Worship Resources for May 5, 2024—Sixth Sunday of Easter

A note on Rev-o-lution:

After seventeen years of blogging, first on an old Blogger site and then for the past thirteen years at this domain, providing worship resources on the Revised Common Lectionary (and for the past ten years on the Narrative Lectionary), it is time to hang up my blogging hat.

I will continue to post new resources through Pentecost (May 19, 2024) and keep the website up through at least November 2024, perhaps longer, for access to the archives.

It has become more difficult to say something new week after week, and also, I’m now writing novels, and it has taken more of my time than I can give. Thank you for your support of Rev-o-lution over all these years. It has meant a lot to me that my resources are useful to local pastors and that I have been able to provide them for free. But all things come to an end and there are other people blogging on the lectionary currently, with fresher words than mine. Thank you for all your kind words over the last few weeks.


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

Narrative Lectionary: Faith, Hope, and Love 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (Mark 12:28-31)

We began the season of Easter with the first selection of scriptures sharing the declaration that God shows no partiality in Acts 10:34-43, after Peter met Cornelius the Centurion, a Gentile. Now, as we near the end of the season of Easter, we read in 10:44-48 that the Jewish followers of Jesus were amazed at the Holy Spirit working through Gentile believers. The Holy Spirit showed Peter and others that there ought to be no prevention of baptizing anyone with the Holy Spirit, and Peter orders them to be baptized. Baptism becomes the symbol of conversion of faith, not circumcision, in the account of the early church in Acts.

Psalm 98 is a song of praise after battle. God has remembered God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to the people, who have survived and are victorious. The psalmist invokes images of the Exodus and the celebration at the edge of the waters, like Miriam and Moses in Exodus 15. All of creation sings praises to God, and the psalmist calls upon the people to make music to God with their instruments and voices, and creation to clap with the floods and for the hills to sing. God is the one who judges the earth, and the people with equity.

The writer of 1 John reminds the reader/listener in chapter 5 that they are children of God and that they are called to love one another. The love of God is to live out the commandments of God, for God is love, and faith conquers the world. The writer alludes to a sort of trinity of birth: water, blood, and Spirit. The waters of birth and baptism, the blood of birth and sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit testifies to the truth of who Jesus is, the Son of God.

In Jesus’ final discourse to the disciples in John 15:9-17, Jesus leaves them with his commandment: that they love one another. Our joy is complete because God’s joy is in us when we love one another. If we love one another, we are Christ’s friends. We are no longer called servants because we willfully fulfill the commandments. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another, and that love is exemplified in Jesus. Jesus chose the disciples, and chooses us, and appoints us to bear fruit in this world by loving one another.

The Narrative Lectionary turns to the most popular passage in 1 Corinthians, the Love Chapter of 13:1-13. This is not romantic love, as it is often quoted out of context at weddings, but this is about the spiritual gift of love that comes from the Holy Spirit and is revealed through Jesus Christ. This is the crux of Paul’s argument to a church arguing over who is the greatest, who to follow, and what spiritual gifts are greater than others. Love is the greatest gift of all, for if one has everything but does not have love, they have nothing. Paul may have been quoting another source in this passage, possibly a hymn. He calls upon the church to grow into their faith, to remember that they do not know it all, but one day they will know God fully, and the way to God is love.

In the supplementary verses, Jesus responded to the question of which was the greatest commandment with two in Mark 12:28-31. He first responded with the Shema, the call to prayer that all of the Jewish people knew by heart, and then quoted from Leviticus 19:18 about loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. There are no other commandments greater than these.

This is the greatest commandment: to love God, and to love one another. Jesus declares in John 15:12: “This is my commandment that you love one another.” If you know the song, you can’t help but sing it. The Bible contains the record of humanity’s response to God’s extravagant love through a minority cultural lens. We have sometimes responded out of fear, out of wrath, out of anger and hurt and jealousy. We have put those labels on God, but time and again, we are reminded that God will move mountains for us. God will make a way when there was no way. God will do anything, including finding a way through the valley of the shadow of death by dying, as Christ did himself, and still, love will overcome. There is no love greater than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. And perhaps this is the truth that is revealed in the Bible: God does not desire to be a domineering, jealous, overbearing God the way people keep understanding God; God desires to be our friend. Just like Moses meeting God face to face (Exodus 33:11), Jesus came to us to show us that the way, the truth, and the life was love, and that when we love one another, we are loving God face to face.

Call to Worship (Psalm 98:4-6, 1)
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
Break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn,
Make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.
O sing to the LORD a new song,
For God has done marvelous things.

Prayer of Invocation

Loving God, we enter this space today with grateful hearts and songs of praise. We know that You are a Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God, the Everlasting One and Proclaimer of Peace. Guard our hearts and minds from the distractions of this world: all the busy-ness of our to-do lists and things left undone, all the elements of consumer culture that would have us look at our neighbor to see what they have that we don’t, all the things that pull our attention from You. Guide us in this time of worship to center our lives in You, to remember Your great love for us, and to be encouraged in our love of one another. All this we pray in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Prayer of Brokenness/Confession
God Who Opens, we confess that we are often the ones to leave doors closed. We are often the ones who build up the walls and break down the bridges. We are the ones who want to define who people are as for us or against us, as worthy of love or not. But You continually have torn down the walls and built bridges. You have continually drawn the circle wider. You have continually erased the lines we define ourselves by. God, may we be open to Your spirit doing new things in our lives. May we be open to Your people, who may not define themselves by the labels of the past. May we remember that the most important identifier is our love, and if we love one another, we are living as You have commanded us. Call us deeper into Your ways of love that always open more doors, that lead us to inclusion over exclusion, and that center our thoughts and actions in the heart of Your love. Amen.

Blessing/Assurance (1 John 5:1-4)
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey God’s commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey God’s commandments. And God’s commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.”

Know this: when everything else passes away, love remains. Love will never leave us. There is nothing you can do, no place you can go, where love will not be with you, where love will not find you. God madly loves you, and will search for you to the ends of the earth. Surrender yourself to God’s love, and be full of all the hope and joy and peace that is found in Christ Jesus. You are forgiven, loved, and restored. Amen.

Unstoppable One, You are unrelentless in Your love and You never stop pursuing us. Remind us not to give up on one another. In our ever-expanding world it is easy to take what one person says or does in one moment as an example of their whole being. Open our hearts to forgiveness, reparation and restoration. Help us to be healers in our own lives, and to seek forgiveness where we have harmed others. Guide us in Your ways of love, and may we be as unrelentless in our pursuit of justice and peace in this world, all done in the name of Your Son’s love for us. For Christ was undeterred, even to the cross, to show us how much he loved us. It is in his name that we pray. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Worship Resources for May 5, 2024—Sixth Sunday of Easter


    this material is helpful to me as i prepare the liturgy for small churches in the country sides

  2. Ann Van Cleef

    I love your website, especially the summary of the Lectionary Readings. Even though you are not writing any new material, I hope you will keep the website going. You have many fans. And, if we need to contribute a little something to keep that website up, just ask. I’m positive that people will step forward.


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