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.


A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.

~Brene Brown


God desires that all be fed. When some feast sumptuously and others starve, we have created a system at odds with the desires of God’s heart. Our stewardship has failed. Amos notes the reality of injustice in the food system, thundering against the moral ruin caused by injustice toward the poor. Luke gives us a story of God’s creation and human hunger. For the rich man living behind gates and walls, the good things of creation are brought lavishly to his table to feed an insatiable hunger. For poor and hungry Lazarus, the good things of creation are kept from him by those same walls and gates. The barriers in our social systems limit access for some while protecting it for others, dividing us from each other and distorting God’s intention for creation. And yet, God’s grace is persistent as rain, calling us to justice and renewing us in hope.


     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.

     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.



Sisters and brothers, rejoice. We are sustained and nourished by God’s presence and love.

Thanks be to God.

As we mourn the distress and wounds of God’s creation,

God weeps with us.

As we face rising waters, hunger and displacement.

God suffers with us.

As we struggle for justice,

God struggles with us.

As we expose and challenge climate justice

God empowers us.

As we strive to build alternative communities,

God works with us.

As we offer our gifts to all,

God blesses us.

Sisters and brothers, rejoice, Sustained by God’s presence and love

We worship God.

CHILDREN’S SONG:   WOV 783  Seek Ye First


O God, rich in mercy, you look with compassion on this troubled world. Feed us with your grace, and grant us the treasure that comes only from you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.



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.


     We have three daughters.  Their names are Dara, Jilleen and Philana.  We chose those names for their meaning.  Dara is a Hebrew name meaning “compassionate”.  Jilleen is a Latin name meaning “youthful”.  Philana is a Greek name meaning “lover of humankind”.  They also have nicknames. 

     When Dara was little, she was very determined to do things on her own, such as getting dressed, cutting her food, doing up her shoes.  She would say to me, when I tried to help her, “No mommy, Dara do it!”  We started calling her “Dara-do”, which eventually became “doodlebug”.

     Jilleen became “Jilleeie-bean” which became shortened to “bean”.

     Philana’s was “Philana-banana”, which was shortened to “banana”.

     Nicknames are extra names, positive ones, that we give people out of our love for them.  When we are baptized, God gives us a nickname – “beloved”.  God also claims us and gives us the title “child of God”.  In our baptism, God hugs us close and whispers to us, “You are my child.  I love you!”

     As parents, we give our children nicknames out of love, and a sense of fun.  With God, our nickname reminds us always that we are loved and claimed by the source of love itself.  Pretty cool.


MINUTE FOR MISSION  Women For Change Builds Climate Resiliency

     In areas where historically there has been little rain, now there are floods, and where there were floods, now there are droughts. That’s how Shadrick Chembe, the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager at Women for Change—an organization in Zambia that strives to improve conditions in rural communities by empowering women and girls—describes the changing climate in Zambia. Women bear the brunt.

     “In Zambia, women are still responsible for collecting firewood and charcoal and making food. Now, because of climate change, they have to walk a longer distance to gather firewood. Charcoal is harder to get. That means it’s harder to make food. At the same time, women aren’t involved in the decision-making processes that impact this work,” explains Chembe.

     Women for Change was established in 1992, and its long-standing partnership with the United Church stretches back to1995. From the beginning, mobilizing communities to share ideas and best practices has been key to the work. Since its inception, 1,500 community groups have been established, with 25-40 people in each group and representatives from each forming associations. The groups discuss a variety of justice-related topics. Building climate resiliency by preparing for, recovering from, and adapting to drastically changing weather patterns is a priority.

     Weather extremes due to climate change coupled with companies promoting seeds that only produce a single crop increasingly put people at risk.

     “The majority of farmers are poor. They can’t buy seeds, but companies have created seeds that force farmers to have to purchase them each year,” says Chembe. “Groups discuss how they can save and share seeds, what they can plant with longer or shorter rains, and if there are traditional methods that can increase food production,” he says, adding, “We are grateful for the United Church’s support. The church has really been there for many years, helping us build awareness and resiliency. It’s been a real partnership.”

     Your gifts through Mission & Service support long-term, life-changing work through committed partners like Women for Change. Thank you.


God of creation, speak to us through the words of the prophets reminding us of your love and care for all the world. May we be moved to reach out beyond our comfort zone to embrace the ones you love to work toward your dream of a world in harmony. Amen. 

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Amos 6:1a, 4-7

The prophet Amos announces that Israel’s great wealth is a cause not for rejoicing but rather sorrow, because God’s people have forgotten how to share their wealth with the poor. The wealthy will be the first to go into exile when judgment comes.

1aAlas for those who are at ease in Zion, and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
4Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock,
  and calves from the stall;
5who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music;
6who drink wine from bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
  but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
7Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile, and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away.

Psalm 146

R:  The Lord gives justice to those who are oppressed. (Ps. 146:7)

1Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3Put not your trust in rulers, in mortals in whom there is no help.
4When they breathe their last, they return to earth, and in that day their thoughts perish. R
5Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help, whose hope is in the Lord their God;
6who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; who keeps promises forever;
7who gives justice to those who are oppressed, and food to those who hunger.
  The Lord sets the captive free.
8The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
  the Lord loves the righteous.
9The Lord cares for the stranger;
  the Lord sustains the orphan and widow, but frustrates the way of the wicked.
10The Lord shall reign forever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. Hallelujah! R

Second Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6-19

Timothy is reminded of the confession he made at his baptism and of its implications for daily life. His priorities will be different from those of people who merely want to be rich.

6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

11But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

Jesus tells a parable in which the poor one is “lifted up” and the rich one is “sent away empty.” Jesus makes it clear that this ethic of merciful reversal is not new but is as old as Moses and the prophets.

 19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

HYMN:  VU 266  Amazing Grace


     There are people — especially those who come from traditions descended from the Reformation – who become rather uncomfortable in the presence of parables like this one because we fear it runs contrary to our notions of “justification by grace through faith.” After all, if the rich man and Lazarus are both moved immediately to different conditions in the afterlife based entirely on their actions and condition in their earthly lives, what room is left for grace or faith? Two things in response. 

     First, a parable is a parable. Parables aren’t told to give you a complete theological system or to address ultimate questions once and for all. They are meant to give us a glimpse — often surprising, even jarring glimpses — into the commonwealth of God. They present various slivers of the divine logic of the God who regularly surprises us with God’s compassion and concern. So maybe this parable isn’t interested in explaining to us how people get to heaven, but rather invites us to look at the people around us — right here, right now — from the perspective of this peculiar logic of God. 

     Second, and related, should we be surprised that this parable demonstrates that God is really, really concerned for the poor? God’s unrelenting care and compassion for the poor and vulnerable is a major topic of both testaments. So, if this parable seems to push that concern to the extreme, perhaps it’s to grab and refocus our attention on a theme that is consistently present in Scripture but only inconsistently present in our thoughts and actions. 

     Having said that, I want now to invite you to stretch the parable by imagining a different one, or at least a different ending. I’ve long thought that the chasm set between the rich man and Lazarus in heaven is only the living out of the one that existed in their earthly lives as well. Although the rich man apparently made no attempt to relieve the suffering of Lazarus, it’s not that he didn’t know him, or even that Larazus was invisible to him. After all, in the afterlife he not only recognizes Lararus but refers to him by name. Moreover, he continues to treat Larazus as if he were a servant, asking that Abraham send him to bring a drop of water and, failing that, to warn his brothers. The rich man continues to fail to treat Larazus as a person, as an equal, as one deserving of compassion and regard. 

     Must we continue to act that way? Might we imagine a different ending to this parable? Indeed, given Abraham’s reference to a man rising from the dead, aren’t we invited to? We have, after all, seen a man put to death for caring for the poor, for announcing God’s mercy for all, for daring to forgive the sins of any, and we have heard the testimony that this man was raised from the dead by God as the supreme embodiment of God’s divine logic and love. 

     Imagine, if you will, that we are one of the rich man’s brothers and sisters and that though we have the law and prophets, yet God saw fit also to send a man from the dead to awaken us? In this context, I’m struck by how small are the requests the rich man makes: a drop of water, a messenger to tell others. Might ­we not do these very things, bringing a measure of relief to others and telling all we meet that God desires we care for each other? 

     On our camping trip to Fremont Hot Springs, my best friend, Carma, and I went horseback riding.  Our plan was to relax and visit with each other along the way.  It didn’t happen.  Carma has learned, over the years, not to always blurt out that I am a pastor.  True, she is very proud of me and what I do, and states that she could never do it, so I know her proclamations come from a place of love.  However, as a result of her sharing her love of my vocation, I ended up hearing the life story of the tour guide which took up the entire ride.  Carma was very apologetic.  I told her not to worry about it.  The reason is this:  For many people, especially those who have had difficult lives, my listening to their story and affirming for them that God loves them is, for them, that drop of water that relieves their suffering.  Everyone wants to know that God notices them and loves them.  No one wants to be forgotten or believe that they are worthless.  If I can affirm the love and grace of God for just one person, it is worth the price of the ride.

     Jesus tells us a parable, not a prediction, and we have the power to rewrite the ending. We are those who have seen a man raised from the dead and that in his name we are both able and committed to sharing water, love, and good news with all those in need. 

     Thank you, people of God, for your volunteering to meet the needs of others in this community.  Those acts of kindness make more of a difference than you’ll ever know. For you not only bear witness to God’s law but also to God’s grace, the grace of the Risen Christ that empowers us to stretch our imaginations and lives and share God’s love with all. Thank you. Amen.

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


As scattered grains of wheat are gathered together into one bread, so let us gather our prayers for the church, those in need, and all of God’s good creation.

O God, rich in mercy, fill your church with righteousness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Empower the baptized by your Spirit to be rich in good works and ready to share. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Protect the earth and its creatures. Provide water, food, shelter, and favorable habitats, especially for endangered species. Preserve threatened ice caps, glaciers, parks, and beaches. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Increase justice in nations, local governments, and courtrooms. Guide lawyers and those who hold public office to act with compassion and discernment. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Give food to the hungry. Set the captives free. Lift up those who are bowed down. Watch over the stranger. Tend to those who are ill. Stir us to act in the best interest of our neighbors. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Enliven our praise. Inspire musicians, artists, poets, and all who create beauty in this place. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Enfold the saints who have died in the arms of your loving care. Grant that the holy angels accompany us and bring us to eternal life with them in the light of your presence. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Gathered together in the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit, gracious God, we offer these and all our prayers to you; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.



SENDING SONG: WOV 765   Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us With Your Love   


May the God of Resurrection renew you; may the Spirit of Wisdom inspire you; may the Creator of all strengthen you for the journey. Amen.



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