If Easter finds us

Eldad – Hampton Pastoral Charge of
the United Church of Canada.

Minister: Rev. James Feairs, B. A., M. Div., Retired Supply.
Organist & Choir Leader: Jennifer Pearce-Chambers.
Livestreaming and song leader: Shawn Pearce-Chambers.

April 19, 2020                                                                                       2nd Sunday of Easter

Livestream service via Facebook and website during pandemic precautions

People’s responses are in bold type.
NEW: Song titles, click each for link to lyrics.

We Gather with Praise

Gospel Jam: Amen, Amen; 376 Spirit of the Living God;
Holy Spirit Hear Us

Call to Worship: Christ is risen from the dead,
Death no longer has dominion,
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life,”
As we believe, we shall live.
There is a joy deeper than our understanding,
We experience it, and then we know.
So let us pray, and keep praising,
We are practicing for a joy which will have no end!

Opening Prayer:
Living God, awaken us to your loving presence, that we may see a glimpse of life eternal within this present moment. Touch us all that we may be one in your Spirit. Though we are apart, and missing one another, bring us together. Bless our song and thought and prayer, that some of Easter itself may move in our lives, and strengthen us for this coming week. In the name of Christ the risen one we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance

Sharing Time

Song: 186. Now the green blade rises.

We Encounter God’s Word

Book of Revelation 1:4-8. The faithful witness, the risen one.
John 20:19-25. Thomas misses out.
John 20:26-31. Thomas finds it is still Easter.
Reader: The Word, for our use and God’s glory.
People: Amen.

Special Music/solo/duet: Holy Ground

Message: “If Easter finds us . . . .”

We Respond with Prayer and Thanksgiving

Song: 371. Open my eyes, that I may see.

Prayer for Gifts and Givers: God of mercy and grace, out of your infinite creativity you have given us life itself. Bless all that is entrusted to our care, that we may, in sharing our gifts and faith, become more and more like you in spirit and word and action. Bless this day all the churches of East Central Ontario, especially the people and minister of St. Paul’s Ajax. Encourage all givers and use all gifts for your glory and the good of our world. Amen.

Prayers of the People

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Closing Hymn: 245. Praise the Lord with the sound of trumpet.

Bible Study:
This is not a sprint – it’s a marathon

Easter Greetings members and friends of Eldad and Hampton United Churches!
I have just been hearing from a few colleagues in ministry how they and their congregations have been doing while coming through what is always a busy Easter week.
It sounds as if folks have found worship at Easter very meaningful, but in new and different ways, as churches and ministers and staff have been scrambling with various ways of being able to offer worship, while we are not able to meet because of pandemic restrictions.

Several of them said: “we have to understand, this is not a sprint – it’s a marathon.”

Let us run the raace

Let’s take that thought to start us on this week’s Bible Study
Again, you are encouraged to read the scripture several times; and take time to answer the questions. Perhaps you have been sharing these in your household, or over the phone with a friend. Good! The good news becomes real when we hear ourselves talking through it, and realizing it has so many layers and depths that each of us may get something new out of it this year.
Mightn’t that be because we bring something new to it each year? Our own experience is our most valuable resource; the scripture will echo something new from it each time.

READ: Gospel of John 20:19-31. Disciple Thomas gets to catch up.

Question: Were you/ are you a runner? A jumper? A walker? A plodder? A climber?
Where did you love to run as a child?
Can you name some event in your life that was like a sprint?
What stages or events in your life are or have been more like a marathon?

Background: We need to note when John says ‘the Jews’, as he often does, he means the religious authorities who had opposed Jesus. Everybody in this scripture is Jewish. They all also had to be wary of Roman authorities.

Question: Thomas the disciple ‘misses’ Easter morning.
What is something you remember you ‘just missed?’ A bus? A plane? One number away from a winning ticket? A disaster? A unique opportunity?
Did you ‘catch up’?

Thomas doesn’t depend on other’s experience, does he? “Unless I see for myself…”

Reflect: Do we ask God to ‘prove’ God’s own self to us? “God, if you are real…”
Is Jesus’ appearance proof – or grace? (undeserved favour).
How are we ‘graced’ in these days? Are we finding some value in quiet and silence?

Thought for Easter: The women of Easter morning sprinted from the tomb to go and tell Peter and the rest Jesus has risen.
Thomas may have been late – but he was two thousand years ahead of us! Faith may begin like a sprint – but it becomes a marathon, doesn’t it?
“Let us run the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher (pioneer and perfecter) of our faith.”

God is still on the road with us. It is still Easter! Rev. Jim