Joining together from our homes, welcome to our church service today.
Call to Worship – to say aloud
as your Son met with Thomas
meet with us.
Receive our questioning and thoughtful hearts;
for you are the Lord of both doubt and dancing;
receive our adoration and worship.
HYMN – Lord of the Dance
Reading: John 20: 19-31 to be read from your own bible
Questions for today: What griefs do you carry in your life? What crises of faith haunt you? How do you carry those griefs? Where do you process those crises of faith? What promises of our faith uphold you in those times? What people help to hold the faith with and for you?
HYMN: Sing Hallelujah to the Lord
Prayers for Others and Ourselves
in this post-Easter season,
which is springtime in some parts
of the world, and autumn in others,
we pray for those who are at a time
of new beginnings in their lives,
and those approaching an end.
For some, the Easter message will be easy
to embrace, if they are celebrating a birth,
a recovery from illness, an escape from danger,
or the opening up of unexpected new opportunities.
There will be others who are still in the agony
of Good Friday, or the empty silence of Saturday,
because a loved one has died and will not
be returning this side of eternity.
And there are many who feel life is restricted,
lonely and without meaning in these days locked down in our homes.
If our faith is to be real, loving God, it has to be
for the dark days as well as the bright ones.
As those who represent the risen Christ
in our world today, we pray that we may be
rigorous in our thinking, honest in our speaking,
genuine in our testimony to what we believe
and the difference that makes to the whole of life.
May we hold together our doubting and believing,
valuing both for the gifts that they are.
We pray for those who have been let down
by the church, through a betrayal of trust,
or a failure in honesty.
They have been told that in order
to take part in the adventure of faith,
‘all they have to do’ is believe –
but faith, like love, cannot be commanded.
It can only be lived,
can only be tested by experience.
We pray for all who are searching for faith,
and those who think they have found it;
that they may respectively be reassured,
and shaken out of complacency.
For those who have been let down in the past,
that they may take the risk of trusting again,
and find that you are worthy of our trust.
For those who are grieving,
may they find comfort in our Easter faith,
and companions in those of us who, like Thomas,
struggle sometimes to believe what other people
think we should, but who have dared to believe
in the indestructible power of love,
and have found that embodied in Christ,
who lived, and died, and rose again,
and who is here with us now.
HYMN: This Easter Celebration (organ accompaniment below)
to the tune AURELIA 18.104.22.168 D (“The Church’s One Foundation”)
This Easter celebration is not like ones we’ve known.
We pray in isolation, we sing the hymns alone.
We’re distant from our neighbours — from worship leaders, too.
No flowers grace the chancel to set a festive mood.
No gathered choirs are singing; no banners lead the way.
O God of love and promise, where’s joy this Easter Day?
With sanctuaries empty, may homes become the place
we ponder resurrection and celebrate your grace.
Our joy won’t come from worship that’s in a crowded room
but from the news of women who saw the empty tomb.
Our joy comes from disciples who ran with haste to see —
who heard that Christ is risen, and then, by grace, believed.
In all the grief and suffering, may we remember well:
Christ suffered crucifixion and faced the powers of hell.
Each Easter bears the promise: Christ rose that glorious day!
Now nothing in creation can keep your love away.
We thank you that on Easter, your church is blessed to be
a scattered, faithful body that’s doing ministry.
In homes and in the places of help and healing, too,
we live the Easter message by gladly serving you.
Prayer of Dedication
you know us and you love us
in all our sameness and diversity,
our integrity and our many contradictions.
Without apology or boasting, we offer
what today we have to give:
our devotion and our doubting;
our solid strength and all our insecurities.
You have chosen us and called us
because of a potential that you see in us.
We have responded, sometimes gladly,
sometimes screaming and protesting all the way,
because deep down we know
that this is a way worth following,
a truth that can be trusted,
the only kind of life worth living.
Accept our gifts,
and the fearful,
devoted disciples who bring them,
in Jesus’ name.
Thomas cried: “My lord and my God!”
As we have worshipped
so we now return to the world
believing and acknowledging:
You are our Lord and God. Amen