April 16, 2023 – Second Sunday of Easter
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, April 16, at 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EDT on Sunday, April 16.
Call to Worship
One: All things of God, all the heavens,
All: Worship and praise your Maker.
One: Sun, moon and stars; wind, rain and thunder,
All: Worship and praise your Maker.
One: Mountains and forests, streams and waterfalls,
All: Worship and praise your Maker.
One: Creatures beneath the seas, birds throughout the skies, all that leaps or crawls, all who walk or worry or wonder,
All: Let us worship and praise our Maker together.
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.
“Thine be the glory” (Book of Praise 1997, hymn 258). Original French words written in 1884 by Swiss Protestant minister and hymnwriter Edmond Louis Budry (1854–1932) as “À toi la gloire”; English translation (1923) by English pastor Richard Birch Hoyle (1875–1939). Music set by Budry to the tune of the chorus “See, the Conqu’ring hero comes” from the 1746 oratorio “Judas Maccabaeus” by George Frideric Handel (1685–1759). Words and music in the public domain.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God our Maker, we come giving thanks for all the wonder in your creation, the great theatre of your glory. We praise you for the detailed perfection revealed in a baby’s tiny fingers, for the wisdom and growth that comes with age, for the strength to serve you, for your glory seen in pussy willows greeting the spring, and in each rock face worn by wind and water. These details lift our hearts to praise you. So let the details of the story the Risen Christ lift our hearts this day, that we too may discover him in our midst, making all things new with the springtime of your Spirit. Amen
God our Redeemer, in raising Jesus from the dead, you showed us your power to defeat all that brings fear and sorrow to our lives. Yet when things go wrong, we confess we are sometimes uncertain how to find him. Like Thomas, we are unsure if we can trust the promise of resurrection. Forgive us when we struggle with doubt about your presence with us. Breathe your Spirit upon us and bring us the peace Christ promised.
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.
Declaration of Pardon
Friends, the risen Christ is in our midst, speaking words of peace and forgiveness to us this day. Do not doubt these gifts are for you. Be at peace with yourself and with one another. Thanks be to God!
One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.
Guildwood Senior Choir presents
“Because He lives”. Words by American gospel singer William James “Bill” Gaither (1936–) and his wife, American singer-songwriter Gloria Gaither (1942–). Music by Bill Gaither. This arrangement by American composer Jack Schrader (1942–). Music copyright © 1971, 1997 William J. Gaither.
Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 378). Words and music African-American folk song. Arrangement by Canadian composer, church musician, and co-editor of the 1997 Book of Praise Andrew Donaldson (1951–). Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1997 Presbyterian Church in Canada; used by permission.
John 20: 19–31 <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors were locked where the disciples were, 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. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 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.”
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.” 27 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.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 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.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
The scripture reading is followed by:
One: The Word of God.
People: Thanks be to God.
The last two verses of chapter 20 we read today summarize the purpose and theology of the gospel of John:
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue[e] to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
I have fallen in love with verse 30, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.”
I love John’s gospel so much because it invites us to imagine, dream and wonder who Jesus is and what Jesus is doing in this very moment.
By telling us that Jesus has done far more than what is described in the gospel of John, the gospel of John invites us to open our eyes and pay attention to Jesus Christ today and tomorrow. The gospel of John does not want us to settle with knowing who Jesus was and what Jesus did 2000 years ago, but pay attention to who Jesus is here and now. Yet, that is not to say Jesus has to come down and die again on the cross, but it means God is the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We are good at separating yesterday from today, tomorrow from today, does not allow Jesus of yesterday to become Jesus of today.
Telling us the work of Jesus goes beyond what is described in the scriptures does not suggest the work of Jesus is incomplete. But in my opinion, it indicates that Jesus’s work goes beyond our human knowledge and understanding of yesterday.
Verse 30 does not make the scriptures we read each day less holy or relevant, but it does invite those who read the scriptures to be humble and open. The scriptures are not written for us to master God but to be mastered by God.
I believe this is how a Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth would respond to the verse 30, John 20:30, he writes
“What is there within the Bible?” It is a dangerous question. We might do better not to come too near this burning bush. For we are sure to betray what is—behind us! The Bible gives to every man and every era such answers to your questions as they deserve. We shall always find in it as much as we seek and no more: high and divine content if it is high and divine content that we seek; transitory and “historical” content, if transitory and “historical” content that we seek. Nothing whatever, if it is nothing whatever that we seek. The hungry are satisfied by it, and to the satisfied it is surfeiting before they have opened it. The question, “What is in the Bible?” has a mortifying way of converting itself into the opposing question, “Well, what are you looking for, and who are you, pray, who make bold to look?”
According to Karl Barth, the Bible offers answers that lead to other questions.
“All things bright and beautiful”. Music (tune: “Royal Oak”) 17th-century folk melody, adapted (1916) by English conductor and composer Martin Shaw (1875–1958). Arrangement by American composer and arranger Robert D. Vandall (1944–2017). Music public domain. Arrangement copyright © Alfred Music Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
May we present our gifts to God in response to what we have received from God?
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
Our offering to God will now be received.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 306) Based on the tune “Old 100th” with words (1989) by English hymnwriter Brian A. Wren (1936–). Words copyright © 1989 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise God all creatures high and low;
praise God in Jesus fully known,
Creator Word and Spirit One.
Prayer of dedication
We place our gifts into your hands, O God. With the power of your Holy Spirit make them seeds of new life, springing up with hope and healing for weary souls. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of new Life, The Risen Christ spoke words of peace to his friends. Thank you for strengthening our faith and offering us that peace as we live in you day by day. We are grateful that you give us courage to face our fears and struggles, patience to endure moments when the way ahead is not clear, and resilience to meet changing realities. Make us a source of peace and resilience for Christ’s sake.
Loving God, we pray for the many places of brokenness in our world. We think especially of those weighed down by economic pressures, and people still recovering from the effects of the pandemic. We pray for people and communities at odds over policies and opinions, and those who feel their concerns are going unheard. We pray for the earth itself under the impact of human activity and for those working to protect its future. Grant the earth and all its peoples your gifts of hope and healing.
Faithful God, We pray for those who struggle with their experience of the church. Open them to your love and grace so that any pain the church has caused will be healed. Guide us with your Spirit of wisdom to know how to live out our faith in ways that create pathways for others to find you, not barriers. We pray for: our congregation, for The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and for the Church of Jesus Christ in every country and culture. In these days of challenge and criticism for churches, strengthen our trust in you and our concern for others. Give us ears to hear the correction we need in any challenge, with hearts opened by the grace of the Risen Christ.
We also pray for ourselves, our family and friends, our community and country. We lay before you in silence all the people and concerns on our hearts and minds today.
(Silence for 15 seconds)
We are grateful that we can place all our worries and our hopes into your hands, O God, knowing that you will hear us and respond. Hear us now as we offer the words our Risen Lord. Amen.
“Now let the vault of heaven resound” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 255). Words by American pastor and editor Paul Zeller Strodach (1876–1947). Music (tune: “Lasst uns erfreuen”) from “Auserlesene Katholische Geistliche Kirchengesänge” (Cologne, Germany; 1623). Harmony (1906) by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958). Words, tune and harmony in the public domain.
Changing the Light
Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.
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.
“The Lord bless you and keep you”. Words from the Aaronic Blessing. Music by English composer John Rutter (1945–). Words public domain. Music copyright © 1981, 2015 Oxford University Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Copyright © 2023 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2023-04-19 22:10 – Added Choir, Musical Reflection info. Added Sermon text.