Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 05 May 2019

Worship Suggestions

Third Sunday of Easter

JOHN 21:1–19

Put Love into Action

Additional Scriptures

Acts 9:1–20, Psalm 30, Revelation 5:11–14, Moroni 7:52


Prelude

Gathering

Song

“Come Away from Rush and Hurry”          CCS 83

OR “Gather Your Children” CCS 77

OR “Jesu, Tawa Pano/Jesus, We Are Here”          CCS 71

If this song is unfamiliar, consider using the vocal recording on Community of Christ Sings Audio Recordings.

Welcome

I welcome you today, to this sacred place, where we proclaim Jesus Christ as the Son of God, as our brother, our rabbi, our teacher, and our friend.

I welcome you today, as we share as family, in a sacred meal, prepared in remembrance of Christ—where we break bread and pour wine together. You are welcome here as we take into our bodies this Christ who served us and taught us to love by example.

I welcome you today to worship in this community of love, where we are called to follow this Christ…to imitate him, to love as he loved and to put his love into action in a hurting world.

Call to Worship

Psalm 30:11–12

Hymn of Rejoicing

“You Are Called to Tell the Story”  CCS 625

OR “Alleluia! Hear God’s Story”     CCS  271

OR “I Danced in the Morning”        CCS 23

OR “Creator God We Sing/Cantemos al Creador”           CCS  114

Invocation

Musical Response 

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Prayer

Creator God, we come to this place to worship you, but we also come to find peace. Open our hearts to you, still our spirits and free our minds to hear your voice. May this flame of peace warm each of us to your spirit of blessing, to your calming presence and to your healing love. May this sacred time together prepare us to be peacemakers in our homes…schools…workplaces…cities…countries…and our world. Make us one, loving God, through your peace. Amen.

For more ideas, the Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.

Interactive Scripture Reading: John 21:1–19

Using the words, fish and love, develop a sound or motion or both to go with each word. Instruct the congregants to make the sound or motion every time they hear the word said during the scripture reading. For example, every time they hear the word love, they place two hands over their hearts and make a pumping action and sound.

Focus Moment: Put Love into Action

Object Lesson: Are You a Bowl or a Colander?

Props needed: bowl, colander, and pitcher of water.

Talking points to use or adapt:

  • What am I holding in my hand? (bowl) What is a bowl used for?
  • Who can tell me about this other bowl in my hand? (colander) What is a colander used for?
  • What do they have in common? How are they different?
  • When you think about the love and blessings God shares with us—with you and me—does it make you want to share that love with others? Does it make you want to put God’s love into action?

Tell about a time you shared God’s love with someone.

When God shares love with you, should you keep it all for yourself or share it? My bowl holds onto everything that is put inside it. Demonstrate by pouring water into the bowl.

However, a colander allows everything to run right through it. Demonstrate by pouring water into the colander which has been placed over the bowl to catch the water. The colander shares with others.

Do you want to be a bowl or a colander? By sharing God’s love with others you are putting God’s love into action.

OR Read the book Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, (Dragonfly Books, 2002, ISBN 9780440412106).

A young girl initially sees only the ugliness in her neighborhood and then seeks to put love in action. Her neighbors tell her about their own beautiful things and she is determined to find her own “something beautiful.”

Discussion Prompts:

  1. Why was it powerful to scrub the word Die off the young girl’s door? What did that symbolize?
  2. One theme in this book is that each person in a community can be an influence for good. What events in the book make you think about this theme? How have you witnessed this being lived out in our congregation?
  3. How would finding something beautiful help you face your challenges and tough times? How does this relate to putting love in action?
  4. Something beautiful can be an act of kindness. What act of kindness can you do to share God’s love?

Communion Message

Based on the sacrament of Communion and John 21:1–19

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Let us share the Lord’s Supper. Let us take action to experience the love and forgiveness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Come to the table to partake.

Invitation to the Table

In Community of Christ the Lord’s Supper is a sacrament in which we remember the life, death, and living presence of Jesus Christ. Through partaking of the emblems, we renew the covenant we made through baptism, reconcile and strengthen relationships, and commit ourselves to Christ’s mission in the world (Doctrine and Covenants 164:4). Others may have different or added understandings within their faith traditions. We invite all who participate in the Lord’s Supper to do so as an expression of the love and peace of Jesus Christ, in whose name we worship. All are welcome at Christ’s table.

Communion Hymn and Preparation of the Emblems

“As We Gather at Your Table” (stanza 1)  CCS 523

OR “God Extends an Invitation/Nuestro Padre nos invita”        CCS 520

Communion Scripture

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

—1 Corinthians 11:23–26

Communion Hymn

“As We Gather at Your Table” (stanza 2)  CCS  523

OR “God Extends an Invitation/Nuestro Padre nos invita”        CCS 520

Blessing and Serving of the Bread

Communion Hymn

“As We Gather at Your Table” (stanza 3)  CCS 523

OR “God Extends an Invitation/Nuestro Padre nos invita”        CCS 520

Blessing and Serving of the Wine

Disciples’ Generous Response

The first Sunday of each month focuses on Abolish Poverty, End Suffering which includes Oblation and World Hunger ministry.

Statement

When we think about our Disciples’ Generous Response to God’s love for us, it is appropriate to share the bounty of God’s blessings to us through our offerings. The scripture says,

“Wherefore, embrace charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail; but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endures forever; and whoever is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with them.”

—Moroni 7:52, adapted

As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true  capacity of time, talent, and testimony.

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.

Hymn of Commitment

“O Risen Christ, Still Wounded”     CCS 41

OR “Take My Life and Let It Be”     CCS 608

OR “Find Your Wholeness”  CCS 643

Sending Forth

Presider: In the midst of this season of resurrection, having shared in this sacred  meal together, may you be energized with hope and peace! Go forth challenged to seek ways you can put love into action!

God’s People: Strengthen us Lord as we move forward into your world to put love into action. Amen.

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Third Sunday of Easter

JOHN 21:1–19

Exploring the Scripture

The final two verses of John 20  lead  one to believe these were intended to be the end of the book of John. Some scholars agree this may have been the original ending, and later the author or an editor decided to include what some have called the epilogue to John, chapter 21. As we read from chapter 20 to chapter 21, it is as if the writer is reminding us life as a disciple will require some letting go to be able to feed Christ’s sheep.

 

Between the post-resurrection stories in chapter 20 and today’s text, something must have occurred in the hearts of the disciples. In chapter 20 they were enjoying time with the resurrected Jesus, and in chapter 21 they were back in their fishing boats, returning to a former life. What happened? Is it possible they had begun to realize Jesus would no longer be close, giving them step-by-step direction, and this was creating some anxiety? With Jesus no longer there, they would have the responsibility of propelling this movement. Maybe that was so overwhelming it caused them to retreat to a former life. There are times when the stuff of life causes us to go into hiding places, and we may struggle to let go of what feels safe.

Today’s text shows the need to let go of “old fishing boats” as well as habits that don’t  allow for new ways of engaging in ministry and new understandings of God. Knowing the disciples had caught nothing all night, from the shore Jesus told them to cast their nets on the right-hand side of the boat. This may have been a change from the way they had always fished. Maybe the left-hand side was the traditional side from which to fish, and it felt awkward to cast the nets from the right. Maybe it required letting go of the left side to be able to cast from the right. It takes courage and faith to follow Christ in mission. Sometimes that means changing sides of the boat.

Jesus was cooking breakfast when the disciples came ashore. However, he invited the disciples to bring some of their catch and contribute to the meal. This scene reminds us we are invited to share our gifts and money for the mission of Christ.

The speaker has an opportunity and responsibility to challenge the congregation to consider its financial commitment to the current-day breakfast to which we are called. Remind the congregation of our worldwide mission.

Doctrine and Covenants 163:1 says, “Do not be afraid to go where it [Community of Christ] beckons you to go.” Challenge the congregation to envisage Jesus standing on many “shores” where opportunities exist, inviting people to let go and share to their true capacity.

In the final verses of today’s text, we find a clear example of how brokenness and shame can be transformed by God’s grace when one is willing to let go. Three times Jesus asks Peter about Peter’s love for him. Each time Peter answers yes, and Jesus responds, “Feed my sheep” (v. 17). Peter was being told he was forgiven; at the same time he was being commissioned to the mission of Christ. To be forgiven means trust is reestablished. The Risen Christ was saying, “Peter, you are forgiven. I trust you as a leader of my mission; go feed my sheep.”

“Do you love me more than these?” is a question posed to each of us. Explore what it means to love Christ beyond words. Some in the congregation may be like Peter, carrying a burden of guilt. Encourage them to let go and lay claim to God’s forgiveness and hear the invitation to share in Christ’s mission.

Central Ideas

  1. The call to follow Jesus and feed his sheep will require us to let go of that which prevents us from moving out in mission.
  2. Sometimes, to be able to feed Christ’s sheep, one needs new understandings and new ideas about being a disciple.
  3. Christ invites us to bring our gifts and money, and partner with him in his mission.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are the “old fishing boats” in our lives or congregation? What frees us from our “old fishing boats”?
  2. What is it we cling to that may cause us to reject a new idea of ministry or deeper understanding of God?
  3. Are there different ways God may be calling the congregation to engage in mission?
  4. What do I have to contribute to the mission of Christ?
  5. Am I clinging to past choices that may have had painful results for others or me?
  6. How are you hearing the call to feed Christ’s sheep?
  7. How is my sharing an expression of my true capacity?

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Third Sunday of Easter

John 21:1–19 NRSV

The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.

The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.


Gathering

Welcome

Today is the third Sunday of the Easter season. The Easter season continues for 50 days and concludes with the Day of Pentecost.

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.

Creator God,
We come to this place to worship you, but we also come to find peace.
Open our hearts to you, still our spirits, and free our minds to hear your voice.
May this flame of peace warm each of us to your spirit of blessing,
to your calming presence, and to your healing love.
May this sacred time together prepare us to be peacemakers in our homes, schools, workplaces, cities, countries, and our world.
Make us one, loving God, through your peace. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Breath Prayer

Read the following to the group:

In the Bible we read the story of Jesus fishing and eating with his disciples following his resurrection. He asks his friends, “Do you love me?” They answer, “Yes.”

Then Jesus tells them, “Feed my sheep.” This is another way of saying, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

During this Easter season, our spiritual practice is a Breath Prayer. During the prayer we will use a word to breathe in and a word to breathe out. For today’s prayer we will breathe in the word love, and breathe out the word judgment. This will remind us to fill our life with love and to let go of prejudices and judgments that keep us from loving others unconditionally.

Sit with a relaxed posture. If you are comfortable, close your eyes. We will spend three minutes in centering prayer.

Breathe with a regular, natural rhythm.

As you inhale, focus on love. As you exhale, breathe out judgment.

Breathe in and out. Continue to focus on breathing in love and exhaling judgment.

Monitor the time. Occasionally give instructions, “Breathe in love, breathe out judgment.”

After three minutes share the following instructions:

Close your Breath Prayer by offering a silent word of thanks to God. When you are ready, take a deep breath and open your eyes.

Sharing Around the Table

John 21:1–19 NRSV

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus and Peter

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30–31 NRSV).
These words immediately precede today’s scripture passage. It would seem, by the sound of them, that the book was done…that all that needed to be said had been said. But apparently that is not the case.

Today is the third Sunday of Easter…only two weeks since the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, but also only two weeks after his death and crucifixion. Though Jesus already has appeared several times to his followers (John 20:13–17, 19–23, 26–29) since his resurrection, they still do not recognize him. Like any of us, when the unimaginable happens, we are left reeling and questioning. We can get lost in the “what was” and “what could have been.”

The scriptures don’t tell us why the disciples have returned to their boats and to fruitless fishing. Perhaps they just don’t know what else to do. But, just as chapter 20 is not the end of the Gospel according to John, the crucifixion and death of Jesus does not mark the end of the story for the coming reign of God.

Christ invites us to bring what we have to the table, as well as to be blessed by what he continues to provide. Christ has not left us to tend empty nets, but rather he encourages us to cast our nets anew where they are sure to be filled to overflowing. Though we, like Peter, may deny Christ in a crisis, we are given just as many opportunities to proclaim our love and be sent in mission.

No matter how often we may think the story is done, John reminds us that Jesus continues to be a light shining in the darkness (1:5), showing us “what is” and “what is yet to be.”

Questions

  1. What are the “fishing boats” to which we return when things get tough or don’t go the way we thought they would or should?
  2. How are you allowing Christ to turn your thoughts from “what was and what could have been” to “what is and what is yet to be?”

Sending

Generosity Statement

“Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundant generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:9). The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

The offering prayer for the Easter season is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

God of rejoicing,

We share our gifts joyfully and with thanksgiving in response to the generous gifts you have given us. May the offerings we share bring joy, hope, love, and peace into the lives of others that they might experience your mercy and grace. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 598, “You Walk Along Our Shoreline”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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