Don Moser
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Christ Church Gabriola

A Collaborative Anglican – United Church

Open to All




Hybrid Church

October 29, 2023

“God Reform Us”

A Service for Reformation Sunday 

adapted from God Reforms Us  by Rev. Ryan Slifka1



Facilitators: Corrine Carlson and Paddy Waymark

Musician: Dorothy Dittrich


We acknowledge these lands upon which we worship are the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.


Whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey,

you are welcome here!

Welcome and Announcements
Centering Stillness
Let the busyness of our bodies rest, 

Let the worries of our minds rest,

Let the doubts of our hearts rest.

Letting go of self may we all hold on to God.


(Invitation to sit in silence)


Lighting of the Christ Candle

One:  Christ is our Light.

All:    Thanks be to God!


One:  The grace of Christ Jesus, the love of God,
          and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
All:    And also with you

Call to Worship                                                             (based on Psalm 90)
One:  God is our dwelling place from year to year, age to age. And yet, we become complacent, forgetting who we are. 

          God reforms us

All:    and makes prosperous the work of our hands!

One:  God’s life surges forth through creation, like grass that renews every morning. And yet we prefer to be dust, swept away in the wind of every new idea and new fad. 

          God reforms us
All:    and makes prosperous the work of our hands!

One: God turns to us, and has compassion on us, so the great work of our lives manifests Christ’s glorious love to the world. 

          God reforms us
All:    and makes prosperous the work of our hands!

Hymn: A Mighty Fortress is Our God                                      VU #262
Prayer of the Day
Wondrous God: Thirteen billion years ago your creative spark called creation into being. Two thousand years ago you lit a spark of new creation in Christ. Five hundred years ago, your grace reignited the hearts of men and women with names like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Katharina Zell, Ulrich Zwingli, and Argula von Grumbach. Just when we think all is settled, everything is finished, closed, your power and presence explodes on to the scene yet again, bringing newness, bringing life. Fill us with your power and presence, O God, so we may, like our grandparents in faith carry your truth, your beauty, and your justice to the world you so love—a world in such need.In Jesus’ name. Amen.                                           2

Invitation to Confession
An important outcome of the Protestant Reformation was the rediscovery of the doctrine of grace—the unmerited, unconditional love of God that reaches out to us even before we reach out to God. And as the great Reformer John Calvin once wrote,* the knowledge of God begins with knowledge of ourselves. To know ourselves is to know our places of brokenness. And to know God is to know that in Christ, God’s love stretches so deep and wide that it infiltrates every broken place in our hearts and in our world. God knows the depth of our hearts and will never turn away or turn us away. So let’s offer up our lives in confession, trusting that we can be honest before God and each other without fear. 

Let us pray.                                            (* in The Institutes of the Christian Religion)

Prayer of Confession
Living God,
You are the One who is always on the move,
always creating and re-creating,
always doing a new thing.
And yet, we confess, O Lord,
that our lives can become static,
routinely paralyzed by doubt and fear.
We remain ossified in patterns of greed, 
covetousness, and self-interest.
We doubt your promises of abundant, everlasting life
and so we live in dread of our neighbours, 
our friends, and our enemies.
Our souls remain still.
We do not love as you love.
Nor do we live as you would have us live,
with courage, generosity or the boldness of the gospel. 

So in the silence of our hearts, 
we offer up to you those things we have done and those we have left undone.


(short silence)


All: Forgive us, O God.

Renew us by your Spirit,

and reform us with your compassion,

remaking us more fully in to the image of Christ,

and as nimble servants of your reign.






Assurance of Grace
Friends, the good news of the gospel is that God’s love in Christ stretches so deep and so wide that it infiltrates every broken place in our hearts and in our world. Our hatred is met with love, our cruelty is met with compassion, our sins and our trespasses are met with forgiveness.
It is greater than anything we have ever done, or could do. May we open our hearts to let the love of God in, because in Christ we are forgiven, freed, made new. We believe in this great good news. Amen. 


Passing of the Peace

One:  The peace of Christ be with you!

All:    And also with you!


Hymn: God of the Bible (Fresh as the Morning)                       MV #28

Prayer for Illumination
Holy One,
We prefer you as an architect,
whose desire is to construct for us perfect lives.
And yet, the witness of the scriptures says otherwise.
No, your Word is explosive, it is a live wire,
one that electrifies all who are within range.

By the power of your Holy Spirit
shine yet more light forth from your Holy Word,
shocking our hardened hearts back to life
with your freely given grace. 

This we pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Deuteronomy 34:1–12 (NRSV)                                   Reader: Corinne Carlson

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants”; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’ Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigour had not abated. The Israelites wept for 


Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended. Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses. Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequalled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.


Psalm 91 On Eagle’s Wings                                          VU pp. 808-809


Introduction to Lectio Divina:

One:  Open your word, O Lord,

All:    Enable us to listen.

One:  Open our minds, O Lord,

All:    Enable us to hear.

One:  Open our thoughts, O Lord,

All:    Enable us to respond.

One:  Open our hearts, O Lord,

All:    Enable us to love as you love.


Scripture Reading:

As you hear these words of Scripture, allow a word or phrase to resonate with you and hold it in mind and heart to take with you as a gift from God to inspire you in the week ahead.


Matthew 22:34-46 (NRSV)                                                       Reader: Susan Brockley

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that 

David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,“The Lord said to my Lord,‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.


A time of silence 

               to reflect on the word or phrase that called to you today.     5      


Share with one another the word or phrase that surfaced from the reading and why it resonated with you.


One:  May the wisdom discerned from these words of Scripture and shared amongst us bring us closer to God.

All:    Praise be to God.


An Affirmation of Faith in the Celtic Tradition                  (Norman Habel)

God creates all things, renews all things, and celebrates all things.

This we believe.

Earth is a sanctuary, a sacred planet filled with God’s presence, a home for us to share with all creatures.

This we believe.

God became incarnate, a part of Earth, like Adam, a human being called Jesus Christ, who lived and breathed and spoke among us, suffered and died on a cross for all human beings and for all creation.

This we believe.

The Risen Jesus is the Christ at the center of creation, reconciling all things to God, renewing all creation, and filling the cosmos.

This we believe.

The Spirit renews life in creation, groans in empathy with a suffering creation, and waits with us for the rebirth of all creation.

This we believe.

We believe that with Christ we will rise and with Christ we will celebrate a new creation.

Hymn: My Life Flows On                                                            VU #716
Prayers of the People                                                            Betty Schultze
One:  Loving God,

All:    Hear our Prayer


The Prayer of Jesus                                                                   VU #959


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

Your Kin-dom 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 kin-dom, the power

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.



Invitation to the Offering
The great Swiss theologian Karl Barth once said that grace and gratitude go together like heaven and earth. The Way of Jesus Christ is the life lived in gratitude for the God who as created us and claimed us as her own. In gratitude for God’s gifts, let’s give back to God our gifts of time, talent, and treasure for God’s mission in the world. The offering will now be received.





Praise God the Source of life and birth,

Praise God the Word, who came to earth.

Praise God the Spirit, holy flame.

All Glory, honour to God’s name.

Offering Prayer
Receive these gifts O God,
use them to reform this community of faith
as you remake the world in your image.
We ask this is Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hymn: You Are Holy (Hamba nathi)                                           MV #45
Commissioning                                            (words attributed to John Wesley)
Go out into the world,
living in the light of Christ!
By the power of the Spirit
do all the good you can
by all the means you can
in all the ways you can
in all the places you can
at all the times you can
to all the people you can
as long as ever you can.

Blessing                                          (Ancient Celtic Tradition - Carmina Gadelica)
One:  God to enfold me, God to surround me,

All: God in my speaking, God in my thinking.

One: God in my sleeping, God in my waking,

All: God in my watching, God in my hoping,

One: God in my life, God in my lips,

All: God in my soul, God in my heart.

One: God in my sufficing, God in my slumber,

All: God in mine ever-living soul, God in mine eternity.                     7


1.God Reforms Us: A Service for Reformation Sunday by Rev. Ryan Slifka, reformation-sunday. © 2017 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit Any copy must include this notice.





On October 31, 2017, we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The date comes from Martin Luther’s act of tacking on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral a document containing 95 theological propositions and criticisms of the church of his day. While Luther’s act was unquestionably important, and his critique led to the formation of what we now know as the Lutheran Church, he was not the only church reformer of the 1500s. Some of those reformers remained within what would subsequently become known as the Roman Catholic Church. Others found their initiatives led to a split from the established church and the formation of a new denomination. Ulrich Zwingli, a contemporary of Martin Luther, was one such reformer. Zwingli’s reforms in the city of Zurich, where he was a parish priest, led to what is called the Reformed tradition. The Reformed tradition includes various Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Christian Reformed denominations, as well as uniting denominations such as The United Church of Canada whose roots include these denominations. A generation later John Calvin, based in Geneva, would become a key figure in shaping the Reformed tradition further. Both Zwingli and Calvin were more radical in their reforms than Luther had been. Some of Zwingli’s emphases continue to have influence in the United Church. Zwingli stressed the importance of scripture as a primary authority for theology, and of preaching as an interpretation of scripture in the current context. He also emphasized the role of lay people in the life of the church. For example, he began the practice of having members sit around a table in the middle of the sanctuary and receive the communion elements of bread and wine from their neighbours at the table as these elements were passed around, rather than each person going to the front of the church to receive communion from the priest. The custom in many Reformed churches of receiving communion while seated in the pews has its roots in Zwingli’s practice. As we commemorate efforts at reforming the Church 500 years ago, let us remember that we are part of a tradition that has understood itself to always be in need of reform, always needing to avoid the twin perils of continuing past practices merely because they are traditions and of being captivated by the new simply because it is new.