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Fifth Sunday of Easter : 07th May 2023

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

Jesus said: If you dwell within the revelation I have brought, you are indeed my disciples; you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

Eternal God, your Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life for all creation; grant us grace to walk in this way, to rejoice in his truth, and to share his risen life; He who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Acts 7:55-60
00:00 / 01:16

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Peter 2:2-10
00:00 / 02:24

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint John
(click the 'play' button below to listen)

John 14:1-14
00:00 / 02:12

Listen to David speak to this gospel
(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Way, Truth, Life!
00:00 / 09:28

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon Easter 5, 7th May 2023

​May the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>

“I think there is something that perhaps you ought to know! The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight has been the subject of recent discussion is not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as certain previous disclosures may have led you to assume; but not to put too fine a point on it the individual in question is, it may surprise you to learn, one whom your present interlocutor is in the habit of defining by means of the perpendicular pronoun! It was I”.

Sir Humphrey Appleby (the late great Nigel Hawthorne) finally getting around to telling his government minister that he was the one!

Thanks be to God that Jesus doesn’t cloud His identity and purpose in such double-speak!

Jesus tells us this morning, in brilliantly clear terms who He is, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

This is one of the seven, wonderful “I am” statements of Jesus.

For over three years the disciples had been following Jesus and they have placed their hopes in Him as the promised deliverer. Yet, they still don't understand how He was going to accomplish that deliverance.

Speaking about His departure, after The last Supper, led to many questions from his disciples and prompted Peter to ask where He was going, moved Thomas to state that they did not know where He was going so how could they know how to follow him?

It was the answer that reveals Jesus’ use of the perpendicular pronoun. This great “I am” truth: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

“I am”, in Greek language is a very, VERY intense way of referring to oneself it. It’s like saying … I myself AND ONLY I !! No one else … ONLY ME!

At other times in the Gospels we find Jesus using these “I am” words, words that reflect the very name of God in Hebrew, “Yahweh” - the self existing one, it is the name of power and authority and Jesus rightly claims it as his own!

Jesus uses the perpendicular pronoun to make it clear to us the He, AND ONLY HE, is THE WAY, the path, the road to salvation, to eternal life with The father! <PAUSE>.

Jesus told the disciples, several times, about His impending death. Jesus as the Incarnate Word of God is the source of all TRUTH.

Jesus, by His life, His death, and His conquest of death by His resurrection IS, for us, the source of all LIFE.

THE WAY. THE TRUTH, THE LIFE.
In that Way, that Truth, that Life, through the authority granted to Him by The Father in John 14:19, Jesus gave us the promise that because He lives, we also will live the deliverance He provided to us on the cross. A true deliverance from the bondage of sin and death to an abundant life on earth and a life of freedom and peace in eternity with The father.

These words Jesus, using the perpendicular pronoun, show Him revealing Himself as the great “I am” … the only path to salvation and eternal life. <PAUSE>

There is no other way to redemption and salvation except by the way of that cross of Jesus.

If there had been another way of salvation Jesus would have never died for us on the cross. On that night that he was betrayed, He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and He
asked His Father if it be possible let this cup pass from Him. Jesus was praying, O Father, if it is possible to save David Wright, if it is possible to save <NAMES>, if it is possible to save humankind … is there another way? Spare me the cross tomorrow!

Yet we know the end. We know the word came back from The Father that there is no other way! Humanity cannot be saved by bread alone. Humanity cannot be saved by earning its way to heaven, by working its way t heaven.

Humanity can only be saved by the grace of God. We saved through faith in the one who said, “I AM the way the truth and the life.”

Once the disciples understood this truth, they became changed people, lived out the life of The Risen Christ and took His gospel to the world.

Once people today understand this truth, they will become changed people, live out the life of The Risen Christ and take His gospel to the world.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu.
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMEN>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.
 

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.An Affirmation of Our Faith

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

Risen Lord, you are our way, our truth, and our life - assure our troubled hearts that you have gone to prepare a place for us, so that where you are, we may be also. You alone are the way, the truth, and the life by whom the Father comes to us, so that through you, we have seen him and know him.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Risen Lord, you are our way, our truth, and our life - how often are we like Thomas questioning your son Jesus whilst thinking that we’re on our own to work things out.  Help us to listen to your promises, to receive your assurances, to let you remove troubles from our hearts and may we always remember your constant presence with us.  We pray for Your church around the world and all who strive to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Risen Lord, you are our way, our truth, and our life - we pray for those people of the world featured in the news: the victims of accident, war, disease, violence, greed and natural disasters.  We pray for hope and we pray for peace in Ukraine and Sudan and all other countries torn apart by senseless violence.


(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Risen Lord, you are our way, our truth, and our life - on this day, following the Coronation of King Charles III, we pray for Charles at the start of his reign and Camilla, our Queen, and the Royal Family. |May that they all be guided and strengthened by your Holy Spirit, to serve The Commonwealth in love and service.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Risen Lord, you are our way, our truth, and our life - we pray for family and colleagues, friends and lovers, for neighbours and strangers; for those with whom we break bread at home, at work, in the community, and in our church; for all who grow, harvest and prepare the food we eat and for those who cook it and serve it.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Risen Lord, you are our way, our truth, and our life - whose touch alone could heal the sick, hear our prayers for your servants who are ill as we ask for your help and mercy to restore them to health.

We now raise before you those who have asked for our prayers … Eric, David, Rose, Mark, Fiona (here in the Wakatipu), Deb, David, Barbara and Lynley (in Christchurch), Andrew, Fiona, Glenys in Dunedin, Sam (in Singapore) and others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer Risen Lord, you are our way, our truth, and our life - we pray for those whose hearts have been saddened by the death of someone close and dear to them, for members of our families who have died and whose anniversary we recall. Help us to experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit within us, and the fellowship of the church family around us until we are reunited once more in that family house which is your heavenly kingdom.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

In a moment of silence we pray for ourselves, our families, friends, for all whom we love and for our personal ministries. Make us worthy of the compassion you show to us.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy” : Hear our prayer.

Risen Lord, you are our way, our truth, and our life - we thank you for showing us the Way, in human terms that we find easier to understand and which helps us to recognise all the wonderful things in your world for which we should be grateful

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:
 

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.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:

 

God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and

 

The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.

 

Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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