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St. Ansgar Lutheran Church, Outline for Worship (with sermon)
Sunday, May 2, 2021 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
Based on ELW Setting Four

P: In the name of the Father, and of the ☩ Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen.
P: God of all mercy and consolation, come to the help of your people, turning
us from our sin to live for you alone. Give us the power of your Holy Spirit that
we may confess our sin, receive your forgiveness, and grow into the fullness
of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.
C: Amen.
P: Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and one another.
P: Most merciful God,
C: we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have
done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our
whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. For the sake
of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and
lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the
glory of your holy name.
P: In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for
his sake God forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the
church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore declare to you the entire
forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the ☩ Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen.

P: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion
of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you

A: In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
A: For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
A: For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God,
and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
A: For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise,
let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
A: Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord.
C: Amen.

P: This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia.
C: Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain,
whose blood set us free to be people of God.
Power and riches and wisdom and strength,
and honour and blessing and glory are his.
This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia.
Sing with all the people of God
and join in the hymn of all creation:
Blessing and honour and glory and might
be to God and the Lamb forever. Amen.
This is the feast of victory for our God,
for the Lamb who was slain has begun his reign.
Alleluia. Alleluia.

P: Let us pray.
P: O God, you give us your Son as the vine apart from whom we cannot live.
Nourish our life in his resurrection, that we may bear the fruit of love and know
the fullness of your joy, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
C: Amen

FIRST READING: Acts 8:26-40
26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go toward the south to
the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a wilderness road.)
27 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 28 and was returning home; seated in his
chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip,
"Go over to this chariot and join it." 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard him
reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, "Do you understand what you are
reading?" 31 He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he
invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32 Now the passage of the scripture
that he was reading was this: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and
like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. 33 In his
humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his
life is taken away from the earth." 34 The eunuch asked Philip, "About whom,
may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone
else?" 35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he
proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were going along
the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water!
What is to prevent me from being baptized?" 38 He commanded the chariot to
stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and
Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the
Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way
rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the
region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

PSALM: 22:25-31
25 From you comes my praise in the / great assembly;*
I will perform my vows in the sight of those who / fear the Lord.
26 The poor shall eat / and be satisfied.*
Let those who seek the Lord give praise! May your hearts / live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn / to the Lord;*
all the families of nations shall bow / before God.
28 For dominion belongs / to the Lord,*
who rules o- / ver the nations.
29 Indeed, all who sleep in the earth shall bow / down in worship;*
all who go down to the dust, though they be dead, shall kneel be- / fore the Lord.
30 Their descendants shall / serve the Lord,*
whom they shall proclaim to genera- / tions to come.
31 They shall proclaim God's deliverance to a people / yet unborn,*
saying to them, “The / Lord has acted!”

SECOND READING: 1 John 4:7-21
7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who
loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know
God, for God is love. 9 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. 10 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. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we
also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one
another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know
that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the
Saviour of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the
Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 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. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we
may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in
this world. 18 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. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 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.
21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must
love their brothers and sisters also.

C: Alleluia. Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.

P: The Holy Gospel according to John 15:1-8
C: Glory to you, O Lord.
John 15:1-8
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every
branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make
it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have
spoken to you. 4 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.
5 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. 6 Whoever does
not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are
gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words
abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father
is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
P: The Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you, O Christ.

John 15:1-8
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth, and the prayers of our hearts,
always be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, our Strength, and our Redeemer.
There once lived a man whose nickname was Will Power because of his iron
will. He could accomplish anything he set his mind to doing. Will Power was
the champion of mind over matter. Of course, people loved to challenge his
willpower. They dared him to do many things such as walk through a bed of
hot coals, stand in the bitter cold for an entire day, or sit upright in a chair for
48 hours without sleeping. Whatever they dared him to do he did it. He would
always say, “Just a case of simple willpower. You can do anything if you just
make up your mind to do it and not give up.”
His final challenge came when someone dared him to stay alive through
willpower alone. This meant no food or nourishment of any kind. Well, a dare
is a dare and Will Power could not resist. He declared he would stay alive by the
sheer force of his will. Of course, there was no way he could will life itself, but he
would not listen to reason. Will Power tried with every fibre of his being. As you
can imagine, that was the last dare Will Power ever accepted. The moral of the
story is clear: there are things that willpower alone cannot do.
Will Power could not will life itself, no matter how hard he tried. As followers of
Jesus, we cannot will life with God, or will the fruit of life with God. Will Power
had to receive the nourishment of food in order to stay alive. We need to receive
the nourishment that comes from Jesus Christ in order to stay alive as Christian
people. We are like branches on a vine. Branches have no life in themselves.
Branches are only alive because they receive nourishment from the vine. “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.” Being a Christian
means that we must abide in Jesus Christ. We must abide in Jesus because
as he states, “apart from me you can do nothing.”
So, what does it mean to abide in Jesus? If Christianity is not about our
willpower, if Christianity is about abiding in Jesus, how do we do it? How do
we abide in Jesus and how does Jesus abide in us? A general answer is that
we abide in Jesus and he abides in us through hearing the story of Jesus,
by hearing that story over and over again. When we spend time reading the
Scriptures, we hear the story of Jesus. When we listen to God’s word preached,
we hear the story of Jesus. When we gather two or more people together in his
name, we hear the story of Jesus. When we remember the promises that God
made to us in our baptism, we hear the story of Jesus. When we eat the bread
and drink the wine or grape juice as we share in the Lord’s Supper, we hear the
story of Jesus. Such hearing is abiding. To hear Jesus’ story with the ears of
faith is to abide in his love. To hear Jesus’ story is to invite Jesus into our lives.
Through our telling of his story Jesus Christ comes to abide in us.
An example of one of the ways we abide more closely with Jesus is through
Holy Communion. Jesus abides with us when we eat the bread and drink from
the cup. It is hard to miss the connection in Jesus’ words about the vine and the
branches as they relate to this sacrament. “I am the true vine,” Jesus assures
us. One of the elements of the Lord’s Supper is the wine, or grape juice, which
come from the fruits of the vine. When we consume these fruits of the vine,
we receive the nourishment of Jesus, his life-giving nourishment for our lives.
This is much more than just physical nourishment feeding our bodies. It is
spiritual nourishment feeding our souls. When we drink the fruit of the vine
we abide in Jesus and Jesus abides in us.
The reality is that there are things that our willpower cannot accomplish for
us no matter how hard we try. Willing life with God is one of them. Willing life
is something we cannot will into existence. Life, God’s life, is something we
can only receive from God’s hands. God offers us life, and we are free to
accept. When we accept God’s invitation, we have life with God, and that
means Jesus abides in us and we abide in Jesus.
But this is not the end of the story. The Christian life begins in a new, different,
and more positive way each day as we hear again the continuing story of Jesus.
That is not where the Christian story, our story, ends. After all, what is the
function of the vine? Jesus said, “Those who abide in me and I in them bear
much fruit.” The vine nourishes the branches. Jesus Christ, the true vine,
gives nourishment to all the branches of his body, and that nourishment makes
possible the fruit produced by the branches. Jesus is the vine and we are the
branches. We are attached to and nourished by the vine to produce fruit,
good fruit, ripe fruit, fruit of God’s own making.
The Christian life blossoms as we share the Good News with those who are
starving for spiritual nourishment. The Christian life blossoms when we share
with all those in any kind of physical need, such as food, clothing, housing, or
other human need. The Christian life blossoms when we share the fruits of our
lives with our neighbours in need. In this way we give glory to God. Jesus said,
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my
We do not prove that we are Jesus’ disciples by producing fruit as a product of
our own willpower. There are things we cannot do through our own willpower.
For sure, we cannot bear God’s fruit through our own willpower. Bearing God’s
fruit is only possible when we abide in Jesus, and Jesus abides in us. The vine,
which is Jesus Christ, nourishes the branches, which are us, to bear God’s fruit.

HYMN OF THE DAY – Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (ELW #836)

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

A: Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring our prayers
before God who promises to hear us and answer in steadfast love.
A: Strengthen and sustain our Bishops Susan and Michael, that with patience
and understanding they may love and care for your people. We also pray for the
National ELCIC Office and Support Staff, for the leadership team, and for our
work and celebration together. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.
A: Gracious God, we miss the opportunity to gather as your beloved in
community in word and meal, song and prayer. Be with us in these days when
we must be apart for reasons of safety, and surround us with your sheltering
wings. Encourage us in connecting as we are able, reaching out to each other in
our church family and to our neighbours in need, and being persistent in prayer.
Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.
A: God of all fruitfulness, you abide in your church and your church abides in
you. Cleanse us by your word and give yourself to the whole church on earth
so that it bears fruit and witnesses to your love. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.
A: You have created the heavens and the earth. As we wonder at the beauty
of creation, may we seek vital connections among all that depends on the earth
for life. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.
A: You rule the nations with justice and love. Give the leaders of the earth
assurance of your abiding presence, that they lead not by fear but with love
for those they are called to serve. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.
A: You have loved us so that we can love others. We pray for all in need of your
love: those who are poor, lowly, outcast, weak, or fearful. Provide for the needs
of all. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.
Gracious and loving God, thirty-five years ago this building called St. Ansgar
Lutheran Church was dedicated for the worship of almighty God and for the
building up of the body of Christ. We thank you for the believing people who
planted your message in this place. We praise you for the gift of your Holy Spirit
who worked in them to gather and give order to this community, and those who
still sustain it. May St. Ansgar Lutheran Church continue to be a place for the
gathering of the people of God, a place for proclaiming the Gospel through word
and sacrament, a place for bringing life and hope to us so that we may bring life
and hope to others giving ourselves to your service. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.
A: You gather us with all the saints by the power of your Spirit. With them,
may our hearts live forever in your keeping. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.
A: In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your
never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
C: Amen.

P: The peace of Christ be with you always.
C: And also with you.

Let the vineyards be fruitful, Lord, and fill to the brim our cup of blessing.
Gather a harvest from the seeds that were sown,
that we may be fed, with the bread of life.
Gather the hopes and dreams of all; unite them with the prayers we offer.
Grace our table with your presence,
and give us a foretaste of the feast to come.

C: Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,
thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass
against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.

P: May our glorious God grant you a spirit of wisdom to know and to love
the risen Lord Jesus.
The God of life, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.
C: Amen.

A: Alleluia! Christ is risen.
C: Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
A: Go in peace. Share the good news. Alleluia!
C: Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

DISMISSAL HYMN - Christ Is Alive! Let Christians Sing (ELW 389, verses 1 and 5)
1 Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
The cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
Love, drowned in death, shall never die.
5 Christ is alive, and comes to bring
good news to this and ev'ry age,
till earth and sky and ocean ring
with joy, with justice, love, and praise.

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