It Happened Once: 21st Century Worship Resources for the Second Sunday of Easter, Year B
(Based on Acts 4:32-35)
Get some food for the children from our pantry.
Let me take you to the doctor in our car.
Use some of our money for the rent.
Find some clothes for that interview in our closet.
Come out of the cold and sleep in our house.
Throw that food out, it's got freezer burn.
You polished your car; it's raining; now you want me to take the bus?
You wasted your money on what?
That shelf can support only 50 lbs; you've got to get rid of some clothes.
They just can't drop by and expect me to roll out the red carpet!
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul,
and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions,
but everything they owned was held in common . . .
There was not a needy person among them,
for as many as owned lands or houses sold them
and brought the proceeds of what was sold. (Acts 4:32, 34 NRSV)
Once, First-Century Christians shared freely. And now?
(Based on I John 1:1-2:2)
Eternal God, hear our prayer today. We come in awe of the first-century eyewitnesses. They saw you, touched you, and heard you. They were with you, they saw you resurrected from the dead. And they had to tell others what they'd seen and heard so their joy could be complete. They knew you in ways we never could.
Because we weren't there, we didn't see you. We didn't hear or touch you. We don't know you like they knew you. But you know us. You see and hear and touch us. We feel you when our hearts ache. We see you when we remember each answered prayer. We hear you when your still small voice guides us.
This we know. This we declare. You are our God and we are your people. Your Spirit bears witness with our spirit. You reveal yourself to us in things large and small. Like the hymn writer, we sing, "He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today . . ." This is our testimony that we share with the world that hungers for good news. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
(Based on John 20:10-31)
Lord, we confess our preoccupation with Proof. Too often we muffle faith and hand the microphone to Proof. We'll move if Proof says so. We'll act if Proof gives the okay. After your resurrection, we may have asked to touch you a second time -- just to make sure. We confess our frequent failure to trust you. Hear us and help our unbelief we pray.
Words of Assurance
The Lord did not abandon Thomas to his unbelief, nor will the Lord abandon us to ours. God hears our cries for help and answers. God knows how we struggle to believe what we can't see or touch. Know that our Invisible God makes forgiveness visible to our hearts and souls. See God at work in your life from this day forward. Now trust your spiritual sight more each day. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
All: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. (People to one another.)