Sixth Sunday of Easter ~ May 17, 2020
Note: Each time you see a musical link in the liturgy, mute or lower the volume on your device before clicking on the link. Once you have done that then click on the link. If an ad pops up, you can then “Skip Ad” and not be disturbed by the noise of the advertisements. Once you see that the music is beginning then unmute or raise the volume on your device. This will allow a more meaningful worship experience for you. Peace be with you.
Prelude: Variations on ‘God Save the King’ S. Wesley
We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded, ancestral and traditional territories of indigenous peoples. We accept that Mother Earth and the peoples near us and around the world are all our relations. Thanks be to God.
Let us worship God together.
Introit: A New Commandment P. Nardone https://youtu.be/vUz6guhS5rg
I give you a new commandment: That you love one another as I have loved you.
Where there is charity and love, God is truly there.
*Call to Worship:
Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed! In the newness and resurrection of this Easter season, there is hope. In the freedom and joy of Easter, there is liberation. In our Easter alleluias and amens, there is grace. Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Hymn: Rejoice! The Lord Is King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFYMhF2GA4E
Prayer of the Day: God of grace and glory, by the death and resurrection of your Beloved Child your reign of wholeness has been unleashed within our bent and broken world. Open us to your empowering grace that we may be bearers of your world-redeeming love; through the resurrected Christ, who is our dignity, our power, and our peace. Amen. VU 188
Listening for THE WORD
Hymn: Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymKxTkrRNBA\
Scripture Reading: John 14:15-21 (read by Sam Dabrusin
A reading from the Gospel according to John. Listen for what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
This is the story of our faith. Thanks be to God.
Choral Anthem: Do Not Be Afraid P. Stopford https://youtu.be/KozC6btZUxU
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name; you are mine.
Reflection: by Rev. Jay Olson
If. If. If. Is the love of God conditional or not? Anything that begins with if seems to suggest conditions. But is that true in this passage? Are the commandments a condition or a result?
This week as I contemplated the sermon, I kept being driven back to the scripture from last week particularly the line that reads “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” What does that have to do with commandments and some possible conditional relationship?
Holding last week’s reading together with today’s reading makes the connection clearer.
Last week we heard, “In my Father’s house are many rooms.”
This week we hear, “I will not leave you orphaned.”
We often read these words from John at funerals and memorials, and we think of heaven, some place in the afterlife. We wonder, is there an actual place? What will it be like?
The word for rooms or mansions here translates – an abiding, dwelling place and it is not transitory. Once you are there, you are there.
So this is the ultimate stay home call! Our home is in God in this life and in the next. There are lots of rooms says Jesus and no one is orphaned.
To be home is to be home in God. It is intimate in that we are known by God, and we know God. This is where the “if” comes in, “if” in the form of direction or commandments. The commandments are not conditional “ifs”, they are a way to live into our home and our identity. Living into the commandment to love is the process by which we become love.
To be home in God is to be home to stay. We are heirs of God’s grace and we will not be orphaned or disinherited. Our job is to continue becoming, to continue believing into and to continue living into the commandments of God that result in making things right.
To be home in God is to continue to believe into Jesus and his place in the Godhead.
The commentators Malina & Rohrbaugh in their Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John say: “John’s peculiar way of phrasing it — believing ‘into’ Jesus — connotes being completely embedded in the group of which he is the central personage…Believing “into” is a characteristic Johannine idiom. Many commentators have pointed out that this construction implies trust rather than simple intellectual assent. Given the collectivist character of the relationships in ancient Mediterranean societies, however, even more is implied. Collectivist persons become embedded in one another. A unity and loyalty is involved that is extremely deep. Since personal identity in collectivist cultures is always the result of the groups in which one is embedded, that too is involved. John’s peculiar idiom (the Greek tense used connotes ongoing or continuous action) suggests exactly this kind of long-term solidarity with Jesus.[p. 130].” (cited from Brian Stoffregen’s Exegetical Notes)
We are embedded in one another as God, Christ, Spirit are embedded together. To hold dear the commandments is to keep strong our connections with the Holy and with one another. When we read “If you love me…” we need not hear conditions but rather connections and results.
The Spirit of truth, the Advocate., will be our helper in keeping our connections strong. The Paraclete comes to speak to us for Jesus – to teach and remind us what Jesus said. Jesus’ teachings were demonstrations of the new commandment that we love one another as God has loved us – demonstrations of the holy ties that bind us to all that is good.
Holding dear the commandment to love, keeps us mindful that we are embedded in the Godhead (Creator, Christ, Spirit) – fully at home in God now and forever. That’s not conditional. That’s promise. That gives STAY HOME a whole new meaning filled with hope and promise.
Jesus said that those who love him and hold dear the commandments, will know the Godhead whomakes their home with them; who makes home in us. Thanks be to God.
Choral Anthem: Cantate Domino K. Jenkins https://youtu.be/w3lWSkmv9Zc
Alleluia. Sing to the Lord a new song. Alleluia. Sing joyfully, all, to God, all of the earth, sing joyfully to God. Serve the Lord in joyfulness. Sing and exalt and sing psalms to the King, and say a hymn to God. Alleluia.
Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer: (led by Sam Dabrusin)
And so we pray,
Great God, we give you thanks for your faithfulness to creation;
for your presence, your provision, your comfort and your correction.
We long for the presence of your Spirit so that we might be blessed with right direction, understanding and compassion.
We entrust to you Great God those who are grieving over the death of a loved one, the loss of income or the loss of a dream. May each one be gifted with your peace that passes all understanding.
We pray for an end to the COVID-19 crisis; that an effective vaccine will be found as soon as possible and be made available to everyone as soon as possible.
As the world begins to open up again, we pray that we will correct the terrible injustices that have been on full display during this crisis, namely the underfunding and neglect in long term care, the food insecurity affecting so many families and, the inequitable distribution of wealth. Lead us to the resources that will bring life and show us how to share them equitably.
We pray still for the people of Bella Bella as they continue to grieve the deaths of eleven of their beloveds. We pray still for the people of Nova Scotia as they learn to live again while carrying the burden of their grief. We pray too for Living Spirit United in Calgary that has been hit hard by the virus. We give thanks for the public witness of the churches in Saskatchewan that have been vandalized because of their stand for the rights and dignity of all persons regardless of identity. Overwhelm them all with your healing power and grant them your peace that passes understanding.
Today we are at the threshold of loosening some restrictions around being together. We long to be free again. Please keep us mindful and careful so that our exuberance will not lead us to inadvertently do harm.
We continue to be thankful for the myriad of people giving themselves fully to the causes of healing, wellness, justice and peace. For the people stocking grocery and drug store shelves, for shelter and food bank workers, for cleaners and for those who are providing meals for people in need. We cheer them on and long for them to know how grateful we are to them.
We long to know that you hear us as we pray and that you answer.
We ask you to help us unleash our resources and all the powers of good to find cures,
therapies and vaccines for devastating diseases.
We pray for comfort for those who are lonely and feeling lost.
We pray for the restoration of your world and all its creatures.
We pray that we would not go back to the way things were but that we will truly commit to
co-creating with you a better world especially for “the least” among us.
Help us to hold ourselves open to the presence and the work of your Spirit so that we can be who you created us to be. Make us wise, fearless, compassionate and joyful.
Hear us as we pray as Jesus taught using the words of our Indigenous Australian neighbours.
Great Spirit, Creator of all,
from the stars to all the earth,
loved and respected be your name.
May it happen that all should live in your way
following your purpose for all creation.
Enable us to find what we need for today’s journey.
Forgive us when we go wrong
as we forgive those who wrong us.
Have compassion on us when we are being tested.
Do not abandon us to fear and evil.
Our hope is in your new community.
You are the one who can transform all creation,
making everything new,
now and for all eternity. Amen. Indigenous Prayer from Australia
Response: Ubi Caritas https://youtu.be/hHkmOi5Wzgo
Our Offering: In response to God’s great love for us we return to God a portion of what has been given to us. Take a moment now to offer the gifts of your time, your talent and your money for the work of ministry. Prepare to give the offering away. As you do, tap that part of yourself where gratitude resides. Give thanks and give back to God. No gift is too small, and all gifts are sincerely appreciated.
Choral Anthem for Reflection on the Offering: Singt dem Herren
(from The Creation) J. Haydn https://youtu.be/dCWgjLLlU4w
Sing the Lord, ye voices all! Give him thanks, for all his works. Let us honour his name, let it resound on high. The Lord is great; his praise shall last forever. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication: Great God, we give our offerings to you from the gifts you have given to us. Thank you for your provision, for your presence, for your love. May these offerings further your purposes through Shaughnessy Heights United Church and all those who serve you. Amen.
Hymn: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spE-BE23qxA
Commissioning and Benediction:
Be witnesses in the world of God’s resurrection power by caring for the safety of others and doing so with all the confidence, joy and courage of an Easter people. Shout with all your might that the God of Life has had the last word, for Christ is Risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen!
Postlude: Pomp and Circumstance No. 1 E. Elgar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvxH8Q1BT-U