Hymns: "Tell Out, My Soul", "God of the Sparrow, God of the Whale"
Choir Anthem: "Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree"
The tree of life my soul hath seen, Laden with fruit, and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be Compared with Christ the apple tree.
The Prayer of Confession:
Lord of Life, you are the way of love and peace. We confess that we have not loved each other as You have commanded. Instead of being your people of peace and spreading hope, we have all too often been an anxious people, spreading distrust, worry and fear. By failing to love each other, we have failed to see You at work in our lives. Help us extend to others the same grace and compassion that we need ourselves. In the name of Jesus, the teacher from Nazareth, we pray. Amen.
- We are all in need of pruning
- Jesus forces us to practice a radical hospitality and live sacrificially.
- We are to think of ourselves as a vine, absolutely intertwined with each other.
- We need a community to lean on.
- The word "abide" in the scripture lesson is best understood as "endure, continue, remain, persist."
- Jesus wants us to persist.. We must persist to to model Jesus--not an easy task.
- Though this text has often been taken as a reason to exclude (I am part of the true vine, but you are not.), it is really a text designed to include.
- It is a text designed to increase our spirituality rather than our religion.
- "Religion is for people afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there."