God, you are the source of our life. Gather us now together, we pray. Form us into a holy community of your own people, molding us by the breath of your Holy Spirit, and revealing in this corporate body the face of your anointed Christ. Amen.
Prayer of Confession:
Gracious God, settle our hearts and our minds and lift from us our burdens. Hear our prayers for our family, our friends, our world, and for ourselves. Enable us on this day to put away the things that hurt and hinder, and accept anew the things that help all people of faith. Be with us in your love that we may be your children, at one with all those who hear your voice and who follow in your way. Renew us with life that is full of joy, assured by the presence of a Savior who knows our lot and cares for us always, for Christ is our help and hope, and it is in His name we pray. Amen.
Epistle Lesson: I John 4: 7-21 NRSV (source)
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. 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.
Gospel Lesson: John 15: 1-8 NRSV (source)
”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 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.
- No. 376 – Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
- No. 313 – Come Down, O Love Divine
- No. 495 – We Know That Christ Is Raised
“It’s All About: Vines & Branches & Bear Fruit” – Rev. Scott G. Loomer