Welcome to New Life
If you want a paper copy of this service, download the Guide (see below: "NOTES") to lead you through a time of family worship--a family of one or of many. You will need the FREE Adobe Reader program to view this worship script: https://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/. Contact Pastor Thomas if you have any problems.
SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP, APRIL 19, 2020 --THE SECOND SUNDAY IN EASTER
- Sit in your place of worship. Be silent for a minute. Light your candle.
OPENING PRAYER (if possible, please pray out loud):
- O God, who through the grace of Thy Holy Spirit, dost pour the gift of love into the hearts of Thy faithful people, grant unto us health, both of mind and body, that we may love Thee with our whole strength, and with entire satisfaction may perform those things which are pleasing unto Thee this day; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
FIRST HYMN: "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing," UMH #57. It's in both English and Spanish!
THE CALL TO WORSHIP (based on Psalm 46) -- divide your family into two groups of A and B, and share parts of the Call to Worship
- A. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
- B. Therefore we will not fear.
- A. Even though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the sea?
- B. Yes, even though the waters roar and the ground beneath us quakes.
- A. Come and see what the Lord has done, and what he has brought on the earth.
- B. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
PASSING THE PEACE
- If you are with others in your home, give each other a hug, and pray for those who will not have any human touch today.
- If you are alone, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind at least one person you will call or email or write to, as soon as this worship service ends. (Others in your household can do this, too).
THE SCRIPTURE: JOHN 20:19-31 (NIV)
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
SECOND HYMN: "Take My Life and Let It be (arranged by Tommy Walker), UMH #399.
REFLECTION : “Jesus as the Saviour and the Giver of Eternal Life” (From Search of the Beyond, by Carlo Caretto)
As for me, I began to know Jesus as soon as I accepted Jesus as the truth; I found true peace when I actively sought his friendship; and above all I experienced joy, true joy, that stands above the vicissitudes of life, as soon as I tasted and experienced for myself the gift he came to bestow on us: eternal life.
But Jesus is not only the Image of the Father, the Revealer of the dark knowledge of God. That would be of little avail to me in my weakness and my sinfulness: he is also my Saviour.
On my journey towards him, I was completely worn out, unable to take another step forward. By my errors, my sinful rebellions, my desperate efforts to find joy far from his joy, I had reduced myself to a mass of virulent sores which repelled both Heaven and Earth.
What sin was there that I had not committed? Or what sin had I as yet not committed simply because the opportunity had not come my way?
Yet it was he, and he alone, who got down off his horse, like the good Samaritan on the way to Jericho; he alone had the courage to approach me in order to staunch with bandages the few drops of blood that still remained in my veins, blood that would certainly have flowed away, had he not intervened.
Jesus became a sacrament [a sacred moment] for me, the cause of my salvation, he brought my time in hell to an end, and put a stop to my inner disintegration. He washed me patiently in the waters of baptism, he filled me with the exhilarating joy of the Holy Spirit in confirmation, he nourished me with the bread of his word. Above all, he forgave me, he forgot everything, he did not even wish me to remember my past myself.
When, through my tears, I began to tell him something of the years during which I betrayed him, he lovingly placed his hand over my mouth in order to silence me. His one concern was that I should muster courage enough to pick myself up again, to try and carry on walking in spite of my weakness, and to believe in his love in spite of my fears. But there was one thing he did, the value of which cannot be measured, something truly unbelievable, something only God could do.
While I continued to have doubts about my own salvation, to tell him that my sins could not be forgiven, and that justice, too, had its rights, he appeared on the Cross before me one Friday towards midday.
I was at its foot, and found myself bathed with the blood which flowed from the gaping holes made in his flesh by the nails. He remained there for three hours until he expired.
I realized that he had died in order that I might stop turning to him with questions about justice, and believe instead, deep within myself, that the scales had come down overflowing on the side of love, and that even though all, through unbelief or madness, had offended him, he had conquered for ever, and drawn all things everlastingly to himself. . . .
And still that was not all. . . .
Jesus did not overcome the insuperable obstacle presented by the divinity and enter the human sphere simply to be our Saviour. Had that been all, his work would have remained unfinished, his mission of love unfulfilled.
He broke through the wall surrounding the invisible, and came down into the visible world to bear witness to “the things that are above,” to reveal to us “the secrets of his Father’s house,” to give us in concrete form what he called eternal life.
What exactly is it, this famous “eternal life?”
He himself defined it in the Gospel: “And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) So eternal life is, first and foremost, knowledge. It is a matter of knowing the Father, knowing Jesus. But it is not a question of any external, historical, analogical knowledge which we could more or less imagine, possess perhaps, even now; it is rather a question of real, supernatural knowledge which, although it is still surrounded here by the darkness of faith, is already the same as the knowledge we will have when the veil is torn aside and we see God face to face. It is a question of knowing God as he is, not as he may appear to us or as we may imagine him. This is the heart of the mystery I have tried to describe as the beyond, and which is the key to the secret of intimacy with God and the substance of contemplative prayer.
In giving us “eternal life,” Jesus gives us that knowledge of the Father which is already our first experience of living, here on Earth, the divine life; which is a vital participation, here and now, in the family of God; and which means that while we remain [children] of man, we are at the same time [children] of God.
Jesus is the Image of the Father, the center of the universe and of history.
Jesus is our salvation, the radiance of the God we cannot see, the unquenchable fire of love, the one for whom the angels sigh, the Holy one of God, the true adorer, the eternal High Priest, the Lord of the Ages, the glory of God.
Jesus is also our brother, and as such he takes his place beside us, to teach us the path we must follow to reach the invisible. And to make sure that we understand, he translates into visible terms the invisible things he has seen – as a human being he acts as God would act; he introduces the ways of the family of God on to the Earth and into the family of human beings.
(take a few minutes to consider this reflection and today’s scripture. How has your Christian journey led you to understand more and more about who Jesus Christ is? How would you describe him to others? How do you understand and experience eternal life?)
PRAYERS (with the Contemporary English Version of the Lord’s Prayer)
***See Barbara’s email prayer list for congregational requests. Email email@example.com to be put on Barbara's list. Then, use this model for prayer:***
God, today I (we) pray. . .
- for those who suffer and those in trouble, and especially...
- for the concerns of this local community, and especially...
- for the world, its peoples, and its leaders, and for the earth that you have given to our care. “Lord, we place before You the disease present in our world. Bring wisdom to doctors. Give understanding to scientists. Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity. Bring healing to those who are ill. Protect those who are most at risk. Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one. Welcome those who have died into Your Eternal Home. Stabilize our communities. Unite us in our compassion. Remove all fear from our hearts. Fill us with confidence in Your care. Amen.”
- for the Church universal—its leaders, its members, and its mission. We especially pray for Bishop Nunn, for District Superintendent Cindy Havlik, and for our new Superintendent coming this summer, Connie Gibson. We also pray for those serving in medical missions around the world. We also pray for . . . .
- in communion with the saints, remembering all those who have gone on before us, and now form part of the great Hall of Faith which encourages those of us who remain on earth.
- For my (our) needs today, which include . . .
Help me (us) remember, Lord, that you are merciful and good, and quick to act in times of need. I (We) thank you for all of your many blessings that you graciously give to us and to the world you love.
Therefore, as your child (children) on earth, I (we) pray the prayer that our Brother Jesus taught us to pray:
- Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen.
TITHES AND OFFERINGS
Please take a moment to remember all the many blessings God has given you and to write a check to help support the ministry of your church. Our mailing address is 12424 E. 31st St., Tulsa, OK 74146. We especially encourage you yo go to www.hopefortulsa.com/give/ to make an online donation. Thank you for your support!
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH: (From the Uniting Church of Canada)
Let's us affirm our faith together. Please proclaim this aloud:
- We are not alone, we live in God's world.
- We believe in God:
- who has created and is creating,
- who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new,
- who works in us and others by the Spirit.
- We trust in God.
- We are called to be the Church:
- to celebrate God's presence,
- to live with respect in Creation,
- to love and serve others,
- to seek justice and resist evil,
- to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.
- In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.
- We are not alone.
- Thanks be to God. Amen.
HYMN OF DISCIPLESHIP: "Amazing Grace" (arranged by Alan Jackson), UMH #378.
As you sing this hymn, please commit to--right after you end worship today--calling someone, emailing someone or writing a note to someone God puts on your heart.
- Lord Jesus, allow your servants to go in peace. We have experienced your salvation which you have prepared for everyone. Strengthen us as we seek to serve others in your name. Amen.
Hey, kids! Go here for some great worship!!!!
May God bless you richly!