Here are your worship resources for this week. I hope that you find them to be a blessing.
We continue to open up this spring as this pandemic eases. Tuesday morning Bible study has been wonderful, as has been going out to lunch together. I hope that more will be able to join us as time goes on.
This Sunday our Youth Group will celebrate the conclusion of another school year with a water party here at the church! Water guns—water balloons—water slides and fun, fun, fun!!!
And our Stewardship Committee is preparing a wonderful new program called The Generosity Project. Watch for more on that in the very near future!
God bless and keep you safe,
GATHERING SONGS THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE ELW #677
1) This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine;
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine;
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
2) Don’t you try to blow it out;
3) Hide it under a bushel? No!
4) All around the neighborhood;
5) Hold it high so all can see;
COME, NOW IS THE TIME TO WORSHIP
VerseCome, now is the time to worship;
Come, now is the time to give your heart;
Come, just as you are to worship;
Come, just as you are before your God. Come
One day every tongue will confess You are God;
One day every knee will bow;
Still the greatest treasure remains;
For those who gladly choose You now
Repeat verse and chorus
Come, now is the time, Come, now is the time, Come.
THE CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Lift up your hearts, for we are sent to give witness of our Lord!
People: To tell of God’s forgiveness and mercy and power.
Leader: For we are not of the world, but sent to it as Christ was sent.
People: Sent to bring hope and life where once was only darkness and despair.
Leader: Let us lift our praises to God for Christ’s true message of love.
People: Blessed be the name of the Lord!
WELCOME TO WORSHIP
PRAYER OF CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
Leader: Gracious God,
People: so often we get involved with the things of this world, and we forget Your purpose for us in it. Too often we get attached to what will not last and we forget eternity; or we see only the here and now and forget that we are set aside not to be of this world, but sent to it. Lord, forgive us and give us the strength to witness for You. In Christ we pray. Amen.
(Silence for reflection and personal confession)
Leader:God, who knows everyone ‘s heart, gives us mercy and life in his Son. Whoever accepts the Son of God receives life in the name of Jesus Christ. Sisters and Brothers, your sins are forgiven; be at peace.
People: Thanks be to God!
SONG OF PRAISE TAKE MY LIFE
1) Take my life, Lord; I give it to you,
An earthen vessel to fill and to use.
In whatever way you may choose,
Take my life, Lord; I give it to you. (repeat)
2) Take my life; let it be poured out for you,
like a stream in the desert for you,
that others may know that you love them so.
Take my life; let it be poured out for you.
(Repeat verse 1 twice)
Take my life, Lord; I give it to you. (repeat)
TODAY’S BIBLE READING
First Reading: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
In the days between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost, Peter oversees the process whereby one of the members of the community of believers is chosen to be the twelfth apostle, in order to fill the vacancy created by Judas’s treachery and death.
15In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, 16“Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus—17for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 21So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” 23So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
1Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked,
nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2Their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and they meditate on God’s teaching day and night.
3They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither;
everything they do shall prosper.
6For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked shall be destroyed.
1 John 5:9-13
God has borne witness to the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Whoever believes in the Son of God believes in the witness of God and has the promise of eternal life.
9If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. 10Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. 11And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION THY WORD
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
And a light unto my path; you’re the light unto my path
In this reading the church hears Jesus’ words on the night before his death. This gospel reports the words of Jesus’ prayer, a prayer for his disciples and for all who would believe in him through their words.
[Jesus prayed:] 6“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
SPECIAL MUSIC Bells Angels—De Colores–arr. by Douglas E. Wagner
ADULT MESSAGE 7 EASTER—5.16.21—JOHN 7:6-19
Author and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro wrote that her mother prayed on her knees every morning, afternoon, and night. She began each morning with prayers to be open to God’s will. She ended each day with prayers for God to examine her thoughts, actions, and words that day. Munro claims that one benefit of faithful prayer is that “. . . nothing can happen to you that you can’t make use of. Even if you’re racked by troubles, and sick and poor and ugly, you’ve got your soul to carry through life like a treasure on a platter.”
Think about that for a second. When you maintain regular, faithful communication with God, God will reveal to you wisdom that means “nothing can happen to you that you can’t make use of.” Even suffering and sorrow and fear and doubts. God’s wisdom and perspective will allow you to make use of your worst moments. Just as Jesus did in our Bible passage for today.
So, imagine that you are one of Jesus’ friends, the disciples, in our Gospel lesson today. In their presence Jesus prayed, thanking God for them, and praying for their well-being. Jesus’ prayer was startling, breath-taking. Having learned so much from Jesus as they traveled with him for the better part of three years, perhaps what stuck with the disciples most was how he prayed. At one point they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray like he did. And you will recall that Jesus taught them a model prayer that we know today as the Lord’s Prayer. But in that day before his crucifixion, Christ prayed for his friends. It is always reassuring when we are going through difficult times to know that someone else is praying for us.
Pastor Bill Hybels tells about an interesting experience after a baptism service in their church. He stepped into the church stairwell to find a woman there crying. The woman admitted to Hybels that she was struggling. It was her own mother who had just been baptized. So why the tears? Because, the woman confessed, “I prayed for her every day for almost 20 years. The reason I’m crying is because I came this close to giving up on her.”
After 15 years of praying daily for her mother, the woman asked herself, “Why am I wasting my breath?” At the 19-year mark, she considered giving up. The woman admitted that her faith was weak, that she wanted to give up on her mother meeting Christ and making a commitment to him. But after 20 years of daily prayers—unanswered prayers that mocked the woman’s faith and caused her much frustration—after 20 years of faithfulness in spite of her weakness and her doubts, this woman’s mother finally received Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
We sometimes forget how powerful a simple prayer can be. Do you pray for your friends? Jesus did. And you know what? In the same way that Jesus prayed for the apostles, he prays for us. In times of confusion, when we are unsure of what to do next, it is a great comfort to know that Jesus is praying for us.
But how did he pray? What did he ask for? Jesus prayed that God would help his friends remain strong.That’s always an appropriate prayer—the prayer for strength.
Pastor E. Stanley Jones once told about two men praying. One prayed, “Lord, please help me to hold on.” The other prayed, “Lord, please help me to let go.”
Have you prayed either of these prayers lately? I think we can all relate to them. Each one requires a different kind of strength.
Pastor Ellen Peach writes, “There are two types of strength. There is the strength of the wind that sways the mighty oak, and there is the strength of the oak that withstands the power of the wind. There is the strength of the locomotive that pulls the heavy train across the bridge, and there is the strength of the bridge that holds up the weight of the train. One is active strength, the other is passive strength. One is the power to keep going, the other is the power to keep still. One is the strength by which we overcome; the other is the strength by which we endure.”
Jesus’ prayer is a great reminder to us that God never intended us to suffer and struggle through life under our own strength. We have limited strength, limited wisdom, and limited perspective. Our circumstances sometimes look more powerful than God’s love for us. Through prayer, God wants to restore our strength, deepen our wisdom, and elevate our perspective.
Jesus knew the cost of being one of his followers in those early days would be high. He knew there would be times when his disciples’ lives would be in danger. He knew there would be times when they would be tempted to run. Notice that Jesus did not pray that they would be released from their problems. Instead, he prayed for them to be strong—strong enough to withstand the challenges that lay ahead. Jesus did not pray for escape but victory. He prayed, “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.”
In 1943, as he was preparing along with his division for the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II, Private First Class William Kiessel wrote to friends that he did not want prayer for his safety, because “safety isn’t the ultimate goal.” The goal, he stated, was “true exemplary conduct.”
Apply that thought to your own life as a follower of Jesus: “Safety isn’t the ultimate goal. True exemplary conduct is.” Private First Class Kiessel added, “What is important is that whatever does happen to me I will do absolutely nothing that will shame my character or my God.”
Let me repeat that: “What is important is that whatever does happen to me I will do absolutely nothing that will shame my character or my God.” That sounds very much like Jesus’ prayer for his friends. He could have taken his apostles to eternal life with him. He could have taken away their struggles and their suffering. He didn’t. Their struggles and suffering were absolutely necessary for the power of God to work through them. They were an essential test of faith that convinced Jesus’ followers of the faithfulness and truth and power of God. It was their faithful witness in their suffering and struggles that built the church of Jesus Christ.
The one prayer that God always answers is a prayer for the strength to endure. Jesus prayed for the apostles so that they would find strength during their times of suffering. That was a prayer that was answered time and time again. It’s a prayer that some of us have prayed as well. God is faithful. He will not forget us in our time of need.
Jesus prayed for his friends. He prayed that they would be strong. He also prayed that they would be united.“Protect them in your name that you have given me,” he prayed, “so that they may be one, as we are one.” That is such an important message for us. We are not simply a collection of individuals. We are the body of Christ. It is so vitally important that we in the church pull together, that we are united.
Too many things can disrupt the unity of a church. People get upset with the decisions of a board. Or people get upset with the pastor. Jesus knew that it is not easy to maintain unity among a talented, yet sometimes cantankerous group of people. He also knew, however, that we can never accomplish the things that he has called us to accomplish if we do not pull together.
Unity does not come easily. It requires humility and a shared vision. And most of all, unity requires prayer. When we align our will with the will of God, when we align our character with the character of Jesus, then we will operate in a spirit of unity. And we can accomplish the work of Jesus on this earth if we can just learn to work together.
In 1939, Nazi Germany gave up control of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the Soviet Union. Both the Nazis and the Soviets tried very hard to destroy the culture and heritage and customs of these three tiny countries.
In 1989, on the 50th anniversary of the pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, the people of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia created a giant human chain across their three countries to protest their continued oppression under Soviet rule. Approximately two million people joined hands, forming a giant human chain that crossed the borders of all three countries. They called this act of protest the Baltic Chain, or the Chain of Freedom. This act of unity caught the attention of governments around the world. Within the next two years, all three Baltic states gained their independence from the Soviet Union.
Imagine the strength and joy and comfort those citizens gained from joining hands in this giant human chain in this peaceful protest for independence. What they could not do as separate countries, they could do when they became unified. Jesus knew that there is power in unity.
Jesus is praying for us. He is asking God two things on our behalf. First of all, he is asking that we shall be strong. I don’t know about you, but that is a prayer that I need daily. And secondly, he is praying that we will be united. That is one prayer we could help answer ourselves. We could start by praying for our friends. We could also pray for our church. Finally, we could pray for ourselves, that we will truly be strong and that we will always love one another. That is a prayer that aligns with God’s will and is in the spirit of Jesus Christ. And we can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God will be faithful to answer that prayer until the day we meet Him face to face. AMEN.
SERMON SONG WE ALL ARE ONE IN MISSION ELW #576
1 We all are one in mission; we all are one in call,
our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.
A single great commission compels us from above
to plan and work together that all may know Christ’s love.
2 We all are called for service, to witness in God’s name.
Our ministries are diff’rent; our purpose is the same:
to touch the lives of others with God’s surprising grace,
so ev’ry folk and nation may feel God’s warm embrace.
3 Now let us be united, and let our song be heard.
Now let us be a vessel for God’s redeeming Word.
We all are one in mission; we all are one in call,
our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.
Text: Rusty Edwards, b. 1955
Text © 1986 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Duplication in any form prohibited without permission or valid license from copyright administrator.
AFFIRMING OUR FAITH APOSTLES’ CREED
People: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH
P: Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring our prayers before God who promises to hear us and answer in steadfast love.
A brief silence.
P: Holy God, in Christ Jesus the joy of the church is made complete. Root the church in your Word and unify us as Christ’s body. Send us into the world as your loving people, ready to testify to your Spirit at work. Lord, in your mercy,
C: Hear our prayer.
P: Generous Savior, you befriend those who are sick, suffering, poor, lonely, outcast, rejected, or sick. Grant healing and love to all in need (especially). Give them tangible signs of your steadfast love. Lord, in your mercy,
C: Hear our prayer.
Here other intercessions may be offered.
P: Saving God, your wonderful promise is the gift of eternal life in Jesus. Through the witness of those who have died in you, strengthen us now in this gift of life. We cherish the memory of your saints (especially Bernie Sitlava). Lord, in your mercy,
C: Hear our prayer.
P: In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
WE WORSHIP GOD THROUGH OUR GIVING
PRAYER OF BLESSING
After the service we will have offering plates available in the narthex to drop your offering in instead of passing them in the pew. You may also give by automatic withdrawal, electronically on the website, by text to 833-755-0207 (phone number is on the website), by mail, or drop it through the mail slot on the office door. We thank you all for your continued support and partnership in the Gospel. Let us pray:
P: God of love, you call us beloved children and welcome us to your table. Receive our lives and the gifts we offer. Abide with us and send us in service to a suffering world; for the sake of your beloved Child, Jesus Christ.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Holy Communion will be blessed at this point in the service and then distributed in the parking lot after the service in a drive-through method in your cars from 11:30 to 12:30.
BENEDICTION SONG AS YOU GO ON YOUR WAY
As you go on your way may Christ go with you.
May he go before you to show you the way;
May he go behind you to encourage you;
Beside you to befriend you;
Above you to watch over;
Within you to give you peace.
In the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. Amen.
STREAMS THEME SONG
See the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply your sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which, like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.
Pastor: Greet your worshiping neighbor. Go in peace and be Devoted to Generosity!
People: Thanks be to God!!!
The Book of Common Prayer reminds us that if one is unable to actually consume the consecrated bread and wine due to extreme sickness or disability, the desire is enough for God to grant all the benefits of communion (BCP, p. 457). When being present at a celebration of the Eucharist is absolutely impossible, this act of prayer and meditation can provide the means by which you can associate yourself with the Eucharistic Action and open yourself to God’s grace and blessing.
Blessed be God, + Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.
Let the power of the Holy Spirit come upon me, O Lord, to mercifully cleanse my heart and defend me from all adversities; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle: Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.
The Psalm: Psalm 23:5-6
You prepare a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over. Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The Gospel: John 15:5
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me, you can do nothing.
If time and circumstances permit, confess your faith with the words of the Apostles’ Creed.
In your own words, pray for your own needs, for those on your heart, for the peace of the world, and for the Church.
After offering these intercessions, continue with the
Act of Contrition
O God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you and for all the wrongs I have done and the good I have not done. Especially I confess….Forgive me for Jesus’ sake, and grant me strength and wisdom to amend my life. Amen.
Act of Reception
In union, blessed Jesus, with the faithful gathered at every altar of your Church where your blessed Body and Blood are offered this day, (and remembering particularly my own parish and those worshiping there) I long to offer you praise and thanksgiving, for creation and all the blessings of this life, for the redemption won for us by your life, death, and resurrection, for the means of grace and the hope of glory.
And particularly for the blessings given me…. I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament, and, since I cannot at this time receive communion, I pray you to come into my heart. I unite myself with you and embrace you with all my heart, my soul, and my mind. Let nothing separate me from you; let me serve you in this life until, by your grace, I come to your glorious kingdom and unending peace. Amen.
Come Lord Jesus, and dwell in my heart in the fullness of your strength; be my wisdom and guide me in right pathways; conform my life and actions to the image of your holiness; and, in the power of your gracious might, rule over every hostile power that threatens or disturbs the growth of your kingdom, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
And may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep my heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ my Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, + the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with me now and always. Amen.
Spiritual Communion is excerpted from Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book.
Permission is given to reproduce this text for use in local worshiping communities.
© 2014 Forward Movement