Hilary Plowright
Slideshow image

Home Church 5th Sunday of Easter, May 10, 2020

Rev. Karen Hollis

Preparing the Space

Here, on the 5th Sunday of Easter, I invite you to lean into this ritual of preparing the space for your worship. As we clear a space and set up a focal point, the familiar movements of our bodies remind us what we are preparing for – it helps us bring ourselves more fully to the moment and to the experience. Maybe place a tablecloth down and place a bouquet of flowers and a lit candle; perhaps place with them an object or two that help you open to God’s presence (item from nature, Bible, object with personal significance, cross). The intention you bring to your worship is the fertilizer for the richness you experience.


This morning we will be hearing a familiar conversation in John’s gospel between Jesus and his disciples, where Jesus describes how the disciples will know where he is going when he leaves them. It’s one of those that helps us feel a bit better about our own puzzling over Jesus’ words, because the disciples are also pretty confused. Today is also Mothering Sunday, where we celebrate and give thanks for those in our lives who have mothered us. In preparation for our worship, you’re invited to sit quietly for a moment perhaps with feet on the floor, taking a couple of deep breaths and bring yourself into this moment. Open yourself to the presence of God who is with us and within us . . . as you intentionally open yourself to God, open yourself also to what you need as you turn to worship.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

May his grace and peace be with you.

May he fill our hearts with joy.

Opening Prayer   Read the prayer slowly                 

The Pattern of Our Days

Come, O God, gather us into a holy and sacred space . . .

Come, Mother God, come as an enfolding nurturing presence;

come as steadfast love to hold us and guide us.

Come, Mother God, come as an enabling strengthening force;

come as courage and grace.

Come, Mother God, come as friend and comforter, healing our wounds, walking along the way; come as wounded healer to make us whole.


Hymn: Morning Has Broken

1 Morning has broken Like the first morning,

Blackbird has spoken Like the first bird.

Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!

Praise for them, springing Fresh from the Word!

2 Sweet the rain’s new fall unlit from Heaven,

Like the first dewfall On the first grass.

Praise for the sweetness Of the wet garden,

Sprung in completeness Where God’s feet pass.

3 Ours is the sunlight, Ours is the morning,

Born of the one light Eden saw play!

Praise with elation, Praise every morning,

God’s re-creation Of the new day!                                      

Prayer of Confession and Emptying

God, we come before you with our worries and anxieties, our feelings

of loneliness and helplessness, our desire to manage and control; we acknowledge how difficult it is to wrap our minds around the state of

the world and continue to surrender to its reality. Help us to distinguish between things can and cannot control and give us grace to let go.

Palms Down Palms Up Prayer fr Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline


Begin by placing your palms down as a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over any concerns you may have to God. Inwardly you may pray, ‘God, I release my control (anxiety, fear) over ________.’ Whatever it is that weighs on your mind or is a concern to you… release it. You may even feel a certain sense of release in your hands.


After several moments of surrender, turn your palms up as a symbol of your desire to receive from God. Perhaps you will pray silently, ‘God, I would like to receive your peace (your patience, your joy).’


Having centered down, spend the remaining moments in silence and stillness. Do not ask for anything.  Allow God to commune with you, to love you.

Assurance of Grace

Even when the world is in chaos, God’s peace and stillness and assurance meets us where we are. This space is always available to us as an inner resource for sustaining ourselves through a long challenging season. God will never leave us. Thanks be to God!

Peace of Christ

The resurrected Christ is with each of us, and so is in the space between us – let us share with each other the peace he brings today!

            N-Z: The Peace of Christ be with you!

            A-M: And also with you!

Psalm 31

Listen to the word of God to you this morning . . .

O Lord, I’ve fled, a refugee, to you,

     so let it never be that I am shamed by this,

    my choice to be with you.

Let perfect justice set me free.

     So come then, God, deliver me.

You are my solid ground in sinking sand,

     a place that’s firm to plant my feet and stand.

You are for me a shelter safe

     a guide upon the path of life.

So spring me from the many traps

my enemies have set for me,

     protect me in the refuge of your care.

Into your strong hands

     I offer up my spirit now.

     O rescue me, my God of truth.

Your mercy is what I deeply need,

     your care in this distress of soul.

Have mercy now my God,

     you know my pain, my many troubles deep.

You see my eyes, my heart, and how I weep in grief.

Out of mercy and for compassion’s sake,

     turn your shining face toward me,

     for it is you alone I serve, my God.

Your good, O God, how great, how infinite it is,

     a vast unbounded treasure;

     it awaits all those who make their home in you.

For from the storms you take us in as refugees.

     Your presence is a sheltered place,

     safe from the strife of human tongues.

I bless you, God, for now I see the hidden face of love

which you have shown me even in my pain.

Gospel Reading

One:  God be with you.            

All:    And also with you

One:  The Good News of Jesus Christ according to John.

All:    Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14:1-14 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’

Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

One: This is the Gospel of Christ;

All:   Praise be to Jesus Christ

Song: Be Not Afraid - John Michael Talbot

1 You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.

You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand. You shall see the face of God and live.

Refrain:  Be not afraid.

   I go before you always.

   Come follow me, and

   I will give you rest.

2 If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown. If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed. If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side, know that I am with you through it all. (Refrain)

3 Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs. Blest

are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.

And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me, blessed, blessed are you! (Refrain)

Reflection: Knowing the Way (sermon attached below)

Silent Reflection

A New Creed: Let us affirm our faith . . .

We are not alone,
     we live in God’s world.

 We believe in God:
     who has created and is creating,
     who has come in Jesus,
        the Word made flesh,
        to reconcile and make new,
     who works in us and others
        by the Spirit.

We trust in God. 

We are called to be the Church:
     to celebrate God’s presence,
     to live with respect in Creation,
     to love and serve others,
     to seek justice and resist evil,
     to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
        our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
     God is with us.
We are not alone.

     Thanks be to God.

Prayers of the People - From Susan Brockley (Prayers attached below)

One: God of steadfast love,

All:   Hear our prayer.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever. Amen.


Opportunities to serve continue to surprise me. I got a call the other day from someone in Madison, Wisconsin. He has a good friend with COVID who lives near UBC and found my phone number, thinking I still work there. He hadn’t heard from his friend as planned that day, and was looking someone to go over and check on her. Turned out he was able to reach her and didn’t need help after all. The only thing I could really do was pass on the contact info of a colleague in the neighbourhood there who he really could call in an emergency . . . it didn’t seem like much, but even that was a comfort to a person feeling scared and helpless.

Let us pray: Gracious God, life is strange right now. The world is so vast, and yet opportunities to connect and serve make it feel much smaller. In moments of connection, we feel seen and see others. These moments offer meaning that sustain us through this long season. We offer ourselves to your service that through us you may offer connection, hope, comfort and respond to those in need. We pray in the name of Jesus, who came into the world to serve. Amen.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness

1Great is thy faithfulness, God our Creator,
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou has been thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided --
great is thy faithfulness, ever to me!

2Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. [Refrain]

3Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow --
wondrous the portion thy blessings provide. [Refrain]


If you are with another person, you’re invited to bless each other,

taking every other line.

One:    The Creator’s blessing be yours on your road, on your journey,       guiding you, cherishing you.

First name N-Z:

            The Son’s blessing be yours, wine and water, bread and stories, feeding you, challenging you.

First name A-M:

            The Spirit’s blessing be yours, wind and fire, joy and wisdom,  comforting you, disturbing you.

All:      The Angel’s blessing be yours, on your house, on your living, guarding you, encouraging you. Let us walk together,    a community on a journey, sustained in God’s blessing. Amen!

One:    Let us go now in peace to love and serve the Lord.

All:      Thanks be to God! Alleluia!