5/19/19 5th Sunday of Easter and Convocation

Morning Prayer + 5th Sunday of Easter

(Book of Common Worship 2018)



In spite of all we have heard and all that we have seen, it is often hard to believe. Because it is hard to believe, we will invest ourselves in the Easter mystery for fifty days (a week of weeks). Because it is hard to believe, John the evangelist will provide sign after sign celebrating Jesus’ victory over death. Because it is hard to believe, the Lord Jesus will return to us again and again in the mystery of the holy communion, inviting us to touch and taste his presence, and offering us his peace.


This morning is also a convocation, celebrating the end of the academic year at Southminster. Part of this convocation will be celebrating the teachers and students, especially those graduating high school.



This morning’s order of service is Morning Prayer. The Christian discipline of daily prayer goes back to the ancient Church practices, as well as the set times of prayer in Judaism. At morning prayer, we give thanks for the gift of new life in Christ and seek God’s grace for the day ahead. The Thanksgiving for Baptism highlights our common baptismal patter of daily prayer, with its rhythm of dying and rising with Christ. Also, the services of daily prayer in community may be led by any baptized member. For more on the importance of Daily Prayer and the Presbyterian understanding and practice, see the Book of Order’s Directory for Worship, W-5.0102.


Ordinarily, an offering is not received during Daily Prayer. Hence, the ushers will be in the Narthex (great entrance hall) to collect any tithes or offerings.


PRELUDE: When Morning Gilds the Skies- hymntune LAUDES DOMINI by Joseph Barnby (1868)



As a matter of hospitality, we invite everyone to fill out the information in the red fellowship pad found on each pew at the center aisle and pass it down so everyone may be greeted by name during the passing of the peace. Written announcements can be found at the back of the bulletin.


This is our new commandment in Christ:

As Jesus loves us, let us love one another.

O God, form the minds of your faithful people into a single will. Make us love what you command and desire what you promise, that, amid all the changes of this world, our hearts may be fixed where true joy is found;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


*GATHERING HYMN # 667 When Morning Gilds the Skies




From the chaos before creation
and the destruction of the flood.

O Lord of life, deliver us.

From the devastating sacrifice
and the armies of the enemy.
O Lord of life, deliver us.

From the vanity of wickedness
and the bread that only perishes.
O Lord of life, deliver us.

From the power of the oppressor
and the hardness of our own hearts.
O Lord of life, deliver us.

From the valley of dry bones
and the furnace of blazing fire.
O Lord of life, deliver us.

From the belly of the beast
and the disgrace of exile.
O Lord of life, deliver us.

After a brief silence, the leader concludes the litany:

God of mercy,

we no longer look for Jesus among the dead,
for he is alive and has become the Lord of life.
From the waters of death you raise us with him
and renew your gift of life within us.

Increase in our minds and hearts
the risen life we share with Christ,
and help us to grow as your people

toward the fullness of eternal life with you,

through Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.




The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.


O Lord our God, we give you thanks
for the new life you raise up in us
through the mystery of our baptism—
the sorrow of the heavy cross,

the surprise of the empty tomb,

the love that death could not destroy.

By the power of your Holy Spirit,
poured out upon us in baptism,
fill us with the joy of resurrection,
so that we may be a living sign

of your new heaven and new earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Friends, let us remember your baptism and be thankful.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.



The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.


*MORNING PSALM 98, HYMN # 276 Sing a New Song Unto the Lord


OFFERING OF MUSIC: By Our Love- words & music by Peter Scholtes, setting by Gregg Sewell

(See HYMN # 300; sing with us if you wish.) PLEASE INSERT SLIDE.


SUNG PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION, HYMN # 458 Thy Word is a Lamp Unto my Feet


FIRST READING: Acts 11:1-18

In defense of his earlier baptism of pagan believers, Peter demonstrates to the members of the Jerusalem church that God’s intention to love Gentiles as well as Jews is revealed in Jesus’ own testimony. In this way the mission to the Gentiles is officially authorized.


1Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, 3saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, 5I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. 6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 11At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. 12The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; 14he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. 16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” 18When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”


The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


PSALM 148, HYMN # 14                  For the Beauty of the Earth


SECOND READING: Revelation 21:1-6

John’s vision shows us that in the resurrection the new age has dawned; God dwells with us already. Yet we wait for the time when the tears that cloud our vision will be wiped away. Then we will see the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem.


1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.

He will dwell with them;

they will be his peoples,

and God himself will be with them;

                4he will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Death will be no more;

mourning and crying and pain will be no more,

for the first things have passed away.”

5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.


The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


GOSPEL: John 13:31-35

After washing the disciples’ feet, predicting his betrayal, and then revealing his betrayer, Jesus speaks of his glorification on the cross. This deep complicated love of Jesus, even to death on the cross, will be the distinctive mark of Jesus’ community.


31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.


HYMN # 343 Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life




*HYMN # 754 Help Us Accept Each Other




The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.


Eternal God,

we praise you that your glory has dawned on us,
and brought us into this Day of Resurrection.

We rejoice that the grave could not hold your Son,

and that he has conquered death,

risen to rule over all powers of this earth.

We praise you that he summons us into new life,
to follow him with joy and gladness.

By your Spirit,

lift us from doubt and despair,

and set our feet in Christ’s holy way,
that our lives may be signs of his life,

and all we have may show forth his love.
Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Trusting God’s promise of new life, we pray for the renewal of the church, the world, and all of creation.


A brief silence.


Send your Holy Spirit upon your church. Awaken in us renewed commitment to our baptismal promises: to build community, to worship together, to share our faith, to serve others, and to work for justice and peace. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Forgive us for the ways we have caused creation to suffer. Inspire creativity as we explore new ways of reducing our consumption of earth’s resources. Restore forests and waterways. Replenish the habitats of all endangered and threatened species. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Call all nations to the repentance that leads to life. Empower legislators to craft laws reflecting your commandments to love and serve. Bless police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and first responders who put themselves at risk to care for others. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Make your home among us and shelter us from storms of death, mourning, crying, and pain. Draw near to those who weep and to those who are lonely. Restore health and wholeness to those who suffer (especially). Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


We give you thanks for those who carry out the ministry of hospitality: greeters, ushers, those who make coffee and bake cookies, all who welcome newcomers and care for children, and all who extend a hand of peace to neighbors. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Here other intercessions may be offered.


You promise new life for all the faithful departed. This week we commemorate: Dunstan of Canterbury; Jacques Ellul; Alcuin of Tours;

Myles Coverdale; Plautilla; John Eliot; John Forest; Helen of France; Julia of Africa; Nicolaus Copernicus; and the Venerable Bede. Renew us in faith and hope until the day death is no more, when you will dwell with us in the new heaven and earth. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


We commend these and all our prayers to you, O God. Come near to us with your saving help, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, who taught us to pray:

Our Father

who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our debts,

as we forgive our debtors;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom

and the power

and the glory, forever.


*SENDING HYMN # 543 God, Be the Love to Search and Keep Me



The blessing of the living God,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

surround and sustain you,

keep you from harm,

and fill you with courage.


You are the body of Christ raised up for the world.

Go in peace. Share the good news. Alleluia!

Thanks be to God. Alleluia!


POSTLUDE: They’ll Know We Are Christians- music by Peter Scholtes, setting by Charity Book Putnam



The Chancel Choir

The Children’s Choir


NOTES: Order of service and content is in accord with the Presbyterian Church’s Directory for Worship. Prayers are from the Sundays and Seasons (Year C) and the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (2018). Commemoration of Saints is from the 2018 Book of Common Worship, starting on pg 1145.


Calendar of Commemorations:


19      Dunstan of Canterbury (c. 910–988)- Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, Bishop of Worcester, Bishop of London, and Archbishop of Canterbury. Dunstan served as an important minister of state to several English kings. He was the most popular saint in England for nearly two centuries.

Jacques Ellul (1912–1994)- French philosopher, sociologist, theologian, and longtime Professor of History and the Sociology of Institutions, at the University of Bordeaux. He authored 58 books and more than a thousand articles over his lifetime, discussing the impact of technology on society and the interaction between religion and politics. The dominant theme of his work was the threat to human freedom and religion created by modern technology.

20      Alcuin of Tours (c. 735–804)- English scholar, clergyman, poet and teacher.

Myles Coverdale (1488–1569)- English church reformer, Bible translator, preacher, and bishop. In 1535, Coverdale produced the first complete printed translation of the Bible into English.

Plautilla (d. 67)- early Christian saint, a Roman widow who was (by some accounts) baptized by Peter and witnessed the martyrdom of Paul.

21      John Eliot (1604–1690)- Puritan missionary to Native Americans whom some called “the apostle to the Indians”; founder of Roxbury Latin School in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1645. Eliot was the first to missionary to learn the Massachusett (Wampanoag) language and to produce printed publications for the natives in their own language.

22      John Forest (1471– 1538)- English Franciscan Friar and martyr; confessor to Queen Catherine of Aragon. Forest was burned to death for heresy, in refusing to acknowledge King Henry VIII as head of the church.

Helen of France (d. 418)- (no info found)

23      Julia of Africa (d. 5th cent)- born of noble parents in South Africa, she was captured, sold into slavery, and subsequently taken to France. Legend has it that she was crucified by pagans when she refused to renounce her faith.

24      Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543)- Polishmathematician and astronomer, physician, classics scholar, canon lawyer, translator, governor, diplomat, and economist. He is best known for formulating a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe.

25      Bede (c. 672–735)- English Benedictine monk, often called Venerable Bede, known as an author, teacher, and scholar; his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title “The Father of English History”. Another important area of study for Bede was the academic discipline of computus, otherwise known to his contemporaries as the science of calculating calendar dates. He is credited with establishing the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ (Anno Domini–in the year of our Lord), a practice which, until recently, has been the standard mode of computing dates in the Western world.


Presbyterian Church. Book of Common Worship. Presbyterian Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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