Seventh Sunday of Easter ~ May 24, 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: Vater unser im Himmelreich (Lord’s Prayer) G. Böh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuzQZkiBjIs
Our Acknowledgement: 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: Holy Spirit, Truth Divine Andrew Carter
Holy Spirit, Truth divine, dawn upon this soul of mine;
Word of God and inward light wake my spirit, clear my sight.
Holy Spirit, Love divine, glow within this heart of mine;
Kindle every high desire; perish self in Thy pure fire.
Holy Spirit, Power divine, fill and nerve this will of mine;
Grant that I may strongly live, bravely bear, and nobly strive.
Holy Spirit, Peace divine, still this restless heart of mine;
Speak to calm this tossing sea, stayed in Thy tranquility.
Holy Spirit, Joy divine, gladden Thou this heart of mine;
In the desert ways I sing, “Spring, O Well, forever spring.”
*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: Alleluia! Sing to Jesus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2O_b_aqrPw
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
Choral Anthem: Ubi caritas O. Gjeilo https://youtu.be/zvI5sNucz1w
Where there is charity and love, God is there.
Scripture Reading: John 17:1-11 (read by Winston Lanyon)
A reading from the gospel according to John. Listen for what the Spirit is saying to the Church. 17 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
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. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for 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. 9 I 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. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And 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. This is the story of our faith. Thanks be to God.
Hymn: O Love that Will Not Let Me Go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt69WDtYNLo
Reflection: by Rev. Jay Olson
In these last couple of weeks of the Easter season we have been reading from the farewell discourse in the gospel of John. We have learned that heaven is not a place but a relationship. Eternal life is knowing God, being at home in God as God makes home in us. This last Sunday of the Easter Season, the season of new life, we hear the prayer of Jesus from John chapter 17 which reads, “Holy God, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”
The Rev. Dr. Janet H. Hunt wrote in her sermon, Dancing with the Word, these words,
“I wondered at how many would claim the unity Jesus prays for today as their own — a unity which ties us to each other because we all belong to Jesus. Indeed, as I read the Gospel for this week, the common thread seems to be that you and I come from the same place and we are blessed with the same destination and in this meantime — in this world where Jesus knows we need protection — sometimes the greatest blessing we can have is each other.”
John’s gospel speaks of a profound intimacy shared between the Godhead and all of creation. My Nanna said to me once, “People don’t understand that we need God. God is the very air we breathe”, she said. The relationship is one of deep intimacy, a profound connection whether we acknowledge it or not.
I hear often from folks who say that faith is personal, it is about my relationship with God and it’s private, none of anyone’s business. Perhaps at one level that is true for much goes on inside one’s own heart and mind. However, Jesus’ prayer for protection for these whom God gave to him is a prayer for unity.
Our protection is found in our unity, in our ability to love the world through our shared values and our disagreements, through our working together and bearing witness together for a greater good. Our protection is being at home in God all together.
The where of eternal life is not a place but a relationship. In such intimate relationships there is support, learning and protection.
I have had many people say to me over the years, “Why don’t you leave the Church and get a job without all the stress and baggage?” To which I respond, “The Church’s baggage is mine too. I can at least appeal to Church folks on the basis of our shared faith and values which come from our relationships with the Holy.”
Intimate relationships reveal who we are, the good and that which needs work, sometimes lots of work. Folks want to be part of a community that isn’t this kind of work, where we don’t have to deal with bad behaviours or take on responsibilities. Some want a Community of Faith to be a place of solace alone without any challenge or disruption. I have to say though that even times of personal, private devotion, those times when I am alone with my own thoughts and prayers and God, are often the most challenging and revealing times. Apparently, we were made for each other whether we like it or not. We are made to be one people, one Community of Faith.
Jayson D. Bradley wrote 5 Reasons I Won’t Give Up On the Local Church.
“5. I’m a huge part of the church’s problem. (A young person’s confession.) “Despite Christ’s prayer that the church would model Trinitarian-like oneness, we’re fractured and set against each other. The bride of Christ is a mess.”
- The church needs prophetic voices.We must reform ourselves.
- I still believe in the church’s goodness.Do good works, be your God-given self without needing attention, affirmation, without doing it for the thanks.
- The church has played a big part in my growth.The people of the church have been there for me in my darkest hours.
- The church is a spiritual discipline.I could chose to be just with people I like and with whom I agree but, “when I am honest with myself, most of my growth has come from interacting with people I wouldn’t choose…I need a multi-generational, ethnically and financially diverse community of people to mentor me and broaden my perspectives. I need people close to me who I can disagree with and challenge in a healthy way – while still loving and wanting what’s best for them. There’s no question that the church has significant problems, and I’ve often daydreamed about quitting her. But I truly believe we need each other.”
I think my Nanna was right. God is the very air we breathe. I learned that and breathed in that air growing up in Communities of Faith. Those communities did not and do not always demonstrate a joyful and just unity, but they worked at it. In the process of working at it, like housekeeping, some pitched in and did the work, and some felt compelled to leave.
No matter where we are in this profoundly intimate and complex web of relationships, remember that this Godhead is where we live, it is our home, and in this home is our Spirit Advocate – teacher, guide, comforter. When we are unable to call upon the Spirit and we are overwhelmed with fear, grief and doubt, it is our sisters and brothers in the Community of Faith who call on the Advocate for us, who become the hands and heart of the Advocate for us.
I encourage you this last Sunday of the Easter Season to breathe in deeply the breath of life. That very breath is the assurance that we are at home in the Godhead – that there is nowhere we can go and nothing we can do that will ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. It is the protection for which Jesus prayed. It is so. Thanks be to God.
Hymn: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTg7aNJ7Z7E
Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer: (led by Winston Lanyon)
And so we pray,
Great God, we give you thanks for your faithfulness to all creation.
We long to see your Spirit at work in fulfilling Jesus’ prayer that we be one people, the living embodiment of your love, justice and peace. Help us to take each step forward and make each action we take lead us toward the unity for which you created us.
We entrust to you today those who are grieving over the death of a loved one, those unable to visit with loved ones in long term care, those who have lost income and dreams. Grant them your peace, O God and show them the next step forward into life.
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, the wounding of the planet and, the inequitable distribution of wealth. Lead us to the resources that will bring life and show us how to share them equitably.
We begin now the loosening of some restrictions around being together. Please keep us mindful and careful so that our exuberance will not lead us to inadvertently do harm.
We are thankful for the myriad of people giving themselves fully to the causes of healing, wellness, justice and peace. For the people caring for the safety and comfort of us all. Bless them in their thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity.
We pray for Shaughnessy’s new Ministers who will soon be on their way to us. Bless Deb and Dave with good health, safe travels and all they need along the way. Prepare us all for the journey of ministry ahead. 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 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
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. 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:
I Can Tell the World: Spiritual arr. M. Hogan https://youtu.be/fL-ruavJcEc
I can tell the world, yes, about this, I can tell the nations, yes, that I’m blessed.
Tell them what my Lord has done, tell them that the conqueror has come,
And he brought joy to my soul.
My Lord done just what he said. Yes, he did! He healed the sick and he raised the dead.
He lifted me when I was down, he placed my feet on solid ground.
Oh Lord, he brought joy that morning, when he saved me.
Joy that morning, when he blessed me. I’ll tell it, how he brought this joy to my soul.
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: Ye Servants of God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngReLoza0Fk
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: Transports de joie (L’Ascension) O. Messiaen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttiHvCHP2F0