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


Your best friend and worst enemy are both in this room right now. It’s not your neighbor right or left – and it’s not God or the devil – it’s you.

~Edwin Louis Cole


The question is as relevant today as it was for the disciples and the first Christians: how do we live together, work together, as the body of Christ? We have been saved by grace, liberated by God’s love to love one another. What does it mean for us and for our community to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14) and to clothe ourselves in love?

We keep asking these questions because the way we gather as Christians continues to be profoundly countercultural. We do not gather as a social club, drawn and kept together only by shared demographics and interests. If church is only a social club, there is no reason to continue to gather if conflict arises, if uncomfortable issues are raised, or if “the way it’s always been” begins to change. If church is only a social club, there is no reason to do the hard work of reconciliation and forgiveness.

God calls us into community knowing that being in community is hard. In scripture we can find practical guidance for gathering through good and hard times. The Holy Spirit is always at work—in, through, and among us—to gather and regather us again. In community we meet and become Christ’s body in ways that are impossible for us as individuals; all the commandments are fulfilled in this call to neighbor-love (Rom. 13:9).


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.

Faithful God, help us to be gentle with one another in times of trouble. Help us always and unceasingly to put our trust in you. Help us to be not afraid. Help us to walk out from behind our closed doors to serve others as disciples of Christ in the presence and power of your Holy Spirit. Give us confidence and hearts so full of love for justice that we will not cease to work for the good of others, and for healing and for reconciliation between all peoples. In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP Stuart Strachan Jr.

In Jesus Christ God has removed our sins from us and given us a new name.

Now we are called Forgiven.

In Jesus Christ God has assured us that God could never forget us.

Now we rejoice that we are called Remembered.

In Jesus Christ God has changed our perspective that we are enemies of God and grace.

Now we are called Friends.

In Jesus Christ God has written us new birth certificates.

And now our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us worship our God who delights in us and rejoices over us and has given us a new name in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now we are called Christians. 

CHILDREN’S SONG:  WOV 664  A New Commandment (x2)


God of Wisdom, God of Words and Knowledge, we remember the variety of feelings we experienced when going to school.  Sometimes we were excited.  Sometimes we were afraid.  Sometimes we were overwhelmed. Sometimes we were bored.  We remember school friends and beloved teachers, favourite subjects and those that caused us stress.  As the children around us return to school, we know that they too are experiencing a variety of emotions.  Bless them all: those for whom school is a joy they enthusiastically embrace, those who would rather not be there, and those for whom school is a challenge for a variety of reasons.  May a path for learning be opened for each one.  Bless the teachers, the administration, and all the staff who offer their time, energy, and skills to the young people.  Sustain, encourage, and inspire each one. We pray in the name of Jesus, who was both student and teacher. Amen.

MINUTE FOR MISSION:  Providing Tuition Assistance

Your support helps remove barriers to education for teenagers like Hamdan.

Hamdan wants to become a doctor someday. As the oldest son, this young teenager dreams big amidst the daily struggles that he and his family face.

Hamdan’s family came to Lebanon several years ago to escape the war in Syria. They can barely afford their monthly rent, food, household expenses, clothing, and medical needs. While his father works in a produce shop, his mother stays at home to care for the family’s four children and two other family members. This family of eight lives on the father’s pay and a small income supplement they receive from the UN.

Like Hamdan, many children in Lebanon are at risk of losing their education because an economic crisis—intensified by the COVID pandemic and the devastating 2020 explosion in Beirut—has plunged their families into poverty. When parents can’t pay school tuition, children face an unstable future. The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) assists Lebanese students and Syrian refugees ages 8‒13 with tuition and fees to secure their education and prevent them from becoming a lost generation.

One thing Hamdan’s parents don’t have to worry about anymore is his education. With tuition assistance provided by MECC to Hamdan and his siblings, they can continue to study until graduation and gain entrance into a university—giving Hamdan a chance to achieve his dream.

Your support through Mission and Service helps remove barriers for teenagers like Hamdan so they can work toward their dreams. Thank you.


Words are connected to our feelings.  Suppose you have had a bad argument with someone you love and you yell at them, “I hate you!”  Say those words, yell them out loud now and see what feelings you feel as you say them, especially thinking about someone you love.

Now, thinking about that same person, say the words, “I love you!”  Do you feel a difference?

When we disagree with someone, it’s easy to feel frustrated because that person does not view a situation like we do, and we want them to!  It’s easy to say, in anger, “I hate you!”.  Yet once those words leave our mouths, we cannot take them back.  Not only do those words hurt us, they hurt the other person as well.  Not good.

When we do or say something that we know we should not say or do, and we are truly sorry we did, then Jesus would like us to admit that and say to the other person, “I am sorry.  Please forgive me.”

Will saying those words magically fix the relationship?  No.  The other person may still be hurting.   However, because we do love those people in our lives, hopefully, that will make a difference and we will receive their forgiveness.  Jesus, help us to always speak loving words!


Meet us here, Holy One, in this sanctuary of time and space that we have set apart in our week as an opening for your Spirit into our hearts and homes. In a world that is aching and divided, may our prayers be a gentle and soothing gift, offered in your name and in the spirit of your gathered ones across time and space. Amen.


First Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-11

God appointed Ezekiel as a sentinel for the house of Israel. Ezekiel must faithfully convey God’s warnings to the people. Remarkably, God—who is about to attack Jerusalem—gives a warning with the hope that repentance will make the attack unnecessary.

7So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8If I say to the wicked, “O wicked ones, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. 9But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.

10Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?” 11Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Psalm 119:33-40

33Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.
34Give me understanding, and I shall keep your teaching; I shall keep it with all my heart.
35Lead me in the path of your commandments, for that is my desire.
36Incline my heart to your decrees and not to unjust gain. 
37Turn my eyes from beholding falsehood; give me life in your way.
38Fulfill your promise to your servant, which is for those who fear you.
39Turn away the reproach that I dread, because your judgments are good.
40Behold, I long for your commandments; by your righteousness enliven me. 

Second Reading: Romans 13:8-14

The obligation of Christians is to love one another and so fulfill the heart and goal of the law. Clothes make the person as we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and live today in light of the future God has in store for us.

8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20

Jesus offers practical advice to his disciples on how individuals—and the church as a whole—should go about restoring relationships when one member has sinned against another.

 15“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

HYMN:  VU 657  He Leadeth Me


When I read this passage from Matthew, I think to myself, “I wish!  Oh, how I wish this is how disagreements would be handled in the church, but sadly, over the years, my experience has been that it would seem to be the exception and not the rule.

I have heard stories told of church members who haven’t darkened the door in years because of an unresolved argument; and how grudges are passed on to the 3rd and 4th generation of those who have perceived themselves wronged.  How one person will criticize and discuss another with other members of the congregation, yet NEVER with the individual in question.  Oh, how I wish this passage was carried out as naturally as breathing, but it is not.  So maybe it is time to examine ourselves in light of this passage.

I often think of how lonely families would be if people responded to family arguments as some have with church arguments. What would you do if you and your partner, or you and your sibling, had an argument, and the other stormed out never to set foot on the doorstep again for years?  One argument, one poorly chosen word, and you would not see that individual in your home for years!  Does this not seem to be a rather exaggerated response to the situation?  And yet this is precisely the response of some who have left the church.  And, if truth be told, we probably all know families where that situation is real.

This passage also raises the following question for me, “From whose perspective has the wrong taken place?”  I have seen rude and ornery members, including some pastors, confronted with their destructive negativism only to have them leave the church because they deem themselves wronged.  Well, sometimes the truth hurts, yet healing will only occur if such an issue is faced, not denied.  Then again, some people will use any excuse to leave the church.

True story:  There is a young, unmarried women in a congregation who becomes pregnant.  The pastor and church council decide that this woman should be removed from the church, such is her disgrace to the Christian community.  A letter is drafted for the pastor and council to sign in order to inform this woman of their decision.  Yet one council member refuses to sign saying that the letter goes against their understanding of the Gospel, forgiveness, and grace.  Shortly after, this council member receives a similar letter informing them that since they went against the pastor and council, they are now removed from the membership of the church.  What does one do, then, when it is the CHURCH that is in the wrong?

This is a powerful passage — its placement in scripture, its context, often speaking more loudly than the passage itself.  Note where this story is located — between the story of the lost sheep and the unforgiving slave.  The first shows how diligently God searches to keep us within God’s love and caring.  The second demonstrates the need to be merciful to others as Christ is merciful to us.  Even within this passage there is a call to be merciful.

Last week the apostle Paul spoke of Christians exhibiting adult behaviour.  I have actually had a church member say to me, “Well they hurt me first!  They should apologize to me!”  Apparently, we are to re-think our thinking.  We are being encouraged to let the other person know how we feel, rather than seething in silence and assuming the other can read our minds.  We are to remain calm, deal with facts and take emotions into account.  Should the individual admit a wrong-doing, it is totally unacceptable to say, “I told you so.”

How did Jesus relate to Gentiles and sinners?  If we are to follow Christ’s example then we should never write off people permanently, for every encounter is an opportunity for us to be a means of mercy and grace, EVEN IF the person refuses the love that is offered.

Contrary to popular belief, conflict can be a positive thing, for if dealt with constructively, it clears misunderstandings, solidifies facts, offers the opportunity for diversity and allows us to learn to respect the other’s person and opinions.  This passage shows us that conflict is an opportunity to experience Christ’s presence, demonstrates that one should strive to keep all sheep, and that if any become separated from the flock, either by choice or by decree, they continue to be held in prayer always with the hope of reconciliation.

Here is a model of compassion, mercy, reconciliation, the power of prayer and the presence of Christ.  We have been given a marvelous and gracious tool.  God grant us the wisdom and courage to use it.  Amen.

HOM:  VU 578  A Fire Is Meant For Burning


Remembering the caring and generous works of God, we pray for the church, creation, and the needs of our neighbors.

Hold us accountable, O God. Show your church where repentance is needed and lead us in paths of intentional compassion and listening. Help us extend hands of reconciliation and care, especially in relationships with other Christians and people of other faiths. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Reveal your miracles to us, O God. Move us to cherish you as we behold the wonders of creation. Renew the seas and the soil, the forests and the creatures that live in them. Turn us to ways of living that seek Earth’s thriving. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Inspire us to lead with honor, O God. Guide judges and legislators, police, and government officials to create and uphold just laws. Move us to treat all people with dignity and guide our conversations with one another. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Help us comfort those who suffer, O God. Reassure any who are harmed by the wicked acts of others. Bring peace to all who are vulnerable, frightened, despairing, or sick. Guard their waking and their sleeping. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Awaken us, O God. Challenge and encourage your people to value the vocation to which each is called. We pray for all discerning new possibilities or changing employment. In all our diverse callings, teach us to love our neighbor above all else. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Be our hope, O God. We remember with thanksgiving your disciples who died in faith. May their trust in your promise be our protection and our hope. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Remember us according to your steadfast love as we offer these and the prayers of our heart, trusting in your compassion made known through Jesus Christ.



SENDING SONG:  VU 641  Lord Jesus, You Shall Be My Song As I Journey


The God of glory, Jesus Christ, name above all names, and the Spirit who lives in you, bless you now and forever.  Amen.


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