This Week’s Theme
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
On the evening of that day when the risen Jesus had appeared to his disciples, on the first day of the week, the disciples were present behind closed and locked doors for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood in their midst, giving them a greeting! He showed the disciples his hands and his side, and they were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus then commissioned the disciples, declaring that as the Father had sent him into the world, even so now he was sending them into the world. And, having said these words, Jesus breathed on them, inviting them to receive the Holy Spirit and to serve as his witnesses and representatives.
The disciple Thomas was absent from this appearance of the Lord to the disciples. When he heard of the Lord’s visitation among them, Thomas rejected the disciples’ testimony. Not only did he dismiss their testimony that they had seen the Lord, he also said that he would not believe unless he saw for himself and touched with his own hands the very wounds of the risen Jesus.
Eight days after this, the disciples were inside again, with the doors locked, and this time Thomas was present. Jesus came and stood among the disciples, and greeted them, again! Right away, Jesus invited Thomas to use his hands to examine his nail holes, and to put his finger in his side, and exhorted Thomas not to disbelieve, but to believe. Thomas answered with spontaneous exclamation, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus then replied to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Truly, blessed are those who cling to the apostolic testimony of Jesus’s resurrection, without the opportunity to examine firsthand the wounds of the Lord!
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, our Father, thank you for raising your Son from the dead on the third day. He is risen, full of life, and offering salvation to all who call on his name in truth. We lay hold of the apostles’ testimony, testifying with a heart of confidence and conviction that we believe Jesus is alive forevermore. Blessed be his name, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Saturday: Prov. 22.17-24.34
Lectionary Readings for Easter Morning
Psalm: Ps. 118.14-29
Acts*: Acts 5.27-32
Gospel: John 20.19-31
NT: Rev. 1.4-8
*During Eastertide, a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible.
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, you graciously gave Thomas an audience that he might examine your glorified body after your crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. We need no such examination; we cling to the word of the apostles, that you are alive, at God’s right hand, the conqueror of death forevermore. We cling to your Word alone, which is sufficient for us, always. Amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Look beyond our unbelief, and help us to hold fast to your Word of promise.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
We cling to your Word alone, which is sufficient for us, always.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Restored to Life
Metaxas, Martin Luther
Our Corporate Disciplines
Concert of Prayer: Wednesday, May 1, 2019