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The Reverend Dr. Dorothy A. Jeffery  will be leading worship today. Dorothy has been coming to lead worship at Trinity UC about twice a year since 2014. This is her second “virtual” worship leadership with Trinity.  

Now retired from continuous active ministry, she visits various United Churches about once a month to preach and lead worship.  When not wandering about to preach she worships at Jubilee United Church in Burnaby where she coordinates bible/book study group, and serves on the Core Ministry Gathering for worship on a voluntary basis. All this has been happening since mid-March using Zoom conferencing. 

Dorothy is a second- or third- or fourth-career ordained minister of the United Church of Canada.  Her first professional degree was in Pharmacy. She went on to being a research scientist, an environmental scientist, and now a minister. Most of her time as a minister in the United Church was at Gladwin Heights United Church in Abbotsford. She is a graduate of Vancouver School of Theology. She has a special interest in peaching and teaching about Ecology and Eco-justice.  

She is married to Wayne, a Forensic Scientist who continues to work part-time as a consultant in the field of drugs and alcohol.   They live in Burnaby. They have one daughter and son-in-law and one seven-year-old granddaughter who live in Coquitlam.

Rev Dr Dorothy Jeffery


Call to Worship 
You and I could be in any one of a hundred places right now,
But we have chosen to be here in community with God and with one another. 

Many of us come wanting to make a difference in the world. 

Let us come together as people of God seeking the dawning of a new age,
A new community of faithfulness, reflection, compassion, peace and goodwill. 

Name us, O Christ, as ones You send into the world to transform. 

Let us worship. 

Opening Hymn: Please join with the Trinity choir in singing VU 256  O God beyond All Praising    
Words Michael Perry (1942 – 1996), Music Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934)
Click Here

v. 1 O God, beyond all praising, We worship You today
and sing the love amazing that songs cannot repay,
for we can only wonder at every gift You send,
at blessings without number and mercies without end: 
We lift our hearts before You and wait upon Your word;
We honor and adore You, our great and mighty Lord.

v. 2 For we can only wonder at every gift You send,
at blessings without number and mercies without end:
for Christ, your gift from heaven, from death has set us free,
and we through him are given the final victory. 

v. 3 Then hear, O gracious Saviour; accept the love we bring,
That we who know Your favour may serve You as our king,
And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill,
We’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless You still;
To marvel at Your beauty and glory in Your ways,
And make a joyful duty our sacrifice of praise.

Opening Prayer 
We offer You, ever present God, our whole selves,
our flawed and quirky selves.
Awaken us to discover the unique service You have placed into our lives.
Encourage us to accept opportunities for helping and healing that lie, sometimes hidden, before us.
Help us to continue to search even when we may feel discouraged or initially thwarted. 

Thank you for accepting us as we are and using us to do Your will in the world. AMEN
Adapted from Gill LeFevre, Walton Memorial UC Oakville Ontario Gathering Pentecost 1, 2020 (Year A) p. 39.  

Scripture Readings:  Matthew 13:31-33, 44-53 
He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."  

He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened." 

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.  

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;
when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous
and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

"Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes."  

And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."  

When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.    


Prayer of Illumination 
God of Mystery, You speak to us in stories, riddles, and metaphors.
It’s easy to pass them off as “just stories” or clever jokes.
These stories contain the real stuff of life.
Give us the clarity to unravel the mysteries in these stories,
the heart to hear and feel these realities, and the will to live them. AMEN.
/adapted from Catherine Tovell, Kilworth U.C., London, Ont. Gathering Pentecost 1 2020 (Year A). p. 45.  


This is parables of Jesus time.  The gospel reading from Matthew is parables.  Parables are probably the most familiar stories of Jesus.  One definition of a parable is a story that paints a whole world in itself.  It could be understood and interpreted on its own. But as usual it can be interpreted in its context: the setting within the biblical text, the historical setting as best we can discern when it was told, and its context within our own life situation.  Another description of a parable is a story with a twist.  You end up where you do not expect. 

This is also Kingdom time.  Jesus uses metaphors to explain the inexplicable concept of the “Kingdom of Heaven”.  The fact that he uses multiple metaphors (parables) underscores the mysterious nature of the “Kingdom of Heaven”.  

In today’s reading we are given Five parables – four are about the Kingdom of Heaven, and one is about end times and judgement. 

The mustard seed parable is probably the most familiar of this set.  It is often interpreted as a parable about “abundance”, but in the nature of parable we may end up somewhere we do not expect if we allow new interpretations. 

Looking at these parables from perhaps another perspective, you will notice that the central element or character in each story seems shady, subversive, and corrupted.  The mustard seed is a noxious weed. It is an invasive species.  Once seeded it chokes out other plants.  Yeast is a tiny organism that can leaven bread or ferment wine, but if you get the wrong yeast it can spoil the batch.  (Have any of you been indulging in home wine making or bread baking in the past four months?  With success or failure?  You will know the ingredients must be clean and not contaminated with the wrong yeast). Then there is the one who finds the hidden treasure in a field and rather than sharing his good find, he schemes to acquire it for himself.  Final of the four is the merchant who finds the pearl of great value and again does all he can to acquire it for himself.  

These are four subversive parables.   

Thinking about the time of Jesus, kingdom really referred to the Roman Empire. The Empire was oppressive, all powerful, and all controlling.   Calling anything else a kingdom was not only dangerous, it is what got Jesus killed, why he was crucified as a common criminal.  Yet Jesus uses common images to describe another, desirable kingdom – the “Kingdom of Heaven”.  In part he does this to “fly” under the radar, to talk against the Roman Empire without naming it.    But also, he defines Kingdom / Empire as something that can be attained only by subversive means.  The “Kingdom of Heaven” is not a substitution of one power for another.  It is fundamentally different. 

Here we find ourselves emerging from a place we would rather not be, an Empire of the CoVid-19 virus all powerful, all pervasive, and deadly if not respected. We are forced to submit to living with it. In our present time, we find ourselves trying to find a NEW Normal, or as a colleague of mine describes it, the NEW Abnormal.

As we live into the return from CoVid19 isolation, what are we looking for?  Church and society and economy as it was before? 

What did we learn during the pandemic?  The virus is an equal opportunity warrior but our economy puts the poor, and the vulnerable most at risk. The homeless cannot self-isolate nor can they carry on their connections through Zoom conversations and e-mail as we do.   

Racialized people and First Nations have drawn attention to their disproportionately lower status in Canada.  Some people have joined protest marches at the risk of further spreading the virus among the disadvantaged groups.  Thankfully, Dr. Bonnie Henry has noted no surge in CoVid 19 cases from the Vancouver protests, though that has not been so fortunate in other places.  Some people, and I count myself here, have begun to try to better understand the “others” among us.   

As a personal aside, at the start of the pandemic I was anxious because I felt my time to contribute to the church through developing new mission would pass me by.  Over the time of isolation, I have gone deeper into our local bible study group, supporting them through this time of isolation, working through difficult books on interfaith and First Nations with the aim of understanding God's people more deeply. I have come to realize that using my gifts of study and reflection is a real way to advance into a new normal. 

As well as thinking about how we can bridge the inequity gap in society, what can we do? We can recognize that we are indeed a privileged people. 

One of my favorite eco-theologians, the late Reverend Sallie McFague, has preached for years that for the sake of the world we should practice sacrificial living.  This CoVid 19 pandemic has required us to actually do this. 

During the pandemic we have sacrificed the convenience of instant gratification of shopping for exactly what we want exactly when we want it.  And we found out we did just fine.  There were many things we did without.  We did not drive as much, and we probably went for socially distanced walks in the neighbourhood or in near by parks. And the natural world thanked us – cleaner air, less pollution, even in smoggy cities like Los Angeles. And our bodies and psyches thanked us – more exercise and friendly waves from socially distanced passersby who we silently greeted with a smile and a wave.  After all we had the time, no rush to get anywhere.  

The ways you have been disciples in your community – thrift shop, assistance to drug addicted people, community meals, and worship itself may all have to change in the future.  So, can we envision a new normal where we reach out to our neighbours in a safe and compassionate way? 

We might start by defining who is our neighbour, and what being a neighbour really entails?  Is there room to expand our horizons? 

This may lead us to realize that society as a whole is not as egalitarian as we might hope.  We are part of society as a whole, though a subset of it.  Is there subtle racism among us?  Do we welcome diversity to swell our ranks or our volunteer base; or to accept strangers as neighbours, getting to know them as they wish to share and engage with us? 

Is there subtle classism among us?  Do we serve the poor but find it difficult to welcome them into our worship, and our groups because they behave differently?   

Can we recognize the worth of alternate lifestyles, religions, spiritualities and social orders? Do we see our lifestyle as ours to impose and export? 

Can we be honest with ourselves about our own privilege? Can we be truthful about sacrifices we can and are willing to make so others can live in a manner that is more healthful and still respected by others?  

We are embedded in Canadian and Western culture.  It has its flaws. 

I am using “we” throughout this part of the message because I am naming struggles that are mine also.

Warren Carter in his book “Matthew and the Margins: a sociopolitical reading”  (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 2000, p. 291) says “if a person is well adjusted in a sick society corrupting is the only path to wholeness”. 

So, this brings us back to the four parables.

The parables show the incarnational (the embodiment of discipleship) is on us, not on Jesus himself.  It is on the world around him.  

Four of the five parables envision God in every nook and cranny of daily life.  Jesus transforms human life by helping people see the heaven close at hand.  

The churches’ work is to form disciples who value the contemporary equivalents of weeds, yeast, thieves, and merchants – subversive, countercultural and sometimes intrusive. 

The paradox, and there is always a paradox in a parable, is that a kingdom worth the price of the great pearl or the hidden treasure is not made of silver or gold, but of bushes and bread.   

Are you disappointed that the visions of heaven include mustard bushes and housework? You may be practicing the kingdom time Jesus describes.  During this time of isolation are you doing more housework?  Are you viewing the little everyday things you do as ways to be disciples who in every action consider the impact on others (human, creaturely and earthly)?  Would you give up all you have for a crop of invasive weeds?  Is the pearl of great value renewed relationship with the “other”, compassionate relationships with all where all can live justly and equitably.  

Can we see societal recovery, not measured in dollars raised but in lives raised up, and self- esteem raised?  That would be a subversive recovery to a new normal. 

Like Jesus we can tell new stories to speak to timeless truths.  We center our faith on Jesus' mission which he gave in Luke 4:18-19 

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to
bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
the captives and recovery of sight to the blind and let the oppressed
go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. 

Matthew was succinct in his parables but expansive in his mission statement (the Sermon on the Mount).  So, I have returned to the Lukan statement of Jesus’ and our mission.  In these four brief Matthean subversive parables, may we find our recovery be from “blindness” as we come to see our role to renew to a new normal where our everyday lives are good news for the poor and release to the oppressed. 

May it be so in my life and in yours.  AMEN

Time for Reflection 

Hymn of response 
MV 144  “Like a Healing Stream”
Click Here for Music

 1. Like a healing stream in a barren desert,
Spirit water bringing life to dusty earth,
God is trickling through our lives as in a dream unfolding,
promising revival and a healing stream. 

2. Like a gentle rain on a thirsty garden,
Spirit water comes to nourish tiny seed,
God is bubbling through the soil to coax a new creation,
yearning for an end to want and a gentle rain. 

3. Like a river strong with a restless current,
Spirit water rushing on to distant shore,
God is carving out a channel in a new direction,
calling for an end to hate and a river strong. 

4. Like a might sea reaching far horizons,
Spirit water with a love both deep and wide,
God is working in our heats to shape a new tomorrow: 
God will always challenge and provide! 
Like a might sea, like a river strong, like a gentle rain, like a healing stream. 
**Reproduced with permission under license #11429026… LicenseSing OnLineWords and music:  Bruce Harding

Prayers of the People and Lord’s Prayer:   

God of unfailing love,
Saviour to whom we belong,
Spirit of truth,
You we worship,
You we love,
You we trust. 

We long for wisdom to live well and faithfully
all the days of our lives.
You know the fears that bind us.
You know how lost we sometimes get.
Yet, You search for us and find us;
You never let us go.  

You pour grace upon grace into our lives.
Then, You send us out into the world,
which needs Your light. 

As we seek to be what You have called us to be,
fill our minds so that we observe the world
through the light and love
of Jesus’ cross and resurrection.
Then, grant us courage to walk in the Way of Jesus
who is your truth, your life.  

We give thanks for the church locally, in the region and in the world.  In the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle of the World Council of Churches this week we pray for the peoples of the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe.  

We pray for your minister the Reverend David Cathcart on sabbatical. And we give thanks for the support and encouragement of Pacific Mountain Region of United Church of Canada, Trinity United and wider spiritual community that allows and encourages his time of renewal,  rest and spiritual growth. 

We give thanks Pacific Mountain region staff and various ministers and volunteers who share in care, worship leadership and pastoral support of Trinity United Church. 

We give thanks for children and staff at Camp Spirit being held at several locations including Jubilee United Church and Eagle Ridge United Church.  May they safely find joy and learn to know and love Jesus. 

We give thanks for finding safe ways to celebrate and support anniversaries, birthdays, and friendship during this time of relaxing pandemic isolation.
We pray for and give thanks for resilience of spirit and mind,
especially for those who struggle with mood swings during this pandemic
and for those who are caring for sick friends and family. 

We offer these our written and silent prayers as we say the prayer, we have learned from Jesus...   

Our Father and Mother who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And deliver us from times of trial
For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory now and forever.

Closing hymn: 
Please join with your Trinity United Choir in singing VU 713 “I see a New Heaven” 
Click here

Refrain:I see a new heaven. I see a new earth           
as the old one will pass away,           
where the fountain of life flows           
and without price goes           
to all people who abide in the land. 

1  There, there on the banks of a river bright and free,           
yielding her fruit, firm in her root,           
the Tree of Life will be. 

Refrain:I see a new heaven. I see a new earth           
as the old one will pass away,           
where the fountain of life flows           
and without price goes           
to all people who abide in the land.         

2 There, there where death dies and our lives are born again,           
body and soul, struggling but whole           
like flowers after the rain. 

Refrain:I see a new heaven. I see a new earth           
as the old one will pass away,           
where the fountain of life flows           
and without price goes           
to all people who abide in the land.         

3 There, there where the darkness brings visions from above.           
There where the night, bearing new light,           
reveals the promise of love. 

Refrain:I see a new heaven. I see a new earth           
as the old one will pass away,           
where the fountain of life flows           
and without price goes           
to all people who abide in the land.         

4  There, there where we work with the love of healing hands.           
Labour we must, true to our trust           
to build a promised new land. 

Refrain:I see a new heaven. I see a new earth           
as the old one will pass away,           
where the fountain of life flows           
and without price goes           
to all people who abide in the land.         

Blessing and Sending Forth: 
Go as the mustard seed,
grown by God to block the abuse of power. 
Turn the world upside down,
trading prestige and power and privilege
for health and mutuality and truth. 

Go as pearls of treasure in a world of greed. 
Be led by the Spirit,
to open perceptions, our own and others’,
to the wonder and the wholeness of the gospel. 
Go as Jesus’ yeast in life’s dough. 

Go carrying the name of Christ,
living out the risen faith we have been given as a gift.
/adapted p. 48 Gathering Gord Dunbar, Kincardine P.C., Kincardine, Ont.

Let us be joyful in hope!
Let us be patient in affliction!
Let us be faithful in prayer!
For this is our calling as the body of Jesus Christ. AMEN
/Kate Crawford  Gathering Pentecost 1 2020 (Year A) p. 48