Sharing of the peace

Regularly in our services we have a time to share the Peace, to say to others in the Church, “the Peace of Christ be with you”. Today we invite you to contact someone outside of your bubble and greet them with a “Wishing you the blessings of Sunday. The Peace of Christ be with you.”

Or just be peaceful, and listen to this piece or organ music by Samuel Wesley: son of Charles Wesley, nephew to John Wesley, brother of Charles Jnr (see postlude), and father of another famous composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley.

Reading Luke 24: 44–53

Read by Samuela Fifita 

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

(NRSV - read annotated text online)

Affirmation of Faith

We are not alone,
     we live in God’s world.
  We believe in God:
     who has created and is creating,
     who has come in Jesus,
        the Word made flesh,
        to reconcile and make new,
     who works in us and others
        by the Spirit.
We trust in God. 
We are called to be the Church:
     to celebrate God’s presence,
     to live with respect in Creation,
     to love and serve others,
     to seek justice and resist evil,
     to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
        our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
     Thanks be to God.
Acknowledgement United Church of Canada (1988)

Reading John 17: 1–11

Read by Anne Blythe. Text online.

Prayers of Adoration and Thanksgiving

Read by Sonia Faulkner.

Creator God, we thank you for the world you have created for us with all its diversity and colour.
We praise you for each person who joins us from their homes this morning, each one unique and yet made in your own image.
We praise you for the glimpses we have of you that surround us as we, each in our own way, responds to our world challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic; and living with restrictions on how we may gather in our workplaces, or when we meet with our neighbours, or gathering as Christian people.
We thank you for your example of calling a variety of women and men to be your disciples, enabling us to see the face of God in our neighbour.
May the Holy Spirit, who both comforts and disturbs us, install a sense of unity that we can feel, as we plan for our future as a worshipping people.
We recall that John and Charles Wesley responded to the challenges they experienced in presenting the Gospel by beginning a new way of living for a people who were sometimes called Bible Moths, members of the Oxford University Holy Club who eventually became known as Methodists; those who established a legacy that is ours to claim today.
We are thankful that inspired by their journey we may have the strength to be part of this new way of living and to complete what you have begun in each of us.
Inspiring God, seen as parent, son and spirit, you raised a people called Methodists to be a family who came to see the whole world as their Parish: a parish not defined solely by membership or geography, but defined as neighbour.
This morning we ask that together we may come to know and achieve the vision of your perfect love in a way that draws others to know you.
These prayers we offer in the name of Jesus, our Christ.