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2nd Sunday of Easter : 7th April 2024

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

For the Lord has ordained the blessing: life for evermore.

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

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.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Acts 4:32-35
00:00 / 00:41

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 John 1:1-2:2
00:00 / 01:53

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint John.

John 20:19-31
00:00 / 02:06

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Disciples to Apostles!
00:00 / 12:04

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon for Easter 2, 7th Apr 2024

MAY the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>

What an emotional time it’s been for the disciples! Think of what they witnessed in the days leading up to Easter: there was that emotional Thursday evening, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, and shared a last supper with them. There was His agony in the garden, when those same disciples fell asleep as Jesus prayed. There was the betrayal by one of their own, Judas, and Jesus’ arrest. The denial by Peter, the crowds shouting for Jesus to be crucified. His trial, his torture, and then, finally, his crucifixion. His burial in the tomb.

Two days later, those stories from the woman who went to visit the tomb, that the tomb was empty, and Jesus was raised from the dead.

Just imagine the swirl of emotions those disciples must have been feeling when Jesus comes and stands among! They felt joy, of course, but also sadness over what Jesus went through. Confusion over what His resurrection meant. Fear; we know that they were very afraid … and, I strongly suspect, they felt guilt, too, over deserting Jesus, in His hour of need. And in response to all of that joy, sadness, confusion, fear and guilt, Jesus simply says, “Peace be with you.” <LONG PAUSE>

“Peace Be with You” - what Jesus did here was to show those frightened and confused people the same grace, mercy, forgiveness and love that He always showed. He came and stood among them and simply said, “Peace be with you.”

Not only was Jesus alive and among them, He had also forgiven them for all that they had done – and not done – over those previous dramatic days.

We often read today’s gospel and focus on Thomas, but today I want to focus on those fear-filled disciples, trembling behind that locked door, and wondering what it all means. You see this story is really about each and every one of us: trying to live a life worthy of our Lord and Saviour; struggling with doubt, weighed down with fear, and constantly falling short of what we know that He expects from us. <PAUSE>

This story is also about how Jesus comes to US, in the midst of our doubts and fears and sin and guilt, to offer each and every one of us those simple word of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. “Peace be with you,” … says our risen Lord to us all.

This gospel reading highlights the peace which surpasses all understanding; the peace which the world cannot give; the peace that can only come from our crucified and risen Lord; and the peace that comes when we most need it. <PAUSE>

Think back to a time in your life when you feel as though you have truly disappointed God, fallen short of what God wants you to be … This is when Jesus shows up and says to you: “Peace be with you.” That is what our Lord does for each and every one of us. That, too, is what the miracle of Easter means for us. However, today’s gospel is also about the ways in which we are called to share that peace with a world so filled with doubt and fear.

Jesus did not join his disciples in that locked house simply to celebrate His resurrection with them. He also joined them there to give them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and to send them to the world to continue His mission. “As the Father has sent me,” Jesus said to them and to us, “so I send you.”

The word “Disciple” literally means one who learns. The word “Apostle” literally means one who is sent.

Those first disciples have learned many things from Jesus. By His words and His example, He has taught them about the Kingdom of God, and about our Heavenly Father’s purpose for them and for the world.

Now, NOW, these disciples are to become apostles. Disciples who are sent into the world. Jesus sends those first disciples out into the world to be His apostles. And He sends us out into the world in the same way. WE ARE ALL APOSTLES - trying to reach as many people as possible (as my wife recently reminded me). We are the ‘sent-out people of God’, on a mission that comes straight from our crucified and risen Messiah.

But Jesus doesn’t just tell us to do this. He helps us to do this. That, too, is the miracle of the resurrection. After he said to those first apostles, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus breathed on them, I can almost imagine those disciples thinking back to the creation story in Genesis: when God took dust from the ground, formed Adam from the dust, and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. As the Father did at the beginning, so the Son did to those first disciples. So the Holy Spirit does to us in our baptisms: when we are made new creations in Christ; No longer merely dust which will return to dust when we die. We are now brothers and sisters in Christ, who will live forever with our crucified and risen Lord. <PAUSE>

I absolutely love this gospel passage … You see, it is not enough for Jesus that He conquered death through the great triumph of Easter. Now he wants to breathe this new life into you and I; he wants to share that new life with us. And then? Then he wants us to go out and share that new life with others. To share that new life with a world that is suffocated by anxiety and fear. He wants to breathe new life into this world through us. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” <PAUSE>

We are the ones continuing Jesus’ mission. We are now the body of Christ in the world. We are God’s plan to bring new life into a dying world. Our words, our deeds, our hope, our faith, our love, our witness in our daily lives, our acts of love to others; all of this done in Jesus’ name with the help of the Holy Spirit; all this is how the world catches a glimpse of our Risen Lord.

“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” THAT is what it means to be an apostle, and that is what we are … and to God will be the glory.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu.
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMEN>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.
 

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

Mighty God, we thank You for the amazing gift we have received!  We have been born again through the resurrection and even though we have not seen the Risen Christ we love and believe in him, rejoicing with all Christians in an indescribable and glorious joy.

In Jesus, name we pray. Amen.

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in your mercy” Our response is, “hear our prayer!”

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Gracious God, like Your first disciples, we will still face times of doubt and uncertainty but we know that we are not alone in our doubts and that You, our Father in heaven, continue to love us whatever our state of mind or body.

We give you thanks for our fellow Christians around the world. We give thanks for all the hard work that our brothers and sisters are doing to stay connected and for the way it keeps us together in worship.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Creator God we pray for the nations; for where we live and the countries around the world, particularly raising before you our concerns about poverty, injustice, hunger, violence, and oppression.


(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Father God, we pray for the times when our doubts, our fears and our limited vision prevent us from taking care of those who surround us : our immediate family and household, our neighbourhood, our wider community.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Faithful God, we hold before you, those whom life has damaged and all who find it difficult to trust in you.  We pray that you will push aside their doubts and fears and bring them hope, comfort, and healing and with it an inner peace.

We especially raise before you now all those who have asked for our prayers from around the world … those we know in New Zealand, in Singapore, in Argentina, in France, in Australia, in the US, in Canada, in Austria, in Ukraine, in China and any others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Merciful God we pray for those who approach death with great fear and those who have died unprepared to meet you. Have mercy on them, forgive them all that is past and gather them into your everlasting kingdom of peace and joy. May all the departed rest in Your peace.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

In a moment of silence we pray for ourselves, our families, friends, for all whom we love and for our personal ministries. Make us worthy of the resurrection that Your Son has won for us.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Everlasting God we thank you that our time of shared worship presented on our website renews our faith and trust in You and Your risen Son Jesus Christ.  Help us during the coming week to always be ready to show our gratitude and live the Good News of Easter that we received.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:
 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:

 

God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and

 

The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.

 

Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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