(Led from the Wolcott UMC)
ANNOUNCEMENTS & CELEBRATIONS:
L: Alleluia. Christ is risen!
P: The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Bringing in the Light of Christ
CALL TO WORSHIP:
L: See what love has been given to us, that we
should be called children of God.
P: By this we know love, that Jesus Christ has
come in the flesh, and lived and died, that
God’s love might be made plain among us.
L: Therefore, beloved, let us not love in word or
in speech but in deed and in truth.
People: Because we love one another, we know
that we have passed from death into life.
All: This is the victory that overcomes the world,
through Jesus our risen Christ. Amen.
(Ruth Duck, Bread for the Journey, Ruth Duck, ed., Pilgrim Press, 1981, p.44.)
OPENING HYMN: “Blest Be the Tie that Binds” UMH#557
Lord, we are gathered here today as one body,
because you chose to call us your friends. We come
from all walks of life. We have had our share of good
days and bad days. In the world’s eye, we aren't good
enough or worthy enough to have this bond; but in your
sight, we are exactly who you need. Despite all the drama,
we made it here to worship and praise your name. May
the love we experience today in worship restore us, revive
us, refresh us. God, use our broken selves as tools
of hope and love on this day. Lord, we love you.
Thank you for loving us and calling us your
friends. It's in your name, we pray. Amen.
(Stephon Carlisle Void, Easter Liturgical Resources from
Africana Writers, edited by Safiya Fosua, 2020.)
God of unimaginable love, we have known of your
caring since we were babies in our mother’s arms. We
have been told the stories of your love, and we have sung
songs about your love. These things bring us comfort. What
challenges us is the command of Jesus, “As I have loved you,
so you should love one another” – not just those who think
as we do, pray as we do, and look the way that we do. Help
us, through our giving, our living and our loving, to live up
to the challenge of loving as you would have us love. In the
name of our risen Savior, we pray. Amen. (John 15:9-17)
While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on everyone
who heard the word. 45
The circumcised believers who had
come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit
had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46
They heard them
speaking in other languages and praising God. Peter asked,
“These people have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.
Surely no one can stop them from being baptized with water,
can they?” 48
He directed that they be baptized in the name
of Jesus Christ. Then they invited Peter to stay for several days.
1 John 5:1-6
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born
from God. Whoever loves someone who is a parent loves the child
born to the parent. 2
This is how we know that we love the children
of God: when we love God and keep God’s commandments. 3
is the love of God: we keep God’s commandments. God’s
commandments are not difficult, 4
because everyone who is born
from God defeats the world. And this is the victory that has
defeated the world: our faith. 5
Who defeats the world? Isn’t it the
one who believes that Jesus is God’s Son?
Testimony about Jesus
This is the one who came by water and blood: Jesus Christ.
Not by water only but by water and blood. And the Spirit is
the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
John 15:9-17 Love each other
“As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just
as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and
your joy will be complete. 12
This is my commandment: love each
other just as I have loved you. 13
No one has greater love than to
give up one’s life for one’s friends. 14
You are my friends if you
do what I command you. 15
I don’t call you servants any longer,
because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead,
I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have
made known to you. 16
You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and
appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that
your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my
name, he will give you. 17
I give you these commandments so that
you can love each other.
L:The word of God for the People of God
P:Thanks Be To God.
HYMN OF RESPONSE:
“Help Us Accept Each Other” UMH#560
“No Greater Love”
As a Licensed Local Pastor, one of my duties is the interment of loved ones.
In a word, I am the one responsible for helping families to grieve, to say
goodbye, to rejoice in the life that a loved one has lived.
At one such funeral, I had before me the family of a woman who had been
brought back to the area to be interred with her ancestral family. They were
from everywhere, east coast to west coast. I even met one family member
who knew most of the kids I had grown up with. We sat together at the
funeral reception and spoke both lovingly and occasionally, disparagingly,
of some of the kids we had both known.
The funeral had been preplanned almost to the nth
degree. I had had several
telephone conversations with the woman's son. He had provided me with
enough material for me to prepare a proper and loving eulogy. Her
grandson, the man's son, was a gifted organist and would provide most
of the music. We selected hymns together. Her son would do a rendition
of “Happy Trails” at the close of the ceremony. He chose scripture
readings with me, mostly the traditional ones that are always shared at
funerals, but he also wanted to include his mom's favorite
scripture reading: Romans 5:2-5.
Dr. Derek Weber, who provides guidance for our services each week
through UMC Discipleship Ministries, has probably offered the same
message about Mother's Day every year. We are cautioned to be
aware of all women on this day.
His message not only never changes (at this point I could probably
quote the introduction to his Mother's Day notes word for word), it is
only mildly supplemented by current events.
Some forty odd years ago, I met a young woman who would never
become a mom. Though we never said the words, we loved each other.
We took joy in each other's company, we looked forward to the times we
would spend together. We spent many hours chatting with each other, we
spent several years getting to know each other better. We shared our joys,
we shared our sorrows. At one point she hinted that she wasn't able to
bear children. The miracle of motherhood might never be hers.
We never seemed to be able to overcome the challenge that she was strongly
Catholic and I was equally committed to my protestant faith. Life took us
in different directions. It broke my heart to say goodbye.
She never married. I doubt very much that she ever had children, her faith
never would have permitted to bear a child out of wedlock. I wonder how
she feels about Mother's Day.
I married a woman who had amazing career plans. Instead, she had two
children, each pregnancy putting her farther and farther from her plans.
I wonder how she feels about Mother's Day. I wonder if she ever forgave
me for that disruption in her plans.
I am thankful that I have a mom who never seemed to rue that independence
that would have kept her from motherhood. As a young adult and young parent,
I marveled at the ways in which she was able to provide for my siblings and
me when we were children.
That scripture reading I mentioned earlier? I looked it up. It spoke to suffering
as a means to achieve holiness. I wondered how this man's mom had treated it.
I reached the point in the eulogy where I turn the service over to those who
would like to share a personal story about the deceased. The son told a
heartwarming story. So also, the daughter-in-law and sister-in-law. There
was a lull. I was about to close the ceremony when a woman near the
back stood up. Twenty minutes later she had let us know exactly how her
mother had applied that favorite scripture.
When I played concerts or shows, and things went a little long, the conductor
or bandleader always used pretty much the same signal to wrap things up a
little early. Her brother gave me that same sign, an index finger discreetly
placed in front of the stomach making a hair twirling motion.
There are all kinds of mothers. Most do their best to enjoy their children,
showing them the kind of love that helps them feel free to express themselves,
gently nudging them to success in whatever brings them joy. Some step in
as a surrogate when the child's own mother can't be there.
Others fail to support their child in a way the child should be supported. Dr.
Weber's warning and caution has not fallen on deaf ears. I have witnessed all of
those mothers and have been made aware of still others.
For all those women who have had the joy of being mothers, Happy Mother's Day.
For all those women who have not experienced that joy, peace to you and
thank you for the times you have praised and loved a child.
But what of today's scripture? Last week, I gave a hint as to what was to come.
Today, it is here before us. Jesus brings us one more caveat, an omen of what
is to come: “no one has greater love than to give up one's life for one's
friends.” (John 15:13)
There is a danger in taking this verse out of context. Jesus is telling his
disciples that he is about to die for our sins. It is more personal in this
context because Jesus was in the midst of those who would most
immediately feel the impact of that death.
Too often, we take this to mean that this is the most important way to show
ur love for each other. There is an easier way to “give up one's life.”. It doesn't
have to be literal. All women know this, whether they have borne children or
not. They all know that they will be sacrificing a portion of their life in order
to raise their children. If they cannot or do not wish to bear children, they also
have that opportunity to sacrifice in sharing what they know with children,
sharing what they can love with children. Sometimes, they are awesome aunties.
Sometimes, they donate their time to help feed or house the less fortunate.
Sometimes, they look out for you even as an adult, adding the scripture
that you forgot to put in the bulletin. Thanks, Pat.
Let us be in prayer.
Lord, help us to know when to sacrifice our life for others and when to look
out for ourselves. Grant us the wisdom to know the difference. Grant us the
opportunity to share our love with others as you have commanded us to do.
In Your Blessed and Holy Name, we pray, Amen.
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS
Prayers of the People
(inspired by John 15:9-17)
L: Eternal God, in these moments of quiet we thank you for your
presence in our lives. We thank you for all of the testimonies of your
profound love for your children. We especially thank you this day
for the holy one Jesus. We thank you for his humility. We thank you
that rather than elevating himself above us he instead would lift us
up and as with his disciples call us “friends.” We thank you for his
many reminders that we are to love one another. But we confess
that we have great difficulty following his command to love.
We become upset with others and find it easier to reject them
than to seek to understand and to love them. We struggle with
the almost impossible command to love our enemies.
We become driven to meet our own needs and become blind
to the needs of others. We are driven to succeed which becomes
all-consuming and trumps our command to love. Forgive us our
foolish ways. Help us to keep in our awareness this command to
love which Jesus repeated so many times. Help us especially to
hear it in those hard times when it is most difficult to love.
Help us to love others when they are power hungry.
Help us to love others when they are inconsiderate.
Help us to love others when they are angry and lash out blindly.
Help us to love others when they are selfish and insensitive.
Help us, O God, to love others so that we may abide in your love
and act like the friends of Jesus.
(Written by Richard J. Einerson from his collection of prayers,
Prayers of the People. http://www.richardeinerson.com/ Reposted:
Let us gather up our prayers, both those spoken and unspoken,
as we pray together the prayer You taught us:
The Lord’s Prayer
“There's a Spirit of Love in This Place” W&S#3148
(based on John 15:9-17)
L: Go now, and bear fruit for God, fruit that will last.
As Christ has loved you, so love one another,
and abide always in God's love,
that your joy may be complete.
And may God give you all you ask for in Christ’s name;
May Christ Jesus reveal to you God’s
ways and call you his friends;
And may the Holy Spirit confirm the truth within you
and make your joy complete.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
P: in the name of Christ. Amen.
(Copyright © 2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net.
Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/04 benediction-easter-6-b.html.)
“Bind Us Together ”TFWS#2226
We are led this morning by Michael Thorpe
you may call/text Pastor Mike at 802-355-9574
"Prayer is not a substitute for action;
it is an action for which there is no substitute."
Mayerling Anderson Sabrena Ducharme Arthur Hooper Gary Hazard
Paul Moskowitz Kelly Maxfield Charles Tinker Eva Lancaster
Emily (a parishioner of a colleague of Rev. Pat’s in northern Maine) –
who has received her heart transplant but whose mother
died suddenly due to a heart attack
Kim (a friend of Linda Martin’s) who needs a kidney transplant
Howard (a retired clergy friend of Rev. Pat’s) who will soon be receiving
radiation for pancreatic cancer and for his wife, Dee
Linda Martin's sister-in-law whose cancer has spread to her lungs
Jane (Vernon’s sister), who is recovering from hip surgery
Josh Ducharme, recovering from a blood marrow transplant, and his
wife, Shannon who is currently receiving chemotherapy drug for
Kelly Robtoy, who has recently had surgery and been unable
to have visits from her family
Friends of Diane from Binghamville who have Covid
Linda (Pastor Mike’s Mom and Aunt Cathy’s sister)
who is struggling with stomach issues
Friend of Mike's Aunt Cathy, who is suffering from cancer
Friends of Greg McElroy’s, John and Nancy Eles from Arizona;
Nancy has been very ill and had numerous operations
to diagnose her issues
Anna Sweet, Tara’s oldest daughter, who had acute appendicitis
For all those around us who are suffering from a myriad of issues
as a result of the covid pandemic
For the families of those who have lost their lives in mass
Shootings during the past weeks
Prayers that those who are having doubts for whatever
reason about receiving the covid vaccine will come to accept its
value not only for themselves but for keeping others safe, as well
Prayers for Lawrence Douglas who is experiencing health issues
and for his wife, Elizabeth
Mark Faith, our local funeral director, who has been unjustly
put on suspension
The Glow family who had a 90-year old relative who had
been fully vaccinated but got covid anyway – but who survived
as a result of the vaccines
The Connelly family who experienced the death of a loved one recently
A young family in which the father is suffering from alcohol addiction
For the 20 families in Providence, RI, who have been displaced due
to a devastating fire that destroyed their home – that they might find
new homes in the weeks ahead
For the daughter and husband of Pat’s clergy friend, Ellen, in
Northern Maine, whose daughter is in rehab in RI for PTSD
For Greg and Helen McElroy who are on their way back home
after visiting Greg’s son, Nathaniel, in Texas, who has cancer