May 17, 2020 — Sixth Sunday of Easter

INTROIT                                                "At the River" from Old American Songs                       AARON COPELAND

                                                                           Mark Hosseini, Baritone

CALL TO WORSHIP

O people, praise our God — the Artist of creation, the Lord of heaven and earth. 
We worship our Maker with resounding praise!
In God we live and move and have our being; it is the Lord who gives us life and breath. 
God has kept us among the living and not let our feet slip.
God formed all people to seek the Lord; indeed, our Creator is never far away. 
Bless the Lord, who is faithful to us! 

 

HYMN NO. 317                                          In Christ There is no East or West                                       MCKEE

 

CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE OF GOD'S GRACE

CALL TO CONFESSION

In the waters of baptism, we are raised to new life in Christ, with Christ, for Christ. As people who bear the watermark of the cross upon our foreheads, let us come before God with humility, and confess the ways we have denied the faith of our baptism. 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments," you said. And, in the same breath, you promised an Advocate would come to us. You, Lord, were faithful to your promise. But we — we have broken your law of love. We have hoarded resources, rather than feeding your sheep. We have stoked competition, rather than kneeling at others' feet. We have kept silent, rather than testifying to our belief. For not showing our love for you by loving one another, forgive us. Help us obey your commandments and keep us ever faithful to your Word by the power of your Spirit, who abides with and among us. 

SILENT REFLECTION

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Children of God, Christ does not leave us orphaned, but sends a Companion, the Spirit of Truth, who helps us, guides us, sustains us, renews us. Know that you are forgiven, and be at peace! Thanks be to God.

 

HYMN NO. 282                                             Come Down, O Love Divine                                         DOWN AMPNEY

1 Come down, O Love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine, 
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing. 

 

2 O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming. 

 

3 And so the yearning strong, 
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till Love create a place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling. 

 

 

ANTHEM

 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Living God, with joy we celebrate the presence of your risen Word. Enliven our hearts by your Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news of eternal and abundant life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

SCRIPTURE

Acts 17:22–31 (NRSV)

22Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us 28For 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own pets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.' 29Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

 

1 Peter 3:13–22 (NRSV)

13Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God's will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you — not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him. 

 

John 14:15–21 (The Message (MSG))

The Spirit of Truth

15–17"If you love me, show it by doing what I've told you. I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

18–20"I will not leave you orphaned. I'm coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you're going to see me because I am alive and you're about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I'm in my Father, and you're in me, and I'm in you. 

21"The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that's who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him." 

 

SERMON

 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

New life in Christ takes shape in a community in which people know that God loves and accepts them in spite of what they are. They therefore accept themselves and love others, knowing that no one has any ground on which to stand, except God's grace. Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.22

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

We offer our prayers through Christ,
who lives and reigns forever, 
and prays for us in heaven.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for the church...
Let your Spirit of truth abide in us, 
so that we may keep your commandments 
and bear witness to the power of your love.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for the earth...
Bless and keep the world you have made,
a gracious gift from the Creator of all.
Let it not be destroyed by human hands.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for all nations...
Bring all people into your saving purpose.
Show us that we are one family in you, 
the children of a common ancestor.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for this community...
By your spirit, make us always ready 
to share the faith and hope that is in us 
and to show your love to our neighbors.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for loved ones...
Remember those who are tested and tried. 
Do not let them slip; guard their lives 
and keep them in your steadfast love.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

 

God of all power and glory, receive these prayers,
and continue your mighty work among us,
through Jesus Christ, our living Lord. Amen.
Ephesians 1:15–23

 

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. 

 

INVITATION TO OFFERING

How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods yet refuses to help a sister or brother in need? Remembering God's great love for the world, let us offer our lives to the Lord. 1 John 3:16–17

 

OFFERING

Your finance committee encourages you to continue your stewardship support by mailing contributions to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 353 E. Pine St, Wooster, OH 44691, Attn: Financial Secretary.

 

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Great God, to you we give our thanks; your steadfast love endures forever. With gratitude we bring our gifts to you. Bless us and our gifts, that our lives and our resources may be a source of healing and hope, of joy and justice in our world. Amen.

 

HYMN NO. 366                                                Love Divine, All Loves Excelling                                    HYFRYDOL

1 Love divine, all loves excelling, 
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix us in thy humble dwelling; 
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion;
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.

 

2 Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast;
let us all in thee inherit;
let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

 

3 Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

 

4 Finish then thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee:
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise. 

 

BLESSING AND CHARGE

May the love of the holy triune God —
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit —
abide with you forever. Alleluia! 

1 John 4:13–16

 

Now go forth in Jesus' name,
remembering his new commandment
to love one another, just as he has loved us. Amen. 

1 John 3:23

 

POSTLUDE                                             It is Well With My Soul                                 SPAFFORD & BLISS/ arr. WISE

 

 

Thank you to those who participated in the creation of this worship service:

Francis Bonk
Jim Bonk
Joel Chupp
Gracie DeLollis 
Josie Drushal
Rich Drushal
Mark Hosseini 
Ken Shafer
Rev. Chris Stewart
Katelyn Tackett
Barbara Tartir
Pong Thiemmedh
Baritone Mark Hosseini frequently performs stage and concert works ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque to the 20th and 21st centuries. Notable stage credits include Papageno in The Magic Flute, Pandolfe in Cendrillon, Ottone in L'incoronazione di Poppea, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, Lord Mountararat in Iolanthe, Don Pedro in La Périchole, and Bob Baker in Wonderful Town. Next summer, with The Ohio Light Opera, he will be performing in a number of roles, including Colnel Calverley in Patience, Kruger in Let 'Em Eat Cake, and Linville in Damn Yankees. 
Mark has completed young artist training programs with Opera Delaware, Des Moines Metro Opera, College Light Opera Company, and Pegasus Early Music. He holds a Master's Degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor's Degree from Oakland University. He currently resides in Philadelphia, PA, where he sings in the Opera Philadelphia chorus and the VoxAmaDeus Ensemble. 
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