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 internet may find the songs on YouTube.


Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

~ Khalil Gibran


Where do you feel the pain of Earth and its creatures or hear the groaning of God’s creation? When we weep for Earth—when we feel outrage for dying coral, burning forests, and rising seas, and for all who suffer because of ecological devastation—God grieves with us. The fact that Jesus wept suggests that the first step in birthing new life comes when we step toward the pain, not away, and when we do so in the presence of God. God, who shares our suffering, knows that new life begins when we honor our pain for the world and move beyond the numbness and denial that pretend everything is fine. In vulnerability Jesus opens to a power greater than himself and raises Lazarus from the dead. Even as you grieve for the planet, how is Jesus summoning you out of the tomb and into the struggle to protect life?


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.

Holy Spirit, fill us with the power and the courage to trust in you and to trust in others. Help us to trust in the deep wisdom and traditional knowledges that you have gifted to our Indigenous neighbours. Help us to accept the gift of learning from our neighbours that we may broaden and deepen our understanding of how to live together, to share resources, to put our complementary skills to work together, and most of all to build on our common desire to live in wholeness together as all of your peoples. We thank you for the blessing you have given us to know you better by getting to know our neighbours better in all of their diverse God-given beauty.  Guide us, we pray.  Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP – by Rev. Dr. Chris Haughee of Intermountain Ministry

When we are at our lowest, God, we cry out to you, Lord; we know you hear us.

Let your ears, Lord, be attentive to the cry for mercy by your people. We long for justice and grace.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could dare come before you with our troubles?

However, with you there is forgiveness. Now we can, with reverence, serve you.

We wait for the Lord, our whole selves longing for redemption. In your trustworthiness we place our hope.

The dark night of our longing is nearly over, and we wait expectantly for the dawn.

People of God, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love!

With you, God, your people experience freedom and redemption. You have unshackled us from all that bound us to sin! Praise be to God!


CENTERING PRAYER – By Alisha Headley

Lord Christ, may our praise never cease in this season. May our worship be unending. May our love for you find new depths. May this season bring new hope and new healing. May we journey toward the cross prayerfully and purposefully, even through the pain, doubt, questions, and searching.  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.


     When I am happy, I cry.  When I am sad, I cry.  When I am angry, I cry.  When I am scared, I cry.  When someone dies, I cry.  When our children were born, I cried.  I guess you could say that I cry a lot.  Maybe.  I am glad that I give myself permission to cry.  Not crying makes me feel even worse!  Crying does not mean a person is weak.  It takes strength to cry in front of others.  It takes a strong person not to care what others think about them crying.  Crying gets the hurt out and lets the strong come back again.

Jesus cried when Lazarus died.  Jesus was ok about crying.  Jesus cared about people.  When they hurt, he felt sad.  Sometimes, he just had to cry out the pain so his strength could come back again.

I am really, really thankful that we have a God who thinks that tears are ok, and that hugs are ok, and that we can feel what we feel, and that is ok.

MINUTE FOR MISSION:  Creating a World without Hate

On June 6, 2021, not far from the oldest mosque in London, Ontario, a family of five out for a walk were deliberately run over by a truck. Three adults and one teenager were killed. A nine-year-old boy is the sole survivor. Police say the family was targeted because they are Muslim.

In a statement, The United Church of Canada condemned the horrific and hate-filled attack.

“Many people in the United Church are weeping alongside the extended families and friends of the family members who were killed and injured in this premeditated hate crime and are grieving the innocent lives lost in this abhorrent attack,” the statement reads, acknowledging the fearfulness that some people in the Muslim community feel as a result.

Did you know that 322 anti-Muslim hate crimes were reported in Canada between 2013 and 2019? And those are just the crimes about which we know.

Prejudice runs deep. A 2017 study published by the Angus Reid Institute states that almost half of all Canadians have an unfavourable view of Islam, a perception evident in attitudes toward religious clothing. While 88 percent of Canadians support a nun wearing a habit, just 32 percent approve of a person wearing the niqab.

Our United Church is deeply committed to working with Muslims and others for peace and justice. That is why your Mission & Service gifts help us as a church to develop statements and educational resources to combat prejudice and discrimination.

In 2006, for example, the church released the statement “That We May Know Each Other: United Church-Muslim Relations Today.” It was preceded by an important study document with the same name designed to help church communities deepen loving relationships with our faith cousins. Similar study guides have been created to foster interfaith relationships, including Jewish and Hindu faiths (respectively, “Bearing Faithful Witness” and “Honouring the Divine in Each Other”).

Education begins with us. Your Mission & Service gifts help raise awareness and understanding that in turn contributes to a more peaceful world. One where no one is harmed by the hatred of another. Where no more children must grow up without their family.

In the words of our former Moderator Richard Bott, “Let us use all that we have and all that we are to stand in the face of the evil that would allow and cause this crime of hatred. Even as one man has been arrested for his actions, let us uncover and work against the beliefs, the worldview, the racism and the hatred that supported his choice.”


Your gifts through Mission & Service help raise awareness and understanding that in turn contributes to a more peaceful world. Thank you.


Moving Spirit, come to this place and infuse our hearts with your wisdom.  Move among us and inspire us to respond to your Word.  Gather us as your people to do the will of Christ.  Amen.


First Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones is a promise that Israel as a nation, though dead in exile, will live again in their land through God’s life-giving spirit. Three times Israel is assured that through this vision they will know that “I am the Lord.”

1The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
11Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

Psalm 130

R:  I wait for you, O Lord; in your word is my hope. (Ps. 130:5)

1Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
2O Lord, hear my voice!  Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
3If you were to keep watch over sins, O Lord, who could stand?
4Yet with you is forgiveness, in order that you may be feared. R
5I wait for you, O Lord; my soul waits; in your word is my hope.
6My soul waits for the Lord more than those who keep watch for the morning,
more than those who keep watch for the morning.
7O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is steadfast love;
with the Lord there is plenteous redemption.
8For the Lord shall redeem Israel from all their sins. R

Second Reading: Romans 8:6-11

For Paul, Christian spirituality entails living in the reality of the Holy Spirit. The driving force behind our actions and values is not our sinful desire for self-satisfaction but the very Spirit by which God raised Jesus from the dead and will also raise us from the dead.

6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Gospel: John 11:1-45

Jesus is moved to sorrow when his friend Lazarus falls ill and dies. Then, in a dramatic scene, he calls his friend out of the tomb and restores him to life.

     1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

7Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

28When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus began to weep. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

45Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

HYMN:  WOV 714  The Thirsty Fields Drink In The Rain


“Take away the stone.”

“Excuse me?”

“Take away the stone.”

“Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.”

“Take away the stone.”

I believe it is safe to assume that those who rolled away the stone from Lazarus’ tomb had the thought, “Why me?” pass through their minds.  Surely this miracle worker just had to say the word and the stone would have moved of its own accord.  But no, Jesus wanted assistance.  And once the stone was moved, and the stench hit, I question whether anyone paid much attention to Jesus’ prayer that followed.

Yet, the stone was moved.  The command was given, action followed.  The people had stood around and waited for the miracle, yet they did not think that they would have their role to play, no matter how small.

From the darkness and odour of death walked resurrected life.  The miracle.  Just how should one respond after witnessing a miracle?  Applaud?  Shout praises to God?  Sing?  Dance?  Pray?

“Unbind him and let him go.”

Always the pragmatist. Once again someone from the ranks of the probable unwilling was called upon to remove the rags of death from the body of the living.  Even if I had been Lazarus’ best friend and closest neighbour, I do not believe I would have wanted this job.  He had already begun to decompose!  How gross!

“Unbind him and let him go.”

Again, the command of Jesus for assistance.  We are called to be a means for miracles in some of the most dark, dank, and frightening moments in life.  Or, like the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak, it may be that our presence will have an effect of which we will never know the miraculous results.  Such is the mystery and beauty of miracles.

We are called to be a means for miracles.

Sometimes this can be quite a challenge, yet, as at Lazarus’ tomb, in the most difficult moments, Christ is present.  It is a realization of the dominion of heaven that exists and is at work here on earth.

As human beings this story is a marvellous reminder that we are not the miracle workers on this planet.  God is.  It is also a marvellous reminder that miracles can and do happen, but maybe they are not as cut and dried, clean, and nice smelling as we wish they would be.  And the most marvellous reality about this story is that God desires our help in the working out of miracles.  God wants us present, God wants us to get our hands dirty, our bodies smelly, by working with real things in life such as people, rags, stenches, and death.

When you think deeply about it, it isn’t the raising of Lazarus that is the miracle.  The miracle is that the bystanders didn’t all run away at Jesus’ requests or at the appearance of the formerly dead!

“Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

Yes, Jesus, you did.  And it is when my faith appears to be at its weakest that a moment of grace will occur which shines before me to remind me that, Yes! I do believe, and, Yes! I am a means for miracles.

So, what are some of the miracles that still occur in our world?  Birth.  Any birth, human beings or animal beings, being born is a miracle, considering all the odds against coming out of the experience alive.  Each time a medical team helps bring another child into the world, each time the rancher assists another calf on its exit from its mother’s body, even the birth of another litter of barn cats, is a miracle!

Our senior’s lodges.  Now there is a miracle.  The people who live there as well as those who work there.  Even those elderly people who just want to lay in bed and die experience a miracle by the fact that they are surrounded by those who do want to live, and by the living who care for them.  And sometimes the activity of life inspires the most unwilling person to have hope.  Similarly, there are those staff who detest working in a senior’s home, but they need the pay-cheque.  However, miracles are still occurring because even the hardest heart will sometimes be moved to love a particular resident.  We don’t always see the miracles, but they are there.

Death.  Death is a miracle.  But I do not speak of ultimate death.  I speak of all the little deaths we experience throughout our lives.  The death of stereotypes and prejudices  as we experience people and not labels; the death of God, or rather the death of the God that we want–not the one who is, to embrace who God really is and finding that God is larger than the box we made; the death of the love of things which helps us to focus on the source of true happiness–a relationship with God;  the death of fear, so that we can grow and change and learn and have life.

If we do not die, we do not live.  We may be a means for miracles for others, but as for each one of us, God reminds us of Christ who was sent to live out a miracle for us.

“I have already unbound you.  You are free.  Go and free others.”  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH:  VU 105  Dust And Ashes Touch Our Face


Sustained by God’s abundant mercy, let us pray for the church, the world, and all of creation.

You have breathed into us the breath of life. Enliven your church. Deepen our partnerships with our companion churches around the globe, and bless the work of missionaries who accompany them. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

Your spirit brings life to creation. Enliven the natural world and restore ecosystems in need of healing. Uplift prophetic voices that turn us to the needs of the soil beneath our feet and the air all around. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

You redeem the world and its peoples. Free us from systems of oppression. Unbind nations and societies from the sins of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Raise up leaders at all levels of government who work to promote the dignity of every human life. Merciful God,  receive our prayer.

You weep when we weep. Be present with those who grieve or who are troubled by illness. You hear us when we call to you. Deliver us from the depths of our despair, and free us from the worries that bind us. Merciful God,           receive our prayer.

Your Spirit of life dwells in our assembly. Bless the music ministries of this congregation and all who lead us in hymns of praise and thanksgiving and in songs of lament and prayer.

Merciful God,  receive our prayer.

You are the resurrection and the life. Even though we die, we will live. With thanksgiving, we remember all your saints who now live in your eternal love. Merciful God,  receive our prayer.

We lift our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your steadfast love and your promise to renew your whole creation; through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.


SENDING SONG:  VU 120  O Jesus, I Have Promised


God, the giver of love, ☩ Christ, the resurrection and the life, and the Holy Spirit of rebirth bless you in this Lenten journey.  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: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca.