Welcome and Announcements

Let us take a moment to pray silently for our world that is now caught up in this terrible war in Ukraine. Let us ask God’s reign to come to this world quickly so that God’s peace will be shared by all.

Thank you for joining us for worship today. May God be the source of peace and strength for all of us who are fearful, anxious and sad as we continue to hear about the war in Ukraine.

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. We ask you to prepare for this holy season. It is very timely that we begin with repentance on Ash Wednesday. As we walk together with Christ, we will find strength as we approach the resurrection day. Yet, we walk together as one in Christ, with Christ, in this season of passion, facing death with the knowledge of the resurrection life.

Please pray for the safe opening of Ontario and Canada from the current lockdown. As the rules ease, we will do our best to keep each other safe in worship and fellowship.

On Sunday, March 20, we are celebrating our 220th Anniversary. We are very excited. Please mark your calendars and join us for the service. We will celebrate the day with communion and an agape lunch meal of soup and buns.

Our plan is to rejoice together and in person with special worship services on Palm Sunday, April 10, and Easter Sunday, April 17. Please pray and get ready for these important worship services.

We will take our usual Lent journey together. This year, each Wednesday during Lent, you can meditate with us. We will send you our Update Newsletter. This newsletter will contain prayer for that week as well as a short meditation.

Traditionally, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday. Today, we will keep Jesus’ transfiguration in mind while discerning together a way to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Preparation: Dear Father, Lord of mankind

Call to Worship (Psalm 99:1-5)

The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he! Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!

Hymn: Jesus, stand among us


O Lord God, You are God above all gods. Through your Son you made us your people. On this day we come with prayer.

Our world is filled with leaders who do not know you. Like the days of old when kings made themselves above all peoples to rule like gods, today’s leaders have taken upon themselves power to destroy and kill all living things for their own glory. They do not know you, even when they wage wars on your name. They do nothing but break and shatter your creation. O Lord, how do we come before you in repentance when those who lead us are corrupt and bent on evil? How do we confess our sins when we side with our presidents and our prime ministers who have no regard for your glory in this world?

In your Son alone, we come. We have no faith in our political, religious, and economic leaders. We put our faith solely in your Son our Lord. With this faith, because of the Holy Spirit, we come to worship you and be made into your children, to love even the enemies and lay down our lives for others. By the Holy Spirit, come to us now. Fortify our faith so that we may not falter. Make us yours and send us into the world to proclaim the good news of salvation as we prepare to walk with your Son again in this upcoming Lent season.

We offer this worship to you for your glory. Amen.

Hymn: There is a redeemer


Scripture: Luke 14:34,35


‘Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’


Due to the war in Ukraine, on this Sunday before Ash Wednesday, we will look at God in our world today, taking a break from the reading of Gospel Luke. As we see the world event, however, we will notice the importance of Gospel Luke and its message to today’s warring world.

Wars. There are no good or bad wars. All wars reveal ugly side of humanity. Wars bring out the worst evil out of people. If we think we are at the lowest of human ugliness, wars have ways of displaying even deeper and darker evilness that resides in the hearts of ordinary and extraordinary people. We learned this lesson in WW1, WWII and all wars that followed those two wars.

Are there not just wars? Aren’t the Old Testament filled with wars where God was leading God’s people against Israel’s enemies? Did not Christians in earlier times take up the cause of Christ and fight against the forces of darkness in God’s name?

Wars have been constant in our world. War in Yemen has been going on since 2014. War in Syria continues. Now with cameras and news reporters focused on Ukraine, we are made to witness this war where already hundreds are killed and so many unknown numbers of people are fleeing their homes. Countries are taking sides. Companies making weapons are rejoicing because of this another huge money making war. In the meantime, millions of people are affected and threatened with fear, anxiety, and death.

Wars have been with us as long as human beings existed. Unleashing violence against another has always been one of the main ways human beings interact with each other. The powerful in human history have always used their power to dominate others. Through brutality, cruelty, and savagery the weak and meek are controlled and oppressed. Governments around the world have been condemning and sanctioning Russia swiftly as if targeted sanctions are better ways to signal a way forward. However, economic sanctions are as brutal and cruel as bombs for those ordinary people whose livelihood depends on the targeted sectors of economy. It hardly ever hurt the powerful rulers. It hurts people who have nothing and are forced to lose their means of supporting themselves.

When wars break out, the very first thing many of us do is to thank God that we are not in the war. The second thing we do is to pray for peace. The third thing people do is to ask God to keep everyone safe. Many people who ignored churches and anything that smelled of religion are suddenly praying. They pray for safety. They pray that their loved ones get protected from harm. For a brief moment, whatever we think of as a higher power gets attention as prayers are lifted up. Are our thanks, prayers, and support for Ukraine things we are supposed to do as Christians? What does it mean to be in the world, but not of the world when wars maim, hurt, destroy and kill lives?

Canadians, being made up of people from all over the world, are connected to wars all over the world whether we like it or not. In this case, we know of Ukrainian neighbours, friends, colleagues, and family members. It is hard not to realise how closely tied we are to these far away wars personally. We will be asked for donations to help refugees. Many of us will be involved in sponsoring refugees directly. Some will organise or attend demonstrations opposing the Russian invasion. Many of us will do our best to keep up with the news from this war.

But what does it mean to be the salt of the earth? What does it mean to be Christians in Canada as we look at another war in a faraway place? How involved should we be? What is the right thing to do as Christians in Canada? How shall we respond to this news of war? Shall we condemn this war and all wars? Is it right for us to blame Russia for causing this turmoil? Or should we look for the truth of why Russians are invading Ukraine?

In the past few days, expressions of prayers and offerings of prayers in public have filled the world. As soon as the news of war broke, people were praying for the safety of their loved one and for peace. Prayer is also what Christians do. In our case the difference is that we pray without ceasing. After all, we have been praying all along knowing sin lurks in every corner and darkness is crouching at the door, ready to jump out at every opportunity. We continue praying constantly without ceasing for God’s reign of peace.


Our prayer for God’s peace consists of asking God’s presence in the world, asking God’s peace among people, sharing with each other God’s peace, and giving commitment God to work for peace. Asking God’s presence in the world is our way of humbly acknowledging that we are not the masters of life and that everything should not be done according to our wills and desires. Asking God’s peace among us is an acknowledgement that on many occasions we are either unwilling or unable to resolve difficulties by ourselves. Sharing with each other God’s peace is our way of walking in the shoes of those whom we oppose. It is a way of walking together instead of fighting each other in all of the troubles that cause division. As we do all these humbly and in humility with recognition of our own limitations, we, Christ’s followers in this case, are asking God to shape us in the world as peacemakers regardless of situations.


Being the salt of the earth requires something else apart from praying without ceasing in addition. We have already read in Gospel Luke Chapter 6. After giving blessings to those who are hated, excluded, reviled, and defamed on account of the Son of Man, he teaches his disciples to love enemies and do good to those who hate. This is an extremely difficult saying for everyone. How are we to love enemies this way?

Does this way of loving mean that instead of fighting Russians who have invaded Ukraine, we are to turn the other cheek and share with Russia all that we have? Interestingly, if the leaders of Europe did include Russia when Russia wanted to be part of the European Union economic plan in 2013, things might have been different. However, instead of loving their enemy, EU officials refused Russia’s request to be included in an economic plan that would have included Ukraine and Russia.

We, even as Christians, tend to forget one important thing. Loving enemies is not with a goal to turn our enemies into our friends. For some reason, we think our job is to turn evil people into decent people with our love. We imagine that our love can change their evil ways. The truth is, there are no goals for Christ’s followers in loving others and sharing God’s love. Jesus does not tell us to love to change them. Loving our enemies is what we are called to do. If our enemies do not turn to become like us, that is not the reason for us to stop loving them. When Jesus says, “Love your enemies and do good to those who hate,” it does not mean that love is to be used as a tool, weapon, or any other thing. Even though, as human beings of good will, we expect reciprocal responses from those who are invited to share in our love, Jesus sets no condition or expectation. Jesus does not say that loving enemies is the way to turn our enemies into friends, good persons, or people who will stop hurting. Loving our enemies for Christ’s sake is to simply love as God loves the world through Christ.

We are in a very different situation from Ukrainians. We are not the ones being assaulted by one of the mightiest armies in the world. We are not the ones whose loved ones are under threat of death. No matter how we see it, Russians are not direct enemies who have invaded us. As we think of Russians invading Ukraine, we remember others who have been assaulted by stronger nations. Wars in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan are still on. Economically powerful nations are warring against Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, and Haiti. As we discussed earlier, our world is filled with wars.

In this world, how can we, Christians, be the salt of the earth? Isn’t this warring world an impossible place for us? This is why we look to God. By the way God came to us in Christ shows us how God became a human being to be with us. Paul’s wisdom on what God did in Christ led him to be a Jew to the Jews and a gentile to the Gentiles. As best as we are able, we learn to be with everyday poor and marginal Ukrainians, Yemenis, Somalians, Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans, North Koreans, and so on. We also do our best to be like the poor and hungry of Russia, America, UK, and other powerful nations. To those who are poor, hungry, oppressed, and marginalised, we proclaim the good news of Christ, forgiveness of sins, release from their oppressors, and share the life in God’s reign. We do our best to walk with those who are powerless, poor, hungry, weak, and abandoned. And, of course, we pray without ceasing for the reign of God to take hold in this world.

And as we walk with the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the marginalised and the lost, and as we pray for God’s reign to bring eternal peace, we love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. This is the way we live the life of being the salt of the earth.


O God,

With the news of war in Ukraine come the pictures of human suffering. Our hearts break when we see children in fear, their parents in tears, and people running for their lives. We pray that you will move the hearts and minds of all leaders to bring about cease fire. We pray that your reign may come quickly. In the meantime, give us compassion to love all who are mired in this war. May your love bring life in this struggle for death.

Help us to be your people in this time of troubles. We have difficulty knowing what to do and how to respond to all these horrific sufferings in all places of war. Give us courage to be witnesses of your good news no matter how difficult it is. Open our spirits to discern your will in this world and follow your Son our Lord in all that we do.

We pray for those families who are displaced, who are in shelters, who are on the road to escape, and who are trying to overcome the deaths of their loved ones. Be with them all. We pray for them all, especially those who have neither time nor voice. We pray that all leaders will stop violence and participate in tasks of building peace for all.

O Lord,

We pray for all who are searching for home and love. Not only in war torn places, but also in every place on earth, people are searching for love. Many are unable to find homes where they can flourish and love by which they may find life of fullness. Due to economic conditions, imbalance in our society, unjust laws, and human greed, many are homeless unable to enjoy love. Their lives are overrun with anxieties and worries. These new poor in the world of riches are suffering terribly everywhere with low wages, too much work and impossible pressures to make life for their children. O God who hears the cries of the poor and hungry, be with these your children without home and love.

We pray for all who are unable to enjoy daily blessings. They are suffering from sickness with no end in sight. With this unending pandemic, they see how they have been pushed aside. Give them strength to endure. Give them the spirit of perseverance to find hope. O God who hears the cries of the suffering, hear their prayers.

O Spirit

You hold our future in your hands. We commit our future in your hands firmly in full confidence. Receive this commitment. Direct our lives in ways that your Will is lived out fully. Form our lives in accordance with all that you desire for the betterment of this world. Fulfil your work of love so that all lives will flourish. Pour into each of us your compassion, mercy, and grace. Help us to be more like our Lord each day in loving even our enemies.

O Triune God,

Our words are never enough. See into our hearts and souls. Hear our cries that reside in the depths of our being. Hear these prayers when we say together the prayer Jesus taught us.

Our Father, 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. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Mission Moment

Binda Devi lives in Karbola, India, with her husband and four kids. A year ago, the family was living a comfortable life, relying on the income from her husband’s job as a labourer in a cement factory. However, one day, there was an accident that left him unable to work. With no income, the family was very worried. Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D) partner staff met with the family and, together, they came up with a plan for Binda to start a small cosmetics business. With support from the program, she is now selling cosmetic items from village to village. The business is going well, and Binda provides for her family. This livelihood initiative is supported by PWS&D.

Hymn: Be still, my soul