John declares that an authentic sign of God’s own connection to a person is their ability to love others. Because God is love, and loves comes from God, the one who loves has been born of God and knows God. The absence of love is sufficient proof that a person does not know God, for God himself is love. The truest meaning of love, John testifies, is found in God’s demonstration of love in sending his one and only Son into the world that we might live through his atoning sacrifice for us. No one has ever seen God, but in the experience of this divine love we can know that God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us. All of this is made possible by his Spirit, which he has given to us. When we come to know and believe the love God has for us, we abide in God, and he abides in us. This is our confidence at the day of judgment, for the love of God has banished fear of rejection and judgment. We love God because truly he has loved us, and he himself is love.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Father, we have come to know and believe the love that you have given to us. In this is love: you sent your one and only Son into the world to be our atoning sacrifice, to pay our sin debt, to overcome evil, and to restore all things whole again, under your reign. Give us eyes to understand the fullness of your love, that we might be worthy vessels of it in our relationships with others – our family and friends, our fellow followers of Christ, and those who still do not know your love. Through Jesus our Lord, we pray, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen.
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 22.25-31 Acts*: Acts 8.26-40 Gospel: John 15.1-8
Acts*: Acts 8.26-40 Gospel: John 15.1-8
Gospel: John 15.1-8
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The 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, for ever. Amen.
--Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Affirmation from the Psalms
I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
~ Psalm 18.1-3
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Jesus, dear Savior whose love won me back to God, fill me with your love that I may testify to love where you have placed me today.