Thursday, 29 April 2021

Marsden Road Unting Worship - Easter 5 - 02 May 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Is There an App For Abiding?

Easter 5 Sunday - year of Mark 9.30am

 Gathering God’s People 

        Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Call to Worship - (Abingdon 2021)

        Christ is the vine. We are the branches. Abide in the vine, and you will abide in love.

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

     and to 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. 

     Come! All are welcome here. 

Hymn 153: God is love, let heaven adore him.

                 (tune – Abbot’s Leigh) 

     Opening prayer

     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 your bountiful name, we pray. Amen. 

      A 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 sisters and brothers, but we often feel alienated from them.

We desire to abide in you as you abide in us, but we can’t seem to figure out how.

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 how to abide in your vine, for only then can we bear the fruit that glorifies your name. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

When we abide in Christ, we abide in the vine of love and grace. Abide in the vine and receive mercy beyond measure.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

As we abide in Christ, our vine, we bear the fruit of God’s love. Let us share the joy of our fortune by exchanging signs of Christ’s peace with one another.

The peace of Christ be with you.

The peace of Christ be with you always.

 (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)  

Offering Prayer

Bountiful God, you fill the poor with good things and cause the hungry to be satisfied. May these gifts be instruments of your grace and may our very lives be the means of spreading your blessings. Make these gifts be for the world a sign of your boundless love and your overflowing abundance. Amen. 

Hymn 104: While morning still is breaking.

                 (tune – Webb)                    

The Service of Holy Communion

 The 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 right, and a good and joyful thing always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth. You formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life. When we turned away from you, and our love failed, you turned to us, again and again, and your love remained steadfast. You led us from slavery to freedom, made a covenant with us, and set before us the way that leads to life. And so with your people on earth, and all the company of heaven, We praise your name and join their unending hymn.

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!

Holy are you and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ. Your spirit anointed him to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to announce the time when you would save your people. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ate with sinners. His very presence was and is a sign of your victory over death. He was and is the resurrection and the life. He led and leads us to freedom from sin and death. And the meal that we share is a sign of your new and everlasting covenant.

On the night in which he gave himself for us he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples and said, “Drink from this, all of you; this is the blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

And so, in remembrance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving, claiming the promise that if we have died with him, we shall also be raised with him, as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of the risen Christ, redeemed by his blood. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other,

and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy church, all honour and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen. 

Blessing and honour and glory and power are yours for ever and ever. Amen.   

The Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread and take this cup so that we can all share in the life of Christ. God's gifts for God's people. 

Thanks, be to God. 

Lamb of God

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

Come to the table of grace, for Christ is the vine, and we are the branches.

Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come to the table of love, for whoever does not love, does not know God.

Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come to the table of blessing, for Christ is here to abide in us, as we abide in him.

Come, Holy Spirit, come. 

Prayer after Communion

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 this table, refreshed and eager, to share that life with others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

The Service of the Word 

 First Reading:                                             1 John 4.7-21

 The Gospel Reading:                                John 15.1-8

 After the final reading the reader will say For the Word of the Lord

 Please respond by saying                  Thanks be to God. 

1 John 4.7-21

7 Beloved let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. 

John 15.1-8

        1 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 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. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Preaching of the Word - Is There an App For Abiding? - John 15:1-8

Unfortunately, some of us feel that if we don’t check our smartphones every few minutes, we will miss out on something crucial, maybe the event of the year or the e-mail that will change the course of our lives. And it is even more embarrassing when we don’t seem to be aware that we are doing it, and someone brings it to our attention – often the person we should have been listening to!

A common lament, whether working in an office or as a full-time parent, is that there simply are not enough hours in the day. Schedules are too full, responsibilities too numerous and commitments too demanding. Given this, a common reason as to why we don’t eat better or exercise more or even pray more regularly is simply, “Who has the time?”

We can easily mishear the invitation in today’s gospel passage as yet another demand on our time. We can make the mistake of assuming that what often works well in one aspect of our lives, works equally well in our spiritual lives: in this case, the motto of every controlling and rushed person – which is all of us at one time or another – “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.”

But listen to Jesus today, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.” And Jesus goes on to tell us very clearly who is doing the work, and it is not you or me, my friends. “He removes every branch in me that does not bear fruit.”

This image of the people of God as “God’s vineyard” is a very old one, going back to the Jewish psalms, as well as other places in the Old Testament.

Listen to part of Psalm 80: “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.” Again, notice that it is God who is doing all the planting here, not us. And think of all the other I AM statements found in the Gospel of John: “I AM the light of the world,” “I AM the gate,” “I AM the resurrection and the life.”

All these I AM statements in the Gospel of John point to the reality of God’s availability. It is ironic that Christianity has the reputation of being an other-worldly religion, focused almost exclusively on how to get into heaven. Maybe you have seen the bumpers stickers declaring, “Jesus is coming, look busy!” or “Friends don’t let friends miss out on heaven!” It may sound surprising, but this kind of theology of a “distant god” is what most of us are comfortable with, because it ultimately pushes God to the sidelines, and we can remain in control. We are very good at being busy and taking responsibility, and we rather prefer this to being on the receiving end of change. But as Jesus in today’s reading, “Abide in me as I abide in you.”

In today’s gospel, Jesus addresses us twice with the phrase “I AM the vine.” There is a promise here. “I AM the vine, and you are the branches.” Jesus is asking each of us to simply be with him. This sounds deceptively easy. Listen to the words of the Collect for Purity from the Anglican Prayer Book: “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.” It’s OK to relax a bit and stop worrying about hiding those parts of ourselves that we don’t want others, and surely not God, to see. We can abide with God, instead of busying ourselves to keep God at a distance.

The promise of Jesus, the Vine, the Gate, the Light, is abundant life here and now, not just in some future time. God is doing more in our lives than any of us are aware. God in Jesus is simply inviting each of us to take the time to notice. But the trick, of course, is to let God do what God needs to do and for us to get out of the way. Jesus is very clear on this point when he says: “I AM the vine, you are the branches.” That is what abiding in the power of the Word is all about, not placing impediments in God’s way by trying to do for ourselves what God wants to do for us: reshape our hearts, bodies and minds to receive the forgiveness being offered.

Hopefully, now, you can hear Jesus’ words as the beautiful invitation it truly is: “Abide in me as I abide in you.” 

Hymn 681: Lord, let me see.

                 (tune – Let me See) 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with hear our prayer. 

Easter 5 – Year B

Loving and merciful God, you sent your Son into the world that all might have life through him: we pray for the whole family of nations.

We pray for all who endure poverty, starvation, oppression or war; we pray for peace between nations and for a just sharing of the earth's resources, that we may live as sisters and brothers, children of the same God.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You sent your Son to be the Saviour of the world: we

pray for your worldwide church.

We pray for all who bring alive the Scriptures, for missionaries, teachers, theologians, writers and preachers:

we pray for unity among Christians, that together we may proclaim the gospel and live as sisters and brothers, children of the same God.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You sent your Son into the world that we might know your love for all people: we pray for this community.

We pray for our families and friends, those we meet in our daily lives, for the hungry and homeless and those without work; We pray for a community that values and cares for all its members, that we may live as sisters and brothers, children of the same God.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You sent your Son into the world to heal the sick, console the sorrowing and satisfy the hungry with good things: we pray for all in need.

We pray for all who are lonely and sad, for those in

grief or despair and for the sick; we pray for compassion and generosity to respond to the needs of others, that we may live as sisters and brothers, children of the same God.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You sent your Son into the world that we might have eternal life: we remember your faithful people who rest in your eternal love.

We give thanks for Philip and all who have opened your Scriptures to others, for all who have carried your good news to distant places and all who have shared your gospel with those close at hand.

In life and in death may we follow your saints, that with our sisters and brothers of every generation, we too may abide forever in your love.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as 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. 

Hymn 640: Kneels at the feet of his friends.

                 (tune – Chereponi) 

          Benediction

         Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.

        We will be born of love each day of our lives.

        Beloved, let us abide in Christ’s love, for he is the vine, and we are the branches.

        We will grow as Christ’s disciples and bear fruit for a world in need.

        Beloved, let us care for one another, for the Spirit helps us abide in God’s peace.

        We will glorify God in the lives we lead. 

Hymn 778: Shalom to you

                 (tune – Somos del Senor)           

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