DATE: 3 May 2015
TO: Congregational Church of Weston
TITLE: A Common Meal…

Call to Worship Inspired by Psalm 22: 25-31
One: You, God: stir my praise in the great assembly; I will fulfill my vows… All: We will fulfill our vows before those who humble their hearts before You. One: Those who are suffering will eat and be nourished;
All: Those who seek Him will praise the Eternal…may our hearts beat strong forever!
One: Those from the farthest reaches of earth will remember and look for the Eternal;
All: Our children will meet you God; they will hear the story of how You rescued us. We will tell the generations to come of the righteousness of the Lord, of what He has done. One: Amen

Prayer of Invocation Inspired by John 15: 1-8
O Holy Vine-grower,
Remove those branches in me that bear no fruit…prune me that I may be fruitful. Abide in me, remain with me, encourage me, and fill me.
Where I am without, fill me from within.
Remain ever with me.
O God, my God, remain ever with me.

Suggested Hymns
Hymn #389 “Un Mandamiento Nuevo” (The New Century Hymnal) –English version ONLY Hymn #225 “It Was a Sad and Solemn Night” (The New Century Hymnal) Communion Chant: “Eat this Bread” —used October 5, 2014
Hymn #28 “For the Beauty of the Earth” (The New Century Hymnal)

Responsive Scripture Reading Acts 8: 26-40
One: Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip,
All: “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”

One: (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, All: “Go over to this chariot and join it.”

One: So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, All: “Do you understand what you are reading?”

One: He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.

A Common Meal
Fruits, Branches, and Jesus

Happy Sunday Church, today’s scripture reading (Acts 8:26-40) ended at an interesting point:

Philip hears an Ethiopian Enoch reading the prophet Isaiah and he asks, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And the Enoch replies, “how can I, unless someone guides me?” And then the enoch invites Philip to join him…

Philip joins the enoch in the chariot. Philip joins the enoch in reading… One might even say, that Philip joined the enoch in the capacity of teacher… Serving as teacher to one who is in need of guidance…
After all, how else could the enoch understand what he had been reading?

We all need a teacher sometime. For a time and for a season. Because we want to grow. Because we want to change! For all the many reasons one considers learning to be important to our development…

Let me share with you another story: John 15: 1-8

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit.
Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you.
Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches.
Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit,
because apart from me you can do nothing.
Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you,
ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

And that is the story of the vinegrower and the vineyard.
It is the story of God and God’s people.
It is the story of Jesus and the disciples.
It is a common story…

We need help, if we are honest and transparent with each other
We admit that though we think we know it all, we need to be guided along on life’s journey.
We each need a teacher. We each need a mentor. But it needs to be a special one…

Jesus is the vine, the true vine. That steady branch from which many shoots grow.
God is the vinegrower, the gardner. Pruning and plucking, cleaning and clearing.
And we are the fruit, sometimes growing other times processing, always learning,

We need to make our way back to that source…
to Jesus Our True Vine.
Let us abide in him.

Sacrament of Holy Communion
Seated Communion

One: All are welcome at this table, free to partake
Two: All are invited to share in God’s grace

One: Here it is, a common table
Two: Here it is a sacramental table

One: Where no one is turned away,
Two: Where all God’s people have a place

One: Here is the welcome God offered when God said
let there be light, and there was light
Two: Here is the welcome God offered when God said
let the waters beneath flow together so dry ground may appear

One: Here, at this table is with God’s creation
Two: When God looked over all God declared it good, saying, “it is good.”

One: We have been declared good,
Two: We have been deemed worthy

One: Here is the Church, gathered in Christ’s name.
Baptized in the Holy Spirit. And bound by love.
Two: Here we are, gathered by faith

Prayer of Confession
Let us pray in silent confession:
(Silent Prayer of Confession) …amen!

Words of Institution and Sharing of the Elements
One: And now, let us hear again the story of how this meal was first celebrated…
Two: On the night on which Jesus was betrayed, Jesus sat at supper with his disciples: students, friends, travel-mates, even one who would betray him… While they were eating, he took a piece of bread, blessed it and gave it to them saying: “This is my body broken for you.” (BREAK THE BREAD) “Take and eat, in remembrance of me.” (DISTRIBUTION OF BREAD)

Communion Chant:
Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to him and never be hungry… Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in him and you will not thirst…

One: Take and eat of it, all of you!

Two: In the same way, Jesus took a chalice, filled it with wine and said, “This is my blood shed for you.” (POUR THE WINE)
He passed it to all who were gathered saying, “Take and drink, of this cup, filled to overflowing by my love.” (DISTRIBUTION OF WINE)

Communion Chant:
Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to him and never be hungry… Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in him and you will not thirst…

One: Take and drink of it, all of you!

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Growing in God: Prayers with Holy Communion for the Fifth Sunday of Easter was written by the Rev. Elsa A. Peters, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She wonders about ministry and liturgy at:

One: Remain with us, O God. Make this feast the nourishment we need to grow more wild and wonderful. Graft us onto the vine of your Beloved so that we might grow more connected with you and all of creation. With this food and this drink, let us be the love that we have found in you and your Beloved. Amen.

Benediction (benediction – blair monie)
Please remain seated through the Benediction and Postlude, and join us for a Time to Share and Care.

As we leave this place:
May the Living God go with us,
Behind us, to encourage us,
Beside us, to befriend us,
Above us, to watch over us,
Beneath us, to lift us from our sorrows,
Within us, to give us the gifts of faith, hope, and love,
And always before us, to show us the way.
[And all in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit]