Revised Common Lectionary: Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; John 15:9-17; 1 John 5:1-6

My alternative suggestion: Acts 9:36-43
(special litany for Mother’s Day also included in the worship resources below)

The passage from Acts today briefly describes the “Pentecost Experience” that the Gentiles received, where they also spoke in tongues through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Peter orders them to be baptized, realizing that God’s love and grace know no bounds. We read this passage now, preparing us for our celebration of Pentecost and the reading of Acts 2:1-21 in two weeks.

As it is Mother’s Day, I offer an alternative suggestion of Acts 9:36-43, which is the raising from the dead of Tabitha, the only place in the New Testament where a woman is specifically referred to as a disciple. While we may infer that Mary Magdalene and many other women who followed Jesus were also disciples, the author of Luke-Acts specifically refers to Tabitha as a disciple. One who cared for the poor and widowed. Many became to believe because she came back to life according to the writer. On this day when we celebrate mothers, we also remember all women who have followed Christ and have modeled to us the Christian life. We also remember those who are widowed, whose children have passed on, and we remember those mothers who have gone before us. The story of Tabitha is a great alternative for this Sunday.

Psalm 98 is a psalm of praise, of music and dancing, and that all of creation rejoices in the presence of God the Creator. God’s faithfulness endures forever.

John 15:9-17 is part of the final discourse of Jesus, picking up where last week’s passage left off. Jesus declares that as God has loved Jesus, so Jesus loves his disciples. We are all part of God’s love, and we are called to abide in that love by loving one. Jesus tells us that his commandment is to love one another. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. There is no greater love than loving our neighbor, caring for others above ourselves. Christ laid down his life for all of us, cared for all of us greater than himself. This is the love that God calls us to.

1 John 5:1-6 declares that whoever loves God loves one another: “Whoever loves the parent loves the child.” Not only an appropriate passage for Mother’s Day, but another reminder that God loves us and only requires of us to show the same love to others. When we live into this kind of love, we live out our faith, which conquers all our fears, conquers all the ways of the world, and calls us into the reign of God.

On this Sunday, we are reminded of our mothers and those who have been like mothers to us, but we are also called to walk in the way of love, which is Christ’s commandment. Like Tabitha, we are called to seek out the least, the suffering, the marginalized around us. Jesus tells us that all who know his voice know the Way, and the Way of Christ is love. Love calls us into communion with those who are separated from us. Love calls us to seek justice for those who are suffering. Love calls us into speaking the ways of peace when the voice of the world calls us to war. Love calls us simply to love one another, as Christ first loved us.

Call to Worship:
Leader: Love one another.
People: This is The Way of Christ.
Leader: Serve one another.
People: This is The Way of Christ.
Leader: Live in peace with one another.
People: This is The Way of Christ.
Leader: Seek justice for one another.
People: This is The Way of Christ.
Leader: We are called to walk, act, speak and live all of our lives with the love of Christ Jesus.
All: Come, let us follow The Way, let us love one another, and let us worship Christ our Savior.

Litany for Mother’s Day (from Isaiah 66:7-9, 12-13; 42:14; 54:13; 54:1)
Leader: Midwifing God, the Prophet Isaiah declared that You are the one who delivers us.
People: We remember that You are Mother and Father to all of us, all of us are Your children.
Leader: Mothering God, You bring forth new life in our midst.
People: We honor the mothers around us, and all who care and love children.
Leader: Grandmother God, You comfort us in our time of grieving and sorrow.
People: We remember our mothers and grandmothers who have passed on, for all those we miss on this day.
Leader: Teaching God, You have taught us to honor our mothers and fathers and have taught us the ways of love.
People: We remember those who have been like mothers to us, giving wisdom and guidance in our lives.
Leader: Creator God, we remember that we are all created in Your image
People: We honor and respect all women in our midst, mothers and aunts and sisters and friends.
Leader: We honor and remember these great women, loving God, who You have sent into our lives.
People: Mothering God, guide us into ways of honoring and respecting women around our world, working towards justice and liberation, health and safety for all women and girls. In the name of Christ, who like a mother hen desires to gather us together, we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession:
God of Steadfast Love, we confess that our love is short-sighted. We love our families and friends, we love those close around us, we show partiality to those in positions of power over us, and we ignore those who seem irrelevant. We are selfish with our love, loving those who will love us, who will help us. Forgive us, loving Jesus, for not loving the way You did, by laying down Your life for the lost and the least, the poor and the broken. Forgive us, loving Jesus, for being short-sighted, and not seeing our brothers and sisters in the world. Call us back into the ways of Your love, away from the ways of the world. In the name of Jesus the Christ, the Love of God, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon (from 1 John 5):
For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. Christ’s commandment is to love one another. Do this, and live. Amen.

Spirit of Love and Life, come into our lives in a new way. Call us away from the voice of the world to listen to You, and Your call, Your commandment, to love one another. Guide us to seek out the lost and least, the forgotten and lonely. Remind us that when we love one another, we know Your love. You came into our lives as one who loved us just as we were; call us into this same kind of love. You know our faults, our wounds, our brokenness, and You make us whole and renewed. Lead us out into the world to love one another as You have loved us. In the name of Christ, our Gentle Shepherd, we pray. Amen.

5 Responses to Worship Resources for May 13, 2012–Sixth Sunday of Easter, Mother’s Day

  1. Holly Nye says:

    Thank you, Mindi – I always find your reflections and prayers energizing and inspiring.

  2. […] a link to last year’s Mother’s Day resources. One thing I think is important to keep in mind this Sunday are […]

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