Worship Service for May 26, 2024

May 26, 2024 – Trinity Sunday

A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, May 26, at 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EDT on Sunday, May 26.

Previous livestreams and other worship and musical content is available on our YouTube channel. You can also check out our entire worship services archive. Our SoundCloud channel has yet more music and worship content.



Lighting of the Christ Candle

This is the Christ Candle. We light the candle to help us remember that Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is with us in every place and every time.

Call to Worship

One: Loving God: you call us together
All: To worship God as the people of God.

One: You call us by name and just as we are: you know each of our needs; you know our experiences; you know what rests in our minds and our hearts, and in your love you call us:
All: To worship God as the people of God

One: We come together, our heads, our hearts and our hands and feet yearning to be remade and redirected to paths of justice, and in ways of love. Help us, Jesus, to walk in the paths of justice and love that you yourself have walked:
All: To worship God as the people of God.

One: God invites us to worship as beloved and loving people! Mold us, Holy Spirit:
All: To worship God as the people of God.

Opening Hymn

“God of mercy, God of grace” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 39). Words (1834, paraphrase of Psalm 67) by English Anglican divine and hymnwriter Henry Francis Lyte (1793–1847). Music (1838; tune: “Dix”) by German composer Conrad Kocher (1786–1872). This arrangement (1861) by English organist William Henry Monk (1823–1889). Words, music and arrangement public domain.

Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)

Holy Spirit, You approach us with such gentleness and tenderness, yet you transform our lives and your world. Your care for us and for your creation is greater than we could imagine: So in adoration, we come and we pause, resting from our work and responsibilities, from our play and from our daydreams, to enjoy you, the beauty of your world, and our life in you.

O God, we ask you to pour out your spirit on us. Help us serve you more cheerfully so we can serve our brothers and sisters. Cast out everything which breaks or hinders the growing bonds of love between us. Give us the determination to make progress so that all our lives we may seek after your holy and perfect will.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.

Declaration of Pardon

Jesus said, Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Friends, trust that peace and forgiveness are God’s gift to you this day. Be renewed by the power of the Spirit that moves with you into each new day.
All: Thanks be to God!

The Peace

One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)

Musical Reflection

Fun with the Young at Heart (children’s story)

We sing verse 1 of “Jesus loves me this I know”.

Jesus loves me, this I know” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 373). Words (1859 or 1860) by American writer Anna Bartlett Warner (1827–1915). Revisions to v2 and v3 by Canadian Anglican priest David Rutherford McGuire (1929–1971). Music (1862; tune: “Jesus loves me”) by American musician William Batchelder Bradbury (1816–1868). Words, revisions, and music in the public domain.

Scripture Reading

John 3:1–17  <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible

Click here for additional scripture readings from today’s lectionary. Links courtesy of the Revised Common Lectionary, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

John 3:1–17

3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 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 unless God is with that person.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 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?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 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.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?”

11 “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. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

16 “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.”

17 “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.”


Today, we are looking at one of the most famous stories in the Bible, the story of Nicodemus, who is believed to be a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, the seventy-member ruling body of ancient Israel. Being a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin does not make him popular in the Gospels. Yet I have a very soft spot for Nicodemus. He is a quiet follower of Jesus, unlike Peter, Andrew, or James, who give up everything to follow Jesus. Nicodemus follows Jesus by going back to his own life; he goes back to his work, he goes back to his own place, but he follows Jesus quietly.

The Gospel of John is very intentional about portraying different ways of serving and following Christ. Both Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea in the Gospel of John represent those who follow God quietly in their own places. Their neighbors or even their family members wouldn’t know whether they go to church or practice the Christian faith because they never talk about it. Yet, when Jesus ends up dying on the cross, when everyone turns their back, and when every fervent disciple is busy running away from Jesus, they are the ones who come out to defend and ask for the body of Jesus.

I am not suggesting that their faith was better than that of Peter or Philip, but they too have their own ways of serving God. We need Peter but also Nicodemus. We need Joseph of Arimathea but also Mary and Martha.

When we listen to the story of Nicodemus today, may the story help us to deepen our understanding of who we are and what we are called to do.

May we look at the first two verses, “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 unless God is with that person.”

It is important to highlight that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. This detail reveals the state of Nicodemus’s heart, indicating that he was in darkness. We don’t know what specific darkness he was facing, but he was indeed in darkness. On the outside, he appeared powerful and successful—he was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin—yet he was in darkness. We learn from our life journey that we never know what someone next to us is going through. They may look fine and sound fine, they may smile and laugh, but we can never know what is happening in their hearts. They may be crying, suffering, and dying inside…….

Please, join the live worship service to listen to the further reflections on the experience of encountering Jesus by night.

Please, join our Sunday worship service at 11 am, either in person or virtually, to hear the full version of the sermon.


“I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 568). Words (1878) by English poet Jean Ingelow (1820–1897). Music (1893; tune: “Peace”) by American composer George Whitefield Chadwick (1854–1931). Words and music in the public domain.


As Jesus gave himself for us, let us return to God the offerings of our life and the gifts of the earth.

Musical Reflection

We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.

Dedication of our Gifts

Our offering will now be received.

Doxology 306

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 306). Based on the tune “Old 100th” with words (1989) by English hymnwriter Brian A. Wren (1936–). Words copyright © 1989 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise God all creatures high and low;
praise God in Jesus fully known,
Creator Word and Spirit One.

Prayer of dedication

All that we have comes from you, O God. May these gifts be used as we work for a more peaceful and just world. Amen.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving and Hope

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. Amen.

Closing Hymn

“More love to thee” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 707). Words verse 1 (1856) by American author Elizabeth Payson Prentiss (1856–1878). Words verse 2 (1990) by Canadian educator, author and hymnwriter Edith Margaret Clarkson (1915–2008). Music (1868; tune: “More love to thee”) by American manufacturer, hymnwriter and philanthropist William Howard Doane (1832–1915). Words v.1 and music public domain. Words v.2 copyright © 1990 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A

Changing the Light

Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.


May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (the risen Christ), the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN.


“Danish Amen” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 780). Words and music (tune: “Amen (Danish)”) traditional. Words and music public domain.


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