Fifth Sunday of Easter
+ In the name the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Opening sentence and prayer:
Like branches of one tree, we are held together by our faith in Christ.
O God, You graft us onto Christ, the true vine, and, with tireless care, You nurture our growth in knowledge and reverence. Tend the vineyard of Your church, that in Christ each branch may bring forth to the glory of Your name abundant fruits of faith and love. Grant this through Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord; she is his new creation by water and the Word. From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride; with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.
Elect from every nation, yet one o’er all the earth; her charter of salvation: one Lord, one faith, one birth. One holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food, and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued.
Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war, she waits the consummation of peace forevermore, till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest, and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.
Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One, and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won: O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we like them, the meek and lowly, may live eternally.
A Reading from the Book of Acts: Acts 9:26-31 (NLT)
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown.
The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.
A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32 (NLT)
The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations.
Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.
A Reading from the Letters: 1 John 3:18-24 (NLT)
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.
And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
A Reading from the Gospels: John 15:1-8 (NLT)
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
God of wonders, Lord of heaven and earth – hear our prayers:
+ For all baptized believers – that we may never be separated from Christ, the true vine…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the people of Nepal, suffering after the earthquake – that believers around the world may help them…. Lord, hear us.
+ For immigrants who cross seas and oceans to find a better life – that they may be protected from every danger…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who persecute others and treat them badly – that, like St Paul, they may change their ways…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all who grow crops for their livelihood – that You may be in their work, sustaining and encouraging them…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who face crisis and change this summer – that Your gifts of comfort and calm may be theirs…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all whose pilgrimage on earth is over, especially those who have been martyred for their faith in Christ – that they may experience joy and wonder in the Father’s house…. Lord, hear us.
God our creator, we praise you for Your mighty deeds: hear the prayers of Your faithful people, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:15b-16)
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen