In Acts 16. 9-15 Luke recounts Paul’s visit to Philippi. In a dream Paul is beckoned to Macedonia by a man; but it is a woman who greets him and joins in his ministry. And knowing they are on the road, she also welcomes his group to stay in her home.
In Psalm 67 we sing God’s praise and ask God’s blessing, that “God’s face will shine upon us,” that we will experience God’s gracious presence.
Revelation 21.22 – 22.5 is a vision of the “new Jerusalem.” God, not the sun, is its light, and in its center is the river of the water of life, and the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. As Lydia provided a home for Paul, in John’s vision God is a home for us.
In John 14.23-29 Jesus offers an image of God not as a king on a far-off throne, but as a homemaker. God comes and “makes a home” with us. In fact God is our home: Jesus says “I am in God and you in me, and I in you.” He promises the Holy Spirit, and says, “My peace I give you.”
Call to Worship
Leader: From the noise and demands of the world,
All: we come to be made alive in God,
to be rooted and built up in Christ,
to be nourished and held together in the Spirit,
united in Christ’s body, the Church,
abounding in gratitude and love.
Leader: Holy One, praise for you rises in our hearts like spring flowers.
All: We sing with gratitude, with awe and joy.
Loving Christ, our hearts bow in thanks; they dance with delight.
Our faithful companion, we open our hearts to your blessing.
Holy Spirit, power of grace in us, we proclaim your mercy; we shine with your beauty.
We worship you. We serve you. We live by your grace. Alleluia!
Leader: God of Love, you come to us.
All: Giver of life, you make your home with us.
Spirit of God, you teach us your truth.
Defender of our Souls, you remind us of all we have heard.
Risen Christ, you give us your Peace.
We receive you. We worship you. We give you thanks. Alleluia!
Leader: This is the day that God has made.
All: We will rejoice, and be glad in it!
God, as the earth blossoms with colors, and the scents of new life,
our spirits show forth the glory of your grace.
For in raising Christ from death you have given new life to us all.
You have brought us to life with one Spirit breathing in us all.
You have brought us out of our solitary tombs,
and made us alive in one body.
You have given us your love,
and with Christ you have come and made your home with us.
Alleluia! Awaken us to your presence, God,
and to Christ who is among us, and the Spirit within us;
transform us by your grace, that we may serve you faithfully
as the Body of your Risen Christ.
Collect / Prayer of the Day
God of love, you have promised to be with us always, and that your Spirit will live within and among us. We open our hearts to be mindful of your presence, to listen for your Word, and to allow you to lead us by your grace. Come and fill us, Spirit of love. Amen.
Life-Giving God, you have planted the Tree of Life in our midst. We are your leaves, bearing our various fruits, each in our season. May your Spirit flow through us, that we may be filled with your love and strengthened for service, and bear the fruits of your love to the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.
God, you sent Jesus to be our way, our truth, our life. Help us to listen to him now, to be united in his Word, and to be empowered by his Spirit. He made promises to us. Help us to listen, so that we may treasure them in our hearts, and see their fulfillment in our lives. Gracious God, renew us by your Word. Amen.
Gracious God, Jesus promised that when we love, he and you come to us and dwell with us, along with the Holy Spirit. Come to us now, and prepare a place of love in our hearts. Bless us, that as the scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed we may hear with joy what you are saying to us today. Amen.
Response / Creed / Affirmation
We believe in God, whom Jesus called Father,
Creator of all things, infinite in wisdom, power and love,
who prepares for a place for us to live,
and whose will for us is love and blessing.
We give our hearts to Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son,
who lives with us in love, who heals and redeems us,
who dies in love and is raised to new life in love.
We trust in the Holy Spirit, the divine presence in our lives,
who moves us to love in the name of Christ.
We devote ourselves to lives of faith,
serving the world in compassion and humility.
We belong to the Body of Christ;
we seek God’s peace, justice;
we trust in the power of forgiveness and mercy;
and we live by the promise of Resurrection. Amen.
(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)
you are our heart, our home.
Your Christ is in us;
and we are in you.
We make a home for you here
in hearts that are still.
Come, be with us
[The body of the prayer may be read responsively by leader(s) and congregation or by the leader(s) alone.]
God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your heart.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise. God of all Being, God of our life, we thank you.
We live within you; you birth us breath by breath.
You make your home with us, present in all our moments.
You overcome oppression and set us free.
You are our safe space, our living room,
our place of intimacy and celebration.
You are our kitchen, our place of nourishment and joy.
Therefore we gather at your table, with al Creation,
singing your praise:
Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
He embodied your love; he made your home among us.
He fed the hungry and healed the broken;
he taught those who hungered for mercy and justice.
He opened the door to a new world, the Ream of God among us.
(The Blessing and Covenant)
He was crucified by the powers of injustice and oppression;
but he was raised by the power of your love.
He gave us your Spirit, and he lives in us:
he is in you and you are in us, and we in you.
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember Christ’s death and resurrection, until he comes again.
Therefore, remembering these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice,
in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
As we receive thee gifts may they fill us with you,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
Christ alive in us, and us in you,
for the sake of the wholeness of the world, to your glory.
Prayer of Dedication / Sending
Gracious God, when we are loving, we become your dwelling place. We seek to become more deeply and freely loving. Therefore we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will. Through our generosity, by your grace, make your home with us, now and always. Amen.
(Click on titles to view, and hear an audio clip, on the Music page)
Communion Songs for Easter set to familiar tunes
Eight songs of invitation to the table, set to these melodies:
All Creatures of Our God and King,
Infant Holy, Be Thou My Vision,
The Gift of Love / Water Is Wide,
Morning Has Broken, Fairest Lord Jesus.
Easter Eucharistic Responses
Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Amen set to:
All Things Bright and Beautiful (Includes Preface)
Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Fairest Lord Jesus
Morning Has Broken
Now the Green Blade Rises
Always New (Tune: Gift of Love (“Water Is Wide”)
or Tallis’ Canon)
O God, you make me always new.
Each breath I breathe is life from you,
a gift of love that sets me free.
Beloved, breathe new life in me.
O Christ, you call me to new birth
like God’s creation of the earth,
to leave the things I’m fastened on
and walk into the rising dawn.
O loving Spirit, live in me.
Forgive my sin and set me free.
Give me new birth, life from above,
that I may live in your deep love.