September 27, 2020 Service




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.

In-person worship has resumed at the Morris United Church at 11:00 AM.  Since we are still in the midst of a pandemic and desire to keep each other as safe as possible, we ask that you sanitize your hands when you enter the building.  Masks are mandatory as is social distancing.  We will speak the liturgy but will not be singing the songs.  The musicians will play the music.  You are invited to hum along, move with the beat and meditate on the words.

We realize this is not our desired way to worship, yet worship does not depend upon our outward appearance and distancing.  It is our connection to God and each other that sets our hearts and minds to praise and worship our glorious creator!

If you are not feeling well, we request that you remain at home and continue to worship online or with the printed service.  We understand if you do not feel secure about in-person worship and desire to worship from home.

However you choose to worship, know that we are worshipping together and that we continue to pray for each other and look out for our neighbour.


If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.

                                        ~Henry Ford


While Ezekiel’s listeners blame God and previous generations for their suffering, Ezekiel challenges them to take responsibility for their own actions. While it is obviously true that misdeeds of our parents and ancestors will continue to play out in our lives, we also have the power to choose to chart new pathways forward beyond the wounds we have inherited. Father Richard Rohr has written extensively that “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.”  (Center for Action and Contemplation blog).

            The poet W. H. Auden has written, “We would rather be ruined than changed. / We would rather die in our dread / than climb the cross of the moment / and let our illusions die” (from The Age of Anxiety, New York: Random House, 1947). Both sons in Matthew’s parable changed their minds; the priests and elders who challenged Jesus are castigated for not changing theirs. What does it take to change one’s mind, to step out in courage and faith into a new way of understanding the world?






Call to Worship

We have gathered to worship God.

We have come seeking comfort, inspiration, community, and insight.

We have come to open ourselves to the power of God’s presence in our midst.

We have come to offer up the seasons and the turnings in our lives, and to ask God’s help in our learning and in our growing.

CHILDREN’S SONG:    MV #1  Let Us Build A House, verses 1, 3, 5


God of love, giver of life, you know our frailties and failings. Give us your grace to overcome them, keep us from those things that harm us, and guide us in the way of salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  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.


Good morning!  It is a beautiful fall day, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the squirrels are chasing each other and the bunnies are eating grass.

            It’s a good thing we worship on a Sunday morning, because if we worshipped in the evening, we wouldn’t be able to see anything!  Well, not much, anyway.  But, just in case, I have brought my flashlight so that we can see in the dark.  I will now turn it on.

            It’s not turning on!  Why isn’t it turning on?!  Oh, silly me, I forgot to put the batteries in it!  Look, there are three batteries.  One battery says “Me” on it, another, “You” and the third one says “Neighbours”.  Cool.  So, I will now put in the “Me” battery and turn on the flashlight….it’s not turning on.  Why isn’t it turning on?  I put a battery in it!  Oh, wait, it needs more than one battery to shine.  Ok, so I will now put in the “You” battery and turn it on.  You and me working together should make it work!  It’s not turning on.  Really?!  Seriously?!  I have you with me to make it shine.  It should work…unless… maybe it needs our neighbours to help us make it shine.  Let’s see.  Look!  It’s shining!  Now we can see in the dark! 

            Did you know that the love of Jesus, when we share it with others, helps to brighten their day, helps them to have hope, helps to give people strength to get through tough times?  Just like the flashlight, the love of Jesus is more powerful when we all work together.  We can each be a little light to others.  That is a good thing.  To really make a difference, to really help people see their way to change and healing, it takes many of us.  That is why worshipping together is so important.  We recharge our spiritual batteries, we pray for each other, we share ideas, and the next thing you know, we are shining the love of Jesus so that others will feel that love too.  It is so much easier to share the love when we have help.  Thank you, Jesus, for teaching us that when we share your love as community, the whole world is a brighter place.  Amen.




Our gifts for Mission & Service support programs for children and families living in community housing areas.

Our gifts for Mission & Service support programs for children and families living in community housing areas like Ardglen in Brampton, Ontario.

The Journey Neighbourhood Centre looks like every other store in the strip mall where it is located, but once you enter, you encounter a different world—one filled with art, laughing children, enthusiastic volunteers, and interns from the Social Work program at Ryerson University. One of these interns is Maria, who came to Toronto as a teen from Colombia to live with her father.

“At first, I didn’t like it here,” says Maria, sitting at the table preparing snacks for the children who would be arriving from school to participate in the KidZone program. “Over time I have come to really love this country, and I wanted to do something to make a difference in the world. That is why I chose social work.” Maria and the other interns speak passionately about the centre and the children who come through the door. “They are just wonderful!” Maria exclaims.

Your gifts offer children and families in community housing a place to come to share in food and fun.

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.


Loving God, you speak to us in so many ways: in the song of a bird, in the babbling of a brook, in the voices of our friends, in the hug from Mom or Dad, in the songs we sing, and in the stories of the Bible.   Speak to us now through the reading of scripture.  Help us to hear your voice and follow the way of Jesus.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

Ezekiel challenges those who think they cannot change because of what their parents were and did, or who think they cannot reverse their own previous behavior. God insistently invites people to turn and live.

1The word of the Lord came to me: 2What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? 3As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.

  25Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? 26When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. 27Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. 28Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. 29Yet the house of Israel says, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?

  30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

Psalm 25:1-9

R:  Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love. (Ps. 25:6)

1To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

2My God, I put my trust in you; let me not be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3Let none who look to you be put to shame; rather let those be put to shame who are treacherous.
4Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths. R

5Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long.

6Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting. 

7Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; remember me according to your steadfast love and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord. 

8You are gracious and upright, O Lord; therefore you teach sinners in your way.
9You lead the lowly in justice and teach the lowly your way. R

Second Reading: Philippians 2:1-13

As part of a call for harmony rather than self-seeking, Paul uses a very early Christian hymn that extols the selflessness of Christ in his obedient death on the cross. Christ’s selfless perspective is to be the essential perspective we share as the foundation for Christian accord.

1If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.

9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  12Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Gospel: Matthew 21:23-32

After driving the moneychangers out of the temple (21:12), Jesus begins teaching there. His authority is questioned by the religious leaders, who are supposed to be in charge of the temple.

23When  entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

  28“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”



Bishop Steve Bouman, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America, shares the following personal experience as a commentary on this Gospel text:

We began to find our power as a congregation in New Jersey through being a place where one could go when there was nowhere else to go.

When one invites the poor and the homeless to church they do come, with personalities such as Edgar. He is by anyone’s standards a strange character. He lives alone in the nearby welfare motel better known for drug addicts and prostitutes than for the righteous. For some reason, he adopted our church and there are times when he pushed our understanding of what we mean when we say that all God’s children are welcome. I mean, he would sit in front of me in the first pew and if he didn’t like what I was saying in the sermon, he’d laugh and call out, “Ho, ho, ho! You don’t mean that, do you?”, and I would have to tell him, “Edgar, chill out!”

Edgar was rough around the edges. Some of his social graces had been rubbed raw from years of trying to survive in an inhospitable world. To those who did not know him, he could be scary.

On occasion Edgar got loud and demanding and, if the truth be told, my heart sank on Palm Sunday when I found him waiting for me in the sanctuary after a full day of liturgies, first communions and pastoral intensity. I know that when he’s waiting for me, he wants something-a ride, some of my time–and he’ll often complain about this and that.

This is my confession to you:  I was the first son in the parable. I thought, “Okay, Lord, I’ll see what he wants,” but in my heart I didn’t want to go. I wanted to go home. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I became the second son.

On the drive to the motel Edgar talked my ear off while I prayed for patience. Yet something strange and wonderful began to happen as I pulled into the parking lot of the rundown motor inn by the George Washington Bridge. A door opened and an elderly woman emerged. She knocked on another door and another elderly woman emerged. They limped toward our car. Others, waiting at the edges of the parking lot, followed. They had been waiting for us. I became aware that I was now in someone else’s church.

For the first time I noticed that Edgar Lee Hill’s hands grasped a bunch of palms. He had obviously promised these people that he would bring them palms from our Sunday liturgy, tangible evidence of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Well, mothers and their children, addicts, prostitutes, the mentally ill, those who came to the temple after Jesus cleansed it, gathered around the car. The first lady was by the door. Soon the car was surrounded.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you; the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.  For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”

I looked at Edgar. This man was the only one who has ever passed for a pastor in this backwater parish of broken souls. There could be no more fertile soil for church growth, spiritually understood, than this concrete parking lot and its waiting children of God. Edgar gave the woman a palm through the window. This lady knew her pastor. She just clutched her palm as if she had been given the most precious gem and called the waiting group over to the van.

“Get out of the car,” said Edgar. I could only watch in awe. He thrust the palms in my hand. “Give them the palms!” And I distributed them among those waiting. “Bless them,” Edgar demanded. I blessed their palms. I placed my hand on each forehead and pronounced the benediction. If I would have had bread and wine in my possession, I would have fed them right there.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I caught a glimpse out of my rear-view mirror of this continuation of our Sunday morning Holy Week liturgy as a grumpy old man walked back to the motel with a group of the children of God who are mostly forgotten and despised.

Our hope lies in the second son. We have no means of convincing God of our worthiness by the good words of the first son. We may fool ourselves with rules and traditions, by all the right words in worship, but if we do not have the actions to match, actions that do the will of God, we are lost. Our hope comes in knowing that, no matter how much we have messed up our lives, we are able to act like the outcasts of today’s gospel and respond to Jesus’ love and acceptance. They deserved to stand with the Lord because they had responded to his choice of them and had in turn chosen him. We cannot let the past, with its hurtful choices, destroy us. We must give up our flimsy excuses for why Jesus should accept us.  Rather, accept the fact that Jesus loves us just as we are. In response to this love we seek to live as he would want us to live, doing the will of God.

To do the will of God is to watch for ways in which we are the first brother:  classifying others as belonging or not belonging, saying the right words but not matching them with action. As we remove the attitude of the first brother, we become like the second. We become open to all those whom God loves, and seek to find ways to love them. 

We are all loved, forgiven and showered with grace. This is most certainly true.  Amen.


HYMN OF THE MONTH:  More Voices #12  Come Touch Our Hearts



God, whose power is great beyond our knowing, whose love runs deeper than our hurtful actions of neglect, who holds all of creation in your tender embrace:  let us love, not only in words or speech, but in truth and action, let us be the stewards of deepened relationship and interaction, and the givers of life to creation that surrounds us.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.


We come to you in this quiet place seeking your reassurance and your hope.  Come and cradle us in your arms of love.  As we inhale, breathe your life into our hearts.  As we exhale, help us to let go of heavy expectations and anxieties.  Help us to feel your love as close to us as the breath we breathe.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.



Today, God, we admit to the places where we fall short—where we are not able to give enough, do enough, nurture enough.  Inspire in us a longing to be better stewards and help us to live out our covenant commitment.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.


Allow the dreams and hopes that we have—for ourselves, for our communities, and for all of creation—to sprout forth with energy and new life.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Tend to all in need of your compassion. Shelter all who are vulnerable in body, mind, or spirit.  We bring before you the Fulford family; the Heinrichs family; Art Ganske; Mike Froese; Brooke Alexiuk; Tracy Skoglund; Carolyn & Douglas; Gordon Dreger; Walter Dreger; Debbie & Dwayne.  Grant them solace and healing.

God, in your mercy; hear our prayer.


All these things, and whatever else you see that we need, we entrust to your mercy; through Christ our Lord.




Go out into the world as listening, responding nurturers.

Go, knowing that God’s creation continues to unfold around us and within us.


And as you go, know that you are accompanied by Christ’s radical challenge,

guided by the Spirit’s creative movement,

and supported by God’s deep nurture, now and always. Amen.


SENDING SONG:  VU #582  There’s A Spirit In The Air





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