Reaching for Jesus

The Celebration of the Gospel

 April 23, 2017 —Second Sunday of Easter

“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.”
 — John 20.25

    ________We Gather as the Body of Christ______

GREETING
PRELUDE       How Can I Keep From Singing?      Robert Lowry, arr: Lyndell Leatherman

[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.
]

* CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader:  Christ is risen!
All:    Christ is risen indeed.
Death no longer has dominion
Ours is life eternal!
We reach out for the risen Christ.
We touch the living Christ in love, in one another, in worship.  Alleluia!

* SONG            O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing        Blue hymnal # 317, vv. 1, 6-9

(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME

____________We Attend to the Word__________

(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG
“The Trumpet Shall Sound” from Messiah   — G. F. Handel

PRAYER OF THE DAY
Living God, like Thomas we long to reach out and touch you.
Come to us, speak to us, and call our name.  Amen.

FIRST READING        Acts 2.14, 22-32
[Peter tells a crowd the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. ]

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 God to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,
‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for God 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.
+

SECOND READING      1 Peter 1.3-9
[God has raised us up with Jesus, so that we have a new life that is rooted in the Realm of God and the resurrection of Christ.  It is a gift that can’t be taken away from us, and that is eternal and perfect.  It enables us to endure trials, knowing that in the end we will see, even though we don’t now.]

Blessed be the God of our Lord Jesus Christ! In great mercy God has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  God has given us an inheritance that can’t ever be marred, diminished or taken away, for it is kept in heaven for you.  You are being protected by the power of God, which you know through your faith, and promised a salvation that is right there but will only be revealed in the last time.

In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials.  Your faith is more precious than gold—but think about it: gold, though perishable, is tested by fire. In the end the genuineness of your faith will result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you love and trust him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
+

GOSPEL          John 20.19-31
[The risen Jesus appears to the disciples.  He breathes on them, giving them his Spirit.  They tell Thomas of it, but he wants to see for himself.  He says he will know it is Jesus by his wounds.]

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 people.   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 God 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.
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SERMON

SONG   Now the Green Blade Rises    Blue hymnal # 311

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST

__________We Share at Christ’s Table __________

OFFERING OUR GIFTS   Joyful, Joyful   L. van Beethoven, arr: Tom Birchwood

* COMMUNION SONG                                                                                                                
We have hungered, we have longed to reach and touch you in the flesh.
Now you show yourself in glory, risen and made new and fresh.
Here we see and touch and taste you in the wine and in the bread:
in the loving, in the sharing you are risen from the dead.

God, we bring our gifts, rejoicing in your love, your love so great!
For you call us to your table, all as one, to celebrate.
Though we turn away, you hold us. We who once were dead now live.
Blest, received, adored, forgiven, now in gratitude we give.

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The God of love be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to Yahweh our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.

God we come to this table with gratitude, hungry for you.
You create all things, and make us in your image.
We are hungry for life that is true;
we thirst for selves that reflect your love.
You pour yourself out for us in all Creation.
We hunger for you, to taste and see your goodness.
All Creation is your Word made flesh.
The bread and cup, our food and light, all that we have,
is your flesh, offered to us in generous love.
You call us your people, and promise to be our God.
We stray from your love, and we desire to return.
You condemn all injustice, and set us free to serve you.
We thank you for our freedom in Christ.  Therefore we sing your praise.

                   [sung]
Holy, holy, holy Presence, God of mercy, God of love,
you shine bright in all Creation. Shout Hosanna! Praise above!
Blessed is the one who comes, God, in your name, the name of love.
God, we gladly praise and thank you. Shout Hosanna! Praise above.

Blessed are all who come in your name, and blessed is Jesus your Christ,
who loved and taught, healed and forgave.
He embodied your love and forgiveness; he was your Word made flesh.
He was crucified, but you raised him from the dead.
He is among us still, in your love for us, in our love, and in the bread and wine.

[The  Blessing  and  Covenant…]

Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

                   [sung]
Christ has died and Christ is risen.
Christ will come again in love.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
your word made flesh for all those
who will not believe until they see your love embodied.
All glory be to you, O God, now and evermore.

                   [sung]
Praise!  Amen.  Hosanna in the highest. Praise! Amen. Amen.

THE PRAYER OF JESUS
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.

SHARING THE HOLY MEAL    [Everyone is welcome at the table of Christ’s self-giving love.
The bread is wheat-, soy- and dairy free.  We dip the bread in the juice.
]

PRAYER OF BLESSING
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You have filled us with your Spirit, filled us with yourself, so that as you have sent Jesus, you send us, to forgive and to serve, for the sake of the world.  Amen.

______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

*  SONG   Easter People, Raise Your Voices   Blue hymnal #304

*  THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
RESPONSE    We stand and sing to our neighbors:
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you my friends.
Go and share the love of God, love that never ends.

POSTLUDE
Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven    Tune: LAUDA ANIMA, arr: Robert Lau

[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]

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