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April 2024

Apr

We Abide in Christ

How Shall We Live

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B

Our final week in the series, “How Shall We Live?” calls us to live out the love and joy we have found in our life in Christ.

This week, we bring it all together! It’s definitely a high note to end an Eastertide series on Earth Day . What could use more resurrection in this day and age than our weary and aching world? We’re hopeful that the weeks before this have led up to a day when today’s theme—love in action for the good of all—resounds in your congregation and community. Today’s sermon illustrations lift up the names and stories of heroes of the faith and the environmental movement, but each and every one of us is also called by Christ into radical action for love (1 John 3:16). So let’s see how we can move our communities into action through song.

The Many’s piece, “Of the Earth,” is a beautifully contemplative melody that swells to the lyrics “from living soil, we were made” - what a compelling vision of our deep connection to the Earth and to our Creator (Genesis 2:7). We are “made of love” and “made to love” - not just in word and intention, but in action (1 John 3:16-18). Amy Grant’s “Trees We’ll Never See” encourages us to plant seeds of goodness and restoration - not for love of or concern for ourselves, since we’ll never see what grows from them - but to sustain generations to come who desperately need us to act now (1 John 3:17). “Canticle of the Turning” speaks to God’s radical action to turn the world as we know it upside down and reminds us that God does not do this revolutionary work by Godself (1 John 3:24). Legend Ken Medema’s new song “Now is the Time for the Next Great Awakening” speaks for itself - a hopeful call to action - NOW!

If you’ve used a thread song in the past two weeks, finish out with it as well. A hymn like “This is My Father’s World” or “How Great Thou Art” could work well, especially with revised lyrics. In a more contemporary or mixed setting, Matthew Blake Lovegood’s “Holy Ground” would be a great thread to ground folks in your local setting and remind them of God’s presence with us on this earth. “So Will I” and “Oceans” are well-known contemporary pieces that call us to worship and to follow in the path Christ has set out for us (1 John 1:7).

From our hymnals, consider including “Touch the Earth Lightly” (Worship and Song, 3129). It is one thing to “have” the world’s goods while others are in need (v. 17). What we might not think as much about are resources we consume that contribute, unwittingly, to the detriment of others; thus, we actually create need in others by careless consumption, especially of non-renewable energy. With the additional hymnal suggestions, look for connections between how we treat Earth and one another–evidence of our love of God and others.

Abbreviations

  • United Methodist Hymnal: UMH
  • The Faith We Sing: TFWS
  • Worship and Song: W&S

Hymns

  • UMH 189 - Fairest Lord Jesus
  • UMH 408 – The Gift of Love
  • UMH 549 – Where Charity and Love Prevail
  • W&S 3018 - Creation Sings
  • W&S 3035 - Bless Christ through Whom All Things Are Made
  • W&S 3129 - Touch the Earth Lightly
  • Brothers! Sisters! Who Are They? (Global Praise 2 songbook)

Contemporary Music

  • Of The Earth - The Many
  • Trees We’ll Never See - Amy Grant
  • Canticle of the Turning - Daigle, Cooney, Donohoo
  • Now is the Time for the Next Great Awakening - Medema
  • Holy Ground - Flamy Grant
  • So Will I (100 Billion X) - Hillsong
  • Oceans - Hillsong

Rev. Kristina Sinks, Evanston, IL (ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi, Odawa [Ottawa], and Ojibwe Tribes), is a provisional deacon in the California-Nevada Annual Conference. She is also part of the Worship Team of the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement.

Rev. Mark Terwilliger, York, PA (ancestral homelands of the Susquehannock peoples), is an elder in the Susquehanna Annual Conference, serving Asbury York UMC. He also participates in the Worship Team of the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement and is a UM EarthKeeper.