5 May 2024


Sixth Sunday of Easter

1 John 5:1-6

Easter People Have Faith


Additional Scriptures

Psalm 98; John 15:9-17; Acts 10:44-48; Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a


            See Focus Moment for material needed.


Hymn of Gathering

 “As We Gather”                                                                                            
CCS 73

OR “Jesu, Tawa Pano/Jesus, We Are Here”                                                 
CCS 71

Encourage participants to sing in languages other than their own.

OR “Gather Us In”                                                                                        
CCS 72



Responsive Reading

            Leader: O sing to the Lord a new song!

            People: For God is love!


            Leader: God has remembered steadfast love for all creation!

            People: For God is love!


            Leader: Make a joyful noise, let all the earth hear!

            People: For God is love!


            Leader: Sing with praise, with trumpets, and melody!

            People: For God is love!


            Leader: Let the sea roar and clap their hands as we sing together for joy!

            People: For God is love!


            Leader: We thank God for the steadfast love and wonders of life!

            People: For God is love!

-Psalm 98, adapted

Hymn of Praise

“Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty”                                                     
CCS 52

 OR “Now Sing to Our God”                                                                          
CCS 108

OR “Oh, Sing to the Lord/Cantad al Señor”                                                 
CCS 88

Encourage participants to sing in a language other than their own.


Musical Response

Prayer for Peace

            Play music, recorded or live, softly in the background as the Prayer for Peace is offered.


All Loving God,
Thank you for waiting for us, for meeting us in this holy space. Each day you call for us to step outside of our comfort and into boundless love, beautiful mystery, the perfect melody of your peace.

We know that you love us, but we confess the shortfalls that only unconditional grace can redeem. When we feel heavy, cumbersome loads being placed on our shoulders, weighted down in expectations, may we feel the gentle hand of your Spirit reach down and alleviate them. 

Light the Peace Candle.

May we see those who toil in silence and hear those who give voice to their struggles. Encourage us to respond as reflections of your love. In this holy space, may we move closer to understanding that because you are enough, I am enough, and we are enough.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace. Amen.

Hymn for Peace

 “Dona Nobis Pacem”                                                                        
CCS 155

Divide into 3 groups. Assign each group a part, 1, 2, or 3. Start with part 1, singing all the way through; add part 2, with 1 and 2 singing all the way through; add part 3, with everyone singing all the way through. Drop part 3 on the next time through; then drop part 2 until the final time is part 1 alone.

OR “We Are People of God’s Peace”                                                           
CCS 306

OR “Let Our Earth Be Peaceful”                                                      
CCS 371

Focus Moment: “Believe in Christ”   see below

Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:1-6

Hymn of Faith

“With a Steadfast Faith”                                                                                
CCS 649

OR “How Firm a Foundation”                                                                      
CCS 250

OR “Community of Joy”                                                                               
CCS 631

Morning Message

            Based on 1 John 5:1-6

Ministry of Music or Congregational Hymn of Reflection

 “The Peace of Mind”                                                                                     
CCS 320

Sing stanzas 1 through 3 as usual; on stanza 4, divide the congregation into 4 parts and sing as a round.

OR “How Deep the Silence of the Soul”                                                      
CCS 165

OR “Jésus est le rocher de ma vie”                                                               
CCS 265

Consider teaching this song to the congregation, perhaps in a language other than their own. Add the actions (for example, “He is above, below, in front, behind, and all around…”). The congregation could also sing along to the vocal recording found on Community of Christ Sings Audio Recordings available from Herald House.

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Communion Scripture: Luke 22:14-23

Communion Talk

Hymn of Preparation

“God Extends an Invitation/Nuestro Padre no invita”                      
CCS 520

Sing several times, speeding up with each stanza.

Encourage participants to sing in a language other than their own.             

OR “Let Us Break Bread Together”                                                  
CCS 521

OR “Is There One Who Feels Unworthy”                                         
CCS 526


Invitation to Communion

All are welcome at Christ’s table. The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is a sacrament in which we remember the life, death, resurrection, and continuing presence of Jesus Christ. In Community of Christ, we also experience Communion as an opportunity to renew our baptismal covenant and to be formed as disciples who live Christ’s mission. Others may have different or added understandings within their faith traditions. We invite all who participate in the Lord’s Supper to do so in the love and peace of Jesus Christ.

Blessing and Serving of the Bread and Wine

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a           


Ask someone to share a testimony describing when or how they have received the generosity of others.

If time allows, facilitate a discussion:

  • How does your faith guide your generosity?
  • Where do we go to discover God’s generosity in the world? Within ourselves?


Now is our opportunity to look and see the many ways we are blessed every day. Let’s uncover God’s preferred vision for creation together.

As we share our mission tithes either by placing money in the plates or through eTithing, use this time to thank God for the many gifts received in life. Our hearts grow aligned with God’s when we gratefully receive and faithfully respond by living Christ’s mission.

If members of your congregation are meeting online: We can give through the church’s website at www.CofChrist.org/give or through eTithing at www.eTithing.org  Consider showing these URL’s on screen

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

Congregational Sung Response

“My Life Flows On in Endless Song”                                                           
CCS 263

OR “We Are a Family of Faith"
CCS 350

OR “Onward to Zion”                                                                                   
CCS 390


Sending Forth



Focus Moment: Believe in Christ

Preparation: Place clear tape in a cross shape near the top of an inflated balloon. Practice this activity beforehand.


  • What does it mean to put your faith in someone?
  • Why are some people easier to believe or have faith in than others?


Show the balloon (keeping the tape out of sight). Convince them that you can put a pin in it and it won’t pop. Ask:


  • Do you believe that I can do that? Why or why not? If I always tell the truth, will you believe me?

Stick the point of the pin into the balloon in the center of the clear tape. Push it in and let go. The balloon will not pop. Sometimes it is hard to believe something because we have never seen it before. But if Jesus did it or said it, you can believe it! That is why we can put our faith in, and believe in Jesus Christ.

-from Scripture-based Focus Moments, p.43; https://www.heraldhouse.org/products/scripture-based-focus-moments-pdf-download?_pos=1&_sid=dc866f77c&_ss=r



Year B—Letters

Sixth Sunday of Easter

1 John 5:1–6


Exploring the Scripture

There is little consensus among scholars about who wrote the three letters of John, but they generally agree the letters were written in Ephesus, between 95–110 CE, mainly to Gentile believers. Most scholars also agree the writer of the Johannine epistles was not the author of the Gospel of John.

The major themes in this letter are the love of God and our relationship to God. The writer was likely prompted to pen the letter because of breaking in the community. Readers and listeners alike were cautioned not to “practice sin,” not to be deceived by false teachers. Theological divisions about the nature of Jesus were problematic and needed to be corrected.

The six verses assigned for this Sixth Sunday of Easter (Remember, we are still in the season of Easter!) declare the strong connection between belief in Jesus and love for the community members. They are inseparable. We love others based on our love for God. And, if we love God, we will keep God’s commandments and will love God’s children. Love births love.

The Message translation of verses 2–3 says this: “Do we love God? Do we keep [God’s] commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep [God’s] commandments, and they are not at all troublesome.” Our instruction, our mandate, is to believe in Jesus and love one another. That will help us live our lives amid the challenges of the “world” (vv. 4, 5). The commandments to love God and neighbor are a gift, not a burden. In the promised presence of the Holy Spirit, they’ll see us through.

Verses 56 seem to address conflicts in the church on beliefs about the nature of Jesus. (Remember the letter was written about 100 CE, generations after the life of Jesus and the first disciples.) Some focused on the divinity of Christ (symbolized by water). Others focused on the humanity of Jesus (referring to blood). The author calls the community to understand who Jesus is with a both-and approach rather than an either-or proposition.

One concern may have been the fear that if the humanity of Jesus is denied, other people’s humanity, including our own, is also easily denied. The debate continues two millennia later and will not be resolved in this generation or the next. As the Easter season’s conclusion is near, it is important to remember once again the meaning of both the crucifixion of Jesus and Christ’s resurrection.

Though the authors are decidedly different, the words of the letter resonate with these words from the Gospel: “But these things are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

The nature of Jesus Christ is and will be an endless mystery. However, the preacher will be helped by reading the Community of Christ basic beliefs commentary on Jesus Christ available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/account-media/26072/uploaded/e/0e15489786_1677680323_exploring-community-of-christ-basic-beliefs-01032023.pdf. The congregation will be helped to hear the preacher share their journey with God in Christ Jesus.


Central Ideas

  1. If we love God, we will love God’s children—our neighbors, our congregation, the stranger.
  2. If we believe in God, if we have faith in the Loving One revealed by Jesus, we will be able to live well amid the destructive and divisive ways encountered in the world and in our hearts and minds.

“We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; the Word made flesh, the Savior of the world, fully human and fully divine” (Chvala-Smith, Exploring Community of Christ Basic Beliefs: A Commentary: Volume 1, Herald Publishing House, 2020).


Questions for the Speaker

  1. How has your belief in a God of love translated into a love of God’s creation in general, and in the love of God’s children—humankind? What experience from your life can you share?
  1. How has your understanding of God’s commandments changed from “burden” to “blessing” as you matured in your life as a disciple?
  2. What stands out to you in the Basic Beliefs chapter on Jesus Christ with these six verses in mind? https://s3.amazonaws.com/account-media/26072/uploaded/e/0e15489786_1677680323_exploring-community-of-christ-basic-beliefs-01032023.pdf
  3. We change; we grow in our life as a disciple over the years. How have your heart, mind, and daily living changed through the decades as you attempted to understand who Jesus the Christ is, then tried to follow him?




Year B Letters

Sixth Sunday of Easter

1 John 5:1–6 NRSVUE




Today is the sixth Sunday of the Easter season. The Easter season lasts fifty days and concludes with the Day of Pentecost.


Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.

Light the peace candle.

Holy One, we thank you for the gift of peace that you left us as you promised so long ago. But Lord, we struggle with maintaining the peace within.

We find the media of today bombards us with so much negativity that it is hard not to worry about our world. At this moment, on this day, we want to set aside our worries and rely on you for internal peace.

We want to strive for peace in our relationships, peace in our communities, and peace in this world. Help us, Lord. Help us stay in tune with your presence, your peace. Our prayer, Lord, is for your peace to remain within and spread afar. This we pray in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Centering Prayer

Centering prayer is a method of meditation used by Christians to sit in silence with God. This prayer helps us experience God’s presence within us.

This Easter Day we will focus on the word rejoice.

Slowly read the following instructions:

Sit with relaxed posture and close your eyes. We will spend three minutes in centering prayer.

Breathe in a regular, natural rhythm. As you breathe in and out, say the word peace in your mind.

Breathe in and out, focusing only on your word.

When we are done, we will sit for two minutes in silence, eyes closed, listening to the silence.

When time is up, share these closing instructions:

Offer a brief word of thanks to God, take a deep breath, and open your eyes when you are ready.


Sharing Around the Table

1 John 5:1–6 NRSVUE

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

Why do we quarrel with those we love? Why do unkindness and cruelty flourish in some family dynamics? Our author is trying to reason with the reader, saying in our community we should be the best behaved and show love toward each other without reserve.

John, the elder, is trying to reinforce the bulk of the previous pages that say those who have remained faithful are worthy of the love of God, and they are correct in desiring to remain a community. The point of this letter is to strengthen the readers as faithful participants in the kingdom of God and to help them move past the conflict that has divided the congregation.

The theme of water and blood boldly bolsters the importance of sacraments in the life of the community. As we read these verses we might be tempted to get hung up on the talk of water and blood and think only of Jesus’s last hours of life. When the elder says that Jesus came by water and blood, he is talking about how Jesus came into the community to which the elder is writing. Jesus came fully to the community through baptism and Communion. The elder further says the Spirit testifies to this, for the Spirit is truth.

An early understanding of community was that some kind of mystery happened in a community devoted to Jesus. This mysterion later was called sacramentum, which was associated with sacred oaths, promises to serve one another.

Christians began to understand that this mystery was binding the believers to each other. That binding factor was what we call the Holy Spirit. The understanding of Holy Trinity was an early theology, but it came from what the elder and others communicated concerning the way God works in the world.

In our day, sometimes we suffer division in our sacred communities for things as inane as the color of the carpet in the church. As church buildings become less important in the coming age, maybe less will divide us. Maybe.

However, it always is important for us to remember that those who are children of God, as the elder calls us, are united in the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit in us, around us, and through us that makes us one, and that is truth.



  1. How has a sacrament helped to heal differences in your life?
  2. What kind of community would yours be if everyone really believed they were bound to each other by the Holy Spirit?
  3. Share how sacraments have strengthened or enriched your life.
  4. How might a deeper meaning of sacraments change you? Your community? The world?


Generosity Statement

Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed.

—Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a

The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing, small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

            This offering prayer for the Easter season is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

God of rejoicing, we share our gifts joyfully and with thanksgiving in response to the generous gifts you have given us. May the offerings we share bring joy, hope, love, and peace into the lives of others so they might experience your mercy and grace. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting


Closing Hymn

Community of Christ Sings 361, “God of Every Generation”


Closing Prayer


Optional Additions Depending on Group

  • Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
  • Thoughts for Children


Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

—1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NRSV

Communion Statement

All are welcome at Christ’s table. The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is a sacrament in which we remember the life, death, resurrection, and continuing presence of Jesus Christ. In Community of Christ, we also experience Communion as an opportunity to renew our baptismal covenant and to be formed as disciples who live Christ’s mission. Others may have different or added understandings within their faith traditions. We invite all who participate in the Lord’s Supper to do so in the love and peace of Jesus Christ.

We share in Communion as an expression of blessing, healing, peace, and community.

In preparation let’s sing from Community of Christ Sings (select one):

515 “In these Moments We Remember”

516 “Coming Together for Wine and for Bread”

521 “Let Us Break Bread Together”

525 “Small Is the Table”

528 “Eat This Bread”


Thoughts for Children

You will need:

  • Blank paper
  • Coloring supplies


Say: Today’s scripture lets us dream of a possible future when God’s love is the way. Today we are going to pray for that future by drawing what we hope it can be. Rather than using words to say our prayers, we are going to draw pictures that represent what the world would look like if we all chose to love each other and creation.

Before you begin drawing, think what a world full of love would look like. When you are ready, begin drawing that world. You can continue to draw while the music plays. When it stops, I will say, “Amen,” and you can head back to your seats to share your prayer with someone there.

Ask for music to be played as the participants draw for a short time. Once that time ends, invite participants to share their prayer with someone at their seat.





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