God of the Risen Christ, you love us so much as to raise Christ from the tomb. In you we find only life and grace. You grant us peace in Christ. You give us forgiveness of sin. You welcome us back when we have been faithless. May we believe that Jesus is the Christ! In the name of the Risen One, we pray. Amen.
Prayer of Confession:
Gracious and merciful God, we confess that there are times when we feel afraid, abandoned, and lonely; when our lives seem bereft of God’s presence; desolate times when faith leads to doubt and questions, rather than a sense of joy or peace of mind. Unlike those first disciples, we cannot touch you or see you, and so it is all too easy to become downcast and given to despair.
Forgive us when, like the disciples, we find the truth of Easter hard to believe. Come to us, risen Christ. Come through the closed doors of our hearts and minds and take away our fears and doubts. Come to us, risen Christ. Breathe on us and fill us with the joy and peace of your presence. Bless us all as people who have not seen you but who want to believe that you are truly the risen Christ, Son of God. Amen.
Epistle Lesson I – John 1:1-2:2 NRSV (source)
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Gospel Lesson John 20: 19-31 NRSV (source)
When 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 Jews, 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 the Father 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.
- No. 118 – The Day of Resurrection!
- No. 399 – We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight
- No. 302 – I Danced in the Morning
“Random Acts, and Not-So-Random Acts” – Rev. Scott G. Loomer