St Lucia – Order of Service 2nd May, 2021– Easter 5

When:
02/05/2021 @ 8:30 am
2021-05-02T08:30:00+10:00
2021-05-02T08:45:00+10:00

Prepare for Holy Communion in this service

 Greeting-

The Peace of Christ be with you all.

 

Call to Worship –

Come to Christ, the true vine and bear much fruit.

We have come to abide in the vine. And bear the fruit of salvation.

Come to love one another, for love is of God.

We have come to the household of love, for God is love.

Come to set aside your fears, for perfect love drives out fear.

We have come to love one another, as God has loved us.

Let us worship our loving God together.

Prayer

Loving God, Divine Vinegrower, the soil of your love nurtures the roots of our lives each and every day. As we consecrate ourselves into your loving care, plant us in the soil of your love that we may abide in Christ, our true vine, and bear the fruit of your love and grace. Give us rain in seasons of doubt and nourish our growth that our harvest of love may bless the world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

HYMN– TIS 431 R. T. Brooks 1918-85   alt. © Words: 1954, 1966. Renewed 1982 Hope Publishing Company  Used by permission CCLI Licence 217268

  1. Thanks to God whose Word was spoken in the deed that made the earth.

His the voice that called a nation, His the fires that tried its worth.

God has spoken, God has spoken: praise him for his open Word.

  1. Thanks to God whose Word incarnate human flesh has glorified,

who by life and death and rising grace abundant has supplied.

God has spoken, God has spoken: praise him for his open Word.

  1. Thanks to God whose Word was written in the Bible’s sacred page,

record of the revelation showing God to every age.

God has spoken. God has spoken, praise him for his open Word.

  1. Thanks to God whose Word is published in the tongues of every race.

See its glory undiminished by the change of time and place

God has spoken, God has spoken: praise him for his open Word.

  1. Thanks to God whose Word is answered by the Spirit’s voice within.

Here we drink of joy unmeasured, life redeemed from death and sin

God has spoken, God has spoken:  praise him for his open Word.

 

Prayer of Confession- 

Source of love and life, your glory knows no bounds.

We yearn to set aside our fears, but we are often afraid.

We long to love our brothers and sisters, but we often feel alienated from them.

We desire to abide in you as you do in us, but we lose our focus and drift away from you.

Show us once more how to love, for only love can cast out our fear.

Show us how to love one another well, for only then can we truly know you.

Show us how to abide in you so that we can bear the fruit for you that glorifies God, and serves all people in God’s kingdom, for we ask in your name, Jesus. Amen

 

Words of Assurance

When we abide in Christ, we abide in the vine of love and grace and receive mercy beyond measure. In Christ’s name I remind you: our sins are forgiven.  Thanks be to God.

 

Scripture Readings- Acts 8: 26-40; 1 John 4: 7-21; John 15: 1-8

 

Sermon – Hear God for yourself  – For each reading:

  1. Choose a verse (or two) that speaks to you personally this day.
  2. Choose a verse (or two) that guides or challenges your congregation as you go forward into the future. What is God saying to us today?

 

 

 

 

 

Some further thoughts for you:

Tom Willardsen in Sermon Suite for this Sunday writes:

“God is love. God loves. We love because God loved us first; God started it! As the author of 1 John extolls love’s goodness, he also addresses the Gnostic presence that has appeared in the Christian community. Gnostics believe that one grows in faith through knowledge of God, rather than through experiencing and thus being able to express the love of God. To know God is to abide in God’s love. This is way more than mere knowledge that one is beloved by God. This love is a way of life; this love is life. One does not merely feel or know God’s love; one abides in God’s love. One is surrounded by it. God’s love, the author uses the Greek αγαπε (agape) repeatedly, must be experienced…

 

Fear is all around us. Fear is a four-letter word. Nobody wants to talk about it, but Americans [and also….] are afraid of one other. We all know that people make bad decisions when they are afraid. If nothing else, fear limits our ability to consider options. Fight, flight or freeze are the sum of the reptile brain’s repertoire of responses to fear.

It might appear that this gem of a verse tucked toward the end of the fourth chapter of 1 John may be the magic bullet that helps Americans get past our fear and live in peace and harmony. Perfect love casts out fear. That’s the ticket! If we can just love perfectly we won’t be afraid of each other anymore.

It is tempting to take the words from 1 John and proclaim that love is the antidote to fear. At one level that is true, but at a very deep level. For love to have that effect, we must love as deeply as God loves us. We are profoundly shallow when it comes to loving God. …The love that we find in 1 John is one that is experienced more than being known or felt. It is strong, and its source is Godself. Only when we have accepted God’s abiding love for us, only when we have lived in God’s enduring love for us, to put it another way, can we love someone else. And that love shapes every facet of our lives. When we’re able to accept God’s abiding, living, indwelling love, then and only then is it possible for us to love other people.

And that kind of loving determines how we live as sisters and brothers with other people. Another name for sisters and brothers is people made in God’s image. The same as us. … As Richard Louv wrote ‘We cannot protect something we do not love, we cannot love what we do not know, and we cannot know what we do not see. Or hear. Or sense.’ The perfect love that casts out fear is tangible, intimate, personal.  That’s God’s love.”

 

On Acts 8: 26-40 Rev Arthur Lane writes:

I explained several weeks ago that the Easter season readings from Acts are chosen to show how the Resurrection and subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit are leading the young Church into radical and sometimes uncomfortable ways of relating to others around them; but probably none so radical as the one described in today’s Acts reading: Philip is suddenly called by an angel to go out into the desert – at noon of all times: “Lord, are trying to fry me with heat stroke!?” And in that unlikely scenario he falls in with an unlikely cavalcade: a high-ranking official of the Ethiopian Government is on his way home from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem: black, from a country about as far from Jerusalem as you could get (the ends of the earth), and – wait for it! – a eunuch! Whether by accident, decree, or even choice, this was a sexless being, much more familiar to the ancient world than to ours, highly placed in his own country – but never able to procreate or have a family. For this reason, he would be banned from participating in Jewish worship (Deuteronomy 23:1). Yet he had been so drawn to the Jewish faith that he had made that arduous journey and maybe even suffered the indignity of being refused admission to the Temple and forced to glean what he could from listening outside. Yet Philip finds him still poring over the Scriptures, trying to discern their meaning, and eagerly turning to Philip when he sees him as one who might guide him.

 

And Philip, himself guided by the Spirit, explains to this ‘outsider’ the wonder of the Good News of Jesus Christ Who brings the one who cannot be in a family into the one great Family of His Church. And when the eunuch asks for baptism, Philip, who once would have been horrified by the idea, readily accedes to the request, having learned that Christ Jesus overcomes all barriers to true humanity and fellowship, as even the best of human institutions never could.

 

Who might be the ‘eunuchs’ of our modern world? The mentally ill? The physically challenged? The down-and-out habitual sponger and gaolbird? Whoever they are, however uncomfortable for us to deal with, Easter and Pentecost have a powerful message to them, and to us about them. How do we go about responding to that message?

 

HYMN- TIS 474 Here in this place Marty Haugen. Words © GIA Publications. Used with  permission ONE LICENSE

1.Here in this place, new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away. See, in this space, our fears and our dreamings, brought here to you in the light of this day. Gather us in – the lost and forsaken, gather us in – the blind and the lame. Call to us now, and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of our name.

  1. We are the young, our lives are a mystery, we are the old – who yearn for your face. We have been sung throughout all of history, called to be light to the whole human race. Gather us in – the rich and the haughty, gather us in – the proud and the strong. Give us a heart so meek and so lowly, give us the courage to enter the song.
  2. Here we will take the wine and the water, here we will take the bread of new birth. Here you shall call your sons and your daughters, call us anew to be salt for the earth. Give us to drink the wine of compassion, give us to eat the bread that is you. Nourish us well, and teach us to fashion lives that are holy and hearts that are true.
  3. Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven, light years away, but here in this place, the new light is shining; now is the Kingdom, now is the day. Gather us in – and hold us forever, gather us in – and make us your own. Gather us in – all peoples together, fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

           

Offering-  Direct deposit to ‘St Lucia Uniting Church’ BSB: 334 040 acct#: 553 842 259 (St George Bank)  Please mark it OFFERING with your name (optional)

 

Holy Communion – Invitation

Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin

and seek to live in peace with one another.

Be present, risen Lord Jesus, as you were with your disciples, and make yourself known to us

in the breaking of the bread; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

With all we are, we give you glory, Trinity of love, the one and Holy God, sovereign of all time and space. We bless you for this wide, red land, for its rugged beauty, its changing seasons, for its diverse people, and for all that lives upon this fragile earth. You have called us to be the Church in this place, to give voice to every creature under heaven. We rejoice with all that you have made, as we join the company of heaven in their song, saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest!

Again and again, you raised up men and women to speak your word, to guide, to challenge and convert. At the last, Father, you sent Jesus Christ, child of your love, God with us. Born as one of us, he lived our life and died our death, offering us, both now and forever, eternal life with you. Through him, in him and because of him, we affirm the Church’s faith:

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

 

On the night in which Jesus gave himself up to death, he took bread, gave you thanks,

broke it and said: This is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

When the meal was ended, he lifted the cup, and again giving you thanks, gave it to his friends and said: This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Do this, whenever you drink it, for the remembrance of me.

 

And so, in remembrance of all you have done for us, we take this bread and this cup,

and offer ourselves as a holy and living sacrifice, made worthy by the perfect offering of Christ our great high priest. By your Word and Holy Spirit, bless these gifts that we may truly share Christ’s body and blood, and become, by grace, his body given for the sake of the world as we pray together:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is 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 kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen

The bread we break is a sharing in the Body of Christ.

The cup we take is a sharing in the blood of Christ. God’s gifts for God’s people.

 

Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us. Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us your peace.

Eat and drink your HC elements now

This has been no ordinary meal. It has been one in which we have been fed and nourished with the life of Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord. May we go from here, refreshed and eager, to share that life with others for whom we pray now.. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

HYMN- TIS 687 God gives us a future © E.J. Smith used by permission CCLI licence #217268

  1. God gives us a future, daring us to go into dreams and dangers on a path unknown.

We will face tomorrow in the Spirit’s power, we will let God change us, for new life starts now.

  1. We must leave behind us sins of yesterday, for God’s new beginning is a better way.

Fear and doubt and habit must not hold us back: God gives hope, and insight, and the strength we lack.

  1. Holy Spirit, teach us how to read the signs, how to meet the challenge of our troubled times. Love us into action, stir us into prayer, till we choose God’s life, and find our future there.

 

Benediction-

The Peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge of the Love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour, and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you all, evermore. Amen.

 

Resources used in this service include Words for Worship year B 2nd May 2021 by MediaCom (subscription of Rev Dr Elizabeth Nolan) and The Abingdon Worship Annual 2021 edited by Mary Scifres and B.J. Beu, Abingdon Press, Nashville USA (owned by EN);  and Uniting in Worship People’s Book by Uniting Church Press (JBCE) 1988 Melbourne and The Australian Hymn Book multiple copies owned by the St Lucia Uniting Church congregation. Copyright license 217268.

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