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Trinity United Church
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Proper 28

“Connection not Perfection”



To watch our worship services via livestream, just visit our YouTube channel. CLICK HERE.

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 Northwest 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. 

I invite you to take a deep breath…
Let us prepare our hearts and minds for worship.

Prelude/ Lighting of the Christ Candle
CLICK HERE for Welcome Home Nov 14 video.

Call to Worship 
The Spirit calls.
    The spirit coaxes.
The spirit goads when it must.
    The spirit moves, sweeps, and whispers.
May the spirit be with us now as we worship.
Let us pray:

Prayer of Approach 

Move over us, Holy Spirit.
Sing in our hearts the Good News of God’s people.
Encourage us from the past.
Call us from the future.
Be with us in the present.
May we dream dreams in our captivity, 
and work for a bold new tomorrow. Amen.

Hymn: “Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness” VU 375

We Rest in God’s Reconciling Love
We are constantly surrounded by God’s reconciling love, we live and move and have our being in God’s unconditional, steadfast love. But we are not always aware of it.
I invite you to intentionally rest in God’s reconciling love now. You may want to close your eyes, or let them rest half closed. Become aware of your breath. You don’t need to control your breathing, just become aware of where you feel your breath in your body. Some of us feel our breath on our upper lip, or the end of our nose; some feel our breath in our sinuses; maybe in the back of your throat, or across your shoulders; you might be aware of the rising and falling of your chest cavity and ribs; or maybe you feel your breath deeper down in your belly. Wherever you sense your breath is fine, just sit with your breath, the breath of life that sustains you. Experience each breath, as a loving gift from God. I am going to read a few words from scripture then we will sit in God’s reconciling love for several minutes. If you feel your mind is getting distracted, silently repeat the words of scripture to yourself and return to resting in God’s loving presence.

1 Samuel 2:1, “My heart exults in the Lord!”


“My heart exults in the Lord,” Thanks be to God!


Retelling Our Ancient Story: “Hanna Prays for a Baby” Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible 

Psalm  “The Song of Hannah” VU 878


Hebrews 10:11-14, 19-25

11 And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’, 13and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’ 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

19 Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

This is the witness of the early church. Thanks be to God!

Hymn: “If You Will Trust in God to Guide You” VU 286   CLICK HERE


Holy One,
instill in us your sacred presence,
guide our feet,
and mark our words,
that we might be hearers
and doers of your word. Amen.

As the passage from Hebrews today comes to an end we hear the words"...let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds…"

It has me considering what it means "to provoke."

The first definition I found from Oxford Languages is "to stimulate or give rise to a reaction in someone (typically a strong and unwelcome reaction)."

When your youngest child starts screaming that their older sibling just hit them, your first thought, “What did the younger do to provoke the older?”

I remember coming home with a bee sting when I was quite young and my mother very unsympathetically said, “Well were you playing in the bush with all the bees, like I told you not to? They won’t sting you if you don’t provoke them!”

We can easily imagine one country provoking another country to violence.

We see in the news constantly the accusation that terrorists, or protestors, or even just peaceful demonstrators “provoke” authorities to use excessive violence.

And we can ask the question, “Who provoked whom?” Are Palestinian terrorists provoking Israeli violence; or is it the Israeli treatment of Palestinians that provokes terrorism. That is a horrific and real cycle.

“To provoke” has that harsh incendiary quality to it. It can feel quite negative and toxic.  

The author of Hebrews wants us to provoke something positive, namely love and good deeds.

The 23rd Psalm has this line, "Your rod and your staff, they comfort me." If you think of how a rod or staff is used to manage sheep, "Comfort" is a curious choice of words. The rod or staff is used to poke and prod the sheep to keep them going, occasionally to grab them around the neck and move them along. If you are a wool covered sheep, that might not be so bad. But I can’t imagine in the moment much appreciating being smacked by the shepherd’s rod.

The Hymn "Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness" has this line in the second verse, "You swept through the desert, you stung with the sand/and goaded your people with a law and a land."

Goading is the proper term for that poking and prodding to keep the heard going in the right direction.

The author of Hebrews does use the expression "encourage one another” further on in the text, but I think the author was intentional about using the word provoke. Receiving the goad, receiving the prod, is sometimes going to be unpleasant for the one getting the poke or the crack.

The prophetic tradition that comes to us through the Bible is about goading, prodding, provoking people to justice. It involves both a carrot and a stick, both vinegar and honey, both law and promise. It is not always a pleasant experience.

In the context of Letter to the Hebrews that we heard from today, an early Christian community is in decline, the members of the community are tired and discouraged. Jesus was supposed to have come right back and he didn't. They are still waiting. Members of the community have died who were expecting to see the second coming. Folks are finding it challenging to live a Christian life in a culture that offers no support for it. They are feeling discouraged by the insurmountable evil that persists in the world.

Despite the resurrection of Christ, Sin and Evil continue. What are we to do with that? What was the point of the cross and the resurrection if it didn't bring an end to sin and evil in the world? If anything, it often made early Christians the focus of violence.

We could allow the evil we continue to witness in the world to twist us into identifying either as victims or oppressors, or a combination of the two. We certainly see lots of violated people perpetuating violence in the world. "I was wronged, and somehow, that gives me the right to wrong other people."

Jesus offers us an alternative to the self-perpetuating system of victim and oppressor... Jesus offers the very difficult path of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

We need to be poked, prodded and goaded to take that path, because it is difficult.

Repentance requires that we acknowledge when we've caused an injury, whether we intended it or not. Repentance requires that we acknowledge HOW we caused injury and stop causing the injury. Genuine repentance requires that we participate in the healing, making things right, and commit to never doing what we did to cause the injury in the first place.

We often need to be poked, prodded, goaded and provoked to keep us living love and doing what is right because it is difficult.

For several hundred years, the church identified with the imperial and colonial powers of Europe. The church became privileged and forgot what it was like to live in a culture that didn't support it.

But the early church, the first several generations of followers of Jesus lived in a very different reality in which the imperial powers regularly put followers of Jesus to death. People made tremendous sacrifices to follow Jesus.

Today we are learning to live again in a world that is less supportive of our Christian identity. That is not the worst thing in the world. Jesus did not say that we had to have imperial power and privilege to follow him. In fact, Jesus was known to say, sell all you have, give it to the poor and follow me.

No, the worst thing for followers of Jesus is when we let the evil of the world twist us into being victims or oppressors or some combination of the two, justifying perpetuating violence in the name of Christ. The worst thing is when we allow ourselves to be provoked to anger, hatred and violence rather than love and good deeds.

Because Jesus gave us a different way, the way of repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.

It is a difficult way.

God bless the provocation and encouragement to love and do good deeds.

May we continue
to provoke, prod, and goad one another
to love and to do what is right.

Special Music 



We humbly remember that we have much for which to be grateful. Our ministry is not possible without your gifts of time, money, prayer, and skill. You can make a financial offering by sending a check to the office, or clicking on the “Donate Now” button on our website. 

Let us pray:
Holy One, Hannah was so grateful for the child you gave her late in life, she returned that son to you. May we too be so grateful. May the gifts we give, bring life and joy to your people. In the name of the one who gave all for all we pray. Amen.

The Great Thanksgiving

It is not magic words, or magic fingers, or magic elements that make what we are about to do communion. What makes this communion is out intention to meet the Living Christ in our words and actions. Come, let us share in communion.

When I say, “O God,” please respond, “We Remember.”

We remember in the beginning, you created everything that is: the smallest grain of sand, the largest ocean, the most distant star and the air we breathe. You made us and placed us in the midst of that creation.  You looked at it and saw that it was good.  O God, We remember!

We remember that you made a promise to Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel; you made a promise to all the children of Israel, to all those who would seek to follow your way in the world.   You gave us a law and scripture to know how you want us to live in the world.  O God, we remember!

Sometimes we forget to follow the way you lead.  We hurt ourselves and each other.  We get lost, we get scared, we get confused.  So you sent us prophets, wise men and women to call us back to following you.  O God, We remember!

We remember that you sent your child, Jesus into the world to remind us who we are and whose we are.  O God, we remember!

As we remember we sing with all the Saints and angels:

“Holy, Holy, Holy…” (Haugen) VU 932

We remember that on the night before he died, Jesus sat at table with his friends.  He took a loaf of bread, gave thanks for it, broke it, shared it with his friends and said, “Take, eat, this is the bread of new life, broken for you.  Whenever you do this, remember me.”  O God, We remember!

We remember on that same night he took a cup of wine, gave thanks for it, shared it with his friends and said, “Share this cup, this is God’s promise poured out for you.  Whenever you do this, remember me.”  O God, We remember!

We remember the mystery of our faith:

“Christ has died…” (Haugen) VU 933

Loving God, Send your Spirit among us.  Fill us, these gifts and what we do with your presence so we might be nourished in this meal to follow your call. Amen.

All Glory is your, One God, now and forever, amen.

Amen: (Haugen) VU 933

And now we sing together the words Jesus taught us…

The Disciples’ Prayer “Our Father” VU 960

The bread of New Life, broken for you.
The cup of Promise, poured out for many.

Prayer after Communion

Holy One, you have given us so much.  
We thank you for the gifts given, 
for the love received through your child, 
Jesus the Christ, during this feast.  

Nourish us with this bread and wine, 
that we might grow into the people of faith 
you would have us be: 
people who seek justice for the oppressed, 
comfort for the lonely, 
and new life for the grieving.  

May we be a people 
of eternal thanksgiving, praise and celebration 
for your great creation, 
and our participation in it. 
Thanks be to you, O God.  Amen.


Hymn: “How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord” VU 504

Commissioning and Benediction 

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