ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
22 Gettysburg Street Box 538
Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 2, 2021
W E L C O M E
Dear visitors, welcome and thank you for joining us at Zion UCC! Our hope is that you will feel encouraged by today’s service and that you will experience the love and peace of Jesus Christ. If you have any questions or need spiritual guidance, please find me at the end of the service.
Prelude: “To God Be the Glory”, Doane, ©2006, Hal Leonard Corporation
Chime Interlude: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”, Gaither, ©1970 William J. Gaither
Call to Worship
Leader: The keeping of vines is an ancient form of farming the land, cherishing the grapes that form wine rich in flavor and hospitality.
People: Come to the vine-keeper all those who bear fruit, who abide in the one who abides in us.
Leader: Vines are made of grafted branches, that are pruned and nurtured to produce the best fruit.
People: Come, those who abide in Jesus, to bear much fruit for the realm of God.
Leader: Jesus took the vines of earth and blessed them as an image of the followers of God.
People: Come, those who know they can do nothing on their own, but only as part of the vine and branches.
Gathering Hymn #14 “For the Beauty of the Earth”
Pierpoint/Kocher, public domain
Loving God, we come together to reconnect to you, the source of love. No one has ever seen God, but here, connected to one another, God lives in us. Grafted
again to the taproot of love in this time together, we strengthen ourselves to reach out like branches bearing good fruit to the world. Abide with us in this time, O God, so that we will continue to abide in love now and always. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
As each stanza of the prayer is read, a stem is pruned.
God, you are the vine grower and we are your branches. We confess there are things in our lives that need to be removed and let go of in order for us to be our best and bear much fruit. (Prune a stem of the branch.)
You promise that perfect love will cast out fear, yet there are times when we are afraid. We recall and confess those times when we have been overcome by fear. (Prune a stem of the branch.)
You tell us that love has no room for hate; yet when we see hateful things happen, or are the victims of hateful acts, hating back comes so naturally. We recall and confess the times we give in to hate. (Prune a stem of the branch.)
You tell us that everyone is our neighbor, yet when we are confronted by difficult people or situations in which being neighborly costs us a lot, we deny the brotherhood and sisterhood of those in need. We recall and confess the times we are hypocrites, claiming to love you but refusing to love our neighbors. (Prune a stem of the branch.)
You offer us the cleansing power of your word, yet there are times when your words are tough, and we would rather stay dirty than accept the cost of being true to your word. We recall and confess the times we have ignored the cleansing power of your word. (Prune a stem of the branch.)
You tell us that a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, yet there are times when we are self-interested at the expense of the greater good. We recall and confess the times we are singular and refuse to see ourselves as part of the whole of your creation. (Prune a stem of the branch.)
You promise us than when we abide in you, we will be bountiful and bear much fruit, yet there are times when we would rather go unchanged and unchallenged and be cast aside, rather than open our hearts to your transforming spirit. We recall and confess at times we have chosen impoverishment over bounty. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF GOD’S LOVE
Leader: The promise of God is clear – God sent Jesus into the world so that we might live. When we abide in God, God abides in us. When we love one another, God lives in us. When we choose love, there is no fear. Therefore, let God’s loving word cleanse us and free us of all that impoverishes our lives. Open your hearts to receiving God’s bounty and blessing and be made fruitful.
*PRAISE VERSICLE (asterisk indicates please stand)
Leader: Lift up your hearts!
All: Let God be praised!
*598 “Amen, We Praise Your Name”
Molefe ©Lumko Inst., Dargie ©1983 Choristers Guild
Reading of Scripture Psalm 22:25-32
Reading of Gospel: John 15: 1-8
Hymn # 401 “Here in This Place”
Marty Haugen, ©1979 GIA Publications, Inc.
Pastoral Prayer & Lord’s Prayer
We thank you, Redeeming God, for the glorious message that you bring new hope out of despair, resurrection out of defeat, and new life out of death. You call dry bones to dance. You give living water so that new life blossoms. You urge flowers to push their way through winter-hardened soil.
Gracious God, we thank you that you walk beside us as we journey through life. Because you are with us, we accept each new day, with its joys and sorrows, as a gift. Because you are with us, we gain courage to meet the challenge of the day, choosing life and not death as we move through time. As you raised Jesus from the dead, raise us to new life day by day. For we pray in Jesus’ name who taught us to say:
Leader: God is good!
People: All the time!
Leader: All the time!
People: God is good!
Vocal: Steal Away, African American spiritual, public domain
Fred M., soloist
Sung Doxology #647 “Give Thanks” vs. 1
Henry Smith, ©1978 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music
Prayer of Dedication
God longs for all of us to live bountiful lives. We share these gifts from the bounty with which we are blessed, in order that they may be a blessing to others. Amen.
Closing Hymn #661 “Why Should I feel Discouraged?” D. Martin/C. H. Gabriel 1905, public domain
Choral Benediction: “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”, verse 3, public domain
To all, life thou givest, to both great and small.
In all life thou livest, the true life of all.
We blossom and flourish like leaves on the tree,
Then wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.
Chime Meditation: “When Morning Gilds the Skies”, public domain
Postlude: “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”, Holden, ©2006 Hal Leonard Corporation
The fresh flower arrangement is in loving memory of Tony B. A tribute to a life well lived.
The altar flowers in the church are given to the glory of God and in loving memory of Jane T. by her children Nancy C., Richard T., Larry T., and Joan B. All are invited to her memorial today here at Zion at 2 p.m.
Office hours are limited; please call the office before stopping by.
Coming Up This Week:
May 2 Outdoor Worship Parking lot 9:00 a.m.
Sunday School Outside F.H. 10:15 a.m.
Jane Taylor memorial serv. Church 2:00 p.m.
May 9 Outdoor Worship Parking lot 9:00 a.m.
Sunday School Outside F.H. 10:15 a.m.
BBQ Chicken Fundraiser Parking lot after worship
May 13 Book Club Fellowship Hall 6:30 p.m.
May 15 Ramblers Hike to Pole Steeple 9:00 a.m.
Happy Birthday to Bill S. who celebrates 77 years on May 3rd!
Prayer Requests: Don’t forget to send your prayer requests via email to the church office by Friday evening to have them included in the Sunday service.
Soda Can Tabs: We are still collecting soda can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House, so please save your tabs as you enjoy soft drinks during the coming hotter months! Just bring them along to worship and deposit them in the keg sitting near the offering basket. Every donation helps kids and parents who are making use of Ronald McDonald House facilities during difficult times.
Mother’s Day: Next Sunday is Mother’s Day – you are encouraged to wear red in honor and memory of your mothers and grandmothers!
Chicken Done Right: The Mission Committee thanks everyone for their wonderful support of this project! We have reached the limit for the amount of chicken our racks can hold. Don’t forget to pick up your orders next Sunday morning after worship.
Ladies Breakfast: Zion’s ladies will meet on Monday, May 10th, at 9:00 a.m. at the Apple Bin for breakfast, inside or outside will be determined by the weather. Come join us for fellowship and food!