Order of Worship
Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 2, 2021

Organ Prelude

Call to Worship 
As we gather, may our ears be opened to receive holy dialogue.
As we pause from our busy lives,
may our words be inspired in holy dialogue.
As we seek God’s wisdom,
may God interweave our presence and words to create holy dialogue.
In this time of worship,
let us engage in holy dialogue,
as children of God seeking to learn,
seeking to teach,
seeking to be one.

Opening Prayer
during this time of worship, we come to grow and learn.
You offer us life, nourish us, and create a space to thrive.
May our worship draw us closer to you.
Shape and form our hearts and minds as we hear your word,
sing your praises, and seek your guidance through prayer.
Strengthen us to bear good fruit today and in the days to come.
In the name of the one who proclaimed, I am the vine. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Life-giving God,
you have gifted each with the ability to love, yet there are times we fail to act in loving ways.
We confess there are times we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves.
Instead, we have ignored, coveted, stolen from, and hurt those who live in community with us.
We confess there are times when we reject the love of others.
Instead, we have been too proud, too busy, too narrow-minded, too consumed with our own lives.
We confess there are times when we have not loved ourselves.
Instead, we have neglected our needs, denied ourselves forgiveness and grace,
put others before ourselves in unhealthy ways.
In each of these failures, we have distanced ourselves further from you, our creator and sustainer.
In confessing these things, we desire to give and receive love more honestly and to abide with you fully.

Words of Affirmation
Beloved community, you are forgiven and have nothing to fear. In the words of 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” Go now in love, forgiven and fearless.

Storytelling          “A Growing Community”

Sharing of Scripture                         John 15:1–8

Message in Music

Message               “Belove, Be Loved, Be Love”             A Dialogue Message with Jenni Sobczak, Co-Moderator and Task Force Member and Rev. Laura McLeod

Sacrament of Holy Communion

Prayer of Dedication
Generous Giver of Life,
we bring before you now the fruits of our lives.
In celebration and thankfulness for all we are given,
we now give back to further your kin-dom.
May these fruits meet the basic needs of those in our community.
May they nourish and strengthen our community,
and be used to grow bigger gardens to feed your children yet to come.
You are the vine, and we are the branches.
Connected in love, may we share all that we have, in your holy name. Amen.

A Time of Prayer
Preparation for Prayer
Silent Prayer
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
One:   In times of sadness, loss, and disorientation,
All:      we pray, Holy One, that you would abide in us.
One:   In times of anger, betrayal, and slander,
All:      we pray, Holy One, that you would abide in us.
One:   In times of hopelessness, brokenness, and failure,
All:      we pray, Holy One, that you would abide in us.
One:   In times of hopefulness, renewed faith, and the assurance of the good yet to come,
All:      we pray, Holy One, that you would abide in us.
One:   In times of forgiveness, happiness, and thankfulness,
All:      we pray, Holy One, that you would abide in us.
One:   In times of joy, unity, and peace,
All:      we pray, Holy One, that you would abide in us.
One:   Your love, O God, is ever-present in our times of deepest despair as well as through the vastness of our praise. Your invitation to abide in you has no qualifications, but promises to be ever-close and ever-present when life is at its best, at its worst, and at every time in-between.
All:      Abide in us, Holy One, as we abide in you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray, using the words that he taught saying, Our Father…

We are all blessed children of God, go from this place rejoicing.  Beloved… Be Loved… Be Love.  Amen.

Organ Postlude

Sharing of Scripture                                 John 15:1–8
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 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. 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. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
A Growing Community
Based on John 15:1–8

Jesus’ followers and friends were still uncertain about their safety. Some had to return to their homes, but others stayed in Jerusalem. They gathered together often and talked about Jesus.

“Jesus was so gentle,” said someone in the corner of the room. “When he told stories to the children, you could see the love in his eyes.”

From the other side of the room, someone else spoke, “O yes, his touch was enough to heal and bring great joy. The person had been blind since birth could see people walking for the first time.”

Then Peter spoke, “My mother-in-law was healed by Jesus, too – in the early days. Jesus’ way of healing and teaching has brought us together. We are connected through Jesus.”

“You are right,” came from someone at the table. “Jesus told us that would happen when he talked about the vine and branches. Jesus said:

‘I am the vine. God is the gardener. In the vineyard full of grapevines, the gardener carefully cuts the branches so they will grow lots of grapes. That has already happened to my branches because I have taught you God’s word.

‘When a branch is broken from the vine, that branch cannot produce grapes. Stay connected to me just as the branches are connected to the vine. Then you will produce good works because we are joined together.

‘Yes, I am the vine, and you are the branches. Stay connected to my teachings and me, so they become a part of you. Pray for what you need. God is pleased when we produce good works.’”

As the people looked around the room, they knew that they were each connected to Jesus, and they were connected through him to one another – a growing community.

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