top of page

6th Sunday of Easter : 5th April 2024

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):

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.

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

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Acts 10:44-48
00:00 / 00:47

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 John 5:1-6
00:00 / 01:12

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.

John 15:9-17
00:00 / 01:58

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Love - it isn't optional !
00:00 / 10:25

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

Sermon for Easter 6, 5th May 2024

Take my lips O God and speak through them, take our minds O God and think through them, take our hearts O God and love through them this day. <Amen>

If you knew your death was coming soon what would YOU say to those you love?

Jesus spoke to His followers not long before He was to be murdered on the cross. What we have just heard this morning was His farewell speech to the disciples. The words of our Lord:

“THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.”

“YOU ARE MY FRIENDS IF YOU DO WHAT I COMMAND YOU.”

Jesus is getting the disciples prepared, shaping them up to live right with God and with other people before He physically leaves them.

Following on from His words of last Sunday, Jesus expands “abiding” in the Vine to encompass loving one another.

Jesus is putting supreme importance on these two things.

In Matthew 22 Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. Jesus responds that it is to love God and the second is like it, love your neighbour as yourself.

Today, we focus on the second part of the greatest commandment.

Jesus is serious about our loving one another.

IT IS HIS COMMAND TO US - IT IS NOT AN OPTIONAL EXTRA!

We need to remind each other in churches, in streets, in offices, in shops, in cafes, everywhere - we need to say,

"I'm commanded to love you." Then say, "You're commanded to love me.”

Jesus is serious about us loving one another because it shows we know God!

1 John 4:8 says, "The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." We can't say we know God and refuse to love others.

It's a sign we know Him and know Him by “THE EXPERIENCE OF DOING”.

Jesus is serious about our loving one another because it reveals whether or not God lives in us.

Does God live in you? <PAUSE> He does if you love others. Love is the distinguishing mark of a child of God and we, the body of Christ MUST reflect the love of God!

If I haven't made it clear enough, let me reiterate ... CHRIST DEMANDS, DEMANDS, THAT THE SINGLE DRIVING FORCE IN OUR LIVES BE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER - - - AND YES, I DO UNDERSTAND THAT, AT TIMES AND WITH SOME PEOPLE, THIS CAN BE A REAL CHALLENGE.

All other things, no matter how important we may think they are, they are secondary.

Love is the sign of true discipleship, that shows Christ lives in us.

There are simply no substitutes for genuine love. Love can't be replaced by good preaching or singing ability or the ability to have great faith. Genuine love for others can't be substituted with money. You can't put a price tag on love. A ministry can survive without a huge budget but it can't survive without love.

So, how are we supposed to love others? Jesus says we are to love one another as He has loved us!

Wow! What a responsibility. What a difficulty. Jesus didn't just tell us what to do but how to do it.

How did He love us? He did it by His own choice. So, we love because He first loved us!

God draws near to us. From creation to the cross and after the resurrection, Christ is always taking the initiative to love us and care for us and lead us. He doesn't have to persuaded or prodded. He sees something very valuable, something worth loving in every single one of us.

Even when we act in a manner that doesn't deserve to be loved … still … Christ loves us.

THE CHALLENGE OF OUR DISCIPLESHIP IS TO LOVE LIKE THAT - TAKING THE INITIATIVE, LOVING WITHOUT PERSUASION OR PRODDING, SEEING BEYOND THE VISIBLE AND INTO THE HEARTS OF OTHERS, YES, AND OFTEN LOVING THE UNLOVE-ABLE.

This takes patience, it takes a willingness to be Godly and it takes God-like love.

We aren't perfect and we will often fall short of that kind love for each other. Only Christ is the perfect fulfilment of love. But let me share something with you - IF THERE IS A MARK IN OUR LIVES THAT IS WORTH AIMING FOR - THIS IS IT!

From Jesus comes the strength to love, to God be the glory.

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 <AMINE>

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.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

Faithful God, your Son Jesus Christ gave us a new commandment, of love for each other and so we ask you to teach us to love You in our neighbours that by serving them we might also serve you.

In Jesus, name we pray. Amen.

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in Your mercy” Our response is, “hear our prayer!”

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

Mighty God, we pray for Your people around the world and, in particular, we raise before you our Christian sisters and brothers praying and praising You. Give us, here, in our ministries a sense of expectation as we come and inspiration as we go.  Bless all whose example, preaching, and teaching inspire us with the message of Your salvation.

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

Creator God, the world so often seems to be a violent and fearful place.  Give us the strength to love our enemies and to pray for those who by violence and acts of terrorism distort and demonise your wonderful creation.


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

Father God, may our closeness to family and friends make us never exclusive, shutting others out, but always inclusive, welcoming others. Encourage us in outgoing hospitality and keep us from becoming possessive with those we love.

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

Loving God, help us all to be a part of the healing ministry.  Encourage us to constantly pray for those we know who are suffering in body, mind or spirit.  Deepen our love for our neighbours especially those who are weak, help us to console the sorrowful and give hope to the dying.

We especially raise before You now all those who have asked for our prayers from around the world … those we know in New Zealand, in Singapore, in Argentina, in France, in Australia, in the US, in Canada, in Austria, in Ukraine, in China and any 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

Merciful God, your love reaches beyond the grave. At the end of our days on earth be with us and with those we love and with those whom we love and have gone before us.  We pray now for those who have recently died; give to the departed the perfect joy of Your eternal love and to those bereaved by their passing the consolation of Your perfect love.

(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 resurrection that Your Son has won for us.

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

Holy God, send us out into the world today mindful that as witnesses and servants, we should make you known in every place we visit and bear witness to the Gospel with acts of faith and hope and love.

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

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

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.

bottom of page