May 2, 2021

May 2, 2021

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Easter V

Acts 8:26-40

Psalm 22:25-31

1 John 4:7-21

John 15:1-8

Call to Worship  

One:  Come!  Gather in the name of the resurrected Christ   
            as we lift our voices to worship God.
Many:  Surely God is in this place, calling us to worship in spirit and in truth.
One:  God’s love flows for you and for all people!
Many:  God’s Spirit refreshes us, sending us out to share God’s love and life.
One:  Rejoice, for we are called to abide, ever and always,
           in the living Christ.
Many:  Thanks be to God! 

Opening Prayer  

Holy God, blessed Vinegrower,

as disciples, we are pruned branches, connected to the true vine, Jesus.
While we worship you, teach us how best to stay connected to him today.
Help us stay vitally linked, that we might be productive,
         now and in the coming week, 
         bearing fruit in a world of doubt.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

Any serious gardener recognizes it is sometimes imperative to prune puny branches from plants.  Cutting them off makes possible the abundant growth of branches which are growing.  

Jesus teaches this truth, reminding us how God “cleanses” or “prunes” each branch.  Once pruned, Jesus encourages his followers to “abide” in him as healthy branches “abide” in the vine.

It’s only by abiding we are vitally connected to Christ.  That connection is what allows us to produce fruit.  Just as fully connected grape branches produce grapes, so fully connected Christians produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  (Galatians 5, fruit of the Spirit).

At our best, we see these fruits/characteristics when we reach out to others in our congregation, to our neighbors, and to those we serve around the world.

Money is a vital offering, but today, as you make an offering of your financial resources, I encourage you also to commit to sharing the fruit of your connection with Christ. 

How will you offer your fruitfulness today?  This week?  Let’s join in being extra “fruity” and come back together to share the fun.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

We give you thanks, God of mercy, for the ways you work to prune our lives, allowing us to be abundantly fruitful.  

Forgive us when we pull away, believing we can hoard our lives and operate better without connection. 

Especially as we continue to be COVID cautious, renew in us the energy and desire to find creative ways to share our gifts (our fruit) with others you have created in your image.  

With grateful hearts, receive these gifts and our intention to live fruitfully.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion  

(If possible, use CH# 422, “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ”, as your communion hymn, and high-light the verse 3 phrase “bearing fruit in a world of doubt”.)

At this table, all are welcome!  

All of us are invited to celebrate with a shout of joy, for we step into God’s Realm when we gather where “Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again”, and loaves abound!  This is a festive meal for all living branches of the Vine.

Come, for these gifts of bread and juice are offered to all whose eyes recognize the resurrected Christ.  These symbols speak to us of life, death and God’s power to raise up each of us, and all of us, to sit at table with Christ.

We have love to tell, and bread to share, so let’s rejoice as we share in this feast.