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Trinity United Church
September 05, 2021
Proper 18
Zoom Worship

“Connection not Perfection”

Watch our service via 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 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. 

Let us prepare our hearts and minds for worship.

Prelude/ Lighting of the Christ Candle CLICK HERE for video.

Call to Worship
We are called to follow Jesus 
and let God’s healing flow through us.
We are called to follow Jesus 
and let God’s justice flow through us.
We are called to follow Jesus 
and let God’s spirit flow through us.
We are called to follow Jesus 
and let God’s changes flow through us.
Come, let us worship.

Prayer of Approach 
Holy One, your name is music to our ears.
Teach us to behold your glory, 
to receive life and health and peace, 
and to employ our tongues in gratitude!
In this hour of worship, may you make of us a living sanctuary, worthy to worship and serve you.  
In the name of the one who heals the lame and gives sight to the blind, we pray.  Amen.

Hymn: “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” VU 670

We Rest in a Reconciling Love: a guided meditation

I invite you to take a deep breath and relax, maybe close your eyes. We are going to take a minute to rest in God’s reconciling love.

There may have been a moment in the last day or week when you were short with someone, angry, unkind, or maybe selfish. Maybe you have a bundle of less than charitable moments. Set that bundle aside, give that burden to God, let it go. God’s love is unconditional, steadfast, and eternal. And for now, relax as much as you can, letting the pew hold your weight, let yourself feel heavy where you sit. Breathing slowly, and calmly.

As you breathe and relax, imagine God’s unconditional, steadfast, and eternal love. Some may imagine it as a light; others might imagine it as warmth, or maybe tingling. For some it might feel like sitting with a close loved one. Whatever the image, hold that feeling of sitting in God’s presence; sitting in God’s unconditional, steadfast, and eternal love.

I am going to read a few words from scripture, and then we are going to sit silently in God’s love for several minutes. If you feel your thoughts are getting distracted, simply remember and repeat to yourself the words from scripture I’m about to read, and return to God’s unconditional, steadfast, and eternal love. 

The scripture words are from Psalm 125, “Trust in God.” 

[3 minutes of silence]

Trust in God…
Trust in God…
Trust in God…

Thanks be to God.


Retelling Our Ancient Story: “Ephphatha”
What does it mean to be amazed?
I wonder what would amaze you
I wonder what would make you so amazed, you would want to run out and tell everybody about it
This is a story about Jesus that made some people so amazed, they ran out and told everybody what had happened.
Jesus was returning to the Sea of Galilee.
They brought to him a man who was deaf and could not speak.  They begged him to lay his hands on him.
Jesus took the man aside, away from the crowd.  He put his fingers in the man's ears; he spat and touched the man's tongue.  Then he looked up to heaven, sighed and said, "Ephphatha," which means, "Be Opened!"
Immediately, the man's ears were opened and his tongue was released. And he could speak clearly.
Jesus ordered them to tell no one.  But the more he ordered them, the more they told EVERYONE.  They said, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."
I wonder what the most important part of the story is
I wonder what part of the story you like most
I wonder what part of this story is most amazing
I wonder if there is a part of this story we could leave out
I wonder what part of the story you are experiencing right now

Psalm 125 VU 849 


James 2:1-10, 14-17

2My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’, 4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
8 You do well if you really fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 9But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

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

Hymn: “When a Poor One” VU 702 


Holy One,
open our ears,
open our hearts,
open our minds,
open our mouths,
that we might hear,
that we might receive,
that we might ponder,
that we might proclaim
your glory.
In the name of the one 
who looks to heaven, sighs, 
and says, “Be opened,” we pray.

So, when I started looking at the materials this week for worship I kept stumbling over the expression "Be Opened."

What does it mean to "be opened"?

There are very few places in the Gospel of Mark that we read what might have been Jesus' actual words. Jesus would not have spoken Biblical Greek or Hebrew, but Aramaic. The Christian Scriptures are written in Koine Greek, but in a few places Jesus speaks in his native Aramaic.

The story says, "Jesus looked up to heaven, sighed and said 'Ephphatha' that is, 'be opened.'"

The last week, every time I've read or thought or said the expression, "Be opened." A part of me just wanted to stop what I was doing, sigh, maybe look up to heaven and let myself "be opened."

And when I did pause for a moment and just sigh and sit and wish to "be opened," there was a little part of me that just wanted to stay there forever.

"Be Opened."

What does it mean to really "be opened" anyway?

But then the world called me back: I have this job to do, I have to compose a message and record a children's story, and take a bunch of pictures to create a slide reel and embed the audio file and convert it to an mp4 and upload it twice so we can use it in worship on Sunday and the message has to be written out long form, carefully smithing every word because it, too, needs to be posted to the internet and sent out to all and sundry by Thursday, so it can't just be me talking to a gathering of faithful people on a Sunday morning because it is going to be online forever...

"I don't have time for this, Jesus!"

"Be Opened."

What do we think that means?

Jesus is healing a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment. He's been brought to Jesus by his friends, who beg Jesus to do something with him.

"Be Opened" was the cure for whatever was preventing the man from hearing and speaking.

Something must have been closed.

We all know that's a metaphor, right? we all know that when we can't or won't hear something it IS NOT because our ears are literally closed. It's possible his ears were just blocked, but I seriously doubt this story is about ear wax. Something else is going on. If the man really is deaf and mute, then there's nerve damage, or the ear drums didn't develop properly... so ears being closed, and opened is a metaphor for something else.

So if Jesus is telling us to "be opened," we can imagine that something about us is "closed." 

What is closed in us that needs to be opened?

I honestly don't think we need to know. I think that just genuinely asking to be opened is sufficient. Giving God an opportunity to open us will work wonders. 

On the other hand, if we know that we are closed in some way. I believe we do actually need to ask God to open us up. I don't believe God forces anything on us of that nature. So if we know we are closed to reconciliation because we don't need that person; or to forgiving someone because they haven't earned our forgiveness; or receiving forgiveness because we didn't do anything wrong in the first place; God isn't going to just randomly make changes for us.

Or there is a kind of healing we know we need but we aren't open to doing the work that needs to be done to heal... God is going to wait for us to ask; God is going to wait for us to do our part.

God isn't going to stop my drinking until I want to stop drinking. God doesn't work that way.

I had a prof in seminary who used to say, "Some days I pray; some days I want to pray; some days I want to want to pray; some days I want to want to want to want to want..." It doesn't matter where we are on the continuum of "wanting to pray," God is able and willing to work with it. Our desire to "be opened" doesn't need to be great, but we need to be on the continuum.

The story right before the story we heard today, a Syrophoenician woman approaches Jesus asking that a demon be removed from her daughter. And Jesus is short and rude with her... "it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs!" Jesus is asserting that he is here to serve the Children of Israel, not Gentiles. He describes the Syrophoenician woman and her daughter as dogs. But the woman responds, "even the dogs under the table can eat the children's crumbs." For saying this, the demon leaves her daughter.

The Syrophoenician Woman knew that the crumbs were more than enough.

Are we open to even the crumbs being more than enough?

A story just a little later in Mark's gospel will tell us that there were only a seven loaves of bread, but after feeding a multitude... 7 baskets of bread were left over... the crumbs, the left overs, the refuse from the table is more than abundant enough… or so the story says.

 Are we open to that kind of grace and abundance?

 God just needs a little bit of willingness in us to work wonders.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by our newsfeeds.
It is natural to feel immersed in grief with the losses we've experienced in the last year and a half.
We are exhausted from pivoting every few weeks.
I know I've more than had my fill of ungracious, self-centered, unforgiving individuals in the midst of global crisis.

However, we only need a little bit of willingness to "be opened," crumbs really, for God's abundant grace to come in and make wonders happen.

May our ears, hearts,
minds and mouths “be opened”
that we may hear, receive,
ponder and proclaim God's Glory. Amen.

Special Music 



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. 

God of all healing and new life, 
we offer our gifts as a way of showing 
our gratitude for all we have received.
Bless these gifts, 
for the feeding and healing of bodies and souls, 
here in Port Coquitlam and around the world.
We celebrate your presence in all creation 
as we participate in your mission. Amen.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and intercession

When I say, “God our maker,” 
please respond by saying with me, 
“surround your people with favour and goodness.”

God our maker,
surround your people with favour and goodness.

You choose who will be rich in faith 
and who will inherit your promised kingdom, 
though Jesus Christ who heals the afflicted 
and sets the oppressed free.
Open our hearts and mouths 
to pray for the church, the earth, 
and all those in need.

God our maker,
surround your people with favour and goodness.

Open our community to welcome and honour the poor, 
meeting the needs of the community 
with deeds of love, generosity and compassion.

God our maker,
surround your people with favour and goodness.

Nourish the land and those who labour to cultivate it, that crops and people may be sustained by your love, overflowing with the blessing of your generous provision.

God our maker,
surround your people with favour and goodness.

Establish justice for the oppressed, 
comfort for the afflicted,  
and compassion for the ill.

God our maker,
surround your people with favour and goodness.

Teach us to respect the dignity of all who struggle with mental illness and addiction, and to show your kindness to those in need.

God our maker,
surround your people with favour and goodness.

Open our ears to hear the cry of the poor,
Open our mouths to advocate for justice,
Open our hands to lift up those who are pressed down,
Open our hearts to share generously with those who lack,

God our maker,
surround your people with favour and goodness.

Bless those who labour for reconciliation, 
and to bring your lasting peace to all the nations.

God our maker,
surround your people with favour and goodness.

And now we turn to you as a child turns to her mother seeking affirmation and comfort, praying a paraphrase of the words Jesus taught us…

A Paraphrase of The Disciples’ Prayer VU 916


Hymn: “When Pain of the World” VU 598

Commissioning and Benediction:

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