Due to copywrite 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.

In-person worship has resumed at the Morris United Church at 11:00 AM.  Since we are still in the midst of a pandemic and desire to keep each other as safe as possible, we ask that you sanitize your hands when you enter the building.  Masks are mandatory as is social distancing.  We will speak the liturgy but will not be singing the songs.  The musicians will play the music.  You are invited to hum along, move with the beat and meditate on the words.

We realize this is not our preferred way to worship, yet worship does not depend upon our outward appearance and distancing.  It is our connection to God and each other that sets our hearts and minds to praise and worship our glorious creator!

If you are not feeling well, we request that you remain at home and continue to worship online or with the printed service.  We understand if you do not feel secure about in-person worship and desire to worship from home.

However you choose to worship, know that we are worshipping together and that we continue to pray for each other and look out for our neighbour.


Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times, during those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations, they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge, which will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes, they will teach you valuable lessons.



How do we define an abundant life? Is it by how much we have? Do we define it in comparison or contrast to what others have? Too often, our definition of an abundant life keeps us turned inward because it is characterized by the amount of money we have in the bank, the number of friends by our side, or gadgets in our pocket.

            Today’s readings provide us an opportunity to redefine what constitutes an abundant life. Each reading orients our perspective outward and gives us pause to consider the correlation between an abundant life and a life lived in faithful relationship to God.


Call to Worship

The world is filled with the glory of God, and we say,
Thank you!
The hills and valleys are filled with colour, and we say,

Thank you!
The vines and trees are filled with fruit, and we say,

Thank you!
Because we have food to put on the table, we say,

Thank you!
Because we have this community that loves us, we say,

Thank you!
We fill this house of God with our voices, saying,

Thank you!
May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you, O God,

as we enter into this service of thanksgiving and praise.

CHILDREN’S SONG:    VU #222  Come, Let Us Sing


Almighty God, your generous goodness comes to us new every day. By the work of your Spirit lead us to acknowledge your goodness, give thanks for your benefits, and serve you in willing obedience, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  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.


            Several years ago, I called my aunt, Ruth, on Mother’s Day.  Her own daughter had died, as had her sister, my mom, and I thought she might appreciate a phone call to let her know that her niece, me, was thinking about her and thankful to have her in my life.  When she answered the phone I said, “Hi Aunt Ruth!  It’s Leslie calling.  I wanted to wish you a happy Mothering Aunt Day, and let you know how grateful I am that you are in my life.”  Her response:  “Why are you calling me like this?  Are you sick?!  Are you dying?!  Is everything ok?!”  She was serious.  I suddenly felt very sorry for my aunt.  It almost seemed that she believed she was not worthy of being thanked for her presence in my life, or worthy of anything at all. 

            Throughout my life I have tried to thank people – for no other reason than they are a gift to me in my life.  Some have responded like my aunt, sceptical as to why I am saying thanks, wondering what I really want, not wanting to believe that they have had that much of an influence on my life.  Sad, really.

            So, to all the wonderful children, youth and young adults in our congregations, I extend an encouragement to you, this Thanksgiving Sunday.  I encourage you to thank people today and tell them why you are grateful for them being in your life.  If you can’t put it into words, draw a picture, express it in liturgical dance, or give them a hug.  It doesn’t matter HOW you say thank you to your parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents and friends.  What matters is that you DO – something, so that those you love KNOW, FOR CERTAIN, that you love them, pray for them, give thanks for them in your life.  In fact, don’t just do this once a year on Thanksgiving Sunday.  Share your love and thanks often.  It helps us all be better people.



Our gifts for Mission & Service provide tools and training to help communities combat food insecurity.

From January 28 to February 10, 2018, a group of youth leaders travelled to Nepal to see Mission & Service ecumenical partner Canadian Foodgrains Bank at work. The Rev. Janet Jones was one of the United Church leaders on the trip. Here, she shares her reflection on the impact of support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank:


“We gathered with moms and their children and learned about the nutrition and child growth monitoring programs other purposeful things they do together. We heard meaningful stories of children recovering from malnourishment, sometimes in three months, because of the programs offered. What’s best is that community members are trained and lead the programs.


“How do we put an end to hunger? Share collective knowledge and skills with each other, support and give care when needed, and share the global stories so we can realize we really are all the same. These projects focus on providing seeds, tools, and training to communities working toward self-sustainability. They’re able to feed their families through their own farming and sell the extra produce in creating income and savings.”


Mission & Service support is helping these communities thrive.


If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much! If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.


Radiant and unfading Wisdom, you are a breath of the power of God.  Help us be instructed by your words.

~(Excerpts of Wisdom of Solomon 6:12,25,7:25)

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:7-18

Times of abundance tempt us to forget God and rely on our own power and resources. But God is the one who took Israel out of Egypt, led and fed them in the wilderness, brought them into the land, and gave them power to be productive. To thank this God is to remember and proclaim God’s deeds.

7For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.
  11Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 12When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 14then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 16and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 17Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” 18But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

Psalm 65

R:  You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths overflow with plenty. (Ps. 65:11)

1You are to be praised, O God, in Zion; to you shall vows be fulfilled.
2To you, the one who answers prayer, to you all flesh shall come.
3Our sins are stronger than we are, but you blot out our transgressions.
4Happy are they whom you choose and draw to your courts to dwell there! 

They will be satisfied by the beauty of your house, by the holiness of your temple. R
5Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness, O God of our salvation, O hope of all the ends of the earth and of the oceans far away.
6You make firm the mountains | by your power; you are girded about with might.
7You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the clamor of the peoples.
8Those who dwell at the ends of the earth will tremble at your marvelous signs; you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy.
9You visit the earth and water it abundantly; you make it very plenteous; the river of God is full of water.  You prepare the grain, for so you provide for the earth.
10You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges; with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.
11You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths overflow with plenty.
12May the fields of the wilderness be | rich for grazing, and the hills be clothed with joy.
13May the meadows cover themselves with flocks, and the valleys cloak themselves with grain; let them shout for joy and sing. R

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Christian fellowship involves sharing with those in need. Here Paul is gathering a collection for the church in Jerusalem from all the Gentile churches he helped found. We can be extravagant in our giving because God is extravagant in providing for our lives.

6The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Gospel: Luke 17:11-19

A Samaritan leper becomes a model for thanksgiving. He does not take for granted the kindness shown to him but takes time to thank Jesus and to glorify God.

11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”



This sermon is taken from the United Church of Canada website.  It is part of a Thanksgiving Sunday worship service.  I appreciate this sermon because it focuses on a book of scripture that is little read in the lectionary yet holds much in its pages – The Song Of Songs.

…t would be helpful to connect Thanksgiving for the gifts of creation with the gifts of our senses.

Conventionally and commercially speaking, Thanksgiving is often associated with material abundance: the things we eat, harvest, and stocking up. Not only are material things pointed to, but also, we focus on “we” in worship. It is “we” who offer to God; it is “we” who celebrate our fruitful year and our labour. This challenges us to see beyond material abundance and to point to God. It is God’s creation through the harvest for which we express our gratitude and it is to God that we give our thanks. The purpose of Thanksgiving Sunday is to help us ascribe to God glory for God’s own creation in the most worshipful and grateful way we can and “abundance” is part of that.

…God’s ownership does not lessen our part in ownership and our stewardship for the world. God’s ownership over all includes our human ability to appreciate, experience, and restore the creation. The act of “sharing,” a command of creation itself, is an invitation requiring our positive and active work, asking about our stewardship of creation, demanding we look into stewardship of our very own self.

What is God asking us to share? Besides our material abundance, what are we called to share with thanksgiving?

You may find an answer in The Song of Songs, the text in the Bible from which God is most absent, ironically. One of the shortest books in terms of length, this book is anything but short of imagery, tastes, human voices, and creation’s abundance. Most of all, Song of Songs expresses the beauty and the joy of a love relationship. All that is celebrated in the poem concerns the beauty of nature and the tenderness and devotion of love unspoiled by shame. Such love is arguably a reflection of the divine nature. We may say that God is most present in the book where God is most absent!

The Song of Songs is full of mystery and the unknown. There is no scholarly agreement with regards to authorship or date or even how the book is to be divided into its component literary parts. There is no consensus about its purpose, either. However, what is clear is that the first person who is doing the narrative in chapter 1, the partner who is in love, is a Black person, having dark skin. She is also very beautiful. Such a positive affirmation of being Black and beautiful contradicts the thinking that dark is ugly or dangerous and Black skin is inferior and less desirable than White skin.

So, the Song of Songs not only challenges the dualistic and patriarchal world view that says the body, women’s bodies, eros, and bodily senses are bad and therefore to be denied in Christian spirituality, it also challenges a Eurocentric racist view that justifies White supremacy at the expense of discrimination against non-White racialized peoples.

While nobody knows who this Black woman and her lover would be, such unknowing however, does not erase our ability to imagine and wonder. On the contrary, such “unknowing” evokes our imagination in ways that may reach into the realm of the Divine. The unknown characters in the text draw us closer to the mysterious Holy One. This uncertainty enables us to cross the boundary of the dream and the reality. It helps us to taste of the reign of God, which is somewhat beyond our human realm, and yet, at the same time, God’s reign becomes touchable, near and close to our sphere of life. The Song of Songs is a concrete example of what the abundance of life may look like and how we can experience and dream that life more fully. In short, the Song of Songs gets us to glimpse who we are as people full of sensations and gifts we can share.

What is most remarkable in this book is the explicit description of the senses that we humans and other living creature have. The Song of Songs does not fear the bodily, sensory, and sensual, but affirms it. We can know God through our sensual experience as a lover, a very present being who is caring, yearning, seeking, and faithful.

Agape and Eros, Sacred and Sensual are not opposite counterparts, but complementary to each other, interwoven in this biblical poetry. This song sings of the joys, desires, confusion, pain, and hope of physical love that is sensual, sensory, and sacred. This story touches young people and old people. This poetry reaches out to those who have experienced broken relationship as much as those who enjoy a present relationship or those who anticipate such a relationship.

Such a mutual relationship of love is also well stated in the Letter to the Hebrews. “Let mutual love continue,” writes the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews. Interestingly, mutual love is not abstract from the point of view of Hebrews, but very practical acts of “showing hospitality to strangers, caring for those who are in prison and being tortured.” This letter carries the theme of abundance beyond material things and into a new or wider sense of gratitude. A Thanksgiving lesson cannot be said better!

Once we move beyond the material abundance of Thanksgiving, we begin to rediscover the gifts of our senses, abilities to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste as much as we begin to deepen our sense of gratitude that is perhaps most well experienced and practised in relationships.

Through the gift of ourselves, embodied with our senses, we can and must share the abundance of life with others. Hallelujah! And thanks be to God. Amen!

HYMN OF THE MONTH:  More Voices #134  There Was A Child In Galilee


In the beginning, , you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

(Hebrews 1:10).

The orange Sun powerfully beaming out its colour of harvest celebrates your creation.  The silver Moon gently soothing the last burst of summer life also praises you.  We, therefore, join their praise for your warmth and care reflected upon and painted in the sky.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

We give thanks to you for all your glories and for our life of abundance.  We acknowledge before you now your yearning for us to share this abundant life as we reach out in prayer to those who cannot celebrate these gifts because of war, poverty, and violence.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

We also pray for those places in creation where want, need, and danger are present.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Tend to all in need of your compassion. Shelter all who are vulnerable in body, mind, or spirit.  We bring before you the Fulford family; the Heinrichs family; Art Ganske; Mike Froese; Brooke Alexiuk; Tracy Skoglund; Carolyn & Douglas; Gordon Dreger; Walter Dreger; Debbie & Dwayne.  Grant them solace and healing.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

God, our lover and our everlasting companion, accept this prayer of concern and thanksgiving.

Help us to continue in mutual love with you and with our neighbours.

This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ.




Go from this place with thankful hearts and joyful senses, and let us continue to share earth’s gifts—abundantly!

SENDING SONG:  VU #232  Joyful, Joyful We Adore You




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