Karl said, "What a difference a week makes" (looking out at the empty pews, in contrast to Easter Sunday).
CALL TO WORSHIP
[One] O God, you came to the disciples and offered them Easter assurance.
[All] You came to Thomas and offered him resurrection hope.
[One] Come to us in this time of worship,
[All] and fill us with faith, hope, and love.
(United Church of Canada)
OPENING PRAYER (unison)
God of power, God of people, you are the life of all that lives, energy that fills the earth, vitality that brings to birth, impulse in making whole whatever is bruised or broken.
In you we grow to know the truth that sets all creation free. You are the song the whole earth sings, the promise liberation brings, now and forever. Amen.
(United Church of Canada, adapted)
HYMN "Thine Is the Glory" (insert)
CHORAL CALL TO PRAYER
"We live by faith and not by sight..."
Sarah said that Jesus said, "Come, follow me," and that means we must bring all of ourselves.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (unison)
Come to us, God, like warm sunshine and fresh water, bringing life out of a parched and weary land.
We confess that hurts and disappointments harden our hearts, frustrations and failures contaminate our will to grow.
Come to us, God, with life-creating power. Free us from resentment, reluctance, and reserve. Remind us that in your forgiveness we are free. Forgiven, may we be forgiving, that all may prosper. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
(United Church of Canada, adapted)
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
PASSING OF THE PEACE OF CHRIST
Mike looked ... drawn, pink around his eyes like he'd been crying for days. I hugged him -- I mean, I would have anyway, but I particularly meant it today.
TIME WITH OUR YOUNG PEOPLE
Karl said Thomas is often called "Doubting Tomas" which is unfortunate. He said that Thomas wasn't with the disciples when they encountered the risen Christ and so he likely felt secluded, left out.
SCRIPTURE READING Acts 2:22-47
"Without seeing you, we love you..."
SCRIPTURE READING John 20:19-31
SERMON "Now What"
Salome had done the Scripture readings, and I had difficulty understanding with her accent, and I ended up kind of zoning out during the sermon as well -- I know I was tired (though I went to bed before 11 and got up around 8).
I tuned back in near the end. Karl was talking about: share the sufferings of others, inclusive communities, support and be personally involved in acts of creativity ... these are ways of practicing resurrection.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
I believe in the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.HYMN "I'll Shout the Name of Christ Who Lives" (and yet, it was a very mellow song)
I believe that behind the clouds of life shines the love of God.
I believe that God has a purpose for the world and a purpose for my life.
I believe that God wills the blessedness of all lives and every single life.
I believe that Jesus saves life from the power of sin and sorrow and death.
I believe in the life-giving power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
I believe that through faith and prayer and Sacrament I can live the life which is life indeed.
I believe that God calls my life to love and service.
I believe that through Christ life leads at last to the fullness of goodness, truth, and beauty.
I believe in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Mike put up his hand and asked for prayers for his sister and their family. He looked like he was trying so hard not to cry. I wanted to go over and sit by him and hug him or hold his hand or something, but we're not close and I wasn't sure if that would be helpful/comforting.
Mike got up, I guess to do a Moment for Mission, and spoke briefly about CHPC and nearly broke down crying at the end.
Introducing the Offertory, SarahG said the point of church is to offer what we have so no one will be empty.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION (unison)
Generous God, we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us---our selves, our time, and our possessions---signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us. Amen.
HYMN "The Day of Resurrection" (insert)
I liked the emphasis on Easter being more than just a one (Sun)day occurrence, but I'm less thrilled with using the same hymns we sang last Sunday and which I was unimpressed by the first time around.
RESPONSE "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" (v. 4)
After service, Liz went over and put her arm around Mike and he just broke down crying and Val went over as well. I was glad he had people.
In Adult Ed we did the Resurrection chapters of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions.
SarahG had us begin with a guided visualization meditation. The brief version is: You're walking a road near Jerusalem... a group of women run towards you, one says, "They have taken his body," another says, "He is risen"... later, a man approaches you.
What struck me was the idea of Would you know what the women were talking about, would you care? Yes on the road to Emmaus we're reminded that everyone would have known about the "King of the Jews" being crucified, but it was still a really interesting idea ... but I couldn't come up with a way to say that in any useful fashion, so I just sat with it.
SarahD said it makes her very uncomfortable to think about seeing again someone who has medically died, so she would not have wanted to encounter the risen Jesus on that road. I think I'm so used to the Resurrection story that some of the pragmatic implications, like that one, just don't occur to me.
Naila talked about how 33 is so young (from her perspective, being significantly older than that), that she knows/has known so many activists, who put themselves in really dangerous situations, and how a lot of them are about that age. She also talked about the Gethsemane scene, with Jesus sweating, and how that really emphasize how human he was (which she likes).
Gusti said she couldn't help remembering her brief time in Jerusalem and how it was like a tinderbox -- like it's going to explode at any moment, and sometimes it does explode.
I thought of the Vienna Teng song "Drought" as I'd been talking to mjules last night.
Katherine talked about how she'd done Sunday School the past couple Sundays and in both stories Jesus was recognized by his voice. (I like that Mary recognizes him when he calls her by name, but I can also understand emphasizing the theme of voice more generally.) She mentioned that she has had lots of loved ones die and that she can still hear their voices clearly, so the idea of voice as connection really resonates with her.
Gusti talked about resurrection v. rebirth... Christ still had his wounds, would not be recognizable without his wounds -- but also, the text implies that the wounds no longer hurt.
SarahG reminded us that Wright and Borg both talk about how this resurrection claim was a radical one -- unlike so much of the other stuff about Jesus, it didn't fit into a pre-existing tradition... death meant failure, and people didn't go around claiming that their Messiah had risen from the dead. (Though I was thinking later: Jesus raised people from the dead... was that in keeping with other miracle-workers of his day? And if so, then would it have been so remarkable to have God raise someone from the dead? Though I do recognize that the understandings of Messiah were such that they wouldn't expect a Messiah to allow himself to be killed in the first place.)