Sent into the World (Lynn Vaughan)

Worship on the Seventh Sunday of Easter
Mother’s Day / Christian Family Sunday
10:00 am       12 May 2024
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Lynn Vaughan
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Linda Farrah-Basford
Elder:  Gina Kottke

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: and also with you.

Lighting of the Christ candle
Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Call to Worship
L: Clap your hands, all you peoples;
P: We will shout to God with songs of joy.
L: For God is awesome, reigning over all the earth!
P: We will sing praises to God every day.
L: Let us worship God with all we have to offer.
P: We will offer God our love – heart, body, mind and soul!

Opening praise: Love the Lord, your God

Prayers of approach and confession

God of promise and purpose, we praise with thankful hearts.

As the beauty of the seasons change the beauty of your world lifts our hearts in praise. You lifted up Jesus to be by your side, and so we know he is always by our side as the future opens before us. Show us the promise and purpose in our own lives – how we can unfurl with new life and move into the future empowered by the Holy Spirit, embraced by the love of Christ our Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, you called your followers to carry the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness to the ends of the earth. Yet we confess we cannot always find the words to tell others of our faith.

We try to act out your love, but it’s hard to tell others why we do what we do for you.

Forgive us. Give us the courage to speak openly of our commitment to you.

Response: I waited, I waited on you, Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Friends, remember the promise the Apostle Paul declares: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Hardship? Distress? Peril or sword? Neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Let us rejoice that, no matter what is happening around us, no matter what path we are looking to follow, God’s deep love will always be with us.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: My Lighthouse


Our theme in Sunday School today is “Sent into the World”, so we’re going to do a little experiment to demonstrate how that might look for us, as Christians.

This bottle I have and the water inside of it is going to represent the world we live in. It has the potential to be pure and beautiful and clear but, unfortunately, our world is sometimes a messy place. Sometimes, bad things happen. Sometimes, people are too busy looking out for themselves that they forget to look out for each other. They forget to love one another and be kind, as Jesus teaches us. So, that makes our world look a little murky and cloudy. (add food colouring to water)

After Jesus and his disciples ate their Last Supper together before his crucifixion, he prayed for them. He prayed that as they lived in the world, they would not become part of the murkiness and bad things that happened in the world. He wanted them to go out into the world and share the gifts he had given them, but he did not want them to become stained. He wanted them to remain the people God made them to be. He wanted them to know His love and to share that love with others. So, he prayed for them.

This prayer doesn’t just apply to Jesus’ disciples; it applies to us, too.

So, here we are, getting ready to go out into the world. Let’s see what happens. (pour oil into water in jar, shake it up)

When we first put these things together, it appears that the water and oil become one, right? But wait a minute.

Have the oil and water really become one? Let’s let the bottle stand for a little while and see what happens. Look! The water and oil have separated. That shows us that even when they were all mixed together, they were never really all together as one.

This is a pretty good picture of what Jesus wants US to be like in this world of ours. Even though we live in the world, we don’t have to become part of the muck and the bad stuff that so often exists. We can rise above everything bad and negative in the world and be separate from it, showing off our love and compassion for each other. We can teach others about God’s kingdom and everything good that happens when we follow Jesus and open our hearts to having a relationship with God.


Dear Jesus, help us, as we live in this world, to remain faithful to your call to be separate from the world and show off your love.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: God forgave my sin (774)

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: Acts 1:1-14 and John 17:1-19

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message: Sent into the world

This Sunday’s Gospel text comes at a unique time in the Church year.

The Easter season begins a time of 50 days that ends with Pentecost, which will happen next Sunday, and it includes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit onto Jesus’ disciples. During the 50 days of Easter, we have the chance to revel in the new life Christ brings when he conquers death.

This past Thursday, which is ten days before Pentecost, marks the day of Christ’s Ascension into heaven. So then, today, the 7th Sunday of Easter – is kind of an “in between” Sunday.

On this particular Sunday of the Easter season:

  • Christ is no longer physically present with the disciples, as he has been since his resurrection, but
  • The Holy Spirit has not yet come upon them and given them the courage and motivation to begin their mission work as they are sent out into the world.

This scenario is a very typical moment for our own experiences of Christian life. We know Christ is risen. We know He has the power to conquer death. But, like the Apostles during this in-between time before Pentecost, we sometimes feel a bit scared and powerless to go out and face the world.

In the Gospel reading from John 17 that we just heard, we are taken back in time to Jesus’ last meal with his friends – the Last Supper – and the great and mysterious prayer he recited after dinner. Jesus is acutely aware that he is about to leave them. He has done all he can to protect his friends and teach them about God’s love, up until this time, but now he must entrust them to his Father’s care.

The prayer that Jesus recites bounces around a bit and is a little confusing, but it emphasizes three main things: belonging, being informed, and being sent. Today, I’m choosing to focus on the being sent part of things.

The disciples are made aware that Jesus, the Son, was “sent” by the Father. This “sentness” seems to be crucial to a true and transforming faith.

Jesus prays that his disciples – that WE – are being sent out in the same way as he was sent. He gives us the big green light to GO into the world to spread the message of the gospel and TRUST that all will be well as we face the future … and all the uncertainties that come along with that.

I’m going to share with you a little story about some fish who were kind of stuck in their own little world, set in their ways, when they were suddenly given the opportunity to follow a new path and take a chance on something that could change their sheltered lives forever. We are reminded that Christ offers an invitation to each one of us, as well. He holds it out and waits for us to respond. No one is forcing us to accept it. No one coerces us into believing. We each receive an invitation to follow Him and go out into the world to continue to spread the good news.

Do we dare respond to this invitation? Are we ready to follow this teacher? Are we ready to live our lives with him and be sent out to do His work? As I tell the story, see if you recognize any of the characters in the story in the  people around us. See if you recognize any of the characters in yourself!

This is a story about some fishes who lived in a very small puddle of water.

“Give me that waterbug!”

“No, I saw him first!”

“Get your fins off my supper!”

“He’s mine, I tell you!”

And so, every day, the little fishes would fight. In such cramped quarters, there isn’t much else to do — except swim in circles and hunt for waterbugs. Their stagnant puddle, cradled between the roots of an ancient oak, lay just beside a swiftly flowing river. Life never seemed to change for the puddle fish.

But one morning, as they swam in circles and hunted for waterbugs, there was a sudden noise:


“Watch yourself! Stand clear!”

An amazing, brightly coloured fish had jumped into the riverside puddle. This large fish had blue and red and golden scales. And — what was most unusual to the inhabitants of this particular puddle of water — he was smiling.

At first, the frightened puddle–fishes huddled together against the puddle’s far edge. Finally, one of them asked, “Where do you come from?”

The Sparkling Fish smiled brightly: “I come from the sea.”

“The sea? What’s the sea?”

The Sparkling Fish shook his head in surprise. “You don’t know about the sea? No one has ever told you? Why, the sea . . . the sea is what fish are made for!” He rubbed a golden fin against his head, puzzled.

“How can I explain the sea to you? Well … it’s not like this little puddle; it’s endless! You don’t have to swim in circles all day; you can dance with the tides. Life isn’t lived in the shade — the sun arches over the waves in silver and crimson! And there are many splendid sea–creatures, such as can hardly be imagined! It’s endless! And sparkling clear. The sea is what fish are made for!”

Just then, a waterbug skirted the surface overhead, but no one moved. Then a pale gray puddle–fish spoke up: “How do we get to the sea?”

The Sparkling Fish pointed toward the large black root that lay close to the river’s edge. “It’s a simple matter. You jump from this little puddle into that river, and trust that the current will take you to the sea.”

Astonishment clouded the puddle–water. At last, a brave little fish swam forward with a hard, experienced look in his eye. He was a Realist Fish.

The Realist Fish looked down at the muddy puddle–bottom and frowned. “It’s pleasant to talk about this ‘sea–business’. But if you ask me, we have to face reality. And what is reality? Obviously — it’s swimming in circles and hunting for waterbugs.”

A look of distaste mingled with pity crossed his face. “It’s all pie–in–the–sea nonsense. Of course, I sympathize; you undoubtedly dreamed this up because of some trauma you suffered as a little guppy. But life is hard. It takes a real Fish to face the facts.”

The Sparkling Fish smiled: “But you don’t understand. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the sea. It’s far more wonderful ….” Yet before he could finish speaking, the Realist Fish swam away.

Next, there neared a fish with a nervous twitch in his tail. He was a Scared Fish. He began to stutter: “If . . . if I understand y–y–you, we’re supposed to j–j–jump into th–th–that river over there?”

“Yes. For a fish who wants to go to the sea, the way to get there lies through the river.” The Sparkling Fish swam closer. (It’s difficult to understand someone when he stutters underwater.)

The Scared Fish’s voice jumped to a screech: “B–B–But . . . have you looked at that river over there? I’m just a small fish! That river is deep and strong and wide! Why, a small fish would be swept away by the current! If I jumped out of this puddle, I wouldn’t have any control! NO! I just can’t. . .”

The Sparkling Fish whispered, “Just trust me. Trust that the river will take you some place good . . .” But before he could finish, the Scared Fish hurried away.

Finally, there swam out a figure who seemed very solemn and learned. (He had been in this particular school of fish longer than anyone else.) He was a Theolo­gian Fish.

Calmly, he swam to the middle of the puddle and adjusted his spectacles. Setting down a small shellfish podium, the Theologian Fish pulled out a sheaf of notes from his vest pocket. Then he smiled at the puddle–fishes: “My brothers and sisters, our distinguished visitor has expressed many views which certainly merit consideration.”

Then, he bowed respectfully to the Sparkling Fish: “However, my colourful friend, we must also concede that those fishes who so gracefully inhabit this humble puddle have also expressed many views which merit consideration. By all means, let us be reasonable.”

He glanced down at his notes, and then his smile brightened: “We can work this out. Why not form a discussion group? We could meet every Monday at seven o’clock, and I’m certain that some of the puddle–fish would be happy to bring coffee and doughnuts ….”

The eyes of the Sparkling Fish were sad: “No, this will never do. Talking is important, but in the end — it is a simple matter. You jump. You jump out of this puddle and trust that the river will take you to the sea.”

From somewhere above the muddied waters, a sparrow was singing. The light in the Sparkling Fish’s eyes shone with a bright urgency: “Besides, don’t you know? Summer is coming!”

The puddle–fishes murmured: “Summer is coming! Summer is …. Summer is coming. What difference does that make?”

The Sparkling Fish pointed toward the sun: “Summer is coming. The spring rains filled this little puddle to overflow­ing. But this puddle is going to dry up someday. No puddle lasts forever.”

The puddle–fishes were stunned. But then the Realist Fish swam to the front. There was a dark contempt on his face as he spat out his words: “That’s just like you religious people. When you don’t honestly convince people of what you believe, you try to scare them. You’re just one of those end–of–the–puddle fanatics!”

He swam away in disgust.

But then, all the colours of the Sparkling Fish — blue, red and gold — brightened into a warm glow. He whispered: “It is a simple matter. You jump. You jump from this little puddle, and trust that the river will take you to the sea. Will take you to a better future. Now … who will come and follow me?”

At first, no one moved. But then, a few puddle–fish swam to his side. Together, they jumped into the river, and the current swept them away.

The remaining puddle–fish were quiet for a long time.

Then, once again they began to swim in circles and hunt for waterbugs.

So now, ask yourself: are you ready to jump? Amen

Song: We are marching (639)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Even as the season of Easter draws closer to its end this week, we continue to receive the blessings God pours out for us in Christ and in creation. Our gifts to God speak of our gratitude for these blessings and our commitment to share them with the whole world.

Eternal and ever-present God, bless the gifts we offer today with the power of your Holy Spirit. Use them and us to witness to the love of Jesus Christ and bring healing and hope to the world in his name. Amen.

A Prayer for Christian Family Sunday

Lord Jesus Christ, You came to us bearing God’s love to live with us, to walk with us, and to show us how to love.

You pray with us and for us day by day.

Today we turn to you with our hopes and our concerns.

Draw near to us and to those for whom we pray, so that your love will be known in our world this day.

Lord Jesus, on this Christian Family Sunday, we pray for the families we belong to. Thank you for parents, grandparents and great-grandparents for the generations who started our families and all they have given to us.

Today we thank you especially for our mothers and pray for all the mothers around the world.

Give mothers hope for their children, and peace in the world to raise their children safely.

Comfort and support each member of our families and guide each child and young person into the future.

Lord Jesus, we pray for families in our community and in your world

We remember families in need:

Families who are struggling under economic pressures…

Families who know sorrow because someone has died or gone away…

Families who live in fear because they are in the midst of some kind of trouble…

Surround these families with your love and bring them courage to face whatever tomorrow brings.

Lord Jesus, we pray for each other and for our church family:

Thank you for the friendship and fellowship we share, and the unique gifts each one brings to our life together.

Show us our paths into the future and give us important things to do in your name. Amen.

Song: Who’s goin’ to tell the story (861)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Go in strength, with the assurance that Christ walks with you, to witness to his love in truth and action. And may God’s resurrecting love open the future for you, empowered by the Spirit, and embraced by the presence of Jesus Christ, our Risen and Ascended Lord.

Response: Go forth into the world

Music postlude


Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

Lynn Vaughan retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as she is aware, all of the material that has not been attributed to others is her own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.

Posted in Recent Sermons.