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This week, I’m going off lectionary to continue to preach on the challenges of COVID-19.  I suppose I feel called to preach on the John 15 text that we see in Easter year B.  As part of the sermon, I will be using the 1 Corinthians 12 “Body of Christ” text as well.

Entry into Worship
Like a vine wrapped around a fence,
the Divine thrives in our world.
Like each flourishing branch of the vine,
we, too, blossom in our connection to God and neighbor.
Even though we may be worshiping in individual spaces,
Through the Spirit, we are forever united.
When the complete vine suffers, we all suffer together.
When humankind struggles, we all struggle together.
May we see our well-being as a piece of the whole
and as connected to God and neighbor.

God of Connections, in this world of isolation, bring us closer together in ways we’ve never previously experienced.  In this world of heartache, call us to use words and deeds to bring comfort to our neighbors.  Grant us the lens to see our siblings across this world as a part of our realm.  May we balance our desire for fierce autonomy with a growing sense of the covenant we have with you and neighbor.   Amen.

Prayer of Reconciliation
Loving God, Divine Connector,
Right now, we have few opportunities to look into the eyes of our neighbors-
from friend to stranger
and from those who bring us comfort to those who bring us uneasiness.
Because of this physical distance, we are forgetting the great connection between all of us.
We make decisions based only on our needs.
We dismiss concerns, ailments, and the despair of our neighbors.
We forget their health is connected to our health,
and their prosperity is tied with ours.
In this season of wilderness, may we see that loving our neighbor as ourselves is a piece of your Great Commandment,
and may we begin to see how the well-being of all are linked.  Amen.

Assurance of Grace
The God of Humankind, our Great Connector, continues to open our spirits to the needs of our neighbors.  God continually pours grace upon our souls, calling us to new beginnings and hope-filled futures.  Amen!

Reflection on Giving
The Divine Connector, Christ, the Great Vine, calls us to see how our actions impact the lives of others.  God our Connector directs us to how our treasures, talents, and time are best used in this season.  Even in this time of quarantine and wilderness, we are being asked to give as we can to our neighbors, our community, and our congregation.  By our contributions, we promote healing between neighbors and gratitude for what God has given each of us.

In this spirit of thanksgiving, we pray together,

Holy Binder, you yearn for your children to join together for the well-being of all.  You desire that each of us shares our gifts for the unity of your kin-dom.  With gratitude, we celebrate the treasures, talents, and time we contribute to our church and community.  May our work and our gifts nourish each branch on the Great Vine.  Amen.

May God, the Great Connector, open our souls to the ones across our cities.
May Christ, the Great Vine, open our hearts to the ones across our states.
May the Holy Spirit, the Great Soul, open our minds to the ones across our country and world.
We are many branches on the one Great Vine.
Love and care for the people connected to this Vine as if each of our well-beings depend on it.