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.

Parts of this service have been taken from Rice Is Heaven:  Asian Heritage Month Worship, written by The Rev. Dr. Hyuk Cho, Coordinating Minister at West Point Grey United Church in Vancouver.


I do not forget that I am a mechanic. I am proud to own it. Neither do I forget that the apostle Paul was a tentmaker; Socrates was a sculptor; and Archimedes was a mechanic.

~Andrew Jackson


When we encounter Jesus, we are changed and will never be the same. Jesus can be revealed in a blinding light on the road, in an abundance of fish, in breakfast on the beach. God uses all sorts of surprising things—bread, wine, water, words of forgiveness—to convert us. Like baptism, this conversion is both a once-in-a-lifetime, life-changing event and a daily process—a change that comes again and again, like Jesus’ question to Peter: “Do you love me?” Again and again, Jesus calls us to follow him. For Saul, the journey doesn’t end with the blinding light on the road. For Peter, the journey doesn’t end with breakfast on the beach. Conversion sets each of them, and each of us, on a path that continues for the rest of our life on earth—and leads into life eternal.


We respectfully acknowledge and honour Treaty 1 Territory and the Peoples and the lands that makeup Turtle Island. Lands which are home to the Anishinabek, Inninewak, Anishininwag, Dakota, Lakota and Dene peoples who, prior to contact with Europeans, created and maintained important trade routes, belonged to the land and respected non-human species, and thrived in a culture that was celebrated through language, ceremony, tradition and a sustainable economy. Also important is the recognition that Treaty 1 Territory is the homeland of the Metis Nation; a nation that came to be in the late 18th, early 19th century. A nation of people of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry with its own distinct culture, language and history.

We respect the Treaties formed on these territories, and acknowledge that We Are All Treaty People. We recognize the genocide and colonization endured by Indigenous peoples, and we are committed to working in partnership with Indigenous communities toward justice, equity, and reconciliation.


We have come from different places to worship God.

We have brought our own cultural heritages.

We have gathered to seek God’s concern.

We have come together to become peacemakers and community builders.

We open ourselves to God’s wisdom.  We open ourselves to the Holy Spirit.

Come, let us celebrate God’s presence among us!

CHILDREN’S SONG:  MV 135  Called By Earth And Sky


God of life, you sustain us through the harmonious work of heaven, earth, and human beings.  You enrich community woven by different cultures and traditions.  Today we come together to celebrate Asian Heritage Month in remembering who we are.  Enhance our joy of journeying together for the common good.  In the name of Jesus, our companion, 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.


In Korea, the traditional morning greeting is “Have you had breakfast?” Later in the day the greeting changes to “Have you eaten?” Korean people ask all the time about whether someone has eaten. The greeting can be formal and polite or casual and more intimate, much like “How do you do?” or “Hello?” in North America.

The Korean poet Kim Ji-Ha says in his poem, “Rice is heaven.” The poem, frequently used as a grace at meals, goes like this:

Rice is heaven,
Because heaven cannot be possessed by one
Rice must be shared with each other.
Rice is heaven.
Just as together we view the stars in Heaven,
Rice must be shared by all.
When rice is eaten
Heaven enters the body.
Rice is heaven.
Ah-ah! Rice must be shared!

This poem reflects Asian people’s thinking. Heaven, earth, and human beings have to work together to produce a bowl of rice. A bowl of rice on our table is the combined work of heaven’s sunshine, cloud, rain and thunderstorm, of mother earth’s nurturing embracement and of human labour. A bowl of rice contains heaven, earth, and human labour.

For Asian people, sharing meals has been a common ritual. In our sharing of meals together, there is peace. In our sharing of meals together, there is community. Whether a communal or an individual ritual, eating rice is a sacred act. So, the greeting in Korea, “Have you eaten?” is a helpful reminder that people are checking up on each other’s well-being. We are not alone, we are all connected—heaven, earth, and other human beings—in a sacred act. “Rice is heaven.”


Taken and Detained: 17-Year-Old Khalil’s Story

Can you imagine military breaking into your home in the middle of the night, arresting and detaining your child, and then taking them away to be interrogated? This happens nightly in Palestine.

It happened to Khalil, a teenager who lives in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Last June, Khalil was simply standing with his mother outside their home when he says he was attacked and assaulted by Israeli police passing by and then detained for two days before being released on bail and placed on house arrest. Even though house arrest has been lifted, he lives in constant fear.

“When I go to school, I’m constantly worried about my family…. When I pass through the checkpoints at the entrances to the neighbourhood, whether on my way to school or on my return, I feel as if I am in a big prison,” he says in a brave photo essay he shares about his experience.

Khalil’s essay was just released by Defence for Children International (DCIP). Your generosity through Mission & Service supports this advocacy organization in defending children’s rights by offering free legal aid, documenting violations of international law, and advocating for greater protections. Although Israel ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, DCIP says that Palestinian children like Khalil continue to be systematically denied protections. Last year, 78 children were killed as a result of Israeli military and settler presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.*

On May 5‒8, 2022, the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel is hosting a conference in London, Ontario. Called Responding to a Cry for Hope, the event will be largely led by Palestinian speakers sharing their own experiences. Thursday evening will focus on the Israeli military treatment of Palestinian children. The Rev. Marianna Harris, a United Church minister, is one of the organizers of the event. “I have been involved in this work since 2002 when I heard what was going on in Palestine, and it completely shocked me. Since then, I’ve been to Palestine three times. I have friends there. What’s happening just isn’t right.”

Harris encourages Mission & Service supporters to take the next step and connect with UNJPPI. “I would encourage people to learn more about what is happening and what we are doing by visiting unjppi.org,” she says. “Join Canadians who are standing up for the rights of Palestinians. The hurting has to stop. I believe good can happen, and we are called to help make it happen. We are called.”


*DCI-Palestine, Distribution of Palestinian Child Fatalities by Month.



Eternal God, in the reading of the scripture, may your Word be heard; in the meditations of our hearts, may your Word be known; and in the faithfulness of our lives, may your Word be shown.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Acts 9:1-20

Saul (later called Paul) was an ardent persecutor of all who followed the Way of Christ. This reading recounts the story of his transformation beginning with an encounter with Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus.

     1Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Psalm 30

R:  You have turned my wailing into dancing. (Ps. 30:11)

1I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have lifted me up and have not let my enemies triumph over me.
2O Lord my God, I cried out to you, and you restored me to health.
3You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.
4Sing praise to the Lord, all you faithful; give thanks in holy remembrance. R
5God’s wrath is short; God’s favor lasts a lifetime.  Weeping spends the night, but joy comes in the morning.
6While I felt secure, I said, “I shall never be disturbed.
7You, Lord, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains.”
Then you hid your face, and I was filled with fear.
8I cried to you, O Lord; I pleaded with my Lord, saying,
9“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
10Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me; O Lord, be my helper.” R
11You have turned my wailing into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
12Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing;
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever. R

Second Reading: Revelation 5:11-14

The vision of John recorded in Revelation offers a glimpse of cosmic worship around the throne. At its center is “the Lamb who was slain.”

11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12singing with full voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,
“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might
forever and ever!”
14And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Gospel: John 21:1-19

The risen Christ appears again to his disciples by the sea where they were first called. After echoes of the fishing and feeding miracles, he gives a final reminder of the cost of a disciple’s love and obedience.

     1After  Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

9When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

HYMN: VU 375  Spirit Of Gentleness


Here it is again.  The text box.  If you remember nothing else from this sermon, remember these words by Daniel Erlander:  “We do not find God.  God finds us.”


And where, exactly, does God find us?  Well, in Saul’s case, God found Saul on the way to Damascus, intent on capturing, binding and dragging the followers of The Way, whose Lord was Jesus, back to Jerusalem for probable torture and possible death.  Notice, Jesus does not do subtle here.  Fear and confusion reign!  Saul is blinded, his murderous assistants hear a voice yet, no matter where they look, cannot find a body to go with the voice!  Suddenly, this great and powerful persecutor of Jesus’ followers must now be led like a child by the hand into the city that was to be the target, which now becomes a means of conversion and calling.  Nope, not subtle at all.


The other blatant point to this encounter with the risen Christ is Saul’s realization that whatever Saul does to Jesus’ followers, he is doing to Jesus.  I will let that Christological truth soak in for a moment.  I repeat Jesus’ words:  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”  Bold, Jesus, very bold.  Suddenly those old grudges, family feuds, judgments against anyone who isn’t us, all our pouting and self pity are thrown down in front of us, exposed in the brilliant light of God’s grace, and, like Saul, we are shocked to discover we are on the wrong path.  What we thought God wanted from us wasn’t even close!  Saul truly believed he was doing the will of God – persecuting and murdering the followers of Jesus – keeping the Jewish faith and tradition pure, only to discover he was hurting himself with his narrow, legalistic, rigid understanding of who God is, and his horrible assumption of what God wanted.


I feel for Ananias.  Truly, I do.  Forgive the enemy.  Embrace the enemy as a brother in Christ.  Promote this new follower of Jesus as someone to be trusted – after all the death and violence Saul has perpetuated!  And yet, Ananias does just that.  He knows what God wants him to do, loathes the action he must take, yet out of love and devotion to God, Ananias does exactly what God desires he do, and look at the result…


However, there is more to this story than the obvious.  Remember the text box.  God is always up to something, always finding us, converting us, calling us, urging us…


Jamie McCallum, Pastor at Belfair Community Church, Belfair, Washington, writes the following:

The story of Paul’s conversion joins a litany of dramatic conversion stories that unfold in Acts 8-10.  Beginning with Acts 8:4 we read about the conversion of the Samaritans, then an Ethiopian, and now the conversion of Saul.  The conversions climax with a Roman centurion believing and being baptized.  Each of these stories takes us farther from the original community in Jerusalem than the one before.  They each tell a story of a God who touches the lives of unlikely people from diverse backgrounds, so the good news will spread to the ends of the earth.[1]

Unlikely people from diverse backgrounds called to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, you have a sense of humour indeed!  Does it ever occur to us that we are the unlikely people?  Not the addict that is lying on the sidewalk, the prostitute on the corner, the person selling illicit drugs in the alley – us.  We who were born and baptized into the body of Christ, affirming that baptism, who have walked in the faith all our lives, are the unlikely people!

Read the headlines, watch the movies, check out the action on the street.  We expect the unexpected to be converted.  That is the norm.  We expect deathbed confessions and conversions.  We expect the incarcerated to see the light and turn their lives around.  We expect a Damascus experience on the sidewalks, on the street corners, in the alleys.  What we don’t expect is that we, who have walked in the faith from our first steps, would be confronted by Christ with the question, “Why do you persecute me?”

Now that hurts.

It’s all in the name.  Once converted, Saul had to become Paul because his stature had changed.  He went from Saul, “asked for, prayed for”, circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless,[2] to Paul, “small, humble.”  Thankfully, God found Saul and guided him to the true path, the path of unconditional love, grace, forgiveness and eternal life.  And Paul was humbled.

Yes, it hurts when Christ confronts our shadow side.  It is also necessary.  One cannot share the Good News of Jesus Christ if one views oneself above everyone else.  The whole point of sharing your faith is to share what Christ has done for YOU!  We are all in need of the love, grace and forgiveness of God.  We all mess up, misinterpret, take offence, commit sins of omission as well as commission.  We are imperfect.  AND, we are loved, forgiven, redeemed, called, sent out and given strength to do what God wants us to do.  God guides, redirects, turns us around, does what is necessary, sends people into our lives as needed in order that we continue to proclaim what Christ has done for us.

What an honour!  How wonderful is it that God considers our relationship with Christ so important that we are continually called to share our faith story to help inspire others!  Wow!

Saul’s Damascus Road experience reminds us that we do not find God.  God finds us.  Always.

Thank God for that!


HYMN OF THE MONTH: MV 169  When Hands Reach Out Beyond Divides


We pray to the God of resurrection for the church, people in need, and all of creation.

Holy One of new beginnings, fill us with new life. Send us into the world as you sent your apostles Philip and James, to invite people to come and see your wondrous acts in Christ.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Revive ecosystems along coastlands that have been devastated by natural forces and human negligence. Re-establish plant and animal life that purifies air and water and that feeds humans and other living creature.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Accompany laborers who get little rest from their work. Give them hope when they struggle to produce what they need. Give all who labor fair treatment and just wages.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Restore all people who cry to you for help.  We lift up to you Bill and Terry Howie, Marlene Buhler, Evie and Brian Watt, Tracy Skoglund, Brooke Alexiuk, Joan, Wendy, Dwayne, Debbie H., Wendy Bachinsky, the Mohr family.   Turn their mourning into dancing, clothe them with joy, and put a testimony of healing and praise on their lips.


God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Be present to faithful ones who are persecuted for following you. Sustain them by your faithfulness, and give them strength in the name of Jesus.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Join our voices with angels, creatures, and all the saints in praising Christ and bestowing upon him all blessing and honor and glory. Reveal Christ’s glory to us and through us in our worship.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

In your mercy, O God, respond to these prayers, and renew us by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Amen.


SENDING SONG: WOV 723  The Spirit Sends Us Forth To Serve  


We are different but we are connected as a family of God;

We go with God, who calls us to love and serve others.

We are to called to build our community;

We go with God who calls us to seek justice and resist evil.

We go into the world with respect in Creation;

We go into the world to celebrate God’s presence.

God, the Author of life, Christ, the living Cornerstone, and the life-giving Spirit of adoption, ☩ bless you now and forever.




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://blogs.baylor.edu/truettpulpit/2016/03/30/acts-91-6-7-20/
[2] Philippians 3:5-6