Worship Service for April 24, 2022

April 24, 2022 –Second Sunday of Easter

A video recording of a live stream for this worship service will be available on our YouTube channel from 6 PM on Sunday, April 24.

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Welcome

Call to worship

One: Christ is risen!
All: Christ is risen indeed!

One: In life, in death, and in life beyond death,
All: Christ is risen indeed!

One: In success and discouragement, in fear and in hope,
All: Christ is risen indeed!

One: Of the poor and broken, of the sinner and the sinned against,
All: Christ is risen indeed!

One: In Church and community, in our hearts and our homes,
All: Christ is risen indeed! And so we gather to worship in his name.

Lighting of the Christ Candle

This is the Christ Candle. We light the candle to help us remember that Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is with us in every place and every time.

Opening hymn

I danced in the morning / Lord of the dance” (Book of Praise 1997, hymn 250). Music (tune: “Lord of the Dance”) and words (both 1963) by English poet, songwriter and musician Sydney Carter (1915–2004). Melody from the American Shaker song “Simple Gifts”. Words and music copyright © 1963 Stainer & Bell Ltd; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)

God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we rejoice in this new day you have made. We praise you for the abundant life with which you bless us, and for all the beauty that surrounds us as spring takes hold again. We praise you for your Son Jesus, and the power of new life promised in his resurrection. We praise you for your Spirit at work in human history, to restore and redeem our hope with that power of new life. God of steadfast love, we worship you even in the face of any doubt or danger within the world you love.

God of the empty tomb and our empty hearts, when we are afraid to speak our faith in the world, forgive us and help us to find our voice. When we are afraid to forgive and to love again, forgive us and give us the power to forgive. When we are afraid to stand up to misguided authority, join with the weak to make us all strong. When we are confined by our hurts, touch us with your wounded hands and set us free. When we are locked behind our doubts and fears, pass through our barricades, open our hearts, and give us peace.

We pray in Jesus’ name, and continue to pray as he taught:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.
Amen.

Declaration of Pardon

Christ comes with healing light into our locked places and shadowy hurts, resurrecting our spirits and breathing into us new life. As God’s own forgiven people, go to bring peace, forgiveness, and new life to the world in the name of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!

The Peace

The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)

Scripture reading

John 20: 19–31 <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible

Click here for additional scripture readings from today’s lectionary. Links courtesy of the Revised Common Lectionary, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

Sermon

The gospel of John, known as the other gospel or the spiritual gospel invites us to encounter the risen Christ today. I would like to highlight verses 19 and 26:

“19 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.’”

“26 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.’”

The gospel of John today invites us to come to these doors that were shut and locked…. I am not one hundred percentage sure whether these doors were the physical, emotional, or spiritual ones. Probably all the above….

The gospel of John invites us to discover these locked doors around us and in our hearts. If we are serious about wanting to be found or discover the risen Christ, first, find these locked doors. It is not important to find out who closed these doors or who locked these doors. It could be me; it could be someone else, it could be something we experienced in the past… In the text, these doors were closed and locked by the fear of others….

But I believe it is important to find out what is behind, what is beyond these doors. I believe it is important to remember that we have these doors in our hearts. We have the power to close these doors, as well as the power to open these doors….

Sometimes we open these doors to go out and other times to come in… Sometimes we close these doors to protect ourselves from what is outside, and other times to protect us from what is inside. Sometimes we use these doors to keep others away from us and other times to keep ourselves away from others. We open and close these doors to hide, rest, sleep, heal, recover, play, meditate, concentrate…. We use our doors to divide what is mine from yours and what is yours from mine…

The fact we have these doors in our heart remind us that we are spiritual beings. Our life is not just about satisfying our physical hunger, needs and appearance…. All of us have this inner place, this place for the sacredness, the holiness, and the mystery of the risen Christ… we have this access to our hearts and something beyond ourselves.

When we arrive at these doors, this is what we will learn:

“19 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.’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”

First, we will also learn that these doors won’t keep the risen Christ away from us, but only deepen our experience of the risen Christ. We are trying to keep God away from us by closing doors, but it will only invite God more. Second, we will experience the Risen Christ who will stand with us and offer us peace. He will show us his hands and his side…

Musical Reflection

Offertory

We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.

Dedication of our Gifts

Prayer of dedication

Holy One, bless our offerings and transform them into healing for the wounded, hope for the disheartened, courage for the frightened, and faith for the embittered. In the name of Jesus Christ, your faithful witness, the first resurrected, and ruler of the sovereigns of the earth, AMEN.

Lighting Candles of Peace for People in Ukraine and the world

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope

Holy One, we give you thanks for you have made us and redeemed us through Christ to be your kingdom and your priests, serving you and your kingdom forever and ever.

Help us to be wounded healers who bring your peace into the world. As you sent Christ, now send us. We pray for the church around the world in all its local expressions, that we and our leaders may truly be your kingdom and your priests, serving not ourselves but your glory and your dominion. As you sent Christ, now send us. We pray for those who cannot see you and yet desire to believe. As you sent Christ, now send us. We pray for religious and secular authorities who speak truth to power. As you sent Christ, now send us. We pray for those who need healing and hope, who cannot see the possibility of new life. As you sent Christ, now send us.

We pray for those in our world who are wounded, those who suffer from war, oppression, famine, and disease. As you sent Christ, now send us. God who is and was and is to be, be for us the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the Almighty. Grant that we might be your forgiveness, your peace, and your resurrecting good news, through Jesus Christ, your faithful witness and our Lord, the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of all the kings of the earth. Amen.

Closing Hymn

Words (1993) by American hymnwriter Edith Sinclair Downing (1922–2016). Music (tune: “Beach Spring”) attributed to American singing master Benjamin Franklin White (1800–1879), from the tunebook “The Sacred Harp” (published 1844) that he compiled. Harmony by GCPC music director Rachelle Risling. Words copyright © 1993 Edith Sinclair Downing, published by Selah Publishing; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain. Harmony copyright © 2022 Rachelle Risling; used by permission.

Benediction

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (the risen Christ), the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN.

Choral Amen

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Click to listen to the Choral Amen at YouTube.
  • Go Now in Peace”. Words by American educator, lyricist and composer Don Besig (1936–) and American lyricist Nancy Price (1958–). Music by Don Besig. Words and music copyright © 1988 Harold Flammer Music, a division of Shawnee Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
  • Performed by Rachelle Risling (keyboard) and the GCPC Senior Choir. Audio and video production by Rachelle Risling.
  • Audio and video recording copyright © 2021 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church.

Prayers in the service are adopted from:
Kimberly Bracken Long. “Feasting on the Word Worship Companion: Liturgies for Year C, Volume 1”. Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition. ISBN 978-0664238056.

Copyright © 2022 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church

Last updated 2022-04-30 – Added prayers attribution at bottom of page.