Week 26: Sixth Sunday of Easter

One of the highlights of John’s apocalyptic vision was his vision of the holy city, New Jerusalem. John was carried away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain where he was shown the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. John observed that there was no temple in the city, “for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” Likewise, he noted that the city had no need “of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

By the light of the city the nations will themselves walk, and the earth’s kings will bring their glory into it. The gates of the New Jerusalem will never be shut by day, and there will be no night there. The kings of the earth will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. However, John noted that “nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” The destiny of the redeemed is to partake of the water of the river of life in the midst of God’s city, where they will dwell forever in the presence of the Lord and his people.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Holy Father, thank you for your gracious provision to John of the holy city, the New Jerusalem, the place which we as saints long to reside. There we will see your face, hear your voice, know your presence, and bask in the light and love of your Son, Jesus Christ. We seek this city with all our hearts. Oh, to walk with you in that place, and drink from the waters of the river of life! Grant to us that we might, through faith in your Son, be counted worthy to dwell in that place and drink from that river, the river of life in the Jerusalem above. In Jesus’s name, 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

An annual reading through the Bible in the order in which the events took place

Sunday: Isa. 12; 17; 2 Chron. 28.16-25; 29.1-2; 2 Kings 15.30-31; 16.10-18; 17.1-4; 18.1-8

Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 67
Acts*: Acts 16.9-15
Gospel: John 5.1-9
NT: Rev. 21.10, 22-22.5

* 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 Christ, you revealed to your servant and our brother John “the river of the water of life,” that holy stream, bright as crystal, that flows from you and the throne of God in the middle of the street of the city. We long to dwell with you in our true homeland, the place where your honor dwells, the place of our inheritance. Cleanse and prepare us, that we might be found ready to dwell in the place where the throne of God and you, O Lamb, will dwell. There we desire to worship you. Bless your name, and prepare us, your people, for that great Day. In your name, amen.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Help us Father, to drink from the river of life in the midst of your city.

Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
Whether our Christian tradition makes a distinction between laity and clergy is not particularly significant in this discussion. What is relevant is even if we belong to a Christian tradition that makes a distinction between laity and clergy those of us who are “laity” still have a priestly identity even if it is not a formal office within our church tradition. The “laity” are the bi-vocational segment of the Church in that we hold both the office/nature of a priest, as well as the occupational, where we live out our calling and earn our living.

~ Scott Breslin, Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work:
A Theology and Practice for Ordinary Saints, Electronic Edition.
Eugene OR: Resource Publications, 2017. Loc. 7428.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
You Will Be My Witnesses, Acts 1.1-11

Book Reading
Breslin, Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work

Special Church Year Service
The Ascension of the Lord: Thursday, May 26, 2022

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