Welcome (2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17)

So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord –  for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.  From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Lord I lift your name on high

Call to Worship (Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15)

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap,  showing that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Seek ye first the kingdom


Living God, 
from you come vitality, love and joy. 
Your peace is our companion, 
your love is our strength, 
your Son is our hope.
Your Spirit nurtures tiny seeds of purpose and potential,
hidden deep in the soil of life, 
to surprise us with new life. 
While the earth begins to bloom around us,
we bring you our prayers and praise,
trusting that your Spirit will renew in us
the gifts we need to serve you in faithfulness
in the example of Christ our Lord.

Living, loving God, 
as we watch our gardens and our children grow,
we confess we often resist the change growth can bring. 
We form opinions about many things – and cling to them.
We fear new insights and new directions.
Forgive us when we think already know enough.
Grant us faith like the mustard seed, 
able to grow with your blessing
to become a mighty sign of your lively kingdom among us. Amen

Mark 4:26-34
He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.
But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

Sermon: The smallest in the world

Jesus tries to explain to people things they cannot see or understand. The kingdom of God is not something they know. The people of Israel may speculate, but they really do not know anything about what the kingdom of God is. Just like them, after over two millennia, we, too, do not know what God’s kingdom is like. We have lots of guesses as well as fantasies about what it could be, but no one knows. It is a total mystery.

Of course we can say that we know how seeds become plants. We know through biology life cycles of plants, vegetations, animals and humans today. We know how seeds require certain conditions to sprout and grow like the right range of temperatures, levels of moisture, etc. Today we can know everything there is to know about farming. Yet, still the world’s food production is dependent on many factors we cannot control.

Of course Jesus is not so concerned about the small mechanics of how seeds we plant may end up giving us sufficient food, but farmers’ trust on nature’s course to bring about harvest. A good farmer is not the one who frets over every detail or is concerned about everything there is to know. Certainly knowledge helps, but ultimately the farmer lets the crops he plant do their own things and let nature take its course.

Knowledge helps farmers to be prepared for severe droughts, diseases and many other factors, but ultimately, as we have been experiencing worldwide, there are many factors that ruin crops no matter how good our technological abilities may alter the situations farmers are faced with. Just like climate change, we may know all about how our world is getting warmer. However, knowing what causes severe weather does not mean farmers have full control.

Jesus used farming to explain what God’s kingdom is like. Just as farming is much about trusting the nature to do as God created it to be, God’s kingdom is part of our world and unfolds as God intended it to be. This parable by Jesus is addressing our anxiety and fear as well as our effort to find God’s kingdom in order for us to belong to it. Jesus is letting us know that the kingdom of God is already present all around us. We do not have to be anxious to find it.

In a way, we do not have to worry over working our way into it as Pharisees and others were insisting. Of course Jesus did not use the words like “grace alone” but Jesus was indicating that the kingdom of God is near us. In Gospel Luke this ideal of where the kingdom of God is is captured in “the kingdom of God is among you.” In other words, the kingdom of God is more than simply a nation defined by geographical boundaries. It is our state of mind as well.

This is why Jesus moves onto the parable of mustard seeds. Seeds may be small but when their full potential is achieved, they become larger than many shrubs. Again, this is an exhortation to let God’s intention be fulfilled in God’s own way. The kingdom of God is not something we can build or establish, but God’s plan being unveiled among God’s people. No need to fret over how to belong to it.

It is true that individually each person is no more than a speck in God’s salvation history that covers the entire human history. We are by all measure part of the poor, the meek, the weak, the lost and the outcast. We are not the ones making human history great or moving the entire humanity to achieve great things. Our names will not be repeated as having accomplished much in the big scheme of things. Yet, our smallness does not mean that we are insignificant. In God’s kingdom we may be like mustard seeds, small yet grow to be bigger and larger than many others.

How are we to figure out what these parables have to do with who we are? Because they are parables, we need to take care. Simply trying to find out exactly what these parables mean to us can mislead us. The role of parables is not to offer clear instructions. Rather the purpose of telling parables is to let people gain some insight into understanding things that are too difficult to understand. In today’s passage, we hear that Jesus explained the true meanings of these parables privately and we have no way of knowing the meanings.

We can, however, broadly think about how in these parables there is good news of God being revealed to us. One is to trust God and let God lead us in all circumstances. As Gospel Matthew succinctly put, there is nothing we can change by worrying over things we have no control over. There in Matthew, Jesus told his disciples not to be anxious about many things. We learn here that the kingdom of God is all around us and in that kingdom we will be like the smallest of the seeds growing into the greats of many shrubs.

In one way or another, our lives eventually reveal God’s intention through us. This is a hard lesson to learn especially when we face insurmountable difficulties. Yet, in God’s kingdom we fulfil God’s will as God reveals God’s salvation history through each and everyone of us. This understanding helps us to trust God and make us the ones who follow Christ by denying ourselves, taking up our crosses and following Christ throughout our lives.


Gracious God, you hold all things in your hands. 
We may plant seeds
but it is your mysterious power that brings forth growth.  
We play our small parts but you awaken new life.
Thank you for our place in your purposes. 
Guide our plans for ministry in the days ahead. 
    Plant seeds of your kingdom in our midst, O God. 
May we bear the fruits of new life.

We pray for the work of our church and our government
in pursuing Truth and Reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples. 
We pray for indigenous communities
which lack clean water to drink and health care close at hand,
and for all those mourning 
the loss of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls .
Guide decision makers to act with timely courage and compassion
for justice to be done.
Awaken understanding in those who feel no empathy
for the struggles of others. 
    Plant seeds of your kingdom in our midst, O God. 
May we bear the fruits of new life.

On this day that celebrates fathers,
we pray for families in war-torn communities
where celebration is an impossible dream. 
We pray for fathers and families who face financial hardship
and worry for the well-being of their children.
And we pray for any who feel empty or lonely this day, 
who fear the future or mourn the past. 
As summer holidays draw closer,
guide families to find meaningful opportunities
to enjoy each other and the world on their doorsteps.
     Plant seeds of your kingdom in our midst, O God. 
May we bear the fruits of new life.

Gracious God, you hold all things in your hand, including us.
Be with all those who carry on in spite of loss or grief,
and with those who face pain or uncertainty about their future.  
Keep us open to your Spirit’s leading. 
In all that we do with and for each other, 
help us embody the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying
The Lord’s Prayer


Offering Prayer


Please continue to pray for everyone.

Next Sunday we will praise God as we witness the baptism of Henry. Pray that the Spirit will fill all of us as we give God glory.

Please remember that the prayer group meets on Wednesdays at 3:30 pm.

Mission Group is changing its time and will meet on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm.

Praise and Music Group meets on Friday 8 pm.

Exercise at 1 pm Saturday, Devotion at 2 pm, Being in Canada at 3 pm, Volunteer Work at 3:30 pm

How great thou art