Text: John 15:9-17 & 1 John 5:1-6
In the passage from John, there is a theme of love and obedience. The biblical commentator Leslie Newbigin puts it this way:
“Life in the vine is love manifested in obedience, and obedience manifested in love.”
Copies of this week’s service sheet can be viewed on our News page, and a printable copy of the sermon will be uploaded there early next week. In the meantime, a recorded version of the sermon can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/BkvXHqMFTpI
Theme: Remaining Fruitful
Text: John 15:1-8; 1 John 4: 7-21
God is love.
When we take up permanent
residence in a life of love,
we live in God and God lives in us.
(1 John 4:17 - The Message)
The theme of the service today comes from John 15 where Jesus says he is the true vine and we are the branches.
When Jesus uses the image of the vine in John 15 he is drawing on along biblical lineage. The image is Israel as a vine planted in the promised land by God, care for by God, but with a mind of its own, prone to grow out of control and consequently becoming unfruitful.
This is the background well known to the Jewish hearers of Jesus as he said:
“I am the true vine, and the Father is the gardener (15:1)
A recorded version of this week’s message can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/tcTbP-sEjGM
“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us
– and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”
(1 John 3:16-24)
Today the lectionary readings encourage us to reflect on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep. Here in New Zealand, these readings no doubt have a different resonance for us on ANZAC Day than they will have for people in other parts of the world whose church services are centred upon the same passages.
On this day we remember and give thanks for men and women who courageously served our country in times of war. We think, too, of those who continue to serve in the armed forces and of people who are working to establish peace in conflict-ridden parts of the world. We pray for all those affected by war, and we pray for peace.
We pray, too, that we may grow in understanding of what it means for us to lay down our lives for others.
For those unable to come along on Sunday, Hamish has recorded a video covering the kind of messages we will be talking about in the service, which you can view here: https://youtu.be/IRRWxgo2-c8
Our service today is in part a response to the 175th Anniversary of the Bible Society in New Zealand.
Hamish has recorded a message related to this for those who cannot make it to church this week and that can be accessed by going to the following link: https://youtu.be/6dAzbqGpfN
Readings: 1 John 1:1-2:2 & John 20: 19-31
Open our eyes, Lord,
we want to see Jesus,
to reach out and touch him,
and say that we love him.
Open our ears, Lord,
and help us to listen.
Open our eyes, Lord,
we want to see Jesus.
For those unable to join us at church today, Hamish has recorded a message which can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/mc4mR9stm-c
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio, c. 1602
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)
Psalm 118:1-4, 24-29
Lord Jesus Christ, on this day you entered Jerusalem in triumph
but riding on a colt, a sign of humility.
As we hear this story and as we seek to follow you,
help us not just to shout 'Hosanna' and 'Blessed is the coming kingdom'
but also to remember that we too are called to humble service
and to work for the coming of your kingdom of justice here and now.
For those unable to be at Church this morning, we have recorded a message which you can access here: https://youtu.be/HLp9QuVF8MY
Jeremiah 31: 31-34
The theme for this week’s service is “The Vortex of Grace,” and is about the contrast between exclusion and inclusion. The ultimate key message is that God’s love graciously extends a hug of welcome to all humanity.
Hamish has recorded a message for those who cannot be at church, which can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/iW_zVWZvoWg
Theme: Under Construction
Ephesians 2: 11-22
John 2: 13-22
(we used this video account from The Jesus Project:https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/life-of-jesus-gospel-of-john.html/cleaning-the-temple/english.html)
In John’s Gospel, the clearing of the Temple takes place at the beginning, whereas in the other 2 gospels in which it is mentioned it is placed in the week before Jesus dies.
Almost certainly the placement of this incident near the beginning by John was no accident. The fact that he radically changes the placement of this story suggests strongly there is spiritual significance in the change, it is here right at the beginning for a reason! It is designed to provide a frame for his whole message about who Jesus is and what did he come to do
The recorded message can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/gLXykSCwCJE
A pdf will be available to download from next week on the News page.
Theme: Noah’s ark prefigures baptism
Text: Genesis 9:8-15; Mark 1: 9-11; 1 Peter 3:19b-22
In the reading today from 1 Peter 3, we hear that the ark prefigures baptism….we have this thread through the lectionary readings today, first from Genesis 9 the story of the flood and ark, then from Mark a baptism, Jesus, followed by Peter indicating those two stories are related – that Noah’s story prefigures or is a type of baptism.
Watch the recorded version of today’s service and sermon here:
Worship Services are held at 10am every Sunday. For those unable to join us in person, a recorded version will be available from 9am each week.