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.


“Is Jesus adding to the law by broadening our attention from murder to anger and contempt? By no means. He is pointing out the seedling that grows into the thorny vine that chokes out life. He is appealing to us to fastidiously weed the garden of our personal holiness. He is teaching that if every person dealt with anger quickly and rightly, there would be no need for the sixth word at all (p. 94).”

― Jen Wilkin, Ten Words to Live By: Delighting in and Doing What God Commands


      The third covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the central one of Israel’s history: the gift of the law to those God freed from slavery. The commandments begin with the statement that because God alone has freed us from the powers that oppressed us, we are to let nothing else claim first place in our lives. When Jesus throws the merchants out of the temple, he is defending the worship of God alone and rejecting the ways commerce and profit-making can become our gods. The Ten Commandments are essential to our baptismal call: centered first in God’s liberating love, we strive to live out justice and mercy in our communities and the world.

     John’s gospel is unique among the four gospels in that it places the story of Jesus clearing the temple at the beginning, rather than the end, of Jesus’ ministry. This placement shows how John’s gospel emphasizes that Jesus has come to replace the temple. No longer will God’s presence be confined to a place, the temple, but instead, God’s presence is now embodied in the person of Jesus. Jesus welcomes all to him, and erects no barriers or limits on who can be his follower.


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.

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.

God of Love, you are the Creator of this land and of all good things.  Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history so that we may build a better future for our nation.  Teach us to respect all cultures.  Teach us to care for our land and waters.  Help us to share justly the resources of this land.  Help us to bring about spiritual and social change to improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities, especially the disadvantaged.  Help young people to find true dignity and self esteem by your Spirit.  May your power and love be the foundations on which we build our families, our communities and our nation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Lent is an opportunity for a spiritual spring cleaning,

a chance to take and air out our experiences and thoughts,

time to consider them, organize them and make decisions.

What have we learned?  What is to be promoted or avoided?

As we prepare to move into a time of new joys and new uncertainties,

what can we use to rest firm in our faith?

Let us worship together, in part because it strengthens our resolve

to trust in God and live our lives in Christ.[1]

*GATHERING SONG:  VU 580  Faith Of Our Fathers


Holy God, through your Son you have called us to live faithfully and act courageously. Keep us steadfast in your covenant of grace, and teach us the wisdom that comes only through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

MISSION & SERVICE:  Accompanying Grandmothers

In the Rift Valley of Kenya, 7 percent of the people who live there are HIV positive—nearly 900,000—and many will not survive. Grandmothers whose children have died of AIDS are often left alone to care for their grandchildren, and to add insult to injury, their church community condemns them, leaving them without support as they raise their grandchildren.

Some pastors in the Rift Valley, as in many other places, believe and teach that faithful Christians cannot contract the disease and that it is a judgment from God—a disease for sexual sinners.

“The pastors had little information about HIV and AIDS; to them, and others in the community, it was a strange disease…. HIV was a result of sexual sin and was a judgement from God for the sexually immoral,” writes Esther Mombo of the World Council of Churches.

In partnership with the United Church, Mombo and Pauline Wanjuru of St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya, led a series of workshops in one Rift Valley community that has been hit especially hard by HIV/AIDS. They invited grandmothers and pastors to connect and learn from each other.

One grandmother who attended the workshops was 70 years old. She had lost both her daughter and her son and was left to raise three grandchildren on her own. Instead of stepping up to help, her neighbours refused to visit her because they said her daughter and son had been sexually immoral. Her pastor wouldn’t even attend her children’s funerals because he didn’t want to be seen associating with her family. When she went to church, the pastor preached about the punishment for sexual immorality.

At the workshops, this woman bravely told her story to the pastors who attended. She also shared with them how it felt to be shamed for loving her children and grandchildren. Another grandmother explained that her grandchildren were born with the virus and couldn’t have been involved in any sexual immorality. Yet another spoke of God’s love for everyone. Pastors listened and learned, and ended by making a commitment to extend compassion and offer pastoral care to the grandmothers.

All of us know from our own life experience that when we know better, we do better. Your Mission and Service gifts gave these grandmothers the opportunity to help their pastors learn to do better by connecting their love for their grandchildren to God’s love for all. Thank you.


When our oldest daughter was young, we taught her “use your words” to tell us, her mom and dad, not only how she felt, but what had happened that created the feelings she was feeling.

For example:  One day Dara was upset about something.  She was stomping around the house for a while and then finally came up to me and said, “Mom!  I am so angry at you because you said…”  This was very helpful.  I didn’t have to guess at what was upsetting her, and now that I knew what it was, we could talk about why I had said what I said.  My response didn’t change, and Dara remained a little upset with me for a while.  Still, she understood the reasons for my decision, and was able to accept the result.

Life is easier when we can clearly state the emotions we are feeling and what triggered them. The hope is that problems can then be solved faster and better because no one has to guess.

When you are talking to God, it is good to state clearly what you are feeling.  It helps you to figure out what you need to not only solve a problem, but to realize how you can respond in a more positive way the next time something similar happens to upset you.

It is always good to “use our words”.  It helps even more when those words are kind words, not angry, hurtful words.

Jesus, help us to use our words to share how we feel, and also to share all you have done for us.  Thank you, Jesus!  Amen.


Open our senses and incline our hearts toward you, O God, that we may experience you among us, receive your call to new life, and respond with our whole being to the grace you so freely offer.  May we receive these words of scripture in new and healing ways.  Amen.[2]


First Reading: Exodus 20:1-17

After escaping from slavery, the Israelites come to Mount Sinai, where God teaches them how to live in community. The Ten Commandments proclaim that God alone is worthy of worship. Flowing from God,

the life of the community flourishes when based on honesty, trust, fidelity, and respect for life, family, and property.

1God spoke all these words: 2I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me.

4You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

8Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

12Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13You shall not murder.

14You shall not commit adultery.

15You shall not steal.

16You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Psalm 19

The commandment of the Lord gives light to the eyes. (Ps. 19:8)

1The heavens declare the glo- | ry of God,

and the sky proclaims its | maker’s handiwork.

2One day tells its tale | to another,

and one night imparts knowledge | to another.

3Although they have no | words or language,

and their voices | are not heard,

4their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends | of the world,

where God has pitched a tent | for the sun.

5It comes forth like a bridegroom out | of his chamber;

it rejoices like a champion to | run its course.

6It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens and runs about to the end of | it again;

nothing is hidden from its | burning heat. R

7The teaching of the Lord is perfect and re- | vives the soul;

the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to | the simple.

8The statutes of the Lord are just and re- | joice the heart;

the commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light | to the eyes.

9The fear of the Lord is clean and en- | dures forever;

the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous | altogether.

10More to be desired are they than gold, more than | much fine gold,

sweeter far than honey, than honey | in the comb. R

11By them also is your ser- | vant enlightened,

and in keeping them there is | great reward.

12Who can detect one’s | own offenses?

Cleanse me from my | secret faults.

13Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not get dominion | over me;

then shall I be whole and sound, and innocent of a | great offense.

14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable | in your sight,

O Lord, my strength and | my redeemer. R

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

The word of the cross is pure foolishness and nonsense to the world because it claims that God is mostly revealed in weakness, humiliation, and death. But through such divine foolishness and weakness, God is working to save us. The center of Paul’s preaching is Christ crucified.

18The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Gospel: John 2:13-22

Jesus attacks the commercialization of religion by driving merchants out of the temple. When challenged, he responds mysteriously, with the first prediction of his own death and resurrection. In the midst of a seemingly stable religious center, Jesus suggests that the center itself has changed.

13The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

HYMN:  MV 161  I Have Called You By Your Name

SERMON  ~ by Rev. David Lose

Any careful reader of John’s Gospel will notice that his account varies from his synoptic cousins at a variety of points, few more significant than in today’s reading. Rather than place Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple at the end of Jesus’ public ministry, as Matthew, Mark, and Luke do, John places it here at the beginning of the story.

Why? Because of distinct theological agendas. Keep in mind that the Gospels are confessions of faith from the first century rather than historical accounts of the twenty-first century. So each difference provides us with a clue to the distinct confession of faith the particular evangelist offers. In this case, the synoptic writers cast the disruption in the Temple as the final provocative act of Jesus that precipitates his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. John, however, uses this same scene to announce the inauguration of a new era, one in which the grace of God is no longer mediated or accessed through cultic sacrifice but instead is available to all who receive Jesus as God’s Messiah.

Notice, for instance, that not only the timing of Jesus’ actions is different in John, but so is the accusation he levels at the moneychangers. Rather than accuse them of turning the Temple into a “den of robbers” – accusing them, that is, of defrauding the poor – Jesus instead says they have turned the Temple into a market place. Ironically, however, the Temple had to be a market place – or at least have a market place – so as to enable devout Jews to purchase animals for sacrifice and to change the Imperial coin for the local currency with which to make such purchases. So when Jesus drives the animals out of the Temple, overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and demands the end of buying and selling, he is really announcing the end of this way of relating to God.

God is no longer available primarily, let alone exclusively, via the Temple. Instead, as John confesses in the opening verses of his account, Jesus invites us to experience God’s grace upon grace (1:17) through our faith in him. Given that John’s account was written well after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by the Romans, his insistence – and perhaps reassurance – to his community that they would find God’s mercy in Christ outside rather than inside the Temple makes practical as well as theological sense. And, to tell you the truth, I think it has the same potential today.

Many of our people, I suspect, tend to think of church as a destination. It’s a place you go to receive…well, spiritual things (actually, it’d be interesting to ask people what they expect to receive at church, but that’s probably another sermon!). But, taking a cue from John, I wonder if we’ve got things a little backwards. Don’t get me wrong, I think worship is important. But rather than imagine it’s a place we go to for some experience of God, I wonder if we shouldn’t imagine it as a place we’re sent from in order to meet, and partner with, God in everyday life.

  1. S. Lewis’ third book of his Narnia series, The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’, provides a wonderful illustration of what I’m talking about. If you remember, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the four Penvensie children travel from war-torn London to Narnia and there meet the great lion (and Christ-figure), Aslan, and with his help defeat the White Witch who holds Narnia captive in a perpetual winter. In the second book, the children travel back to assist Prince Caspian in obtaining his rightful throne, and at the end of that book Aslan tells the two older children, Peter and Susan, that they will not return to Narnia.

Now, at the end of the third book, Aslan meets Lucy and Edmund at the edge of the Eastern Sea and tells them the same, that this will be their last trip to Narnia. Lucy is distraught at the prospect of not seeing the beloved lion again, but he reassures her that she will see him in her own world. When she is surprised that Aslan is present in her world, he tells her that the whole reason for bringing her to Narnia for a time was so that, coming to know him well here, she would recognize him more easily there.

Isn’t that a great image for church? We come to church because in the proclamation of the Gospel and sharing of the sacraments we perceive God’s grace most clearly. But then we are sent out to look for God and, even more, to partner with God in our various roles and venues to love and bless the people and world God loves so much.

But I’m not sure how many of our people see church that way. Or, more accurately, I’m not sure they see their homes, places of work, school, and other parts of their lives as places where God is present, let alone at work through them for the sake of the world. And I think we may have unintentionally contributed to this confusion. Let me explain.

David Miller, at the beginning of his book, God at Work, describes an exercise he often does with groups of clergy. How many of you, Miller typically asks, at the beginning of a new program and school year recognize Sunday School teachers, inviting them to stand, “installing” them, and/or praying for them? All the hands in the room go up. And how many of you, he continues, after your annual meeting and election of new church council (or Board of Elders or Vestry) members, recognize them during worship, “installing” or “consecrating” them and/or praying for them. Again, almost all the hands go up. What about our youth? Miller goes on. When your youth group goes on a mission trip, how many of you commission them before they go or pray for them while they are away? By this time, of course, the response is predictable, as most of the hands are raised. One more question, Miller then says. How many of you, come late March or early April, invite all of our Certified Public Accountants to stand and pray for them, knowing that for the next several weeks they will work seventy hours or more and that their labor keeps our tax system and government functioning? And now there are almost no hands raised in the air.

Do you see what I mean? By regularly emphasizing the roles we play at church, we unintentionally undervalue all the other roles of our lives and lift up church as the one place where we meet God and live our religious lives and, in this way, I think, undermine John’s insight and confession that God is out in the world waiting for us to partner with God.

Allow one more way to get at this. When I was in junior high school, I remember learning about the difference between centripetal and centrifugal force. Centripetal force is what pulls objects toward the middle, where as centrifugal force sends things to the outside (it’s that force that keeps you, for instance, plastered to the wall of the spinning amusement park ride so you don’t fall when it tilts one way or another). I think our congregational life is dominated by centripetal force and I’d like us to work to change it to centrifugal, so that while people do indeed come to church to experience God, that experience and the clearer picture they gain of God from it, end up sending our people back out into the world to serve God by serving neighbor in the various vocational arenas of their life.

And you could help move us to such centrifugal force in at least two easy ways this week. First, after opening up John’s confession, you could begin lifting up one vocational arena in the prayers and commit to doing that each and every week. (If you do so, keep in mind that vocation includes, but also goes beyond, occupation to include school, home, and places of volunteering and recreation.)

A second suggestion for igniting the power of centrifugal force would be to pass out 3×5 cards and have each person write out one place they know they will be this week and then collect those cards with the offering. During the prayers, you could then pray that when we are in those ordinary places this week we will look for, see, and partner with the God we have heard about in John’s Gospel reading and our worship this morning. It’s one small step, I know, but if even a few people leave church looking for God in their everyday lives I think it would be totally worth it.

Thanks so much in helping people see God’s grace present and manifest to them in their daily lives and in this way more fully claim their baptismal identity as disciples of Jesus.

In Christ,


Hymn Of The Month:  WOV 658  The Word Of God Is Source And Seed


Trusting in God’s promise to reconcile all things, let us pray for the church, the well-being of creation, and a world in need.

A brief silence.

You alone are God. We thank you for the gift of sabbath rest. Awaken the church to the mystery of your presence and give us glad hearts as we receive the good news of your deliverance. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You renew creation. Drive out those who would make the earth a marketplace. Protect rainforests, mountaintops, oceans, and wilderness areas from commercial exploitation. Unite nations, policymakers, and businesses in efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You judge the nations. We pray for an end to war and strife in every land.  Strengthen international efforts to negotiate peace and provide humanitarian aid to people fleeing from conflict. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You bring healing and hope. We give thanks for physicians, nurses, researchers, therapists, and public health workers who prevent and treat illness. We pray for any who are sick. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You abide with your people. Sustain any in this community undergoing life transitions: marriage, divorce, childbirth, adoption, moving, graduation, employment change, or a death in the family. We pray for those preparing for baptism. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You bring life from death. We remember our loved ones who have died, confident that they have new life in you. May we trust that nothing can separate us from your love. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Accompany us on our journey, God of grace, and receive the prayers of our hearts, through Jesus Christ, our Savior.



SENDING SONG:   MV 209  Go, Make A Difference


Beloved, we are God’s own people, holy, washed, renewed.  God bless you and keep you, shower you with mercy, fill you with courage, and ☩ give you peace.



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[1] Written by Karen Boivin, Osgoode-Kars U.C., Ottawa, ON, Gathering, Lent/Easter 2024, page 31.  Used with permission.


[2] Written by Catherine Tovell, Kilworth U.C., London, ON, Gathering, Lent/Easter 2024, page 35.  Used with permission.