Worship Connection: April 15, 2012

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Second Sunday of Easter

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1–2:2; John 20:19-31

Call to Worship #1:

L: What great joy we have!

P: Our Lord is risen!

L: Believe with your whole heart in the miracle of resurrection.

P: We open our hearts to the good news of God’s faithfulness to us.

L: Hallelujah!

P: Hallelujah!

Call to Worship #2:

L: This is the good news which we proclaim to you.

P: Jesus Christ is raised from the dead!

L: Walk in the light of his love.

P: Live in the light of his teachings and healing mercies.

L: Come, let us worship the One Who overcame death.

P: Let us celebrate the triumph of our Lord. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2149, “Living for Jesus”, offer the following call to worship as directed]

L: We climbed the hill to Calvary.

P: The dark and foreboding skies dominated the scene

L: Then when all seemed lost.]

P: The good news came to us.

L: Now we live for Jesus, serving others in his name.

Choir: singing verse 1 and refrain of “Living for Jesus”

L: Let our hearts ring with the song of love for our Savior

P: May our lives be a testimony to all that He has taught us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:

L: We have been freed!

P: Fear and death have no claim on us!

L: Christ the Lord is risen!

P: Even though we have not touched his wounded hands, yet we believe.

L: Even though we have not heard him speak our names, yet we believe.

P: Let us celebrate God’s love through the life of Jesus Christ. AMEN.

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer:

Lord of Resurrection surprises, open our hearts this day to the presence of Jesus Christ. Erase our excuses for unbelief, and exchange them for strong witness to the power of your mercy and love. Give us courage and challenge us to walk the path of discipleship, knowing that Jesus goes before us, leading and guiding our steps. In his name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession:

Patient Lord, you wait for us to understand. You wait for us to remove the blinders of prejudice, fear, unbelief, confusion. You have offered to us the greatest miracle of all time, the resurrection of Your Son Jesus Christ. We sang and celebrated last Sunday, but a week has passed and we have slid back into our old ways of perceiving your presence and love. Shake us up, Lord! Shake us up and cause us to look with new eyes on our Savior, who came that we might have life, abundantly serving all who are in need. Forgive our stubbornness and our complacency. Reach out to us so that we may reach out with healing love to others, for we pray this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance:

Let the stone of ignorance, stubbornness and fear be rolled away from your heart. Celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ! Know that his love is poured out for you, for your healing. Be at peace and Rejoice! AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer:

Lord of mercy, it has been a week since the Easter celebration. Our church was beautified with flowers, lovely decorations, banners, lots of people, beautiful music. It was the kind of Easter in which we could celebrate. But during this week we have slumped back to our old ways. The world, which seems to be too much with us, has claimed our souls. Our resurrection faith has become dim. Let the story of Thomas who wanted more than anything else to see the risen Lord, pour into our hearts, reviving our spirits, giving assurance to our souls. Let fear subside! Replace our doubts with certainty in your love and healing mercies. As we have brought names before you this day, asking for your healing touch, be with us as we also receive that same healing love. Give us joy and courage for all the times ahead; for we offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord. AMEN.

Reading:

Reader 1: That story of Thomas, the doubter, always gets me. Why did he doubt? He had walked with Jesus; he saw the healing miracles; he heard Jesus telling about his own death and resurrection……but he doubted. What a failure he was as a disciple!

Reader 2: Wait a minute! Maybe you are being a little harsh in your judgment. Imagine, just as you said, that you had walked the streets with Jesus. You saw the healings and heard the wonderful life giving stories. You saw the way Jesus was with people, how he accepted them, just the same way that he accepted and loved you. Then suddenly everything changed…..Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified. And, like most of the other disciples, those who called themselves faithful to the end, you turned and ran for cover. You feared for your own life. You did not believe. Now it is a few days after the burial and the women who went to the tomb have come back to say that He was risen, that the stone had been rolled away. It sounded too incredible for you to believe. And so you went about your business - you were gone when Jesus himself came to the others; when he shared with them his good news of resurrection. And when you got back to the room, they all had a story to tell you. But fear had claimed your life. “Unless I can see the wounded hands and his side, I will not believe”! It sounded to preposterous to you. Well, how do you think Thomas must have felt? Wouldn’t you have reacted the same way?

Reader 1: I don’t know…….maybe……perhaps…..

Reader 2: I think Jesus was very patient with him. He gave to him a special gift of insight. Jesus challenges us to believe where we have not seen. He challenges us to place our complete trust in him.

Reader 1: I know that you’re right……it’s just hard to do, that’s all.

Reader 2: Of course it is. That’s what faith is all about. Trusting, Believing, Hoping, Loving.

Benediction:

Lord of mercy, be with us as we go from this place today. Fill our lives with your love. Help us to bring the good news of hope and peace wherever we go. Let us truly be people of the Resurrection - the Easter people! AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is: White

[Note: If you have not completely dismantled the art work from Easter Sunday, you may want to leave the Resurrection Cross, with its gold drape, and some flowers or plants near the base of the cross.]

SURFACE: Place one riser on the worship center.

FABRIC: Cover the worship center with white fabric, so that the fabric “puddles” down to the floor in front of the worship center. Place gold fabric, trailing down from the cross, across the worship center and “puddling” onto the floor.

CANDLES: In front of the Cross, place a 10” white pillar candle (the Christ Candle). Place two 6” white pillar candles on either side of the 10” candle.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: You may use flowers from Easter, other plants on either side of the 6” pillar candles and in front of the worship center.

ROCKS/WOOD: None necessary for this setting

OTHER: If you have been using a special resurrection cross, you may leave it in place. If you have removed it, you may place a brass cross on the riser on the worship center.

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