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 a worship service written by Pat Miliken, found on the United Church Of Canada webpage:  https://united-church.ca/worship-liturgical-season/creation-time-1


“A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else. That is a definition that will never fail you, always demand more of you, and give you no reasons to fight, exclude, or reject anyone.”
~Richard Rohr


     If we were advising this shepherd, we’d caution against leaving the ninety-nine sheep to search for the one. Is it worth the risk? If we were financial managers, it would hardly make sense to throw a party for finding a lost coin that likely exceeds the value of the coin itself. These parables turn our conventional way of thinking on its head, but to what end? They point to an upside-down economic vision, one that reconnects economy and ecology. It does not make sense to seek out the one lost sheep or throw a party after finding a lost coin unless you understand that wholeness is part of holiness. Without the lost sheep, our community is incomplete. The sheep’s return means restoration for the whole community. The coin is not lost just anywhere but is lost within the house. In the seeking and finding, wholeness is restored, and holiness is manifest.


We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory and that Manitoba is located on the Treaty Territories and ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Anishininewuk, Dakota Oyate, Denesuline and Nehethowuk Nations. We acknowledge Manitoba is located on the Homeland of the Red River Métis.

Source of all life, you have created all lands and all peoples.  You have given abundantly, yet we have not been so generous to our sisters and brothers who share this earth.  We have been harsh to the earth itself, and suffer the consequences of our choices, our need for more.  Great Spirit, fill our hearts with the contentment of being alive, having enough, while celebrating friends and family.  Teach us to be kind to the earth, and all the lives it supports.  Teach us to be a people of generosity and peace.


This morning, the sun’s first rays called the day into light.

Did you hear the chatter and song of birds breaking the silence of pre-dawn night?

Did you see, the colours of dawn stretched across the heavens?

Did you feel the cool night air shifting to a morning breeze?

Creation is stirring; our day has begun.

Some of us woke from peaceful slumber, refreshed and renewed.

Or perhaps it was a long, endless night of sleep deprived hours.

Or even the tormented dreams of a restless mind.

Yet we have gathered here.

Whether reluctant or joyful, weary or rested, we raise our voices in song and praise.

CHILDREN’S SONG:  WOV 712   Listen, God Is Calling


Creating One, here we are, a gathering of your people; evidence of Creation’s unfolding, we come, all shapes and all sizes all ages and life stages.  We come on dancing feet or carefully walking.  We come hesitant and unsure, or filled with conviction and knowing our way.  However we come, we are here to join with all of creation in praise and thanksgiving.  Accept our gift of worship as with one voice, one hope, one love, we gather into praise.  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.


What does it mean to be lost?  I remember walking around in an underground parking lot looking for my car.  I couldn’t find it!  A couple was walking ahead of me.  The husband said, “Honey, I think I’ve lost the car!”  I replied, “I know that feeling!”  It turns out we were on the wrong level!  To not be able to find an object is one way to explain the word “lost”.

Another way to explain the word “lost” is to look around you as you drive through the streets of Winnipeg.  There are people sitting on the sidewalks, standing at street corners and sitting in front of stores and restaurants begging for money.  You may hear someone refer to these people as “lost souls”.  Perhaps they can’t work, perhaps they are addicted to something, perhaps they believe that living on the street is all they are worth.  Whatever the reason, these folks are considered “lost” by the rest of society.

I used to visit inmates in a prison.  Many of the men in the prison were “lost” people who had made hurtful choices.  They broke the law.  I heard many life stories.  Many of those stories were filled with anger, pain, fear and suffering.

The beautiful thing is that, no matter how you describe the word “lost”, Jesus is in the world looking for those people who are lost to let them know he loves them, accepts them, forgives them, hugs them.  How does Jesus do this?  Through us!  We are Jesus’ hands and feet, eyes and ears and voice.  When we share the love of Jesus through our words and actions, we are letting people know that Jesus loves them, had not forgotten them, has found them, no matter where they may be.  Beautiful!

MINUTE FOR MISSION: Agricultural Training In A Year Of Unprecedented Hunger

In 2019, 135 million people faced acute food insecurity. In 2022, the number of people who don’t have enough food to meet their basic needs has soared to 345 million. The United Nations calls 2022 a “year of unprecedented hunger.”

One of the ways your Mission & Service gifts are working to address hunger is by supporting agricultural training centres like the Asian Rural Institute based in Japan.  Earlier this summer, 32 community leaders from around the world arrived to study.

“Some enroll to solve problems like raising livestock, others to cope with climate change, and still others to find a market for organic produce. For many, it is their first time travelling outside their countries or even communities. For them, simply sharing life with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences is filled with immense learning,” reports ARI in a recent newsletter.

Marita and Ester are two of the participants. Both women work for a global organization called CIEDEG (Conference of Evangelical Churches of Guatemala), where they teach agriculture and support children’s education in church and schools.

Shortly after United Church staff referred CIEDEG to ARI, the women signed up. In their own words, they describe what motivated them to apply:

     We decided to apply for the program because we wanted to learn more and improve our work. Just as we are learning at ARI, we would like to work together with everyone, physically growing vegetables and caring for animals while sharing our knowledge.

In our hometowns, vegetables are usually grown in monocultures. However, at ARI, we are growing multiple varieties of vegetables, taking advantage of each vegetable’s characteristics, and we look forward to learning more about this during the training. We can improve nutrition in the local market by growing vegetables in multiple varieties.

     There are many difficulties that the Indigenous Mayan people, especially women, face. Poverty is still a significant issue in Guatemala, and there are also problems such as alcoholism and discrimination among ethnic groups. These problems leave many people, especially families with single mothers, in difficult financial and nutritional situations. There are organizations in each region that support these women and their children, and we want to work with such organizations to empower women.

Your generosity helps provide education and training and supports leaders to transform their communities so that no one goes hungry. Each and every gift matters. Thank you.


Holy One, Breath of Creation, stir in us.  Open our hearts that we may see, all of creation’s glory.  Open our hearts that we may know, life is holy.  Open our hearts that we may love with wonder and awe and reverence.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Exodus 32:7-14

While Moses is on Mount Sinai, the people grow restless and make a golden calf to worship. Today’s reading shows Moses as the mediator between an angry God and a sinful people. Moses reminds God that the Israelites are God’s own people, and boldly asks for mercy for them.

7The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; 8they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ ” 9The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. 10Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.”

11But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people. 

Psalm 51:1-10

R:  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love. (Ps. 51:1)

1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
in your great compassion blot out my offenses.
2Wash me through and through from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I know my offenses, and my sin is ever before me.
4Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are justified when you speak and right in your judgment. R
5Indeed, I was born steeped in wickedness, a sinner from my mother’s womb.
6Indeed, you delight in truth deep within me, and would have me know wisdom deep within.
7Remove my sins with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be purer than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness; that the body you have broken may rejoice.
9Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my wickedness.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. R

Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

The letters to Timothy and Titus are called the pastoral epistles because they contain advice especially intended for leaders in the church. Here the mercy shown to Paul, who once persecuted the church, is cited as evidence that even the most unworthy may become witnesses to the grace of God.

12I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel: Luke 15:1-10

Jesus tells two stories that suggest a curious connection between the lost being found and sinners repenting. God takes the initiative to find sinners, each of whom is so precious to God that their recovery brings joy in heaven.

1Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to  2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3So he told them this parable: 4“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

8“Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

HYMN:  Surely Goodness And Mercy – John W. Peterson and Alfred B. Smith

A pilgrim was I, and a wandering, in the cold night of sin I did roam,
When Jesus the kind Shepherd found me, and now I am on my way home.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days, all the days of my life;
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days, all the days of my life.

He restoreth my soul when I’m weary, He giveth me strength day by day;
He leads me beside the still waters, He guards me each step of the way.  Chorus:

When I walk through the dark lonesome valley, my savior will walk with me there;
And safely His great hand will lead me to the mansions He’s gone to prepare.  Chorus:



“This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them”.  That’s what the Pharisees and scribes said about Jesus. So how does that strike you? What do you hear in those words? Are they words of complaint and disagreement or ones of hope and invitation?

At one level the words of the Pharisees and scribes are simply a statement of fact. That’s what Jesus did. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. Not only does Luke tell us this but so do Matthew and Mark. At another level they are an accusation, an indictment, and a judgment. In the eyes and words of the Pharisees and scribes Jesus is guilty of violating the law and social norms of the day. At the deepest level, however, their words are, ironically enough, a statement of the gospel. They have just spoken the good news. Jesus not only welcomes the sinners, he eats with them. Eating with them means there is relationship and acceptance. Jesus has aligned himself with them. He is on their side.

Throughout the gospel stories Jesus chooses to hang out with the wrong kind of people. That’s why in today’s gospel the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. He offered them something no one else could or would. That’s also why the Pharisees and scribes were grumbling. Jesus was breaking the law, crossing lines, and making God just a little too easily available.

I wonder if the fact that Jesus chooses to hang out with the wrong kind of people is why we might not hear these words of the Pharisees and scribes, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them,” as good news. The difficulty for most of us is that we don’t see ourselves as the wrong kind of people. To the contrary we try really hard to be the right kind of people. Sure there are times when we do and say the wrong things. Sometimes we are guilty. Generally, however, we behave and do what’s right, or at least we try to. We look, speak, and act the part expected of us. We love our spouse and children. We are honest in our business dealings. We are kind and friendly to each other. We work hard, provide for our families, and help our friends. We attend worship and say our prayers. We care about the poor. We donate time, money, food, and clothes to those in need.

I’m not suggesting we need to make ourselves into the wrong kind of people, whatever that might be. I’m suggesting that we need a different starting point, not only for ourselves but also for each other.

The starting point for Jesus is grace: searching not blaming, finding not punishing, rejoicing not condemning. The first question for Jesus is not one of sin, who’s in and who’s out, or who gets a dinner invitation. For Jesus, everyone is already in. Everyone is invited. The first question and primary concern is one of presence. Have we shown up or are we lost and missing?

It seems that for many, maybe most, sin is a legal category that is primarily restricted to and descriptive of physical behaviors rather than descriptive of conditions and relationships. It’s seen as a judgment rather than a diagnosis. That’s why it’s often hard for us to hear this good news and to rejoice at the meals Christ offers and shares with the sinners and tax collectors. We often don’t think sin is about us. Compared to “those kind of people” we think we look pretty good. So did the Pharisees and scribes. For Jesus, however, the defining characteristic of sin is not misbehavior but being lost.

Notice the parables Jesus offers. They’re not about being wrong. They are about being lost. A sheep is lost. A coin is lost. There is nothing about blame, or finding fault. That doesn’t seem to be Jesus’ concern. His concern is for the one that is lost, missing, absent. Jesus doesn’t explain how the lost one become lost. He doesn’t blame or judge. That’s not the issue. The issue for Jesus is recovering and reclaiming the lost.

No doubt we can be lost in the darkness of evil. We can and have throughout human history done terrible things to one another. But here’s the deal. We can also be really good and really lost at the same time. Think about it. We can be good, hard working, and successful in our career and still feel lost, without a true sense of direction or meaning. We can be holding it all together and still be lost in the depths of grief or despair. We can be a good spouse, doing all the right things, giving all the right appearances, and still be lost in a loveless marriage. We can have a good reputation and be lost in questions of our own identity and purpose. We can be so busy and productive that we are lost to the wonder, beauty, and mystery of life. We can be financially secure and still be lost in fear. We can say and do all the right things and be lost in a secret life that is self-destructive and hurts others.

Jesus has enlarged the definition of sin. He has expanded the scope of grace. The Pharisees and scribes want to make it about the character of sinners and tax collectors. That happens whenever sin is defined as only a legal category of failed or deviant behavior. Jesus, however, makes it about God’s character. That’s the point of these two parables. They reveal God’s character, God’s grace, God’s way of being toward us revealed in and through Jesus.

That grace and character are revealed in Jesus’ searching, finding, and rejoicing. Those are not three different things, three separate actions or moments in time, but three expressions of God’s one grace. They are the ongoing presence of God in Christ in each one of our lives. Depending on the circumstances of our lives we experience that grace differently, as searching, finding, or rejoicing. Ultimately, it means there is a place set for each one of us at the table.  We matter. We are desired by and important to God. This fellow who welcomes sinners and eats with them is constantly searching for us, finding us, and rejoicing over our presence at his table.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH:   VU 713   I See A New Heaven


Creating One, we understand that we live within creation, all woven together by the sacred breath of life. We confess the times we have chosen to forget; we name to you our careless greed when habitat has been denied, when invasive species have been introduced, when thoughtless destruction has been allowed, even encouraged.  Forgive us.  Source of all life,

hear our prayer.

We name to you the flight of bob-o-links, the thump of bullfrogs, the discreet beauty of the painted turtle, the majesty of elm trees, the upright strength of the ash, — all your creation that is diminished and threatened by our disinterest, by our complacent greed.  Forgive us.  Source of all life,

hear our prayer.

Help us to discover the second chance of a growing awareness, a deepened understanding, an active love.

May we live wisely, with reverence for Creation.  May we live gently on this earth, giving room, sharing space, providing for all.  Source of all life,

hear our prayer.

We celebrate the steps taken to redeem this earth, the tall grass prairie replanted, the wild turkeys returned, groves of trees re-established. Bless us as we better love your creation.  Source of all life,

hear our prayer.

Creating God, we offer our prayers for humanity:  for broken hearts and wounded spirits; for moments requiring strength and courage for our daily needs.  Grant healing and peace.  Source of all life,

hear our prayer.

To you we give our praise and thanksgiving for all that delights, for all that teaches, for all that is wondrous, for all of creation. Thank you.  Amen.


SENDING SONG:  VU 288  Great Is Thy Faithfulness 


With loving hearts, and hands willing to serve, we go into this world singing with creation and loving the earth ever more deeply. + Depart in peace.  Amen.


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© 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.