Seventh Sunday of Easter
Sunday, May 16, 2021
For thousands of years, Christians have grappled logically and in their faith perhaps with Jesus' life, death and resurrection. The mechanics of it; how it actually happened. It feels very sci-fi, doesn't it? From His immaculate conception, through His life, to death on a cross, subsequent resurrection, and as we will hear today, His ascension, it is difficult for our brains and maybe even our faith to conceptualize the Paschal Mystery.
Most people I know though, love a good mystery. So let us come before God, before Jesus and the Holy Spirit with open minds and hearts listening for the voice of God, and the message waiting for us.
Come, let us worship the Lord!
Most High God, as Christ ascended into the heavens,
so may our hearts ascend to you.
Open our lives to the fullness of your power,
that we may be clothed with your power from on high.
Open our eyes to the power of your Presence,
that we may behold the glorious gift
of your promised salvation.
Help us wait patiently for the baptism of your Spirit,
that we may be found worthy of your great gifts.
Hymn: Voices United #211, Crown Him with Many Crowns
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Jesus, Light of love,
share your light with us,
so that it illuminates the Word, and
opens us to your teachings,
Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1-11 (NRSV), The ascension of Jesus
Hymn: Christ is Alive
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:44-53 (NRSV), Jesus explains scripture
Sermon: The Great Mystery, by Karen Chandler
A time to reflect on the scripture and the message during a moment of instrumental reflection.
Take a moment to think of all the ways that your gifts -
your time, your talent and your treasure
can be used to further the ministry and mission
of the Church,
throughout the community of St. Paul's, and
within Canada and around the world.
And now, let us freely offer those gifts to God.
Our offering is both a practical and symbolic act of our commitment to serve Christ and build His church. Although we can’t actually pass the plate’ online, you are encouraged to continue your gift to the church, as the work of the St Paul’s and the staff continues:
Drop your envelope (cheque or cash) at the church;
Mail your cheque to the church;
Go on PAR (call the church for details);
Use the Donate button at the top of the page (it will take you to SPUC’s Canada Helps page where you can donate online and get an instant tax receipt).
Donations to St. Paul's United Church have decreased over the past few months and your support is needed to maintain our ministry and mission. Thank you.
Offertory Hymn: Voices United #701, What Does the Lord Require of You
Holy and most gracious God,
we humbly ask that You accept the gifts we bring before You.
Bless them and multiply them so that others will recognize them
as your gift of love forevermore.
Prayers of the People
we are conscious of the cries of your people throughout all the earth.
We pray for those who are hurt:
by government or political systems that wield power like a sword,
and that do not have the people's best interests and justice at its core
We pray for those whose families have been torn apart by war, oppression,
violence and are unable to be together.
We pray for those who are ill, in pain, and dying, and are unable to have
family and friends surround them due to the pandemic or other
We pray for those grieving the loss of loved ones, of being together,
or of gathering in Your name for worship.
We pray for all those who are marginalized, vulnerable, and afraid.
We pray now in our silence people and circumstances that weigh heavily
on our minds and in our hearts... (silence)
Hear these our prayers, O God, in Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
The Lord's Prayer
And of all the prayers silent and spoken, we pray the one prayer that unites us in Your presence, O Lord (you can sing with the video or recite the words below):
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed by 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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
Hymn: Voices United #575, I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me
Lift up your eyes to the heavens.
Christ ascended to show us the way.
Trust in the power of the Spirit.
Christ ascended to clothe us with power.
Go as witnesses of the risen Lord.
Christ ascended to bring us eternal life.
Hymn: Go Now in Peace
Food for the Journey
Malcolm Guite, is a poet-priest and Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge. Below is just one of his beautifully written works called, "A Sonnet for Ascension Day". I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you like it, please visit his website: malcolmguite.wordpress.com for more.
Malcolm, thank you for sharing your God-given talent with us. Blessings to you.
Don’t forget to extinguish your candle(s).
Rev. Debbie Johnson has joined St. Paul's to provide some Pastoral Care to our congregation on a part-time basis. If you would like a call or email from Rev. Debbie, please contact the office at 416-261-4222. More information and a video from Rev. Debbie can be found on our church homepage.
Zoom Coffee Time is taking a pause this week and will resume on Sunday, May 23, 2021.
Note that portions of this service are drawn and adapted from various resources:
o The Opening Prayer and the Sending Forth is from The Abingdon Worship
Annual 2018, Contemporary and Traditional Resources for Worship
Leaders, Edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu. Copyright 2017 by Abingdon
Press, page 112 and 114. Copyright © B.J. Beu. Used by permission.
Thank you to:
Patsy Cuffy for the reading from Acts today.
Max Laumeister for his web script that makes our YouTube videos work.
And, thank you to all of the artists whose music and videos were used in the service:
o Heritage United Church
o Frodsham Methodist Church
o Lawrence Redondiez
o Pacific Spirit United Church
o Haewook Kim
o Ebenezer United Church
o Tina Vanderpol Melodium75