Saturday, 18 April 2020

Morning Worship for the Second Sunday of Easter -- Doubting Thomas

Please note this is in the format of the Anglican Church of Canada, the collect, prayer over the gifts, Lord’s prayer all come from the Book of Alternative Services, Wee Worship and the New Zealand Prayer Book

Prayers and Hymns found on line have been sourced to give appropriate credit

** this is for personal use as the church is unable to gather in our houses of worship but together we can worship in our own homes.  Our hymn selections for today have been suggested by the music director, Rachael Cameron,  of St. Paul's Anglican Church (Fort Garry Winnipeg)

It is true: the Lord is Risen
                                                                                               Luke 24:34

Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise.
Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour, power and might, be to our God for ever an ever! Amen            (from the New Zealand prayer Book Morning Worship)

Great and Wonderful
 Great and wonderful are your deeds O Lord God the almighty: just and true are your ways O Sovereign of the nations.
 Who shall not revere and praise your name O Lord?: for you alone are holy
 To the one who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb: be blessing and honour, glory and might for ever and ever.  Amen

Opening Responses
O God, you summon the day to dawn, you teach the morning to waken the earth
Great is Your Name, Great is Your Love

For you the valleys shall sing for joy, the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.
Great is Your Name, Great is Your Love

For you the monarchs of the earth shall bow, the poor and the persecuted shout for joy.
Great is Your Name, Great is Your Love

Your Love and your mercy shall last forever, fresh as the morning, sure as the sunrise
Great is Your Name, Great is Your Love

(A Wee Worship Book 1999)

Song/Hymn        I Come with Joy
Listen here

Psalm 16
REFRAIN: God will not abandon me to the grave.

Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you; I have said to the Lord, "You are my Lord, my good above all other."  All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, upon those who are noble among the people. R 

But those who run after other gods shall have their troubles multiplied. Their libations of blood I will not offer, nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.

O Lord, you are my portion and my cup; it is you who uphold my lot. My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; indeed, I have a goodly heritage. R

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me, night after night. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not fall. R 

My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body also shall rest in hope. For you will not abandon me to the grave, nor let your holy one see the Pit.

You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

As the scriptures are read, we can allow God’s word to speak to us, and ponder its meaning in our lives.  Hear these words of Scripture:

Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd, "You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know - this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him, 'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.' Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, 'He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.' This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses."
Listen to the leading of the Spirit                             R: Thanks be to God

The Steadfast Love of the Lord (Lamentations 3:22-26)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases: God’s mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning: your faithfulness O Lord is great
You are all that I have: and therefore I will wait for you
You O Lord are good to those who wait for you: to all those who seek you
It is good to wait in patience: for the salvation of the Lord
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be forever. Amen

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith - being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Listen to the leading of the Spirit                             R: Thanks be to God

Hymn    Jesus Came the Heavens Adoring
Listen here

R: Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe." A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these 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.
The Gospel of Christ       R: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

The Homily      
The homily has been provided today by The Reverend Mark Moote

Greetings to you who have made a choice to read something about low Sunday.  That is what many clerics have traditionally called the first Sunday of the Easter season due to the attendance of fewer people sitting in the pews especially when compared to the number who attend on the day of Resurrection or as many call it Easter.  And since we cannot congregate in any of our churches for the foreseeable future this will definitely skew the statistics for the lowest attendance on the first Sunday after Easter – grin.  By the way, if we are completely honest, we are not sure of the root meaning of the word, Easter.  Many refer to an English Bishop Bede or to early German or even earlier Latin roots but it is clear that most modern minds accept that it is a Christian reference to the day Jesus came back and was seen first by Mary Magdalene and then the apostles.  I like the fact that the biblical scriptures of the New Testament, specifically the four gospel accounts by name, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, give the first honour to Mary.  There are some minor variations in the four versions of the gospel accounts however, there is no evidence detrimental to the main fact that a woman was the first person to witness that Jesus was alive.

We are in progress throughout many countries of the contemporary world to seek an egalitarian perspective on the topic of gender.  This is a concern and there are glimpses of it with the Canadian cabinet and other local governments but there is much progress needed.  It gives me hope that even the most ancient documents revered by Christians support this goal.  I am also very pleased to be in a parish that is led by our incumbent Karen Laldin who has been with us since our former pastor was elected Bishop.  Geoff Woodcroft was with us 16 years and was one of many men who served the parish of St. Paul, Fort Garry.  Now we have the opportunity to explore the faith under the guidance of Karen whom we pray will feel our love amidst her ministry with us.

What response was awaiting Mary Magdalene when she would attempt to report the Resurrection and what would she face when she went to share this news.  Obviously, she had a ministry that was difficult. And we are without a doubt in difficult times as we are hunkered down in isolation and fear about how long this edict of social and or physical distancing will last, let alone whether you or I might contract this quite deadly virus.  So, if we are to survive or even better still thrive on the thrill and joy that belongs to those who believe in the risen Christ, then what is our task?  Shall we engage in promoting the news of Resurrection on Ebay by selling T-shirts or some other paraphernalia? And believe you me, there is a plethora of such – I checked – lol.

It is my suspicion that whatever seems to motivate our behaviour, it needs to be something that is within our personal profile which is to say something that fits our character.  You can say that you were born under an astrological sign which encourages you to do or say things in a certain manner or that your personality is extroverted and so that means you like to be up in front of a crowd.  Whatever, you have life and in the years you have, it behooves you to express yourself.  My hope is that you do it with love.  My experience tells me that there is virtual unanimity throughout the globe for the operation of kindness to others which is relatively easy to determine for each person who would like the same from others.

So, in times like this which are at least uncertain, we can still connect by email, telephone and even snail mail.  It is a time to extend concern for those who are wondering much the same as everyone else, what’s next?

Dare I say, we will have another day which may be true for many although not all – now is all we ever really have so, take the current moment to pray for guidance to reach out to someone today.


Anthem  And Mary laid her baby down          Music accompaniment Rachel Cameron                                                                                               Vocals  Trish Steadman
Listen here

Affirmation of Faith                                                                 written by Peter K. Perry of
First Olympia United Methodist Church
We believe in an astounding God, who surprises us on Easter morning, who reveals through an empty tomb how overflowingly full of God the creation is. We believe in God, who is light in the darkness, who never gives up on love, who is always working for our good, who weeps when we weep and laughs when we laugh, who calls us to be more than we are as God relentlessly transforms our tears into alleluias.

We believe in the Christ, present at and in the creation, heard in the words of prophets, enfleshed in the birth of a long-sought Messiah, alive in the lessons taught to disciples, not stuck in a tomb of despair, nailed to cross, or buried in the past, but living forever, and walking with us on our journeys today, seen in our stories, present in everything we can see, touch, and imagine.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the invisible presence of God, the joy, hope, and peace of possibilities opening all around us all the time. We believe the Spirit calls us to community, to compassion, to welcome, and to acts of mercy and justice, so that the whole world will quiver with wonder and hope.

We are people of faith in the risen Christ, and we see our Christ in everyone and in everything. We strive to live in such a way that the world will see Christ rising again, in us and through us, with the message of Easter. God cannot be contained; Not by books, not by traditions, not by institutions, and not by tombs. God lives. Christ is risen. Alleluia. Amen.

Offering Hymn Be thou my Vision

** Although not physically at our church buildings to share our offering together I would encourage you to set you offering of money and food aside so that it can be mailed, dropped off or placed in the church once services resume** Please remember ministry is still taking place

Prayer over the gifts
God of grace, you have freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Accept all we offer you this day, and strengthen us in the new life you have given us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Prayers of Intercession                                          (from A Wee Worship Book)
Let us Pray.
Holy God, though this world depends on your grace it is governed by mortals. So we pray for those who walk the corridors of power in the parliaments of this and other lands, whose judgements we value or fear:

May they always consider those they represent, make decisions with courage and integrity, and resist any temptation to abuse the trust placed in them. Lord hear us.
Response: Lord Graciously Hear us

We pray for those who hold key positions in the worlds of finance, business, industry, those whose decisions may profit some or impoverish many

May they always value people higher than profit; may they never impose burdens on the poor which they would not carry themselves; and may they never divorce money from morality or ownership from stewardship. Lord hear us. 
Response: Lord Graciously Hear us

We pray for those in the caring professions, who look after and listen to kind, cruel and cantankerous folk and for those making decisions regarding the nation’s health and welfare

May they always sense the sanctity of life and every person’s uniqueness; may they help and heal by their interest as well as their skill; and may they be saved from tiredness and an excess of demands. Lord hear us. 
Response: Lord Graciously Hear us

And let us remember those for whom we are responsible and to whom we are accountable in what we do today.

May we show them the thoughtfulness, tolerance and kindness of Jesus. Lord hear us. 
Response: Lord Graciously Hear us

Lord, hear our prayers, and if today we might be the means by which you answer the prayers of others, then may you find us neither deaf nor defiant, but keen to fulfil your purpose, for Jesus’ sake. AMEN

Together we pray as Jesus taught us: Our Father ….

Collect of the Day
Almighty and eternal God, the strength of those who believe and the hope of those who doubt, may we, who have not seen, have faith and receive the fullness of Christ’s blessing, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

A Prayer together                                                           (from the Church in the Philippines)
Lord, in these times, when we fear we are losing hope or feel that our efforts are futile, let us see in our hearts and minds the image of your resurrection, and let that be our source of courage and strength. With that, and in your company, help us to face challenges and struggles against all that is born of injustice. Amen

Hymn Jesus is Risen

Closing blessing   Listen here      (by Fischy Music)
As we go now, from this moment 
As we leave behind our time together. 
May we walk with, one another 
May we help each other on the way.

As we go now, from this moment 
As we go into the future together. 
May we treasure one another, 
May we realise how precious we are 
May we realise how precious we are 
May we realise how precious we are.

The Easter Challenge

You believe because you can see . . . .
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.

                                                                                      John 20:29

Every year it happens:
earth shakes her sleepy head,
still a bit wintered and dull,
and feels new life stirring

Every year cocoons give up their treasures,
fresh shoots push through brown leaves,
seemingly dead branches shine with green,
and singing birds find their way home

Every year we hear the stories

empty tomb, surprised grievers,
runners with news and revelation,
unexpected encounters,
conversations on the road,
tales of nets filling with fish,
and breakfast on a seashore

And every year
the dull and dead in us
meets our Easter challenge:

to be open to the unexpected,
to believe beyond our security,
to welcome God in every form,
and trust our own greening

 Joyce Rupp
out of the ordinary 2000

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