May 14, 2023 – Sixth Sunday of Easter

Lectionary Readings   -   Gathering   -  Word  -   Eucharist   -   Sending   -   Music and Art

Lectionary Readings

Acts 17:22–31
Paul introduces the Athenians to their “unknown god”: the Lord.

Psalm 66:8–20
Bless God, who hears our prayers and keeps us among the living.

1 Peter 3:13–22
Do not fear; testify to the hope that is in you through Christ.

John 14:15–21
Jesus says: the Father will send the Spirit, who will abide in you.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

Our God gathers us here.
We have been tested, we have suffered,
but God has brought us through.
Come, let us tell of what God has done for us!
We cried aloud to God,
and God listened and answered.
Therefore, we will praise God with shouts of joy!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Thanksgiving For Baptism

At the baptismal font:
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
O Lord our God, we give you thanks
for the new life you raise up in us
through the mystery of our baptism—
the sorrow of the heavy cross,
the surprise of the empty tomb,
the love that death could not destroy.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
poured out upon us in baptism,
fill us with the joy of resurrection,
so that we may be a living sign
of your new heaven and new earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Confession and Pardon​

At the baptismal font:
God does not reject our prayers.
God does not withdraw love from us.
Even when we fail to love others
and struggle to love ourselves,
God’s love is steadfast.
Let us lift our prayers to God.

Holy One,
We love you imperfectly:
we do not always keep your commandments.
We love each other imperfectly:
we hurt those you call us to love
through our actions and our inaction.
We love ourselves imperfectly:
we struggle to believe that we are truly your children,
made in your image.
Forgive us.
By the power of your Spirit,
make us more faithful
that we might live as Christ has shown us,
reflecting your love and grace.

Lifting water from the font:
Because Christ lives, we also live.
Not because of anything we have done,
not because of our belief or faithfulness:
we live because Christ lives.
This is the Christ who forgives us.
This is the God who is in us.
This is the Spirit who is with us.
Alleluia! Praise be to God!

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
Living God, with joy we celebrate
the presence of your risen Word.
Enliven our hearts by your Holy Spirit
so that we may proclaim the good news
of eternal and abundant life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Before the readings:
O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
Ezekiel 37:4

After the readings:
This is the good news which we have received,
in which we stand, and by which we are saved.
Thanks be to God.
1 Corinthians 15:1–2


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon:
All authority and power and dominion
to the name that is above all names—
Jesus Christ our Lord—
now and in the age to come. Amen.
Ephesians 1:21

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Affirmation of Faith

New life in Christ takes shape in a community
in which people know
that God loves and accepts them
in spite of what they are.
They therefore accept themselves
and love others,
knowing that no one has any ground
on which to stand,
except God’s grace.
Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.22

Prayers of Intercession

We offer our prayers through Christ,
who lives and reigns forever,
and prays for us in heaven.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for the church . . .

Let your Spirit of truth abide in us,
so that we may keep your commandments
and bear witness to the power of your love.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for the earth . . .
Bless and keep the world you have made,
a gracious gift from the Creator of all.
Let it not be destroyed by human hands.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for all nations . . .
Bring all people into your saving purpose.
Show us that we are one family in you,
the children of a common ancestor.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for this community . . .
By your Spirit, make us always ready
to share the faith and hope that is in us
and to show your love to our neighbors.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for loved ones . . .
Remember those who are tested and tried.
Do not let them slip; guard their lives
and keep them in your steadfast love.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of all power and glory, receive these prayers,
and continue your mighty work among us,
through Jesus Christ, our living Lord. Amen.
Ephesians 1:15–23

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
How does God’s love abide in anyone
who has the world’s goods
yet refuses to help a sister or brother in need?
Remembering God’s great love for the world,
let us offer our lives to the Lord.
1 John 3:16–17

Prayer of Dedication

At the communion table:
Great God, to you we give our thanks;
your steadfast love endures forever.
With gratitude we bring our gifts to you.
Bless us and our gifts,
that our lives and our resources
may be a source of healing and hope,
of joy and justice in our world. Amen.

Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God:
You are the Lord of heaven and earth, maker of all things,
and we are your children, by the grace of Jesus Christ.
In you, O God, we live and move and have our being.

Therefore we praise you, joining the song
of the universal church and the heavenly choir:
A Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”) is sung.

Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior:
Because Christ lives, we also live in hope and love.
Though he ascended into heaven, he did not leave us alone,
but sent the Spirit of truth to abide with us forever.
The words of institution are included here.

Remembering your goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves to you with gratitude
as we share this joyful feast.
A Memorial Acclamation (e.g., “Christ has died”) is sung.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and cup;
make us one in the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Help us to seek what is good in your sight,
with gentleness and reverence, and a clear conscience,
proclaiming our hope in Christ the Lord.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of the Spirit,
we bless you, God of glory,
now and forever.
An Amen is sung.

Lord’s Prayer


Breaking the Bread


Communion of the People


Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Prayer after Communion

Thank you, O God, for giving us communion
with our risen and glorious Lord.
Now send us out to be a sign
of the new life that has come into the world;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church:
May the love of the holy triune God—
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—
abide with you forever. Alleluia!
1 John 4:13–16

Now go forth in Jesus’ name,
remembering his new commandment
to love one another, just as he has loved us. Amen.
1 John 3:23

“Cloud of Unknowing”

Kelly Latimore, 2010

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • Come, Thou Almighty King (G) ITALIAN HYMN GTG 2, PH 139
  • Be Not Afraid (EG) BE NOT AFRAID GTG 243
  • Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above (A) MIT FREUDEN ZART GTG 645, PH 483
  • Plodding On with Weary Footsteps / Yukedomo, yukedomo tada sunahara (EG) COME TO ME STB 207


  • Come Down, O Love Divine (G) DOWN AMPNEY GTG 282, PH 313
  • Hear My Cry, O God, and Save Me! (EG) GENEVAN 77 GTG 781
  • There Is a Place of Quiet Rest (Near to the Heart of God) (A) MC AFEE GTG 824, PH 527
  • God Created Heaven and Earth / Chin Chú Siōng-tè chō thin-tōe (A) TŌA-SĪA PH 290, STB 173


  • In Christ There Is No East or West (A) MC KEE, ST. PETER GTG 317, 318; PH 439, 440
  • Search Me, O God (E) KÀM-CHHAT GTG 426
  • Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness (EG) SCHMÜCKE DICH GTG 514
  • Jesus Is Here Right Now (G) JESUS IS HERE NCH 348


  • Do Not Be Afraid (EG) ISAIAH 43 GTG 76
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (G) HYFRYDOL GTG 366, PH 376
  • Abide with Me (G) EVENTIDE GTG 836, PH 543
  • Precious Memories (G) PRECIOUS MEMORIES (Martin and Jones), PRECIOUS MEMORIES (Wright) AAHH 516, 517

Psalms and Canticles


  • Come, All You People, Bless Our God [ADOWA]; PAS 66C, LUYH 495
  • Praise Our God with Shouts of Joy [GENEVAN 136]; PAS 66E
  • Make a Joyful Noise to God! [DIX]; GTG 54


  • Cry Out to God in Joy; PAS 66A, PND 57 (through-composed vv.), PAS 66D (pointed vv.)
  • Glory and Praise to Our God; PAS 65D
  • Let All the Earth Cry Out with Joy to God; PSA 58

Organ Music

  • “Interlude,” Seven Pieces for Organ, Theodore Dubois, Kalmus (M)
  • “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” DENNIS, Three Settings of Hymns, Lowell Mason; arr. Gail Leven Pollock, HWG (ME)
  • “Come Down, O Love Divine,” DOWN AMPNEY, A Walter Pelz Organ Anthology, Walter Pelz, AF (ME)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “God’s Got the Whole World,” Mark Miller, MSM, SATB div, acap (M)
  • “Let Your Faith Be Stronger Than Your Fear,” Tom Trenney, BP, SATB, opt solo, pno (M)
  • “Do Not Fear,” Fred Gramann, ECS, SATB, solo, acap (MA)
  • “If Ye Love Me,” Philip Wilby, ECS, SSATB, org (M)
  • “Do Not Be Afraid,” Philip Stopford, MSM, SATB, solo, acap (ME)
  • “Blessed Be!,” Melanie DeMore, VocalEssence Music Press, SATB, acap, body perc (ME)

Handbell Music

  • “Come, Thou Almighty King,” Martha Lynn Thompson, 3–5 oct, MSM, MSM-30-839, Level 3
  • “Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above,” Kevin McChesney, 2–3 oct or 3–5 oct, AGEHR,
    AG23006 or AG35181, Level 4
  • “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” Joel Raney and Arnold Sherman, 3–5 oct, HOPE, 2508, Level 3


  • How Did You Come to Know Me?, Jan Richardson, (JR)
  • Cloud of Unknowing, Kelly Latimore (VDL)
  • Blessing, Anneke Kaai (AK)
  • Forever in His Care, from the Creed, Anneke Kaai (AK)