Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words of one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have the internet may find the songs on YouTube.


In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.

~Albert Einstein


Human beings are relational creatures. We are created to be in relationship with one another and with God. No one, no matter how independent or disconnected they may feel they are, functions completely outside the context of relationships. From the moment we are born we are thrust into relationship with people around us—the people who delivered us, the people who will be taking care of us in a hospital nursery, our family, and God. When we enter this world we do so forming relationships right from the start.

Relationships, healthy relationships, require a lot of work and care to continue. In particular, relationships require trust to grow and become mature. Relationships rooted in trust can bring out the best in us. Relationships rooted in anything else can bring out the worst.

Today’s readings give us the chance to consider the trust required in the relationship between God and God’s people. Moreover, we are invited to give thought to the consequences of replacing trust with something else: hubris stemming from trust in one’s identity or work (in Amos), or hubris stemming from trust in others to sustain us rather than God (in Matthew). Paul reminds us that our relationship with God is cause for joy, even in the midst of sorrow, since we believe (trust) God’s promise of eternal life through the living Lord Jesus.

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  –  written by Joshua Lane

We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

We pray for the courage to speak up for the marginalized and oppressed, and to be a voice for the generations that have suffered under the weight of racism and discrimination. May your love and grace inspire us to take action towards healing and reconciliation, and to work towards a future where all are treated with dignity and respect.  Help us to listen to the voices of those who have been silenced for too long, and to work together to see restoration and healing. May we be guided by your love and grace, and may our actions be a reflection of your goodness.  May your Holy Spirit guide us towards a future where love, mercy, and compassion reign. We pray for your hand to be upon us as we work towards reconciliation, and we entrust our efforts into your hands.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP  ~ adapted from a post on the United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways Archive.

We have come to worship God, the living God,

Who calls prophets and teachers to bear witness.

We have come to praise God, the almighty God,

Who answers the forces of hatred and hurt with the power of grace.

We have come to worship God, all-gracious God,

Who chooses even you and me, to receive and carry the Word of life and hope.  All glory to God!

CHILDREN’S SONG:  Give Me Oil In My Lamp


O God of justice and love, you illumine our way through life with the words of your Son. Give us the light we need, and awaken us to the needs of others, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Canadian Lutheran World Relief- Rasha’s story

THROUGH GRIT, Palestinian women are getting the chance to overcome barriers to education and work.

“With only one year of training, I was able to achieve what some people take four or five years to do,” says Rasha Neemar, 35, who recently graduated from a professional program.

Rasha graduated high school in 2002 and she soon got married and began to have children. But eventually, her husband’s salary alone could not provide for the family and she needed to find a way to earn an income — a difficult challenge in a setting where employment opportunities for women can be limited and restrictive.

“By that time I had five children. How could I leave five children behind me and continue my studies? I needed to find training that would help me get a job quickly, where I could study and work at the same time.”

Rasha’s cousin told her about technical and vocational education opportunities through the Lutheran World Federation, so she decided to learn more and enroll.

“I did on-the-job training for three months,” Rasha says. “I gained a lot of experience dealing with customers, working on a computer, and many other office management skills.”

After her training was complete, Rasha was offered a position with the same company she trained with. Now her confidence has grown with her opportunity, as she serves as an ambassador for GRIT, helping other women learn about the opportunities available to them.

“The most important thing is to know what you want and to have the drive and self-confidence to achieve it. As long as I know I have the power within me, I can challenge anything — any difficulty, no matter what it is.”


When I was in my teens, our church youth group attended a youth gathering at camp Lutherlyn.

On the Saturday night we played a game called “Underground Christian”.  The entire group of 70 youth was divided up into Underground Christians and Police.  There was a safe place on the camp ground that was hidden, with a fire in the firepit, hot chocolate and singing.  Those of us who were Christians had to hunt in the dark – no flashlights! – in small groups until we found the safe place.  The only problem was, we had to be careful not to be caught by the “police” before we got there!

There wasn’t much of a moon that night, so we had to wait in silence until our eyes adjusted to the darkness.  Then, we did the smart thing – we held hands – as we slowly made our way to the singing in the safe place.

We made it, but not without tripping over tree roots, getting whacked in the face by branches, and almost being caught by the police!  The important thing was that we never stopped holding hands!!  Nobody got lost!

In the parable that Jesus shares with his disciples, he speaks of wise and foolish bridesmaids.  The foolish bridesmaids did not have enough oil to keep their lamps lit for when the bridegroom came to lead everyone into the wedding celebration.  The wise brought extra oil so that they could light the path for the bridegroom!  The foolish bridesmaids, having gone to buy more oil, were shut out of the party when they finally returned!  They missed the arrival of the bridegroom and so they missed being invited into the celebration.

I wonder, how Jesus’ story would have ended if the wise bridesmaids each held the hand of a foolish bridesmaid, and together they lit the way for the bridegroom.  That way, everyone would have made it inside for the party!  Just a thought…


Holy God, Word made flesh, let us come to this word open to being surprised. Silence our agendas; banish our assumptions; cast out our casual detachment. Confound our expectations; clear the cobwebs from our ears; penetrate the corners of our hearts with this word. We know that you can, we pray that you will, and we wait with great anticipation. Amen.



First Reading: Amos 5:18-24

In the days of Amos, people thought that the day of the LORD would be a time of great victory, but Amos announced that it would be a day of darkness, not light. He said liturgy is no substitute for obedience. The LORD demands justice and righteousness in the community.

18Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord?

It is darkness, not light; 19as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake.

20Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?

21I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

22Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon.

23Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.

4But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.


Psalm 70

1Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.

2Let those who seek my life be put to shame and confounded; let those who take pleasure in my misfortune draw back and be disgraced. 

3Let those who say to me “Aha!” and gloat over me turn back because of their shame.

4Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation say forever, Great is the Lord!” 

5But as for me, I am poor and needy; come to me quickly, O God.  You are my helper and my deliverer;

O Lord, do not tarry. 

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Some of the Thessalonians are worried that dead Christians will be excluded from the resurrection to eternal life when Christ comes again. Paul reassures them with the word of hope that all Christians, living or dead, will be raised into everlasting life with Christ.

13We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus tells a parable about his own second coming, emphasizing the need for readiness at all times.

 1“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

HYMN:  WOV 782  All My Hope On God Is Founded


I read MANY commentaries on this parable, and I think only one commentator had anything positive to say regarding Jesus’ words.

This parable is tough to hear because of the harsh treatment of the bridegroom toward the foolish bridesmaids.  After all, how many times have we each thought we had everything in order, only to discover we forgot something!  To be shut out of the presence of God for eternity seems an extremely harsh punishment for forgetting a little extra oil!

As I tell my confirmation students, if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t see the presence of Jesus, then you, as a baptized child of God, are to be Christ in that situation.  God is calling you to be a means of love, grace and forgiveness wherever you are.  Now, what do we do with this parable, because there isn’t much good news being proclaimed!

First, we need to understand the context of this parable.

The gospel according to St. Matthew has a heavy emphasis on the end times.  Part of the reason for this is that this gospel was written about 30 years after Jesus walked this earth.  When Jesus first ascended, his followers thought his return was immanent.  That is why the early Christians sold what they had and used the money to help the poor – they didn’t expect to be on this planet for very long!

Thirty years later, Jesus still hadn’t come.  Persecution of Christians by the Romans was increasing.  Jesus’ followers were starting to feel as if Jesus had forgotten about them.  Perhaps they were starting to have second thoughts about following Jesus?  We don’t know this for fact, yet, it is a valid point.  How were the leaders of Christ’s Church to keep the people focused on Christ and faithful to their calling when Jesus still had not come to claim them?

Over 2,000 years later, we are still waiting.

What does the Christian life consist of? What does God expect from us?

Here’s Jesus’ answer, according to Matthew’s Gospel: “Wait faithfully. Together. Or else.”

In North America, weddings are one day affairs.  They take months of planning, cost a lot of money, yet they only last one afternoon and the celebrations only carry on for one evening.  Not so in the middle east, in Jesus’ day!  Then, a wedding celebration would carry on for a week!  Extended family travelling to attended would be hosted by family members and generous friends.  You would have to provide food, drink and lodging for many people for a minimum of seven days!  Weddings were a big deal!

Since towns were small, the procession of the bridegroom would begin at the home of the bridegroom and everyone would walk to the home of the bride.  Lamps would be needed if the procession took place in the evening.  Delays were common.  The need for extra oil was real.

So, what do we do with this parable?  Jesus is using this story to point out what the realm of heaven is like.  He is not giving us a pretty picture!

The point of this parable is not that the foolish bridesmaids did not bring enough oil.  The point of this parable is that the foolish bridesmaids left the group to get oil, and therefore missed the bridegroom!  The point of Jesus’ parable is that the foolish bridesmaids should have stayed with the group and followed the bridegroom as best they could in the semidarkness and then they would have been invited into the celebration.  The relationship to the bridegroom is paramount to anything else!  And so it is with us.

Over 2,000 years and we are still waiting.  Are we as vigilant as we could be?  Should be?  Maybe, maybe not.  This parable is a call to evaluate our priorities.  Our faith in Christ is, or it isn’t.  Now is the time to examine our faith life.  What does Jesus mean to us in our lives?  Do our lives express that meaning?  Tough questions indeed.  We are living in very tough times.  Our actions out of love for Christ can bring positive change in a broken world.  Now, more than ever, is the living out of our faith needed.  Now, more than ever, is working together as people of God necessary to make this world a better place, one person, one community at a time.

I still don’t like this parable, because God does not come out smelling like a rose.  However, sometimes a reality check is necessary.  Does our faith mean something to us, or not?

When I think of all the organizations that exist for helping the poor, homeless, mentally ill, disenfranchised, I realize that self-examination of who Jesus is and what he means in my life is a healthy, wise thing to do.  We, as people of God, do make a positive difference in the world.  There is wisdom in examining our focus and the source of all love to stay on our path of being Christ to others.

Yes, this parable is challenging.  And, yes, sometimes we need to be challenged.  Amen.

HOM:  MV 42  Praise God For This Holy Ground


Let us turn our hearts to God, our breath and life, as we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

O God for whom we wait, come quickly to your people, bring your salvation, and center us in hope found only in you. Deepen our faith through meaningful worship and send us out with your justice and truth. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

O God for whom we watch, we glimpse your power in rushing water and your beauty in the darkening night. Restore this creation, and provide clean water to all people and animals. Save us from foolish, wasteful living. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

O God for whom we long, let justice roll down like waters on all nations. Bless citizens with wise leaders; save your children from war. We pray for the veterans of this community, that they are supported and loved. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

O God, in whom we hope, we pray for all who are in need. Provide for those who experience homelessness or hunger, support the under- or unemployed, and comfort any who are suffering this day. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

O God for whom we listen, inspire the music ministry of our congregation. Fill our worship with songs to proclaim your greatness. Help us to sing and dance with joy and tell boldly of your salvation. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

O God, in whom we remain, we remember our loved ones who have died and now live in you. Bring comfort and the assurance of new life to all who grieve. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We offer our spoken prayers and those held in our hearts trusting in your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.



SENDING SONG:  VU 412  This Is The Day   


May the God of all creation, in whose image we are made, who claims us and calls us beloved, who strengthens us for service, give you reason to rejoice and be glad!

The blessing of God, Sovereign, Savior, and Spirit, be with you today and always.  Amen.



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