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Our worship service this morning has been provided by Robert Nicolson....Thank you, Robert!


Your participation with us today is truly a blessing. 

Call to Worship
To share in laughter, to touch and be touched,
to cry, to breathe, to move, to be!
The gift of incarnation, our bodies, tangible, real, and free!
To feel Jesus carrying our burdens,
to love even as we are loved,
to know that our yoke is easy, our burden is light,
because it is love shared,
shared with Christ,
shared with others
and shared within community.
This is God’s gift, that we might be all that we are.
So, let us celebrate God,
With heart, body, mind, and soul! Alleluia!

Richard Bott, Vancouver, B.C. 

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


A Canadian flag with the United Church crest next to it.

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 
Gracious God, who creates, sustains, and redeems all life, we come seeking your disturbing presence and comforting peace. We praise you for the joy of being your people. May your Spirit be with us and move within us, in this time of worship,. Give us hearts that hear your Word and minds that are open to the transforming power of your love. Amen

Ryan McNally, St. Mark’s U.C., Cannifton, Ont. 

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 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 (NRSV)
So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father’s house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.

 “I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, “Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,” and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also”—let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’

 “Before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her water jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels. Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left.”

Then Laban and Bethuel answered, “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you anything bad or good. Look, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.

”And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.” So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

“May you, our sister, become
     thousands of myriads;
may your offspring gain possession
    of the gates of their foes.

”Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Comment: One of the underlying themes found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures is how God’s plan for creation moves forward regardless of how we, God’s children, tend to head in our own directions. God is constantly wooing us towards doing God's will but still leaves decisions to us. In this story we see the very human sides of the characters. Abraham’s servant is not keen on going on the search. Leban appears to be more interested in the bride-gift and feasting.

Both Isaac and Rebekah are concerned about leaving their families. But everything works out. And what about this Rebekah? Contrary to how we sometimes think about the role of women in ancient society, she’s really the one running the show here. I love the fact that she jumps off her camel and runs to the handsome young man in the field even before she knows that it is Isaac, her intended!

Suggested Hymn: MV 216 “Wherever You May Go
Click Here

Second Reading: Song of Solomon 2:8-13 (NRSV)
The voice of my beloved!
    Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle
    or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
    behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
    looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away;
for now the winter is past,
    the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
    and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away.

Comment: The roles are reversed here as it is the woman who is at home waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. But again we can see that she is no weeping lily. The relationship here is romantic rather than political, and unlike Rebekah running to Isaac, here it is the boy who bounds like a gazelle!

Suggested Hymn: MV 89 “Love Is the Touch"
Click Here

Third Reading: Romans 7:15-25a(NRSV)
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

Comment: It is not enough to know what is right, we have to be prepared to act on it. God’s love can free us to overcome our own will power standing in the way. We know what we should do, but we need God’s support to get the job done.

Suggested Hymn: VU 333 “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"
Click Here


Fourth Reading: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 (NRSV)
But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
    we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Comment: What the world considers wise is not true wisdom. True wisdom requires us to listen to others as well as to God. Children are better at this than we “more intelligent” adults. Life’s experience can stand in the way of trust.

Anthem: My Refuge
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Minute for Mission: July 5
Our gifts for Mission & Service support United Church camps like Camp Bimini in St. Paul’s Station, ON, where children and adults can enjoy memorable experiences in God’s creation. The well-being of children and adults is linked to the amount of time spent in nature: The more time spent outdoors, the better off people are. At Bimini, God’s creation is vibrant and dynamic, an awesome and awe filled place and space.

Prayers of the People:
In the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle of the World Council of Churches this week we pray for the peoples of Eritea and Ethiopia. 

In our own Pacific Mountain Region of the United Church of Canada we are praying for 100 Mile House UC, Agassiz UC, Alberni Valley UC, and Aldergrove UC. 

Let us pray: 
We seek your Peace, O God.
The peace the poet of the 23rd Psalm found in his time of grief.
The peace that Ruth found in faithfully following Naomi.
The peace that Mary found in accepting the coming of your Chosen One.
The active peace that Jesus brought through working to counter injustice and selfishness.
Your peace, O God.  

Fear is present in the violent and troubled world that is ours, O God.
The headlines in the newspapers tell of drug addiction and racism.
The television news speaks of the global pandemic.
We see angry public encounters on the main streets of our own town.
These events make us afraid.
What we seek, oh most caring God, is peace: a peace that penetrates to the root of our fear; a peace that renders fear impotent, harmless, and irrelevant.
Your peace, O God.
The peace that goes beyond all human understanding.  

Fear is a reality among those who are sick and depressed,
among those whose well of creativity has dried up,
among those who put off today’s work until tomorrow,
among those who have covered up their own addiction,
or the addiction of a friend or colleague,
because they were afraid of the consequences,
among those in one of the caring professions who are overworked but refuse to take a break,
among those who have been afraid to face their symptoms for a long time,
among those diagnosed or being treated for one of the cancers,
among those who mourn the loss of a loved one long after her death,
and are afraid to accept that their grieving is not yet over
(silent moment of remembering and reflection).

What we seek for all, most caring God, is peace: a peace that penetrates to the root of fear, a peace that renders fear impotent, harmless, and irrelevant.
Your peace, O God.
The peace that goes beyond all human understanding.  
Fear is a reality among those who worry about the loss of Christian influence and the decline in the number of Christian services for weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
Fear is present when it seems that secular societal values steadily encroach on the life of the church.
Fear is present when modern technology and music forms are proposed, such as on-line worship.
Fear is present when commitment to church membership is seen as unusual and unnecessary.
What we seek, O most caring God, is peace in our faith community: a peace that penetrates to the root of our fear, a peace that renders fear impotent, harmless, and irrelevant.
Your peace, O God.
The peace that goes beyond all human understanding.  

We know the lack of peace is an ever-present reality.
We worry about the conflicts that disturb relationships.
We worry about the lives of those close to us – our children, grandchildren, parents, and friends.
We worry about our work and leisure activities, and especially about what people think of us.
We worry about our life’s direction, and our inability to reach our goals and live our dreams.
What we seek is your peace, O God.
For we know if we feel, accept, and work for your peace, then nothing in the world around us will create fear anymore.

Pastoral Prayers to Share (adapted) 

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

Commissioning: You were called here to worship, and now you are just as surely called into the world to share the love of God with your neighbors, opening your heart to them, whoever they may be, wherever they may be found, just as Jesus did. Amen. 
George Allan, Chatham, Ont. adapted