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  • Rev. Daniel Benson

Are We Really All in the Same Boat?

Updated: May 28, 2020

(Cartoon from Montreal Gazette, May 5th, 2020.)

5th After Easter, Sunday, May 10th, 2020, and Mothers' Day.

Preamble / info.

Welcome, Church! In these times we are reminded more than ever, that the church is not a building but the people who come together in Jesus’ name. Therefore, I’m not saying, “Welcome to church,” but, “Welcome Church!”

In the light of the good advice from health authorities that we practice ‘physical distancing’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are not worshiping in person at the church building.

However, Jesus promises that where two or three are gathered, He will be there. So, we can gather in spirit, sharing the Word, hymns, and prayers that bind us together as followers of Jesus and people of God.

We may not be in the same room, and we may not even be doing this at the same moment in time; but, along with millions of people around the world in any number of languages, we are worshiping God and caring for one another.

In preparation, you may want to have a candle handy (either a real candle or one of those little battery-operated ones). We always light candles in church because they remind us of the presence and beauty of God.

God be with you!

A Prayer:

Like a mother hen brooding over her chicks, like a lioness who defends her young cubs, like a doting grandmother who always sees the possibilities and never the problems, God, you are always with us, caring, protecting, and encouraging us.

Be with us, O God, as we come to worship here today: seeking your care, basking in your protection, longing for your encouragement and affirmation.

Be with us, Mother God.


Music: Today we have the gift of music from Matthew Boudta (our former music director) and his choir at Leaside United Church. Emma joined them for this virtual event, recorded last week.

Lighting of the candle.

In the light of the Risen Christ we light a candle, celebrating our faith that God raised Jesus from death to life. We confess, in the truth of the resurrection, that no darkness can overcome God’s light in the world. Thanks be to God!

Scripture & Sermon: “Whose Boat is This, Anyways?”

Music: “Eternal Father Strong to Save,” is often called the naval hymn, both because of its imagery of ships and the sea, and its prayer for ‘those in peril on the sea.


In Easter God promises that life will triumph over death, good over evil, love over hate, and faith over fear. This is the Good News, given by Jesus, shared with one another. It is both a gift and a birthright of those who follow Christ.

Our offering is a both a practical and symbolic act of our commitment to serve Christ and build His church. Although we can’t actually ‘pass the plate’ online, you are encouraged to continue your gift to the church, as the work of the St Paul’s and the staff continue:

· Drop your envelope (cheque or cash) at the church;

· Mail your cheque to the church;

· Go on PAR (call Rosie for details);

· Use the Donate button at the top of the page (it will take you to SPUC’s Canada Helps page where you can donate online and get an instant tax receipt).

May my gifts of time, talent, and treasure generously and lovingly offered be used faithfully to do build God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven!


Closing Prayer:

Prayers of the People:

Holy God, receive our prayers this morning: prayers for others, prayers for ourselves, prayers for the world.

We pray today with thanksgiving and compassion for mothers everywhere: mothers, step-mothers, adoptive mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, who give themselves and give life to each one of us. We pray for those mothers who raised their own children, raised the children of others, and those mothers who never knew their babies through loss, adoption, or circumstances, and the mothers who never had children. For like you, O God, our mothering is not limited to just those children who call us their own.

God, you know that mothering is never an easy task. It can be full of challenge and heartbreak, joy and sorrow, laughter, and tears – it is full of life, and there’s no life like it. Bless all mothers everywhere and their children, so that all may be surrounded by your blessings.

O Holy One, your mothering grace is needed throughout the world in so many places, in so many hearts:

· In countries where strife and war take root;

· In attitudes of violence and power;

· In politics where empty slogans and name-calling replace honest debate and policy;

· In homes that are broken through anger and misunderstanding;

· In hearts that are hardened by bigotry and hatred;

· In souls that are crushed by grief, isolation, and depression;

· In stomachs that ache with hunger and malnutrition;

· In an environment broken by waste and pollution;

· In a humanity that struggles against an invisible but deadly virus;

· In a world where too many of us worry about just our own boats.

Send on us, Mothering God, your grace, strength, and courage that we may be your love that rocks the cradles of peace, justice, and compassion; that we may be your hands that pull the oars bringing all boats into safe waters; and, that we may be your light that overcomes all shadows.



Let us go into the world with a daring and tender heart; let us go in peace, the world is waiting.

And whatever we do, may we do it as a Resurrection People: followers of Jesus, bearers of God’s Light, and living signs of the Spirit’s fellowship.

A hymn to take us into the world.

One More Thought.

It’s Mothers’ Day, and at St. Paul’s we’ve usually made quite a fuss over the day (and our mothers!). Gwen always provides little pots of pansies for the moms in the congregation but sadly this year we’re not able to do that. So, here is a virtual gift of pansies for all the special people in our lives. Thank you, Gwen!

One Last Thought (well, actually, two).

Also, given that it’s Mothers’ Day, I’ve found two videos to share in honour of mothers everywhere. The first is beautiful and sentimental, and the other is hilarious and a tad ribald. You choose which one(s) you want to watch – you’ve been warned.

Mothers’ Day video based on Robert Munsch’s book, “I’ll love you forever.”

SNL Mothers’ Day video with Amy Shumer, “On the day you were born.”

Closing notes:

· Don’t forget to extinguish your candle!

· As an exercise in keeping in touch with your SPUC family, we’re inviting everyone to open their Church Directory, find your own name and then count up the list by 9 names and call that person. They might be a good friend, they might be a casual acquaintance at church, or they may be someone you don’t know. Give them a call and wish them peace in the name of Christ, and just see how they’re doing.

I'm grateful to Matthew Boudta for sharing his virtual choir video an to the Montreal Gazette for the editorial cartoon.

· Remember to Zoom in for coffee with your friends after church on Sunday morning at 11:30, and for Emma’s hymn-a-long on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

Rev. Daniel Benson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Topic: After Church Coffee Time Time: May 10, 2020 11:30 AM America/Toronto Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 829 432 3094 One tap mobile +15873281099,,8294323094# Canada +16473744685,,8294323094# Canada Dial by your location +1 587 328 1099 Canada +1 647 374 4685 Canada +1 647 558 0588 Canada +1 778 907 2071 Canada +1 438 809 7799 Canada Meeting ID: 829 432 3094

Emma Wallace is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Topic: St Paul's Hymn Sing-a-long Time: May 3, 2020 02:00 PM America/Toronto Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 608 875 9725 One tap mobile +14388097799,,6088759725# Canada +15873281099,,6088759725# Canada Dial by your location +1 438 809 7799 Canada +1 587 328 1099 Canada +1 647 374 4685 Canada +1 647 558 0588 Canada +1 778 907 2071 Canada Meeting ID: 608 875 9725

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May 10, 2020

I look forward to these worship services and they mean a lot to me including today, thank you Dan. It was also a joy to see the beautiful pansies and to remember the times we were sharing them on Mother’s Day. Thank you Gwen.

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