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 to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.

Parts of this service are taken from the worship service Peace Sunday: Invitation to Everyone in Our Community to Be Part of God’s Mission from the website:  united-church.ca


Peace is not the product of terror or fear.  Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.  Peace is not the silent result of violent repression.  Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.  Peace is dynamism.  Peace is generosity.  It is right and it is duty. 

     ― Archbishop Oscar Romero


The psalmist imagines a temple of God where “even the sparrow finds a home”. It’s a small detail in a poem exalting the faithful who long for God’s house, and yet this detail makes all the difference. The zeal for God’s house isn’t so single-minded that it loses sight of the lives of others. Indeed, it makes space for the flourishing of other creatures, even the humble sparrow. The boasts of the Pharisee in the gospel reading leave no room for others—his prayer cuts himself off from them: “I thank you that I am not like other people”. By contrast, the tax collector’s repentance brings him into community with all of creation sustained by God’s mercy—the sparrow and everything else. In the sacraments of baptism and communion, God makes space for us and for all creation to find a home and to return our thanks in prayer and praise.


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.

Creator, thank you for your truth and wisdom, and for inviting us to travel the healing path with you; we offer you our hearts and minds so that we might embody your grace and share your blessings with all who live upon the earth. Amen.


Once upon a time, God, you delivered your people and gave them liberty.

And now, God, do it again!

You gave food to the hungry and sight to the blind.

And now, God, do it again!

You blessed all creatures of the Earth and declared your creation good.

And now, God, do it again!

As we join in worship this morning,

remind us of the rain that comes after the drought to fill our lives with blessing.

Come, let us worship God, giving thanks for the abundance of our lives.

CHILDREN’S SONG: VU 577  I’ve God Peace Like A River 


Holy and gracious God, we gather as seekers, lovers, disciples, and friends.  We gather to give you thanks for the blessings of our lives and to replenish and refuel our spirits for the road ahead.  We gather to learn the wisdom of your way and feel the warmth of your love.  Bless our gathering as we join our hearts and minds together in worship. 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.


     I love IKEA!  They have great ideas for storage, furniture for living in small spaces, and their salmon with vegetable medallions smothered in hollandaise sauce is delicious!  What I don’t love is when I get confused putting together their furniture.

I recently purchased an entertainment stand.  It looked great in the store!  I thought, “No problem!”, until I got the box home and realized it required two people to put it together.  I live alone.

I must say, putting together IKEA furniture is great for one’s prayer life!  There was constant communication with the Almighty while I took my time getting confused, getting unconfused, drinking numerous cups of coffee, playing a computer game so that I wouldn’t smash the unit in frustration…really, I could have just asked my neighbour to help me.  She would have been happy to do that.

So, why didn’t I do that?

Yep, pride.  I wanted to put the unit together myself, and as a result, I almost broke it.  Not good.

Sometimes, problems need two or more people to solve them.  Sometimes we learn the hard way that we do need help, and that is OK.  Sometimes, we need to ask for help, and that is OK.

The beautiful part of asking, not just God, but someone else for help, is that we feel more at peace.  We don’t have to solve everything ourselves.  That, my friends, is a wonderful feeling.

Yes, I did manage to get the stand put together without damaging it.  It took a much longer time to complete it.

That’s why I waited for my youngest daughter to come and visit me before putting together the bookshelves!…


     Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, Mission & Service partners have been responding to the needs of those impacted by the war. Here’s an update about some of the ways your generosity is helping to provide life-saving support through our global partnerships:

  • With the freezing cold of winter looming, ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) is working hard to ensure that those affected by the conflict have safe, warm, and dignified accommodation. As schools are being used to shelter refugees and internally displaced people, ACT is making certain children can continue to access education.
  • In the earliest days of the crisis, one of our partners—Hungarian Interchurch Aid—opened welcome points at borders for those driving and walking across the border and transitioned to support those arriving by train. They have now opened a centralized refugee hub.
  • In Poland, our partner the Lutheran World Federation is hosting cash support centres, providing refugee families with money to meet their basic needs.
  • Throughout affected regions, Mission & Service partners are helping people access essentials like food, wáter, and hygiene.

Church leaders are also on the ground providing spiritual comfort. Father Eugen Omu is a Romanian Orthodox priest who is staffing a refugee welcome centre in Sculeni, Romania. “It is important to have priests here,” he says. “When someone sees a priest, it reminds them of God and gives them courage to face what is to come.”

Our church partners are at the forefront of the emergency response in Ukraine with help from faithful supporters like you.

Your generosity serves as a reminder of the loving spirit of God, providing care and encouragement when and where it is most needed.

Thank you for your ongoing support.


May these words of scripture give us new sight, new vision. May we see newly the   abundance of our lives and the opportunities we have to share with our neighbours. Amen.


First Reading: Sirach 35:12-17

The author of this wisdom book urges readers to give generously to God. The author also asserts that God is a just judge who does not show partiality but listens to the prayers of those who are oppressed and poor.

12Give to the Most High as he has given to you, and as generously as you can afford.
13For the Lord is the one who repays, and he will repay you sevenfold.
14Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it; 15and do not rely on a dishonest sacrifice;
for the Lord is the judge, and with him there is no partiality.
16He will not show partiality to the poor; but he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged.
17He will not ignore the supplication of the orphan, or the widow when she pours out her complaint.

Psalm 84:1-7

R:  Happy are the people whose strength is in you. (Ps. 84:5)

1How dear to me is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts!
2My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
3Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young,
by the side of your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God.
4Happy are they who dwell in your house!  They will always be praising you. R
5Happy are the people whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on the pilgrims’ way.
6Those who go through the balsam valley will find it a place of springs,
for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.
7They will climb from height to height, and the God of gods will be seen in Zion. R

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

The conclusion of this letter to a young minister offers a final perspective on life from one who faced death. Though others let him down, Paul was sure of his faith in the Lord, who stood by him and lent him strength.

     6As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

16At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

The coming reign of God will involve unexpected reversals of fortune with judgment rooted in mercy. Jesus tells a parable in which the one who humbles himself is exalted and the one who exalts his own righteousness is humbled.

9 also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt:10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

HYMN:  VU 684  Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace


1When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;  then it was said among

the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
4Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
6Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy,

carrying their sheaves.   (Psalm 126)

Do you know what it’s like to discover that your greatest dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Have you ever had a vision for your life that you actually attained and then had the crushing realization that it might have been the wrong dream to begin with, or that the realization of the dream came with some harsh new realities that you weren’t expecting?

If you know what that’s like, then you know what Psalm 126 is about.

It’s likely that Psalm 126 was sung after the Israelites returned from exile. You can imagine what it must have been like to come home after 70 years in Babylon. A lifetime in exile.

The psalmist said it was like a dream. There was laughter, joy, testimony. Even “the nations,” the people who worshipped other Gods and often threatened Israel admitted that “The Lord has done great things for them”.  Even they saw the hand of God in the homecoming.

Between the last word of the verse 3, “rejoiced,” and first word of verse 4, “Restore,” it seems that there is a pause. You get the sense that a lot of water has passed under the bridge of the dream.

There is a new reality.

You can read about what it was like post-exile in Haggai, Zechariah, Isaiah 3, and Ezra-Nehemiah. The economic hardship and disunity is palpable. There is a realization that there is rebuilding to be done. Planting. Organizing. Hard work ahead.

So, the psalmist gets to work…praying.

What comes to his heart are the watercourses of the Negeb. Seasonal drought always dried up the streams, but when the rains coursed, they would team with water.

Our Spirit is that dry, O God. Do that to us.

Literally, he prays, “sow in tears, reap with shouts of joy”.  You can almost see the psalmist on his knees now.

“Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy”.  Let them shout with joy “carrying their sheaves”. Not a few grains. Sheaves.

Who of us hasn’t yearned that deeply for restoration? For the mercy of God? Who of us hasn’t cried out to God in hope like the psalmist Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus, who gets wind of Jesus passing by him on the road, shouts “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” so loudly, so embarrassingly, that the people around him try to get him to hush up. And the more they try to get him to quiet down, the louder he yells “Son of David, have mercy on me!” .

And there is indeed mercy. Healing mercy. Peace. New dreams. The possibility that the hope of restoration will lead full circle, back to rejoicing.

Back to laughter, joy, testimony. Back to “The Lord has done great things!”

Here is the good news: We are not stuck here. We are not immobilized in the dry Negebs of our lives. We are not mired in the old dreams that didn’t turn out the way we expected. We are not confined to the sidelines, yelling in despair.

Our faith assures us that water can come of rock, that new dreams are possible, that grace is ours.

Ours is a story of good news. And the good news is ours to share. In fact, we can’t not share it.

Once we have come full circle and know that God turns us back to new dreams, it is impossible to pass by anyone else lingering down there where the land is dry and the eyes are wet with tears and where people are calling for mercy, and not, through our care, through our presence, through our actions and our advocacy, offer hope. That’s what you do here in this congregation and what we do together as a Church. Offering hope is the mission that you are a part of as God’s church.

You and I are a part of the circle of God’s grace. Both as giver and receiver.

In his poem “Widening Circles,” Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke (1875‒1926) writes of God at the centre of the circle of life:


I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.

I may not complete this last one but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.

I’ve been circling for thousands of years and I still don’t know:

am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?[1]

We may be a falcon, a storm or a great song. It’s true…we fly, we rage, we sing. And at any given point, we might be uncertain of who we are on the circle.

And yet, in all the uncertainty, wherever we go, there is God at the centre of it all, at the heart of our mission, the hub of beauty, wholeness, compassion, and justice. Turning us to new dreams. Inviting us into the centre to turn the wheel for others.

May we give ourselves over. Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH:   WOV 714   The Thirsty Fields Drink In The Rain


God our creator, our centre, our friend, we thank you for the circle of life inside which we are blessed.
We thank you for your vision of peace and abundant life for all.
We are grateful for those who are dear to us, for those who have died, and for all who have helped to

form and shape us.

We take a moment now to remember those loved ones who are on our hearts this   morning…(silence)
Gracious God, most of all, we thank you for the faith that is in us,  for our awareness of your presence,
and for our hope in you and your ways.
Keep us, we pray, ever thankful, faithful, and hopeful   now and forever.  Amen.[2]


SENDING SONG: WOV 780  What A Fellowship


Go boldly into the world this week, confident that by the power of God’s Spirit moving in you, you can make a difference, you can offer blessing, and you can welcome others into the circle. Let us share all that we are and all that we have so   that the whole world might be blessed.  Amen.


Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS011617.
© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca.
[1] The poem appears in The Book of Hours by Rainer Rilke.
[2] Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book | He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, 1989, and used with  permission.