Seventh Sunday of Easter
Thanksgiving for Baptism: Alleluia! Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleuia!
Joined to Christ in the waters of baptism, we are raised with him to new life. Let us give thanks for the gift of baptism.
We give you thanks, O God, for in the beginning you created us in your image and planted us in a well-watered garden. In the desert you promised pools of water for the parched, and you gave us water from the rock. When we did not know the way, you sent the Good Shepherd to lead us to still waters. At the cross, you watered us from Jesus’ wounded side, and on this day, you shower us again with the water of life.
We praise you for your salvation through water, for the water in the font, and for all water everywhere. Bathe us in your forgiveness, grace, and love. Satisfy the thirsty, and give us the life only you can give. To you be given honor and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer of the Day: O God of glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to your right hand. Unite us with Christ and each other in suffering and in joy, that all the world may be drawn into your bountiful presence, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Acts 1:6-14: The Ascension of Jesus
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olive, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35: Praise and Thanksgiving
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish before God. But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy. Sing to God, sing praises to his name, lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds–his name is the Lord–be exultant before him. Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God gives the desolate a home to live in; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land. O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel. Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad; you restored your heritage when it languished; your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens; listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. Ascribe power to God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people.
2Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11: Suffering as a Christian
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
John 17:1-11: Jesus Prays for His Disciples
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence before the world existed.
“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified im them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you, Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”
Sermon: That We May be One
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While we may be in the Easter season; today’s Gospel reading happens the Thursday night before Jesus’ crucifixion and he is praying for his disciples. He prays for their protection and that they may be one as Jesus and the Father are one. The disciples have no idea what lays ahead for them, but Jesus does. They don’t believe that Jesus will be crucified and die. They don’t remember him saying that he will be raised in three days. This will be the last prayer that they will hear. When Jesus prays in the garden; they will be asleep. When Jesus prays from the cross; they will have deserted him. And still he prays for them knowing that Judas is about to betray him, Peter about to deny him and the rest about to desert him.
Up to this time Jesus has been teaching the disciples and it is almost time for them to begin their role in this ministry. Jesus knows that it won’t be easy. This world is captive to a spirit different from God’s. It is fueled by a sense of scarcity instead of abundance, fear instead of hope, and selfishness instead of sacrificial love. Jesus has come to offer the world a new spirit and reality and the world hates Jesus and those who follow him because of this.
So, Jesus prays that God support the disciples amid their challenges and that they will be one in fellowship with each other and with Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit. Too often when we hear the words one or unity; we think that it means that we all think alike or have the same feelings. For Jesus being one with the Father or having unity means that we are concerned with the well being of the community above that of our own.
To be one means that instead of thinking about how something affects me; we think how it will affect the community. This isn’t an easy thing to do. We are bombarded every day by our society telling us to look out for number one; to do what makes me feel good or happy and not to worry about how our actions affect others around us.
But Jesus didn’t just pray for his disciples then; he prays for his disciples now–he prays for us. Later in the 17th chapter of John Jesus prays, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.” He is praying for those who will believe because of their word–you and me. Jesus prayed for his disciples then, he prays for us now and he will pray for those who believe because of our words and witness.
We have an opportunity during this pandemic crisis to show those who come after us what it means to be one. By our actions towards the most vulnerable during this crisis we show to them what it means to be a follower of Christ. Do our actions show that we only care for what we want or are we willing to make sacrifices of our own comforts for the well being of our community. A couple examples would be the wearing of masks and social distancing. While doing both of these may be an inconvenience for some of us; not doing them could be deadly to those of our community who are vulnerable and in high risk groups. Being one in community isn’t easy; it means giving up some of ourselves. But Jesus prayed for his disciples then to be able to do this and he prays for us now. Amen.
Uplifted by the promised hope of healing and resurrection, we join the people of God in all times and places in praying for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
O God, call your people to be one, as you are one. Unite your church in the truth of your gospel, the love of our neighbor, and the call to proclaim your reign to all people. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Breathe life into your creation. Guide your people as we explore the mysteries of the universe. We pray for the work of scientists and mathematicians whose skill enriches our understanding. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Come to the aid of your children. We pray for those engulfed in grief, those without supportive families, and for all who are isolated, powerless, or afraid, that all my rest their anxieties in your care especially Kim, Audrey, Arlene, Loren, Karen, Harlan, Nathan and those we name in our heart. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Give courage to all who embark on new ventures. We especially remember this day those who risked their lives to serve in our armed forces. Grant safety to those serving at home or abroad, and assure them of your never-failing strength especially Landon, Zach, John, Derek, Ed, David, Steve, Rebeckah, Chris and Zach. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
O God, you provide a plentiful harvest of gifts and resources. Prepare us to labor and gather the fruits of this congregation, that we might discover new ways of living. Minister to us in our work, that we do not lose heart. We lift up to you this week: Karen Angell; Adam, Cortney, Brooke and Lane Bally; Dale Christianson; Emily, Sophie, and Alexander Elkins; David Helleck; Bradley, Wendy, Jonathan, William Hines; Rick and Marsha Retterrath; Mariesa Rossow; Paul and Jackie Smith; and Paul Wood. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Raise all your saints to eternal life. Until that day, we give you thanks for the faithful examples of those who have listened to your voice and now rest in you. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
With bold confidence in your love, almighty God, we place all for whom we pray into your eternal care; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray. 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Blessing and Dismissal:
May the One who brought forth Jesus from the dead raise you to new life, fill you with hope, and turn your mourning into dancing. Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever. Amen.
Christ is risen, just as he said. Go in peace. Share the good news. Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!