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.

Portions of today’s service are taken from God Reforms Us:  A Service for Reformation Sunday,

by Rev. Ryan Slifka.


To reform a world, to reform a nation, no wise man will undertake; and all but foolish men know, that the only solid, though a far slower reformation, is what each begins and perfects on himself.

~Thomas Carlyle


     In many congregations, Reformation Sunday is treated as a sort of “Lutheran heritage” day, a time for singing chorales and remembering the theological reforms of the sixteenth century that gave birth to Lutheranism. In other parishes, a greater focus is placed on the church’s need for continual reform; the church’s history is secondary to an emphasis on the issues and needs of the church today. Both approaches have much to commend them.

     But the true center of this day is found in the appointed readings. In Jeremiah we are reminded of a new covenant and the promise that God will forgive, the promise written on our hearts. In Romans Paul brings the full force of the law to bear on our lives: “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). With this reality, how can we have any hope apart from divine grace? Finally, in the gospel reading from John we are reminded that our freedom comes from Christ alone. We are neither bound to the past nor slaves to our anxieties of the present.

     Psalm 46 brings all of this together with the powerful proclamation: “God is our refuge and strength.”  The God we know in the person of Jesus is the one we can turn to in times of crisis, the one we call upon in times of fear, the one we trust to pour out mercy and forgiveness upon us. This Jesus is our solid foundation. In a world of chaos, confusion, and change there is a constant: the enduring and life-giving grace of God.

     On Reformation Sunday—as every Sunday—we remember that we are not ashamed of this good news, this gospel.


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  Our God Is An Awesome God 


Wondrous God:  Thirteen billion years ago your creative spark called creation into being.  Two thousand years ago you lit a spark of new creation in Christ.  Five hundred years ago, your grace reignited the hearts of men and women with names like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Katharina Zell, Ulrich Zwingli, and Argula von Grumbach.  Just when we think all is settled, everything is finished, closed, your power and presence explodes on to the scene yet again, bringing newness, bringing life.  Fill us with your power and presence, O God, so we may, like our grandparents in faith carry your truth, your beauty, and your justice to the world you so love—a world in such need.  In Jesus’ name. 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 have in my hands a blob of Play Doh.  I will take this blob and reform it into a square.  Now I will reform it into a triangle.  Now I will reform it into a snake.  Now I will reform it into a ball.

     It is easy to reform Play Doh.  It is soft, mushy, easy to mold into another shape.  People are harder to reform.  The Church is even harder than humans to reform!  One cannot take a person and squish them into a new shape.  One cannot take the Church, the body of Christ, and say, “From now on you will do this!”  Reformation just doesn’t work that way.

     Reformation means to work to make something better.  Reformation means to look at what isn’t working well and change it so that it does. 

     The Church, the body of Christ, the people, in their faithfulness to God, are always looking at ways that we can better serve Jesus in the world.  We create ways to help others, teach others about how God loves everybody, change how we do things, change the words we use, so that everyone feels welcome.  Sometimes this is painful.  We struggle when we have to let go of what we know and have gotten used to.  Sometimes arguments happen because people are afraid of change and think that any change will mean the death of the Church. 

     Reformation means that we look to Jesus.  Jesus whom God raised from the dead.  Jesus who reminds us that even death can’t scare us!  The Church will not die if there is change.  In fact, the Church will die if we do not change! 

     Nope, changing how we do things, changing our learned thoughts and behaviours, changing our words and how we express ourselves will definitely not be as easy as reforming Play Doh!  It can be done!  It will take patience and time.  Lots of both.  We will get there.  Until then, keep reforming!



The people of the United Church are committed to turning compassion into action.

     Compassion lies at the heart of generosity.  From serving a hot meal at a local soup kitchen, to visiting a lonely neighbour, to financially supporting those in need in our local communities and around the world, the people of the United Church are committed to turning compassion into action.  

     In the last year alone, those who attend and support The United Church of Canada gave over $26 million to people in need and projects that matter. 

How did we raise over $26 million in a year? 

     It’s pretty basic. We share.  United Church people across the country join together to share what we can. We give to people and places in need through a unified fund called Mission and Service.

What does Mission and Service do? 

     We share our resources with three goals in mind:  

  • to transform and save lives 
  • to inspire meaning and purpose 
  • to build a better world 

How do you transform and save lives through Mission and Service? 

     To put it simply, we help.  Locally, we help people in need by supporting homeless shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, and refugee programs. We help young people on campuses and through camping outreach. We help people who are sick or at the end of life by supporting addiction, mental health, and counselling services and hospice care.  And more… 

     Globally, we help people access clean water, food, and medical care. We support skills training and economic development. We help with peace-making and sustainable agriculture efforts. We provide disaster relief and advocate for the rights of those who all too often don’t get a say, like children and migrant workers. And more… 

How does Mission and Service inspire people to live with meaning and purpose? 

     We support opportunities for people to grow spiritually in all kinds of ways.

     Locally, we support theological schools and education/retreat centres. We support events that promote spiritual development and personal reflection. We support new and innovative ministries, as well as communities of faith that are remote or in need. Globally, we support church organizations that work with theological schools, and we support places that offer practical training in agriculture and health.

It’s a win-win. We trust that when people are in tune with their meaning and purpose, they will naturally want to save and change lives and make the world a better place for all. 

Learn more about where the money goes, who it helps, and why it matters in Mission & Service at a Glance. 

Check out our latest photo collection, YouTube playlist, and resources on the Stewardship Toolkit.

What’s our approach? 

     It’s all about respect.   

     We work in partnership with people and organizations and never impose our solutions, ways of doing things, or belief systems. We aim for long-term solutions over quick fixes because we want to make a lasting difference. At this very moment, we are working alongside 72 partners in 21 countries around the world. We’ve built many of these relationships over decades. These vital partnerships allow us to maximize generosity in places that desperately need our help, and put donations to work quickly and effectively when disaster strikes almost anywhere in the world.  

     Learn more about our partners by downloading Mission and Service Partners and Ministries at the bottom of this page and by checking out our Partners in Mission. 

How can I give to Mission and Service? 

     Thanks so much for your generosity! 

     The United Church offers many ways to give. You can make a worldwide impact by donating through Mission and Service, help a special project by giving a meaningful gift through our gift catalogue, or support emergency and disaster relief—and so much more.  

     However you choose to give and whatever amount you are able to give, your generosity will change and save lives! Thank you.  



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

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.”


John 8:31-36:  Reformation Sunday, 2021   ESM

I wrote the following in my journal on February 8, 1980.  It was my older sister’s 19th birthday and the day I got my driver’s license.

“Got my driver’s license today!!  It was really easy!  I couldn’t believe it!  I drove dad and Kelly down to pick up the new car, and then I drove to Sears to pick up mom.  I then went through one stop sign (in the Sears parking lot), and made one FANTASTICALLY WIDE turn on Innes, but other than that, I did all right!  It feels neat driving by yourself!”

It is 42 years later and I still get that excited about driving!  There is something about wide open spaces, scenery, being in charge of my own destination, freedom…

And then I start to add up all my responsibilities when I am driving – my life, the lives of my passengers, the lives of other drivers, my reaction to animals leaping onto the road; black ice, careless drivers…It is then I realize that as free as I am, I am at the mercy of another’s freedom, sometimes abused, and I need to trust in God’s protection.  Yet as much as I rely on God to watch over me, I know this does not magically protect me from death.

In today’s scripture reading from John’s gospel, Jesus speaks of the truth and freedom that we experience in our relationship with Jesus.  The truth we experience is the recognition that we need God. It is also the recognition of the need for repentance.  Why?  Because, like the word or not, sin is a reality in our lives – sin being a broken relationship with God and all the collateral damage that occurs because of it.

The Church, the body of Christ, the institution, is not immune to sin, to broken relationships, self-serving acts and the need to acknowledge its sin and the call to reformation.

Pastor David Lose writes the following about Luther and his 95 Theses:

…the truth of the Son, the truth that makes you free, the truth at the heart of the 95 theses which Luther nailed to the door at the Wittenburg church, the truth of the Reformation that we remember and celebrate this Sunday, is that we are sinners – God’s fallen, at times flailing, regularly confused, and always imperfect children – from birth to death. Sinners that no amount of indulgences or good works or good intentions or status updates or creative social media posts can redeem. But – and here is the (second) truth which finally sounds like good news – we are also those sinners who are simultaneously God’s beloved children, those sinners whom God calls blessed and holy and perfect, those sinners for whom Christ died, those sinners whose futures are not determined by their regrets and mistakes but by the possibility created by resurrection, those sinners whom God loves above all else. We are not perfect…and we don’t have to be in order to be loved. But it’s hard to trust that we’re really loved – let alone the experience of freedom that comes from knowing you are loved and accepted – if we’re not honest first.[1]

Today is a day for honesty.  Today is a day for acknowledging broken relationships, taking a serious look at your life and asking God for the strength to reform.  The joy I experience as I read through my journals from my teenage years is that I can see how I have reformed.  In fact, I am still reforming, because life and circumstances do not allow me to stay in a protective bubble.  I have had to reform how I think, my choice of words, my definitions for other people; I have had to let go of my images of God and how I believe God should operate in order to experience the Divine and be changed by God’s radical love and grace.  The freedom that results from my reformation, my repentance, my acceptance of who I am as a child of God allows me to serve God without fear.  It allows an honesty with others that opens up doors for life-changing communication.  The freedom I experience in my relationship with Christ challenges me to keep being challenged in order to deepen my understanding, compassion and the desire to share the Good News.

Through my acceptance to follow the rules of the road and drive safely, I am granted the gift of a driver’s license and the freedom to drive anywhere on this continent – or on the planet.  By accepting my responsibilities as a driver, I have the freedom to travel, meet people, make new friends, see God in my neighbour, share the good news, listen to the good news in the lives of others, confess my sins, hear the confession of others, receive forgiveness, grant forgiveness, and be transformed by the whole experience! 

Driving gives you freedom.  Christ gives you freedom.  Both these freedoms come with responsibilities.  Both these freedoms are a gift, not a right.  Both freedoms open up the world and afford us the opportunity to serve others.  Both grant the opportunity to reform.  The Reformation is not a religious event that happened over 500 years ago.  The Reformation is a daily, ongoing, exciting opportunity to see what new thing God is doing in the world and how we can be part of it.

Soli Deo Gloria!


HYMN OF THE MONTH  MV 217  Hey Ney Yana



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 of us who are Indigenous, who face the extinction of our 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 Jesus Christ, whose words and whose touch healed so many.  We trust in your Spirit’s power.  We bring before you now family members, friends and community members who are in need of your healing grace:  the family of Walter Pokrant, Pastor Norris Nordin, Dwayne, Carolyn & Douglas, Tracy Skoglund, Kathryn Schmidt, Brooke Alexiuk, John & Erica Sommer, Matthew Grossman, Mike Froese.

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.


SENDING SONG  VU 262  A Mighty Fortress Is Our God   

BENEDICTION — words attributed to John Wesley

Go out into the world,
living in the light of Christ!
By the power of the Spirit
do all the good you can
by all the means you can
in all the ways you can
in all the places you can
at all the times you can
to all the people you can
as long as ever you can.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.


Go in peace. The living Word dwells in you.

Thanks be to God!





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[1] http://www.davidlose.net/2017/10/reformation-sunday-the-truth-about-the-truth/