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.

This year, for the season of Lent, we are following the United Church liturgy focusing on Lenten practices, Called to Be the Church. The services were prepared by United Church Moderator, the Rt. Rev. Richard Bott. The reflection for each Sunday was written by the Rev. Dave Jagger.[1]


“A couple of days ago, somebody asked me if I thought M.A.S.H. had made me a better actor.  I said I didn’t know about that, but I know it’s made me a better human being.”

            ~Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter)


Grumbling! The crowd around Jesus—the “in” crowd, that is—was grumbling. Grumbling because Jesus welcomed those who traditionally had been set apart: tax collectors and sinners. Who are those who cause us to grumble? Whose seemingly undeserved handout or unearned status change filled our hearts with resentment this week? Jesus speaks to us today because we too often see life as a game with winners and losers, points and playbooks, offense and defense. Can we open our hearts and minds to hear today’s humbling good news? God’s love is freely shared with all: we cannot earn it, we cannot deserve it. When we attend worship, we do so out of thanksgiving and praise for God’s glory, hunger and thirst for God’s word and sacrament. We do not attend worship to achieve some status within God’s kingdom. When we help a neighbor, share with a stranger, assist the afflicted, or acknowledge the overlooked we do so because Christ first did the same for us. We respond to God’s grace and mercy with our own feeble attempts to emulate God’s perfect love. It is challenging, exhausting, never-ending, perspective-altering, radically humbling work. It’s work that is impossible to do without the inspiration of Christ, the nourishment of wine and bread, and the strength of the saints who have gone before us and with whom we walk Christ’s path today. Let us find those in our world who teach us about Christ’s unending reconciliation, so that we can all celebrate and rejoice as the family of God.     


In Jesus’ name, welcome! First-time participant or one who’s been here many days; child or elder or somewhere in-between; stewards, caretakers, disciples, children of God— neighbours all, loved and loving. Welcome. Welcome in Christ’s name!


We respectfully acknowledge that the Province of Manitoba includes the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Lyiniwok, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dene and Dakota Peoples and the homeland of the Metis People.

As First Peoples have done since time immemorial, we strive to be responsible stewards of the land, and to respect the cultures, ceremonies, and traditions of all who call this land home. As we open our hearts and minds to the past, we commit ourselves to working in a spirit of truth and reconciliation to make a better future for all.


As people of hope and wonder, as people of peace and joy, as disciples of Jesus, wandering his Way—let’s get ready to worship God!  To prepare ourselves, join me in the Prayer of the Three Deep Breaths!  Take a deep breath, and as you breathe out say, “Thank you, Creator.”

Thank you, Creator.

Take a deep breath, and as you breathe out say, “Thank you, Jesus Christ.”

Thank you, Jesus Christ.

Take a deep breath, and as you breathe out say, “Thank you, Holy Spirit.”

Thank you, Holy Spirit.

Thank you, loving God, for being with us, always, and helping us to make time in this place.  We ask you to help us remember all the moments of gratitude that have filled this week, and we ask you to help us look forward to all of the moments of gratitude that are still to come.  Blessed are you, forever and ever.  And the people said—


GATHERING SONG:  Teach Your Children Well 


God of compassion, you welcome the wayward, and you embrace us all with your mercy. By our baptism clothe us with garments of your grace, and feed us at the table of your love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  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.


Suppose you and I are best friends and I come to you asking for $200 to help me pay the rent for my apartment.  You give me the money, and instead of putting it toward my rent I spend it on computer gaming equipment.  So, I come to you again, asking for more money, because I still need to pay the rent.  Do you give it to me?  I’m thinking that you would say no.  Why?  Because I did not spend it on my rent.  I bought things I did not need.  Yet if I don’t pay the rent, I could end up with no place to live!  That was not a wise thing to do!

Ok, so you don’t give me any more money.  Are we still friends?

Jesus tells us a story about a son who took money from his father, spent it on partying, eating out, buying things he didn’t need, until he had no money left.  He also found he had no friends left either.

In the story, the son must work very hard feeding pigs.  It is smelly, dirty work.  He realizes what he did with his money was wrong.  He wasted it.  It was as if he threw it away.  Now he is hungry, lonely and missing his family.  He is finally so sad and lost that he decides facing his father’s anger would be easier than feeding pigs.  He heads for home

Only when he is in sight of his father’s house, his father comes running out to him, crying for joy, and hugs him!  The father thought he would never see his son again!  He doesn’t care about the money.  He is just overjoyed that his son is home again!  All is forgiven!

Jesus tells the crowds this story so they will understand how loving God is.  The father in the story is God.  The son is us.  There are times when we turn away from God, trying to live life believing we are in control of everything, only to find we end up with nothing.  At that point, we turn, once again, to God.  And what does God do?  God loves us, forgives us and gives us strength to deal with what is going on in our lives and to look forward with hope to tomorrow.  God also gives us hugs through the people who love us!  Very cool.

Jesus reminds us that God gives us chance after chance to return to God and have life that is loving, caring and hopeful.

Bottom line, yes, we can still be friends, even after I spend the money.  You may not give me any more money, but then you may teach me how to use my money wisely, so that I don’t live in fear of losing my home.  That is friendship, and love, in action!


One Million Signatures for Peace – Please add yours today!

Seventy years is enough. End the Korean War. That’s the message of the recently launched global campaign called the Korea Peace Appeal (where you can sign the online petition).

The goal of the appeal is to collect 100 million signatures for peace by 2023, the 70th anniversary of the armistice. The ultimate goal is peace.

The Korean War began in 1950. While open clashes ceased in 1953 with the signing of an armistice, a peace treaty has not yet been established and the war is not over. For more than 70 years the Korean people have endured a constant state of hostility and war, which has solidified the division of the peninsula.

For more than 30 years your gifts through Mission & Service have supported justice and peace work in Korea through the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK). The NCCK supports women’s programs, human rights, and peace and reconciliation efforts.

The NCCK has challenged The United Church of Canada to add 10,000 signatures to the Korea Peace Appeal by the summer of 2022. The request is urgent. Please join the Moderator and others by adding your signature today.

“The point of the campaign is to urge an end to the Korean War and establish a peace agreement,” says Patti Talbot, the United Church’s team lead for global partnership. “Sometimes it can be hard to know how to take action on large global issues. By adding our signature to this campaign, we can take a tangible step to help create a world free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat and break the vicious cycle of the arms race.”

Your support through Mission & Service actively supports peace-making in Korea. If you would like to take another step to help, please consider signing the petition. Add your name to those calling for peace. We are stronger together.



Holy God, reveal your presence to us this day as we journey this path with your Son.  Through all of life’s trials and tribulations your Word sustains us for the journey ahead.  Send your Spirit upon us that we might listen, discern, and take heart.  Be near us this day and may your Word with us stay and dwell with us forevermore.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Joshua 5:9-12

By celebrating the Passover and eating the produce of the promised land instead of the miraculous manna that had sustained them in the desert, the Israelites symbolically bring their forty years of wilderness wandering to an end at Gilgal.

9The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.

10While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. 11On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.

Psalm 32

R:  Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord. (Ps. 32:11)

1Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away!
2Happy are they to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, and in whose spirit there is no guile! R
3While I held my tongue, my bones withered away, because of my groaning all day long.
4For your hand was heavy upon me day and night; my moisture was dried up as in the heat of summer.
5Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and did not conceal my guilt.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” Then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.
6Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you in time of trouble;
when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach them. R
7You are my hiding-place; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
8“I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will guide you with my eye.
9Do not be like horse or mule, which have no understanding;
who must be fitted with bit and bridle, or else they will not stay near you.”
10Great are the tribulations of the wicked; but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.
11Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord; shout for joy, all who are true of heart. R

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

One way to describe the gospel is the promise that in Christ everything is transformed into newness. All mistakes, all deliberate sins, all old history is reconciled with Christ’s resurrection. This is Paul’s strong message to the congregation in the city of Corinth.

16From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Jesus tells a parable about a son who ponders his father’s love only after he has spurned it. The grace he receives is beyond his hopes. That same grace is a crisis for an older brother who believes it is his obedience that has earned his place in the father’s home.

1Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to  2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3So he told them this parable: 11b“There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” ’ 20So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

25“Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 28Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’ ”


HYMN OF THE DAY:  VU 112   O God, How We Have Wandered

Reflection:  I’ve Had Enough!

In Lent Week 1, we explored the Lenten practice of saying “No!” It is easier to say “No” to something when you have already said “Yes” to something else. As those who follow Jesus, each of us, constantly, gets to choose “No” or “Yes.” Will I do this or will I do that? How will I use the time and resources I have be given? That’s a stewardship question.

In Lent Week 2 we looked into being a blessing. We have been blessed, in order to be a blessing to others. We looked deeper into THE stewardship question. As people of faith, it’s up to each of us to decide “How are we going to use everything God has given us?”

Last week, as we thought about the stewardship of our time, we explored the Lenten practice of worship that is regular and often.

This week, we are being invited to be generous.

So here we are, face to face with one of the most popular and well known pieces of the Bible there is. I wonder how many of us, hearing the words, are taken back to the funeral for a loved one? “The Lord is my shepherd.” It’s a phrase that I expect even the majority of non-church people would recognise.

These words are heard as words of comfort, support, and encouragement. Traditionally we know them as:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23)

But before you jump to all the great and amazing things God does for you and gives you:

rest in green pastures near a clean water source;

spiritual restoration;



comfort and reassurance;

all you can eat and drink (the ultimate all inclusive!)

goodness and mercy;

forever in God’s presence…

Before you jump to all that, just pause for a minute at the very first line: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1) Wouldn’t that be great? “I shall not want.” Can you imagine not being in a state of want? For our day and age, it might be the most revolutionary idea in the entire Bible since everything we see and hear and experience demands, over and over, that we consume, buy, accumulate, hoard, succeed, and want. Faster, stronger, smarter. More, more more! Yet this Bible song starts with the subversive idea that “I shall not want.” Not because I can’t afford it. Not because I have three of them. Not because I already have the best and newest. Not because it’s back ordered on Amazon. “I shall not want” because “The Lord is my shepherd.” “I shall not want” because God provides me with everything I need. “I shall not want” because I trust in God, who came in Jesus the Word made flesh; to reconcile and make new. Jesus clearly taught and lived that we are inter-connected and inter-related; neighbours to one another; to love and serve each other, sharing what we have and who we are for each other’s good.

“I shall not want” because to want is the path to greed and selfishness; which is not Jesus’ Way. To want means never being happy; never being content; always, well… wanting, and always at someone else’s expense.

So what’s the best way to help God steer you into those lovely green pastures of “I shall not want”? Let me suggest that appreciating what you have is a great way to counteract greed and want, and to grow contentment and happiness in their place. So, for our Lenten practice this week, here’s what we’re going to work on: Appreciation and Contentment.

This week, in order to help you experience and increase your sense of contentment, I want you to do an “Appreciation Inventory.” Look, touch, smell, remember, and immerse yourself in what you have been given. You may choose to physically walk through your home to do this, or you can do it sitting in your favourite spot and using your mind’s eye. Either way, as you encounter or experience your physical stuff (clothes, car, food, money, toys, and so on), your non-physical stuff (job, memory, learning, faith), and your relationships (family, friends, co-workers, people that support you), pause with each one and appreciate what you have. Afterwards, acknowledge to yourself just how much you have been given. Be content. Be grateful. In these will you find the path to generosity.

Then come back next week (our last week) ready to share how this Lenten practice worked for you and how it helped (or didn’t) open you up to God, as you made space in your life to actively live out the Way of Jesus.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH: ELW 327   Through The Night Of Doubt And Sorrow


Drawn close to the heart of God, we offer these prayers for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

Jesus, you formed the disciples in the ways of extravagant mercy and profound welcome. Lead your church to be a community marked by forgiveness, hospitality, and celebration. Send us to transform a world plagued by fear and condemnation.

Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

You make the land to produce a harvest that sustains your entire creation. Equip farmers and farm workers who till the soil. Nourish the earth with ample rainfall and abundant sunshine. Heal grounds tainted by pollution or misuse.

Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Countries are divided and leaders often harbor grudges. Reconcile nations that experience conflict.  We pray especially for the people of Ukraine and for the people of Russia who are against Putin’s war. Help nations to quickly find ways to bring this war to an end with the least amount of violence possible. Anoint peacemakers trained in the art of diplomacy and foster a spirit of collaboration among political rivals.

Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Your people cry for help in times of distress. Resolve disagreements among family members. Save those experiencing financial hardship. Hear our prayers for those who are sick or grieving. We raise up to you Bill and Terry Howie, Marlene Buhler, Evelyn and Brian Watt, Douglas Pearson, Wendy, Tracy Skoglund, Brooke Alexiuk, Joan, Angèle Harmonic and family.  Console us with the promise that everything can become new.

Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Your love comes to us when a table is set and a feast is prepared. Bless the feeding ministries of this community.  We pray for the Red River Valley Food Bank – for its faithful volunteers, the people of Morris for their consistent generosity so that those who come in need are fed. We pray for the ministry of The Bread Basket, giving loaves of bread, words of comfort and encouragement to those who need them.  We pray for the ministry of Youth For Christ, hosting meals so that youth can connect, hear about Christ and build friendships.  Bring an end to hunger in our community and around the world. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

We pray for our relationship with our indigenous sisters and brothers in this country.  Open our hearts and minds to meaningful conversation, action and reconciliation.

Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

The one who was dead is alive again. We give thanks for those who have died, confident that steadfast love surrounds them. Shelter them in your love until we are gathered at your heavenly banquet.

Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Accept the prayers we bring, O God, on behalf of a world in need, for the sake of Jesus Christ.



SENDING SONG:  VU 120   O Jesus, I Have Promised


Let’s go into the world as people of gratitude.

Let’s go into the world as people of hope.

Let’s go into the world as people of joyfulness.

Let’s go into the world ready to share Christ’s love!

And let us go knowing this:  we are never, ever alone.

The peace of Christ holds us, the love of the Creator enfolds us, and the wings of the Holy Spirit carry us, today and always.  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.
[1] https://united-church.ca/worship-liturgical-season/first-sunday-lent