4th Sunday of Lent
Acknowledgement of the Land
For thousands of years, Indigenous people have walked on this land. The relationship with the land is at the center of their lives. We acknowledge the first peoples and their stewardship of this land throughout the ages. The land we worship and live on is part of Treaty 1. Our water comes from Treaty 3 and our hydro from Treaty 5 territories. We acknowledge errors made in the past by those arriving from other lands, and we pledge to work towards the right relationships with all First Nations people.
VU 509 “Here I Am, Lord”
VU 670 “Precious Lord, take my hand”
Call to Worship
One: Today, this is our place of worship and of praise
All: We are glad to be here!
One: These are the friends and family who are with us in joy and in sorrow.
All: We are glad to be here!
One: This is our faith community through which compassion and justice become possible
All: We are glad to be here!
One: This is the Good News that Jesus proclaimed in deed and word.
All: We are glad to be here, let us worship together!
VU 747 “The Lord’s My Shepherd”
Passing the Peace: Jai Mashi
If possible, find a farmer who keeps sheep (perhaps there is one nearby) or someone else you can ask about what it is like to be a shepherd. (Or try an online search for information or a sound recording you can use, with permission.) How does this learning from a shepherd help us to understand the psalm writer, who thought that God was like a shepherd? An alternative would be to imagine with the children the most safe, secure, and comfortable place possible, a place without any worries, fears, or needs. Relate that to the image of the shepherd caring for the sheep. God provides us such a place. In our faith community, we seek to create such a place. (Gathering)
Lord’s Prayer (all languages welcome and spoken)
Psalm 23 (VU pp. 747–749): God is My Shepherd.
Ephesians 5:8–14: Live as children of the light.
John 9:1–41: Jesus Heals the Man Born Blind.
We invite you to share one or all of the following readings/resources together and then to share using one or all of the following questions:
- What thoughts come to mind?
- How does this reading connect with your understanding of God and how God is at work in the world and through us?
- What feelings are you experiencing at this time and how can you express those feelings in a way that brings healing and right-relationship with self and others?
- What edge in your life requires a change in how you express or perceive someone or something?
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
The “edge” this week is the seasonal equinox. In the northern latitudes of Canada where I live, this time marks a threshold when the light starts to gallop back in large chunks every day. The gathering light (northern hemisphere) or dwindling light (southern hemisphere) connects or contrasts with the mood of Lent as we head to Palm/Passion Sunday. Add images of the edges of light (sunset, dawn, sun through clouds, candle in the night, or metaphorical insight) to the growing presentation. (Gathering)
3) Sermon Starter
I am drawn to the passage from Ephesians because of its focus on light. The edge for me is the unhelpful contrast between darkness and light. A few years ago, I recorded a segment for Tapestry on CBC Radio that dispelled the myth of darkness as a bad thing. Many important things in the Hebrew Bible happen in the dark of night. As someone who resides north of the 60th parallel, where we spend long periods of the year in significant darkness and long periods with significant amounts of daylight, it is important to draw “goodness” out of both darkness and light. This also leads to a natural connection to the gospel passage. What can we become aware of in the dark? What do we miss in the light? Take time to challenge the assumptions about light and dark made by Paul in the letter to the Ephesians and to name how this passage has been used to feed racism. (Gathering)
The ministry and mission of Knox continues, even when the building is closed. God’s love and concern for those who are struggling is shared. You make it possible to carry this message to everyone. If you normally give when you are in worship, we encourage you to continue your regular donations through Canada Helps. This is the link
All donations made will be forwarded to Knox Winnipeg. Or, if you have envelopes, you could put your offering in an envelope each Sunday and bring them with you when we get back to in person worship. Thank you for your generosity in these times of trouble.
Gracious God, we offer these gifts as a way of serving you, and we offer ourselves as willing partners in that service. Bless these gifts that the questioning may receive answers, the suffering may receive help, and the way of Jesus may be honoured. Amen.
May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors, remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home, remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their school close, remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel trips, remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market, remember those who have no margin.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home, remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose LOVE.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.
VU 82 “A light is gleaming”
VU 284 “Joyful is the dark”
VU 588 “Many are the lightbeams”
MV 17 “God in the darkness”