  My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less


We come before the triune God to pray for our communities, ourselves, and our world.

Equip your faithful people to approach this world with a sense of wonder. Make your church a safe place to explore big questions, troubling doubts, and honest laments. Humble our hearts to repent of the ways that communities of faith have inflicted pain or trauma. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

You spoke creation into order from the chaos of the swirling deep. May your name be praised by rivers and seas, wetlands and waterfalls. Secure clean water for all people and protect water sources from contamination or exploitation. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Amid whirlwinds of division, violence, and conflict, remind us again that you are as steadfast as the foundations of the earth. Rejuvenate peacemakers, advocates, and community organizers when they feel weary in their work. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Deliver your people from their distress, O God. We lift before you all who are sick or struggling. Grant consolation and peace to all who live with chronic, terminal, or persistent illness. In times of affliction or hardship, sustain us in faith. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Enfold all travelers with your protection. Bless the comings and goings of this assembly as we travel for leisure or for work. Let all journeys be met with hospitality on the way, and let community members return to us with celebration. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation for all the redeemed of the Lord. Joined together with the great cloud of witnesses, we give thanks for your steadfast love and your wonderful works. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Receive our prayers, O God, and come quickly to our aid, through the power of the Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ.



SENDING SONG:  Voices United 675  Will Your Anchor Hold


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


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 Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit:

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

[2] Written by Katherine Hawker, and posted on Liturgy Outside. Reposted:

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


[4] Evangelical Lutheran Worship, pg. 76