THEME: COVENANT SUNDAY – “PRODUCE MUCH FRUIT”
CALL TO WORSHIP: Psalm 150
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heaven!
2 Praise him for his mighty works;
praise his unequalled greatness!
3 Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
praise him with the lyre and harp!
4 Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
praise him with strings and flutes!
5 Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
6 Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
A reading from the Law: – Exodus 24:3-11
3 Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the Lord had given him. All the people answered with one voice, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.”
4 Then Moses carefully wrote down all the Lord’s instructions. Early the next morning Moses got up and built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He also set up twelve pillars, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent some of the young Israelite men to present burnt offerings and to sacrifice bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses drained half the blood from these animals into basins. The other half he splattered against the altar.
7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. Again, they all responded, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey.”
8 Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the Lord has made with you in giving you these instructions.”
9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. 10 There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. 11 And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!
For the wisdom that guides us
we praise you, O God.
A reading from the Prophets: – Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.
33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbours, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
For the word that inspires us
we praise you, O God.
A reading from the Epistles: – Romans 12:1-2
A Living Sacrifice to God
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
For the truth that enlightens us
we praise you, O God.
A reading from the Gospels: – John 15.1-17
Jesus, the True Vine
1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
This is the Gospel of Christ.
Praise to Christ our Lord.
- The parable of the vine and vine grower can be understood more clearly when reading it as a way to explain “dependency and connectedness”; each of us dependent on and connected to the Father, and his dependence on us and connectedness with us! The vine needs the vine grower as much as the vine grower needs the vine! How does this interpretation perhaps challenge you in your relationship with the Lord, and in your relationships with others? ____________________________________________________________________________
- How do you bear fruit for the Kingdom? ____________________________________________________________________________
- The Covenant Prayer is a call to personal commitment and sacrificial participation in the generous work of the Lord. What part of the prayer stands out for you? Is God challenging you in some way?
I am no longer my own but yours.
Your will, not mine, be done in all things,
Wherever you may place me,
In all that I do and in all that I may endure.
When there is work for me and when there is none.
When I am troubled and when I am at peace.
Your will be done when I am valued and when I am Disregarded.
When I find fulfilment and when it is lacking.
When I have all things, and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer all I have and am to serve you,
As and where you choose.
Glorious and blessèd God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours.
May it be so for ever.
Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven. Amen.
Text verse for the week:
John 15:8: “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
Have a blessed week,