Hilary Plowright
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Home Church: 6th Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2020, Rev. Karen Hollis

Preparing the Space

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.


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.


Hymn: Joyful, Joyful

1 Joyful, joyful, we adore you,
God of glory, life and love;
hearts unfold like flowers before you,
opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
drive our fear and doubt away;
giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day.

2 All your works with joy surround you,
earth and heaven reflect your rays,
stars and angels sing around you,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
sound their praise eternally.

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 Iona Community, edited

God, your constant love reaches the heavens;

your faithfulness extends to the skies.

Your righteousness is towering like the mountains;

your justice is like the depths of the sea.

We find protection under the shadow of your wings;

we feast on the abundant food you provide.

You are the source of all life;

in you we live and move and have our being.

Gather us in, O God,

from the places our minds take us,

from our places of social distancing;

gather us to this space where we are connected in you. Amen.

Hymn: Joyful, Joyful

3 You are giving and forgiving,

ever blessing, ever blest,
wellspring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Source of grace and fount of blessing,
let your light upon us shine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.

4 Mortals, join the mighty chorus
which the morning stars began;
God's own love is reigning o'er us,
joining people hand in hand.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music lifts us sunward
in the triumph song of life.            

Prayer of Confession  Ray Simpson, Community of Aidan and Hilda

Jesus –

Truly God, truly human; truly infinite, truly frail

Your greatness holds the universe

Your lovely countenance attracts our hearts

Your goodness beckons all that is good in us

Your wisdom searches us

Your truth sheds light on our darkness

Your generosity enriches our poverty

Your friendship consoles the unwanted

Your strength turns away all evils

Your justice deters wrong-doing

Your power conquers hell

Your love-enflamed heart kindles our cold hearts

Your miraculous hand fills us with all blessings

Your sweet and holy name rejoices all who love you

Your mercy brings forgiveness

Have mercy on us

Give us eternal life

For your glory fills eternity;

Your glory fills the universe.

Silent Prayer

Assurance of Grace     (Sam Hamiilton-Poore)

May the risen Christ who fills all creation with his glory and grace,

fill you with peace.

Peace of Christ

May Christ, who is our peace, give us peace at all times and in every way for us to celebrate and share . . . and the people say . . .

            A-M:  The Peace of Christ be with you!

            N-Z:   And also with you!

First Reading:   Listen to the word of God to you this morning . . .

Acts 17:22-31  

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him--though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.' Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

Psalm 66  Translated by Lynn Bauman

For it is God who holds our souls secure in life,

     who gives us steady feet upon the path,

Yet tests and tries us through the fires,

     like silver and as precious gold.

Yes, it is God who often leads us

     into trappers’ snares,

     and places heavy burdens on our backs,

Allowing even enemies to ride and rule.

     All this is fire and water mixed.

Yes, it is also God who draws us forth

     and claims us back,

     to lead us on revived, refreshed again.

So now I enter your abode, my God,

     and offer you this burning gift.

I pay the vows that I have made,

     and speak to you in my despair.

I’ll give the best of everything I am and have,

     leave nothing out in all its plenitude.

So come and listen as I declare

     all that God did for me.

For when I cried my grief and pain,

     I spoke out using human words,

I could not hide the deepest and the darkest things,

     or God would never heed my prayer.

Yes, it is God who heard and answered back,

     who listened deeply to my call.

So blessed be the name of God,

     who does not withhold great love from us

     or turn aside our prayers. 

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 14:15-21 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. "I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."

One: This is the Gospel of Christ;

All:   Praise be to Jesus Christ

Reflection: Rev. Karen Hollis (see sermon attached)

Silent Reflection

New Zealand Prayer Book Creed   Let us affirm our faith . . .

You, O God, are supreme and holy.

You create our world and give us life.

Your purpose overarches everything we do.

You have always been with us.

You are God.

You, O God, are infinitely generous,

good beyond all measure.

You came to us before we came to you.

You have revealed and proved

your love for us in Jesus Christ,

who lived and died and rose again.

You are with us now.

You are God.

You, O God, are Holy Spirit.

You empower us to be your gospel in the world.

You reconcile and heal; you overcome death.

You are our God. We worship you.

Prayers of the People From Betty Schultze (see attached)

One: Lord in Your Wisdom,

All:   Hear our prayers.

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.

Minute for Mission  Hilary Plowright ( see attached)

Let us pray: Loving God, we give thanks for the outpouring of generosity during this season that has eased suffering and prevented deaths. We all come together with what we can offer, and in doing so, acknowledge the truth of our connectedness . . . when one suffers, we all suffer, so we come together for the good of all. We offer our time, resources and abilities in service of the whole in your name, O God. 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: By Faith  Townend & Getty


By faith, we see the hand of God
In the light of creation’s grand design;
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness,
Who walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith, our fathers roamed the earth
With the power of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God’s own hand –
A place where peace and justice reign.

CHORUS: We will stand as children of the promise,
We will fix our eyes on Him, our soul’s reward.
Till the race is finished and the work is done,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith, the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin and death,
And rise triumphant from the grave.

By faith, the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news,
In every corner of the earth.

By faith, this mountain shall be moved
And the power of the gospel shall prevail,
For we know in Christ all things are possible
For all who call upon His name.


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 A-M:

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

First name N-Z:

            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!