Welcome (Romans 8:12-17)

So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ--if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Preparation: He is Lord

Call to Worship (Psalm 29)

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, "Glory!"

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.

May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Hymn: Blessed be the Lord God Almighty

Prayer (Common Lectionary)

God of delight,
your Wisdom sings your Word
at the crossroads where humanity and divinity meet.
Invite us into your joyful being
where you know and are known
in each beginning,
in all sustenance,
in every redemption,
that we may manifest your unity
in the diverse ministries you entrust to us,
truly reflecting your triune majesty
in the faith that acts,
in the hope that does not disappoint,
and in the love that endures. Amen.

Scripture: John 3:1-17

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? "Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Sermon: healing and reconciling as we celebrate Trinity

Today The Presbyterian Church in Canada remembers our responsibility of being a settler church in relation to the aboriginal peoples of Canada. We remember today as the Healing and Reconciliation Sunday. As Christians we also celebrate Trinity Sunday. Let us ponder together God’s mystery.

Nicodemus came at night. Why did he not come during the day? Was it because he was ashamed of being seen with Jesus? Was it because he knew possible consequences of being seen with Jesus? Whatever the case may be, he came to see Jesus in the dark as if to say that this man of knowledge, a Pharisee, was in the dark, as if he did not truly understand God’s truth and as if he, though a Pharisee considering himself to be part of the chosen, was somehow in the dark about the truth.

John’s Gospel is good at describing the world in terms of light and darkness. Those who follow Christ are in the light while those who reject him are in the darkness. That Nicodemus came to Jesus at night is, therefore, not a surprise. Not only that, the entire dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus highlights the Gospel’s way of describing those who know God’s will and those who do not. In this case, it is made clear that Nicodemus remains in the dark even after speaking with Jesus.

Today is the Healing and Reconciliation Sunday for The Presbyterians in Canada. We are remembering how our earlier Christians who came to Turtle Island, named by Europeans as North America, colonized this vast land called Canada today. In the name of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have done many harmful things to the aboriginal people. One of the most difficult legacies we are dealing with today has to do with the Residential School Policy. The Presbyterian Church in Canada participated along with other Christians under the policy of the Canadian government forcefully turning the aboriginal people to be more like English and French speaking peoples of Europe. Of course, the main reason we became involved in taking children of the aboriginal peoples of Canada into schools run by churches was to indoctrinate these non-Christians to become more like us Christians.

As the faith community that lives the Gospel of Jesus, we confessed and repented of our ways before and to them our wrongs and are now working with those whom we harmed. Each year on the last Sunday of May we prayerfully come together and ask God to help us continue in the work of healing and reconciliation with those whom we hurt deeply. We came to the realization that though we were deep in faith, we were much like Nicodemus. We were in the dark about what it meant to share God’s love in this new place, given in Jesus Christ when we arrived on the shores of Turtle Island.

As we can read in the passage, it is painful to notice how blind Nicodemus is. This man of high position and esteem cannot understand what Jesus was saying. His knowledge became the barrier to receiving Jesus as the one from God. In the same way, those Presbyterians who colonized Canada did not fully understand Jesus’ way of sharing the Gospel. Jesus’ way was not to dominate, deprive and destroy them by taking away their children from home and educating them in residential schools. Yet, at that time, we thought that it was best for these aboriginal children to be forced out of their homes and put in schools to learn to become like us and worship our God.

Today we understand John 3:16 in an entirely different way. We do our best in rebuilding our relationship with those whom we harmed. We continually ask God for forgiveness for our ignorance and remind ourselves how close we are to Nicodemus on many things. We pray without ceasing that we be guided by the Holy Spirit in loving God and one another. On this day, we pray that in Christ, we may follow the way of our Lord and that we be transformed from being like Nicodemus to ones who imitate Christ so that among all who reside in Canada, healing and reconciliation are more than dreams, but actual experiences for us to witness and proclaim as what God is doing here and now.

Today is also the Trinity Sunday in Christian calendar. By reading about Nicodemus, we see how easily we can focus either on God or Jesus or Holy Spirit and miss the true reality of faith life. Yes, Nicodemus was faithful to God and God alone. This focus on God made it impossible to fully accept Jesus as the one of God. He struggled even to understand what Jesus meant by “born again.” We, too, are very susceptible to this kind of narrow focus. Some of us are fully into Jesus or the Holy Spirit. We do not realize how our primary attention on one of the Trinity while ignoring the other two limits our understanding.

For Christians it makes perfect sense to celebrate the Trinity Sunday one week after the Pentecost. As we give God thanks for the oncoming of the Holy Spirit at the gathering of the disciples who were in fear, we can certainly understand how we are reconciled to God fully because of the death and resurrection of the Son as well as the insight that we gained due to the Holy Spirit. Without the Three in One, our faith is not complete. We need to take care deeply in discerning the will of our triune God.

Not too long ago, there was a theological conversation between aboriginal Christians of Canada and the rest of us. It was fascinating to hear how the aboriginal Christians understood God as one who contained many maternal qualities and the Holy Spirit as being present in all creation. Some settler Christians became upset and began to argue back saying that God should be addressed in masculine terms only and the Holy Spirit ought not to be thought of as being in all things on earth. Accusations were made that the aboriginal Christians were bringing into theology their non-Christian views and were distorting the traditionally held Western European view of theology.

Today’s passage makes us pause and see if some of us were not too focused on “our way” of establishing theology as the only correct way. Nicodemus was struggling. He saw in Jesus something divine. Yet, he could not grasp correctly what was happening in Jesus’ presence. Sometimes, our loyalty to one way of doing or formulating theology can run into a situation that is similar to what Nicodemus experiences here. It would be more prudent for us to let our understanding be guided by not only what we know, but what God is revealing through the Son and the Holy Spirit.

This is why our way of discernment is based on the Scripture primarily, then, on the witnesses who give us testimonies as well as quiet understanding that is given to each Christian by the Holy Spirit. This encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus ends with verses 16 and 17. These two verses are more than sentences containing truth. They are the confession of the Church of Jesus Christ that lightens the path of all Christians. It is also our confession. We testify loudly, “‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Prayer (The PCC)

God of Truth, 
Because we are imperfect, so too are the societies, communities and relationships we build.   
Selfishness and arrogance in our relationships do not reflect your love, and have too often hurt your creation, and your beloved people therein.

We know that wounds inflicted because of false beliefs about the superiority of people of a particular race, class or gender do not reflect your love for all people, nor your commandment to love you, and to love our neighbours.

We acknowledge that even if we did not directly inflict these wounds, we have inherited wounded relationships, and that diminishing, ignoring, or denying this continues our complicity in a cycle of harm.

We pray for those who are hurt and hurting because of false beliefs about the superiority of a particular race, class, or gender.
God, let equity and justice bring healing.

We hold in our hearts:
…. those who are sick, or have loved ones that are struggling with physical or mental illness. Let them know they are not alone. Jesus, bring your comfort, justice, and peace.

…people who face violence in their relationships, in their home, office, community or country, and for those who have been displaced by war, unjust economic systems, the climate crisis, and ongoing impacts of colonization around the world. 
Spirit, bring your comfort, justice, and peace.

…people who living with housing insecurity: where home is inadequate for the needs of the people it must shelter, is unsafe, unaffordable, or inaccessible. Creator, ring your comfort, justice, and peace.

…people who are struggling with economic insecurity: where there are barriers to education or employment, unfairness in policies or practices, where there is transition, and change.  Redeemer, bring your comfort, justice, and peace.

…people at the frontlines, that daily face the evidence of systemic racism and continue to strive for the safety and dignity of people and creation. Holy Fire, bring your comfort, justice, and peace.

God of Transforming Love,
The wounds of racism continue to this day, imbedded in the fabric of our institutions and governments. Let your compassion and wisdom flow through all public policies and practices.

Where power is horded, bring your justice. 
Where racism is resisted, bring your courage and strength to acknowledge and address it.   
We pray for decision makers and change makers and give thanks for all people who lift up the integrity and dignity of creation and protect human rights.

The Lord’s Prayer

Offering/Offering Prayer


On Tuesday, May 28 at 6:30 pm, the session and leaders will be meeting to discuss what we will be doing in the summer months. Two of the three Presbytery’s transition team will be present as well. Please pray for them that God’s will will be discerned by the guidance of the Holy Spirit to carry out Christ’s ministry here.

Our regular activities will take place as usual. On Wednesday, don’t forget that there is a prayer group at 3:30 pm. On Friday evening at 8 pm everyone is invited to another prayer and devotion. Our hope is that this one will develop into a new worship service. On Saturday we begin with 1 pm exercise followed by devotion and volunteer work.

We are asking those who signed up for ushering and refreshments to come before 10 am on Sundays. Those who are cleaning up after the fellowship may come for worship time.

Hymn:  Glory be to God the Father