Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 9th, 2021

Opening Hymn:  Bring Many Names





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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.



The Easter Anthems

Christ our passover has been sacrificed for us:   therefore let us  keep the feast,
not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness:  
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Christ once raised from the dead dies no more:  
death has no more dominion over him.
In dying he died to sin once for all:  in living he lives to God.
See yourselves therefore as dead to sin:  
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ has been raised from the dead:  the first fruits of those who sleep.
For as by one human came death:  by a human has come also the resurrection of the dead;
for as in Adam all die:  even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.




Faithful God,
make our hearts bold with love for one another.
Pour out your Spirit upon all people,
so that we may live your justice
and sing in praise the new song
of your marvellous victory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.




Hymn: We Know that Christ is Raised





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First Reading: Isaiah 49:1,5-6 (read by Mary Osmond)

The prophet of the exile, called to bring comfort and hope to a people imprisoned in a strange land, comes to see his mission is not only to his own people, but to proclaim God’s salvation to all nations.

Listen to me, O coastlands,
pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
And now the Lord says,
who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord,
and my God has become my strength—
he says,
‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Thanks be to God.



Psalm 98 (led by Mary and Ron Osmond)

Sing a new song to the Lord, who has done marvellous things, *
whose mighty hand and holy arm have won the victory.

O Lord, you have made known the victory; *
you have openly shown your righteousness in the sight of the nations.

You remember your mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel, *
and all the ends of the earth have seen your victory, O God.

Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands; *
lift up your voice, rejoice and sing.

Sing to the Lord with the harp, *
with the harp and the voice of song.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn *
shout with joy before our sovereign, the Lord.

Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, *
the lands and those who dwell therein.

Let the rivers clap their hands, *
and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord,
who is coming to judge the earth.

In righteousness shall God judge the world *
and the peoples with equity.


Second Reading: Acts 10:1-17a, 23-24, 34-35, 44-48 (read by Otto Bennett)

Peter hears in a vision that God has declared all nations acceptable to him, and is led to the
Roman officer Cornelius. The baptism of Cornelius represents the momentous step that the early church took in extending its mission to non-Jews.

In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius,
a centurion of the Italian Cohort, as it was called.
He was a devout man who feared God with all his household;
he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God.

One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision
in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius.’
He stared at him in terror and said, ‘What is it, Lord?’
He answered, ‘Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
Now send men to Joppa for a certain Simon who is called Peter;
he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.’
When the angel who spoke to him had left,
he called two of his slaves and a devout soldier from the ranks of those who served him,
and after telling them everything, he sent them to Joppa.

About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city,
Peter went up on the roof to pray.
He became hungry and wanted something to eat;
and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance.
He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down,
being lowered to the ground by its four corners.
In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air.
Then he heard a voice saying, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’
But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.’
The voice said to him again, a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’
This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.

Now while Peter was greatly puzzled about what to make of the vision that he had seen,
suddenly the men sent by Cornelius appeared.
So Peter invited them in and gave them lodging.
The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him.
The following day they came to Caesarea.

Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
Then Peter began to speak to them:
‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality,
but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word.
The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded
that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles,
for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God.
Then Peter said,
‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’
So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.




Hymn:  In Christ There is no East or West





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Gospel Reading:  John 15:9-17


The Lord be with you. And also with you.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you;
abide in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be complete.

 ‘This is my commandment:
that you love one another as I have loved you. 
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I do not call you servants any longer,
because the servant does not know what the master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
You did not choose me but I chose you.
And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last,
so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 
I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

The Gospel of Christ.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.



Sermon: Rev. Paul Jennings






Hymn:  Mothering God




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A Meditation

“As truly as God is our father, so just as truly is God our mother.
In our father, God Almighty, we have our being;
in our merciful mother we are re-made and restored.
Our fragmented lives are knit together and made perfect.
And by giving and yielding ourselves, through grace, to the Holy Spirit
we are made whole.”

Julian of Norwich



Prayers of the People 




Our Father

Heavenly Father, heavenly Mother,
Holy and blessed is your true name.
We pray for your reign of peace to come,
We pray that your good will be done,
Let heaven and earth become one.
Give us this day the bread we need,
Give it to those who have none.
Let forgiveness flow like a river between us,
From each one to each one.
Lead us to holy innocence
Beyond the evil of our days —
Come swiftly Mother, Father, come.
For yours is the power and the glory and the mercy:
Forever your name is All in One.

— Parker Palmer


Hymn:  O Jesus I have Promised



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Blessing the Mothers

Who are our
first sanctuary.

Who fashion
a space of blessing
with their own being:

with the belly
the bone and
the blood

if not with these,
then with the
durable heart
that offers itself
to break
and grow wide,
to gather itself
around another
as refuge,
as home.

Who lean into
the wonder and terror
of loving what
they can hold
but cannot contain.

Who remain
in some part of themselves
always awake,
a corner of consciousness
keeping perpetual vigil.

Who know
that the story
is what endures
is what binds us
is what runs deeper
even than blood

and so they spin them
in celebration
of what abides
and benediction
on what remains:

a simple gladness
that latches onto us
and graces us
on our way.

— Jan Richardson


Dismissal and Blessing

Go forth now
as friends of God,
as those to whom Christ has made known God’s purposes,
as those whose hearts have been set on fire to follow Christ’s commandment and example:
to love generously and passionately,
to lay down our lives daily
to care for, nourish, and build up others.

And as you go, know that God’s blessing goes with you.
The blessing of God, strong, caring Mother,
of Jesus, trustworthy Friend,
of the Holy Spirit, who nourishes and sustains.
Be with you this day, and always.