Apr 29

6th Sunday of Easter (Year C)

peaceActs 16:9-15
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • We are called to share the Good News in all sorts of places with all sorts of people.  Wherever people are gathered, there is an opportunity for us to experience God in our midst.  Where do people gather in your community?  How could you meet with people there to share the Good News?
  • Lydia is described as being “a worshiper of God”, though she had not yet been baptized.  There could be those in your worship community who are not yet baptized.  This text can provide an opportunity to invite those who have not yet been baptized to consider partaking in that sacrament.
  • Lydia was a “dealer in purple cloth”.  Meet outside (or in a fellowship hall with tarps on the floor), and make tie-dyed shirts and other items.  Be sure to use various shades of purple in your creations!
  • Do you have any craft groups that focus on fabric arts (quilting, embroidery, etc)?  Bless the artists, the fabric, and other craft materials during worship.  If your group makes quilts or blankets that are donated to hospitals or charities, be sure to dedicate and bless them during worship, too.
  • The liturgical color is still white, but you may want to feature some purple cloth in your worship display.
Psalm 67
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • The word “praise” is repeated throughout this passage.  Explore all of the many ways that we can offer our praise to God: singing, dancing, praying, etc…
  • The psalmist mentions that “the earth has yielded its increase”.  Use this as the inspiration for a blessing service for farmers and farm workers.
  • Create a “chain of blessings” to decorate your worship space.  Invite the congregation to write words that describe the ways that they (and the church and community) have been blessed by God on colorful strips of paper. Link the papers together (using staples or tape), and hang the paper chain in the worship space.
Revelation 21:10, 22-27, 22:1-5
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • Why is it that we cling to our church buildings, when we should be clinging to God?  In the Holy City, there is no temple – just God.  Can we imagine worship without our church buildings?
  • Light-related imagery repeats throughout this text.  Use various items that provide light in your worship display: lamps, candles, flashlights, glow sticks, etc.
  • How many of us hear that “nothing unclean will enter” the Holy City of God and assume that it means that certain people and groups will not be allowed to enter heaven?  What a shame that we quickly forget the Acts passage from last Sunday, where God reminds us that God makes things (people) clean that (who) were once called unclean.  Who are we to say that God (through Christ) will not make all things clean?  He does say earlier in chapter 21 that he is “making all things new”…
John 14:23-29
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • Jesus offers peace.  Use peace symbols to decorate your worship space.
  • Are there people in your church and community who need to hear a message of peace?  Write notes of encouragement for people in need of a kind word, and deliver the cards and letters after worship.
  • Jesus tells us to let go of our fears.  Invite the congregation to write their fears on slips of paper.  During worship, have the people come forward, crumple or tear their papers, and leave them at the foot of a cross.  You may want to offer each person a token that represents God’s love and peace as they return to their seats (perhaps a heart or peace symbol).
John 5:1-9
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • Are you waiting for someone to make life happen for you?  Are you expecting someone else to do all of the hard work so you don’t have to lift a finger?  The “ill” man in this passage had been waiting for someone to make him well.  It is hard to take pity on him, really – he sounds lazy.  Jesus heals him, but he (Jesus) does so on his own terms — he requires the man to participate.  Jesus tells the man to stand up, pick up his mat, and walk.  Sometimes, all we need to get on the path to healing is a gentle, but firm, kick in the pants from the Divine…
  • I really like the way that you can read the last sentence 2 different ways (in the NRSV).  On the one hand, it simply tells us that this story takes place on the day of the sabbath.  On the other hand, it tells us that – now that the man had been healed – it was now (finally) a day of sabbath.
  • This is a wonderful passage to use as inspiration for a service of healing.
  • Jesus provides sabbath rest to someone through the gift of healing.  How do we provide the gift of sabbath to others?

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