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 the liturgy, A Step Nearer To Harmony, by The Rev. MiYeon Kim, who is ministry personnel at Edgerton-Paradise Valley Pastoral Charge in Northern Spirit Regional Council.

Other parts of this service have been taken from the liturgy, Kin To One Another, by Rev. Jackie Harper, United Church of Canada minister, retired.


God has entrusted us with his most precious treasure – people. He asks us to shepherd and mold them into strong disciples, with brave faith and good character.

~John Ortberg


Messages and information today are texted, tweeted, broadcast, e-mailed, phoned, lectured, announced, packaged, and repackaged. The means and avenues for communication are many. Yet when it comes to the person known as Jesus of Nazareth we are often left standing in the place of the Jewish people who gathered around Jesus at that portico. We long to know, Who are you, Jesus? and perhaps want to probe, What are you really about? Of course the qualification is for him to “tell us plainly”. As the church we have grown accustomed to the idea of Jesus seeking out the lost sheep and bringing them safely home—of knowing the sheep intimately by name. Today’s texts are rich in reframing who is searching for whom. Who is seeking after Jesus, and to what does that seeking lead? Still, will we be satisfied with any answer? The faith of Tabitha and the miracle-working Peter, the vision of saints and mythical beasts, and even Jesus’ works point to one who is in and of God. Yet we wonder if it can’t be spelled out for us more clearly. In this season of proclaiming a Christ who breaks the powers of death and whose realm is one of glory, we open ourselves to questions of exactly who this Jesus is—and see answers coming to life in story, miracles, and testimony. Today is an opportunity for us in weakness and glory, in doubt and in faith, in simplicity and awe to seek and embrace the one who is already in our midst.


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 all life and creation, 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 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.



“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.  Amen.

CHILDREN’S SONG:  MV 126  Are You A Shepherd


God, creator of us all, we gather to worship you.  We come as individuals, we come in family units, we come as neighbours and friends.  We come here where we are known by name, welcomed with all our fragilities and strengths.  We gather with kindred spirits who long to live faithful to your calling.  Guide us, inspire us, challenge us, comfort us, and nurture us in this time of worship so that we might be enabled to return to our daily lives ready to engage fully with all of your creation. We pray in Jesus’ name.  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.


     Jesus tells his disciples that he is the good shepherd, that the sheep know his voice and so will follow him.  If you ever have the opportunity to talk to someone who raises sheep, or who is an actual shepherd, go ahead and ask if that is true!  From my research, it is true, sheep do know the voice of their shepherd!

Here is a game you may have already played, and if not, try it out:

Gather your friends in a circle.  Place one person in the middle who is blindfolded.  The person in charge will point to someone in the circle who then calls out the name of the person in the middle, only they must try to disguise their voice.  After 5 tries, another person enters the middle.  Try to guess the person behind the voice in as few tries as possible.

While we have never heard the actual voice of Jesus, we do recognize Jesus’ voice.  Any time someone speaks to us with love, with kindness, with respect, who shows compassion, that is the voice of Jesus.

So, it is true – Jesus is the shepherd, we are his sheep, we DO know his voice, and we follow where he leads us, sharing his love and forgiveness with others.


In the movie, City of Joy, starring Patrick Swayze, there is a powerful scene where the American doctor, Swayze, confronts the local crime lord.  The crime lord has a chicken sitting on his desk.  The more the chicken wants to move around, the more weights the crime lord places around her neck until she can only squat down on the desk, subdued.  The crime lord then informs the doctor that if the people try to overrule him, he will continue to weigh them down until they have no other choice but to unwillingly submit to his rule.

As I was reading Bob Joseph’s book, 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act[1], this movie scene came to mind, unbidden.  I read to you a quotation from chapter 1:

Two of the goals of the government under John A. Macdonald were to lure European settlers to Canadian soil and build a railway linking the west coast with Ottawa.  The government needed access to the land for settlement and development.  Standing in the government’s way were hundreds of Indigenous communities comprised of thousands of people living their traditional lives on their traditional lands.  Reserves met the government’s need to contain and relocate communities that stood in the way of making room for settlers….

     The reality of the bands under the reserve system was they lost land, which constricted their ability to hunt, trap, fish, and harvest traditional foods to sustain themselves.  The scarcity of traditional foods combined with the introduction of foreign foodstuffs, the change in lifestyle and exposure to European viruses and diseases caused Indians’ immune systems to weaken and made them more vulnerable to malnourishment and disease….

     Some communities were removed altogether from their traditional lands, breaking their connection to the land that was part of their history, culture and identity.  In other words, all they had known all their lives was gone and they were left facing a future impoverished, malnourished, vulnerable to disease and controlled by the Crown.[2]

The past two years dealing with Covid has shown people the mental, emotional and spiritual need to meet together, eat together, celebrate together, grieve together.  Being mandated to stay in our homes, stay on the farm, distance ourselves from everyone while hidden behind masks has taken its toll on a large percentage of the population.  The effects of this pandemic will be with us for years.

As I ponder the fallout from this pandemic, and the scene from the movie, I pray that the Spirit of Christ will guide me to a deeper understanding of the pain, trauma and abiding wounds that have been, and continue to be, experienced by the indigenous peoples of Canada, and guide all of us to the path of healing and reconciliation for the well being of all God’s people.


O God of story, in the beginning you created humankind.  The Bible contains your story of love and encouragement and challenge, to your creation, to your children, and to us.  Today, may our hearts and minds be open to hear what your Spirit is saying to us.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Acts 9:36-43

Dorcas was a faithful and devoted woman of charity in the community of Joppa. Her kindness and her work with clothing were well-known, especially to the widows in town. When she fell ill and died, Peter raised her back to life through the power of prayer.

36Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
2The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
3You restore my soul, O Lord, and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. R
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. R

Second Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

Christ is the shepherd who leads his faithful to springs of the water of life. Christ is also the lamb who vanquishes sin and suffering.

9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

11And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12singing,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom

and thanksgiving and honor

and power and might

be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15For this reason they are before the throne of God,

and worship him day and night within his temple,

and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.

16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;

the sun will not strike them,

nor any scorching heat;

17for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,

and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Gospel: John 10:22-30

Jesus responds to questions about his identity with the remarkable claim that he and the Father are one. Those who understand this are his sheep; they hear his voice, follow, and will never be snatched from his hand.

22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”

HYMN: VU 747  The Lord’s My Shepherd


I have a complaint for the Lord.  I do not want to be a sheep.  Its not that I no longer wish to follow Christ, I just do not desire to be referred to as a sheep.  Why?  Well, from all that I have heard and seen of sheep, frankly, sheep are dense!  I would rather not be called a sheep, thank you very much!

How dense are sheep?  Well, where one goes, they all go; they can’t do anything independently, except get lost, and they do that very well.  They can’t fend or fight for themselves; they need a shepherd around constantly, and if you put up a wall on their usual walking path, rather than go around the wall, they will all stand there and starve to death, if no one comes to move the wall – and that story came from someone who raises sheep!  Now, you have to admit THAT is pretty dense.  I, at least, would walk around the wall!

So, how are human beings like sheep?  I just knew you were going to ask!  Ok, let’s be honest here:  they do tend to form herds, many can’t think for themselves and so adopt another’s opinion; many do  not pay attention to where they are going and get lost in the worst parts of town; and they don’t  like turbulent water.  Like sheep, humans want their water walled off, separated, calm.  Too much turbulent water in their lives makes them very afraid.

In what ways are human beings different from sheep?  Humans are very independent and self‑sufficient.  In fact, they can be so independent that they distance others around them and can die alone and lonely.  There are those who wall themselves in emotionally and live in their psychological cells until the moment of their death.

Then there are those people who refuse to take responsibility for their lives and actions.  If they perceive a wall – a barrier to their goals in life, rather than breaking down or going around the wall, rather than brainstorming and problem solving, these people will stagnate, complain and lay blame for their failures because someone else refused to move the wall.

I grant you that humans can be similar to sheep in their behaviours, but at least they don’t need a shepherd around constantly!  Once we become adults, we can think and act for ourselves!  We don’t need anyone’s help!  Here, at least, is one way that we differ from sheep.  Sort of.  Kind of.  Maybe.  Not.

Human beings need a shepherd, probably more than sheep in some ways, because their choices can get them into so much trouble, anguish and pain, that they need someone to help guide them into healing and wholeness.

I really don’t like being compared to a sheep!  Sadly, the evidence is not in my favour!

While I was on internship – in inner-city Toledo, Ohio – far away from any pastures and sheep – my supervisor was leading the adult class one Sunday morning.  Bill asked the people what they thought about the image of Jesus as the good shepherd.  After all, this was inner-city Toledo ‑ who has sheep in the city?  Would not one of the other images for God be more appropriate for people surrounded by skyscrapers and concrete, rather than blue sky and grass?  Interestingly enough ‑ no.  What came out in the conversation was that the people were aware of their helplessness, and many held in their minds the image of the shepherd carrying the sheep around his neck.  They associated Jesus the Good Shepherd with tenderness, understanding, love.  No, they didn’t want to switch from their image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  A lot of comfort and healing was associated with that image.

I believe it is the trust in this love and healing that makes the people of God herd together like sheep. When we gather as a Christian community to worship our Risen Lord, there is an emotional closeness and spiritual strengthening that occurs.  The turbulent waters of life become less turbulent when others surround the one who hurts.  New insights are attained, love and support are experienced, and we can go on.  It never ceases to amaze me how the power of the Spirit flows, with such amazing healing strength, when people acknowledge their vulnerability, and allow others into their pain.  But then, is that not where Christ, our shepherd, leads us?  He leads us into our vulnerability, weakness, fear and doubt, so that we might acknowledge that on our own, we have nothing, but with Christ we have everything!     Christ leads us to the source of our bondage in order that he might help us overcome it and break free!     Christ even leads us into death, so that we discover how to truly live.

Lead on, O Christ, our good shepherd!  Amen.

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


Our faith blesses us with stories of others who have sought to live in life-giving relationships. As we remember these siblings in faith, remind us of your guidance and presence with us. God of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; God of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; God of siblings who cared for one another, offered support and challenge, celebrated together, worked together, argued together, and grieved together. We are thankful for their witness. As they have done may we also seek to live in life-giving relationships with those we would name as siblings.

God of grace,

we give you thanks.

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.  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.

God of grace,

we give you thanks.

God of Ruth and Naomi, who embraced each other despite differences of race and cultural traditions and chose to be family for one another. For all who choose to be family, may your love and hope be sustained day by day.

God of grace,

we give you thanks.

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.  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.

God of grace,

we give you thanks.

God of Hagar, Abraham, and Ishmael; God of Sarah, Abraham, and Isaac; God of the complicated, the jealous and the broken, remind us that this too is real and that you walk with us through these troubling times.  God of Mary and John, called to relationships that stretch beyond blood, to care for one another. You invite us too to reach out in welcome, support, and care for one another.  God of the past, God of the present, God of tomorrow, help us to live in relationships that seek justice, love kindness, and ground ourselves in your love for us.

God of grace,

we give you thanks.

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 pray for our family members, friends and community members.  We lift up to you Bill and Terry Howie, Evie and Brian Watt, Tracy Skoglund, Brooke Alexiuk, Joan, Dwayne, Debbie H., Wendy Bachinsky, Jean Filbert, Audrey and Larry McCrady and all our friends who are recovering from Covid.  Lord God, we pray for healing in body, mind and spirit.

God of grace,

we give you thanks.

We gather these and all our prayers as one in the words Jesus taught us to pray by saying:


SENDING SONG: VU 273  The King Of Love My Shepherd Is


In baptism you name us your beloved children, kin to one another. As we go from this place of sabbath rest, embody the good news!  May we know your love that found expression in the most vulnerable of human form:  guide us, sustain us, and empower us to love.  Let people know the love of God, the peace of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.



Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS011617.
© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca
[1] Joseph, Bob.  21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act.  Indigenous Relations Press, Port Coquitlam, BC, 2018.
[2] Ibid.  pp. 7-9.