Worship Outline and Sermon

Worship Outline: May15, 2022 - Fifth Sunday of Easter


Introduction to the day

Easter initiates a new day. It anticipates a new heaven and a new earth. The risen Christ is making all things new. In the mystery of holy baptism God has made new people of us. Today Jesus invites us to see everyone in a new light—through the lens of love.

Time for Quiet Reflection and Prayer

Prelude

Welcome and Announcements

*Confession and Forgiveness

Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God, whose steadfast love endures forever.

Amen.

Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Merciful God,

we confess that we have not followed your path but have chosen our own way. Instead of putting others before ourselves, we long to take the best seats at the table. When met by those in need, we have too often passed by on the other side. Set us again on the path of life. Save us from ourselves and free us to love our neighbours. Amen.

Hear the good news! God does not deal with us according to our sins but delights in granting pardon and mercy. In the name of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. You are free to love as God loves.

Amen.

*Gathering Song All Creatures, Worship God Most High! (835, st.1-3)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzEyuQXBOPk

All creatures, worship God most high!

Sound ev’ry voice in earth and sky:

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Sing, brother sun, in splendour bright;

Sing, sister moon and stars of night:

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Sing, brother wind; with clouds and rain

You grow the gifts of fruit and grain;

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Dear sister water, useful, clear,

Make music for your Lord to hear:

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Sing, brother fire, so mirthful, strong;

Drive far the shadows, join the throng:

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Dear mother earth, so rich in care,

Praise God in colours bright and rare:

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

(Text Francis of Assisi, tr. composite, © 1997 Augsburg Fortress. Reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net #A-714392. All rights reserved. Music: ‘Geistliche Kirchengesänge’, 1632, public domain.)

*Greeting

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.

*Prayer of the Day

Let us pray.

O Lord God, you teach us that without love, our actions gain nothing. Pour into our hearts your most excellent gift of love, that, made alive by your Spirit, we may know goodness and peace, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading: Acts 11:1-18

A reading from Acts.

In defense of his earlier baptism of non-Jewish believers, Peter demonstrates to the members of the Jerusalem church that God’s intention to love Gentiles as well as Jews is revealed in Jesus’ testimony. In this way the mission to the Gentiles is officially authorized.

1Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, 3saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. 6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 11At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. 12The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; 14he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. 16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” 18When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Hymn All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly (# 461, st.1-2)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxhfPqcEeHU

All who hunger, gather gladly;

Holy manna is our bread.

Come from wilderness and wand’ring.

Here in truth we will be fed.

You who yearn for days of fullness,

All around us is our food.

Taste and see the grace eternal.

Taste and see that God is good.

All who hunger, never strangers;

Seeker, be a welcome guest.

Come from restlessness and roaming.

Here in joy we keep the feast.

We that once were lost and scattered

In communion’s love have stood.

Taste and see the grace eternal.

Take and see that God is God.

(Text: Sylvia G. Dunstan. © 1991 GIA Publications, Inc. Music: W. Moore, ‘Columbian Harmony’, 1825; arr. hymnal version. © 2003 Augsburg Fortress. Text and music reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net #A-714392. All rights reserved.)

Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-6

A reading from Revelation.

John’s vision shows us that in the resurrection the new age has dawned; God dwells with us already. Yet we wait for the time when the tears that cloud our vision will be wiped away. Then we will see the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem.

1I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

 “See, the home of God is among mortals.

 He will dwell with them;

 they will be his peoples,

 and God himself will be with them;

4he will wipe every tear from their eyes.

 Death will be no more;

 mourning and crying and pain will be no more,

 for the first things have passed away.”

5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.” The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

*Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. Everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another. Alleluia. (John 13:35)

*Gospel: John 13:31-35

The holy gospel according to John. Glory to you, O Lord.

After washing the disciples’ feet, predicting his betrayal, and then revealing his betrayer, Jesus speaks of his glorification on the cross. This deep complicated love of Jesus, even to death on the cross, will be the distinctive mark of Jesus’ community.

31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon – Pastor Matthew

*Hymn of the Day Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (# 836)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRgchk5E958

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,

God of glory, Lord of love!

Hearts unfold like flow’rs before thee,

Praising thee, their sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,

Drive the gloom of doubt away.

Giver of immortal gladness,

Fill us with the light of day.

All thy works with joy surround thee,

Earth and heav’n reflect thy rays,

Stars and angels sing around thee,

Centre of unbroken praise.

Field and forest, vale and mountain,

Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,

Chanting bird and flowing fountain

Call us to rejoice in thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,

Ever blessing, ever blest,

Well-spring of the joy of living,

Ocean-depth of happy rest!

Thou our Father, Christ our brother,

All who live in love are thine;

Teach us how to love each other,

Lift us to the joy divine!

(Text: Henry van Dyke. Music: Ludwig van Beethoven, adapt. Text and music: public domain.)

*Prayers of Intercession

Set free from captivity to sin and death, we pray to the God of resurrection for the church, people in need, and all of creation.

Loving God, lead us to follow your Spirit, as the church cares for one another. As we pray for the ministries of Hilldale-Thunder Bay, open us all to perceive your gifts in those we least expect. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Inspire us to praise you through the beauty and majesty of the natural world around us. Urge us toward more deliberate care of the world you have made. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Humble the rulers of nations before your splendor. Direct them to the people who need their attention most and turn them from the temptation to hoard wealth or power. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Hasten to dwell among those who are in pain or distress, including … God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Surround us with your holy love, as you listen to our silent prayers … God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Give us a place in the diverse company of your beloved saints. Teach us the value of each person’s identity and bless us with a shared identity as your children, kindred of Christ. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

In your mercy, O God, respond to these prayers, and renew us by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Amen.

*Peace

The peace of Christ be with you always.

And also with you.

*Offering Prayer

Living God, you gather the wolf and the lamb to feed together in your peaceable reign, and you welcome us all at your table. Reach out to us through this meal, that we may be nourished and believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

*Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, for the glorious resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, the true Paschal Lamb who gave himself to take away our sin; who in dying has destroyed death, and in rising has brought us to eternal life.

In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.

*Lord’s Prayer

Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

forever and ever. Amen.

Invitation to Communion

The risen Christ dwells with us here. All who are hungry, all who are thirsty, come.

Communion

If watching online, when the presiding minister says, ‘The body of Christ given for you’, we welcome all to take and eat a piece of bread, remembering and giving thanks for the promises of grace, forgiveness, love, new life, and community given us in Christ Jesus. Please also do so, taking a glass of wine or other beverage, when the presiding minister says, 'The blood of Christ, shed for you'.

Prayer after Communion

We give you thanks, generous God, for in this bread and cup we have tasted the new heaven and earth where hunger and thirst are no more. Send us from this table as witnesses to the resurrection, that through our lives, all may know life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

*Blessing

God, the Author of life, Christ, the living Cornerstone, and the life-giving Spirit of adoption, bless you now and forever. Amen.

*Sending Song Beautiful Saviour (# 838, St. 1-3)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm39S6rYrog

Beautiful Saviour,

King of creation,

Son of God and Son of Man!

Truly I’d love thee,

Truly I’d serve thee,

Light of my soul, my joy, my crown.

Far are the meadows,

Fair are the woodlands,

Robed in flow’rs of blooming spring;

Jesus is fairer,

Jesus is purer,

He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.


Fair is the sunshine,

Fair is the moonlight,

Bright the sparkling stars on high;

Jesus shines brighter,

Jesus shines purer

Than all the angels in the sky.

(Text: ‘Gesangbuch‘, 1677; tr. Joseph A. Seiss. Music: Silesian folk tune. Text and music; public domain.)

*Dismissal

Alleluia! Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Go in peace. Tell what God has done. Thanks be to God.

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2022 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.



Sermon, May 15, 2022:

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Text: John 13:34 (based on Cheryl Lindsay, Sermon Seeds, UCC, 2022/05/15)

‘Mull’ is a word that you can drag out as you say it. Its sounds seem to start from deep within your throat. A common definition of ‘mull’ is ‘to consider at length, to ponder.’ Mulling something over prepares you for the present and the future by looking backward. It enables you to pick up something you may have missed or forgotten. You take time to consider what has happened, to try to understand its meaning more fully.

For the second Sunday in a row, our reading from John takes us back to events before Easter. Commentator Cheryl Lindsay suggests that as we hear these words, shared by Jesus with the first disciples, it is as though we receive an invitation to join them in mulling them over during the days and weeks following Jesus’ resurrection. With them, we can revisit Jesus’ teaching ‘from the other side of those monumental events in order to make sense of what had been so mysterious.’ Doing so helps us to understand more about what it means to journey in faith in the light of Easter.

‘This week’s passage is situated within the Farewell Discourse’ in John. Prior to this reading, ‘Jesus begins his farewell with acts of servitude and hospitality.’ This includes what was heard on Maundy Thursday, Jesus’ ‘washing of the feet of the disciples and communion.’ It also includes the departure of’ Judas Iscariot. ‘It’s almost time for Jesus to go. It’s almost time to move on to another place in his ministry. It’s time to fulfill the purpose for which he was born, to demonstrate the reason that he came, and to finish the plan established and ordained by God for his life.’ ‘Yet, [notes Lindsay], clearly, he was concerned about his disciples and wanted one last opportunity to spend time with them. Even for Jesus, it was hard to say good-bye.’

In his words to the disciples, ‘Jesus does not focus on death – his or anyone else’s. He paints a picture of life in the kindom, participation in the realm of God, and restoration of holy creation. Jesus’ promise of abundant life is rooted in this vision, saturated with love, and vested with eternity. That is how the Holy One is glorified – through lives lived in the kingdom, facilitated by the cross, but not defined and limited by it…Jesus claims victory in the face of obvious defeat. Overcoming the grave and bounds of death to claim new life, Jesus forges a new path ahead to be followed.’

‘The way of that path is love.’ In the simplest possible terms Jesus states, ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’ The first part of this commandment is, in fact, not new, but heard many times in the Hebrew Scriptures. Elsewhere in the New Testament we hear that we are to love our neighbour as ourselves. What is new is the phrase, ‘as I have loved you.’ ‘Love is often framed as an emotion or as actions we undertake. However, this is different.’ This love continues ‘a love they already have in him, the gift of redeeming, life-giving love given to all in Christ.’

In one way, I think when mulling this over the disciples must have felt relieved. To love one another, those whom we like, are like us, or think the same enables us to put conditions, limits, on our loving. Yet, our first reading serves as a correction to this. To bring glory to God, to reveal the One who is the source of our life, love, and hope, is a journey that takes us beyond these boundaries. It is to see God in all people, to see in them persons for whom Jesus suffered, died, and rose again. ‘When Jesus invites his disciples to love as he has loved them,’ all on this journey of love receive the challenge and the call to go beyond our comfort zones and in engage in the challenging work of committing ourselves to ‘healing and restoration,’ to truth and reconciliation. It is to be a sign of God’s mercy and grace in a world that is divided, broken, and in many kinds of crises. To love another as Christ loves us is requires us at times to challenge ‘the systems that counter the way, reign, and will of the Creator.’ It involves us breaking down the boundaries and walls that we ourselves erect, so that all might feel the love of God, the divine light and warmth; the gifts, as we hear in our second reading, of newness, of life, and of community in Christ, now and forever.

The 1960s song, ‘We are one in the Spirit’ begins by focusing on love for one another within the community of faith as a sign of unity. The second stanza imagines disciples walking hand in hand. Yet, the third stanza pushes beyond these boundaries. To love as Jesus loved us is something even more: “We will work with each other, we will work side by side. We will work with each other, we will work side by side. And we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love’*.

We have taken time with the disciples to mull over Jesus’ words. Now it is time, children of God, to proclaim the good news of the resurrection, loving one another, as Jesus has loved us. We come together to share the gifts of God. We go out, in the good news of the resurrection, to serve the world. Loving one another, we give glory to the one who has created us, redeemed us, and journeys with us in new life.

Let us pray: “Redeeming God, teach me to live in these times with an overriding trust in your love for all your children and your creation. Help me see in those around me the expression of your goodness. Help me commit to your calling to serve and to love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” (Catherine, Malotky, ‘Gather,’ May/June 2022, p.48)

*(Text and Music: Peter Scholtes, rev. 1966, 1967 F.E.L. Church Publications, Ltd., assigned 1991 to Lorenz Corporation, Reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net #A-714392. All rights reserved.)