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.


As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves. 

~Mahatma Gandhi


Today’s gospel starts with disciples obsessing over who will be closest to Jesus, leading to Jesus teaching his followers about God’s take on importance and power. Here Jesus makes it explicit that the reversal of values in God’s community is a direct challenge to the values of the dominant culture, where wielding power over others is what makes you great. When we pray “your kingdom come” we are praying for an end to tyranny and oppression. We pray this gathered around the cross, a sign of great shame transformed to be the sign of great honor and service.    

CALL TO WORSHIP   — God of the Bountiful written by Christine Sine, and posted on her website Godspace. http://godspace.wordpress.com/

God, we thank you for your harvest which feeds us so many times each day.  We are nourished with your forgiveness and hope, we are sustained with your strength and patience, we are filled with your grace and compassion.

God, we thank you for feeding us with a harvest of plenty.  We are restored through your generosity and healing, we are replenished with your abundance and joy, we are reminded of your selfless abandon.

God, we thank you for feeding us with the bread of heaven.  Your gift of Christ sustains our lives, His presence restores the promise of your love, His life fills our hearts with your everlasting light.

God, we thank you too for filling us with the water of life.  May we drink deeply that our thirst may be quenched may your river continue to flow over us, in us, through us and out into the world you love.

CHILDREN’S SONG   VU 595  The Servant Song


We bless you, God of Seed and Harvest, and we bless each other, that the beauty of this world, and the love that created it, might be expressed through our lives and be a blessing to others, now and always.  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.


            Many years ago, when I was in university, I had to work in order to pay rent and utilities, as well as buy groceries.  I worked for a long time at the North Hill Diner, in Calgary.  I waited tables.  Back in the 1980’s women were called waitresses and men waiters.  Today, both women and men working in restaurants are called “table servers”.  And most definitely, I served tables! 

            Most people were very nice.  Others were grumpy.  Either way, I put a smile on my face and in my most cheerful voice would ask, “What would you like from the menu this evening?”

            Most people liked their food.  Some complained about their food.  Most people tipped me well.  Those that didn’t like their food usually did not leave a tip.  I wanted to point out to them that I didn’t cook the food, I just served it!  Either way, I put a smile on my face and in my most cheerful voice would say, “Thank you for coming.  I hope you have a good evening.”

            Now, some people might say that I should not have been so nice to the grumpy people.  However, I try to follow Jesus and live as he would like me to, so even if someone was grumpy, and a few times, downright rude!, I always remained polite.  To do otherwise was giving in to poor behaviour.  I chose to treat even the rude people with respect.  I believe it is what Jesus wanted me to do. 

            The wonder of treating these people with respect was that some of them became regular customers, often sitting in my section!  They turned out to be nice people who, in some cases, were going through a tough time in life and took it out on me.  Some apologised.  Some didn’t.  The important message in this memory is that I stayed strong in my faith, listened to Jesus, treated everyone with respect, and as a result, some people became better people. 

            Serving others isn’t always easy.  It is tempting at times to speak reply to anger with anger.  When we can reply with love, rather than anger, we are helping to make God’s world a better place.


Defining Love: Emmanuel’s Story

Have you ever stood in front of the pantry at 6 p.m. looking for dinner inspiration? For some of us, figuring out what to make for dinner is stressful. The truth is that if our family mealtime dilemma is wondering what to make, we are fortunate. We’re fortunate because we aren’t asking, “Will we eat?” 

1 in 9 people around the world go to bed hungry each night.

191,000,000 children under 5 years old are malnourished.

As a young child living in Kenya, Emmanuel Baya went to bed hungry more nights than he can count. Sadly, his parents died when he was a young child, and he worked hard just to survive. That’s why his heart stirred when he saw children under the cashew trees near his property. He knew they were too busy looking for food to go to school.

“Most of the children who did not go to school were orphans. It saddened my heart so much that I decided to help,” he explains.

In 2008, Emmanuel opened the Magarini Children Centre. Today, over 287 children receive warm, healthy meals and education there. But Emmanuel decided he didn’t want to just feed the children—he wanted to make sure they could one day feed themselves.

So, he enrolled in the Asian Rural Institute (ARI), which your Mission & Service gifts support. There, he learned organic farming techniques. Long story short, he opened a demonstration farm next to the Children Centre. It’s now a learning hub for seven surrounding communities.

“This is my definition of love,” he says.

Isn’t Emmanuel’s story amazing? And isn’t it amazing that you have a part in it?

Please make a gift through Mission & Service this World Food Day.

Your gifts will help feed, educate, and advocate for the most vulnerable at home and around the world.

Your support makes a life-changing difference through extraordinary leaders like Emmanuel, whose lives define love every day.


Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that as the Scriptures are read and  your Word is proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Isaiah 53:4-12

This reading is from the last of four passages in Isaiah that are often called “servant songs.” Christians are probably most familiar with this servant song. In light of Christian faith, the servant’s healing ministry and redemptive suffering are understood to be fulfilled in the life and death of Christ.

4Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken,
     struck down by God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;
     upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him
     the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
     like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
     so he did not open his mouth.
8By a perversion of justice he was taken away.  Who could have imagined his future?
     For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.
9They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich,
     although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.  When you make his life an offering for sin,

   he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.
11Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
     The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
     because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors;
     yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Psalm 91:9-16

R:  You have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your habitation. (Ps. 91:9)

9Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your habitation,
10no evil will befall you, nor shall affliction come near your dwelling.
11For God will give the angels charge over you, to guard you in all your ways.
12Upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. R
13You will tread upon the lion cub and viper; you will trample down the lion and the serpent.
14I will deliver those who cling to me; I will uphold them, because they know my name.
15They will call me, and I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble; I will rescue and honor them.
16With long life will I | satisfy them, and show them | my salvation. R

Second Reading: Hebrews 5:1-10

Using imagery from scripture and from Jewish worship practices, Jesus is presented as the great high priest who was obedient to God’s saving plan. Through his suffering and death he has become the source of eternal salvation.

1Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; 3and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

  5So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

          “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;

               6as he says also in another place,

          “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” 

     7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Gospel: Mark 10:35-45

On the way to Jerusalem the disciples ask Jesus to grant them seats of honor. Jesus responds by announcing that he and his followers will “rule” through self-giving service.

35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 37And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

  41When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”


Mike prepared himself each morning for death.  Before he left his apartment he had a ritual of prayer, song and crossing himself as he made ready to step out his door and face the streets.  Mike was doing his internship in inner-city Detroit, the murder capital of the United States.  Mike very quickly learned the meaning of grace, mercy, service to God, and fear.  He also learned the meaning of joy, sorrow, racism, power of the Spirit, service to God, and peace.  Mixed in among this was culture shock, frustration and anger. 

Mike was very zealous for the Lord.  He wanted to share his love with the community in many and various ways.  He learned that there were those in the community who did not like what he had to say, or the fact that he was white, and desired that he leave.  Mike sometimes hid in his apartment, afraid for his life, afraid of those who could kill the body but not the soul. 

There were signs from God all around him that he need not fear, big signs in the form of caring neighbours and supportive church members, but still Mike was faced with periods of fear when all he could do was hide.

Then one day God spoke and Mike had the courage to walk out the front door.  He began to walk down the street.  As he walked, he became aware of footsteps behind him, matching his own.  Mike became concerned.  He picked up his pace.  The feet behind him did the same.  Faster and faster Mike walked, equally so did the presence behind him.  Just as the presence was literally breathing on his neck and Mike was fearing that he was about to die, suddenly a woman leaned out her apartment window and yelled, “Don’t you touch him!  He’s the vica’.”  As suddenly as the footsteps appeared, so they disappeared, and Mike was left standing in the quiet of the street.  It was in this moment of silence that Mike became fully aware of the presence of God.  That was when he made his decision.

Mike felt called to ministry, called to the inner city, to its broken, hurting people, and if he was to die serving God in this place, so be it.  He suddenly realized that no matter what happened, God would be present.  That was when Mike’s zealousness for the Lord took on new life.  That was when Mike decided to live by faith, not by fear.

On July 25, we honor the Feast Day of the apostle Saint James the Greater. A passionate evangelist and devoted disciple of Jesus Christ, Saint James serves as an example of unwavering faithfulness and enthusiasm. James and his brother John were the sons of Zebedee.  St. James who was beheaded at the command of King Herod Agrippa.  St. James, the only apostle whose death is recorded in scripture.  St. James who did drink the cup that Christ drank, who was baptized with the same baptism.  St. James, who requested a very egocentric favor and who was ridiculed by his peers because of it.  St. James, naive and hopeful disciple of Christ who thought he could follow Jesus anywhere, prove his loyalty by stating he could endure anything that Jesus could endure, and who ran in the face of a mob.  This same James became filled with the power of the Spirit and went out boldly to proclaim the Gospel of the risen Christ, even when that meant facing death.

Does this mean, then, that there is hope for me?  I don’t know about you, but I have asked many a foolish, egocentric request of God.  I have promised much to God, and myself, and fallen far short of the mark more than once.  And yet God has performed miracles through me, and I am profoundly moved and thankful for the wonders God has performed.  So I guess it just goes to show that the emphasis is not on my worthiness for the task, but rather what God can do with and through me. 



What about Mike and James?  What about these people of faith?  True, they experienced the presence of God and went out with renewed vigor to serve God.  Yet not everyone is faced with death for proclaiming Gospel, certainly not in Canada, that I have heard anyway.  But the fear of a different kind of death still exists.  It is the death of the spirit, the death of integrity.


As a minister I am outnumbered.  Simply put, all of you are my boss.  I have to answer to you for my work.  With this I have no problem.  I do have a problem.  I will tell you my fear.  My fear is that I will try too much to please you.  This is something I have learned early in life.  I am very good at it.  I am good at serving others.  I acknowledge it as one of my gifts from God.  My fear, however, is that I may become so intent on serving and pleasing and keeping my job, that I will sacrifice the Gospel.  That I will tell you what you wish to hear rather than what God desires you hear.  This, for me, is a real fear.  I have seen it happen before in clergy, and I am certain it continues to happen.  It does not make it right. 


When Mike was hiding in his apartment, I would hazard a guess that at one point he thought, “Is proclaiming the will of God worth all this anguish?”  This, too, is a common lament among clergy.  The answer, of course, is–yes.  Yes, in spite of the fear, pain, anguish and even death itself, proclaiming the Word of God is worth every moment.  It is in those moments that God’s presence is most strongly felt.  It wasn’t until Mike was left standing in fear in the silence of the street that he experienced the presence of God and became determined to live in faith.  James had to endure the silence of the loss of his rabbi and friend to the cross for two days, struggling to find God in the silence.  And when did the risen Christ appear to him?  As he was sitting in a locked room, in fear and silence, with the other disciples.  The Risen One suddenly appeared and offered peace.  After this, it was only a matter of time until Pentecost, and James became fearless.

It has been fifty-eight years.  I have lived much.  And while I still have my moments of fear and doubt, confusion and anger, I have experienced the presence of God enough to know that when it comes to the crunch, God will grant me the strength of integrity to proclaim the compassion, grace and Gospel of Christ, regardless.  Indeed, I will still, like John, ask things of God from motives self-centered, I will think I can do more than what is humanly possible, and I will probably be laughed at by my colleagues for my naivete and stubbornness.  What I hold on to is the knowledge that Christ will not reject me, but rather show me clearly what I am called to do.  Christ will continue to guide and mold me into a courageous, fearless, determined voice for God.  May you listen closely in the silence to hear the voice, feel the presence and know the peace, courage, and YOUR calling from God.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH  MV 217  Hey Ney Yana


―GLI prayer, Rev. Susan Eagle, Chair, Shining Waters Social and Ecological Justice Commission, with Barry Rieder, Jane Finch Community Ministry

God of all peoples, creator of a grand cosmos and tiny infants, source of nurture and creation,
you call us into relationship with each other.  We remain in our own judgment when we turn away from those of us who suffer in the midst of affluence and pandemic and the struggle to survive.  Open us to the cries of others and our hearts to your persuasive Spirit. 

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

May we acknowledge the needs among us and advocate for the fair distribution of resources.  May we learn the politics of justice and adequacy, that we may act with justice, love kindness, and move with humility.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Today we remember all who struggle to survive.  We specifically hold in our hearts low-income racialized communities, who have experienced the most challenges with COVID.  We pray for our political leaders, that they act with compassion as they are asked to give leadership to implement a guaranteed livable income.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Merciful One, for all who do the work of healing in mind, body, and spirit, we praise you. Surround and comfort all who struggle with depression, anxiety, cancer, diabetes, dementia, or any illness.   We bring before you Pastor Norris Nordin, Dwayne, Carolyn & Douglas. Tracy Skoglund, Kathryn Schmidt, Brooke Alexiuk, John & Erica Sommer and Matthew Grossman.  May they experience full healing.  We pray for couples who must live apart.  Grant patience and strength to Lorraine & Walter Pokrant.  We celebrate the slow and steady renewal of health for Mike Froese and pray for continued strength for his family as they have walked with him these past years on this journey.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Remind us, Holy Wisdom, that through your love we encounter in each person, friend, or stranger
Christ’s light and love in the world.  Grant that we may promote the justice and acceptance that enables peace, a true shalom.  Help us to remember that we are one world and one family. 



SENDING SONG    VU 670  Precious Lord, Take My Hand


May the grace of God, deeper than our imagination;

the strength of Christ, stronger than our need;

and the communion of the Holy Spirit, richer than our togetherness;

guide and sustain us today and in all our tomorrows.



Go in peace. The living Word dwells in you.

Thanks be to God!





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