Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Holy Communion on the Fifth Sunday of Easter - 10:30 a.m.


The livestream may be found here.

May 2, 2021, 10:30 a.m.

The Fifth Sunday of Easter







The color white, used for the vestments and paraments in Easter, represents the light of Christ’s resurrection, as well as the light in which those in Christ are to walk.


The season of Easter is 50 days long, as our joy in the resurrection will last far longer than our season of sorrow. The paschal candle, sign among us of the resurrection of Christ, is lighted each Sunday in Eastertide. As we have fasted from the Alleluia in Lent, we feast upon it in Easter.


FIRST READING: Today we hear of the beginning of the Spirit-inspired mission to Gentiles. The Ethiopian worships the God of the Jewish people, but is a eunuch and therefore is excluded from the Temple worship (Deuteronomy 23:1, but see Isaiah 56:3-4!). Philip’s preaching of the good news about Christ produces faith in the Ethiopian, and he is baptized without delay. Since Christ in his sinless life, death, and resurrection fulfilled the whole Law, the Law which kept eunuchs from Temple worship no longer holds back the Ethiopian from full participation in the people of God. Surely, he has reason to rejoice!


SECOND READING: The apostle John continues to lift up love as the essence of the Christian life. Such love is not a human idea or insight. It has been revealed to us in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. God’s love in Christ is the source and norm for our love; it is in clinging to Christ in faith that the fruit of love for brothers and sisters is produced in us.


GOSPEL: A dead branch, separated from its source of strength and nourishment, is contrasted with a living limb of the vine which bears fruit. Jesus’ disciples are urged to abide (‘remain,’ ‘live’) in him so that they may produce fruit which may glorify the Father. We are reminded of Ephesians 5:22-23: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.’





Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played:


Now the Green Blade Rises

I.                    David Cherwien

II.                  Paul Manz


1      Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,

        wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

        love lives again, that with the dead has been;

        love is come again like wheat arising green.


2      In the grave they laid him, love by hatred slain,

        thinking that he would never wake again;

        laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen;

        love is come again like wheat arising green.


3      Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,

        he that for three days in the grave had lain;

        raised from the dead, my living Lord is seen;

        love is come again like wheat arising green.


4     When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,

        your touch can call us back to life again,

        fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been;

        love is come again like wheat arising green.


Text: John MacLeod Campbell Crum, 1872-1958

Text from Oxford Book of Carols © Oxford University Press 1928. All rights reserved



                                THE HOLY COMMUNION



In the name of the Father, and of the X Son, and of the Holy Spirit.




Alleluia! Christ is risen!

  He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  And also with you.



In peace, let us pray to the Lord.                                 Lord, have mercy.

For the peace from above,

and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.       Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the whole world,

for the well-being of the Church of God,

and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.    Lord, have mercy.

For this holy house,

and for all who offer here their worship and praise,

let us pray to the Lord.                                                   Lord, have mercy.

Help, save, comfort and defend us, gracious Lord.                       Amen



This is the feast of victory for our God.



Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain,

  whose blood set us free to be people of God.

Power and riches and wisdom and strength,

  and honor and blessing and glory are his.

Sing with all the people of God

  and join in the hymn of all creation:

Blessing and honor and glory and might

  be to God and the Lamb forever. Amen.


This is the feast of victory for our God,

  for the Lamb who was slain has begun his reign. Alleluia.




The Lord be with you.

  And also with you.


O God, you graft us on to Christ, the True Vine,

and, with tireless care,

you nurture our growth in knowledge and reverence.

  Tend the vineyard of your Church,

  that in Christ each branch may bring forth

  abundant fruits of faith and love,

  to the glory of your name.

Grant this through Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.




We are cleansed by the word that Christ has spoken to us.             John 15:3                              

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.



First READING                                                                               Acts 8:26-40



26An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
 “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
  and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
   so he does not open his mouth.
33In his humiliation justice was denied him.
  Who can describe his generation?
   For his life is taken away from the earth.”



34The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.


The Word of the Lord.                  

  Thanks be to God.


PSALM 22:24-30

Read responsively between pastor and congregation.


All the ends of the earth shall turn to the Lord.                                    (vs. 26)

  All the ends of the earth shall turn to the Lord.    


24 My praise is of him in the | great assembly;*

                I will perform my vows in the presence

of those who | worship him.

25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,

and those who seek the | Lord shall praise him:*

                "May your heart | live forever!"

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn | to the Lord,*

                and all the families of the nations shall | bow before him.

27 For kingship belongs | to the Lord;*

                he rules o- | ver the nations.

28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow | down in worship;*

                all who go down to the dust | fall before him.

29 My soul shall live for him; my descend- | ants shall serve him;*

                they shall be known as the | Lord's forever.

30 They shall come and make known to a people | yet unborn*

                the saving deeds that | he has done.


All the ends of the earth shall turn to the Lord.





SECOND READING                                                                    1 John 4:7-21



7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
  God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.


The Word of the Lord.                                                            

  Thanks be to God.




VERSE                 Romans 6:9; John 14:6                    Setting by Carl Schalk

Sung by the Cantor                            

Alleluia. Christ being raised from the dead will die no more; death has no more dominion over him. Alleluia. I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord. Alleluia.






Gospel                                                                                                John 15:1-8


The Holy Gospel according to St. John.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


[Jesus said:] 1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                

  Praise to you, O Christ.






HYMN OF THE DAY                                                                 O Blessed Spring


Stanza 1 – Cantor; Stanza 2 – Pastor; Stanza 3 – Cantor; Stanza 4 – Pastor

Stanza 5 - ALL


 1      O blessed spring, where word and sign

        embrace us into Christ the Vine:

        here Christ enjoins each one to be

        a branch of this life-giving Tree.


2      Through summer heat of youthful years,

        uncertain faith, rebellious tears,

        sustained by Christ's infusing rain,

        the boughs will shout for joy again.


3      When autumn cools and youth is cold,

        when limbs their heavy harvest hold,

        then through us, warm, the Christ will move

        with gifts of beauty, wisdom, love.


4      As winter comes, as winters must,

        we breathe our last, return to dust;

        still held in Christ, our souls take wing

        and trust the promise of the spring.


5      Christ, holy Vine, Christ, living Tree,

        be praised for this blest mystery:

        that word and water thus revive

        and join us to your Tree of Life.


Text: Susan Palo Cherwien, b. 1953




The pastor and people confess the faith of the Church in the words of the Nicene Creed.


X At the words ‘For us and for our salvation,’ and continuing through ‘and was made man,’ a solemn bow is appropriate to praise the incarnation of our Lord.


We believe in one God,

                the Father, the Almighty,            

                                maker of heaven and earth,

                                of all that is, seen and unseen.


We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

                the only Son of God,

                eternally begotten of the Father,

                God from God, Light from Light,

                true God from true God,

                begotten, not made,

                of one Being with the Father.

                Through him all things were made.

                X For us and for our salvation

                                he came down from heaven;

                                by the power of the Holy Spirit

                                he became incarnate from the virgin Mary,   and was made man. X

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

                                he suffered death and was buried.

                On the third day he rose again

                                                in accordance with the Scriptures;

                                he ascended into heaven

                                                and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

                He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

                                and his kingdom will have no end.


We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

                who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

                With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

                He has spoken through the prophets.

                We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

                We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

                We look for the resurrection of the dead,

                                and the life of the world to come. Amen




Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.


Silence is kept.


Let your Church in every place grow more deeply into Christ the True Vine and bear much fruit for your glory. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let the Word be proclaimed to all people, and the ministers of the Church be strengthened; that many may be brought to faith and the Sacrament of Baptism. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let our faith family grow in love for one another, as you have loved us in Christ. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let those who are seeking faith and those whose faith has been injured by the hurtful deeds of others be opened to hear your good news. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let those who serve in government be men and women of peace, justice, and integrity. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let those who work for the health and protection of others be strengthened for their tasks and fulfill their vocations with honor. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let the poor be satisfied, the oppressed go free, and our cities, towns, suburbs, and villages be places of decency and mutual respect. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let the cries of those in any need come before you. Hear our prayers for those whom we name now aloud or in silence.


The people offer spoken or silent intercessions and thanksgivings.


Lord, in your mercy,
  hear our prayer. 


Let the memory of the blessed dead be our guide, that we may rejoice with them when we see you face to face. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your steadfast love, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.





Jesus said to the apostles:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled; and do not let them be afraid.

                                                                                                                         John 14:27

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

  And also with you.


The people exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.



OFFERTORY  Isaiah 12:4-6                               Setting by Carl Schalk

Sung by the Cantor

Alleluia. Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the nations, proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously, let this be known in all the earth. Shout and sing for joy, O inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. Alleluia.



Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation;

in your loving care you give us the bread of life to eat

and the cup of salvation to drink.

Keep us always in the fold of our Savior and Shepherd:

your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.




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 him thanks and praise.


  It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places offer thanks and praise to you, O Lord, holy Father, through Christ our Lord.

  But chiefly are we bound to praise you for the glorious resurrection of our Lord. Through him you showed your love for us by sending him to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins; and by the power of the Spirit he grafts us to himself as branches to a vine, filling us with life and causing us to bear fruit to your glory and praise.

  And so with Mary Magdalene, Peter, and Philip, and all the witnesses of the resurrection; with earth and sea and all their creatures, and with angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


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!


Holy God, mighty Lord, gracious Father:

                Endless is your mercy and eternal your reign.

You have filled all creation with light and life;

                heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Through Abraham you promised to bless all nations.

                You rescued Israel, your chosen people.

Through the prophets you renewed your promise;

                and, at this end of all the ages, you sent your Son,

                who in words and deeds proclaimed your kingdom

                and was obedient to your will, even to giving his life.


In the night in which he was betrayed,

                our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

                broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:

                Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.

Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

                and gave it for all to drink, saying:

                This cup is the new covenant in my blood,

shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


For as often as we eat of this bread and drink from this cup

                we proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

  Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.


Therefore, gracious Father, with this bread and cup

                we remember the life our Lord offered for us.

And, believing the witness of his resurrection,

we await his coming in power

                to share with us the great and promised feast.

  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.


Send now, we pray, your Holy Spirit,

                the spirit of our Lord and of his resurrection,

                that we who receive the Lord's body and blood

                may live to the praise of your glory

                and receive our inheritance with all your saints in light.

  Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.


Join our prayers with those of your servants

of every time and every place,

                and unite them with the ceaseless petitions

                of our great high priest until he comes as victorious Lord of all. 


Through him, with him, in him,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honor and glory is yours,

almighty Father, now and forever. Amen










Christ is in our midst.

By the power of the Spirit,

we pray to his Father, saying:


Our Father, who art in heaven,

                                hallowed be thy name,

                                thy kingdom come,

                                thy will be done,

                                                on earth as it is in heaven.

                Give us this day our daily bread;

                and forgive us our trespasses,

                                as we forgive those who trespass against us;

                and lead us not into temptation,

                                but deliver us from evil.

                For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

                                forever and ever. Amen


The poor shall eat and be satisfied,

and those who seek the LORD shall praise him.   

  The Lord’s name be praised! Alleluia!                             Psalm 22:25a



AGNUS DEI (Lamb of God)           Sung by the cantor.


Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; grant us peace.







Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized.


They may receive the Lord’s Body and Blood who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, who commune in their home churches, and who believe that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is truly present in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.


The communicants will be invited forward one family unit at a time. Please do not come forward until the pastor directs you to come forward, do not approach all the way to the table until the pastor has retreated, and please do not remove your mask until you have reached the table with the elements on it.


 When the pastor says ‘The body of Christ, given for you,’ eat the bread. When the pastor says, ‘The blood of Christ, shed for you,’ drink the wine.  Please take the plate and the glass(es) and place them on the table that is indicated. Please put your mask on before returning to your seat.


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.

Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus


1              Let us ever walk with Jesus,

                follow his example pure,

                through a world that would deceive us

                and to sin our spirits lure.

                Onward in his footsteps treading,

                pilgrims here, our home above,

                full of faith and hope and love,

                let us do our Father’s bidding.

                Faithful Lord, with me abide;

                I shall follow where you guide.


2              Let us suffer here with Jesus,

                and with patience bear our cross.

                Joy will follow all our sadness;

                where he is there is no loss.

                Though today we sow no laughter,

                we shall reap celestial joy:

                all discomforts that annoy

                shall give way to mirth hereafter.

                Jesus, here I share your woe;

                help me there your joy to know.

3              Let us gladly die with Jesus.

                Since by death he conquered death,

                he will free us from destruction,

                give to us immortal breath.

                Let us mortify all passion

                that would lead us into sin;

                then by grace we all may win

                untold fruits of his creation.

                Jesus, unto you I die,

                there to live with you on high.


4              Let us also live with Jesus.

                He has risen from the dead

                that to life we may awaken.

                Jesus, since you are our head,

                we are your own living members;

                where you live, there we shall be

                in your presence constantly,

                living there with you forever.

                Jesus, if I faithful be,

                life eternal grant to me.


Text: Sigismund von Birken, 1626-1681; tr. Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978

© 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, admin. Augsburg Fortress


After all have returned to their places, the congregation stands at the direction of the pastor.


The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.



Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning, is now,

and will be forever. Amen                                 Song of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)




We give you thanks, almighty God,

that you have refreshed us

through the healing power of this gift of life;

and we pray that in your mercy

you would strengthen us through this gift,

in faith toward you and fervent love toward one another;

for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.






Alleluia. Christ is risen.

  He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope

  through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Though we do not see him, we love him;

  We believe in him

and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.     1 Peter 1:3, 8

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

  He is risen indeed. Alleluia.


Dismissal Gospel: John 11:25, 26

The Holy Gospel according to St. John.                   Glory to you, O Lord.


[Jesus said:] ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’                                                                          


The Gospel of the Lord.                                            Praise to you, O Christ.



The God of peace – who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant – make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. 

  Amen                                                                                                  Hebrews 13:20-21


Almighty God, Father, X Son, and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.            




Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                                         Thanks be to God!




From Sundays and Copyright 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the

 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included in this

service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2006.

Prayer of the Day from Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language,

copyright 1997 International Commission on English in the Liturgy. All rights reserved.

Sarcophagus of Drausin.

Grapevine, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved April 26, 2021]. Original source:,_St_Quivox,_South_Ayrshire,_Scotland.jpg.                               

Agnus Day appears with the permission of




St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868


Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship – 10:30 am