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.


Peace is a dynamic state of well-being and harmony —right relationships among people and nature where there is no fear. Nothing and no one is excluded from God’s vision of peace; it includes all nations, cultures, and peoples, the whole inhabited Earth, indeed the whole cosmos. The quest for peace is at the heart of ecumenism and the shared path of reconciliation, of walking one another home.

            ~From Principles of Peace, Canadian Council of Churches, May 23, 2018.


     The word for today is restoration. Both the Old Testament reading and the psalm speak of God’s restoration of the people of Israel, gathering them from sorrowful exile into joyful community. The gospel tells the story of Jesus healing Bartimaeus, restoring his sight in response to his faith. Today we do not have the same understanding of “clean” and “unclean” people; however, those who are sick still need restoration. There are people who are hospitalized for extended periods of time who need to be restored to the community. There are folks in nursing homes who long for the connections they once had to a worshiping community. There are people in prison who are cut off. There are even people who have been hurt or disappointed by the church who need restoration.

     This same Jesus, the letter to the Hebrews reminds us, is our great high priest who continually restores us to right relationship with God. This hope of restoration is echoed in the reading from Jeremiah. Here God promises to gather and restore the people of Israel from their exile.

     This promise of restoration is acted out through worship. Much of what happens in worship is concerned with restoration. In the word, in the meal, in confession and forgiveness, we are restored to wholeness (and holiness) with God and with one another. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” What is this if not a plea for restoration? This restoration is not through our own merit, but through the love of Christ and the faith we have been given.


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 371  Open My Eyes 


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.


     Have you ever had this experience:  you have a friend who is obviously upset about something.  You can by the tone of their voice, how they are behaving, how they speak that something is wrong.  You ask your friend, “Are you ok?”, to which they reply, “I’m fine!”  “So, that would mean you are not fine.  Please tell me what is wrong.  Maybe I can help?”

     Just what does the word “fine” mean when someone who is upset says they are “fine!”?

     When I was in high school, we used to say that when someone who was upset said they were “fine” it meant that they were Feeling Insecure, Nervous and Emotional.  FINE.

     The problem with saying you are feeling FINE, when really you are upset about something, means that people can’t help you, and you won’t help yourself because you won’t share what is bothering you. 

     In today’s Gospel reading from Mark, Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus.  What is bothering Bartimaeus is the fact that he is blind.  Jesus can see that he is blind.  Jesus, who is very smart, asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus, who is also smart, does not answer with, “I’m FINE”.  Rather, Bartimaeus is honest about what is troubling him and says, “My teacher, let me see again.”

     Well, now Jesus doesn’t have to guess what the matter is!  Bartimaeus has said straight out what is bothering him, and Jesus gives back to Bartimaeus his sight.  Problem solved.

     Think about how much more helpful it would be if, when you asked your friend, “Are you ok?” they would say instead, “No, I am not ok.  My grandma is very sick, and I am really worried about her.”  Now that you know what the issue is, now you can ask if there is anything you can do to help, or offer to say a prayer, or spend time with your friend so they know they are not alone.  You don’t have to feel frustrated not knowing why your friend is upset because they gave an honest answer to your question.

     Hmmm…so the next time you are upset and someone asks you “What’s wrong?”, are you going to say you are Feeling Insecure Nervous and Emotional, or will you be honest and share what is bothering you so that you don’t have to struggle alone?  Good question!  Now, what will be your answer?



The Association of Strong Women Alone made all the difference for Maina.

     Maina Bai’s mother died when she was a baby, and Maina never went to school.

     When she was just 10 years old, her father married her off to an older man. By 16, she had a child. A few years after the birth of her daughter, her husband died. When she returned to her maternal home, Maina was married off―again.

     After a few years of marriage, Maina became a widow again. Single, she faced extraordinary stigma.

Approximately 2.18 million single women like Maina live in the state of Rajasthan, India. Whether they are widowed, divorced, or have never been married, these women are deemed “incomplete” and a disgrace to their families. As a result, many live lives marked by stigma, fear, and violence―simply for not being married.

     In 1986, The United Church of Canada partnered with Astha Sansthan, an organization that empowers marginalized individuals to advocate for their needs. In 1999, Astha Sansthan launched the Association of Strong Women Alone (ASWA), which your Mission & Service gifts support. Immediately, 450 single women joined. Today, there are more than 70,000 members.

     ASWA’s approach is simple: Create a safe space for single women to come together and get the knowledge and skills necessary to improve their lives.

     The association has made all the difference for Maina.

     She can now read and write and is empowering other women to become literate. Because of her leadership, 35 women have enrolled in adult learning. All of them now have grade eight certificates. What’s more, the generational cycle of illiteracy has been broken. Maina’s daughter can not only read and write but is also teaching others to do the same.

     Your Mission & Service gifts empower women like Maina to be agents of change within their communities. Thank you for your generosity.


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.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-9

This passage speaks not only of the southern kingdom, Judah, and its homecoming from exile in Babylon, but also of the northern kingdom (“Israel” or “Ephraim”) and its restoration. The northern tribes of Israel had been lost in exile to Assyria more than a century before Jeremiah prophesied.

7Thus says the Lord:  Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, “Save, O Lord, your people, the remnant of Israel.”

8See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. 

9With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Psalm 126

R:  Those who sowed with tears will reap with songs of joy. (Ps. 126:5)

1When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream.
2Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.  Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” R
3The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed.
4Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses of the Negeb.
5Those who sowed with tears will reap with songs of joy.
6Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed,
  will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves. R

Second Reading: Hebrews 7:23-28

Human priests of old offered sacrifice for their own sins and served only until their death. In contrast, Jesus is God’s Son, the holy, sinless, resurrected high priest. Death did not terminate his priestly service, but through his death he has interceded for our sins.

23The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; 24but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

  26For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Gospel: Mark 10:46-52

Bartimaeus comes to Jesus with faith, asking that he might see again. Recognizing Jesus’ identity, Bartimaeus is the first person to call him “Son of David” in the Gospel of Mark.

46As  and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” 52Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.


     I open with a meme that appeared on my Facebook page which I found to be brilliant in its truth and simplicity:

            Marriage is hard.

            Divorce is hard.  Choose your hard.

            Obesity is hard.

            Being fit is hard.  Choose your hard.

            Being in debt is hard.

            Being financially disciplined is hard.  Choose your hard.

            Communication is hard.

            Not communicating is hard.  Choose your hard.

            Life will never be easy.  It will always be hard. 

But we can choose our hard.

Choose wisely.

     The healing of Bartimaeus is a story that goes much deeper than the restoring of sight to a blind man.  It is a story that speaks to relationships, most importantly, faith in the holy one of God, faith rooted in trust, a trust that heals.     

     Bartimaeus is sitting by the roadside.  When he finds out Jesus is passing by, this Jesus with the reputation of being a miracle healer, what does he do?  He shouts at Jesus to get his attention!  Jesus can’t heal him if Jesus doesn’t know he is there! 

     None of us has the ability to read another’s mind.  So that means that if something is bothering you – speak up!  One can’t fix a problem if one doesn’t know one exists!  The people who told Bartimaeus to keep quiet did not view him with any compassion or respect.  He was blind, unable to fend for himself and therefore useless.  Thankfully, Bartimaeus knew he was worthy of Jesus’ attention and called out anyway.  He chose wisely.

     Notice that Jesus, upon hearing Bartimaeus cry out to him, stops right where he is and orders Bartimaeus to be brought to him.  Jesus is deliberately taking the time to listen to this man.

     If you want to improve your relationship – be that with your spouse, child, sibling, best friend – and you want to strengthen your communication, then stay put!  Turn off the TV, phone, computer – lock your door if you have to – make the time and space to listen, to share feelings, concerns, ideas and goals.  Let the other person know that nothing else matters in that moment except them and the need to communicate.  Jesus gave his full attention to Bartimaeus.  If he was pressed for time to get to the next town, he did not show it.  Bartimaeus may have been blind, he most certainly was not deaf.  He had heard the healing stories about Jesus, heard about the compassion Jesus displayed for those who suffered.  He trusted those stories, and he chose to take the risk that Jesus would have compassion for him as well.  Bartimaeus chose wisely.

     Now comes my favourite line in this story.  Jesus asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Brilliant!  Even if Jesus is all knowing, he still gets Bartimaeus to state his need.  There is no guessing, no assumptions are being made here!  A direct question is asked, a direct need is stated.  And, here is the even more brilliant part:  by asking “What do you want me to do for you?”, and having Bartimaeus give a specific need in response, Jesus now has the option of saying, “Yes, I can/will do that for you”, or “No, I will not/am not able to do that for you.”  This, in turn, opens up another alternative.  Jesus then has the option to respond with, “I am willing to do this instead.” 

     It is so easy to believe that we know the other.  It is so easy to assume we know what they like/don’t like, what they need/don’t need.   In 1995, Carma and I had been best friends for over 10 years.  I went to visit her in Calgary.  I knew she loved chocolate, so I went to a reputable chocolatier and bought a box of quality mixed chocolates.  I ended up taking them back to the store to exchange them.  Turns out that after ten years, I still did not know that Carma loved dark chocolate.  I had bought milk chocolates.  Before you think ill of Carma, it was my choice to exchange the chocolates.  And, I have not forgotten her preference for dark chocolate in the 26 years since that visit.

     A healthy relationship requires you to think like a lawyer.  Do not guess or assume!  Gather your facts, ask questions, clarify, be succinct.  If you are unable or unwilling to follow through with something, be honest about it, and, if possible, suggest an alternative.

     Bartimaeus trusted Jesus implicitly and his trust was rewarded.  It was his faith in Jesus’ ability to heal that cured Bartimaeus of his blindness.

     When you have the other’s back, when you state what you need, when you make time for others, check in, make certain all are on the same page, when you trust, you will find joy in your relationships and gratitude in your heart.

     Feed your faith.  Truly, we are body, mind and spirit.  The health of your relationship with God has a direct correlation with the health of all your relationships.  Your relationship with God requires the same dedication and attention as your relationships with the most important people in your life.  When you are balanced in body, mind and spirit, you are better prepared to nurture your relationships.

     Life will never be easy.  It will always be hard.  But we can choose our hard.

     Being blind was extremely hard for Bartimaeus.  He was reduced to living on the streets as a beggar.  Calling out to Jesus was hard because he had to cry out over the voices who told him to be quiet, over those who believed he was not worthy of Jesus’ attention.  However, once Jesus heard Bartimaeus, there was no turning back.

     It is so easy to dismiss this story as just one more healing story.  Yet this story runs deep for a man who had nothing to lose and everything to gain and chose to cry out despite opposition; it runs deep for the Anointed One who took the time to teach the people around him that every person has value in the eyes of God and that God chooses to have mercy;  it runs deep as someone who was an outcast displayed implicit trust that resulted in healing and demonstrated that a faithful response to being healed, to answered prayer, to being touched by the Spirit, was gratitude lived out through service.  Not so simple a story after all.

     Yes, life will never be easy.  It will always be hard.  But we can choose our hard. Choose wisely.


HYMN OF THE MONTH  MV 217  Hey Ney Yana




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 who are on our hearts this morning:  Pastor Norris Nordin, Dwayne, Carolyn & Douglas. Tracy Skoglund, Kathryn Schmidt, Brooke Alexiuk, John & Erica Sommer, Matthew Grossman, Mike Froese, Lorraine & Walter Pokrant.  Bring healing, comfort and strength.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Eternal God, you are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whose service is perfect freedom.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

God of the poor and unprotected, whose love is fierce, whose righteousness burns brighter than the brightest fire: fill our hearts with holy indignation when peace by way of justice is denied.  Grant us the courage to follow Christ, wherever that may lead.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Fit us, O God, for this new day.  Through your Spirit, grant us courage, so that today’s uncertainties may not overwhelm us.  Through your Christ, fill us with love, so that differences may not divide us.  Through your creative energy, make us new, so that the past may not enslave us.  Spirit, Christ, Creator, lead us into newness of life.

God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

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.



SENDING SONG  WOV 650  We Are Marching   


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. In the name of Christ.  Amen.


Go in peace. The living Word dwells in you.

Thanks be to God!





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