2nd Sunday of Easter: “Blessed by the Risen Christ” • John 20:19-29 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

artwork: He Qui “The Doubt of St Thomas”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Time with Children of All Ages

No new recording this week. Please visit “Kathryn Schreiber” YouTube channel for previously recorded messages.

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Behind the locked doors where safety kindly hid us,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Amid the joyful reunions of those once scattered,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Called up and sent out to serve God’s redemptive dream,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Infused with divine forgiveness, empowered to extend mercy,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Alleluia! Amen!

Light the Christ Candle

Song: “In the Garden” Words and Music written by C. Austin Miles, 1913. Performed by Apple Crisol. May 13, 2020 (Chalice #227)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

Welcome to Eastertide! We are on the Easter side of the Cross. Here in North America, we appear to be on the “other side” of the global pandemic as vaccines decrease the severity of infection and transmission. Weekly, new liberties are extended. And, new realities are encountered. This pandemic has changed us.

How is it with your soul this week? What are your excitements and concerns? Do not be afraid, tell it all to God. Speak honestly with Most Merciful, Ever Compassionate One. And listen to others, too. We are going through this transformation together. God is still speaking in many ways, though many beings, including the deep wisdom of your beautiful soul. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

The Risen Christ appears behind a bolted door bringing peace to terrified followers. What a graphic example of God’s grace! However, let us note that the resurrected Jesus Christ also speaks of forgiveness, as he did at the Last Supper.

One of the most powerful vessels of divine grace is forgiveness. When we mortals forgive each other, we tumble into the grace of God’s forgiveness. We are transformed though those who hurt us may not be.

Years ago, discussing a deep regret with a dear friend, a woman of great faith, she asked me pointblank: “Do you believe God has forgiven you?” I quickly replied that I did. Then she told me, “So now, you must forgive yourself.”

This 2nd Sunday of Easter as we rise with the Rising Christ let us practice forgiveness. God is eager to open dams that have restricted the wondrous flow of God’s healing grace.

We Listen

Scripture: John 20:19-29 (NRSV)

(The Risen Christ appears to the hiding, frightened disciples)

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.”

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Sermon “Peace Be with You” by The Rev. Dr. Diane Weible, Conference Minister of the Northern California-Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ, USA. Post Easter lessons and the call to serve God in new, bold ways.


Special Music: “Here Comes the Sun” Performed by James Taylor and Yo You Ma. Written by George Harrison. Cello arrangement by Charles Floyd. Dave O’Donnell produced, recorded and mixed the audio. Backing vocals were provided by David Lasley, Kate Markowitz, Arnold McCuller, Kim Taylor, Andrea Zonn. Recorded March 7, 2008, for Yo-Yo’s 2008 album “Songs of Joy and Peace.”

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

For all the times Christ transcended our fears and doubts, let us generously support those organizations which embody God’s Big Love. It may be that your community will be participating in this year’s Church World Service’s (CWS) Crop Hunger Walk, a virtual event in 2021. You are most welcome to join the “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” team – https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/search. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

“Listen to the Words/Peace Be with You” Written by Joel Payne. Tracks, charts and scores http://www.resoundworship. All rights reserved.

Benediction

Risen Christ says: “Peace be with You.”

Our souls hear: “Peace be with You.”

Our voices proclaim: “Peace be with You.”

Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “The Doubt of St Thomas”

Online Publishing Date: April 7, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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