May 17, 2020

Rethinking our Connections

Preacher:
Passage: 1 Peter 3:13-22 and John 14:15-21

The rights to music under licence: CCLI: 1963748

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Call to Worship

Hymn: Love Divine, all loves excelling

Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down
Fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown
Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art.
Visit us with thy salvation, enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, oh breather thy loving Spirit into every troubled breast
Let us all in thee inherit, let us find the promised rest.
Take away our love of sinning, Alpha and Omega be
End of faith as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty

Come, almighty to deliver, let us all thy grace receive
Suddenly return and never, never more thy temples leave
Thee we would be always blessing, serve thee as thy hosts above
Pray and praise thee, without ceasing, glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation, pure and spotless let us be
Let us see thy great salvation, perfectly restored in thee
Changed from glory into glory till in heaven we take our place
Till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Prayer of Adoration and Confession

Assurance of Pardon

Family Hymn: Weave

Weave, weave, weave us together
Weave us together in unity and love
Weave, weave, weave us together
Weave us together, together in love

We are many textures, we are many colours
Each one different from the other
But we are entwined with one another in one great tapestry

Weave, weave, weave us together
Weave us together in unity and love
Weave, weave, weave us together
Weave us together, together in love

Time with our Children

Prayer for Understanding

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:13-22

13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?
14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated,
15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;
16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.
17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God's will, than to suffer for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit,
19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison,
20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

Scripture: John 14:15-21

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."

HYMN: Give me oil in my lamp

Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning; give me oil in my lamp, I pray
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning; keep me burning till the break of day

CHORUS: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the Servant King
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna, let us sing!

Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising; give me joy in my heart, I pray
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising; keep me praising till the break of day

CHORUS:

Give me peace in my heart, keep my loving; give me loving in my heart, I pray
Give me peace in my heart, keep my loving; keep me loving till the break of day

CHORUS:

Give me love in my heart, keep me serving; give me love in my heart, I pray
Give me love in my heart, keep me serving; keep me serving till the break of day

CHORUS:

The Message: Rethinking our Connections – John 14:15-21

During this time when our normal patterns of social interaction have been suspended, we are given an opportunity to reflect on the foundational principles that guide our life and our choices in life. Last year I introduced to you the thoughts and ideas from John Philip Newell’s book The Rebirthing of God. It was subtitled Christianity’s struggle for new beginnings. I want to encourage us to think again about some of those ideas.

Newell began his book by encouraging us to recognize one again the sacredness of all life and to grasp a vision for life that would embrace all humanity. We were challenged to see the light of God in every person and to spend our time not in judgment or condemnation of those with whom we discovered differences but rather working for a justice that sought for the dignity and respect of all persons. We were challenged to think of compassion not as a duty or obligation but rather a responsibility to be shared. We were encouraged to see our life as a journey with God and to seek for ways to deepen and heighten our relationship with God and with one another. We were challenged to embrace the path of peacemakers by seeking to follow the path of non-violence adopting a willingness to listen and to respond to one another in a way that would maintain an open dialogue. Finally, we were encouraged to reconnect with love.

Love is the ultimate expression of the life we have been granted by God and the quality that is to be expressed to God and to one another. God so loved the world, John says, that he sent his only begotten Son – indeed he sent himself – into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. Remember the words from the beginning of John’s gospel where he speaks about the word of God. That passage could very well read: In the beginning was the Love and the Love was with God and the Love was God. Love was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In Love was life, and the life was the light of humanity. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

When we take away all the trappings of religion, we find that the ultimate reason for the existence of God and the existence of ourselves is to live for and with one another. We discover the heart of God and we discover the heart of our lives as people of faith and as a community of believers. Through the life of Jesus, God gives us an understanding of love, life, and light that we are to reflect as the people of God and a community of faith.

Every book of the New Testament was written with a purpose in mind. John’s purpose was to show us that the vision of God from the beginning of time was to be in relationship with us and to encourage us to be in relationship with him and with one another. Jesus’ interactions with people in the events John recorded reveals to us the willingness and ability of Jesus to relate to people in a way that reveals a genuine love and care. In verse 15 of chapter 14, Jesus begins: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Our decision to be the people of God is not to be one that is based on reward or punishment, and not one based on fear. Our decision to be the people of God and to live our lives as the people of God is to be based on nothing more and nothing less than a genuine love.

We are to keep the commandments out of that love, emulating as close as we can the love with which Jesus loves us and others. In this way we will reveal to others in the world that God is not a cold, detached tyrant seeking for people to fail but a God who is kind and tender-hearted, an involved caregiver whose intention is to have us discover and live lives that will bring peace, healing, hope and restoration to us in mind, body and spirit.

Love is what motivated God to create; love is what motivated God to come in Christ; love is what motivated Jesus’ ministry; and our response to that love is to let our love for God motivate us in our life within this community of faith and in the wider community of the world in which we live.

AMEN

HYMN: A new commandment

A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you
That you love one another as I have loved you
By this shall all know you are my disciples; if you have love one for another
By this shall all know you are my disciples; if you have love one for another

Invitation to the Offering

Prayer of Dedication
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Forever and ever. AMEN

HYMN: Lord, the light of your love is shining

Lord, the light of your love is shining in the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us. Set us free by the truth you now bring us
Shine on me; shine on me.

CHORUS: Shine, Jesus, shine; fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow; flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word, Lord, and let there be light!

Lord, I come to your awesome presence, from the shadows into your radiance
By your blood I may enter your brightness. Search me, try me, consume all my darkness.
Shine on me; shine on me.

CHORUS:

As we gaze on your kingly brightness, so our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory: mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me; shine on me.

CHORUS:

Benediction