Worship Service for June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024 – Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, June 16, 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, June 16.

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: It is good to give God thanks, to sing praises to the Most High!
All: We will sing for joy to God who has made us glad.

One: Let us declare God’s steadfast love in the morning,
All: and God’s faithfulness by night.

One: So come to worship God with thankful, joyful hearts!
All: Let us praise God’s holy name together.

Opening Hymn

All things bright and beautiful” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 435). Words (1848) by Anglo-Irish hymnwriter and poet Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895). Music (tune: “Royal Oak”) 17th-century folk melody, adapted (1916) by English conductor and composer Martin Shaw (1875–1958). Harmony (published in “The Hymnbook”, 1953) by John Ribble. Words and music public domain. Harmony copyright © 1955, 1983 John Ribble, admin Westminster / John Knox Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

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

Living God,
from you come vitality, love and joy. Your peace is our companion, your love is our strength, your Son is our hope. Your Spirit nurtures tiny seeds of purpose and potential, hidden deep in the soil of life, to surprise us with new life. While the earth begins to bloom around us, we bring you our prayers and praise, trusting that your Spirit will renew in us the gifts we need to serve you in faithfulness in the example of Christ our Lord.

Living, loving God,
as we watch our gardens and our children grow, we confess we often resist the change growth can bring. We form opinions about many things – and cling to them. We fear new insights and new directions. Forgive us when we think already know enough. Grant us faith like the mustard seed, able to grow with your blessing to become a mighty sign of your lively kingdom among us.

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

Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn us? Only Christ – and Christ died for us; Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Friends, believe the good news of the gospel. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and set free by God’s generous grace! Rejoice in God’s good gift.
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)

Guildwood Senior Choir Presents

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

Mark 4:26–34  <– 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.

Mark 4:26–34

26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle because the harvest has come.”

30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.


Today, we are going to look at the Parable of the Growing Seed from the gospel of Mark. This is one of the least well-known and most unfamiliar parables in the Gospels, as it is only recorded in the Gospel of Mark. Part of the reason for its unfamiliarity is that it is situated between two famous and beloved parables: the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

May we turn our attention to the first verse, verse 26, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground….”

I would like to highlight two words: “someone,” which in Greek is “anthropos,” meaning a person, a man, a woman, or a human being, and “to scatter,” which in Greek is “βάλλω” (ballo), meaning to throw, to cast, or to drop.

Keeping these two words in mind, let us go back to the Parable of the Sower, which is written earlier in the same chapter, and pay close attention to how the other parable begins.  Mark 4:3,“Listen! A sower went out to sow.”

The writer of the Gospel of Mark is an incredible author. He builds each story so that every story in the Gospel interconnects with another. He creates layers, deepening its meaning and interpretation.

When this parable is read together with the Parable of the Sower earlier in chapter 4, and along with the Parable of the Mustard Seed that follows the parable we read today, it evolves into an even more powerful story.

Unlike the parable of the Sower, in this parable of the growing seed, it is not a Sower or farmer, but someone who does the work of sowing. We don’t know if this person is a farmer or not. We don’t know whether this person will become a farmer one day or even wants to become a farmer. But we do know that he has no clue about farming or gardening. The text indicates he does not know what will happen to the seed. He scatters, drops, or throws away seeds instead of carefully sowing them, suggesting he knows nothing about sowing. The person is clueless about farming or gardening—he does not water the seeds, he does not weed, he does not know what he is doing or what he is supposed to do. Yet, despite his lack of knowledge or experience, he scatters the seeds, and they grow.

There are many important hidden spiritual or faith lessons we can take from this unfamiliar parable. Today, I would like to focus on two of them.

First, we may not be farmers; we may not have been trained or brought up to be farmers, and we may not be as skilled or knowledgeable in farming and gardening as an experienced farmer. However, we are still called to participate in the work of cultivating the fields of God’s grace by planting the seeds of hope we are given.

We may lack the experience, knowledge, patience, and perseverance of an experienced farmer. We might end up scattering the seeds carelessly instead of properly sowing them. We may not recognize good soil for planting, or the right time to plant and harvest. However, Christ Jesus gives us a task to fulfill and a life to live and celebrate, because Christ trusts us.

Second, I believe the parable teaches us that our actions matter. Even if our actions are not always the result of our best intentions or plans, and even if our good deeds are done with questionable motives or attitudes, our work still matters, and God works with our actions.  Sometimes our actions transform our attitudes and motives.

Sometimes, we practice our faith, or we serve God with good intentions, feelings and understanding. Yes, there are days I do things out of love, abundance, peace and joy, but there are days I do things with questions “What am I doing? Am I doing the right thing?” “Does this make any difference?” and even with frustration, “I don’t like what I am seeing. I am not sure how this is going to serve God.”

Sometimes our human intentions or emotions may be less than pure, or our actions may be flawed. Yet, the parable reminds us that despite these imperfections, our efforts can still bear fruit, that God can use our flawed actions, emotions, and intentions to make the difference God desires to see.

It is a message of hope and grace, reminding us that God can work through us, even when we are not at our best.

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


“Those who wait on the Lord” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 662). Words are English traditional from Isaiah 40:31. Music (tune: “Eagle’s Wings”) is English traditional arranged by Scottish hymn-writer and Church of Scotland minister John L. Bell (1949–) affiliated with the Iona Community. Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © WGRG The Iona Community (Scotland), used by permission of G.I.A. Publications Inc.; used in the video by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.


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

Offering – 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

God of small seeds and secret growth, bless the gifts we bring to you. Use them as seeds of new life in our community and in your world. Grow results we cannot even imagine – within us, among us, because of us and beyond us, for the sake of Christ, our Living God. Amen.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving and Hope

Gracious God, you hold all things in your hands. We may plant seeds but it is your mysterious power that brings forth growth. We play our small parts but you awaken new life. Thank you for our place in your purposes. Guide our plans for ministry in the days ahead.

We pray for the work of our church and our government in pursuing Truth and Reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples. We pray for indigenous communities which lack clean water to drink and health care close at hand, and for all those mourning the loss of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls . Guide decision makers to act with timely courage and compassion for justice to be done. Awaken understanding in those who feel no empathy for the struggles of others.

On this day that celebrates fathers, we pray for families in war-torn communities where celebration is an impossible dream. We pray for fathers and families who face financial hardship and worry for the well-being of their children. And we pray for any who feel empty or lonely this day, who fear the future or mourn the past. As summer holidays draw closer, guide families to find meaningful opportunities to enjoy each other and the world on their doorsteps.

Gracious God, you hold all things in your hand, including us. Be with all those who carry on in spite of loss or grief, and with those who face pain or uncertainty about their future. Keep us open to your Spirit’s leading. In all that we do with and for each other, help us embody the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Closing Hymn

“To show by touch and word” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 763). Words (1975) by Anglo-Dutch clergyman Fred Kaan (1929–2009). Music (1974; tune “Lodwick”) by Canadian composer Ron Klusmeier (1946–). Words copyright © 1975 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music copyright © 1974 Ron Klusmeier, administered by 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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