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 to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have the internet may find the songs on YouTube.


Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer


The texts for today are filled with discomfort. This discomfort, however, is for the sake of the prophetic task and the gospel being known. Leaning into the biblical words of challenge today, a quote from Archbishop Oscar Romero instills a great sense of urgency. He writes, “A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed—what gospel is that?” (Oscar Romero, The Violence of Love, ed. Harper & Row, 1988, p. 44). With Romero experiencing the abandonment of friends and family, death threats, and ultimately assassination, it is clear the call to serve as a prophet and to live the gospel can run contrary to the comforts and interrelationships of this world; yet, even in these times God is present.


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

Creator God, we look at your world and praise you for the diversity all around us.  Thank you for the gift of relationships; our connection with people, animals and the land.  Help us, Lord, to see differences and diversity as strengths.  Help us to listen and understand; to meet one another with wonder and anticipation.

Help us to love as you love, without expectation.  Reveal to us your way of reconciliation and guide us into right relationships with all living things.  Lead us to understand how Indigenous peoples have been and continue to be profoundly harmed by settler people and institutions.  Lead us to repent when we as settlers deny Indigenous peoples respect, dignity and fullness of life.  Help us to listen compassionately, to speak humbly and to act justly.  Help us to seek the peace, justice and reconciliation you desire among all your children.  Thank you for your mercy and grace.  Amen.

Prayer by Dianne Climenhage, MCC Atlantic Canada Regional Representative


God invites us to wake from our slumbers.

There is much to be done for God today.

God encourages us to proclaim God’s goodness and love.

There are so many people who are lost and hurt, who need

     the good news of God.

God inspires us to be bold in our proclamation, unafraid,

Lord God, be with us as we step boldly out to share your

     Good News. AMEN.

     ~By Nancy C. Townley

CHILDREN’S SONG:   God Sees The Little Sparrow Fall


Loving God, you call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in serving humanity, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share with Jesus Christ in the waters of baptism, in the breaking of bread, to join Christ in suffering and in victory.  You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end.  Blessing and honor, glory and power be to you. Amen.

     ~Duck, Ruth C. and Michael G. Bausch, eds. Everflowing Streams: Songs for Worship. Cleveland, Ohio: The Pilgrim Press.


MINUTE FOR MISSION:  Your Gifts Help to Restore Lost Languages

These days, most of us have access to technology that allows us to learn the world’s common languages. But countless languages—including many Indigenous languages—can only be learned from their few remaining speakers.

Revitalizing a lost language, as one of our partners in Nunavut is doing, is an important way to preserve not just the language but also the culture that surrounds it.

The Inuinnaqtun language is the cultural foundation of the Inuinnait people, who live in the central Canadian Arctic. The literal meaning of the word Inuinnaqtun is “to be like an Inuinnaq (a person).” Today, fewer than 600 people can still speak Inuinnaqtun fluently. Many lost the language when they were removed from their communities and sent to residential schools.

Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq/Kitikmeot Heritage Society in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, is working hard to keep Inuinnaqtun alive. One-on-one language immersion sessions with mentors inspire reconnection. Through everyday conversations at home and on the land, mentorship is helping to heal the wounds of systemic oppression.

In partnership with Mission & Service, Inuinnaqtun language mentors get resources to allow them to spend 300 hours a year working with their apprentices to begin to restore the language.

Your gifts to Mission & Service help partners continue to restore language and culture. Thank you.


February 24, 2023, marks one year since the invasion of Ukraine. CLWR’s partners continue to deliver life-saving aid to families who have lost everything. Your support has provided incredible hope and help — thank you for your compassion.

CLWR partners in the ACT Alliance continue to respond in Ukraine and the region to meet humanitarian needs such as food, shelter, emergency supplies and trauma support and winterization support as well as protection activities and supporting local organizations to provide vital services.

CLWR’s response also supports the vital coordinating work of Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Inside Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, as well as elsewhere in Europe, members of LWF are mobilizing to respond to the crisis by providing humanitarian assistance to those in need and providing longer-term assistance to refugee populations in locations throughout Europe.


In confirmation class the students learn what a Sacrament is.  Big word.  A sacrament is something God commands us to do and puts Jesus’ words and spirit into it to make it holy.  In the Lutheran and United Churches, there are two sacraments – baptism and communion.  Today, let’s look at baptism.

Jesus gave the command to his disciples to “Go and baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  We use water to baptize.  We also use Jesus’ words.  Without Jesus’ words and spirit, we may as well not have water!  That is how important, and powerful, Jesus’ words and spirit are!

We can see and touch the water.  We can read and hear the words of command Jesus used.  What about the Holy Spirit?  Hmmm, that one is harder.  God wants us to trust that when we are baptized, the Holy Spirit is given to us.  When you feel God very close to you, when you sense that God is speaking to you in love, that is the Holy Spirit connecting you to God.  Heart to heart!  In faith, we trust that God will send the Holy Spirit when needed for courage and strength.  We are never alone.  God is always with us!


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: Jeremiah 20:7-13

Jeremiah accuses God of forcing him into a ministry that brings him only contempt and persecution. Yet Jeremiah is confident that God will be a strong protector against his enemies and commits his life into God’s hands.

7O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me.

8For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, “Violence and destruction!”

For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.

9If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak anymore in his name,” then within me there is something like a

burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

10For I hear many whispering:  “Terror is all around!  Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”  All my close

friends are watching for me to stumble.  “Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him,

and take our revenge on him.”

11But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not

prevail.  They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed.  Their eternal dishonor will never be

12O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution

upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.

13Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord!  For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of


Psalm 69:7-10 [11-15] 16-18

7Surely, for your sake I have suffered reproach, and shame has covered my face.
8I have become a stranger to my own kindred, an alien to my mother’s children.
9Zeal for your house has eaten me up; the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.
10I humbled myself with fasting, but that was turned to my reproach.
11I put on sackcloth also, and became a byword among them.
12Those who sit at the gate murmur against me, and the drunkards make songs about me.
13But as for me, this is my prayer to you, at the time you have set, O Lord:  “In your great mercy, O God,

answer me with your unfailing help.
14Save me from the mire; do not let me sink; let me be rescued from those who hate me and out

    of the deep waters. 
15Let not the torrent of waters wash over me, neither let the deep swallow me up; do not let the pit shut

its mouth upon me.
16Answer me, O Lord, for your love is kind; in your great compassion, turn to me.
17Hide not your face from your servant; be swift and answer me, for I am in distress.
18Draw near to me and redeem me; because of my enemies deliver me.

Second Reading: Romans 6:1b-11

In baptism we were incorporated into the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection. We have been made new in Christ through his death and resurrection to live freed from sin.

1bShould we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel: Matthew 10:24-39

Jesus warns his disciples that their ministry in his name will meet with opposition. However, he assures them that they need not fear for the truth will come to light. Life is found in Christ.

 24“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

26“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35For I have come to set a man against his father,

and a daughter against her mother,

and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

HYMN:  VU 508  Just As I AM

SERMON:  from the MNO Synod Summer Sermon Series.  Written by Bishop Kathy Martin, BC Synod:

It isn’t easy, it’s never been easy.

Grace to you and peace from Jesus, our Saviour. Amen.

Good morning.  I’m Bishop Kathy Martin and I bring you greetings on behalf of my colleagues, our leaders and the community of congregations of the BC Synod of the ELCIC. It is good to be with you
Earlier this year, as the ELCIC, we had the joy of participating in a historic moment with one
of our partners, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. We were
invited to participate in the ordination of Pastor Sally Azar, the first Palestinian woman to
be ordained and serve in Palestine.

I was so fortunate to be there for this gathering of what felt like our Lutheran world-wide
communion with people from across the globe. I was so grateful to be able to attend and I
want to share a little of this experience with you. This journey gave me a chance to see
places we hear about in our biblical stories — Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum,
Jerusalem and so many others. The travel included visits to several ministry sites supported
by all of us through the work we do through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF as it is
also known) and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR). We visited churches, a training
centre and a school where young people are learning religious tolerance alongside other
leadership skills and values. It was great! There was so much pride and joy in the students.
This tiny church, the ELCJHL, is incredibly committed to this educational work and the well-
being of their community.

Our travel took us through checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank, places where
our Canadian passports eased our passage. This was in sharp contrast to the experience of
the local population, especially the Palestinians. Day after day — fences, checkpoints, walls,
guards and guns are constant reminders of the deep divisions in the region. Occasionally,
these tensions erupt in acts of violence creating more fear, more alienation, and mistrust.

It is into this context, into this intense complex geo-political quagmire of history and faith,
that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land engages in its ministry.
This church is deeply aware of the brutal realities for people in its communities and
neighbourhoods. They speak up, they speak out and they actively engage in ministry that
promotes peace, reconciliation, and justice. Though overwhelming and incredibly
discouraging at times, discipleship and love compel them to continue. It isn’t easy.

Loving others, living into Christ, is often far more challenging and difficult than we imagine.
In our Gospel reading Jesus says, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”. This isn’t
about violent action but rather about how God’s way of living will expose the secret, hidden
and often harmful aspirations of hearts. Jesus taught a message of love and justice, of
radical equality in God and this will always be a challenge to ways of living that give power
and control to some at the expense of others.

It takes courage and trust to let go of power — courage, trust, and an understanding that
we are of infinite value to God, whether others see it or not. In the reading from Romans, Paul speaks of sin and death. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Words spoken to people, then and now, who are incredibly aware of how challenging and tough life in transition can be.

Matthew’s Gospel was written not long after the Romans finally destroyed Jerusalem and
its temple. It was a time of utter disorientation and dislocation. The Jewish people of the
day did what often happens after a catastrophic event they walled themselves off, fought
amongst themselves and looked for someone to blame. The followers of Jesus, these
people with new ideas about the ancient faith were obvious targets for mistrust and
suspicion. They were excluded from the Jewish community as they tried to live out the new
ways of peace and justice that Jesus had taught them. It was an incredibly challenging and
difficult time, a time of turmoil and unrest. They were in a liminal space, a time between
what was and what would be. Something new was coming but it wasn’t yet clear what
shape it would be.

We find ourselves in a similar space today. We aren’t persecuted with threats to life and
livelihood like the people Paul was speaking to in Romans, but we are in a time of significant
change. In our time we are being called to examine our old ways of thinking, our existing
structures with an invitation allow some things to die so that new things, maybe many new
things, can come to birth. Paul talks about dying to sin so that we can be “alive to God in
Christ Jesus”; sin is not just about the things we might do as individuals, but also about the
systems that warp us and this world in harmful ways, the systematized behaviours in our
organizations, churches, families, and communities that destroy rather than move us
toward justice and healing for all.

It wasn’t easy for the earliest followers of Jesus to let go of power, love others, and
continually allow themselves to be engaged in learning and growing in their life in Christ. It
isn’t easy for us either. Like our ancestors we must come face to face with the necessity to
let go in these challenging times and liminal space. The hard part is discerning what or how.

In the coming week delegates from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the
Anglican Church in Canada will come together at the University of Calgary for a joint
gathering, Assembly 2023 “Let There Be Greening.” We will share some common sessions
but also carry on our individual work as well. For the ELCIC delegates this will be a Special
National Convention and our time will be almost exclusively focused on the work of several
taskforces addressing Carbon Neutrality; Ableism; Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia;
Racism, White Supremacy and Racial Justice Issues. The members of the task forces have
done an incredible amount of work preparing their reports and inviting this church into
conversation on their recommendations.

It is certain that most of us will be challenged and need to examine our old ways of thinking
so we can discern the things God would have us change or allow to come to an end so that
new things can come to birth. We will need to reflect on our systematized behaviours to
discern if some are harmful or sinful or in need of change, so there can be justice and
healing for all.

It may be that these conversations allow us to become more deeply aware of the brutal
realities for people of colour or differing abilities or orientations in our congregations, our
communities, our neighbourhoods and other locations around the world. It may be that
God will call us to action, to speak up, to speak out and to more actively engage in ministry
that promotes peace, reconciliation, and justice. Perhaps like the tiny, six congregations, the
ELCJHL (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land) we too…though over-
whelmed and discouraged at times…will find that discipleship and love compel us…to work
with our neighbours for change.

It isn’t easy, it won’t be easy, it has never been easy. Yet, we know that the Holy Spirit is
here guiding and leading us into the future. We are dearly loved and held by God in this
flawed but faithful church. There is no need to be perfect here, none of us are. There are no
simple answers or quick fixes. We have our disagreements and arguments, but this is also a
household of love and support where we share our gifts and needs, with God and one
another. Even in the moments where life is painful and confusing, when it seems like every-
thing is imploding before our eyes; in the hard work of faith we learn to see it is not an end
but a new beginning.

Thanks be to God!  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH:  MV 182 Grateful


Trusting in God’s abundant mercy, let us offer our prayers for a world in need.

You entice your church to speak truth that challenges false notions of peace. Prevail upon us with the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection, that we are compelled to share the gospel with all the world. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Under your watch not even a sparrow goes unnoticed. Safeguard plant and animal habitats threatened by melting glaciers, rising oceans, and receding coastlines. Amplify the voices of those calling for responsible stewardship of the earth’s resources. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Our world is enduring violence and destruction. Rescue your people in nations experiencing conflict or crisis. Thwart the efforts of those who sow chaos and terror, and guide those working to bring about peace and reconciliation. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You have counted even the hairs of our heads. Reassure anyone experiencing poverty, homelessness, unemployment, or exploitation that every life has value. Look favorably upon all who struggle. Answer us, for your steadfast love is good. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Even when we experience rejection your love invites us to new life. Lift up anyone who feels shunned or excluded on account of their gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or any other human distinction. Make your people one. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

All who have died with Christ also live with him. We give thanks for all the saints whose faithful confession inspired our own discipleship, and raise us, with them, to eternal life. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Receive our prayers and answer us, O God, in the name of Jesus Christ.



SENDING SONG:  VU 567  Will You Come & Follow Me


The God who calls across the cosmos and speaks in the smallest seed ☩ bless, keep, and sustain you now and to the end of the age. Amen.



PASTOR LESLIE LEAVES FOR HER HOLIDAY THIS THURSDAY EVENING, JUNE 28TH.  She returns on Saturday, August 5th.  Should you require pastoral care during her absence, please contact Debbie Swift who will put you in touch with the emergency clergy.


The online worship services will be posted on the Morris United Church website throughout July.




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