You can watch the service here.
If you are watching our live stream this morning, you are invited to find a candle, so that we can all light candles at the same time.
CALL TO WORSHIP (Psalm 66:20)
Blessed is God, who hears our prayers,
whose steadfast love endures forever.
Let us pray: O God, you have prepared for those who love you joys beyond understanding. Pour into our hearts such love for you, that, loving you above all else, we may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
CALL TO THANKSGIVING
In the season of Easter, we use this time to offer our thanks to God, rather than our confessions, because Christ has died for our sins and has risen to give us new life.
Please join me in the prayer of thanksgiving, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Eternal God, we praise you that your glory has dawned on us, and brought us into this Day of Resurrection. We rejoice that the grave could not hold your Son, and that he has conquered death, risen to rule over all powers of this earth. We praise you that he summons us into new life, to follow him with joy and gladness. By your Spirit, lift us from doubt and despair, and set our feet in Christ’s holy way, that our lives may be signs of his life, and all we have may show forth his love. Praise, glory, and thanksgiving to you, our God, forever and ever. Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what are you thankful for this week?
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Let us pray: Almighty God, we know that we are not to be a people of fear, and yet there is much of which we are afraid in these challenging times. We come to you now, asking for the gift of your living Word. Enlighten the eyes of our heart so that we can be the people of love you call us to be. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
PSALM 66:8-9, 10-14, 16-20
Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of praise be heard,
for God has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
I will come into your house with burnt-offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what God has done for me.
I cried aloud to God,
and God was extolled with my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
and has given heed to the words of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because God has not rejected my prayer
or removed God’s steadfast love from me.
1 Blessed Jesus, at your word
we have come again to hear you;
let our thoughts and hearts be stirred
and in glowing faith be near you.
By your gospel true and holy,
teach us, Lord, to love you solely.
2 All our knowledge, sense, and sight
lie in deepest darkness shrouded,
till your Spirit breaks our night,
filling us with light unclouded.
All good thoughts and all good living
come but by your gracious giving.
3 Glorious Lord, yourself impart,
Light of Light, from God proceeding.
Touch our lips and ears and heart;
help us by your Spirit’s pleading.
Hear the cry your church now raises;
hear, and bless our prayers and praises.
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, who will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees her nor knows her. You know her, because she abides with you, and she will be in you.
‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 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.’
First, what do you think the word “love” means?
Who do you love?
Why do you love them? Not just because you’re related to them or legally attached—why do you love the people you love?
How do you show your love?
Is there something you could do today to express your love for someone?
Where do you see a need for love in the world?
What could you do to help fill that need?
Love is something concrete. It isn’t just sentimental feelings, or words, or even hugs, or notes in the mail. How can we love each other, without words or physical touch?
What can we do right now to keep our community safe and healthy, even though we’re bored as heck, and lonely, and wishing we could go back to the way things were?
How does actively loving other people bring us closer to God?
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (JILL DUFFIELD)
Helper, Holy Spirit, Advocate, Comforter, come to us now as we seek the wisdom and will of our God. We want to love as Jesus commands, loving others no less than he loves us, and yet we struggle with pettiness and partisanship, with greed and selfishness. Our fears prevent us from practicing the perfect love that sets us free to live with joy. For just a moment, Helper, Holy Spirit, Advocate and Comforter, come to us and quiet our minds, calm our hearts, envelop us with the peace of Christ.
Abiding in the God who abides in us, we remember Jesus’ teachings to serve and tend, feed and visit, clothe and welcome. We remember those who feel forgotten. We embrace those who know rejection. We treat with tenderness those who have been abused. We seek out those who are lost. We stand with the vulnerable and speak up to those who oppress the weak. We will not abandon those who mourn but will remain with the brokenhearted until resurrection resounds through all creation.
Helper, Holy Spirit, Advocate and Comforter, come to us now to show us how to follow Christ more closely. As the world reels from this pandemic and our anxieties increase, give us the courage to speak the truth to power, the wisdom to tell the truth in love, the faith to live the truth that sets us all free. May our presence provide the light of Christ that will show us the way.
Resting in the promise that we will not be left alone, we dare to risk our own safety and security for the sake of others. In this season when so many are suffering, we will not forget that whenever we care for the least of these among us, we care for Christ himself. Grant us the energy to remain steadfast in our caring, the hope to bear witness to the compassion of Christ in painful places and the inspiration to see divine possibility where others only see intractable problems.
Helper, Holy Spirit, Advocate and Comforter, come to us now to ease our burdens, refresh our souls and make our joy complete. Helper, Holy Spirit, Advocate and Comforter come to us now to assure us that we are not alone, not now, not ever. We pray in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, the One who taught us to say when we pray:
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. Amen.
1 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.
2 Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast;
let us all in thee inherit;
let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
3 Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore 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.
4 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.
INVITATION TO OFFERING
God you have kept us among the living and not let our feet slip. You listen to us and abide with us. You sent your Son to save us, gave us the Advocate to guide us and promise to never leave us alone. Your goodness astounds us. We will extol you and sing your praises. We will offer in thanks a portion of the resources you have entrusted to us.
If you are able to, please consider mailing your offerings to the church (210 Smith Street). Alternatively, there is a link at the top of this page that will take you directly to a secure page where you can make a one-time donation. We appreciate your generosity as we seek to continue our mission and ministry throughout the community during this difficult time.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Let us pray: Lord, in you we live and move and have our being. You pour out your blessings upon us and we rest in your steadfast kindness. We cannot possibly return to you that which you deserve. We can only humbly present you with these gifts in gratitude and joy. Use our offerings, we pray, to show the love of Jesus Christ to a hurting world. May they be a source of hope and comfort to all those who need to know they are not alone. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (from A Brief Statement of Faith)
We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life. The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the Church. The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism, feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the church. In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace. In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God’s countenance be lifted upon you and give you peace.
If you love Jesus, follow his commandments
and live out lives of love.
God has seen us through lonely times before,
and God will see us through again.
From wherever you are, serve the Lord: Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.
VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR
If you are using this page to follow along with today’s worship service while it is being live streamed, please join us for virtual coffee hour! Turn on your video camera and join us at about 11am or a little before with this link. You could also join over the telephone by dialing (312) 626-6799 and entering the meeting code 146 874 134, followed by the password 075003.