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August 2, 2020 SUNDAY GATHERING..presented by Robert Nicolson
In 2015, Robert graduated from St. Stephens College in Edmonton as a licensed lay worship leader and Trinity has been blessed with his worship leadership ever since. He is very thankful to the UCW and the Nel and Harvie Forrest Memorial Fund who paid for his tuition for two years of the program.

Robert is doing double duty at Trinity these days.  He is not only very busy submitting applications to the Government to obtain all grants relating to Covid19 available to churches, he is also our "guest" worship leader for many services during Rev. David's sabbatical...MANY!  For which we are very grateful!  

Note: Today's hymns come from a variety of artists.  We hope you enjoy them. RN

Your participation with us today is truly a blessing. 

Call to Worship
These summer months offer us much-needed time for a rest and renewal. Let us come to this time of worship with the same desire to find rest and renewal for our souls. Let us come as the sun shines, as the warm rains fall, as the earth ripens, that we might praise God together.
Norah Vedress, Calvary U.C., Prince Albert, Sask. 

Acknowledgement of Territory
We have come a long way in the work of reconciliation, but there is still a long road ahead. 

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As we prepare for worship, we acknowledge that the land on which our church and community is built is the unceded land of the Kwayquitlum Coast Salish people. May we work to build and deepen right relationship of thanksgiving and hope for the future. May God bless all with love. Amen

Opening Prayer
Cast your net wide, Embracing God. Gather us to you, so that we may also embrace your mission and cast your net wider still. Teach us to centre our lives on your way, in service to your people. Help us gather others in, those who need to know the love you have shown us. Amen.
Anna Atkinson, Cedar U.C., Nanaimo, B.C. 

The Lectionary for today provides four readings. Following each I have added a brief comment and referenced one of the suggested hymns for those of us who miss that important part of our regular service. 

First Reading: Genesis 32:22-31(NRSV)
Jacob Wrestles at Peniel
The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Comment: It appears here that Jacob actually has some degree of success in wrestling with God, the most powerful being conceivable. God responds to Jacob’s actions. Thus God genuinely interacts with human beings. We need to take care however. We see throughout the Hebrew Scriptures that divine-human encounter is dangerous. As with Jacob, the healing may leave scars.

Anthem:  Come Praise the Lord with me...Sung by Trinity Choir
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Second Reading: Psalm 17:1-7, 15 (NRSV)
Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors
Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;
    give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
From you let my vindication come;
    let your eyes see the right.
If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
    if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
    my mouth does not transgress.
As for what others do, by the word of your lips
    I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
    incline your ear to me, hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
    O savior of those who seek refuge
    from their adversaries at your right hand.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
    when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

Comment: The author here may seem a little self-righteous but we also get a sense of dealing with the injustices of the world. Living in a country like Canada, we have a responsibility not only to provide necessities to poorer nations, but also to work to eliminate their poverty.

Suggested Hymn: VU 262 “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” 
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Third Reading: Romans 9:1-5 (NRSV)
God’s Election of Israel
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit — I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Another theme found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures is Israel’s cycle of sin and redemption. Paul points out that Israel has played an essential role in God’s history of salvation. It does not necessarily follow, however, that Jews who do not accept Jesus are somehow lost.

Suggested Hymn: VU 580 “Faith of Our Fathers”
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Fourth Reading: Matthew 14:13-21 (NRSV)
Feeding the Five Thousand
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.”

Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Comment: “. . . you give them something to eat.” The disciples have a role to play but are unwilling to accept it. The divine power, while not their own, is available to them in Jesus. They have much to learn about their potential.

Suggested Hymn: MV 182 “Grateful”....Sung by Golden Ears UC Choir
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Mission and Service in Worship | The United Church of Canada

Minute for Mission: August 2
Our gifts for Mission & Service fully support the Embracing the Spirit grant program for communities of faith with innovative ideas. Westmount Park United Church in Montreal has been able to grow its initial grant into a Faith in Nature vision of the church—a belief that nature connects us all. In one project, the church planted ginkgo seeds from Green Legacy Hiroshima as a symbol for a nuclear-free planet.

Prayers of the People
In the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle of the World Council of Churches, this week we pray for the peoples of Cameroon, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.

In our own Pacific Mountain Region of the United Church of Canada, we are praying for Chilliwack UC, Chown Memorial Chinese UC, Christ Church, Gabriola SM, Cliff Avenue UC and Cloverdale PC.

Let us Pray:

If only everyone in our world shared compassionately, as Jesus did,
·      the refugee and the immigrant would be treated carefully,
·      no child would go without food or shelter or basic education,
·      the mentally challenged would not be thrown in jail,
·      women would not be afraid to name their abusers,
·      the powerful leaders would listen to the crying needs
       of those most vulnerable and afraid. 

If only the needs of those who suffer were heard,
·      bullying would be dealt with quickly,
·      the minimum wage would be raised,
·      affordable housing would be made a priority,
·      no physically challenged person would be prevented from
       entering a washroom, a store or a hotel,
·      the undiagnosed would get urgent treatment, and the
       bereaved would be comforted patiently. 

If only we would listen and share.
·      If we listened we would hear the insistent whispers for help.
·      If we listened we would be aware of the needs right in front of us.
·      If we listened we would give family and friends the time they need.
·      If we listened – listened deeply, listened carefully, listened patiently, listened empathetically – we would hear God’s word for us, take it to heart, and act on it. 

Holy One, help us to listen and share compassionately as Jesus did.
Pastoral Prayers to Share (adapted) 

We continue in prayer with words Jesus gave to all of his disciples, knowing that you are our Mother, and you are
Our Father . . .                                                              VU 921 

Go out in Jesus’ name with ready hands to bring God’s kingdom into this world. Go out to bring love and justice into a world of hurt and pain, knowing that God is with us always. Amen
Fern Gibbard, Penticton U.C., Penticton, B.C.