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.


“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”

Henri Frederic Amiel


     In today’s gospel Jesus tells a parable about a wedding invitation, a banquet, and God’s grace. Jesus teaches about a king who ultimately invites all people to a wedding banquet. At first this parable seems to portray a wide open and gracious invitation to a wedding celebration. However, by the end it is hard not to feel sorry for the poor guy who gets a last-minute invitation but gets thrown out for not wearing the correct wedding duds! He apparently wasn’t a winner on that era’s counterpart of that reality TV show! Again, getting married is not cheap—but neither is grace.

     Jesus tells this parable as a way of teaching us that receiving God’s grace changes people. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught, God’s grace is not cheap, it comes at a great cost upon the cross. Once we receive this costly grace, our lives are never the same. This grace compels us to act and calls us to bear fruit with our lives. Ultimately, we are led to share this grace with others. To continue to live in the same way after receiving this gracious invitation is not an option. So what are we to do? We simply receive the gracious invitation to the banquet and find a changing room—it’s time to live a new life.


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.


Come, let’s praise God together!

For God is great, and worthy of our praise!

Let’s tell stories of the things God has done—

mighty acts of power and love throughout history: for God is great, and worthy of our praise!

Let’s remember how much God loves us,

and celebrate the care God continues to show to all of creation:

for God is great, and worthy of our praise!

Let’s worship God together!

CHILDREN’S SONG:  The Banquet Song

CENTERING PRAYER:  Adapted from WFD prayer on

Good and gracious God, you are gathering this community from across the earth, asking us to pour out our lives on behalf of those who hunger. For hope, for justice, for daily bread. You are asking us to see the earth as you do, so very, very good. Trees with fruit, bursting with seed. Green plants for food, for humans and for every living creature. As a holy place for everything that breathes and to whom you have given life. Yet we see the realities before us and it takes our breath away: Those whose bellies growl every day. Those who consume more than their fair share. Breathe new life into us… as a global community, as local congregations gather us together so that we may remind each other of your intent for this earth. Gather us so that we may pour out our lives in Christ’s name, as Christ does on behalf of those who hunger.

CLWR:  Jeanne’s story

IN BURUNDI, your support is helping families go from needing emergency help to building their own futures.

Sibomana Jeanne, 56, lives with her husband and three children in Burundi. She was forced to flee her home in 2015, during instability in the country after troubled elections. Her children witnessed killings in her neighborhood, a traumatic experience for both children and parents. She knew they couldn’t keep the children in their home community anymore, and the family fled across the border into Tanzania.

They came back in 2021 when things had settled some, but life was very hard, and the family lived in constant hunger. Jeanne started receiving food in 2021 through CLWR’s partner LWF Burundi, which improved the family’s health and also meant she could send her children back to school.

Since then, as part of CLWR and LWF’s multi-stage project in the region, she’s also been given support to farm her land, and she joined a farming class that has improved how much she’s able to produce from the same plot of land.

Now she has enough income to purchase other supplies and livestock and continue growing her farm — and instead of only thinking of survival, she has plans to grow the farm, to renovate her small home, and has hope of sending her children to better schools and ultimately to university.

After everything they’ve been through, Jeanne and her family are on the path to building a secure future, but your partnership was critical — thank you for helping make sure the family had what they needed not just to withstand crisis, but to build their lives again.


Did you know that, according to Psalm 23, you are a sheep?  Yep.  You are a fluffy, gentle, bleating sheep.  Why?  Well, the psalm states that God is our shepherd, so, if God is the shepherd, and shepherds look after sheep, then that implies that we are the sheep!

Shepherds protect their sheep.  They make sure they have good food to eat.  Shepherds apply first aid if the sheep get hurt.  Yep, that sounds like something God would do!

The sheep trust their shepherd.  They can tell their shepherd’s voice from another shepherd.  They follow their shepherd.  Yep, that sounds like something we would do in response to God’s love and care.

When we are afraid, we can talk to God.  When we are happy, we can praise God.  When we realize how much God has done for us, we can thank God.

So, I am ok with being a sheep.  How about you?


Since we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from your mouth, make us hunger for this heavenly food, that it may nourish us today in the ways of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, the bread of heaven. Amen.


First Reading: Isaiah 25:1-9

After a hymn of praise acknowledging God as a shelter for the poor, the prophet portrays a wonderful victory banquet at which death—which in ancient Canaan was depicted as a monster swallowing up everyone—will be swallowed up forever. The prophet urges celebration of this victory of salvation.

1O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
2For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more,
it will never be rebuilt.
3Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
4For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the

rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, 5the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place,
you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled.
6On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged

wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
7And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread

over all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take

away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
9It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.  This is

the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Psalm 23

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. 
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. 

Second Reading: Philippians 4:1-9

Though writing from prison and facing an uncertain future, Paul calls on the Philippians to rejoice and give thanks to God no matter what the circumstance. God’s peace is with us and binds together our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ, especially when things around us do not seem peaceful.

1My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus tells a parable indicating that the blessings of God’s kingdom are available to all, but the invitation is not to be taken lightly.

1Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

HYMN:  VU 273  The King Of Love My Shepherd Is


Matthew 22:1-14

I confess that I am in agreement with the Rev. Dr. Richard W. Swanson, professor at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, when it comes to my gut reaction to this parable.  I quote:

This parable makes no sense.  At the very least, it is offensive.  The king has time to launch an attack on the city of his unworthy guests, kill them all and burn their city, all between killing the fatted calves and serving the appetizers.  Really?  And before that, the unworthy guests kill the messengers that invite them to a feast?  Seriously?  And the substitute guests, gathered off the street randomly, are expected to be wearing tuxedos?  And the one guy who is not so attired is bound hand and foot and thrown into the outer darkness?  So now we have the death penalty for the dress code?

There is nothing proportionate or balanced here.  If this is meant to be a picture of how God deals with Creation, this is not a God worthy of the name.

I mean it.[1]  End quote.

Which is why I join a small group of commentators who look at this parable from outside the usual perspective and commentary.

A short while ago I was reading through some of my old sermons.  Old as in from the first few years of my ministry, yea verily, even from my internship year in Toledo! (remember those A drives that used to be in computers?)  What struck me as I read through those sermons was the thought, “My stars, I was bold!”  This was, in part, due to my “greenness” in ministry and my fearlessness when it came to worrying about causing offence.  It was also largely due to the passion I had for the Gospel and my sense of justice and inclusivity.

Sadly, as I read through some of my current sermons, I realize that I have mellowed.  No, this is not necessarily a good thing, because the last thing I want is to become complacent, for then I am not doing the Gospel, or those who hear and read my sermons, any favours!  That would mean, bottom line, that I am not living out my call from God to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Thankfully, this parable has come along to remind me that proclaiming the Gospel is a call to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted!

Reading through many commentaries, it would seem to be the standard allegorical interpretation that the King represents God, those who reject the invitation are the religious authorities of Jesus’ day, those dragged in off the streets are us, and the poor fellow who gets tossed out stands as a warning that our response to God’s invitation requires us to respond appropriately.

Not buying it.

After reading those many commentaries, I note that the majority are attempting a theological back flip with a twist off the high diving board, which, in my estimation, still leaves God looking nothing like the God the person of Jesus is living out in his ministry.  Thankfully, my undergrad degree is in theatre, and not professional diving.

Not to discredit my theological colleagues, I am bound to the exploration of the relationships in this text that my theatre training has drilled into me.  I once again turn to Swanson as my guide:

What is the world created by this little story?  It is a world with kings, and therefore it is a world with subjects.  It is a world structured hierarchically, a world in which power holds things in the place that kings want them held.  That goes a long way toward explaining one oddity in this little story: it starts with an occasion of joy (“a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son”) and ends in murderous rage, which is acted out by both the subjects and the king.  The rage reveals that the joy is a veneer, a light coat of paste wax over the crude working of the machinery of power.  The subjects attempt a rebellion and the king destroys their city. The rage is also revealed in the king’s response to the guest (compelled to attend) who did not have a wedding garment.  You can invent any number of explanations for this odd reaction if you somehow need to make the king look justified.  Interpreters have done exactly that for centuries.  But the king’s violent and disproportionate reaction is best read as a revelation of the raw power that makes the world of the parable what it is. In that world, the king fails at controlling his subjects and his failure makes him insecure.  Worried monarchs are dangerous monarchs: they are likely to erupt in rage.[2]

The more I look at this parable, the more it makes sense, theologically and logically, that Jesus is represented by the guest without the wedding robe.

As far back as I can remember – which is about the age of 4, I have loved Jesus.  Specifically, I have loved how Jesus loved and welcomed everybody!  Jesus chose to eat with tax collectors, prostitutes, and all other societal outcasts.  Jesus was not afraid to offend the religious authorities, because he was God incarnate and understood mercy and grace better than they.  Jesus exhibited righteous indignation in the clearing of the temple.  Jesus was even called to account by the Syrophoenician woman, and agreed with her because of her faith!  Jesus was not adverse to changing his thought process when it was theologically logical to do so. Jesus stood strong in himself, strong in his relationship to God, strong in the living out of God’s love and mercy.  Jesus was so rooted in living the way of love, forgiveness and mercy, a love that opposed and threatened the power of Rome and all its lust for that power, that he had the courage to die for that love, forgiveness and mercy.

No, Pilate, no Tiberius, Jesus will not pretend to be flattered by your false invitation of inclusion and a tasty free meal, nor will he dress the part so that you will feel appreciated and your ego soothed.  Jesus will show up clothed in his own power to expose you for the power-hungry, insecure monarchs that you are, and will allow himself to be bound and thrown into the darkness so that he will become the light and hope for all those who dare to not conform with abusive power.

For many are called, but few are chosen.

There are many who have died for Christ, and still do, in many countries because they refused to stop loving and advocating for the poor and oppressed.  They refused to stop challenging corrupt governments.  They continued their ministry in spite of the threat to their lives because they had no peace in their souls unless they did.  Oh yes, people of God, the Call, and the threat, are very, very real.

Power, corruption, anger, hate and violence, as evidenced by the current world situation, are the headlines and seeming modus operandi of the rich, arrogant and powerful.  Even in peaceful Morris, MB, we are called by God to confront any abuse of power, anywhere, and stand beside the poor and oppressed.  Solidarity does not require special clothing.  It does require faith, trust and incredible courage.

Hmm.  It would appear that I am not as mellow as I thought.

Thanks be to God!  Amen.

HOM:  MV 173  Put Peace Into Each Other’s Hand


Trusting in the transformative power of God’s loving Spirit, let us pray for the church, the world, and all in need.

For the church of Jesus Christ in this and every land, that all followers of Christ share the mind of Christ and strive to live together in peace, staying firm in the Lord. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For green pastures and still waters and all the beauty of the natural world, that creation flourishes and humankind lives in right relationship with all you have made. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For the nations of the world and all who hold positions of authority, that they govern in accordance with God’s vision of justice, providing shelter and refuge to all in need, striving toward the goal of peace and prosperity for all. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For all experiencing valleys of illness and grief, that they be healed and comforted and find rest in the presence of the Good Shepherd who walks beside them. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For this community of believers, that wherever there is conflict or discord, the love of Christ may keep us united and make us mindful of all that is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, and excellent. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

In thanksgiving for the beloved saints who now rest in your mercy, that their faithful witness guides your church until the day we join them at your heavenly feast. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Gracious God, into your hands we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your unending love and amazing grace; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.



SENDING SONG:  VU 563  You Have Come Down To The Lakeshore

BENEDICTION –  Written by Kim Winchell

May the blessing of God, Creator of heaven and Earth, rest upon you and upon all that God has made; May the Risen Christ Jesus transform your life and your vision, so that you may live in reconciliation with all things; and May the power of God’s Holy Spirit move over this whole Earth, like the breath of Spring, to renew the Earth and all its people, so that all creation may join together in praise to God’s holy name! Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever. Amen




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