Trinity United Church
August 01, 2021
Proper 13
Zoom Worship 
“Connection not Perfection”

ZOOM Worship on Sunday, August 1, 2021 at 10:30 am: We are really blessed to have this method of being together, apart. To join the ZOOM Meeting, CLICK HERE to "log on" on Sunday morning or dial 778-907-2071 to participate by phone. This week's worship will be led by Rev David. To watch our worship services via livestream, just visit our YouTube channel. CLICK HERE.
A REMINDER re SUNDAY GATHERING BLOG:  If for any reason you do not receive the link or it doesn't work, you will find the Sunday Gathering Service on Trinity's website at: is posted each Sunday at 12:45 pm.  Alternatively, click on the YouTube link:  CLICK HERE.
Welcome  Rev David: May the peace of Christ be with you. 

Welcome to Trinity United Church in Port Coquitlam, BC.We are so grateful that you have chosen to spend some time with us, we are glad you are here. A gentle reminder that we are experimenting on a weekly basis with our social media and the technology, and some things will work better than others. So we ask for your patience and generosity of spirit as we forge a new way forward together. We do ask that if something technical goes wrong please let the leader and the hosts work it out. It is not helpful for people to turn on their own mics and start talking, it really only adds to the confusion. 

Acknowledgement of Territory
For tens of thousands of years, the lands on which we live, work and worship, have been occupied by indigenous peoples.Much of what we know as the North West Coast of North America was occupied by the Coast Salish Peoples. The territory where Trinity United Church of Port Coquitlam resides is the unceded territory of the Kwikwetlem First Nations. Our acknowledgement of unceded traditional territory is a first step in reconciliation between settler cultures and indigenous peoples and the decolonization of western systems that continue to oppress and exploit indigenous peoples and land. The work of reconciliation is daunting. The work of reconciliation will not be ours to complete, but neither is it ours to abandon.  We remember these words from the Apostle Paul, “[The gift of a New Creation] is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting [our] trespasses against [us], and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” 

Let us prepare our hearts and minds for worship. 

Prelude/ Lighting of the Christ Candle 

Call to Worship
We do not live by bread alone,
But by signs and wonders that God is with us.
We are not only fed only by the mondain,
But by awe and mystery in our daily lives.
May we celebrate with joy the abundance God sends us. 

Prayer of Approach
Teach us, O God,
to wonder and see
the beauty of your world. 

Open our hearts
to receive and return
your love and joy. 

Make us ready,
keep us awake. 
May we know you, and may others recognize you through us.

Hymn: “Teach Me God to Wonder” VU 299 

Prayer of Reconciliation and Words of Assurance
Holy One,
you send us signs and wonders
to know that your love is greater than death.
The sign of death and resurrection in the cross
points us to our journey,
from bondage to freedom,
from trespass to repentance,
from alienation to comfort,
from death to new life. 

We confess our need for reconciliation,
both personal and communal.
Your mercy and kindness feed us
even though we are not deserving. 

We have unleashed terrible suffering.
We have used other people
to our own ends without regard for their dignity.
We have abused the earth
without care of beauty or concern
for future generations.

We seek to bargain with you,
only concerned about a future in heaven. 

Put the spirit of Christ within us.
Cause us to grow fully
into the image and likeness
of mature, faithful disciples
who gratefully follow the one you sent
to lead us out of transgression.
Free us from captivity of our selfishness,
and bind us only to the whole body of Christ,
that others may look at us
and see your glory in our words and actions.

 In the name of the bread of life, we pray. Amen. 

Brothers and sisters in Christ,
God sends the bread of life
That we might be nourished body and soul.
We are forgiven.
We are reconciled.
We are made whole.
Thanks be to God. 


Psalm 51 refrain 1 VU 776 

R: God, I call to you for help; in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your great kindness,
in the fullness of your mercy blot out my offences.
Wash away all my guilt, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults,
and my sin is always before me.  R

God, I call to you for help; in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done evil in your sight,
 so that you are justified in your sentence, and blameless in your judgement.
Guilty I have been from my birth,
a sinner from the time of my conception.
But you desire truth in our inward being,  
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean,
wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness,
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities. R

God, I call to you for help; in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Put a new heart in me, O God,
and give me again a constant spirit.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, 
and strengthen me with a willing spirit. 
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, 
and sinners will return to you. 
O God, open my lips, 
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. R

God, I call to you for help; in your mercy, hear my prayer.

You desire no sacrifice, or I would give it; 
you take no delight in burnt offerings.
The sacrifice you accept, O God, is a broken spirit; 
a broken and contrite heart, O God,
you will not despise.  R

God, I call to you for help; in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Retelling Our Ancient Story 

A sign (Slow Down: Proceed with Caution) from heaven (Alleluia).   
After eating their fill of bread (Mmmm, Yum!) and fish
the crowd (Grumble, grumble, grumble) went looking for Jesus (Teacher! Rabbi). 
When they found him on the other side of the Sea,
the crowd(Grumble, grumble, grumble) said to Jesus (Teacher! Rabbi),
"Rabbi, when did you come over here?" 
Jesus (Teacher! Rabbi) answered them, "Very truly, I tell you,
you are looking for me, not because you saw a sign (Slow Down: Proceed with Caution),
but because you ate your fill of bread (Mmmm, Yum!)
Do not work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life." 
The crowd (Grumble, grumble, grumble) said to him,
"What sign (Slow Down: Proceed with Caution)
are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? 
Our ancestors ate the manna (What’s This?) in the wilderness;
as it is written, 'Moses (Holy Moses!) gave them manna (What’s This?)
from heaven (Alleluia) to eat." 
Then Jesus (Teacher! Rabbi) said to them,
"Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses (Holy Moses!)
who gave you Manna (What’s This?) from Heaven (Alleluia),
but it was my Father who gives you true bread (Mmmm, Yum!)  from heaven (Alleluia)
For the bread (Mmmm, Yum!) of God
is that which comes down from heaven (Alleluia!)
and gives life to the world." 
The crowd (Grumble, grumble, grumble) said to Jesus, (Teacher! Rabbi)
"Sir, give us this bread (Mmmm, Yum!) from heaven (Alleluia!)always!" 
Jesus (Teacher! Rabbi) said to them, "I am the bread (Mmmm, Yum!) of life. 
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." 

Reading: Ephesians 4: 1-16 
4 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it is said,‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;   he gave gifts to his people.’9(When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. This is the witness of the early church. Thanks be to God! 

Hymn: “Praise God for this Holy Ground” MV 42   

Unity in the Spirit” 

Holy One,
make us worthy of the calling
to which we have been called.
With all humility, gentleness and patience,
bearing with one another in love,
may we make every effort
to maintain unity in the spirit,
in the bond of genuine peace, Amen. 

"Unity in the Spirit" is another way Paul talks about reconciliation. In order for us to be "united in the Spirit," the community must be reconciled to one another and to God. 

I remind folks from last week and the weeks before as we have followed Paul's letter to the Ephesians, reconciliation is forever work. We never get a break from reconciling to each other, to other communities and to God. For Paul, this is our ministry. And it is OUR ministry. Not "the minister's," or the "priest's," or those holy people over there, or those volunteers, whoever they may be, or God forbid, the next generation. Our ministry is the ministry of reconciliation. 

Today Paul is just brutal. I will abridge what we just heard from Ephesians: 

"I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which YOU (not me; not "them;" not "those people over there") YOU have been called: until all of us (all of us... ALL OF US) come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ... WE must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ." 

Let that sink in. 

WE must grow up in every way into Christ. 

Wow... what a calling. 

It's a good thing God equips the called and doesn't wait to call the equipped.

In the story we heard earlier, Jesus talks to us about signs and wonders, the Bread from heaven is a "sign and wonder" sent by God so that we know that God is at work among us. In other places "signs and wonders" are referenced as miracles. "Signs and wonders," "miracles" are not magic. "Signs and Wonders" are very real evidence that God is active among us, making what we think is impossible, possible. 

Jesus further explains that a "sign and wonder" is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. 

John, the gospel writer, is saying that Jesus, himself, IS that sign and wonder who brings life to the world. 

But if we are careful readers... and then Paul is going to hit it home in today's reading, guess what? WE are called to grow up and mature in every way into the full measure of the full stature of Christ. WE are called to be signs and wonders in the world. WE are called to be the bread from heaven that gives life to the world. 

Where? How? What? When do we begin to do that? 

Humans have made a real mess of the world coming into the 21st century. Colonialism, Imperialism, Capitalism, Consumerism... have destroyed relationships between peoples, have ravaged global resources, poisoned the oceans, and catastrophically changed the climate. 

We have created a sub-species of trillionaires shooting themselves into space, rather than using their wealth to mitigate climate disaster. 

Young people have good reason to fear that there might not be much of a future for the human species. 

What the world needs right now, the sign and wonder, the miracle, the bread from heaven that would give the world life is a community of faith that knows how to humbly, gently, patiently clean up its mess. What the world really needs right now, is a church that knows how to clean up its mess. 

What the world needs right now is a church that can change directions (the biblical word for changing direction is "repent"). The world needs a church that can repent, say "we're sorry; we were wrong; we want to make reparations," and then follow through with reconciliation. 

The world is going the wrong way and the world needs to see that a change of direction is possible. 

I returned to the United Church in 1997 because the church had issued an apology to the Indigenous peoples of Canada for its active participation in the residential schools system. And we knew it wasn't completed work, it was "forever work," that we would need to continue doing forever into the future. 

I wanted to be a part of a church that could change directions and make amends, the world needs that so much. 

Where I have been at fault since 1997, is that I have been satisfied thinking it was okay to let other people do the educating and understanding of the First Nations stuff, and I can cheer them on from the back of the bus. 

"I'm so glad that work is happening... out there... somewhere..." 

But Paul isn't having ANY of that today. Today Paul is clear, the work of unity in the spirit is the calling to which all of us have been called. 

For our change of direction to be complete:
WE need to know more about residential schools;
we need to understand the relationship between colonial and
indigenous peoples;
we need to actively participate in recounting the history of settler
abuse of indigenous peoples;
So that all can be reconciled. 

We can be this sign and wonder that the world so desperately needs. 

I was so gratified last week to read an article in the Saskatoon Phoenix Star, July 19, and I quote: 

"The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations praised the United Church of Canada on Monday in a media release calling on other Canadian churches to do more in their response to unmarked graves identified at residential school sites around Canada. 

"The release noted the United Church has apologized for its role in operating 15 residential schools... ...The United Church has also reportedly provided compensation to residential school survivors, along with releasing all records from the facilities it operated. 

"We appreciate the acknowledgement and apology offered by the United Church. We ask that other church denominations that had a hand in these religious institutions to immediately follow along," Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief, Bobby Cameron said in the release." 

End quote. 

We must not let this go to our heads. Paul begs us to lead with humility, gentleness and patience. It is forever work and we are a very long ways from complete. But we can feel the gratitude for the church leadership that has brought us here, and for those who were willing to teach us to change directions. 

I'm going to end with the same prayer with which I began: 

Holy One,
make us worthy of the calling
to which we have been called.
With all humility, gentleness and patience,
bearing with one another in love,
may we make every effort
to maintain unity in the spirit,
in the bond of genuine peace. Amen

Special Music 


Offering  Your offering: your financial gifts, your gifts of time and skill are what make our ministry possible. If you are not already on Pre-Authorized Remittance, we invite you to participate in our ministry by making a financial gift, either by sending a cheque to the church office, or by going to our website and clicking on the donate now button.  We have been blessed, not only by the generosity of our membership and adherents, but also by the courage of our leadership to learn and navigate in a very different world than the one we knew a year ago. Let us give thanks. 

Holy Trinity,
May our gifts of money and service
be signs of our desire
to grow up in every way
into the one you would have us become.  

May our gifts build up and promote the body of Christ.
May our gifts give Glory to your name.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen. 

Prayers of Thanksgiving and intercession
Holy One,
you receive our joy and our grief, 
our comfort and our concern.
And so now we pray for the world. 

We pray for those who are ill
and those who work in healthcare.
We pray for those living in long term care.
We pray for those waiting for death.
We pray for those who are grieving
the loss of a loved one. 

We pray for those who are underpaid
or under employed.
We pray for those who lack shelter,
especially as the days are hot and smokey.
We pray for those living with mental illness and addiction. 

We pray for the survivours of residential schools.
We pray for children who died at the residential schools,
for their families and communities.
We pray for reconciliation
between non-indigenous and indigenous peoples
here in Canada and throughout the world.
We pray for all peoples oppressed and
subjugated by imperialism and colonialism,
capitalism, and consumerism. 

We pray for the Earth itself,
for the climate crisis
we are only beginning to experience.
We pray for victims of resource extraction,
for those living with tainted water,
for those dislocated by land exploitation and rising oceanic levels.
We pray for firefighters,
and those who have lost homes,
jobs, and community to climate fires. 

Holy One,
Resurrection, the Kingdom of Heaven, Your Promise fulfilled await us.
Nourish us, comfort us, teach us,
that we might be signs of your coming Glory.
In the name of the one who shows us the way, we pray… 

Now we turn to you as a child turns to her mother seeking affirmation and comfort as we pray together a paraphrase of the words Jesus taught us… 

A Paraphrase of The Disciples’ Prayer VU 916
Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall  be,
Father and mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
the hallowing of your name
echo through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by people of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power
that is love, now and for ever.   Amen.


Hymn “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” VU 382 

Commissioning and Benediction  I invite you to turn on your videos and hold your hands out in a sign of blessing…