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Resources for the
6th Sunday of Easter

"This is my commandment, that you love
one another as I have loved you." 
John 15:12


Texts & Discussion:
Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17



Short Prayer of Confession

Giver of all life, you call us into a relationship of love with you and with our fellow human beings. We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart, that we have not loved our neighbor as ourself. Forgive us, we pray, and empower us so we may love you more than everything else, you who have loved us first. Let us seek to love you in receiving and serving, in our going out and our going in. Free us for a life in joyful obedience and commitment to you, our neighbor, and our world. May your love inspire and infuse our everyday lives. In Jesus name. Amen.


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Excerpt . . .

What Itís All About
based on John 15:9-17
by Rev. Karen Goltz

            Over the years Iíve talked with a number of people who have abandoned their Christian heritage and chosen to live according to the standards and norms of our culture, instead.  Most of them were more or less good, honest, moral, upright people who simply didnít want to be affiliated with Christianity anymore.  When I asked them why, most of them told me it was because Christianity is all about rules and judgment, do this or else, whoís in and whoís out, whoís a sinner and whoís saved, with too much of a focus on getting into heaven and not enough of a focus on making a difference in peopleís lives.

            I canít deny that thatís what Christianity often appears to be.  I myself was ostracized from two churches by the time I was seventeen.  The first time I was thirteen, and I missed the first day of CCD, which I understood as Catholic Sunday School taught on a weekday afternoon.  For missing that first class the teacher (who was not the priest) told the other students that I obviously didnít care about God or the church, so I must be the spawn of the devil, and their souls would be in mortal danger if they associated with me in any way.  Most of these kids were in my junior high school, and promptly told me about it the next day.  (Fortunately they werenít terribly concerned with the risk to their souls, and continued to associate with me at school.)

            The second time was when I was seventeen, and I was attending an Evangelical church with a friend and her family.  On a youth group ski trip the adult volunteer chaperone that was driving the car I was in was speeding and driving recklessly to try to make up for lost time, and caused a very serious accident.  Fortunately no one was killed, but I missed over a month of school, walked with crutches or a cane for several more months, and to this day I still donít have the full use of my left leg.  My mother sued the church for negligence.  I was therefore deemed an unrepentant sinner beyond all hope of salvation.

            Iíve since come to realize that the people who ostracized me were not acting in an official capacity for either denomination, and neither the Catholic nor the Evangelical hierarchy would likely condone their actions.  But that doesnít change the fact that by the tender age of seventeen, my experience with organized religion in general and Christianity in particular involved being judged, condemned, and cast out. . . . .

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