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February 4, 2024: Sunday Morning Service
Rev Dr John Smith
Rev Dr John Smith
Sunday, February 4, 2024
Service and Hymns
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February 4th, 2024

6th Sunday of Epiphany

Black History Month

Find this service at

Leading us today in Worship:
            Minister: Rev. Dr. John Greg. Smith
            Music Director: Dr. Christopher Burton
            Scripture Reader: Shirley Woolner

Leader: regular font ~ All: bold font ~ Sung words: bold italics
Asterisk * Indicates when the congregation may stand if able.

We Gather 

“Largo” - G.F. Handel 

GREETING:  (2 Cor. 13:13)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all!
And also with you!

The light of Christ is with us always!
The light of Christ is in this place!
The light of Christ fills us with hope and courage
and gives us strength for the journey ahead!

Thanks be to God for the light of Christ!


We believe all people are made in the image of God and are entitled to dignity and respect. At Grace United Church we try to offer a safe, inclusive and generous space for all who are seeking a faith community – people of all gender identities, sexual orientations, races, ages and abilities. We are committed to continuing to learn and grow as we prepare to become an Affirming congregation.

Grace United Church is situated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabek, Petun, Huron-Wendat, and Mississauga peoples, located within the boundary of Treaty 18 region of 1818. We humbly acknowledge the First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada as traditional stewards of the land on which we work and worship and are committed to working actively toward genuine restitution and reconciliation.

As we come together on this first Sunday of February,
Let our spirits rise up with delight.
Let our spirits rise up with joy and hope!
Let our spirits rise up from deep within us,
And light the fires of love in our lives, in our church, and in our world!

This is the day that God has made for us:
Let us rejoice and be glad.
This is the day we will hear God’s voice
Seek God’s wisdom,
Release our burdens,
And find our way.

With Christ’s light within us, we pray that we reflect your Love.
With Christ’s love within us, we pray that our actions will change the living of this world.
With Christ’s compassion within us, we pray that our loving for others might be just what the doctor ordered.
With Christ’s demand for justice within us, we pray that we might work towards healing and justice each day.

With Christ’s presence deep within and all around,
Let us rise up in spirit!
Let us rise up with joy and hope!
Let our hearts beat as one!
And may the fires of love deep within us
Be lit once again this day!  AMEN! 

*OPENING HYMN: “Love Now Ascending”   
(tune 315 VU)  (Words: Jim Burklo, used with permission)

Holy holy holy, love now ascending!
Early in the morning our songs shall rise to you!
Holy holy holy, joy that has no ending,
Giving, forgiving, breathing life anew!

Holy holy holy, love without a limit,
Care that binds creation in sacred unity;
Holy holy holy, birthing every minute,
Christ, Love’s Revealer, sets our spirits free!

Holy holy holy, infinite compassion,
Makes a place for every soul in God’s eternal reign!
Holy holy holy, truth beyond religion,
Love that endures should nothing else remain.

Holy holy holy, raise your voice in singing!
Join the cosmic chorus in praise of Love Divine!
Holy holy holy, God beyond all naming
Echoes our song in harmony sublime!

In our prayer, let us open our hearts and minds.
Let us be calm.  Let our hearts smile in peace.

Let our whole being be filled with God’s love.
Let us be held and known by this love.
Let us rest for a moment in its embrace.

As we sit here in peace,
Let us acknowledge the concerns of our hearts.
Let us acknowledge our sorrows, and our joys.
Let us hold these in our mind’s eye.    
And let us place them in the healing arms of eternal Love.

“I lift my eyes to the mountains;
From whence cometh my help?”  (from Psalm 121)
My help comes from You O God,
The Maker of Heaven and Earth.
My heart’s eyes behold your glory
And I open myself in this moment
to acknowledge your presence
in all the tender areas of my life.

May I place my heart in your heart, O God.
May I be blessed by your love.
May I know the truth of who I am.
May I be filled with gratitude.
And the desire to offer all these same gifts,  to others.

(A moment of silent prayer)

Now let us sing our response:

“Christ be our Light!
Shine in our hearts!
Shine through the darkness.
Christ be our light;
Shine in your church, gathered today!”

We Listen


Mark 1: 40 - 45        (New Revised Version)
A leper  came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him,
‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ 
Moved with pity Jesus  stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him,
‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ 
Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 
After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’  But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

*HYMN:    VU # 229  
“God of the Sparrow”

1. God of the sparrow God of the whale
God of the swirling stars
How does the creature say Awe
How does the creature say Praise

2. God of the earthquake God of the storm
God of the trumpet blast
How does the creature cry Woe
How does the creature cry Save

3. God of the rainbow God of the cross
God of the empty grave
How does the creature say Grace
How does the creature say Thanks

4. God of the hungry God of the sick
God of the prodigal
How does the creature say Care
How does the creature say Life

5. God of the neighbour God of the foe
God of the pruning hook
How does the creature say Love
How does the creature say Peace

6. God of the ages God near at hand
God of the loving heart
How do your children say Joy
How do your children say Home

Theme Conversation:  Remembering Black History Month

Psalm 30: 2 – 12    (Responsive)   (Good News translation)
I cried to you for help, O Lord my God,
    and you healed me;
     you kept me from the grave.
I was on my way to the depths below,
    but you restored my life.
Sing praise to the Lord,
    all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
    and give him thanks!
His anger lasts only a moment,
    his goodness for a lifetime.
Tears may flow in the night,
    but joy comes in the morning.
I felt secure and said to myself,
    “I will never be defeated.”
 You were good to me, Lord;
    you protected me like a mountain fortress.
But then you hid yourself from me,
    and I was afraid.
I called to you, Lord;
    I begged for your help:
 “What will you gain from my death?
    What profit from my going to the grave?
Are dead people able to praise you?
    Can they proclaim your unfailing goodness?
 Hear me, Lord, and be merciful!
    Help me, Lord!”
You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance;
    you have taken away my sorrow
    and surrounded me with joy.
So I will not be silent;
    I will sing praise to you.
Lord, you are my God;
    I will give you thanks forever.

May these words of scripture inspire us in heart, mind and soul.  AMEN

ANTHEM:    “Steal Away”      Spiritual

SERMON:  “Brene Brown and Being Homesick for God”

We Respond 

“Here O My Lord I See You Face to Face”

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.

4. Too soon we rise; the symbols disappear.
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone;
the bread and wine remove, but you are here,
nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.

5. Feast after feast thus comes and passes by,
yet, passing, points to that glad feast above,
giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,
the Lamb’s great bridal feast of bliss and love.



We Share the Communion Bread and Wine

For the bread we have eaten,
For the wine we have tasted,
We give you thanks and praise O God.
Grant that what we have shared, and have been given here,
May so put its mark upon us,
That it shall remain always in our hearts.
We pray in the name of Christ, our Light, Our Treasure, our Friend.

What’s Up at Grace?

The work of creating a world that works for all, 
Requires many gifts, many talents, many resources.
We bring all that we have, our courage, our strength,
Our prayers and our dreams,
Our gifts of time and treasure,
And all the love and acceptance we embody,
To create God’s world of justice and joy.
Thanks be to God. 

Donate online:,  select “Give” 
     or contact the office by email:
     or  phone: 519-599-2438 to arrange a cheque pick-up, or an e-transfer
     Mail: Grace UC, 140 Bruce St. S. PO Box 219, Thornbury, ON N0H 2P0

     Care, Prayer, Share

We Go Forth         

*HYMN:  VU # 651   
“Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah”

1. Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but thou art mighty,
hold me with thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me till I want no more,
feed me till I want no more.

2. Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer,
be thou still my strength and shield,
be thou still my strength and shield.

3. When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death, and hell’s destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side:
songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to thee,
I will ever give to thee.

*COMMISSIONING:    The Irish Blessing  
“May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of your hand.”
May it be so.  AMEN!

“Go Now in Peace”

“Go now in peace, go now in peace,
May the Love of God surround you,
Everywhere, everywhere you may go.”  (2x)

“Amazing Grace” -  Arr. C. Burton


LITURGY SOURCES: The following are used with permission:
Call to Worship: Prayers written by Rev. Dr. John G. Smith
- “Love Now Ascending” Tune: VU 315. Words: Jim Burklo, used with permission.
- “Christ Be Our Light:” (Bernadette Farrell © 1993, Bernadette Farrell, published by OCP. All rights reserved.  Accessed through One License #60857 One License #608577 One License #608577
- ”God of the Sparrow” Words: © 1983 Jaroslav J. Vajda. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Music: © 1983 G.I.A. Publications, Inc. One License #608577
- “Here O My Lord I See You Face to Face:” Words: Horatius Bonar. Music: James Langran. Public Domain
- “Guide Be O Thou Great Jehovah” Words: Welsh, William Williams. English Translation: Peter Williams and William Williams. French Translation: Flossette du Pasquier. Music: John Hughes. Public Domain
- ”Go Now in Peace:” Music: © 1987 Jeeva Sam. Harmony © 1995 Fred Kimball Graham, 497 Roxton Road, Toronto, ON M6G 3R5. One License #608577
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Scripture Passages are from the New Revised Addition
Psalm from the Good News Translation
Prelude: “Largo” - G.F. Handel 
Anthem: “Steal Away” - Spiritual
Postlude: “Amazing Grace” - Arr. C. Burton