September 6, 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.

St. John Lutheran Church, Rosenfeld, has resumed indoor worship with physical distancing and masks worn throughout the worship service.  The liturgy is spoken.  While there is no singing, there is music and mediation.  Holy Communion is celebrated the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month.  You are invited to join the congregation at worship on Sundays at 9:00 AM at St. John.  (No service on Sunday, September 6 due to the long weekend)


We are all in this world together, and the only test of our character that matters is how we look after the least fortunate among us. How we look after each other, not how we look after ourselves. That’s all that really matters, I think.

Tommy Douglas


     Conflict is a part of relationships and life in community. Jesus’ words in today’s gospel are often used in situations having to do with church discipline. The prophet Ezekiel tells of warning the wicked to turn from their ways, and Paul reminds us that love is the fulfilling of the law. We gather in the name of Christ, assured that he is present among us with gifts of peace and reconciliation.

     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).

Call to Worship

The world says:

“Love your neighbours, and hate your enemies.”

But Jesus said

that’s not good enough.

Love your neighbours.

Love your enemies.  Pray for them.”

That’s what Jesus said.

Love my enemy?

Love your neighbour.  Love your enemy.  Pray for them. 

What was Jesus trying to teach us?

Perhaps, if we pause and open ourselves to receive, we’ll figure that out.

Then let us worship God!

                                                            Rishard Bott, Vancouver, BC

CHILDREN’S SONG:    WOV 765  Jesu, Jesu


Holy one, we gather on this ordinary day to do something extraordinary.  We hear stories of prophets who risked death to call the people back.  We listen to songs trying to describe the indescribable.  We listen to the teachings of one described as fully human and fully divine.  Be with us in the ordinary-extraordinary time, that it may mould us in your ways.  Amen.

                                                            Ryan McNally, St. Mark’s UC, Cannifton, ON


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.


I absolutely LOVE to read!  My favourite genre of book is the murder mystery.  I love a good murder, especially when it is not a true, real-life murder, and I have to think very hard in order to figure out who did it before the writer tells me!

My children know I love to read.  I get so involved in my book that I tune out everything else.  They also know that they have to have my full attention, my eyes looking into their eyes, before they ask me anything, when I have been reading.  Otherwise, I will answer questions, agree to something that I probably would not normally agree to, if I wasn’t reading in the moment, and then, when the person leaves the room I will look up and say, “What did they want?  What was it they said?” 

Oh yes, I do so love to read!!

Now, suppose you came to my house, very upset about something, and wanted to talk to me.  Would you appreciate it very much if I sat in front of you, reading, and never looked at you, acknowledged that you were even sitting in the chair, or let you know in any way that I was hearing what you were saying?  Probably not.  Sadly, if you watch people like I do, you will notice that this type of behaviour happens a lot.  Too much, in fact. 

The Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus wants us to love one another.  One way we show our love for each other is to give each other our undivided attention.  What does undivided attention look like?  It looks like turning off the television when someone comes to your house so that you are looking at them and not the TV.  It looks like turning the ringer off on your cell phone when you having a conversation with someone so that you are not being interrupted with calls that can be answered later.  It looks like taking the ear buds out of your years, or removing your headphones when someone is talking to you.  It looks like looking at someone in the eye to let them know that you are focused only on that person and what they are saying. 

When we pray to Jesus, it is comforting to know that Jesus gives us undivided attention.  We feel loved, appreciated, heard.  Let us love one another as Jesus loves us and learn to give our undivided attention to those who speak to us.



Decades of worship, pastoral care, and advocacy

Mission & Service has been supporting the Deaf ministry in Newfoundland and Labrador for 33 years.

In 1987, the School for the Deaf in St. John’s wrote a letter to the local presbytery requesting pastoral care on behalf of the United Church. Beverley Ares, a lay delegate, was asked to consider the role. She was interested but concerned that she didn’t know sign language. Nonetheless, she answered the call, first as a volunteer and then as an employee. Beverley began learning American Sign Language and also took courses in theology. She was a quick study. Over the next 23 years she served the students and their families as an interpreter at worship services at First United Church in Mount Pearl, as a faith formation leader at the school, as an advocate for the Deaf community, and as a pastoral care provider and friend.

But by 2010, enrollment was greatly declining and the provincial government decided to close the school. Thanks to the vision and commitment of a local ecumenical committee, the Deaf ministry continued. Today, Beverley and others continue to provide community, worship leadership, and pastoral care to the Deaf community in and around St. John’s. Thanks to the support of local churches and Mission & Service, individuals like Beverley have made a real difference in the lives of many Deaf children and adults and their families.

Nancy Emberly, a former student, says, “While I attended church regularly as a child, I didn’t understand who God was until I met Beverley.” Nancy is now a teacher and has replaced Beverley as the coordinator of Deaf ministry in Newfoundland.

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.


Guide us, O God, by your Word, and Holy Spirit, that in your light we may see light, in your truth find freedom, and in your will discover peace; through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Readings and Psalm

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

R:  I desire the path of your commandments. (Ps. 119:35)

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. R
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. R

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.”


In Susan Trott’s book, The Holy Man, we are invited into Liv’s problem as she waits in line on the mountain to see the Holy Man and tell him her story of pain.


Liv is struggling because she has grandchildren who do not write her thank you notes when she sends them gifts. 


“Do you talk to them on the phone?” Liv was asked.

“Sometimes I call to ask them if they got the presents and they thank me and say they really like them. But I want them to tell me without my calling to ask. I want them to write to me, on their own.”

“I don’t see why you didn’t spend this money going to see them instead of the holy man. That way they could get to know you.”

“Except for this year, I have gone every summer to spend a month with them,” Liv said. “I have my own business, so I am able to take the time. I stay at a nearby inn because my daughter-in-law is not so fond of me and I don’t feel comfortable in her house.”

The other women muttered darkly at this.

“My son is not a perfect husband to her and she blames me. She says I spoiled him and now I am spoiling the grandchildren.”

More dark muttering.

“I always have a good visit with the children and when I go away I am sure that they will write me thank-you notes when I next send them presents, but they never do.”1


It was an exercise with which I was familiar.  I had done it in acting class many times, yet now I was participating in the same exercise in a counseling workshop. 


Two chairs; me sitting in one, the other empty, yet not empty, for in the other chair I was to imagine a person with whom I had a problem.  I was to tell this person how I felt.  I was not to hold back feelings, nor was I to minimize the effect this person had on me.  Then, I had to change chairs.


Suddenly, I was the other person.  I had to try and get into the mind and heart of the other in order to understand the situation from their perspective.  This was hard work.  It was also very enlightening.  Allow me to share with you some of the insights I gained:


Love is the root of all relationships, and all conflict.  It may be that a person is looking for love, feels unloved or unlovable, or fighting love, yet love is definitely there.  My task is to try and figure out which one it is so that I know in which direction I need to travel with the other.


Fear often has deeper roots than love.  Fear can wrap its roots around love and try to strangle it–hence the fight against love.  I have learned that in dealing with fear, it is necessary to have great patience and great love.


Expectations are often high.  Expectations have often not been met.  Therefore, anger creeps in.  When conflict exists, there is often a lot of anger.  The solution rests in determining whose anger it is and the reason for its existence.  Once that is discovered, an issue can be worked through.  If not, it can seem like one is beating their fists against a closed door.


Pain.  There can be so much pain.  And while there is sadness, there is often anger as well.  People are very good at disguising one emotion with another.  When you think about it, how often do we disguise fear with anger?  And who wants to feel pain?  It hurts!  So, we lash out in anger in order to avoid pain.  Yet without allowing ourselves to feel our pain, we deny ourselves the opportunity to heal.  Anger keeps wounds open.  Working through our pain brings healing.


Two days later was able to lay out her trouble to the holy man, detaining him at the back door after he told her who he was, grasping his sleeve and not letting go until she had emptied her heart. “Egotism!” he said sternly so that she dropped his sleeve as if burnt and fell back against the door. “You are suffering from an advanced case of egotism,” he admonished, going overboard as he was sometimes wont to do. “I can tell you right now that if they each wrote you ten pages a week you would not be satisfied, would still feel wronged and unappreciated and probably want twenty pages! How can those children love you until you are able to love them? Selflessly. Unconditionally. Goodbye.”

As the door closed behind her and she started down the mountain path, the long, lonely path so conducive to reflection, she exclaimed aloud, “The very idea! Who does he think he is? Well, I never! He’s obviously never had ungrateful children to deal with, living his rarefied life as he does. What does he know about giving, giving, giving, and getting no return?”

Then she thought how he gave of himself every day of his life and there was no donation box, no plate being passed, no beautifully printed, carefully worded requests for money in the mail. He had not written any books for them to buy nor were there any relics: holy man pictures, splinters of hermitage, chips of surrounding boulders, small bottles of holy man spring water.

Flushing, she remembered him saying that if they wrote ten pages she would expect twenty, and she began to admit to herself that she had sometimes received certain scrawls and scribbles from her grandchildren over the years but had discounted them, telling herself that their mother or father had made them write to her. Was that what he meant by never being satisfied?

She remembered all the many times, hundreds of times over the years, she had said to her grandchildren, “Do you love your grandma?” But she could not remember saying “I love you” to them.

Yes, she began to see and began to feel free from herself, to feel her heart lift. She sat down on a rock to look at the view and to look at the new life that was unfolding within her.2


What does it mean to NOT be listened to?


Jesus encourages us to go to the person directly and express to them personally and succinctly how their words and deeds have committed a sin – a break in the relationship – against oneself.  Not against someone else, just oneself.  If that person willingly puts themself in your chair, so to speak, and sees that, knowingly or unknowingly a sin has been committed, the conflict can work to resolution.  Yet how many people are willing to sit in another’s chair?  And, what if the person against whom the sin has been committed, refuses to hear what the offender has to say?  Not necessarily with words, but with body language and emotions?  And what if the one offended is like Liv–believing herself to be sorely wronged by her grandchildren, when in reality it was she who had wronged them!  Then what do you do?


Liv went to see the holy man in order to be listened to, or so she thought.  What she really wanted was someone to agree with her on how shabbily she was being treated by her grandchildren.  What the holy man gave her was the perspective of the other chair.  To do anything else would have been denying Liv the opportunity to heal. 


The holy man told each pilgrim “If you look on everyone you meet as a holy person, you will be happy.”  Yet what if that doesn’t work?  What if a person, like Liv, begins to puff up over the idea of being a holy person?  Then what do you do?  Here is what her friends concluded:


“How do you treat someone like a holy person when they’re acting like a complete fool, when they just don’t get it?” said the exasperated one.

“Maybe with Liv the message will seep in after a while. She just hasn’t really thought about it, and her new boyfriend is a bad influence.”

“But if we’re going to have trouble treating a nice woman like Liv as if she were holy, how will we do with mean people, with cheats and liars and racists?”

“Maybe people like that have never been treated kindly and courteously before. Maybe when we’re nice, they’ll be nice back.”

“And if they’re not, we just don’t let it bother us because we have nothing riding on it. I think that’s the secret, not to be invested in their behavior, not to get exasperated and want to kill them.” She laughed again.

“It will be easy. What’s hard about just being decent to everyone?”

“Liv got it for a minute there. Then she lost it. But it will come back.”

“What do you do with a man like that friend of hers who just says what everyone wants to hear?” said the exasperated one.

“Tell him to shut up.”


“No, the idea is not to judge him—or anybody. We have to give up getting mad at people for how they think or act, give up having prejudices about right and wrong.”

“We’ll just be wimps, then, spineless, not standing up for anything or against anything.”

“No. We will have peace of mind and the freedom of mind to see into the truth of things.”3

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.  Amen.


1, 2Trott, Susan. The Holy Man (The Holy Man Trilogy Book 1) (p. 85; 87-89). Kindle Edition.


3Trott, Susan. The Holy Man (The Holy Man Trilogy Book 1) (pp. 94-96). Kindle Edition.



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


Drawn together in the compassion of God, we pray for the church, the world, and all those in need.

Unite your church, O God. Grant us the gifts of repentance and reconciliation. Bless the cooperative work of churches in this community. Strengthen ecumenical partnerships; guide the work of the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Protect your creation, O God. Teach us ways that do not harm what you have entrusted to our care. Renew and enliven places suffering from drought, flood, storms, or pollution.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Turn nations and leaders from ways that lead to death. Shape new paths toward peace and cooperation, teaching us to recognize one another as neighbors. Guide legislators, civil servants, judges, and police toward laws that protect the well-being of all.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Tend to all in need of your compassion. Hear the cries of those awaiting justice and those yearning for forgiveness. Give community to the lonely and neighbors to the outcast. Shelter all who are vulnerable in body, mind, or spirit.  We bring before you the Dreger family, Art Ganske; Mike Froese; Brooke Alexiuk; Tracy Skoglund; Carolyn & Douglas; Nicole and family; Gordon Dreger; Diane Dreger; Debbie & Dwayne.  Grant them solace and healing.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Sustain us in our work, O God, and give work to those who need it. Shape societies to ensure fair treatment for all who labor. Help us to love our neighbors in and through our work.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We remember with thanksgiving those who have died in faith. As you equipped them, equip us with your protection and power, until with them we see your salvation.

Lord, 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.




May the strength of God pilot us;

May the wisdom of God instruct us,
May the hand of God protect us,
May the word of God direct us.
Be always ours this day and for evermore.


SENDING SONG:  More Voices #79  Spirit, Open Our Hearts





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