Sunday (Zoom from the sanctuary) message: The beauty of being connected

Worship on the Lords Day

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

Greeting

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

Opening words:

L: Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever
L: Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: Great are you Lord

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only
Great are You, Lord

Songwriters: Jason David Ingram, David Leonard,
Leslie Jordan. Great Are You Lord lyrics © Integrity’s Praise Music, Integrity S Alleluia Music. Reprinted with permission and permission to stream under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved.

Call to worship:

L: We gather with joy, for Easter continues.
P: Like spring crocuses breaking  
    through the earth, the power of 
    resurrection breaks through in 
    surprising ways.
L: Like the vine that supports
blossoms and fruit,
God’s Word upholds the church in strength.
P: Like an attentive gardener, God
    tends the needs of all creation.
L: Let us worship God who makes all things new.
P: We will praise our God who brings
    growth to each and every life.

Prayers of approach and confession

Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord, You are the vine, and we are the branches. Your love is our strength. Your energy is our joy. Your attentiveness is our hope. Your power can transform even the most difficult situations. You nourish our faith and imaginations so that we can bear fruit in many ways. You promise we can dwell in You because You are dwelling in us. We gather today to offer our praise to You, and bring glory to God the Father, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fill us with the love You know as God, ever Three and ever One, so that our love will honour You each and every day.

God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, we confess there are so many ways we fail to love You fully. Forgive us for our lack of reverence for the earth and for using up more than our share of its resources. Forgive us for ignoring the cries of others who know pain or discrimination which we dismiss as mere complaint. Forgive us for seeking praise from others yet failing to encourage them in their endeavours. Forgive us, dear Lord, and root our lives more deeply in your love. Now we continue in silence, praying our own personal prayers of confession…

Response: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

John, the gospel writer records that God is love, and that God’s perfect love casts out fear. Friends, we are promised that those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them. Claim your hope in this good news: God’s perfect love abides in you through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Response: Be still and know

Prayers for God’s help and guidance

Dear Lord, we know how much we are in need of your presence in our world and in our own lives. We also are in need of You guiding the authorities that direct public living in times of pandemic. Would You, in your grace, be present in their decision-making. We realize how hard it is for them to come up with the most effective guidelines for the health and well-being of your children. We also pray for those in our congregation, journeying through tough health issues. Our prayers of intercession go out to presbyterian congregations on the east side of our presbytery. Guide them, dear Lord, during their journey as they undergo many transitions. We pray to You as You lead the search committee at Dayspring. I pray for wisdom as I wrap things up here at Dayspring. You have been kind and gracious throughout, and I give myself to You as You lead me.

Holy Spirit, move in us and among us as we listen to the scriptures be read and interpreted. Open our minds and hearts to receive the Living Word so that we may be transformed to live as your Easter people. Amen.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Open our eyes, Lord

Lord’s Prayer

Song: Like the murmur of the dove’s song

Like the murmur of the dove’s song,
like the challenge of her flight,
like the vigor of the wind’s rush,
like the new flame’s eager might:
come, Holy Spirit, come.

To the members of Christ’s body,
to the branches of the Vine,
to the church in faith assembled,
to her midst as gift and sign:
come, Holy Spirit, come.

With the healing of division,
with the ceaseless voice of prayer,
with the power to love and witness,
with the peace beyond compare:
come, Holy Spirit, come.

Words: Carl Daw © 1982 Hope Publishing Company
Music: Peter Cutts © 1969 Hope Publishing Company
License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE     

Scripture reading

John 15:1-8 – New Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

Jesus the True Vine

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Response: Glory to the Father

Message: “The beauty of being connected”

For many of us, this passage from John’s gospel has a strange sound to it. It’s almost confusing. Perhaps it’s because of the simultaneous use on the one hand of concrete terms, the vines, and then on the other hand abstract terms like “abiding.” It just makes the passage difficult to understand.

Then again, some of what is said here have an aggressive tone to it. Words like cutting, pruning, and being thrown into the fire. It does come to mind though, that this is less intended as a threat about what happens if you don’t stay with Jesus but it’s more a metaphorical description of what actually happens when you are not connected to the source of life. You end up like flowers in a bouquet. They might last three or four days or a week maximum. Then you realize you are cut off, you wither and shrivel up, useless, like the branches and scraps we clean up from our yard and haul away or burn. What a dismal picture.

In addition to this, it really looks scary looking at bushes that have been pruned hard. Can it ever flower again? Then May comes around, June, and you see how they flourish, more than ever before!

This is often the life of being a follower of Jesus Christ. There are those days of feeling cut back harshly. The vine grower, as our Lord Jesus Christ describes Himself, prunes away the dead growth so that we can become more useful by bearing more fruit.

Being connected to the real source of life has been hard in this just over a year that has gone by. We are used to it being a real relationship where you are in true contact. On the other hand, the connection can even be stronger while we are so acutely aware of the need to be in touch with the Lord of Life, with God’s Holy Spirit.

In our passage Jesus makes the disciples understand that they need to remain in Him and with Him. He is fully aware, we hear from John the gospel writer, that He is about to go and to leave them behind, first of all in being crucified, but also in ascending up into heaven. He is preparing them for this departure. They need to know how important it is to remain in fellowship with each other and to remain in his teachings and the example He set to them.

It is so easy to land in a state of feeling totally isolated. How ironic this is in an age of Social Media and Social Networking. I might be imagining it, but there seems to be a tendency for us to be increasingly removed from authentic relationships with one another, as we gain more and more “friends” or “contacts” on Facebook. It’s a strange paradox. The quick connection with people from long ago and far, far away tends to soothe our need for being in touch with others. Sadly, it seems that there is an emptiness when someone in Europe or Africa says they care for us, while it was just an instantaneous reaction.

Yes, don’t get me wrong, the internet has helped a lot during our pandemic times, but on the other hand, it’s not the real thing.

There is much more available to us than only virtual connections. There is the actual body of Christ, the community of believers, to which we belong. Physical and safe connection with one another is what Jesus is referring to as He says, “I am the true vine and my Father is the vinegrower.”

Loneliness and depression are on the rise with the advent of Social Media. It is startling to hear that the hilarious comedian Robin Williams is quoted to have said, “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” [i]

God sent his Son to put that to an end and to give us the feeling of belonging. There is supposed to be this beauty of being connected, of being closely connected to Jesus Christ, to God, and to the community of believers, the congregation. This is a godly gift to humanity.

Sometimes, as humans, we act like jerks, saying things to each other, that break up these relationships that Jesus intends. Relationships and community aren’t easy. However, they are real.

Seeing that God accepts us, we can then turn and try to accept each other, living with the imperfections of even our best relationships and communities because we know ourselves to be flawed and yet also loved. This makes us deeply connected as we share life together.

Can we then be communities and congregations that become places where we admit who we are and allow others to do so as well? Can we be places, that is, where the hurts and hardships of life are acknowledged because we are carrying the pain and anguish with us together? Can this be more like pruning for future growth rather than the cutting, binding and burning that we are all too familiar with? [ii]

God offers us the chance to help each other abide in the true vine, Jesus the Christ. Amen

Song: For the beauty of the earth   434 vs 1,4,5        

For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies for the love which from our birth over and around us lies, Lord of all, to thee we raise this our joyful hymn of praise

For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child, friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild, Lord of all to thee we raise this our joyful hymn of praise

For each perfect gift of thine, to the earth so freely given, graces human and divine, flowers of earth and buds of heaven, Lord of all, to thee we raise this our joyful hymn of praise

Words: F.S. Pierpoint; Music: C. Kocher public domain

We celebrate at the table

 
Invitation to the Lord’s Supper

Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, you formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life. When we turned away and our love failed, your love remained steadfast.

You delivered us from captivity, made a covenant with us to be our sovereign God, and spoke to us through your prophets. So, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son, Jesus Christ.

Your Spirit anointed him to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to announce that the time had come when you would save your people. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ate with sinners. By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.

When the Lord Jesus ascended, he promised to be with us always in the power of your Word and Holy Spirit.

[Let us all come to the table of the Lord!]

Affirming our faith:

Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand
of the Father,
and he will come to judge
the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen

Communion prayer:

Luke 24 (institution)

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us, while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ ‘The Lord has risen indeed.’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’

The Communion:

Breaking bread and offering the cup
These are the gifts of God for the people of God. (Breaking of Bread)

Because there is one bread,
we who are many are one body,
for we all partake of the one bread.
When we break the bread,
it is a sharing in the body of Christ.
The body of Christ, broken for you, take eat.

(Offering of the Wine)

When we bless the cup,
it is a sharing in the blood of Christ.
The blood of Christ, shed for you, take, drink.

We respond to serve God

Prayer of gratitude

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise the Lord’s holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all the Lord’s benefits — who forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases, who redeems our life from the pit and crowns us with love and compassion. We bring all the thanks to you, dear Lord! Amen

Response: Now thank we all our God

Reflection on giving

We have been giving faithfully even though there is no offering plate being passed around the sanctuary. It may be a while before we all return to the sanctuary – but what a wonder it is to continue the precious ministry that defines Dayspring. Thank you for your contribution, which comes freely from hearts full of gratitude.

Song: The love of God comes close      vs 1,2,5  

The love of God comes close, where stands an open door, to let the stranger in, to mingle rich and poor. The love of God is here to stay, embracing those who walk the Way; the love of God is here to stay.

The peace of God comes close to those caught in the storm, forgoing lives of ease to ease the lives forlorn. The peace of God is here to stay, embracing those who walk the Way; the peace of God is here to stay.

The Son of God comes close where people praise his name, where bread and wine are blest and shared as when he came. The Son of God is here to stay, embracing those who walk the Way; the Son of God is here to stay 

Words: J. Bell, G. Maule; © Iona Community, GIA Publications Inc. Music: John Edwards; public domain
Reprinted with permission and permission to stream under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved.

Sending out with God’s blessing

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:13)

Response: God to enfold you


[i] Medrut, F. (2018, November 20). 20 Funny and profound Robin Williams quotes. Goalcast. https://www.goalcast.com/2018/11/20/20-robin-williams-quotes/

[ii] Lose, D. (2012, April 29). Dear working preacher: Getting real. Workingpreacher. https://www.workingpreacher.org/dear-working-preacher/getting-real


Fifth Sunday of Easter

10:00 am May 2, 2021

led by Rev. Heinrich Grosskopf

Music director: Binu Kapadia

Elder: Darlene Eerkes

children’s time: Fionna McCrostie

vocalist: Linda Farrah-Basford


Copyright 2021 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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Posted in Recent Sermons.