Week 22: Fourth Sunday of Easter

In John’s first epistle, he says we know that love calls us to lay down our lives for one another because our Lord Jesus laid down his life for us. We ought not love one another in mere talk but rather in actual deeds, and in truth. Those who in fact love in this way can know that they are of the truth and can have the assurance in their hearts that they belong to him. We can be assured that God answers our petitions as we believe in his Son, and love our fellow disciples in deed and truth.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O Father, the Almighty, thank you today for your amazing, eternal, and all-sufficient love granted to your creation. Through your Son you have redeemed and reconciled the world back to yourself, and your gracious love is the foundation of our life and hope. Grant us the wisdom and insight to know your love, to demonstrate that love in response to your care with vigor and heart, and to care for the brothers and sisters, to lay down our lives for them because the Lord Jesus laid down his life for us. Ignite the flames of love within our hearts today. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

Te Deum Laudamus 
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Chronological Reading for the Day
Sunday: Prov. 5-7

Lectionary Readings
Psalm: Ps. 23
Acts*: Acts 4.5-12
Gospel: John 10.11-18
NT: 1 John 3.16-24
* During Eastertide, a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible.

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in 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, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Benediction 
Lord Jesus, fill our hearts with confidence and assurance that you love us, and have sent your Spirit to us that we might love others, even as you have loved us. Show us how to keep your commandment, to love not merely in talk but in deeds, and to cling to your Spirit to enable us to be like you in our daily conduct and relationships. You alone can grant us grace to please you. We ask this in your name, amen.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Savior of love and truth, fill us with your Spirit, that we may love, even as you do.

Weekly Reflection on the Sovereign Love of God
If you are not yet able to die for your brother, at least show him your ability to give him of your goods. Let love be stirring your inmost heart to do it, not for display but out of the very marrow of compassion, thinking only of the brother and his need.

~ Augustine. Ten Homilies on 1 John 5.12.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
By This We Know Love, 1 John 3.16-24

Book Reading
Davis, Sacred Roots

Our Corporate Disciplines
Book Discussion: Wednesday, April 28, 2021