FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
28th APRIL 2024

I am True Vine : General - Greeting Cards - Cards :: Christian Publishing  and Outreach (CPO)

OPENING SENTENCE


All the ends of the earth shall turn to you, O Lord
Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

HYMN

GREETING

Alleluia Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

He has given us new life and hope

by raising Jesus from the dead.

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God
to whom all hearts be open
all desires known
and from whom no secrets are hidden;
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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CONFESSION


God is love and we are God’s children.
There is no room for fear in love.
We love because God loved us first.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you
and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
Forgive us our sins,
and deliver us from the power of evil,
for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION


May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA
sung by Billy Dewar Riddick

COLLECT


O God,
you alone can bring harmony to the minds of your faithful people:
give us grace to love the things you command,
and to desire the things you promise;
that, amid the uncertain changes of this world,
our hearts may be firmly fixed where true joys are to be found;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen

FIRST READING
ACTS 8: 26-40
read by Simon Lidwell

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So, Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
    and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
        so he does not open his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
    Who can describe his generation?
        For his life is taken away from the earth.”

Acts 8:26-40 | IF:Equip | Acts 8, Bible prayers, You are the father

The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

SECOND READING
1 JOHN 4:7-21
read by Margaret Morton

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

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God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

HYMN

GOSPEL READING
JOHN 15:1-8
read by Reverend Chris Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St John chapter 15- beginning at verse 1

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

The Vine and the Branches (John 15:1-8) | Redeeming God

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

SERMON

“Staying connected” is a slogan you may well have heard from various phone companies over the years. Admittedly, their slogan is good, for staying connected with one another is important. Staying connected with different people is something that I have tried to do, as I have moved throughout my life from place to place. I am still in touch with friends from my young adult group in Patrick South Church in Glasgow. We may not see each other as often as we would like as we are in different parts of the country but when we link up together, it is as if we were never apart. These relationships are previous, and I have similar relationships from people that I met years ago in Edinburgh, in St Andrews, in Swaziland, and in Ireland. Staying connected with friends and family is important.

Today in our Gospel we are invited to be connected to God’s family, to Jesus Christ himself. He describes himself as the vine and we are invited to be grafted into the vine- to be connected to Christ – the true vine.

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Vines I discovered are sturdy plants. There is a grapevine in Kylemore Abbey on the way to Clifton in Ireland. In the walled Victorian garden, they have a superb vinery, heavily laden with grapes, thanks to the careful and skilful cutting and pruning of the gardener. One vine produces several tons of grapes every year. And even though some of the smaller branches are 200 feet from the main stem, they bear plenty of fruit because they are joined to the vine and allow the life of the vine to flow through them. The great truth that Jesus is trying to tell us through this imagery of the vine is that if we want life in all its fullness, then we must be connected to Jesus himself, the true vine.

The image of the vine was rich in meaning and it was an image that the Jewish people would be familiar with. Israel was often referred to in the Old Testament as the vine. A vine supplies the necessary food, nurture, and environment for a branch to live and blossom. So, in this analogy Jesus is saying that we are the branches and that it is only when we are connected to Christ the vine that our lives remain healthy and full of vitality. In other words, to lead an abundant life, we need to be connected to Jesus and to one another.

Electronically speaking, we are a connected people. Never before in my life has technology been so important. Where would we be without technology! Technology has enabled us to connect with each other in ways never imagined in past generations-the Internet, Zoom, Email, Mobile phones, Face-book, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, Snap chat- you name it. Technology has become an integral part of our lives. And yet, we know very well that in spite of all our “electronic connections” we like to see one another face to face. There is something precious in the personal connection and contact.

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We are a people who are hungry for personal connection. We were created with a deep need for meaningful relationships. Of course, the primary personal connection we all need is God. Our lives are meant to be lived not as separate entities, but joined, attached, and connected to God and to one another. If the branches stay vitally connected to the vine, they live and bear fruit. If the branches are not connected to the vine, they cannot fulfil their intended purpose and they will eventually die and are then be cut off from the vine. It is a simple, yet profound lesson.

The Vine! | Christian Wallpapers

Jesus said, “I am the true vine.” This would suggest that there are other vines. Other possibilities, other ways that appear to be the source of life. But do these other sources really produce life and bear fruit? Many of these sources like our jobs, our money, our possessions, our popularity, and our leisure claim to be the source of true happiness and fulfilment, but the truth is that true happiness and fulfilment is found in Christ, the true vine.

Once we are connected to Christ, we must strive to stay connected. Numerous times we hear in this passage the words “abide in me”. The word abide has to do with persevering, continuing, lasting, sticking with it. Abide is not a word used much today, perhaps because we live in a world of constant change – to remain, to persevere, to stay put – would sound too boring. And yet, Jesus tells us that if we do not abide, we will not produce fruit. We will be barren. We will die. It is important to note that when the branches are disconnected from the vine, the life-giving source, they will be unfruitful. We are the branches, and it is our responsibility to stay connected to the vine.

Only if we remain connected to the true vine can we bear fruit, and the fruit Jesus wants us to bear is LOVE. This is the connection for which our hearts long for: to love and to be loved. It is a fruit that can only come from God. You and I cannot generate love on our own. If we try, it becomes very self-serving and is not love. Jesus says “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.” Abiding in that love requires pruning from time to time. This pruning is vital to allow God’s love to grow and deepen in our lives. Pruning can be hard, but it is done with our best interests at heart. This pruning happens often through the struggles and trials that we face, and in turn shapes us to be more Christlike.

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So, in the vine, we are connected to God’s presence, love and care. Vineyard owners tell us that the strongest point on any vine is the place where the vine and branch are joined together. If you pull on a branch that goes into a tree it will always break at the trunk of the tree -that is the weakest place. But in a grapevine that is the strongest point.  By this analogy of the vine – Christ says to us: I have the strength to provide all your needs. I have the strength to hold you in the time of testing. I will never let you go. As a result of this connectedness where the vertical relationship to God is strong then the horizontal relationship- the loving of others happens more automatically. We become servants of Christ’s love to others.

A true servant figure and indeed a strong branch of the vine was a man called Albert Schweitzer. Professors and students came to greet Albert Schweitzer at the railway station before taking him to their university for his engagements there. As they turned to leave the train station, suddenly Albert Schweitzer was gone. He just disappeared, vanished, slipped away. They looked everywhere for him. Finally, they found him. He was carrying a suitcase for an elderly woman. He saw that she was having trouble and rushed over to help her. You see, it was so much a part of his life to be a servant for others that it was as natural as breathing for him when he got off the train to begin immediately to look for somebody to help. That was his approach to life… and he had learned that from the Bible… he had learned that in Church… he had learned that from Jesus.

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Albert Schweitzer loved to help other people because he was strongly connected to Christ the vine and he shared Christ’s servant mentality. This servant attitude of loving and caring for others is the fruit of love that Jesus wants to see in each of us -the branches! Love gives freely without looking at whether the other person deserves it, and it gives without expecting anything back. So, a question of reflection to pose to yourself is – Am I motivated to do for others as Christ has done for me, or am I giving in order to receive something in return? Love is the first fruit of the Spirit.

The second fruit is joy. Joy is completely independent of the good or bad things that happen in the course of the day. In fact, joy denotes a supernatural gladness given by God’s Spirit that actually seems to show up best during hard times. This is a product of fixing your focus on God’s purposes for the events in your life rather than on the circumstances. So how is your joy? Are you choosing joy on a regular basis or are you dependent on things going smoothly in your day?

Benedict's tools for peace | The Sisters of The Good Samaritan


The third fruit is peace. Peace is not the absence of turmoil, but the presence of tranquillity even while in a place of chaos. It is a sense of wholeness and completeness that is content knowing that God controls the events of the day. Do you find yourself frazzled by the crashing waves of turmoil in your life, or are you experiencing “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”

The fourth fruit is patience. Patience is long-suffering, forbearing, persevering, and steadfastness. It is the ability to endure poor treatment from life or at the hands of others without lashing out or paying back. Are you easily set off when things go wrong or people irritate you, or are you able to stay calm and keep a godly perspective in the face of life’s irritations?

John 15 Verses and Illustrations Related to Abiding

Fifth fruit is kindness. When kindness is at work in a person’s life, he or she looks for ways to adapt to meet the needs of others. It is moral goodness that overflows. It’s also the absence of malice. Is it your goal to serve others with kindness?

Sixth fruit is goodness. Goodness reflects the character of God. Goodness in you desires to see goodness in others. Does your life reflect the holiness of God, and do you desire to see others experience God at a deep level in their own lives?

The seventh fruit is faithfulness. A faithful person is one with real integrity. They are someone others can look to as an example, and someone who is truly devoted to others and to Christ.

The eight fruit is gentleness. Gentleness is a strength and power that chooses to defer to others. It forgives others, corrects with kindness, and lives in tranquillity.

Finally self -control-our fleshly desires, Scripture tells us, are continually at odds with God’s Spirit and always want to be in charge. Self-control is literally releasing our grip on the fleshly desires, choosing instead to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is power focused in the right place. Are you allowing the Spirit to direct you to the things that please God and serve others?

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness , Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness,  and Self-Control. – Monique Davis Dotson

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control are the fruit of the Spirit, and this fruit demonstrates the Spirit’s active presence in your daily activities. They provide evidence of your connectedness to the vine and evidence of your

abundant living. Let’s choose to live life in all its fullness by abiding in the vine and staying connected to Jesus, the true vine. Amen.

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one substance with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father.
With the Father and the Son,
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

PRAYERS


Let us pray to God in whom we live and move and have our being.

God you are the Gardener,
tending, sustaining and renewing
your creation and your creatures.
As you entrust this world to our care,
help us to be good stewards
and to care for the beauty and wonder of this world.

As we abide in the Vine
help us to bear good fruit.

The Vine Cycle at Howard Park | Howard Park Wines


God you are the Protector
seeking to guide your people
on the paths of truth, love and holiness.
When we stray, and get caught up
in the distractions of this world,
draw us back to yourself,
and prune our lives
that we bear more the image
of your sons and daughters.

As we abide in the Vine
help us to bear good fruit.


God you are the provider of all good things,
we thank you for all the resources
and facilities we have here in this country.
We think of countries that badly need
medical resources at this time,
and pray that our country will play a part
in helping and resourcing others.
We lift to you the medical crisis in the Middle East,
the hunger crisis in Yemen,
the warring crisis in the Ukraine and the Middle East.

As we abide in the Vine
help us to bear good fruit.

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God you are the healer.
We think of those suffering,
in body, mind or spirit.
Place your healing hand upon them,
and may your divine touch,
bring new life and hope.

As we abide in the Vine
help us to bear good fruit.


God you are the peace- giver.
We thank you for the peace
wrought for us by your Son,
and for the joy of being one with you.
We pray for peace
in our dealings with one another.
Where there is discord and hatred,
bring forgiveness and new beginnings.

As we abide in the Vine
help us to bear good fruit.


God you are the life- giver,
your breathe gives us life,
and strength to do your work.
We thank you for the blessings
that we receive daily from your hand.
We thank you for too for the people in our lives
who have been a blessing to us.
We remember those,
whose earthly life is drawing to a close
and we pray you will welcome them
into your everlasting arms of love.
We pray for all who mourn this day
that you will draw near to them
with your comfort and peace.

As we abide in the Vine
help us to bear good fruit.

When you abide in the vine, fruit grows! — Power Packed Promises

God, who is love,
you sent your Son into the world
that we might live through him.
May we abide in his risen life
so that we may bear the fruit of love for one another
and know the fullness of joy.

As we abide in the Vine
help us to bear good fruit.


Merciful Father accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord
who taught us to say together,

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

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BLESSING


God the Father,
by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead,
strengthen you to walk with him in his risen life;
and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Free Hallelujah Clipart

DISMISSAL


Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

In the name of Christ,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

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You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.

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Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

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