Welcome to the virtual service for the 5th Sunday of Easter – 10 May 2020
You’ll find all of today’s Scriptures from the Lectionary, the sermon as audio and the prayers as text. Rev. Geoff McKee’s sermon is based on John 14:1-14, below, which is a well-known passage.
Geoff returns to a repeating theme – that, as Christians, we must constantly remind ourselves that we are in the biggest family in the world and there is room in it for everyone.
Acts 7:55-60 (New International Version)
55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
1 Peter 2:2-10
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus the Way to the Father
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Call to Worship
At times it can be difficult
to look forward in hope,
to face the future,
to trust that God is working for us.
But in this worship space,
God is with us.
Offering us a glimpse of heaven,
a teaser of what is to come.
So, however difficult,
put your trust in God
and worship him.
God is good,
let us worship him.
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
maker of all that is seen
and all that is hidden;
we set aside time in our homes and routine to slow down, to pause, to worship and adore you.
May our homes on earth
be a reflection of your heavenly home.
May our hearts
always be open in welcome,
may our love be shared with all people,
may our worship be inclusive
and may our praise be honest and true.
As we seek to follow in the way of Jesus,
may others see you in us
as the disciples saw you in Jesus.
Merciful God, we are sorry
for the times when we fail you,
for the times when we turn from your way
to follow our own path.
We are sorry
for the times that we misunderstand
or disregard your will for us.
We come humbly before you today
and ask for your forgiveness.
Help us to accept
your free offer of forgiveness
and put us back on the right pathway.
Lead us to your kingdom here on earth
help us as we assist you in its creation.
In the name of Jesus we pray.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
God of all goodness and grace,
give us such confidence, such peace,
such happiness in you,
that your will may always be dearer to us
than our will,
and your pleasure than our pleasure.
All that you give is your free gift to us,
all that you take away is your grace to us.
May you be thanked for all, praised for all,
loved for all;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of justice and love,
help us listen to our sisters and brothers
who are living with the reality of a viral epidemic in the midst of great suffering.
We pray for people who are hungry because of failed harvests and dry river beds. For people who are homeless because of unpredictable and extreme weather, for people who are struggling to make a living in ever more challenging circumstances. We remember those who have no medical support and no prospect of it.
We pray for those enduring illness. We pray for medical staff, and all who assist them to ensure that people are cared for. We remember our key workers across all types of work who ensure that we can live as safely as possible.
We pray for those who mourn today; unable to express their grief as they would wish, deprived of contact and comfort. May you draw near and bring your peace.
We pray alongside people everywhere who show that another world is possible through their words and actions. Give us the strength we need to play our part in restoring Your world, to act justly and to walk humbly.
May our love for our neighbours, even for those far from us, make known our love for You.
In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to 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,
the power and the glory,