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.


Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Psalm 1 represents faithfulness with a beautiful, strong image from nature: a tree planted by a nourishing stream. Consider the full organic force of the image: leaves, trunk, roots, watershed, and hydrological cycle. Without water, there would be no life: no human beings, no trees, nothing. Baptism immerses us in this great gift. God’s promise of life speaks to us from Earth’s flowing water, and when we receive that promise and trust God’s goodness, we begin to regard all life sacramentally. The waters of baptism are holy because all water, through which the Creator fashions life on our blue planet, is holy. In Deuteronomy God calls the people to a new faithfulness by choosing life. In Luke, Jesus calls the disciples to give up all their possessions and so discover life as if for the first time: an abundance beyond any of our possessing.


     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.


CALL TO WORSHIP:  By Nancy C. Townley

We find it easy to say, “Yes, we will follow Christ.”
But sometimes discipleship makes uncomfortable demands on us.
Yet, in all of this, Christ calls us continually to follow.
He is present with us at all times.
Let us place our trust always in his guidance.
Let us open our hearts to his will and his ways. Amen. 

CHILDREN’S SONG:  VU 884   You Shall Go Out With Joy (sung twice)


Direct us, O Lord God, in all our doings with your continual help, that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy name; and finally, by your mercy, bring us to everlasting life, 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.


     When I was four years old, I took ballet lessons.  I learned the foot and arm positions; I learned how to plie, jette…I loved to dance! 

     When I was 9, I started Highland Dancing lessons.  I learned that the foot and arm positions were similar to ballet.  I learned the Highland Fling, the Sword Dance – but my favourites were the strathspeys and reels! 

     It took time to learn to do all the dances.  It took time to practice so that I got better at placing my feet and arms properly.  I danced in competitions and concerts.  I loved to dance!  A lot of my time was spent dancing!

     God called me to be a pastor.  I went to university and earned a degree.  Then I went to seminary and earned another degree.  I spent a lot of time studying, writing sermons, visiting those who were sick or lonely, preaching on Sundays, teaching confirmation class…I spent a lot of time learning to be a pastor, and also how to be a disciple of Jesus. 

     Each day my aim is to put God first.  Each morning I ask God, “What do you want me to do for you today?”  That is a question we all ask God, not just pastors!  God wants us to take the time to learn to be disciples so that others will know about God’s love for them.  Sometimes that means not doing something we want to do so that we can do something God wants us to do. 

     My experience has taught me that when I take the time to do what God wants me to do – it is worth it!  I learn about others, I learn about myself, I experience God’s love…wow!

     Yes, it takes time to learn to be a disciple.  God is worth your time!

MINUTE FOR MISSION:  A Church With An Extraordinary View

     Canadian churches grace unique places: restaurants, storefronts, even movie theatres. Perhaps the most serene of all settings, though, is a national park.

     Waterton United Church is situated in the heart of Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Although the United Church has had a presence in the park since 1955, the current building was dedicated in 1961. The cathedral window in the sanctuary, designed to frame the mountains, offers a breathtaking view.

     “Architect George Watson framed Mount Vimy,” explains Carol Watt, chair of the Board of Trustees. “People who aren’t involved in the church but just stop to visit look out captivated by the view of the mountain over the lake. It’s a special thing that happens. It touches something deep within.”

     Your gifts through Mission & Service help the church remain open year-round. In the summertime, Sunday services take place from late June through September with support from guest ministers. Other services are offered during high holy times throughout the year. Youth groups use the building as retreat space, and the chapel is a popular space for weddings. With a small room and kitchenette behind the sanctuary, the church also draws leaders who want to retreat.

     “Providing space for spiritual reflection and retreat is an important aspect of the ministry we provide,” says Watt.

     The Rev. Grant Dillenbeck and Ruth Richardson, now living in Ottawa, have been travelling to Waterton United Church for two decades, leading services and retreats. “The Spirit is in all places, but in this place you can sense God’s presence immediately. The actual building is built like a landscape. The flat roof is reminiscent of the prairies, and the peak is like the mountains. It is peaceful. Guest preachers offer experiences for the village and park guests in addition to members. We have led services and done theme discussion nights and forest church,” Richardson says.

     “Waterton United offers a unique ministry to the wealth of summer visitors who flock happily into the national park and then find this gem of a United Church of Canada,” a recent newsletter reads. Richardson agrees: “It is totally unique to other church experiences in Canada.”

     Thank you for supporting churches in remote places that witness in a unique way to the majesty and grace of God.


Lord, from the very beginning of your creation, you breathed your love into all that you made. You gave us the breath of life and asked us to be good stewards of all creation. You placed your trust and love in us. Help us to turn again with joyful hearts to you, placing our trust in all that you have done for us. Let us be a blessing for you.  Amen. 

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Moses speaks to the Israelites, who are about to enter the land promised to their ancestors. In this passage, he lays out the stark choice before them: choose life by loving and obeying the Lord; or choose death by following other gods.

15See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Psalm 1

They are like trees planted by streams of water. (Ps. 1:3)

1Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners,

          nor sat in the seats of the scornful!

2Their delight is in the law of the Lord, and they meditate on God’s teaching day and night. R
3They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not               

          wither; everything they do shall prosper.

4It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wind blows away.

5Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, nor the sinner in the council of

         the righteous.

6For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall be destroyed. R

Second Reading: Philemon, verses 1-21

While Paul was in prison, he was aided by Onesimus, a man who had run away from Philemon, a slaveowner and a Christian friend of Paul. Paul told Onesimus to return to Philemon and encouraged Philemon to receive Onesimus back as a Christian brother.

1Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God 5because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 6I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. 7I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

8For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, 9yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. 10I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. 11Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. 12I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. 13I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. 15Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

17So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

Jesus speaks frankly about the costs of discipleship. Those who follow him should know from the outset that completing the course of discipleship will finally mean renouncing all other allegiances.

25Now large crowds were traveling with  and he turned and said to them, 26“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

HYMN: Put Your Hand In The Hand

Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently
By puttin’ your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee

Every time I look into the Holy Book I want to tremble
Or when I read about the part where the carpenter cleared the temple
For the buyers and the sellers were no different fellas than what I profess to be
And it causes me shame to know we’re not the people we should be  (Chorus)

My mama taught me how to pray before I reached the age of seven
She said, “there’ll come a time when there’ll probably be room in heaven”
But I’m feeling kinda guilty ’bout the number of times to do what we must do
But we forget what he said, then we figure that he’ll still make room  (Chorus)

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Gene Mac Lellan

Put Your Hand in the Hand lyrics © Emi Blackwood Music Inc.


The following are two experiences from the life of Rev. Richard Swanson that I believe demonstrate what Jesus understands as discipleship:

The first experience:

I have Lakota friends who have told me about the practice of “give-away” at the time of a death in the family. Everything goes. Or so close to everything that there is, practically, nothing left. The practice takes my breath away. But my friends have taught me to see something that I had not expected: “give-away” is only the first step. Next comes the community response. Once everything is given away, there is nothing for supper. There isn’t even a table to eat it on, or pots to cook it in. So, the neighbors have to feed the family that has lost someone. And they do. And because “give-away” is practiced throughout the community, the table that was given away was a table that the family received in an earlier “give-away.” The community shares the property because it is the community that owns the property.

My Lakota friends have told me that Jesus makes perfect sense once you have been part of such a community.

The second experience:

I spent time listening to stories told by my father’s buddies from the 508th PIR, paratroopers from WWII. Every time those guys got to telling stories, someone (sometimes me) had to ask: With all the flak and artillery fire and the enemy waiting on the ground, how could anyone ever jump out of the airplane?

One time, one of those guys who had jumped on D-Day and Market Garden, said to me, “You have to remember, we figured we were already dead anyhow. If you’re already dead, you might as well jump.”[1]

Following Jesus may not involve giving away everything or throwing your life out of a plane – yet it can.  There are many stories from the first and second world wars that tell of Christians who chose to help others at the risk of losing their own lives.  Their choice to follow their calling from Christ despite the cost was as high in risks in the first century as it was in two world wars.

“Take up your cross and follow me”, says Jesus.  Terrifying words for those living under Roman occupation.

Crucifixion was not capital punishment used to punish murder and other extraordinary cruelty. Crucifixion was a tool Rome used to break the will of conquered people, in this case, the Jewish population of the eastern Mediterranean.  It taught a simple lesson: Rome is willing to do anything, with no limits or exceptions, to hold power.  To this end they crucified thousands of people.  Random applications of such a penalty would, of course, improve the learning of this lesson.  That means that the only instance of “cross-bearing” in the gospels, other than Jesus, is especially terrifying.  When Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry the cross on which Jesus would die, he would have assumed that he, himself, would be crucified.  And he was just coming in from the country!  His family would never know what had happened to him.

The crucifixion parade was intended to teach every would-be faithful Jew to say, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”  The crowd could, in fact, have grabbed the poor unfortunate victim and run away.  But then, of course, the larger Roman force would have entered the game, and many more people would have been crucified.  At the moment the crucifixion parade passed through the streets of the city, all that Rome cared about was that all the would-be patriots who liked to imagine themselves as heroes would realize that they lacked the courage to do anything except look away.

Jesus knew this.  He was heading to Jerusalem and his death after all.  Heading there willingly.  He needed people who would have the courage to risk sharing and living out his message of the love and grace of God while standing in the sights of Roman soldiers and Rome’s people of power.  He needed people who put the welfare of others before their own families.  A tough call when, in the first century, the family who stuck together usually survived life a lot longer than ones whose members followed after some itinerant preacher.

Your dead language alert for the day:  the word “hate” that Jesus uses does not literally mean “to hate”.  Once again, the English language does not translate well from the original Hebrew.  The word, in Hebrew, means “to put before”.  In Genesis we read that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and that Leah was “hated” by Jacob. A similar use of the Hebrew word for “hate” occurs in Deuteronomy where it is also clear that the issue is one of preference or allegiance.  Jesus is not calling his followers to hate their families in terms of emotional response; instead, he calls for undivided loyalty to himself above family loyalties.

Discipleship.  Taking up one’s cross.  Putting Jesus above family.  Giving away everything.  Putting Jesus above all else.  No wonder so many of the crowd turned around and went back home.  Really, Jesus, what exactly are you asking of us?  What are we called to do, exactly?  What does it mean to bear our own cross?  Where does our neighbour fit into all of this?

Maybe, just maybe, these harsh words about “cross-bearing” are a call to do what Simon of Cyrene did.  Once he picked up the cross, it wasn’t clear to anyone how the day would end.  It was only clear that his future was bound up with the future of the poor, unfortunate person who could no longer carry the weight of the cross.

Maybe that is what discipleship is now.  Maybe it is what it always was.  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.

We pray for the church around the world and for the mission of the gospel. Refresh the hearts of your people, deepen our understanding of every good thing we share, and strengthen our partnerships in the faith. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For the well-being of the earth and all its creatures: for trees and forests, for all that will yield fruit this season, and for streams and other bodies of water. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For the nations and those in authority: for the elected leaders of our towns, provinces, and country, and for international organizations. Grant wisdom to those who govern and raise up citizens who make decisions in the best interest of their neighbors. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For all in need: for those who suffer from disease, who struggle with homelessness or food insecurity, for those whose family life is difficult, and for all in this community who need your care.  God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For this community of faith: for all our labors—begun, continued, and ended in you—that they glorify your holy name. Bless your people with the strength to live into their many vocations for the sake of the world. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the saints who now rest from their labors. Give us faith, like them, to love you with all our hearts, and by your mercy, bring us to everlasting life. 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:  VU 595  We Are Pilgrims On A Journey


God, who gives life to all things and frees us from despair, bless you with truth and peace. 

And may the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, guide you always in faith, hope, and love.  Amen.



Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS011617.
© 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.
[1] https://provokingthegospel.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/a-provocation-sixteenth-sunday-after-pentecost-september-4-2016-luke-1425-33/