May 1, 2022
Third Sunday of Easter
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Let me remind you quickly of our protocols for everyone’s safety.
· Attendance was taken by Ushers as you entered.
· masks are required by those not vaccinated as well as social distancing
bulletins are placed in the pews to help with social distancing
· Offerings may be placed in the plate by the doors.
· Please write your prayer request on the Yellow cards. An usher will pick them up during the 1st hymn.
· Please join us after service for fellowship in Calvin Hall
Gary Iverson, Bob Bock, Joan Boyd, Wanda Hirl, Marilyn Neymeyer, Joan Pinkston, Maxine Wagner, Annette Conzett, Jo Lefleur, Dr Dyke, Harlan Marx ,Lois Seger, Jon Ryner, Abagail Niles, Helanah Niles, Werner& Kelly Families, Avis Severson (Kolleen’s Mom) Ukraine, Doug Nelson, Arlene Pawlik, Angela and Tristan , and Jake Pinkston
*CALL TO WORSHIP Psalm 30:1-5, NLT
I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health.
You brought me up from the grave, O Lord.
You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
*GATHERING PRAYER (from the Book of Common Worship)
Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. Grant that we who celebrate our Lord’s resurrection, may, through the renewing power of your Spirit, arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
*HYMN Thine Is The Glory #122
Let us confess our sins to the Lord:
Holy God, forgive the times we fail to see you at work around us,
Fail to see your purpose and intentions for us,
Fail to see those you would have us protect or help,
Fail to see those whom you have sent to teach or assist us,
Fail to see where we fit in your plans for this world.
Forgive us the times we struggle on our own without turning to you,
The times we ignore the resources around us,
The times we are timid in reaching out to others,
The times we don’t acknowledge your presence with us,
The times we doubt what you can do in and through us.
*WORDS OF ASSURANCE Colossians 1:13-14, GW
“13 God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves. 14 His Son paid the price to free us, which means that our sins are forgiven.” Thanks be to God!
*SONG OF PRAISE Gloria Patri #579
*PASSING THE PEACE (facing those across the aisle from you)
Left: May the peace of Christ be with you.
Right: And also with you. May the peace of Christ be with you.
Left: And also with you.
(You may be seated.)
SCRIPTURE LESSONS Acts 9:1-20, GW
Saul kept threatening to murder the Lord’s disciples. He went to the chief priest 2 and asked him to write letters of authorization to the synagogue leaders in the city of Damascus. Saul wanted to arrest any man or woman who followed the way of Christ and imprison them in Jerusalem.
3 As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
5 Saul asked, “Who are you, sir?”The person replied, “I’m Jesus, the one you’re persecuting. 6 Get up! Go into the city, and you’ll be told what you should do.”
7 Meanwhile, the men traveling with him were speechless. They heard the voice but didn’t see anyone.
8 Saul was helped up from the ground. When he opened his eyes, he was blind. So his companions led him into Damascus. 9 For three days he couldn’t see and didn’t eat or drink.
10 A disciple named Ananias lived in the city of Damascus. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
Ananias answered, “Yes, Lord.”
11 The Lord told him, “Get up! Go to Judas’ house on Straight Street, and ask for a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus. He’s praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 Ananias replied, “Lord, I’ve heard a lot of people tell about the many evil things this man has done to your people in Jerusalem. 14 Saul has come here to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to put anyone who calls on your name in prison.”
15 The Lord told Ananias, “Go! I’ve chosen this man to bring my name to nations, to kings, and to the people of Israel. 16 I’ll show him how much he has to suffer for the sake of my name.”
17 Ananias left and entered Judas’ house. After he placed his hands on Saul, Ananias said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way to Damascus, sent me to you. He wants you to see again and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 Immediately, something like fish scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. Then Saul stood up and was baptized. 19 After he had something to eat, his strength came back to him.
Saul was with the disciples in the city of Damascus for several days. 20 He immediately began to spread the word in their synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.
John 21:1-19, CEV
Jesus later appeared to his disciples along the shore of Lake Tiberias. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, and the brothers James and John, were there, together with two other disciples. 3 Simon Peter said, “I'm going fishing!” The others said, “We will go with you.” They went out in their boat. But they didn't catch a thing that night.
4 Early the next morning Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize who he was. 5 Jesus shouted, “Friends, have you caught anything?”
“No!” they answered.
6 So he told them, “Let your net down on the right side of your boat, and you will catch some fish.”
They did, and the net was so full of fish that they could not drag it up into the boat.
7 Jesus' favorite disciple told Peter, “It's the Lord!” When Simon heard it was the Lord, he put on the clothes he had taken off while he was working. Then he jumped into the water. 8 The boat was only about 100 meters from shore. So the other disciples stayed in the boat and dragged in the net full of fish.
9 When the disciples got out of the boat, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. 10 Jesus told his disciples, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” 11 Simon Peter got back into the boat and dragged the net to shore. In it were 153 large fish, but still the net did not rip.
12 Jesus said, “Come and eat!” But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord. 13 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave some of it to his disciples. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from death.
15 When Jesus and his disciples had finished eating, he asked, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than the others do?”
Simon Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know I do!”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus said.
16 Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus told him.
17 Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus had asked him three times if he loved him. So he told Jesus, “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.”Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you for certain that when you were a young man, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will hold out your hands. Then others will wrap your belt around you and lead you where you don't want to go.”
19 Jesus said this to tell how Peter would die and bring honor to God. Then he said to Peter, “Follow me!”
SERMON Open Your Eyes and Cast Your Nets
Some days the hardest thing to do is to open my eyes in the morning. I’m in denial that it is daylight, that I need to get out of bed and get started with the day. I might lay there and think about the things I need or at least intend to do. That might be enough to cause me to shut my eyes tighter and roll over toward the wall and the window. But there is this curious thing about sleeping eye level with a window to my backyard. I get curious. I get curious enough to move the pillow, reach for the shade and open my eyes to the world outside. If I’m lucky I’ll see the squirrels or the bunnies scampering about. I might spot the birds in the trees or on the utility lines. I’m happy if there is sunshine. It was worth opening my eyes.
I want to keep that thought in mind, that it was worth opening my eyes, because sometimes I’m not so sure I want my eyes opened. There is a phrase we use; we say something was an “eye opening experience.” Sometimes that was a positive experience; it usually teaches us something. Sometimes we are reluctant to learn a truth about ourselves or the world around us that asks us to change. Some examples come to mind.
The movie “Hidden Figures” a few years ago was an eye-opening experience for me, a reminder that we usually don’t hear the full story behind events in the news, that there are people behind the scenes who are every bit as much the hero as the people whose pictures are next to the headlines. It was also a reminder that as a society we push groups of people past the margins where we don’t see them, and it is for no good reason as far as I can tell. It made me ask why we hear some stories and we don’t hear others. I admit I still don’t pursue those other stories, but I also trust the news less recognizing that it will only tell me what that particular news source wants me to hear.
Another eye-opening experience back in 2003 was landing in a Peoria hospital needing a stent. That led to several lifestyle changes. My diet changed a great deal. I started taking prescription medicines. I tried some exercise routines. I tried to destress. I was more successful at changing my diet than the other two. I needed to change it again several times in the years since because of other health concerns. But I think I did begin to pay more attention to my health overall when I could afford to do so. It’s a long-term ongoing process as all of you know in your own lives.
Saul was a Jewish scholar and persecutor of those who followed Jesus. On the Damascus Road he had an eye-opening experience that began with going blind. Perhaps you know in your own life that God will sometimes use drastic measures to get your attention. That was the case with Saul. Certificate in hand to arrest Christ followers at Damascus, Saul was suddenly struck by a blinding light and heard Jesus’ voice asking why Saul was persecuting him. That was pretty to the point. Then opening his eyes, Saul could not see, not for three days. Jesus directed Saul to the home of Ananias, whom Jesus had also prepared for this encounter. Following Jesus’ instruction, Ananias placed his hands on Saul’s eyes, and Saul could see. Then Ananias invited the Holy Spirit into Saul’s life and taught Saul about Jesus, so that Saul could “see” in another sense, to begin to accept that Jesus was the Messiah and worthy of Saul dedicating the rest of his life to telling others about Jesus. After this time Saul became better known as Paul.
I wonder where God is asking us to open our eyes. Is it to see something we need to change in our own lives, behaviors, or attitudes? Is it to something in the world around us, to open our eyes to prejudice or injustice, to environmental or stewardship issues? Perhaps it is to the needs of someone close to us or someone along the margins of our lives whom we have failed to see. Perhaps it is to new possibilities when we just want things to go back to the way they used to be. Toward what vision is God asking you to open your eyes?
Peter had already been through some eye-opening experiences. Sometimes he could see beyond his own earthly wisdom, like when he recognized that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. God had opened Peter’s spiritual eyes that day. But other times Peter couldn’t see past his own nose enough to trust God’s plan, like when he cut off Malchus’ ear or when he denied Jesus’ in the courtyard. Peter was spiritually blind that night.
After Jesus was crucified, Peter went to the tomb when the women reported that Jesus had risen. Peter saw the empty tomb with his own eyes, and probably wondered what was next. He wasn’t yet ready to move ahead without Jesus to guide him, but that would come.
One of my favorite resurrection stories is our gospel lesson today, Breakfast on the Beach as it was called in a children’s musical version I recall. Peter had grown weary of sitting in the upper room, just as you grow weary when you have to stay home for long during a recovery or during the pandemic. Peter was a man of action, so that day he stood up and announced, “I’m going fishin’!” When we are stressed it sometimes helps to go back to familiar things we enjoy. Peter was a fisherman by trade, so that’s what he did. Some of the others joined him; I’m guessing his brother Andrew went with him and we know the other set of brothers, James and John who used to fish next to them were there that day. A few more disciples decided to ride along.
It was good to get out on the water in the boat, but as the long night continued, they might have gotten discouraged about their foolhardy adventure. They caught nothing all night long. It was dawn when they spotted a fire on the beach. Who was out building a fire already that morning? A somewhat familiar voice called out from shore, “Friends, have you caught any fish?” The answer was NO. The voice called to them again, “Cast your nets on the other side, then.”
Pause to think about that a minute. How often when something doesn’t work do we humans just keep trying the same thing. If we just work harder. If we just try longer. But like the fisherman who caught nothing all night, perhaps our labors are fruitless because we need to try something a bit different, cast our nets on the other side as it were.
Peter and the others surprisingly heeded the advice and were rewarded with such a haul of fish they couldn’t hardly pull the net into the boat. It was that full! Amazing how a little effort can yield such results when it is aimed in the right direction.
Now Peter realized who that man on shore must be. Impulsive as always, Peter jumped in the water, running against the waves toward shore. “Jesus!” He had to get to Jesus.
After breakfast, Jesus took Peter aside and had a significant conversation with him. Over the years I have appreciated scholars pointing out that Jesus asked Peter this question, “Do you love me?” three times, just as Peter had denied Jesus three times in the overnight hours before the crucifixion. Peter was given the opportunity to affirm his devotion and dedication to his risen Lord once for each time he had denied him.
We, too, are given opportunities in our daily lives to affirm our allegiance to our Lord, not only with our devotions and other spiritual practices but with our daily lives. Each time Peter responded, “Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus gave him an assignment. “Feed my lambs; tend my sheep; feed my sheep.” The fisherman whom Jesus promised to teach to catch people was now to become a shepherd to those people who identified themselves with Christ. This is the reason bishops in my denomination are given a staff that looks like a shepherd’s crook. It is because they continue Peter’s call to shepherd God’s people.
We also use a shepherd’s skill when we care for others. Whether you are a parent or grandparent, a group leader or the one who gathers your friends together, you, too, are like a shepherd. When you give good advice or listen to someone’s pain or help someone find their way, you are feeding or tending Jesus’ sheep by caring for one of God’s children. If you continue to cast your caring net in the direction God’s Spirit guides you, you just might be surprised at how that “catch” adds up over time. I’m always surprised when I think back over my years just how many lives God has allowed me to touch.
As you go about your daily lives, may your eyes be open to see what God has for you in the world around you, and may your spiritual eyes be open to see God at work in the world and to recognize spiritual truths. May you cast your nets of caring wherever God directs you, so that you become not only a fisher of people as Jesus first invited Peter, but also a shepherd of God’s people as Jesus later asked of him. Eyes and hearts open, may you daily follow Jesus.
*HYMN Open My Eyes #324
PASTORAL PRAYER AND LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever." -- Amen.
OFFERING OUR LIVES
*DOXOLOGY Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow #592
*AFFIRMATION Apostle’s Creed (Ecumenical) p. 14
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again.
He ascended into heaven
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
And He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.
*HYMN I Come With Joy #507
INVITATION TO THE LORD’S TABLE 1 Cor. 5:7–8
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;
therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!
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.
It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise,
Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with angels and archangels
and with all the faithful of every time and place,
who forever sing to the glory of your name:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
You are holy, O God of majesty,
Accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy offering of ourselves,
that our lives may proclaim the One crucified and risen.
Dying Christ destroyed our death. Rising Christ restored our life.
Christ will come again in glory!
Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,
all glory and honor are yours, almighty God,
with the Holy Spirit in the holy church, now and forever.
RECEIVING THE BREAD AND CUP
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
Living Christ, as you open the scriptures to us you make yourself known inthe breaking of the bread. Let us now go forth from this place, fed at your table and filled by the Spirit, to walk with you all the days of our lives, and proclaim the glory of your resurrection to all the world. Amen.
*CHARGE & BLESSING
* Sections of the service preceded with * are times to stand if you are able to do so.
Bold text is to be read together aloud as a congregation.
Presbyterians practice open communion which means anyone who seeks to be in a relationship with Christ is welcome at the table regardless of denomination, age, or status. The communion elements are already in your pew, and you will be instructed when to eat the wafer and when to drink the juice.