July 4, 2021

Pray for the peace of the city

Passage: Jeremiah 29:4-7; Psalm 122
Service Type:


July 4th, 2021  Ordinary Time

Welcome to Worship with St. Andrew’s Salmon Arm.  WE are delighted that you have joined us and hope that you will find a blessing here.


  • HOPE GARDEN  Now is the time for those who weed and water.  If you have a few spare minutes stop by the garden and pull weeds, even a row will be a big help.
  • Scripture Readers sought:  We will record the Scripture as a part of Sunday worship.  Thank you to those who signed up to read.
  • July's Loonie Offering will be going to the North Okanagan Shuswap Brain Injury Society here in Salmon Arm. Check the recent posts for more info.

Special Prayers:

For Lytton, Kamloops, the Cariboo, 100 Mile House that the fires will be controlled and extinguished.

For those mourning for the buried children in Kamloops, Saskatchewan, Cranbrook and other residential schools

For India and other struggling nations during the pandemic

Vaccine roll out in our community and others.

Pre-service sing-a-long  (thank you to Gloria Fitt for proving the music and the inspiration.) 

Lighting the Christ Candle 

The light of Christ has come among us.
Thanks be to God 


Gracious God, you have made all of the peoples of the earth for your glory.

You invite us to serve you in freedom and in peace.

Give to the people of our nation a zeal for justice and the strength for forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will.

We ask this on a day of celebration, you remind us of a day of hope for a nation made free.

Give to the people of our nation a zeal for justice and the strength for forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will.

We ask this in the name of the one who welcomes all to be free indeed.

Inspire us to live to pray and to worship in your freedom and for the sake of your Kingdom.


HYMN:   O Canada




Our God,
we pray on this occasion
remembering, in particular, our country.
We give you thanks for the good dreaming
that envisioned a land of freedom and opportunity—
a land in which to grow respect for all its citizens.
We give you thanks for all who sacrificed in so many ways
to create and to sustain such dreaming.

We give you thanks for the many ways
in which that dream has been,
and continues to be
embraced and made manifest—
as a better tomorrow is shaped for all—
all within these borders and all without them too.

We thank you for the call to let freedom shine,
to let celebration of the dignity of all resound.


But we also confess to you
the many ways in which we fall short

of our best dreaming—hear us now as we pray together

we fall into immaturity, and selfishness—
into shortsightedness—
into too much of a focus on immediate benefits for some
and a lesser tomorrow for all.

We confess to binding the dream
we apparently sometimes want to claim in word only—
not in words made flesh.

We confess that we know the injustice that is in our country, its government and people
We confess that we know the injustice of missing and murdered Indigenous women
We confess that we see the rise of anti-asian racism
And anti black racism and anti Indo-Asian racism

We confess that we don’t always respond to the injustice or pray for your hand to change us and the world around us.

Re-instill in us the dreaming, God.
Guide us into the disciplines of love and grace
that cultivate those ideals of discipline and sacrifice—
of a commitment to our children and our children's children
that theirs should be a better land than ours is now—
with more mature leaders and citizens than we are—
with greater opportunities than we have known—
with even deeper respect for all its citizens—
a more far reaching vision—
with richer examples of freedom and bravery
because that's the way we dream it to be.

Ah, may it be so.


Almighty God, the God of peace, justice and mercy across the ages has  guided his people through the wilderness, assuring us of a home in his eternal city.

God Strengthens us along the way, that we might not neglect our call to serve the cities and towns where we live.

Not only does he forgive us when we falter, but he also Helps us to trust in his unfailing presence amid all of our fears and grants us wisdom to discern his way in this world even as we hope for the next.

Believe the good news:  In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and called for a purpose. Amen.


The peace of our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you.  And also with you. 

Share a sign of peace with those nearby, or ask the Spirit to bring his peace to another you may know, or to a world situation. 

  • In person: Make me a channel of your peace

HYMN    Be still my soul



WE HEAR GOD’S WORD (click here for the video of the readings and sermon)

Listen, hear and remember, these portions of the revelation of God’s word for us. 

Jeremiah 29:4-7

New International Version

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Psalm 122

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up—
the tribes of the Lord—
to praise the name of the Lord
according to the statute given to Israel.
There stand the thrones for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.


Sermon: Pray for the peace of the city

We believe that Canada is a good country in which to live.  Often we see our country listed high in some magazine‘s top ten list of a “good”  places to live.  Then came the pandemic and as a result the cracks in our society that have not always registered in our thinking, have been exposed.

Even those who felt that they were well off have seen the crumbling of life as they knew it.  Businesses failed because we were not able to go shopping.  Local business struggled as on-line giants thrived.  Agencies that sought to help others collapsed as their funding dried up.

People suffered through lay-offs and depression as the restrictions for them became less about staying safe and more about feeling isolated and cut off from those things and people that make life worth living.

Even those of us who have done well, and are grateful to the governments for their response and guidance through the pandemic, have noticed that there are cracks in our society and that justice is not the same for all people.

Last fall, I started thinking about the journey out of the pandemic and what that would entail.

What we needed, I thought, was to pray for the recovery of our region as we came out of the pandemic.  Clearly, I was optimistic about the speed in which we would come out.  But that need has not changed and even though we prepared a list and have been praying regularly for every part of our community these past 7 months, that need to keep our city and our nation covered in prayer remains.

That realization just kept coming to me as these last few months I kept stumbling over the passage from Jeremiah:  Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Those words are echoed in Psalm 122:  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

As I have pondered this command, I have realized that what we have been doing since January is praying for the peace and the prosperity of our city; but I have also come to the realization that we need to expand our scope to include our nation.

Our nation is hurting.  Business are hurting.  Governments are hurting.  Debts are increasing as the governments do their best to support us all as the ground crumbles beneath our feet.  When will it all end?

We are now also aware, as never before, that what has been exposed in our nation is changing our view of who we are as a nation and a people.  Racism, be it anti-Black, or anti-Asian, or anti-Indo-Asian has not only been exposed but seems to be growing stronger and louder as people grow more and more frustrated by the ever expanding variants of the virus.

Our intolerance in society grows as Anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim attacks have taken place.

And now, our world has been rocked again as children’s bodies have been found buried in Kamloops and Saskatchewan and Cranbrook, and even as we join in the grieving, we know, there will be more residential schools that will have the same unmarked graves exposed.  And we haven’t even looked at Anti-Indigenous Racism, or the injustice of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The very value of the church, especially in Indigenous communities, is being questioned as churches on the reservation are being burnt down; and statues and church buildings are being defaced.  Acts of violence that comes from deeply hurting people reacting to the pain that has long been held under the surface.

We have seen communities all around the country say that this is not the time to celebrate Canada.  In many ways we can see that.  We don’t normally have big parties when we are mourning and grieving; but, we do gather together and share the depth of our feelings.

All of these thoughts have laid heavily on me, as I pondered what to do with the Canada Day celebration.  And I kept remembering the command to pray for the peace and prosperity of the city and the nation.

So today we sang O Canada, not as a nationalist anthem but as a prayer.  Those words are a reminder that we pray for the peace and prosperity of our nation.

We see a hint of that prayer in the first verse:  God keep our land, glorious and free, but that prayer flows from our hearts in the second verse:

Almighty love, by thy mysterious power
in wisdom guide, with faith and freedom dower
be ours a nation evermore
that no oppression blights
where justice rules from shore to shore
from lakes to northern lights
May love alone for wrong atone
Lord of the lands make Canada thine own.

The words from Jeremiah were written to a people in exile who were struggling to hold onto faith in God in a strange land.  But that command to prayer for our nation is as applicable in our prosperity, as it is in our current struggles.

How can we prosper if there are large groups of people in our land who suffer?

How can we prosper if justice is denied to those who need it?  Not just the Indigenous people, but also, the mentally ill, the wounded in body and spirit, the hungry, the homeless, and all those who are beaten, despised and ignored.

How can we prosper if we stand silently before the things we see and hear?

How can our nation prosper if we ignore the plight of the whole world?  Refugees who live out their whole lives in camps?  Countries that are bombed and on whose land war plays out again and again.  Developing nations who have had little to no access to PPE and vaccines because wealthy nations are buying all the supplies.

You know my affinity for Matthew 25:  34-40   34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

And that brings me to what I have also been thinking in relationship to our prayers for others.  Prayer changes us.  When we pray for peace and prosperity we are also praying for justice.  We cannot have peace or prosperity without justice.

So our prayers for the least of these changes the way we see them.  We see them through the eyes of Jesus and with the compassion of Jesus.  And it compels us to act with the love of Jesus.

Our prayers for the government changes the way we see our elected leaders.  We see them through the eyes of Jesus even as we pray that God will guide them and direct them with wisdom and insight as they rule before him.

Our prayers for justice in our land changes us as we see that Justice overlooked is justice denied.  We realize that sometimes what is past is not past in the hearts of those who continue to hurt.  Generational trauma affects not just one generation but numerous generations to follow.  Our prayers compel us to minister to that need.

When we pray for peace, it changes us to want peace not just in our own families and congregations but for all people who live in Canada, of all faiths and all colours and all circumstances.

When we pray for justice we begin to see how it should not flow to us, but rather through us.  To those around us.  To the least of these.  To nations who struggle to meet the needs of their peoples without our assistance.

When we pray, let us pray for peace, prosperity and justice, and may our hearts be opened to realize that what we gain, we are called to share.

The hymn directly after the anthem in our hymnbook, speaks of these kinds of prayers for Canada.

That we should name God the Lord of our land.

That we should be filled with devotion and obey his will on the prairies and the mountains and in the forests and fields, so that every part of our land pays tribute to the Lord our God.

We are shown that when we pray it is to ask Jesus to make this land whole and to heal us as a nation of our diseases and to make us strong in the face of temptation.

This hymn ends with the plea that we be a nation that is sent forth with God’s message of love and light and devotion and that from ocean to ocean our land shall name him Lord.  Why?  Because they will see Him in our actions.


The problems and challenges are many.  We are still trying to find our way out of a pandemic.   We are still seeking answers to injustice and racism and poverty and homelessness.  For that reason alone, we cannot stop praying.

For that reason, we will adopt another prayer calendar in January, and include a broader scope for the province and the nation, and the least of these in our land.  This is the way we can be faithful to the command to pray for peace and prosperity and justice and have it grow within us and within our nation.

Peace, prosperity and justice,

deep deep peace,

ever expanding prosperity and

Biblical justice that flows through us as we share all the gifts that God brings to us, until the day comes when everyone can say, this land is a Godly place and I am grateful that I am called to live here.


let us pray together:

Prayer:  for Justice

Give the government justice, O God,

and give righteousness and mercy to those who represent us.

Help us strive together for a government that makes justice for all.

God, you demand justice for the poor and deliverance from their needs.

Help us work steadfastly for political systems

that care for the least among us.

God, you call us to be peacemakers in all things, large and small.

Help us to seek peace

and pursue it with all our hearts, minds, and resources.

God of all, give us the courage to speak truth to power.

God of justice, help all those in power to seek truth.

O God, give us the conviction to elect a government

that gives priority to the “least of these.”  Amen.


HYMN    Make me a channel of your peace


  • In person: Video medley


Today we remember the gift of Jesus Christ given to us.  We join together giving thanks to God, by bringing our offering into the storehouse, and together we pray that God will bless all that we bring.  

  • In person: Doxology

Offering Hymn:  The church is wherever God’s people 



As we bring our tithes into the storehouse, remind us again, that what we bring to you we bring to others.  Open our eyes that they may see the deepest needs of people;
Move our hands that they may feed the hungry;
Touch our hearts that it may bring warmth to the despairing;
Teach us the generosity that welcomes strangers;
Let us share our possessions to clothe the naked;
Give usthe care that strengthens the sick;
Make us share in the quest to set the prisoner free.
In sharing our anxieties and our love,

our poverty and our prosperity,
we partake of your divine presence in the world.  Amen





give us your love of justice and righteousness.

Help our government to rule in the right way.

Let the poor always be treated fairly.

May our mountains yield prosperity for all,

and may the hills be fruitful.

Help us to defend the poor,

to rescue the children of the needy,

and to bring a final end to all oppression.

May we love and respect you God as long as the sun shines,

and the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever!

May our country be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass,

like the showers that water the earth.

May those who love God flourish,

and may our country experience abundant prosperity

until the moon is no more.

May we be united from sea to shining sea,

and may our influence go out from here to the ends of the earth.

May our enemies never overtake us,

and may we have the respect of the nations.

Empower us to rescue the poor who cry to us,

and help the oppressed who have no one to defend them.

Show us how to rescue the weak and needy,

redeeming them from oppression and violence,

because their lives are so precious.

May our country continue in fruitfulness.

May we continue as long as the sun shines!

Call our people to pray!

May there be abundant grain throughout the land,

and may the fruit trees flourish.

May the people thrive.

May all nations be blessed through us and bring you praise,

because you God, do such wonderful things!

Praise your name forever!

Let the whole earth be filled with your glory!

And so, Oh God with your command to pray for the peace and prosperity of the city and our nation singing in our hearts, hear the prayers for our country, our city our family and friends that we bring you this day:


Those who are victims of racism

The families who grieve for the buried missing children
the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women

That our government will act as your agents in their responses to the problems in our land and around the globe


We pray with hope for a world in need of love and grace, forgiveness and new life, hope, peace and fellowship, in need of renewal, in need of YOU.  May you bring your renewal to our city, our congregations and our homes.  Hear us as we pray for peace and justice in our city.

Today we pray especially for:

All businesses, small businesses and Entrepreneurs in our region.   May the goods and services they bring be the bedrock of the economy of our city.  Help us all to support our local businesses and bless those who serve us every day.


Hear us now as we pray as Jesus taught us saying, saying silently:  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 debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever.  Amen

  • In person Spirit of Gentleness

HYMN Spirit of Gentleness



We are called to bring light into all the darkness of life, spreading hope for a better world, a world where justice is made real by our living together in harmony.

May God help us to bring salt into the blandness of life,

encouraging vitality and joy in living in a world that dares to hope

for the future that God promises

where all His children will know themselves loved and valued and treasured,

Go forth to be God’s deep peace, His Shalom in the World

SUNG BLESSING:  Take O Take me as I am 

  • In person: May the peace of Christ