Introduction & Welcome

Welcome to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good! all the time!

and all the time! God is good!

This Sunday’s image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship. We are called to serve others as Jesus came to serve; but for John’s gospel, the image of servanthood is too hierarchical, too distant, to capture the essence of life with Christ. Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us. The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other. This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit.

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Refreshed by the resurrection life we share in Christ,

let us give thanks for the gift of baptism.

 We thank you, risen Christ,

for the waters where you make us new,

leading us from death to life, from tears to joy.

We bless you, risen Christ, that your Spirit comes to us

in the grace-filled waters of rebirth,

like rains to our thirsting earth,

like streams that revive our souls,

like cups of cool water shared with strangers.

Breathe your peace on your church when we hide in fear.

Clothe us with your mercy and forgiveness.

Send us companions on our journey as we share your life.

Make us one, risen Christ.

Cleanse our hearts.

Shower us with life.

To you be given all praise,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God,

now and forever.


Confession and Forgiveness

All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.

Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,

the keeper of the covenant,

the source of steadfast love,

our rock and our redeemer.


God hears us when we cry, and draws us close in Jesus Christ. Let us return to the one who is full of compassion.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Fountain of living water,

pour out your mercy over us.

Our sin is heavy, and we long to be free.

Rebuild what we have ruined and mend what we have torn.

Wash us in your cleansing flood.

Make us alive in the Spirit to follow in the way of Jesus,

as healers and restorers of the world you so love.


Beloved, God’s word never fails.

The promise rests on grace:

by the saving love of Jesus Christ,

the wisdom and power of God,

your sins are ☩ forgiven, and God remembers them no more.

Journey in the way of Jesus.


Prayer of the Day

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 things, we may obtain your promises, which exceed all we can desire; through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


First Reading: Acts 10:44-48

While Peter shares the good news of Jesus with a Gentile soldier and his family, the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Recognizing that the Spirit works inclusively in the lives of both Jews and Gentiles, Peter commands that these Gentiles also be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Psalm: Psalm 98

Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands. (Ps. 98:4)

1Sing a new song to the Lord, who has done marvelous things,
whose right hand and holy arm have won the victory.
2O Lord, you have made known your victory,
you have revealed your righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3You remember your steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
4Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands;
lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing. 
5Sing to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the voice of song.
6With trumpets and the sound of the horn
shout with joy before the king, the Lord.
7Let the sea roar, and all that fills it,
the world and those who dwell therein.
8Let the rivers clap their hands,
and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord, who comes to judge the earth.
9The Lord will judge the world with righteousness
and the peoples with equity. 

Second Reading: 1 John 5:1-6

God’s children believe that Jesus is the Messiah and love God by keeping God’s commandments. Thus the world is conquered not through military might but through love and faith.

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them,* and we will come to them and make our home with them. Alleluia. (John 14:23)

Gospel: John 15:9-17

On the night of his arrest, Jesus delivers a final testimony to his disciples to help them in the days ahead. Here, he repeats the most important of all his commands, that they love one another.

[Jesus said:] 9“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

Meditation by David O’Brien

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your site, and give Glory to Your Name, Oh Lord. Amen

“Love one another as I have loved you”. That sounds pretty simple but somehow, we can make it much more difficult than it needs to be. Sometimes, we want to put qualifiers on it that Christ never stated. I’ve seen some people act as though Jesus said that we are to love one another, but not if the other thinks differently than the way we do. The divisiveness we see in today’s society is a result of that kind of thinking. It’s gotten so we can’t have honest disagreements and still remain friends with one another. This is particularly problematic in our government. We’ve spent more time turning our disagreements into reasons to hate each other instead of finding some common ground. You’re either red or your blue and if you’re not the same one as me, I can’t even have a conversation with you. It’s gotten so bad that each side has their own set of “facts” upon which they rely. This affects everything from who won the last election to civil rights.

We’ve been here before. There have been times in the history of the Church where denominations were quite literally at war with each other. I think about the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland, or the “troubles” in Ireland and wonder what they were thinking about. Certainly they had legitimate grievances against each other. But to kill each other because they chose to worship Christ in a different manner? This seems to me to be the last thing that Jesus would have wanted, especially to be done in his name. Here in the U. S., I heard members of one denomination or another saying that people that follow that Christian denomination are going to hell because they don’t believe the same things the others do. This sounds rather hateful to me rather than being loving towards your Christian brothers and sisters.

This isn’t the only time where Jesus instructs us to love one another. When He was asked what the greatest commandment was, loving our neighbors as we do ourselves was in the top two. In both instances, Christ was also talking about loving God. And how do we do that? By keeping His commandments and as it says in 1 John 5, “His commandments are not burdensome”. It is by loving one another as He has loved us that we can fulfill his commands. That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to disagree. Disagreements are inevitable among people. Perhaps we will disagree about the appropriate role that government should play in our lives. Or the status of civil rights for racial or religious minorities, women or LGBTQ people. But if we love each other, we can talk about our different opinions without disavowing our friendship for each other.

So what can we do to start loving one another as Jesus has loved us? I think we can start within our own congregation by not letting our disagreements tear us apart. So this person likes the traditional service and organ music and another likes a more contemporary sound. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t giving praise to the same God. I think that God will find both styles of praise pleasing. I also think that He would rejoice in seeing people of both preferences coming together and sharing their love for each other and for God as one. Maybe not all the time, but certainly once in a while we could express our love for each other together, couldn’t we? As an example, I’ve always enjoyed the Rag Time Rick service, but I wouldn’t want it every week. I’ve also enjoyed it when we’ve had a service with other congregations, even one from another denominations, as we do on Thanksgiving evening. The inter-faith service we’ve had in previous years is another way we show our love for others in our community. In coming together with other people of different faith backgrounds, whether Christian or not, I think is pleasing to God and will foster understanding between us, and that is a good first step toward loving one another as Jesus has loved us.

All the while I’ve been writing this, I’ve had the song “they will know we are Christians by our love” running though my head. May we all show that kind of love towards one another and the entire world, so that the will know we are Christians. I think this would be a much better world if we at least tried and I think it would be a much more joyful one as well!

Prayers of Intercession

Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring our prayers before God who promises to hear us and answer in steadfast love.

A brief silence.

Loving God, you call us to be your fruit-bearing church. Strengthen the bonds among all Christian churches. Today we pray for the Moravian Church, giving thanks for the life and witness of Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, renewer of the church and hymnwriter. We also pray for our own Church, for Daniel and Elizabeth, our bishops, and Howard, our pastor, and for all of our congregation, that we may be one and bear fruit that is pleasing in your sight. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Creating God, the earth praises you. The seas roar and the hills sing for joy. Fill the earth with your love so that by their song, all creatures of land and sea and sky, burrowing and soaring, may call us to join with them in praise. As the weather is warming and we spend more time outside, help us to use your creation responsibly, so that those who follow us can also enjoy it’s beauty. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Faithful Savior, you conquer the world not with weapons but with undying love. Plant your word in the hearts of the leaders of nations and localities and give them your Spirit, so that the peoples of the world may live in peace. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Caring Healer, you forget no one and accompany the lonely. Be present with those who are sick or suffering, especially those on our prayer list. Provide for those needing homes or medical care and point us towards life-changing responses to these needs in our own communities. Be with the sick and the dying, the lonely and the heartbroken and all those who cry out for your loving presence. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Gracious God, as a mother comforts her child, you comfort us. Bless mothers and mothering people in our lives. Comfort those who miss their mothers, mothers who grieve, those who grieve because they cannot be mothers, and those who have never known a loving mother. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Loving God, You know us better than we know ourselves. You know what is in our hearts and what is in our best interests. If it comports with Your will, grant us the desires we raise to You now and those which we keep in our hearts. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

 Gentle Redeemer, all who die in you abide in your presence forever. We remember with thanksgiving those who shared your love throughout their lives, especially those we mention aloud and also those we remember in our hearts. Keep us united with them in your lasting love. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


God of love,

you call us beloved children and welcome us to your table.

Receive our lives and the gifts we offer.

Abide with us and send us in service to a suffering world;

for the sake of your beloved Child, Jesus Christ.


Wellspring of joy,

through this celebration, you have put gladness in our hearts.

Satisfy the hunger around us and send us as joyful witnesses,

that your love may bring joy to the hearts of all people,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



May our glorious God grant you a spirit of wisdom

to know and to love the risen Lord Jesus.

The God of life,

Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.



Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Go in peace. Share the good news.

Bless the world and be God’s grace. Alleluia!

Thanks be to God. Alleluia!