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 will follow the United Church liturgy focusing on Lenten practices, Called to Be the Church. The service today and for the next four Sundays were prepared by United Church Moderator, the Rt. Rev. Richard Bott. The reflection for each Sunday was written by the Rev. Dave Jagger.[1]


Genocide is not just a murderous madness; it is, more deeply, a politics that promises a utopia beyond politics – one people, one land, one truth, the end of difference. Since genocide is a form of political utopia, it remains an enduring temptation in any multiethnic and multicultural society in crisis.

     ~Michael Ignatieff


     So what is a Lenten practice? A Lenten practice is anything we do, during Lent, that opens us up and brings us closer into God’s presence. A Lenten practice is like going to the gym for your faith. It may be awkward at first and difficult, but afterwards you feel good; and after doing it for a while, you notice changes and strengths, and it becomes so much a part of your routine that you can’t imagine life without it. Some common and traditional Lenten practices include prayer, fasting, generosity, confession, Bible study, hospitality, working for justice, and meditation.  

     The Lenten discipleship practices that we will explore are each tied to the Christian values of generosity, thankfulness, and stewardship. Each week, not only will we learn about a specific Lenten practice, but you will be given ideas about different ways that you can actually do it. Try it; play with it; see how it opens you up to God. By taking this opportunity and trying each practice, you will be making space in your life to actively live out the Way of Jesus. We think that’s really exciting, and it’s great that we’re on this Lenten journey together!

     So let’s begin…


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!


For thousands of years, First Nations people have walked on this land; their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives and spirituality. We acknowledge that we live, work and worship on Treaty 1 Land, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibwa, OjiCree, Dene and Dakota Peoples, and the homeland of the Metis Nation.  We acknowledge their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.  We respect the Treaties  that  were  made on these territories,  we acknowledge  the harms and mistakes  of the past, and  we dedicate  ourselves to  move  forward in partnership  with Indigenous  communities in  a spirit of reconciliation  and  collaboration.



As we travel this Lenten pathway, we journey together, a community of faith.

As we travel this Way of Jesus, we journey together, but also alone.

Practising our faith

living Christ’s call to love God with all that we are, to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

Practising our faith

as stewards on the Way.

CHILDREN’S SONG:  WOV 670   When Israel Was In Egypt’s Land


God of the hungry times, God of the difficult times, God of all the times of our lives, we need to talk. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand the direction we need to go. With all the choices we have in our lives, sometimes we’re not sure when to say “Yes,” or when to say “No.” So we ask for your guidance. We ask for wisdom. We ask for Spirit. In our worship, in our work, in our choices, in our lives. May it be so, loving God! 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.


I love Lent!  Lent, for me, is a time to get even closer to God, to look at my life, to listen to what God is asking me to do in and with my life.  It is a time to look at my relationships with others, and be honest about how heathy they are, and is there something I am willing to do, some behaviour I am willing to change, so that my relationships are stronger and healthier.

Some people struggle with Lent.  Those 40 days take too long to get to Easter Sunday!  Some people don’t want to look at their relationship with God, in case it isn’t so great.  We want to run fast through the tough places so we can be happy and content and not think about others who hurt, our own hurt, a world that we are damaging and creatures who are suffering because of human greed.  Newsflash!  Ignoring pain and suffering doesn’t make it go away.

Lent is about Jesus walking to Jerusalem knowing that he will die on the cross.  Even though Jesus is scared, he prays for God to give him strength to do what he needs to do.  Jesus stays connected with God during the hard times.  You can glue sugar to the cross to try and make the story sweeter, not so sad, not so scary, not so lonely.  The truth is that you still have a cross, and Jesus still dies on it.

Lent reminds me that death is a part of life.  Lent reminds me that I need God – for everything!  Lent reminds me to be thankful for my relationship with a caring God.  Lent reminds me that life isn’t all joy, and that is ok.  Lent reminds me that no matter where I am, no matter what happens, God is with me.  Thank you, God!


International Women’s Day:  Geeta’s Story

ASWA supports single women in Rajasthan to defend their rights.

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day that is all about celebrating women’s achievements and calling out inequality. Geeta’s story is one example of why marking the day is so important.

When Geeta’s husband died she not only lost her life partner, she also lost her home. Because she was no longer married her in-laws wouldn’t allow her to stay in their multi-generational residence.

Geeta is just one of an estimated 72 million women in India who are not married—nearly double the entire population of Canada. In India, most women are expected to marry and then live with their husband and his family. Unmarried women, even those who are widowed, are often seen as dishonourable. Like Geeta, they may suffer abuse.

Fortunately, Geeta was able to flee to her parents’ home with her two younger children, but many parents will not allow their newly single daughters to return.

While Geeta and her younger children stayed with her parents, her in-laws stole her jewellery, changed the locks, and kept her two older children from her. That’s when she turned to Mission & Service partner Astha Sansthan’s Association of Strong Women Alone (ASWA) for help.

ASWA supports thousands of single women from low-income backgrounds in Rajasthan to defend their rights. The organization has also shared their advocacy methods and experiences with other groups across India.

Thanks to ASWA’s help, Geeta’s in-laws ultimately had to give back her jewellery, unlock her home, and return her older children to her care.

Today, Geeta is living peacefully with her children in her part of the house.

Your generous support provides life-saving advocacy. It is one way your gifts address crushing inequality and help build a better world for all. Thank you!


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: Deuteronomy 26:1-11

The annual harvest festival, called the Feast of Weeks, provides the setting for this reading. This festival celebrates the first fruits of the produce of the land offered back to God in thanks. In this text, worshipers announce God’s gracious acts on behalf of Israel.

1When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, 2you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. 3You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, “Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, 5you shall make this response before the Lord your God: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. 6When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, 7we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; 9and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. 11Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16

R:  God will give the angels charge over you, to guard you in all your ways. (Ps. 91:11)

1You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty—
2you will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my stronghold, my God in whom I put my trust.” R
9Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your habitation,
10no evil will befall you, nor shall affliction come near your dwelling.
11For God will give the angels charge over you, to guard you in all your ways.
12Upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. R
13You will tread upon the lion cub and viper; you will trample down the lion and the serpent.
14I will deliver those who cling to me; I will uphold them, because they know my name.
15They will call me, and I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble; I will rescue and honor them.
16With long life will I satisfy them, and show them my salvation. R

  • Second Reading: Romans 10:8b-13

Paul reminds the Christians at Rome of the foundation of their creed, the confession of faith in the risen Christ as Lord.

8b“The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart”

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

  • Gospel: Luke 4:1-13

After being filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism, Jesus is led in the wilderness. Through his responses to the temptations of the devil, he defines what it means to be called “the Son of God.”

1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’ ”

5Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ”

9Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ 11and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

      12Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

HYMN OF THE DAY:  VU 670   Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Reflection: How to Say No!

I find it funny that one of the first words we learn to speak and use as small children becomes for many of us the hardest word to use as our life progresses. Spend any time around a two-year-old and you will know how often they use the word “no.”

“Please eat your peas.” “No!”

“It’s time for bed.” “No!”

“Did you break the lamp?” “No!”

“Do you want to go for a walk?” “No!”

They are very good at saying, “No!” For many of us, however, you’d think we’d never heard the word before: “I know you’re already serving communion this morning, reading scripture, ushering, and teaching Sunday school, but we need someone to run the tech equipment. Could you do it?” “Yes.”

“I know you worked all day and have two church meetings tonight, but I need help with my homework…and can I have a dozen cupcakes for school tomorrow?” “Yes.”

Does any of that sound familiar? We have become so good at saying “Yes” and so poor at saying “No” that we are exhausted, overworked, burned-out, and spiritually depleted. How can I hear God speaking to me, and why would I want to, if all it means is more work? Even this idea of Lenten practices just sounds like more work. Right?

So maybe it’s time to regain the practice of saying “No,” not indiscriminately or selfishly like that two-year-old, but wisely and intentionally like a follower of Jesus. It means not saying “No” just because I don’t want to, or because it’s too hard, or too new, or it scares me, but saying, “No” to this because I have already said “Yes” to that.

We are given a great example of how this works in today’s Bible reading from Luke’s Gospel (4:1–13). Three times Jesus has to make a choice. Three times he can either say “No” or “Yes.”

“If  you are the  Son of  God,  command these stones  to  become  loaves  of bread!”   “No” or “Yes”?

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from the highest point of the Temple.”  “No” or “Yes”?

“All these kingdoms and all their wealth and power I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”  “No” or “Yes”?

Each time Jesus says “No!” on account of that to which he has already said “Yes!”

“Yes, I will trust God to provide what I really need.”

“Yes, I will trust God to care for me.”

“Yes, I will serve and worship God alone.”

Now, probably, hopefully, you’re not going to be asked this week to throw yourself off a roof, or intentionally starve yourself, or turn your back on God or the church, like Jesus was. However, you are going to be faced with choices and temptations of your own.

Every time you pick up your phone—I just want to check Facebook, or Instagram, or my work e-mail, or level up in Candy Crush—the people around you cease to exist.

Every time you open your wallet—cash? debit? credit?—you spend more because a strong economy is what really matters, and it will make you feel good.

As those who follow Jesus, each of us, constantly, gets to choose “No” or “Yes.” How will I use the time and resources I have been given? That’s a stewardship question.

So here’s our first Lenten practice. Early this week, maybe tomorrow, I want you to make a list of three things, three Christian values, to which you have said “Yes.” Maybe they are similar to the three that Jesus relies on in the Bible story:

“Yes, I will trust God to provide what I really need.”

“Yes, I will trust God to care for me.”

“Yes, I will serve and worship God alone.”

Maybe they’re broader:

“Yes, I value faithfulness.”

“Yes, I value kindness.”

“Yes, I value generosity.”

Think about it and pray about it and write down three things, three Christian values, to which you have said “Yes.” Carry that list with you as a reminder. Make a copy or two and put it in places where you will keep running into it. Then, through the rest of the week, whenever a choice presents itself, say “No” when it contradicts your list— those Christian values to which you have said “Yes.”

Then come back next week ready to share with someone 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


We begin with a prayer issued by Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the Very Rev. Dr. Susan Brown, convener of the Faith Impact Forum, Church of Scotland:

Lord God, the news can be difficult to listen to and to read.  When that news relates to faces we know and to voices familiar to us, it becomes all the harder to hear.  Lord God, we ask you to hold the people of Ukraine deep in your heart.  Protect them, we pray; from violence, from political gamesmanship, from being used and abused.  Give, we pray, the nations of the world the courage and the wisdom to stand up for justice and the courage too, to dare to care―generously.  Lord, in your mercy, take from us all the tendencies in us that seek to lord it over others:  take from us those traits that see us pursuing our own needs and wants before those of others.  Teach us how to live in love and dignity and respect―following your example.  In your name and for your sake.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Loving God, we thank you for the journey of our lives, with its ups and downs, with its questions and challenges, and with its moments of joy. We thank you for the beauty around us, for the hills and the trees, for the water and the weather, for all that reminds us of life, and life made new.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Even as we say “Thank you,” we realize that there is brokenness in us and in our world. We realize that we have not always lived the love to which you call us. Sometimes by action or by inaction, sometimes by just going along with things, we have broken faith with each other, and with you. We offer to you, our brokenness, loving God, not only asking that we would be forgiven, but that, by your love, we would be made whole, living in new ways, living out Christ’s love. Receive the prayers of our hearts, God.


Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

Knowing that we are forgiven, knowing that we are loved, we turn to the world, to love it into wholeness. We pray for people living in desert times in their lives, people who are facing famine—of body or spirit, people who are tempted to turn away from what is right and just; and we pray for a world, all creatures, all places, facing destruction.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

We remember especially all the places on this planet where there is hatred, war, prejudice, greed, and abuse of power.  Where people are oppressed, neglected, forgotten.  We pray for healing and wholeness, and we ask that we would be a part of the solution, loving God, turning our prayer from words to actions. We bring before you Douglas Pearson, Wendy, Tracy Skoglund, Phyllis, Brooke Alexiuk, Joan, Angèle Harmonic and family.  You know their needs, the cries of the Spirit.  We trust in your love and compassion.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

Bless our journey, we pray, sharing the words that Jesus gave all his disciples…


SENDING SONG:  VU 115   Jesus Tempted In The Desert


As we travel this Lenten pathway, we journey together, a community of faith.

As we travel this Way of Jesus, we journey together, but also alone.

Let us go into God’s world, practising our faith,

living Christ’s call to love God with all that we are, to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

Let us go into God’s world knowing we are never alone. Christ’s peace, the Creator’s love, and the breath of the Holy Spirit go with us.




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