Easter 5A – May 7
May 7, 2023
The Second Sunday in Easter
Passing of the Peace
(In Japan, many churches greet the congregation simply before the service, then sit down and quietly wait for the service to begin. Some people turn to God and pray, others read the day’s Scripture over and over, and still others check the bulletin. I think this says a lot about the spirit of the Japanese people.)
Call to Worship
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)
(In Japan, Call to Worship is often just reading words from the Bible, because it is God, not people, who invites us to worship.)
Gracious God, we now open our eyes, ears and hearts (to listen to you). Please speak to us and give us Your word, for we cannot live on bread alone. Please light up our insides with the work of the living Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer for Transformation and New Life (Confession)
Holy God, we were not able to love You with all our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves. We wanted to be forgiven, but we could not forgive others. Please give us the grace of forgiveness so that we can get back on our feet today. There are still conflicts in this world. As the U.S. and Japan have experienced, conflicts and battles can only lead us to hatred. Please give us Your will and wisdom to overcome conflicts and live together. Lead us to a new step, free from hatred and conflict. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Words of Grace (Assurance of Pardon)
God hears our prayers. May our sins be cleansed, and we be remade as peacemakers. May God be with those who are in pain, suffering, and hardship right now. This is what the Lord says: “I have swept away your offense like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Amen.
Invitation to Generosity (Call to Offering)
God blesses us abundantly. Let us respond to the great grace and offer good things to God with thanksgiving and devotion.
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Dedication
Holy God, we have received so much blessing from You to walk through this past week. We are grateful for the blessings You have given us, and we return some of them to You. Please use it for your work. In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.
Go forth into the world in peace. Serve the Lord God, love your neighbor, love the Lord God, and serve your neighbor. May Jesus Christ’s grace, God’s love, Holy Spirit’s guidance be with you now and eternally. Amen.
Pastoral Prayer or Prayers of the People
Holy God, we praise Your name. In this morning of the first day of the week, all the various conditions are in place and the time has been given for us to offer you praise and prayer and to listen to the Word of Life in this place. We confess here that our steps have never been in accordance with Your will. Please guide our daily steps through your Word spoken here and let us walk as children of light.
Lord God, even at this time, there are people in the world who are facing various difficulties. There are many people who are suffering, grieving, in pain, and seeking God’s salvation. Please be close to and give peace to those who lost their lives and loved ones, especially those who lost so many in the war.
Our God, today, we remember our friends who are unable to come to this service. There are friends who are getting older and cannot move as much as they would like. There are also those who feel weak in mind and body. Give abundant comfort and encouragement to our friends who are praying in their own places. Be present to those who need you. Give each one of us the help that you deserve at the right time.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Way: Service Prayers for the Fifth Sunday in Easter was written by Rev. Motomu Ishida is Nihongo (Japanese Language) Pastor of Sycamore Congregational Church, UCC (シカモア組合教会) in El Cerrito, California. Visit Sycamore UCC here: ホーム — SYCAMORE CHURCH UCC (sycamoreucc.org)
Easter 5A | John 14:1-14 | “The Way” Children’s sermon idea from Yoshimi Kinoshita of Sycamore Congregational Church UCC Bilingual Christian Preschool
In Japan, we hope that children grow up to be strong and robust like carp (koi) that swim up-stream against the current of the river. Therefore, we make “carp streamers” (koinobori) that we fly like kites to represent the strong koi. Typically, this celebration occurs on or around May 5.
I’m so happy to share how we celebrate children at Sycamore Preschool.
Yoshimi Kinoshita, director
2023年3月24日(金) Sycamore Preschool
Editor note from Mitchell Young: Plan to celebrate Children’s Day (子供の日, Kodomo no hi) at your church? Inexpensive koinobori may be available at your local Japanese merchandise discount store (100円ショップ, Hyaku En Shop, cf. Dollar Store) examples: Daiso USA, Miniso, Hello Tokyo, Tokyo Central, Don Quijote, Sanrio, etc. Or have your children make and color their own: start with an internet search for “koinobori template”.
Please find photographs in the document below: