Churches tend to pull back a little bit (or a lot) on this Second Sunday of Easter. Surely, we cannot sustain the energy and passion past the day itself, can we? Well, maybe there are some aspects of post-Easter worship that would be hard to sustain, but we need to avoid sending the message that the fun is over and we are back to “ho hum” or “same old, same old” again. Find something unusual to do on this “Low” Sunday, something that stands out and announces that the Resurrection continues. Now we want to see it.
Like Thomas, we want to live our resurrection faith outwardly. So, what can we do in this time of worship that is an outward expression of our belief in the power of Easter? What hope, what joy, what grace can we show to one another and then to the world as we gather for worship? We cannot define your context for you, but you are no doubt full of the ways that your congregation helps people get past their doubt by seeing the person of Christ in the love and caring and service of the congregation individually and collectively. Today is the time to draw attention to those ways. Remember, this season is an “of” season and not an “after” season. That seems to mean that we maintain the Easter experience throughout. Let us keep celebrating.
Call to Worship
Last Sunday was Easter, a day on which the only fitting call to worship was an announcement of the Event – the resurrection, the greatest act of life-saving imaginable. Through it God let us laugh at our death sentence by punctuating it with a living exclamation mark. On this day and in days to come may we remember that there are times when God restates the joyful resurrection proclamation.
Abilities faded and forgotten are channeled toward new creativity – that’s resurrection.
Friendships once killed by frosty misunderstanding bloom again in warm reconciliation – that’s resurrection.
Hopes glimmering and gone are rekindled by expressions of caring – that’s resurrection.
Faith, dulled by lack of exercise, dances again to God’s everyday rhythms – that’s resurrection.
Glen E. Rainsley, Flames of the Spirit, Ruth Duck, ed., Pilgrim Press, 1985, p. 40
Alone with our Faith –
A Call to Worship for Easter 2B
It’s the Sunday after Easter; the lilies are gone.
And we are alone with our faith
Thomas said: "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 20:25b NRSV)
Easter is past, and we are alone with our faith.
On this Sunday after Easter, help us grow into the faith that we confessed and celebrated last week. Reveal evidence of your resurrection for the days when we feel that we are alone with our faith.
Prayer before the Reading of Scripture
(inspired by John 20:19-31)
though we have hidden ourselves in a locked room
and huddled together as ones who build barriers,
send your Living Word through our locked doors
and into our guarded hearts
that we might be witnesses of your grace
and couriers of your goodness.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
grant us the trust to believe the Gospel
not because we see it
but because we have been seen by it
and transformed through it. Amen.
Written by Stephen M. Fearing and posted on Wild and Precious Life. http://stephenmfearing.wordpress.com/category/easter/ Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2015/04/prayer-of-illumination-john-20-19-31.html.
Congregational Prayer for Doubters
You call us to be people of faith,
yet we are often people with doubts.
We doubt that love can grow again in relationships
where anger and bitterness reign supreme.
You know the strength of love and the power of prayer:
help us to be faithful lovers.
We doubt that peace can come in the Middle East, in Syria, in Palestine;
where hatred and racism reign supreme.
You know that peace is growing there:
help us to be faithful peacemakers.
We doubt that the hungry can be fed in Africa,
where despair and hopelessness reign supreme.
You know that there is enough food in the world;
help us to be generous and faithful.
You specialize in impossibilities;
you walked on water,
you heal the nations
you forgive sins
you set the captive free,
you set us free from our captivities.
This morning we pray for people here who are filled with doubts,
who wonder whether you exist and whether you are listening to our prayers,
who wonder what this whole community is about.
We pray for people who doubt the purpose of life,
who wonder whether to end it all,
who face feelings of meaningless and despair.
Even when we have that sinking feeling,
give us the wisdom to turn to you.
Lord we want to believe, help our unbelief!
Give us faith, small as a mustard seed,
so that we can be your faithful people,
believing in your power to save,
believing in your power to reign supreme,
believing that we can share this good news
with everyone we meet.
We ask all this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Carol Penner and posted on her Leading in Worship blog. http://carolpenner.typepad.com/. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/10/prayer-for-doubters.html.
Prayer of Confession:
Holy God, we confess our doubts.
When our childhood understandings fall away,
we feel naked.
When our long-held beliefs seem to crumble,
we feel lost.
When our convictions are questioned,
we feel ashamed.
Guide us into right paths, O God.
Guide our feet into the way of peace.
guide our hands to care for others.
guide our hearts to love our neighbors.
Call us back to You, O Christ, and renew our faith.
When the ground is unsteady,
loving God, put us back on right paths
by doing justice, loving kindness,
and walking humbly with You. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon (from Psalm 16):
The Lord is our chosen portion and our cup.
God binds us in, counsels our minds and instructs our hearts.
God helps us to stand firm for justice, mercy, and peace.
When we fall, God lifts us up, forgives us,
and remembers our sins no more. Amen.
Worship resources for Easter 2 from Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell, Rev-o-lution.org: Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/04/worship-resources-for-may-1-2011.html.
Commission and Benediction
(inspired by John 20:21-22)
Jesus said: “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am now sending you.”
He believes in you. The busy world awaits your compassion.
God believes in us.
Sometimes you will give your best yet fail.
God believes in us
At other times you will succeed in spite of your stumbling.
God believes in us
Go gladly, daring to succeed or fail to the glory of God,
and then at the very end, nothing shall dismay you.
God believes in us
With Christ’s own breath within us, we shall travel well.
The help of the saving Christ,
the wisdom of the Living God,
and the support of the loving Spirit,
will be with you
every step of the way, now and always.
Written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on Bruce Prewer’s Homepage. http://www.bruceprewer.com/. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2013/03/sending-out-peace-be-with-you.html.