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  • Rev. Daniel Benson

Whose Life Matters?

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Sunday, June 21st, 2020.

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 of the presence and beauty of God. This is particularly fitting as we celebrate Pentecost – the birth(day) of the church!

God be with you!

A Prayer:

Oh God of these extraordinary days and these ordinary times. We come today and bring our praises and our prayers to you. We do not ask that you be with us because you are always present. Instead, we ask that you help us be aware of your abiding presence. Instill in us the grace that opens our eyes to the many ways your grace graces our lives. It is so easy in these extraordinary times to feel that we are lost, that the world is lost, and indeed we have lost you. Surprise us once again, Oh God, by rolling away the stones of our doubts and fears so that your light can take away the shadows.


Music: Today, Rosie and Emma bring us Psalm 121, "Unto the Hills."

Lighting of the candle.

In the darkest of times, in the deepest shadows, the light of Christ shines brightly. The darkness cannot overcome it. So, we light a candle today, reminding us of the ever-present love of God that illuminates the world. May we be courageous in carrying this light within us, before us, and beyond us. Amen.

Introduction to today’s theme: Karen, our guest preacher over the last few weeks, spoke about the Trinity and of hope. As we try to live into the reality of so-called ordinary time, we’ll continue to focus on the challenges in these extraordinary times.

Scripture reading: Ian reads for us from Matthew 10: 24 – 39.

Sermon. “Sure, all lives matter. But do they really?” by Rev. Dan.

Music. Thank you to Emma for suggesting this version of “Lush Life,” composed by Billy Strayhorn and played by Geri Allen.


The flames of Pentecost are the light of renewal and rebirth, and continue to burn brightly as we live into these extraordinary times. They are the promise 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 will accept the Spirit’s calling.

Our offering is 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: You have two options: you can listen to the prayer in the video, or read the prayer aloud yourself (the words are below the video).

Lord Jesus, we follow you where you lead, even to a cross on a cruel hill. As we carry our crosses this week, we are minded of all those whose burdens and crosses are heavier than ours. We pray for you’re the power of your resurrection spirit to be with us and them, carrying us through these days.

We especially lift in prayer all those affected by this pandemic: the sick, the grieving, the isolated, and the unsettled. Give us strength to meet these adversities with faith.

We especially lift in prayer all those working to alleviate the suffering of this pandemic: the healthcare professionals, spiritual and physical caregivers, the front-line workers, the civic employees, and the grocery clerks. Give us courage to continue to give our best.

We especially lift in prayer all those who, despite these challenging times, are living moments of joy: a newborn baby, a birthday celebration, the love of friends and family, a safe home and a well-stocked larder. Give us gratitude to recognize each and every blessing.

We especially lift in prayer all those who are struggling with difficulties quite apart from the pandemic: the ill, the lonely, the victims of violence of any and every kind. Give us peace to revive our souls.

In these words and the words that dwell silently in our hearts, we offer our prayers to you, O God, knowing that through Christ and in the Spirit, you listen.


Music: Larnelle Harris, “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying.”


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.

A few weeks ago, Emma invited people to write a new verse or two for the beloved hymn, “Jesus Loves Me.” Although often thought of as a children’s hymn, the words are faithful and comforting at any age. Today’s gift of song is composed by Esther and sung by Emma, and it closes our service today.

One Last Thought.

Closing notes:

  • Don’t forget to extinguish your candle!

  • I want to thank Emma for recommending both the Billy Strayhorn and Larnelle Harris videos, as well as facilitating Rosie and Esther's videos, as well as Rosie and Esther themselves for their musical gifts. Also, thank you to Ian's reading of Scripture.

  • 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 2 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.

  • 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. This week's hymns include: In the Garden, I Danced in the Morning, He Leadeth Me, There's a Wideness in God's mercy, Jesus, You Have Come to the Lakeshore, and, Will You Come and Follow Me.

Rev. Daniel Benson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: After Church Coffee

Time: May 17, 2020 11:30 AM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 829 432 3094

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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 17, 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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