Sunday School, April 19, 2020 2 Easter A
How can we believe without seeing?
Can we see Jesus? Can we hear him talk to us? Can we touch him?
Can we see God? Can we hear God? Can we touch God?
Do we believe in God and Jesus without being able to see, hear or touch them?
How do we believe in God and Jesus without seeing, hearing or touching?
If we believe in God and Jesus without seeing, hearing or touching them is our belief not as good as the early disciples who walked with Jesus, talked with him, saw him and touched him?
All of these questions are answered by the story about the Doubting Thomas. After Jesus appeared again after his death to his disciple, Thomas was not with the other disciples. The other disciples told Thomas that Jesus appeared to them. Thomas did not believe that Jesus was alive. The next time Jesus appeared Thomas was with them. When he saw and touched and heard Jesus, he believed.
Jesus said that Thomas was blessed and fortunate to see him. Jesus said that other people did not see him and they too were blessed because they believed, just from hearing about Jesus.
The writer of the Gospel of John said that he wrote his Gospel so people might believe in Jesus Christ.
Face to face visit with Jesus, hearing about Jesus, and reading about Jesus. These are all ways that we can come to believe and Jesus said all of these ways are blessed.
You and I do not live at the same time that Jesus lived but the disciples who lived with Jesus told others about him and many believed. The disciples who walked with Jesus told about him and these stories were written down and we have the Gospels in the Bible to read and come to believe about Jesus.
All of these ways of believing are equally blessed by God. Why? Many people saw Jesus and did not believe. Many people have heard about Jesus and not believed? Many people have read about Jesus and not believed in him.
What makes seeing, hearing and reading about Jesus blessed and all equal? The Holy Spirit is God’s unseen presence inside of us, in our hearts, and when are hearts are in love with God, then we can believe in Jesus through seeing, hearing and reading about him. It is the presence of God’s Spirit within us that helps us come to believe in Jesus in a way that changes our life to follow the example of Jesus.
Lord Jesus Christ, even though I do not see you, I believe in you because I have heard about you and I have read about you and I have seen how you have changed the lives of people in my life. Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit inside of me to help me understand how the Risen Christ is still close within me. Amen.
Today we read a story about a man named Thomas. And Thomas has a nickname. Do you know what his nickname is? He’s called “doubting Thomas.” What does that mean? Well, it means that he would only believe that Jesus was alive, if he could see him, hear him, and touch him.
Do any of us see, hear and touch Jesus today? Do we believe that Jesus is alive?
Do we only believe things that we can see, touch and hear? No. In fact some of the greatest things that we believe, cannot be seen, touched or heard.
When you are not in the same room as your mom and dad, do they still love you? Do your parents still love you when you can’t see them, touch them or hear them? Of course they still love you. And you can believe in that love. So when you are at school, do your parents still love you? Of course they do.
I had a very special grandmother when I was young. I just loved to be with her. She was so much fun and she gave a nice birthday partyand she always fixed special favorite food for us. And she told wonderful stories and she sang songs with us. And I knew that she loved me. And my grandmother got old and she died, and it is very sad that I could not hear her, see her or talk to her anymore in the way I used to. But you know what? I still feel her love for me. I still believe in her love, even though I don’t see her, hear her or talk to her. I still believe in her love.
After the resurrection of Christ, the disciples could not see, hear or touch Jesus in the same way. But they continued to know that Jesus loved them. They still continued to believe that Jesus was still with them in very special ways. And how could they tell that Jesus was still with them?
They were used to arguing with each other; but when they live in peace with each other they knew that this peace was because Christ was still with them. They used to hold grudges against each; but when they forgave each other, they knew that Christ was still with them.
When I look at you, I can see you, I can hear you and I can touch you. And you are wonderful to look at. But you know what? I can’t really see the very best part of you? I can’t see what is inside of you.
And what is inside of you is your spirit. It is your spirit that makes you a wonderful mystery to enjoy. And that spirit of yours is always going to be young and new and fresh. Even though I can’t see your spirit, I know it is most important part of you that makes you special.
The friends of Jesus did not see the Spirit of Jesus; but it was his best part too. And when they could no longer see his body; they could still feel his Spirit with them. And we can feel the Spirit of Jesus with us today. We can feel it when we have peace and when we forgive each other.
So remember today; we can believe in things that we don’t see. The spirit of Christ is with us today. And that is meaning of the resurrection of Christ. Amen.
Intergenerational Family Service with Holy Eucharist
April 19, 2020: The Second Sunday of Easter
Gathering Songs: Glory Be to God On High; Now the Green Blade Rises, He is Lord, He Lives!
Liturgist: Alleluia, Christ is Risen.
People: The Lord is Risen Indeed. Alleluia.
Liturgist: Oh God, Our hearts are open to you.
And you know us and we can hide nothing from you.
Prepare our hearts and our minds to love you and worship you.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Song: Glory Be to God on High (Christian Children Songbook, # 70)
Glory be to God on high, alleluia. Glory be to God on high, alleluia.
Praise the Father, Spirit, Son, alleluia. Praise the Godhead, Three in one, alleluia.
Sing we praises unto Thee, alleluia, for the truth that sets us free. Alleluia.
Liturgist: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Liturgist: Let us pray
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
First Litany of Praise: Chant: Alleluia
O God, you are Great! Alleluia
O God, you have made us! Alleluia
O God, you have made yourself known to us! Alleluia
O God, you have provided us with us a Savior! Alleluia
O God, you have given us a Christian family! Alleluia
O God, you have forgiven our sins! Alleluia
O God, you brought your Son Jesus back from the dead! Alleluia
A reading from the First Letter of Peter
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Liturgist: The Word of the Lord
People: Thanks be to God
Let us read together from Psalm 16
I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel; * my heart teaches me, night after night.
I have set the LORD always before me; * because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; * my body also shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon me to the grave, * nor let your holy one see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life; *in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Litany Phrase: Thanks be to God! (chanted)
For the good earth, for our food and clothing. Thanks be to God!
For our families and friends. Thanks be to God!
For the talents and gifts that you have given to us. Thanks be to God!
For this day of worship. Thanks be to God!
For health and for a good night’s sleep. Thanks be to God!
For work and for play. Thanks be to God!
For teaching and for learning. Thanks be to God!
For the happy events of our lives. Thanks be to God!
For the celebration of the birthdays and anniversaries of our friends and parish family.
Thanks be to God!
Liturgist: The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John
People: Glory to you, Lord Christ.
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.
Liturgist: The Gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you, Lord Christ.
Sermon – Father Phil
We did not make ourselves, so we believe that God the Father is the maker of the world.
Since God is so great and we are so small,
We believe God came into our world and was born as Jesus, son of the Virgin Mary.
We need God’s help and we believe that God saved us by the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We believe that God is present with us now as the Holy Spirit.
We believe that we are baptized into God’s family the Church where everyone is
We believe that Christ is kind and fair.
We believe that we have a future in knowing Jesus Christ.
And since we all must die, we believe that God will preserve us forever. Amen.
Litany Phrase: Christ, have mercy.
For fighting and war to cease in our world. Christ, have mercy.
For peace on earth and good will towards all. Christ, have mercy.
For the safety of all who travel. Christ, have mercy.
For jobs for all who need them. Christ, have mercy.
For care of those who are growing old. Christ, have mercy.
For the safety, health and nutrition of all the children in our world. Christ, have mercy.
For the well-being of our families and friends. Christ, have mercy.
For the good health of those we know to be ill. Christ, have mercy.
For the remembrance of those who have died. Christ, have mercy.
For the forgiveness of all of our sins. Christ, have mercy.
Youth Liturgist: The Peace of the Lord be always with you.
People: And also with you.
Song during the preparation of the Altar and the receiving of an offering
Song: Now the Green Blade Riseth, (# 204 in the blue hymnal)
1-Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain, wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain; love lives again, that with the dead has been; Refrain: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.
2-In the grave they laid him, Love whom hate had slain, thinking that never he would wake again, laid in the earth like grain sleeps unseen. Refrain
3-Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain, he that for three days in the grave had lain, quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen: Refrain.
4-When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain, thy touch can call us back to life again, fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: Refrain.
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.
Prologue to the Eucharist
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, for to them belong the kingdom of heaven.”
All become members of a family by birth or adoption.
Baptism is a celebration of our birth into the family of God.
A family meal gathers and sustains each human family.
The Holy Eucharist is the special meal that Jesus gave to his friends to keep us together as the family of Christ.
The Lord be with you
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.
It is very good and right to give thanks, because God made us, Jesus redeemed us and the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. Therefore with Angels and Archangels and all of the world that we see and don’t see, we forever sing this hymn of praise:
Holy, Holy, Holy (Intoned)
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Power and Might. Heav’n and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna in the Highest.
(All may gather around the altar)
Our grateful praise we offer to you God, our Creator;
You have made us in your image
And you gave us many men and women of faith to help us to live by faith:
Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachael.
And then you gave us your Son, Jesus, born of Mary, nurtured by Joseph
And he called us to be sons and daughters of God.
Your Son called us to live better lives and he gave us this Holy Meal so that when we eat
the bread and drink the wine, we can know that the Presence of Christ is as near to us as
this food and drink that becomes a part of us.
And so, Father, we bring you these gifts of bread and wine. Bless and sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Bless and sanctify us by your Holy Spirit so that we may love God and our neighbor.
On the night when Jesus was betrayed he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to his friends, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."
After supper, Jesus took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said, "Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."
Father, we now celebrate the memorial of your Son. When we eat this holy Meal of Bread and Wine, we are telling the entire world about the life, death and resurrection of Christ and that his presence will be with us in our future.
Let this holy meal keep us together as friends who share a special relationship because of your Son Jesus Christ. May we forever live with praise to God to whom we belong as sons and daughters.
By Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory
is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.
And now as our Savior Christ has taught us, we now sing,
Our Father: (Renew # 180, West Indian Lord’s Prayer)
Our Father who art in heaven: Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done: Hallowed be thy name.
Done on earth as it is in heaven: Hallowed be thy name.
Give us this day our daily bread: Hallowed be thy name.
And forgive us all our debts: Hallowed be thy name.
As we forgive our debtors: Hallowed be thy name.
Lead us not into temptation: Hallowed be thy name.
But deliver us from evil: Hallowed be thy name.
Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory: Hallowed be thy name.
Forever and ever: Hallowed be thy name.
Amen, amen, amen: Hallowed be thy name.
Amen, amen, amen, amen: Hallowed be thy name.
Breaking of the Bread
Celebrant: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People: Therefore let us keep the feast.
Words of Administration
Communion Anthem: He Is Lord (Renew!, # 29)
1-He is Lord. He is Lord. He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
2-He is King. He is King. He will draw all nations to him, He is king. And the time shall be when the world shall sing that Jesus Christ is King.
3-He is Love. He is Love. He has shown us by his life that He is Love. All his people sing with one voice of joy that Jesus Christ is Love.
4-He is Life. He is Life. He has died to set us free and he is Life. And he calls us now to live evermore, for Jesus Christ is Life.
Everlasting God, we have gathered for the meal that Jesus asked us to keep;
We have remembered his words of blessing on the bread and the wine.
And His Presence has been known to us.
We have remembered that we are sons and daughters of God and brothers
and sisters in Christ.
Send us forth now into our everyday lives remembering that the blessing in the
bread and wine spreads into each time, place and person in our lives,
As we are ever blessed by you, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Closing Song: He Lives (Lift Every Voice and Sing # 42).
I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world to today; I know that He is living, whatever others say; I see his hand of mercy, I hear his voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him He’s always near.
Refrain: He lives. He lives. Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives. He lives within my heart.
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christians, lift up your voice and sing. Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ, the King! The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find, None other is so loving, so good and kind. Refrain
Liturgist: Let us go forth in the Name of Christ.
People: Thanks be to God!