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.

Selections of our worship service this week are taken from A Step Nearer to Harmony, a
Worship Service for Asian Heritage Month, written by t
he Rev. MiYeon Kim.  Rev. Kim is ministry personnel at Edgerton-Paradise Valley Pastoral Charge in Northern Spirit Regional Council.


This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.

          ~Joanna Macy


“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.” So claims Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015). You can watch his TEDTalk, “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong,” for a summary of his findings. Strengthening and restoring community bonds may be one antidote to the rising opioid crisis and loneliness epidemic. How might the church foster deeper connections among people and with God? Who is vulnerable to isolation in your community, and how might the church respond? Jesus asserts the power of connection with this “I am” statement. Those who remain connected to him will bear fruit. Disconnected from him, we wither.


“Ul-ssi-goo, joh ta!” is Korean and used as a response of delight. It means “Hooray, it sounds great!”

Han is a Korean concept of frozen and knotted feelings of despair, helplessness, fear, anger, and other negative feelings that have accumulated over a period of time and remained within a person or a group.

Wind is blowing from east, west, south, and north.  What is this wind?  This is the wind of justice and righteousness; she reveals the sin that covers the earth and scatters oppressive powers like mere dust.

            Ul-ssi-goo, joh ta!

            This is the wind of life and breath of God; she liberates the oppressed from their deep Han.
Let us sing for the day of Jubilee has arrived.

            Ul-ssi-goo, joh ta!

            This is the wind of peace; she makes us one in Christ and leads us to build harmony and peace.  Let us praise God the Holy Spirit, and come into her presence.  May we worship God in the Spirit and in truth.


CHILDREN’S SONG  VU 309  Para Para Pitter Pat   




Gracious God, we are thankful to be able to worship.   Please receive our worship and praise, and fill us with your joy.  Empower us with your great Spirit so that we walk together with our siblings, who are longing for your justice and peace.  In Jesus ’name we pray.  Amen.


We are not alone; we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:  who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:  to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.


The word “apology” in Korean is sa-gwa. The word sa-gwa has another meaning—it means “apple”! These days, Korean schools celebrate Apple Day. On this day you think of friends with whom you have been not getting along. Then you visit them to say sorry and fix your broken friendships.

In Matthew 5:21‒26, Jesus teaches the crowds that they have to repair their relationship with their siblings first before coming to worship God. Then the worship becomes the kind of genuine worship that pleases God.

I would encourage you to eat an apple today and think of your friends and family.  Is there anyone with whom you are angry, to whom you have said hurtful words or done something unkind.  Perhaps you can phone them and apologize; talk about healing the hurts.  If you do not have any broken relationships in your life, then, as you eat your apple, give thanks to God for all the wonderful people whom you love and who love you!

It is not an embarrassing thing to say you’re sorry; you need great bravery to do it. May the Holy Spirit give you great courage so that you say sorry and build a good relationship with your friends.



     May is Asian Heritage Month and the perfect time to prayerfully reflect on the contributions of Asian Canadians to Canadian society. 

     The month has been celebrated in the United States since 1979. In December 2001, the Canadian Senate adopted a motion proposed by Senator Vivienne Poy — the first Canadian of Asian descent appointed to the Senate of Canada — to officially designate May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada. In May 2002, Parliament approved that designation.

     The Church has benefitted from the inclusion of many Asian-Canadian members, in congregations that stretch across the country. The first Asian-heritage congregational members came from China, Korea, and Japan, with the churches they formed here acting as sanctuaries from racism, while allowing them to keep their culture and language alive.

     But in the early 1940s, even being part of the Church was no protection against laws which stripped Japanese-Canadians of their property, businesses, and even their churches. Many ended up in internment camps. Over sixty years later, British Columbia Conference acknowledged the injustice of its treatment of Japanese-Canadian church members. In addition, the 40th General Council in Kelowna, B.C., heard first-hand from some of the internment survivors. But it was too late for many of the former detainees.

     During the 20th century, new waves of immigrants from Taiwan, Korea, and the Philippines began to arrive and form congregations. For many of these new Canadians, their congregations become their extended family.

     The most recent influx of Asian members to the church occurred in the 1980s, when people fleeing the civil war in Sri Lanka arrived in Canada.

     The church now has congregations made up of Canadians from the following descendants:   Chinese, Japanese, Tamil and Taiwanese. These diverse congregations not only provide vitality and new perspectives for the church, but they have also given us some great leaders, such as The Very Rev. Sang Chul Lee.

     Rev. Lee became the church’s first Moderator of Asian heritage in 1988. Born in Siberia, the son of Korean immigrants, he received his theological education in Korea, Switzerland, and Vancouver, with his ordination in the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea. He came to Canada in 1961, where he served a three-point charge in Vancouver comprising English, Japanese, and Korean-speaking congregations, requiring him to preach three sermons every Sunday in three different languages.

     The Rev. Lee came to Toronto in 1969 and was minister for the Toronto Korean United Church. His election as Moderator in 1988 surprised many, including himself. “I just didn’t think the church was ready to elect an ethnic person,” he said at the time.

     The intercultural vitality of the church continues to expand today, including through mutual recognition of ministries with The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) and The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).

     The United Church of Canada, and other denominations, have benefited from the participation of many Asian-Canadian members. They have helped us strive to become an intercultural church, a church where all are welcome.



In Korean, the idiom of having a “wet heart” means to be overcome with emotion.

Caring God, thank you for your blessings in our life.  Your love overflows and wets our hearts.
We also share what we received by you, the Good News of the resurrected Jesus!  May we share this word of hope with others so that we wet the hearts of others with love.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Acts 8:26-40

Led by the Spirit, Philip encounters an Ethiopian official who is returning to his African home after having been to Jerusalem to worship. Philip uses their encounter to proclaim the gospel to him. Upon coming to faith in Jesus, he is baptized by Philip.

26An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

        “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,

and like a lamb silent before its shearer,

so he does not open his mouth.

33In his humiliation justice was denied him.

Who can describe his generation?

For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

  • Psalm 22:25-31

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27)

25From you comes my praise in the great assembly;
  I will perform my vows in the sight of those who fear the Lord.
26The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
  Let those who seek the Lord give praise! May your hearts live forever!
27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
  all the families of nations shall bow before God.
28For dominion belongs to the Lord,
  who rules over the nations. R
29Indeed, all who sleep in the earth shall bow down in worship;
  all who go down to the dust, though they be dead, shall kneel before the Lord.
30Their descendants shall serve the Lord,
  whom they shall proclaim to generations to come.
31They shall proclaim God’s deliverance to a people yet unborn,
  saying to them, “The Lord has acted!” R

  • Second Reading: 1 John 4:7-21

We love God and others because God first loved us. We cannot say we love God, whom we have not seen, while hating fellow Christians, whom we regularly see. Love toward God is to be matched by love toward others because the essence of God is love.

7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent the only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us and sent the Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.

  13By this we know that we abide in God and God in us, because God has given us of the Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

  God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as God is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because God first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from God is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

  • Gospel: John 15:1-8

On the night of his arrest, Jesus taught his disciples about the relationship they would have with him. Those who abide in his word and love bear fruit, for apart from him, they can do nothing.

 1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

SERMON: Acts 8:26-40  

Isaiah 43:19

            I am about to do a new thing;

                 Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

            I will make a way in the wilderness

                 and rivers in the desert.

When one reads this story in Acts, of Philip and the queen’s treasurer, one is tempted to conclude that this situation is about the conversion of this wealthy black man to Christianity.  Upon digging deeper into this text, I am left wondering if the one who is most affected by this encounter is actually Philip.

I have always enjoyed researching my sermons.  I learn so much from past civilizations, biblical scholars, archeology and the psychology of humanity.  While I learned much from my research on this text, I can’t say that I enjoyed it.  Studying how male children and young men were surgically mutilated in order to serve royalty in antiquity, even into the 20th Century, was enough to make me weep. 

Biblical scholar, Peterson Toscano, summarizes the situation:

Eunuchs in the Bible were typically castrated before puberty, sometimes with their consent, but usually not. They retained high voices. They didn’t develop body hair or facial hair like men. They looked and sounded different from the men and women around them.

You grew up but never experienced puberty. As boys matured, you did not change in the same ways. You began your work in the royal court. You longed to be in a family again, and even to have your own children. But you were busy and unable.

Non-eunuchs in the court respected and mocked you, sometimes at the same time. They envied your elevated status in the palace and jeered you for being less than a man. You felt rejected and alone. You were sick often and grew fragile because you lacked testosterone. Your bones grew brittle.[1]

In short, you were different, and different, then as now, was not a good thing.  Depending upon where you lived, it could shorten your life span.

Here we have Philip.  Not Philip the Apostle.  No, this is Philip the deacon.  He is devoted to Christ.  The Holy Spirit has taken an interest in Philip’s education and leads him to engage this person who is different. 

The Holy Spirit sends Philip out into the wilderness to chase down a chariot on which sits a wealthy black man, obviously educated, since he can read the words of Isaiah in, possibly, a language other than his cradle tongue.  A man who is obviously different.  There is no indication that Philip is surprised by this.  No indication that he wonders why the Spirit has him running after this chariot in the wilderness. 

Why Isaiah?  It would appear this man is Jewish, or a convert to Judaism.  He has spent a small fortune journeying from Ethiopia to Jerusalem in order to worship at the Temple.  Being a eunuch, this man would not have been allowed in the inner courts.  Is he searching for something and has he found it in the words of Isaiah? 

You are a boy of 10 years of age.  Your parents have sold you to serve the royal family.  You are held down against your will, your privates cruelly removed.  You are in agony, are bleeding profusely, you do not understand why this is happening to you, why your parents leave you.  Now hear the words of Isaiah:

 “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
33In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”

“Is Isaiah speaking about himself, or someone else?” this man wants to know.  Whoever this person is being spoken of in the scriptures, it resonates with the child within.  This scriptural someone understands suffering.  After Philip explains about Jesus, this stranger knows that Jesus loves those who are different. 

After a lifetime of being different, of living with the physical effects of castration, possible shame and ridicule, this wealthy Ethiopian hears words of acceptance.  Through the act of Baptism, this man is fully embraced into the body of Christ because there is nothing about him that can prevent him from entering into the Body of Christ! 

There is more…

Isaiah, chapter 56:3-5

Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
“The Lord will surely separate me from His people.”
Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord,
“To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial,
And a name better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.

Do you perceive the new thing that God is doing?  Do you see the path in the wilderness that God has created?  Are you drinking from the river that has sprung up in the desert?  Perhaps Philip is unaware of how deeply the love of Jesus has affected this stranger.  His whole life this Ethiopian has been aware of how much he has lost.  Through the love of Jesus, he is now aware of all that he has gained.  No wonder he went on his way rejoicing!

What of Philip?  He is whisked away to Azotus and proclaims the Good News all the way to Caesarea.  Has he been changed by this encounter?  To this different one the Holy Spirit directed Philip to proclaim salvation through Christ.  To this different one was extended inclusion into Christ’s body.  No where else in scripture has such a person been included.  I would like to hope that Philip was moved by this act of grace on the part of Christ’s Spirit.  I would like to hope that this moment was more than just “one more” converted to Christianity.  I would like to hope that the inclusion of “different” into Christ’s love would shake Philip to his core and open his eyes as to how many more “different” people needed to hear they were embraced by Christ.  I would like to hope that those outside of our boxes of acceptance would be given love, kindness and inclusion by Christianity.  

The Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada held a virtual Synod Convention last weekend.  Our theme verse was Isaiah 43:19. Our theme was “Walking in Newness of Life”.  Our guest speaker, Andrew Root, impressed upon us that in order to walk in newness of life, we must live with intent in our faith.  We must be open in our vulnerability.  People are looking for meaning in their lives, for connection.  We who proclaim Christ are that connection.  There was a time, centuries ago, when those who did not believe were considered different.  Now those who believe stand outside the box.  We are the new thing that God is doing!  We are the path in the wilderness, the river in the desert!  There is no room for exclusion, not according to the Spirit of Christ!  We are the ones called to embrace the world, love others into healing and rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit, who guides us to the most unlikely people and changes our lives forever.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH     MV 40  Never Ending Joy  


O Living God, we give you thanks to celebrate this month as Asian Heritage Month, to remember the contribution of Asian people to the mosaic of your world.  You blessed the continent with glorious civilizations in their long history, the birthplace of agriculture, built up by its fertile lands and life-giving waters:  the Tigris and Euphrates, the Indus and Ganges, the Yangtze and Mekong, the Han and the Jordan, in which your child Jesus was baptized.  From the northern steppes to the mighty Himalayas,
from the Mediterranean to the Pacific Ocean, Asia is a land rich with diversity.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

We think of our own heritage, and the ways it has shaped us in becoming the people we are today. We give thanks that all of us may offer that part of ourselves to one another, and to see one another as God does, as one human family.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

We pray for those who have come to our country from Asia as immigrants,
seeking new opportunities for a better life.  We give thanks for the entrepreneurial spirit many Asians bring with them to Canada.  As they grow and flourish along with us, we pray that Asian-Canadians born in Canada would remember the struggles of the generations who came before them and that they would value their Asian heritage, as we also value each of our own forebears and the cultural heritage we inherited from them.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

May the hostilities of our former nations be forgotten. Open us to one another to create harmony between us, whether we are Indigenous, White, Black, or Asian.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

We pray for those who serve in ministry who are Asian.  May they breathe new vitality into the Church from their various experiences and cultures. Give them wisdom when they serve both Canadian and Asian immigrant congregations.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

O God, we pray for those who have come to Canada as Temporary Foreign Workers. We pray also for those who are migrant workers in Asia who face even more brutal exploitation.  We pray for women and children in Asia and around the world, who work in oppressive conditions to produce the goods we enjoy in Canada.  We pray for anyone who is held back from reaching their fullest potential.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

In its recent history, many of Asia’s nations have experienced war and dictatorship.  O God, you were present with the oppressed and became their hope.  They joined together in solidarity and shouted for justice and peace.  We pray for those who still struggle to achieve justice and peace in their land.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

We pray, O God, for those we know who are sick, those who are in need of the healing touch of your Holy Spirit. We remember those battling depression or addictions.  We remain faithful in raising up before you Lil Schieman, Larry McCrady, Mike Froese, Brooke Alexiuk, Tracy Skoglund, Matthew Grossman, Lorraine & Walter Pokrant.

Hear us, O God,

Your mercy is great.

We pray for our own selves, our own hidden hurts that only you know. Give peace to our troubled hearts and strength to face the coming week. We gather these and all our prayers as one in the words Jesus taught us to pray by saying:


SENDING SONG  VU 372  Though I May Speak


Embody the good news!  Let people know the love of God, the peace of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.





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[1] http://www.meetinghouse.xyz/everything/2017/3/23/the-mystery-of-the-ethiopian-eunuch