Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 06 May 2018

Worship Suggestions

Sixth Sunday of Easter

JOHN 15:9–17

Love As Jesus Loved

Additional Scriptures

Acts 10:44–48, Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1–6, Doctrine and Covenants 164:9


Prelude

Welcome

Call to Worship

Ask the presider to read the Call to Worship or use as a responsive reading with the leader beginning with the first line and the congregation reading the indented lines.

Sing a new song to our God,

who has worked wonders,

Shout to the Most High, all the earth;

break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

the world and those who live in it.

Let the floods clap their hands;

let the hills sing together for joy before our God

               —Psalm 98, adapted

Hymn of Praise

“Now Sing to Our God”   CCS  108

OR “Earth and All Stars”  CCS 102

Invocation

Response

Prayer for Peace

Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:1–6

Light the peace candle.

Peace Prayer

Make this a prayer of love for the children of God. For when we love God, we love the children of God through the power and promptings of the Spirit.

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.

Hymn of Welcome

“For Everyone Born”       CCS 285

OR “Lord Jesus, of You I Will Sing/Jésus, je voudrais te chanter”     CCS 556

Focus Moment

To demonstrate how we might love as Jesus loved—how we bubble over and share Christ’s mission as our mission with others because of the Spirit that dwells in us—try this fun method using “Elephant Toothpaste” or another foam-expanding experiment. You will need the following supplies or follow the directions from one of the websites below: large container (a foil pan used to cook a turkey would work); an empty one- or two-liter bottle (make a label for it that says “YOU” in large letters); a small juice glass; a clear glass carafe or bottle with a label that says “Jesus’ Love”; ¼ cup warm water; one packet of active dry yeast; 2 cups of 40-volume, clear hydrogen peroxide from a salon or beauty store; food coloring; a teaspoon of liquid dish soap; and a funnel. Use care and make sure you can do this experiment safely.

Use your own words to describe the experiment and its relationship to Jesus’ love.

Have you ever wished you could love as Jesus loved? I do. It seems that every day I am praying I could love people the way Jesus loves them. Jesus’ love is endless! This is a fun science experiment called “Elephant Toothpaste.”

Pour the hydrogen peroxide into the carafe labeled “Jesus’ Love” and add about 12 drops of food coloring. Pour the dish soap into the empty water bottle labeled “You.” Mix the yeast and water in the juice glass. Place the water bottle in the middle of the pan and set the carafe and glass of yeast and funnel to the side of the pan.

Who would like to love as Jesus loved? You? You? You? Me too! But how do we do that? Let’s pretend this empty bottle is you, or you, or you, or you. Let’s pretend this pretty bottle is Jesus’ love. How can we do that? How can we love as Jesus loved?

During each of the following three statements, you will pour some of the peroxide into the empty bottle. You will see some bubbling because of the dish soap, but don’t bring any attention to it, even though some may notice.

We get filled with God’s love when we hear the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, death, and resurrection. Pour some peroxide into the glass.

We get more of God’s love when we learn that Jesus taught his followers to love God, to love their neighbors, and to love their enemies. By eating with sinners, serving the poor, healing the unclean, blessing children, and welcoming women and men as equals among his disciples, Jesus declared that all persons are of worth in the sight of God. Pour more peroxide into the glass.

It is to Christ and his gospel that we declare our loyalty and by which we will be judged. Pour in the rest of the peroxide.

But have you ever wished you had so much love that it would pour over into other people’s lives, like the lives of your friends or family, or even the lives of others you meet? How can this happen?

John 15:9–10 says, “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 a glass of dissolved yeast. Hold up the yeast. Yeast makes things grow, right? Like bread and rolls and pizza crust. This yeast represents your prayers to God to help your love grow like Jesus’ love so it overflows to all those around you. Let’s add our prayers and see what happens. Add the dissolved yeast to the peroxide and almost immediately you will have a wonderful eruption that keeps going and going. It will likely continue for several minutes.

Wow! When we love as Jesus loves, it spills out of us and we can share that love and Christ’s mission with others. Continue to fill yourselves up with love through prayer and study. When you do this, God’s love will overflow to all you meet.

www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/elephants-toothpaste/ https://sciencebob.com/fantastic-foamy-fountain/ www.education.com/activity/article/Foam_It_fifth/

OR Scripture Reading: John 15:9–17

Hymn of Centering

“There’s a Church Within Us”        CCS 278

OR “God Is Calling”          CCS 172

Communion Message: "Love as Jesus Loved”

Based on John 15:9–17

Hymn of Reflection (sing at least two times)

“Lord, Prepare Me”         CCS 280

OR “Spirit of the Living God”        CCS 567

Prayer of Confession

Share this as an echo prayer. The leader reads a line and the congregation repeats. Have it printed or projected for ease in following along.

Oh God of great love and mercy,

I come before you

Humbly aware of my faults and imperfections.

There are times when my actions

are not in harmony with your call

to love and care for others.

There are times when my inactions

do not convey acceptance and compassion.

I am called to love as Jesus loved.

I am summoned to abide in your love

And commanded to love others

Just as you have loved me.

Although I stumble

your grace is steadfast

And I am forgiven.

Help me to continually seek

to love as Christ loved.

Amen.

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Hymn of Preparation

“Coming Together for Wine and for Bread”           CCS 516

OR “Let Us Break Bread Together”            CCS 521

Blessing and Serving of the Bread and Wine

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–b

Statement

May our offering this morning be a symbol of our response to become who we are called to be.

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

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 Sending Forth

“Now Let Us from This Table Rise”            CCS 644

OR “Go Now Forth into the World”           CCS 646

Benediction

Response

Sending Forth

Doctrine and Covenants 164:9d–f

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Sixth Sunday of Easter

JOHN 15:9–17

Exploring the Scripture

The Gospel of John, chapter 15, begins with a metaphor about Jesus as the vine and his followers as branches. Today’s passage continues this metaphor as it calls disciples into Christ-like love for one another. The ideas of “abiding” in Christ and “bearing fruit” are at the heart of Jesus’ explanation of our call as disciples to “love one another.”

Jesus recognizes how his love for the disciples flows from God’s love for him. Jesus invites and encourages disciples to “abide” in him (v. 9). He tells us that by keeping his commandments we abide in his love. Several dictionaries describe abide as “to accept, tolerate, or act in accordance to.” This means Jesus was and is inviting us to first receive his love and then act by his love (see “Called by Christ to Love Each Other” Community of Christ Sings 577).

Jesus also sends disciples to go and bear fruit. Bearing fruit may reference the love for one another but likely also includes making new disciples. Part of the sacrificial nature of Christ-like love is that we are willing to open our circles of friends beyond those friendships that come easily. We reach out to others who are not like us and extend Christ-like love (see “On the Journey to Emmaus” CCS 272).

We recognize we can’t bear fruit alone. Our call to love one another and bring others into relationships of Christ-love can only occur as we abide in Christ’s love. Jesus loves us like God loves him. We love others as Jesus loves us. Others receive Christ’s love through us and share it with more people and the circle of the kingdom grows wider.

This passage includes five references to commandment or command. It holds in tension the idea of Jesus making demands and conditional promises versus asking us to make responsible choices and extending us generous amounts of grace.

Those to whom this Gospel was originally written were likely experiencing great difficulty from both the Gentile and Jewish worlds. Their survival as a community depended on their ability to cling to one another and God amid great turmoil. Therefore, it is easy to understand the command voice used by the Gospel writer for the body to love one another. The assumption the body wants to survive and follow Jesus’ example is implied.

Despite our possible resistance to commands, when we truly experience God’s love, we are compelled to share it. We cannot help ourselves. This means we develop relationships with others that support the other person in fulfilling his or her God-given potential.

Jesus explains he is moving us beyond the relationship of master and servant. Jesus is inviting us into a mutual relationship with him that allows us to be equals as friends where we are part of Jesus’ ministry on Earth. This leads us to be willing to sacrifice our need to be master over others by actions such as sharing power, building consent, or discovering what is best for the whole. 

As we study and embrace the meaning of Christ-like love, we understand it is a sacrificial love that recognizes one’s worth and potential as a child of God. Christ-like love is not based on having good chemistry with another nor is it the result of having compatible personalities. Christ-like love can exist for another even when one does not like the other person. This is what helps us break down walls and share Christ-like love with everyone.

Central Ideas

  1. God’s love for us as expressed through the life and ministry of Jesus is a model for how we should love others.
  2. Our love for one another is to be sacrificial like Christ’s love.
  3. Our love is born out of our connection through Christ as opposed to the various kinds of love that develop through chemistry and compatible personalities.
  4. Our love for one another is expanding as we invite others into relationship with Christ.

Questions to Consider

  1. What do we learn about the nature of love as we look to Jesus as our model?
  2. How is Christian love different from other forms of love?
  3. What examples have you witnessed of sacrificial love in service to others?
  4. Where are we sent to “go and bear fruit” (v.16) by sharing the good news of Christ-like love with others? 
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