Sunday Guided Tour -  Fourth Sunday after Pentecost   - June 28, 20120

        Here is the link to this weeks worship service 

        Read the text below at your leisure or follow along with Rev. Jim McKnight and and Rick Young, Music Director.

        You can also access this at Facebook : Friends of TrinityUnitedChurchThorold.










Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our Sunday Guided Tour for June 28th.  This Sunday is the one immediately preceding Canada Day, and the final Sunday here at Trinity before the summer break we share with St. Andrew’s Presbyterian.  Rick and Matthew and I will provide shared services for July, and St. Andrew’s will provide the services for August.  So please do stay tuned.  It will be a whole new season with St. Andrew’s.  


For today, though, we would like to continue the custom of our recent years, and celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion in this our last service before the summer.  So please do be invited to bring some bread and wine to today’s Guided Tour, and join in in ways that might best suit your faith.


Please join with me as we begin today’s service with prayer:

Loving God, though distanced in these times of separation, we are as one today in Spirit and in hope, in caring for each other and in faith, and faith in you.  We pray we know you near, and know the love we share together and that joins us and in which we never can be separate or apart.  Guide us in the wonder of your promise, that we might live fully and live well for Jesus’ sake.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


All Who Hunger. Hymn #460 

1     All who hunger, gather gladly;

       holy manna is our bread.

       Come from wilderness and wandering.

       Here, in truth, we will be fed.

       You that yearn for days of fullness,

       all around us is our food.

       Taste and see the grace eternal.

       Taste and see that God is good.


2     All who hunger, never strangers;

       seeker, be a welcome guest.

       Come from restlessness and roaming.

        Here, in joy, we keep the feast.

       We that once were lost and scattered

       in communion's love have stood.

       Taste and see the grace eternal.

       Taste and see that God is good.


3    All who hunger, sing together;

       Jesus Christ is living bread.

       Come from loneliness and longing.

       Here, in peace, we have been led.

       Blest are those who from this table

       live their lives in gratitude.

       Taste and see the grace eternal.

       Taste and see that God is good.


Today, we are going to celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion.  It seems an appropriate thing to do.  In normal times, Communion not only brings us together as a congregation, but it joins us with Christian congregations around the world.  How much more meaningful it is then in these times of dire separation.  Also, it’s an affirmation of the steady promise of our faith in these times of uncertainty and chaos.  These days, Communion is more than just a ritual; it’s a needed state of grace that we can hold to, knowing it holds us.  


So today we come together in Communion.  And in the spirit of our Sunday Guided Tours, I thought we might examine a bit more deeply its origins and meanings.  


First of all, I probably should say that what we call “Communion” in our Protestant tradition, is customarily referred to in the worldwide Christian Church as “The Eucharist”.  The word “Eucharist” is a derivation of the Greek word for “Thanksgiving”, and the “Communion Prayer” we pray on each Communion Sunday is more commonly referred to as the “Eucharistic Prayer” or the “Great Prayer of Thanksgiving.”  I just wanted you to know.


Also, the structure of our Communion prayer conforms to a fairly strict liturgical pattern which is commonly accepted in the global Christian Church.  Even in our Reformed Tradition as The United Church of Canada, we respectfully comply.  It helps us share and participate in the ancient traditions of the Church that have united Christian people around the world through all the generations.  

The structure of the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving follows the pattern:

                   1. introductory dialogue

                   2. preface/thanksgiving

                   3. institution narrative

                   4. anamnesis

                   5. epiclesis

                   6. concluding doxology  


“Anamnesis”, “epiclesis”.. I suspect these words aren’t totally familiar.  But they’re ours, and they exist, and they are filled with meaning.  And for your homework, I please ask that you research them.  (The full text of what I’m saying is on the website.)


As a start, though, I’ll let you in on a bit of the theology and history that pertains to what we’ve called the “introductory dialogue.”  In our Communion prayer at Trinity, we say, “Lift up your hearts.”  These words constitute the “sursum corda” of the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving.  “Sursum corda” is Latin for “Lift up your hearts.”  It’s part of the ancient tradition which we share with every Christian communion in the world today.  And when we answer: “We lift them to the Lord,” we give our permission to be embraced and captured by the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving that’s to follow.


So please do consider your homework.  And, as well, you might gain some enlightenment and insight as you look at the Eucharistic terms “Memorial Acclamation” and “The Sanctus.”  (And) I have to tell you, even though these terms have been around for 2000 years, and even though I’d been going to church all my life, I didn’t hear any of these terms until I was a student at Emmanuel College in Toronto.  I wish I’d learned about them long before.  They gave me a whole new understanding and respect.  


And, I believe it’s important that we remember that the Communion service we celebrate in our generation and tradition is based on the Passover Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples in an upper room so many years ago.  That occasion of what we have come to call the “Last Supper” is recorded in all four gospels, and today we hear the rendition that comes from the Gospel of Christ according to Matthew.

Please join with me in our Prayer for Illumination.  Let us pray:

Gracious Holy Spirit, we pray you guide us in the strong assurance of your presence and your love, that we might hear the Gospel promise that is ours, and live it well.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.



A reading from Matthew 26:17-30 (Revised Standard Version)

The Passover with the disciples and the institution of the Lord’s Supper

17    Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare          for you to eat the Passover?”

18   Jesus said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep           the Passover at your house with my disciples."

19   And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

20  When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the twelve disciples; 21 and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say        to you, one of you will betray me.”

22   And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”

23   Jesus answered, “The one who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me.

24   The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!  It would          have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

25   Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?”  Jesus said to him, “You have said so.”

26   Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take,        eat; this is my body.”

27   And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you;

28   for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

29   I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my                      Father’s kingdom.”

30   And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 


Tell Me the Stories of JesusHymn #357

1     Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear,

       things I would ask him to tell me if he were here:

       scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,

       stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

2    First let me hear how the children stood round his knee,

       and I shall fancy his blessing resting on me;

       words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,

       all in the lovelight of Jesus' face.


3    Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea

       tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee!

       And how the Master, ready and kind,

       chided the billows and hushed the wind.


4     Into the city I'd follow the children's band,

       waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;

       one of his heralds, yes, I would sing

       loudest hosannas! Jesus is king!

5     Show me that scene in the garden of bitter pain;

       and of the cross where my Saviour for me was slain.

       Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be

       stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

Key to our Communion and Last Supper are the elements of bread and wine.  Bread and wine are key, as well, to Passover. 

In contemplation of the bread, the “matzah” of their meal, Jesus and his disciples would have heard the words:

This is the bread of poverty which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.  All who are hungry, come and eat.  All who are needy, come and celebrate Passover with us.  Now we celebrate here.  Next year may we be in the land of Israel.  Now we are slaves.  Next year may we be truly free.

And for that supper in an upper room, the wine would have been received in four stages  -  the first one being an offering of praise to God as Creator of life, as redeemer from slavery in Egypt, and as sustainer, “who has kept us alive and well so that we can celebrate this special time”; and the last stage being  a celebration of God’s love for all nations and all people.

The Passover meal included bread and wine, and Jesus redefined them. 


26   Now as they were eating, [Matthew tells us,] Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the                    disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

27   And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is        my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  

Two things come to mind for me, especially, as I hear these words.

The first is a conversation I had with a long-time, loving, faithful member of the congregation I first served.  She hadn’t been showing up to church for a little while, and I had called on her.  She told me that she couldn’t bring herself to come to church because the words of the Communion service had her eating flesh and drinking blood and she just couldn’t take it.  She had to leave.


To hear her was distressing to be sure.  And I was sure that Jesus had never, ever, intended his words to be interpreted this way.  


The second thing that came to mind for me was a memory of two little boys coming up to me after a service of Communion.  The one little boy was a regular at the church.  His name was David.  The other was his cousin.  They were both around 8 years old.  David said to me his cousin wanted to know if the bread tasted like skin.  I told them to go back up to the Communion table and check it out.  They turned on their heels and ran back down the aisle.  After a few more handshakes they came back, all disappointed.  They told me it tasted just like bread.   I’m too embarrassed to tell you how I responded.  I hope they’re not in therapy.  But, again, I’m sure that Jesus would never have intended us to think what those two little boys quite clearly heard.

No.  Regardless of the theory and philosophy of the concept of “transubstantiation”, the idea is nothing Jesus would ever had intended.  It’s completely wrong. 

Jesus was all about humanity and being human; about the love of God for every living being; about our common needs and common longing; about the common labours that sustain us, about the sacred presence in our care for one another and our sustenance in common, and the efforts and the dreams and loves that joined us.

THIS is my body, Jesus says, holding onto bread  -  bread as source of life and nourishment and experience in common among every human life.

Eat this and remember me: remember I am with you  -  sustaining you and holding you and bringing you together one-by-one and soul-by-soul, to share your human life and love in common, and make a life of freedom and compassion for the world.  I am to your spirit and your hope as bread is to your body!  THIS is my body; this BREAD.

And then he says, This CUP is the new covenant in my blood  -  MY life for you in flesh and blood; GOD’s life for you in flesh and blood  -  that you might know the joy and celebration that is life in its abundance; a life of song and dance and mutual compassion that turns the water of existence into the rich red wine of heart and soul and union in the name of all that’s holy.  This wine, a sign of joy and celebration; a sign that my joy may be yours, and yours complete as fellow beings!  

Bread and wine, the living Christ declares, as source and soul and image of the Spirit with us, together, at the table, every meal; the Spirit with us as human beings all together, and each a brother and a sister, and all of us as children of the Living God  -  redeemed and living and made whole by the very sacrifice of God, who loves us absolutely and forever.  Greater love has no one than this .


It is a message and a promise for the world today; for all of us; regardless of race or clan or creed  -  a promise for a world of hurt and hate and turmoil, faintly hearing cries for justice and for life, and life for all.  And Jesus comes to give his life that we might live.


Today we celebrate Communion as a congregation, as children with the children of the world; as a sacred gift to every living soul.


Ministry of Music  -  I Surrender All


Invitation to Communion:

Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.

It is by Christ’s own words that we all are invited to this celebration of Communion; and we say thank you!

The Peace of Christ be with you.

Communion Hymn Here, O My Lord (#459 vv. 1 to 3)

1     Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face;

       here would I touch and handle things unseen,

       here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,

       and all my weariness upon you lean.


2     Here would I feed upon the bread of God,

       here drink with you the royal wine of heaven;

       here would I lay aside each earthly load,

       here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

3     This is the hour of banquet and of song;

       this is the heavenly table for me spread;

       here let me feast, and feasting, still prolong

       the fellowship of living wine and bread.


Prayer of Confession:

God of life and love, and understanding: we acknowledge that it is hard sometimes for us to confess when we really don’t know what it is we are confessing to.  We are human, after all, and never perfect.  You know too well our inward struggles and misgivings.  Too well you understand, and don’t condemn us.  Maybe that is what you pray for us to do: understand the human failings that we share, and not condemn, and work with one another and your world with empathy and caring to make life better for us all, and for your sake.  Gracious God, forgive us, and grant us the wisdom and the courage to stand for life and light for Jesus’ sake in this shadowed world.  We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Words of Assurance:

For God so loved the world that he gave to us his Son, that we might know forgiveness, and be made free.  In the name of Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven.  Thanks be to God!

Profession of Faith:

       We are not alone,
       we live in God’s world.
       We believe in God:
       who has created and is creating,
       who has come in Jesus,
          the Word made flesh
          to reconcile and make new,

          who works in us and others
          by the Spirit.

      We trust in God.
       We are called to be the Church:
          to celebrate God’s presence,
          to live with respect in Creation,
          to love and serve others,
          to seek justice and resist evil,
          to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
          our judge and our hope.
       In life, in death, in life beyond death,
          God is with us.  We are not alone.

          Thanks be to God.

Morning Prayer:

Loving God, we thank you for the mystery and wonder of your presence with us, and among us, and within us.  We thank you for your love that comes to us a Saviour and a Son, a Friend and dear Companion, who strengthens and assures us, and whose promise is the bread that gives us life, and the wine that is the sign of celebration and of life made full  -  in caring for ourselves and one another, and the gift of your Creation.  Help us hold to these ideals that are your heart.  Help us not be swayed by words and powers of hatred and division, of prejudice and selfishness and greed.  Help us never doubt the value of each life that is so precious; each life a life for which you give your own; each life we’re called to care for as a sacred trust.  Help us not to suffer lightly the loss of any single life because of ignorance or politics or status quo. Help us to bring your strong assurance to the world that our safety is found always in the safety of each other; that our lives are opened and enriched by sharing life with others; that human progress can be found, not in independence, but in our interdependence  -  the need that’s ours for one another and to share the kindred joys and sorrows that are ours as being human.  Help us take this bread and wine today in the strong commitment to share it with the world.  “Thy kingdom come,” the Saviour prays.  Help us walk with you the ways that offer answer.  Gracious Saviour, hear our prayers.  Hear our prayers for others.  Hear our prayers for peace; we ask in Jesus’ name, who taught us when we pray to say:

Our Father, 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,

for ever and ever.



Communion Prayer:

(Alydia Smith)


(Introductory dialogue:)

God be with you all. 

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts;

We lift our hearts to God.

Let us give thanks to God!

It is right to give God our thanks and praise!

Though Creation sometimes weeps,

we wait lovingly for you, God.

For you created the heavens, earth, and all that is in them: 

you cast sunbeams, open flowers, and feed insects.

You are beyond the galaxies, under the oceans, and inside each grain of wheat. 

You could sustain all of your Creation, 

but without us, you will not.

Thank you for the wonders of Creation and for your great trust in us.

Though humanity sometimes weeps,

we wait lovingly for you, God.

For you smiled on an outcast Hagar, blessing her descendants,

you guided the doubtful Israelites, leading them to freedom,

you spoke through the Judges and the Prophets, providing words of wisdom,

you lived among us as a teacher, healer, and friend, 

giving us a sacred path to follow.

You could have made us self-sustaining, 

but you did not  -  your love is what sustains us.

Thank you for the worldwide fellowship of disciples,

who faithfully attempt to share your love with all of Creation.


Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God whose power is love,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest!

In Jesus, love incarnate, 

you provide us all we need for each day:

his words comfort the weary;

his actions challenge the contented;

his touch heals the sick;

his presence feeds the deepest hunger in our souls.

In Jesus and in his feast 

you provide for us the sustenance we need to respond to the cries of Creation.

The bread of life, 

nourishes our deprived bodies.

The cup of blessing,

revives our thirsty souls.

The gathered community, 

strengthens our growing faith.

Memorial Acclamation:

Christ has died;

Christ is risen;

Christ will come again.

Though the church sometimes weeps,

we wait lovingly for you, God.

For centuries, Christians of different customs have gathered 

to commune with you and each other through the sharing of this feast.

In their partaking you have been with them, 

just as you are with us now.

And so we join with our sisters and brothers around the world 

by remembering that: 

on the night in which he was betrayed, 

Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it,

and shared it with his disciples, saying: 

“Take eat; this is my body, given for you. 

This do in remembrance of me.”

After supper, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks, 

God, we remember and give thanks for your Son, 

and we ask that you bless and pour your Spirit on these simple things, 

bread and wine:

Make this broken bread whole in our taking.

Make this full cup overflow in our sharing. 

With these elements nourish and sustain us,

our way, our truth, our life;

our Creator, our Redeemer, our Sustainer.

Praise be to you, now, tomorrow, and forever.

Sharing the Bread and Wine

Musical Meditation    #466 Eat This Bread


Prayer after Communion:

(Alydia Smith)

Thank you, O Christ, for this feast of life. 

We are fed by your love; 

we are strengthened by your life. 

We are sent forth into this world 

to live into the vision to which you call us in our hearts. 

We are now commissioned to: 

    feed as we have been fed,

    forgive as we have been forgiven,

    love as we have been loved.

Thanks be to God. 



May the grace of Christ attend us;

and the love of God surround us; 

and the Holy Spirit keep us,

this day, and forevermore.


Sent Forth by God’s Blessing. Hymn #481

1     Sent forth by God's blessing, our true faith confessing,

        the people of God from this dwelling take leave.

       The supper is ended, O now be extended

       the fruits of this service in all who believe.

       The seed of Christ's teaching, receptive souls reaching,

       shall blossom in action for God and for all.

       God's grace did invite us, God's love shall unite us

       to work for the kingdom and answer its call.

2     With praise and thanksgiving to God ever living,

       the tasks of our everyday life we will face.

       Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,

       embracing God's children of each tribe and race.

       With your feast you feed us, with your light now lead us;

       unite us as one in this life that we share.

       Then may all the living with praise and thanksgiving

       give honour to Christ and the name that we bear.

Trinity United Church Thorold 

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