Oct 17 – Sunday Worship – World Food Sunday

Oct 10 – Worship Service – Thanks Giving
October 11, 2021
Oct 31 – Sunday Worship – Reformation
November 8, 2021

Oct 17 – Sunday Worship – World Food Sunday


World Food Day Service Highlighting Mission & Service

Sunday, October 17th, 2021

Acknowledging the Territory

When we take time to recognize, that the land upon which we live, work and worship does not, in the deepest sense, belong to us, we are acknowledging more than the past history of our relationship with the indigenous people of this land, in our case the Mi’kmaq people.  We are also acknowledging our damaged and broken relationships with both the people and the land and we acknowledge our need to work to restore these relationships and to continue to move forward with respect, humility and the commitment to care for and share this land wisely.

Lighting the Christ Candle

As we light our Christ candle this morning, we open our hearts and our lives to the light of Christ. And we commit ourselves to allow that light, shine through us, in all that we do.

Call to Worship

We gather on sacred ground

On the rich earth that nourishes us

Under the great awning of sky that replenishes us

To once again listen to the voice

That warms our hearts say,

 “Come, follow me.”


Invitation to Pray

In John Chapter 4: verse 34 Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.”

Food is the source of our energy. What Jesus was saying is that the will of God energizes

him to live out his mission. As we pray, we turn to God to replenish our sense of call and purpose. Let us pray:


Prayer (In Unison)

God, the stories of our faith remind us

that you are manna from heaven and water from rock. You are the miracle of the loaves and fish. You are our Bread of Life. In this hour, fill us up with your Holy Word. Energize us with your songs.
Make us thankful, aware, and inspired: thankful for the universe that feeds us, aware that food is a sacred gift given to all and yet still withheld from many, and inspired enough to make a difference.



Hymn: Let Us Build A House MV#1




Meaning of  Isaiah 58:9b‒11

This verse from Isaiah seems to be a call to the people to repair the walls and restore the city. … Actually, it’s a promise to the people of what they can achieve if they will do the Lord’s will. It comes at the end, where the people are being chastised for their false fasting.


Isaiah 58:9b‒11

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.


Psalm: Psalm 136 (VU 857)

Introduction: Jewish friends refer to Psalm 136 as “the Great Hallel,” and it is traditionally recited during the Passover meal. It speaks of God as the creative power that redeems and sustains us, not only delivering us in difficult times but also blessing us with food and life. For centuries, it has been adapted into forms of grace spoken before meals.


Psalm 136 (VU 857)

We give thanks unto you, O God of might:

for love is never ending.

We give thanks unto you, the God of gods:

for your love is never ending.


In your wisdom and love you shaped the Skies:

for your love is never ending.

You spread out the earth upon the sea:

for your love is never ending.


You have filled all the skies with glory and light

for your love is never ending.

The Sun for the day and moon at night:

for your love is never ending.


From of old you have led your people in faith:

for your love is never ending.

You have shown your compassion, strength and love.

For your love is never ending.


You delivered the ones who called unto you:

for your love is never ending.

From bondage to freedom, you brought them forth.

For your love is never ending.


Introduction to Matthew.

This story shows that once the seed of the word of God is sown, only time will show how a person’s faith will grow and develop. This parable shows that the Kingdom of God will continue to grow and spread until the end of time.


Matthew 13:1‒9

That same day Jesus left the house and went to the lakeside, where he sat down to teach.  The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it, while the crowd stood on the shore.  He used parables to tell them many things.

“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain.  As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep.  But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up.  Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants.  But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.”

 And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”


Reflection: : Live Your Mission

Do you know what it’s like to put every ounce of ability and energy into something and have it flop miserably? Do you know what it’s like to do your best and find that your best just isn’t good enough? Do you know what it’s like to wait for something good in your life to grow and then wait…and wait…and wait?

That day when Jesus was sitting in the boat in the middle of the sea, he was speaking to a worn-out crowd that felt just like that. His followers had been working hard―really hard―to share the good news, but their message just wasn’t sinking in. Here they were, going from town to town, sharing Jesus’ life-saving message that justice is attainable, that there are key values like kindness and generosity that, if lived out collectively, it could save the world.

Yet despite their important message, everywhere they went, they brushed up against people who were too preoccupied, too bored, too self-centered, or too stressed to listen. Each time a door slammed in their face; their discouragement ramped up. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Even though Jesus was sitting in the middle of the sea, it’s like he could see into the very hearts of those gathered that day. And in that calm, reassuring voice of his, he told them stories to help them understand themselves and make sense of their life. One of them was the parable of the Sower:

Some seeds will fall on the path and the birds will eat them. Some will fall on rock and the sun will scorch them. Some will fall on thorns and be choked out. But some will fall on good soil and bear an unbelievable crop.

The Parable of the Sower was a pep talk of sorts. It wasn’t the kind you would hear in a locker room, though. It wasn’t about how great Jesus’ followers were or how they would succeed at every turn. It was realistic: Some of the work you do is going to feel like a waste of time. Some of it will even be sabotaged. But keep going. Because there will be success. Trust me. Live your mission.

This, my friends, is a millennia-old message we still need to hear. Especially on World food Sunday.

690,000,000 people will go to bed hungry tonight. Think about that. 690,000,000 people aren’t asking, “What will we eat for dinner?” No. 690,000,000 people are asking, “Will we eat dinner?” And they ask that question night after night.

Hunger is so pervasive you’d think that the whole earth was made of dust. That no crops could grow anywhere. But we know there’s nothing wrong with Mother Nature; the problem lies in the choices we make for her. Poverty, land grabbing, climate change, COVID 19, the commodification of food and water, conflict and political instability…. The causes of hunger are so complex, so intertwined, so systemic, it’s natural to wonder how you and I are really ever going to make a difference.  It’s like we are standing on that shore right along with Jesus’ disciples and there are problems as big as the sea itself in front of us. And even Jesus is sitting there admitting that addressing hunger isn’t easy. He doesn’t sugar coat the outcome of our work: some seeds just aren’t going to land where we need them to or create the results we want. But, he says, some seeds will fall on good soil and the result will be phenomenal. So, live your mission.

Jesus got in the boat that day and rowed into the sea so he could look at the whole crowd at once, so his voice would carry across the water to each and every one of them, so they would take his parable to heart and hear him say: Live your mission. My Friends, one of the ways we live our mission as a United Church is by sharing what we have through our collective Mission & Service. As a United Church we endorse the principles of food sovereignty: the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. We believe food is a sacred gift from God. Manna from heaven. No one should go hungry.

Covid has affected us in many ways over the past 19 to 20 months. When the pandemic it hit us, it hit us hard. The grocery stores were running out of food supplies. As fast as they put it on the shelf, the selves were empty again. And each time they were replenished the prices went up. Not everyone can simply re-adjust their budgets and spend more money.

I live on a restricted budget because I am on a disability pension. The cost of groceries goes up, but my pension sure doesn’t. Fortunately, I am able to re-adjust, but it is not easy. By the grace of God, I have an unbelievable support system and great people who have helped me on many occasions, but not everyone has that.  I know there are many people, who have to decide whether they are going to buy groceries, medications or pay rent, or pay their heating bills.

We are fortunate to have a foodbank here in Yarmouth, and there are many organizations and churches like Beacon that have a special funds to help people in the community with food vouchers and much more. We are grateful to God for these places and to the people who are behind the scenes making it possible. That’s why from here and from coast to coast in Canada, our generosity supports community kitchens and meal programs, food cupboards, shelters, job training programs, community gardens, and healthy food programs.

Internationally, we send food in times of crisis, distribute seeds, fund agricultural training programs and micro-lending programs, and support projects that help small-scale farmers access equipment they need and, in some instances, build infrastructure so they can transport their food to market.

We work with partners like ACT Alliance and the Canadian Food grains Bank to move beyond the charity model by helping to work toward long-term systemic change through respectful partnerships. It’s true that we aren’t going to solve all the problems in the world, but for some people our support means the world. You might remember a story the United Church’s Philanthropy Unit shared not long ago about a young Canadian named Jesse.

When he was 12 years old, Jesse had a

traumatic brain injury. His life instantly changed because his brain didn’t function the way it once did. By the time he was 17, Jesse had been hospitalized 32 times. Through the ups and downs, his mother took care of him. She was his rock. And then, sadly, three years ago she died of cancer. Without his mother, Jesse’s life spiralled out of control. Two years ago, he survived the painfully cold winter sleeping in a storage unit. Then he went to Stella’s Circle, a Mission & Service partner, where he was fed, received help to find a home, and is now completing a greenhouse technician college program. Today, Jesse is leading a new social enterprise that grows food for sale. This, friends, is what happens when seeds of generosity fall on good soil.

Another story, this one stretching from Canada to Japan and then on to Kenya: In Kenya, more than 850,000 children have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. Some estimates are even higher. Emmanuel Baya, a farmer living in Magarini, Kenya, lost his parents when he was a child. So, when he saw children looking for food under the cashew trees on his property, he felt a tug on his heart strings. To make a long story short, he opened a children’s center and school for orphans. But he didn’t want to just nourish their bodies and minds, he also wanted them to be able to one day sustain themselves. And he knew he needed more skills to help. So, he flew to the Asian Rural Institute in Japan, ARI for short.

ARI is an agricultural training institute that teaches organic farming techniques and leadership skills and it is supported through your Mission & Service gifts. When he graduated from the program there, Emmanuel returned home and started an organic demonstration farm next to his school. Today, not only are the 287 children in his care learning how to grow food, but the farm is also serving seven neighbouring communities. Volunteers at the farm are also receiving agricultural training at ARI thanks to your support.

690,000,000 people may be going hungry tonight and I pray for each and every one of them, But Jesse, Emmanuel and all the people in their communities that they support and the thousands of people that Mission & Service partners help, aren’t among them. That’s because they are amazing people. They do the work that Jesus called them to do and they are supported by amazing people like you.

This is what happens when we live our mission. Living God’s mission is like planting seeds―each seed contains the basic material needed to pull off a miracle. And like Jesus says, when they hit good dirt, miracles grow. God thanks you for your mission and service. Our creator thanks you for taking Jesus’ stories into your heart and letting them transform your lives and thank you for standing on the shoreline like disciples have for millennia listening to the Parable of the Sower. So now, let’s get to work planting seeds and let’s live our mission.



Hymn: We Cannot Own the Sunlit Sky   MV#143 



Part of our regular worship always includes the gifts we offer.  We may offer financial gifts though our offering plates, through PAR or through other ways of making donations.  But we always remember that our financial contributions are only one of the many things that we have to offer.  We offer our time, our talents, our abilities, our commitments and our prayers.  And so, whatever it is we offer today, let us ask God’s blessing upon it. Let us Pray:


Offertory Prayer:

 Generous God, we offer our gifts in response to your call to care. We offer them with gratitude and love, trusting that you will use them to feed bodies, minds, and hearts. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen. And now, as we take a moment in silent prayer, let us remember all those named in our prayer jar, in our hearts and our thoughts this day.  And those known only to God… Amen.


Minute for Mission


Prayer of the People

Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

Creator God,

Bless farmers, fishers, gatherers, hunters, migrant workers…all agricultural workers here in Canada and around the world.
Bless those who transport, distribute, and prepare our food.
Bless those pouring their heart and soul into fostering and protecting clean water, healthy soil, and biodiversity.
Bless those advocating for safe, healthy, culturally appropriate food.
Bless those challenging systems that treat food as a commodity rather than a sacred right.
Bless those working hard to understand where their food comes from and to have a healthy relationship with it.
Bless those who share what they can so no one goes hungry.
Bless the breakfast programs, community kitchens, shared gardens, food banks, and agricultural training programs we support through Mission & Service.
Bless our church suppers, barbecues, luncheons, teas, community meals and fellowship time.
Bless our home kitchens, our tables, and all who gather around them
Bless us as we bow our heads in thanksgiving for your abundant grace.
Bless us now as we pray in the way of Jesus, saying,


“Our Creator…”

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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.   Closing hymn


Hymn Go, Make a Diff’rence  MV 209



These words come from 1 Corinthians Chapter 10: verse 31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Do it all for the glory of God. And may God who is our Creator, and Jesus Christ who is our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit who is our Sustainer inspire us to live our mission this day and forevermore. Amen. Go with God.

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