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.


Jesus didn’t say, ‘Blessed are those who care for the poor.’ He said, ‘Blessed are we where we are poor, where we are broken.’ It is there that God loves us deeply and pulls us into deeper communion with himself.

            ~Henri Nouwen


Doing the right thing can take unexpected forms. This week we hear Jesus tell chief priests and church leaders that people from all walks of life can do their part to share the good news of God’s love for all. Like the brother in Jesus’ story who eventually goes to work in the vineyard, elders and children alike might feel reluctant about doing the right thing because it isn’t what we wanted to do.  Jesus’ life and death teach us that doing God’s will is about denying our wants for the benefit of our whole community.


            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.

          Gracious God, we pray for the courage to be our best selves and to give of our best selves. Help us to heal each other, to be allies to those who most need allies.  We pray for the health and well-being of all people and of this place.    Guide us, Heavenly Spirit, on new and different paths, paths of love, understanding, compassion, and commitment to serving others, loving all those known to us, and known only to you, your children in whom your Spirit resides. Amen.


Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God, who greets us in this and every season, whose word never fails, whose promise is sure.


Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of our neighbors.  Merciful God,

we confess that we have sinned.  We have hurt our community.  We have squandered your blessings.  We have hoarded your bounty.  In the name of Jesus, forgive us and grant us your mercy.

Righteous God,

we confess that we have sinned.  We have failed to be honest.  We have lacked the courage to speak.  We have spoken falsely.  In the name of Jesus, forgive us and grant us your mercy.

God is a cup of cold water when we thirst.  God offers boundless grace when we fail.  Claim the gift of God’s mercy:  you are freed and forgiven in the name of ☩ Jesus Christ.


CHILDREN’S SONG:  VU 341  Fairest Lord Jesus


God of love, giver of life, you know our frailties and failings. Give us your grace to overcome them, keep us from those things that harm us, and guide us in the way of salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

MISSION & SERVICE:  Education beyond Classroom Walls

When we think of education, many of us envision a classroom with books and chalkboards. But education extends far beyond that: Through education, we can also learn how the world works and how we work in the world.

The Women and Family Services division at the Church of Christ in Congo provides children with the education and training they need to take charge of their own lives when they leave school. With a combination of traditional education and life skills, they provide each child with the skillset they need to thrive after graduation.

Through funding, livestock and seeds are purchased to teach children sustainable agriculture. Older children have the opportunity to assist with livestock after their classes. They learn to care for chickens and take part in odd jobs in the fields.

Your generosity through Mission and Service helps fund programs that inspire learning and skills for life. Thank you.


If you have driven in the car with your parents lately, and you have travelled down highway 75 going into Winnipeg, you will have noticed all the orange safety poles that are dividing one side of the highway.  There is a lot of construction happening, and the poles are needed to direct traffic and avoid accidents.  It is a big change for drivers to all be on the one side of the double highway.  We also have to drive slower because of the workers, and some drivers get grumpy about that.  Still, while the drivers may not like the change, they must follow the safety poles and the speed limit.

Sometimes, God asks us to make changes in our lives, or in our way of thinking, or about whom we like or love.  We may not like what God is asking us to do.  We may even get grumpy about it!  We know we must do it.  We won’t feel right about ourselves until we do.  Thankfully, God understands that.  Still, it can be hard to make the change.  It is good to know that we can ask God for the courage and strength to change and God will help us get through it. 

Funny thing is, once we make the change, we often feel better and wonder why we didn’t make the change sooner!  Pay attention to God’s call to change, and become even closer to God in love while you do it!


O God, you direct our lives by your grace, and your words of justice and mercy reshape the world. Mold us into a people who welcome your word and serve one another, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.


First Reading: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

Ezekiel challenges those who think they cannot change because of what their parents were and did, or who think they cannot reverse their own previous behavior. God insistently invites people to turn and live.

1The word of the Lord came to me: 2What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? 3As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.

25Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? 26When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. 27Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. 28Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. 29Yet the house of Israel says, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?

30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

Psalm 25:1-9

1To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2My God, I put my trust in you; let me not be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3Let none who look to you be put to shame; rather let those be put to shame who are treacherous.
4Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths. 
5Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long.
6Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting.
7Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; remember me according to your steadfast        love and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.
8You are gracious and upright, O Lord; therefore you teach sinners in your way.
9You lead the lowly in justice and teach the lowly your way. 

Second Reading: Philippians 2:1-13

As part of a call for harmony rather than self-seeking, Paul uses a very early Christian hymn that extols the selflessness of Christ in his obedient death on the cross. Christ’s selfless perspective is to be the essential perspective we share as the foundation for Christian accord.

1If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.

9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Gospel: Matthew 21:23-32

After driving the moneychangers out of the temple (21:12), Jesus begins teaching there. His authority is questioned by the religious leaders, who are supposed to be in charge of the temple.

23When  entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you

by what authority I am doing these things.

28“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”

HYMN:  VU 333  Love Divine All Loves Excelling


Bishop Steve Bouman of the ELCA shares the following personal experience as a commentary on this Gospel text:

We began to find our power as a congregation in New Jersey through being a place where one could go when there was nowhere else to go.

When one invites the poor and the homeless to church, they do come, with personalities such as Edgar. He is by anyone’s standards a strange character. He lives alone in the nearby welfare motel better known for drug addicts and prostitutes than for the righteous. For some reason, he adopted our church and there are times when he pushed our understanding of what we mean when we say that all God’s children are welcome. I mean, he would sit in front of me in the first pew and if he didn’t like what I was saying in the sermon, he’d laugh and call out, “Ho, ho, ho! You don’t mean that, do you?”, and I would have to tell him, “Edgar, chill out!”

Edgar was rough around the edges. Some of his social graces had been rubbed raw from years of trying to survive in an inhospitable world. To those who did not know him, he could be scary.

On occasion Edgar got loud and demanding and, if the truth be told, my heart sank on Palm Sunday when I found him waiting for me in the sanctuary after a full day of liturgies, first communions and pastoral intensity. I know that when he’s waiting for me he wants something–a ride, some of my time–and he’ll often complain about this and that.

This is my confession to you:  I was the first son in the parable. I thought, “Okay, Lord, I’ll see what he wants,” but in my heart I didn’t want to go. I wanted to go home. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I became the second son.

On the drive to the motel Edgar talked my ear off while I prayed for patience. Yet something strange and wonderful began to happen as I pulled into the parking lot of the rundown motor inn by the George Washington Bridge. A door opened and an elderly woman emerged. She knocked on another door and another elderly woman emerged. They limped toward our car. Others, waiting at the edges of the parking lot, followed. They had been waiting for us. I became aware that I was now in someone else’s church.

For the first time I noticed that Edgar Lee Hill’s hands grasped a bunch of palms. He had obviously promised these people that he would bring them palms from our Sunday liturgy, tangible evidence of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Well, mothers and their children, addicts, prostitutes, the mentally ill, those who came to the temple after Jesus cleansed it, gathered around the car. The first lady was by the door. Soon the car was surrounded.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

I looked at Edgar. This man was the only one who has ever passed for a pastor in this backwater parish of broken souls. There could be no more fertile soil for church growth, spiritually understood, than this concrete parking lot and its waiting children of God. Edgar gave the woman a palm through the window. This lady knew her pastor. She just clutched her palm as if she had been given the most precious gem and called the waiting group over to the van.

“Get out of the car,” said Edgar. I could only watch in awe. He thrust the palms in my hand. “Give them the palms!” And I distributed them among those waiting. “Bless them,” Edgar demanded. I blessed their palms. I placed my hand on each forehead and pronounced the benediction. If I would have had bread and wine in my possession, I would have fed them right there.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I caught a glimpse out of my rear-view mirror of this continuation of our Sunday morning Holy Week liturgy as a grumpy old man walked back to the motel with a group of the children of God who are mostly forgotten and despised.

Our hope lies in the second son. We have no means of convincing God of our worthiness by the good words of the first son. We may fool ourselves with rules and traditions, by all the right words in worship, but if we do not have the actions to match, actions that do the will of God, we are lost. Our hope comes in knowing that, no matter how much we have messed up our lives, we are able to act like the outcasts of  today’s gospel and respond to Jesus’ love and acceptance. They deserved to stand with the Lord because they had responded to his choice of them and had in turn chosen him. We cannot let the past, with its hurtful choices, destroy us. We must give up our flimsy excuses for why Jesus should accept us.  Rather, accept the fact that Jesus loves us just as we are. In response to this love we seek to live as he would want us to live, doing the will of God.

To do the will of God is to watch for ways in which we are the first brother:  classifying others as belonging or not belonging, saying the right words but not matching them with action. As we remove the attitude of the first brother, we become like the second. We become open to all those whom God loves, and seek to find ways to love them. 

We are all loved, forgiven and showered with grace. This is most certainly true.  Amen.

Hymn Of The Month:  MV 173  Put Peace Into Each Other’s Hand


Remembering the caring and generous works of God, we pray for the church, creation, and the needs of our neighbors.

We put our trust in you as we pray for the church. Give bishops, pastors, deacons, and teachers the gifts of wisdom and discernment. Be with them in bold truth and faithful witness. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Lead us in your truth as we pray for creation. Empower us to look to the interests of others as we make choices that impact the environment. Summon us to be advocates for healthy waterways, habitats, and air. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Lead us in justice as we pray for those in government, the military, and other positions of authority. Give them humble and willing hearts, looking to the needs of others. We pray also for our enemies. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Trusting your goodness, we pray for all caregivers and people who are sick or suffering in any way. Give them encouragement and consolation in your presence. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Teach us your paths as we pray for this congregation. Be at work in us and unite us in your love as we labor together for the sake of the gospel. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

We give thanks for all the saints who died secure in the knowledge of salvation. Keep us fearless in our faith and certain of your resurrection. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Remember us according to your steadfast love as we offer these and the prayers of our hearts, trusting in your compassion made known through Jesus Christ.



SENDING SONG:  VU 672  Take Time To Be Holy


The God of glory, Jesus Christ, name above all names, and the Spirit who lives in you, bless you now and forever.  Amen.


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