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.


“I cannot choose but adhere to the word of God, which has possession of my conscience; nor can I possibly, nor will I even make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience!  Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God!  Amen.”

                                                                                                ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, Church Reformer


Rooted in the past and growing into the future, the church must always be reformed in order to live out the love of Christ in an ever-changing world. We celebrate the good news of God’s grace, that Jesus Christ sets us free every day to do this life-transforming work. Trusting in the freedom given to us in baptism, we pray for the church, that Christians will unite more fully in worship and mission.

       Luther spent a great deal of time trying to know who God was and to find ways of expressing what he came to know and believe so that others would know God too. He used coarse language, drank beer, and wrote hymns using liturgical tunes people knew and recognized. When he wrote his catechism he used language his small son could understand. He even translated the Bible into the German language people spoke. Truth about God and our faith, as complex as it is, should be something we can grasp and wrestle with.

       The message of Reformation Sunday is God’s love for us. It is a love that frees us and redefines us as people of God and as members of the whole body of Christ. In God’s eyes, we are beautiful.


Call to Worship

God is our dwelling place from year to year, age to age.  And yet, we become complacent, forgetting who we are. 

God reforms us and makes prosperous the work of our hands!

God’s life surges forth through creation, like grass that renews every morning.   And yet we prefer to be dust, swept away in the wind of every new idea and new fad.  

God reforms us and makes prosperous the work of our hands!

God turns to us, and has compassion on us, so the great work of our lives manifests Christ’s glorious love to the world.

God reforms us and makes prosperous the work of our hands!

CHILDREN’S SONG:    VU #412  This Is The Day


Gracious God, we pray for your holy catholic church. Fill it with all truth and peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in need, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  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.


Communication.  In any relationship, communication is the means to health and wholeness.  When we communicate well, our relationships thrive.  Or so Martin Luther thought.


Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic monk who was devoted to God and God’s people.  He was also loud, stubborn and was looking forward to debating – talking excitedly – about problems in the church that he believed needed to be fixed.  Martin Luther wanted communication and a healthy church.  So, he nailed a large piece of paper to the church door listing 95 problems in the church that he wanted to discuss and fix. 


95 is a large number – 5 less than 100.  That is a lot of problems.  The church was in a mess.  You can see, as I unroll this paper, that they would have been talking a very long time!! 


Things didn’t work out quite like Luther wanted.  Still, God took the situation that had gone bad and made something positive come out of it.  Oh, we still have our struggles, even 500 years later!  AND, God still works with us, helping us communicate with each other, helping us to understand each other, helping us to forgive each other. 


That I find beautiful in all the communication that goes on in the Church is not whether we are right, or wrong.  Rather, it is that we keep trying to communicate, understand and forgive.  That is what Jesus, and the Church, are all about.




The Rev. Bronwyn Corlett shares this reflection:

When my father was sick, my minister visited.  The minister didn’t stay long – just long enough to let us know we were cared for, thought of, and prayed for.  We were not alone.

After I was in a car crash, I visited my minister to share my fear, anxiety, and confusion.  My minister listened and asked questions.  Not too many – just enough to let me know I was heard, I was okay, and I was prayed for.  I was not alone.

Our ministers are present in the big moments:  baptisms and funerals, weddings and divorces, celebrations and crises.  They are there in the everyday moments:  visiting, witnessing, and walking with us.  They remind us of God’s presence while we wrestle with life, faith, and love.  Ministers are not perfect or infallible.  They each have different gifts from God and are called to unique service.

Thank you to our ministers.  Thank you for the sermons, the prayers, and the visits.  Thank you for the times you leave your own families to sit with someone else’s.  Thank you for your leadership and your late nights.  Thank you for answering God’s call and living it out in The United Church Of Canada.

Thanks to our gifts for Mission and Service, ministers are supported through training at theological schools and education centres and through continuing education.

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.


     Holy One, we prefer you as an architect, whose desire is to construct for us perfect lives.  And yet, the witness of the scriptures says otherwise. No, your Word is explosive, it is a live wire, one that electrifies all who are within range.

     By the power of your Holy Spirit shine yet more light forth from your Holy Word, shocking our hardened hearts back to life with your freely given grace.  This we pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.



Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34

The renewed covenant will not be breakable, but like the old covenant it will expect the people to live upright lives. To know the LORD means that one will defend the cause of the poor and needy (Jer. 22:16). The renewed covenant is possible only because the LORD will forgive iniquity and not remember sin. Our hope lies in a God who forgets.

31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Psalm 46

R:  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. (Ps. 46:7)

1God is our refuge and strength,
  a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
  and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;
3though its waters rage and foam,
  and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
  the holy habitation of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be shaken;
  God shall help it at the break of day.
6The nations rage, and the kingdoms shake;
  God speaks, and the earth melts away. R
7The Lord of hosts is with us;
  the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
8Come now, regard the works of the Lord,
  what desolations God has brought upon the earth;
9behold the one who makes war to cease in all the world;
  who breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire.
10“Be still, then, and know that I am God;
  I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”
11The Lord of hosts is with us;
  the God of Jacob is our stronghold. R

Second Reading: Romans 3:19-28

Paul’s words stand at the heart of the preaching of Martin Luther and other Reformation leaders. No human beings make themselves right with God through works of the law. We are brought into a right relationship with God through the divine activity centered in Christ’s death. This act is a gift of grace that liberates us from sin and empowers our faith in Jesus Christ.

19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

  21But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

  27Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

Gospel: John 8:31-36

Jesus speaks of truth and freedom as spiritual realities known through his word. He reveals the truth that sets people free from sin.

      31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”

  34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”


In case you have forgotten, here they are:

  1. I am the LORD your God. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make idols
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. You shall remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
  5. Honour your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
  10. You shall not covet

~Exodus 20

The covenant of which God initially speaks, the “old” covenant, were the laws set down in stone tablets and delivered to the Israelites by Moses from Mount Sinai.  The tablets were immediately destroyed when Moses threw them on the ground because he came down from the mountain to see the chosen People of God worshipping a golden calf!

God made a second set of stone tablets which ended up in the Ark of The Covenant.  That didn’t stop the Israelites from disobeying the commandments – nor did wandering 40 years in the wilderness.  And people wonder why the book of Jeremiah seems to be filled with gloom and doom.  After 40 years of disobedience, wouldn’t YOU be a little disgruntled?!

What then is new about the “new” covenant? First, the new covenant involves a surgical procedure, re-writing the human heart. The biblical understanding of the “heart” is that it is the center of human intellect and will, knowing what is right and having the desire to do it. 

Jeremiah promises that God will replace this deeply engraved sinful heart with a new heart engraved with God’s law, written in God’s own handwriting. People will obey not because they are supposed to obey but because they naturally want to obey. Obedience will become habitual and second-nature. We will love God and neighbor just for the fun of it, often without even realizing what we are doing. 

The old covenant stressed one person teaching the faith to another. The new covenant stresses God’s action in getting inside our hearts and reprogramming our words, actions, habits and feelings to conform naturally to become the faithful servants of God we were created to be.

A third important item in God’s new covenant is a generous forgiveness that wipes the slate of the past totally clean. From the least to the greatest, “I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more”. We often place tight limits on forgiveness, just as Peter asked Jesus how many times we forgive those who wrong us–“seven times?” Jesus, reflecting a new covenant kind of forgiveness corrected Peter, “No…seventy times seven”. This forgiveness is generous and extended to all, from the wretched and despised to the great and the honored.

And it will all be God’s doing. The people have not demonstrated a great aptitude for faithfulness during the many years of the old covenant, so this time God will do it differently. This time, the covenant relies solely on God’s mercy, God’s ever-present grace in forgiving a disobedient people and calling them back into relationship.

The themes of a new, or renewed, covenant and of God’s overwhelming grace are, of course, fitting for a celebration of Reformation Day. Martin Luther did not believe that he had discovered something radically new in Scripture when he found there the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. He rediscovered a treasure that the church of his day had largely lost. The movement he began was as much a restoration as a reformation — the rediscovery of God’s abundant grace in the new covenant established in and through Jesus Christ. Luther was restoring the church to a right understanding of that covenant.

There is, then, in Luther’s theology a deep continuity with what had come before. Luther knew that God’s nature does not change. God was, is, and will continue to be a God of great mercy, forgiveness, and love for a wayward people. It is that people’s, the Church’s, understanding of God’s nature that had become clouded in Luther’s day. Like Jeremiah, then, Luther called the people of his day to a new understanding of God and a renewed emphasis on God’s grace and God’s abiding love even for a sinful people.

And it is all God’s doing. In and through Jesus Christ, the God of Jeremiah continues to forgive, renew, reform, and call God’s people into right relationship with him and with one another. God is faithful, even when we are not. That is the good news that both Jeremiah and Luther proclaimed, and it is news that can and should be celebrated on this Reformation Sunday with great joy.

Are we there yet? Have we arrived in those days that “are surely coming?” Yes and no. God worked restoration for exiled Israel in the sixth-century B.C.E., and God brought restoration to all people and all the world in Jesus Christ.  But we still await the time when God will have written the law indelibly on all our hearts. We are thankful in the meantime for the daily forgiveness and renewal God continues to bring through the gospel in every generation.  Amen.

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


God of Grace and God of Glory, On this Reformation Sunday, we give you thanks for the saints who have gone before us.  For those who faced trouble and trial, and even death, for the sake of the message of your mercy and in the spirit of Pentecost, the right to hear and read the scriptures in their own languages. 

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

We pray especially for those who now face trouble, trial, even death, for those members of the body of Christ who face persecution.  For your beloved children everywhere—regardless of tradition—
who live under the threat of religious persecution.  For people, especially those who are Indigenous, who face the extinction of their own languages through neglect, oppression, or cultural pressure.
We pray that all may hear the good news of the Prince of Peace in ways that resonate,
and cause us to drop our weapons and defences for the sake of the kingdom.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

We pray that you may help us not only walk in the shoes of our forebears, but fill them.
May all of us gathered here today be as captivated by the life you have given us in Christ
that we are freed to reach our friends, neighbours, and enemies with your unconditional love.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for the world you love in hope, and in trust, that we and your church might carry the light that has been passed down through the centuries, so we might be a beacon of your love to the world.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.



As you have been loved – love. As you have been welcomed – welcome. As you have been fed – feed. As you have received – give. And may the boundless love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit be always with you. Amen.

SENDING SONG:  VU #262  A Mighty Fortress Is Our God




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