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5th Sunday after Easter - "Mars Hill" from Acts 17:18 by Pr. Tom


2 May 2021

Grace Lutheran Church

Ashland, Oregon

The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim


In the Name of our Risen and Victorious Lord, welcome to Grace Lutheran Church.

We are happy that you have joined us for worship this morning. Through Word and Sacrament, Christ our Good Shepherd promises to lead and guide his people. May today’s worship be a blessing to you as he reveals his love for you and assures you

of his presence in your life. If you are a guest or visitor and have not done so already, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave. If you have no church home of your own in the area, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Pastor Jim or this morning’s lay assistant will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning our parish. Come to worship with us again and often!

AS WE GATHER   Abide in Christ

Easter continues as the words of Christ take on new meaning following his resurrection. This Sunday’s image of how the risen Christ shares his life with us is the image of the vine. Christ the vine and we the branches are alive in each other, in the mystery of mutual abiding described in the Gospel reading and the Second Lesson of the day. Baptism makes us a part of Christ’s living and life-giving self and makes us alive with Christ’s life. As the vine brings food to the branches, Christ feeds us at his table. We are sent to bear fruit for the life of the world.


Heavenly Father, you sent your Son to show us your love and the way of life. Make us sincerely thankful for this gift and your patience with our sins and sorrows. We ask this in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


PRE-SERVICE MUSIC Now the Green Blade Rises LBW 189

Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! WOV 674



Like the vines that grow from a single strong root, we are grafted into Christ at baptism and nourished with his life in the bread and wine of The Sacrament. Christ feeds our hunger and satisfies our thirst with his Word and Sacraments and encourages us so that we might become fruitful in his service to others. Today our Lord calls us to remember the source of our faith, hope, and love.

PRELUDE Savior Again—Sam Ellson

Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Organ


Alleluia! The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Jesus Christ was the first to conquer death,

the Ruler of all the kings of the earth.

He loves us, and by his blood he has

set us free from our sins.

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace

with boldness, so that we may receive mercy,

and find grace to help in time of trouble.


Most merciful God, we confess that we are dead in trespasses and sins. We have failed to bear the fruit for which we were created; we are in danger of being thrown into the fire. In your great mercy deliver us from the death we deserve, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

According to the Father’s will, the Son of God claims you as branches of the true Vine. In him we have forgiveness, life, and resurrection from the dead. In him we are redeemed and set at liberty. Amen.

We are risen to new life!

In Christ, we are risen indeed!



The grace of our Risen Savior, the love of God, and the communion of the

Holy Spirit be with you all.

               And also with you.

GLORY to GOD       (Join in singing)

     To God on high be glory and peace to all the earth;

Goodwill from God in heaven proclaimed at Jesus’ birth!

We praise and bless You Father; Your holy Name we sing—

Our thanks for Your great glory, Lord God, our heav’nly King.

To You, O sole-begotten, the Father’s Son, we pray;

O Lamb of God, our Savior, You take our sins away.

Have mercy on us, Jesus; Receive our heart-felt cry,

Where You in pow’r are seated at God’s right hand on high—

For You alone are holy; You only are the Lord.

Forever and forever, be worshiped and adored;

You with the Holy Spirit alone are Lord Most High, In God the Father’s glory. “Amen!” our glad reply.


Almighty God our Father, you give us your Son as the vine apart from whom

we cannot live. Nourish our life in his Resurrection, that we may bear the

fruit of love and know the fullness of your joy; through Jesus Christ, our

Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,

now and forever. Amen.

FIRST LESSON Acts 8:26-40

[Led by the Spirit, Philip (one of the first deacons chosen to serve The Early Church) encounters

an Ethiopian office who is returning to his African home after having been in Jerusalem to worship. Philip uses their encounter to proclaim the gospel to him. Upon coming to faith in Jesus, he is

baptized by Philip.]

An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is the wilderness road.) So 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 and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to his chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading? He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now 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. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe this generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As 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?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When 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. But 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 98(Please join Worship Team in singing the Refrain)

          Refrain: Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord a new song.

Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things.

The LORD has made his salvation known,

and revealed his righteousness to the nations. Refrain

He has remembered his love and faithfulness to the house of Israel;

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;


Make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing.

Shout for joy before the LORD, the King. He will judge the world

in righteousness and the people with equity. Refrain

SECOND LESSON 1st John 4:7-21

[This letter is a commentary on Jesus’ command to “love one another.” Love is the mark of God’s abiding presence because God is love. Love toward God is to be matched by love that gives itself away in service to those in need.]

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In 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. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he had given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so we are we in this world. There is no fear in love; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God, and hate their brothers and 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. The 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!

SPECIAL MUSIC Praise the Lord (Lobet den Herren)arr. Sam Ellson                 

GOSPEL John 15:1-8

The Holy Gospel according to John, the 15th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.

[On the night of his arrest, Jesus taught his disciples about the relationship they would have with him. Those who abide in his word and love would bear fruit, for apart from him, they could do nothing.]

Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide 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. I 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.

Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

     Praise to you, O Christ.

GRACE CHOIR Fall On Us—Mary McDonald

HOMILY Sermon From Mars Hill—Pr. Tom Hirsch Text: Acts 17:18

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APOSTOLIC CREED                                

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life + everlasting. Amen.


Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, let us pray for the Church, the world, and all those in need.

Lord of The Church, you abide in your Church and your Church abides in you. Cleanse us by your word and give yourself to the whole Church on earth so that it bears fruit and gives witness to your love. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You have created the heavens and the earth. As we wonder at the beauty of creation, may we grow in our stewardship of all that you have created and work to restore your creation so that cities and towns, rivers and mountains, countryside and wilderness may abound with life. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You rule the nations with justice and love. Give all leaders and rulers of the earth assurance of your abiding presence so that they lead not by fear or oppression but with love for those they are called to serve and guide in the ways of peace. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You have loved us so that we can love others. We pray for all in need of your love: those who are poor, lowly, outcast, weak, or fearful. Grant your compassion to those who are ill and weary in their struggle with health concerns especially Charlie and Marguerite (MaryAnn’s father and mother), Rusty (under hospice care), Shari (continued cancer therapy), those suffering from COVID-19, together with those we name in our hearts that they may receive hope, healing, and the mercies rendered by us as God’s people as we pray for them. With Dean and Mary, we give thanks that you have blessed their son Todd thus far in his recovery from surgery for an aortic aneurysm, continue to strengthen him daily that in all things your healing power may be made known. Be close to the hearts of all who are lonely or homebound, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, and those we name in our hearts that they may be assured of your loving presence in our compassion, prayers, and care for them. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You restore us to wholeness so that we may bring wholeness to others. Help us in our life together and invigorate our witness as people of faith. In the midst of the pandemic challenges that we face as a congregation, fill us anew with your Holy Spirit. Continue to guide our Call Committee as they interview the current list of candidates for the pastoral ministry among us. Give us patience and keep us mindful that it is your Spirit who leads and guides us, and will in due time provide us with a pastor yet unknown to us but known and loved by you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

By your Spirit you gather us in love with all the saints who have gone before us with the sign of faith and now see you as you are. With them, may our hearts live forever in your keeping. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Heavenly Father, in Christ’s resurrection you raised up new life for the world. Receive what we have to offer, that others might know that life through the gifts you give to us to use and to share in the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.


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.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, for you have had mercy on us and give your only-begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

We give you thanks for the redemption you have prepared for us through Jesus Christ. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may faithfully eat and drink of the fruits of his Cross and receive the blessings of forgiveness, life, and salvation that come to us in his body and blood. 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 which is given for you. Do this in 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 in remembrance of me.

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

   And also with you.

Lord, remember us in your Kingdom and teach us to pray:


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.


            Distribution Music What Is This Bread? LSB 629



O God of love, you bind us to yourself in this Sacrament, and strengthen

us through this meal for service to the world. Guide us by your Spirit that

we may forever witness to the Name of Jesus Christ, the Lord of life. Amen.


SONG Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow LSB 805(Join in singing)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;

Praise him, all creatures here below;

Praise him above, ye heav’nly host:

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.


Alleluia! Christ is risen.

             He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

             Thanks be to God!       

+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +

OUR GUEST PASTOR this morning is The Rev. Dr. Tom Hirsch, Pr. Em. of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Grants Pass. Pr. Tom serves the Rogue Valley parishes as Circuit Counselor/Visitor for Circuit 1 of the NOW District. We thank Pr. Tom and his wife Linda for joining us in worship this morning and sharing Christ’s presence in Word and Sacrament with us. We pray God’s continued blessings on Pr. Tom’s ministry to us and our sister parishes in the Rogue Valley. [Pr. Jim & Jan are vacationing in California’s Russian River wine country. They will return on Tuesday.]

NEW MEN’S COFFEE GET-TOGETHER will take place this coming Saturday, May 8th, beginning at 8:30 am. We’ll meet outside on the deck or south lawn (weather permitting). Otherwise, we’ll figure out something indoors with windows open. Bring a camping or lawn chair, a traveling mug of coffee (coffee will be available for refills), and enjoy some fellowship and discussion as we plan further opportunities to pick-up where we left off. Be sure to enter the date and time on your cellphone or circle the date on your calendar. See you this coming Saturday at 8:30 am!

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