Service – Sunday 19th April

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring by JS Bach Click here to play the music

Call to worship:
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.

StF Hymn: 489 Click here to play the music

All I once held dear,
built my life upon,
all this world reveres,
and wars to own,
all I once thought gain
I have counted loss;
spent and worthless now,
compared to this.

Knowing you, Jesus,
knowing you,
there is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
you’re my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.

Now my heart’s desire
is to know you more,
to be found in you
and known as yours.
To possess by faith
what I could not earn,
all-surpassing gift
of righteousness.

Knowing you, Jesus,
knowing you,
there is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
you’re my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.

Oh, to know the power
of your risen life,
and to know you in
your sufferings.
To become like you
in your death, my Lord,
so with you to live
and never die.

Knowing you, Jesus,
knowing you,
there is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
you’re my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.                                                                  Graham Kendrick (b. 1950)

Prayers:
Let us pray
In the chaos at creation, Lord, you spoke bringing life in abundance.

In the darkness of an early morning garden and the dank coldness of death and the tomb, Lord, you spoke bringing resurrection, defeating death and giving us abundant life

In the dark places of our lives, Lord, you speak and bring recreation transformation and calling us to life in abundance

We praise and adore you, God of Life

God of abundant life, you have called us to be your people and to walk in your way but there are times when we wander away, when we close our ears to your call and our eyes to your life.  We remember those times before you.

Take all we have been and done and all we have left undone and transform it through your love and grace.

Open our ears to your words of forgiveness and our eyes to your glory.

May we hear the words                    “Your sins are forgiven”               and know their truth.
Amen

The Lord’s Prayer
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 for ever.
Amen.

Reading: John 20:19-31

Address: Honest Thomas.
The reading brings us to ‘Doubting’ Thomas.

Thomas who has become a byword for disbelievers.  But has Thomas had a bad press?

Thomas is mentioned by name on two other occasions, both in the John’s gospel.

In John 11, Thomas and the other disciples are informed by Jesus that Lazarus has died. Jesus says “I am glad that I was not there, so you may believe. But let us go to him” Jesus and the disciples knew that to go to Bethany, so near to Jerusalem, was to go to a dangerous place. Thomas says, “let us also go that we may die with him”, Thomas is declaring himself willing to die with Jesus. Thomas displays willingness to put himself into the way of danger, to be a passionate and committed follower of Jesus.

In John 14 Jesus is speaking to the disciples about going somewhere to prepare the way. Thomas asks “Lord, we do not know where you are going – so how can we know the way?” Do you suppose all the other disciples knew what Jesus meant? Only Thomas, had the courage to say what they were all thinking. Thomas’ question paved the way for Jesus’ answer- “I am the way, the truth and the Life”.

We see Thomas as courageous, very much Jesus’ man, a man of honesty who is willing to sacrifice his pride in order to learn the truth.

We turn back to the reading from the Gospel. story that Jesus had come back to life, had been seen by witnesses was related to Thomas. He had been present when Lazarus was brought back to life – has something similar happened to Jesus? He is not willing to go along with the crowd. He has to see for himself.

Later Jesus appears to the disciples and Thomas was there. Jesus offered Thomas the chance for proof.

Jesus chided him gently that there would be many who would believe without being given the chance to touch, but we don’t need to ask because Thomas asked the question on our behalf.

Thomas doubted only the words of others, he NEVER doubted Jesus.

Doubting Thomas should be renamed Honest Thomas. Without him, vital evidence about the Resurrection would be missing, questions would have gone unasked, answers never made. Thomas reminds us that Christianity demands that we must engage with our minds as well as our hearts, that Jesus is unafraid of close scrutiny and gives us the freedom to question. Ours is a faith for people with minds, which we are invited to use to think for ourselves. Thomas is a helpful reminder that although Jesus is our shepherd, He doesn’t want or expect us to be merely sheep.

Hymn: When Thomas heard from Jesus Click here to play the music

When Thomas heard from Jesus, “Now come and follow me,”
He surely went with gladness, for there was much to see.
He witnessed Jesus’ teaching and saw his healing touch;
He found a faith to guide him,
a friend he loved so much.

When Jesus spoke of heaven, bold Thomas dared to say,
“We don’t know where you’re going! How can we know the way?”
He wanted understanding of what he could not see.
Then Jesus reassured him, “The way is here — through me.”

When crowds began to murmur and leaders raised their cry,
Brave Thomas spoke out firmly, “Let’s go with him and die.”
He ate at Jesus’ table, partaking wine and bread;
Yet later with the others,
he saw the cross and fled.

What joy on Easter evening when many saw the Lord!
Yet Thomas was not with them and would not trust their word.
When Christ appeared before him, his doubts were quickly gone;
He gladly knew that evening the joy of Easter dawn.

That man of faith saw Jesus at breakfast by the sea;
At Pentecost he witnessed so others would believe.
O Lord, may we — like Thomas — keep growing day by day;
Increase our faith and guide us, for Lord, you are the Way.
                                                                                                                               2012 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

Intercessions:
Into this lockdown world
come, Lord, and speak your word of peace and life

We pray for all those who are afraid at this time.

We pray for all those who are ill and for those who yearn for their health.

We pray for those who are homeless and for those who struggle to feed themselves and their families.

We pray for those who have lost their incomes or whose businesses are at risk.

We pray for all those who offer care during this crisis often putting their lives at risk to do so.

We pray for our government and all the governments of the world, for business leaders and all who hold any power, that they will act with justice, mercy and love.

We pray for those who feel voiceless and powerless.

We pray for those situations that no longer make the headlines for those suffering from conflicts, war and oppression, for those seeking refuge and those who have no place of safety. For those who troubles have been ignored before the virus and who may yet still be ignored after.

We ask these prayers and our own, in Jesus name
Amen

Hymn: Christ is the one who calls Click here to play the music

Christ is the one who calls,
the one who loved and came,
to whom by right it falls to bear the highest Name:
and still today
our hearts are stirred
to hear his word
and walk his way.

Christ is the one who seeks,
to whom our souls are known.
The word of love he speaks
can wake a heart of stone;
for at that sound
the blind can see,
the slave is free,
the lost are found.

Christ is the one who died,
forsaken and betrayed;
who, mocked and crucified,
the price of pardon paid.
Our dying Lord,
what grief and loss,
what bitter cross,
our souls restored!

Christ is the one who rose
in glory from the grave,
to share his life with those
whom once he died to save.
He drew death’s sting
and broke its chains,
who lives and reigns,
our risen King.

Christ is the one who sends,
his story to declare;
who calls his servants friends
and gives them news to share.
His truth proclaim
in all the earth,
his matchless worth
and saving Name.

Blessing:
God, the Creator, has made us.
Jesus, the Son, has saved us.
God, the Holy Spirit, has made us holy.
In obedience and trust we go out into the world,
Renewed and refreshed,
To continue the work of the kingdom of God.
Amen

Trumpet Volunatary by Jeremiah Clarke Click to play the music