April 19, 2020 — Second Sunday of Easter

CALL TO WORSHIP

With Mary, whose glad tidings signaled hope and summoned joy, we proclaim:
We have seen the Lord!
With the disciples, whom Jesus greeted with peace and freed from fear, we declare:
We have seen the Lord!
Behold! The risen Lord is in our midst!
Let us worship God!

 

HYMN NO. 254                                         That Easter Day with Joy was Bright                 PUER NOBIS NASCITUR

1 That Easter day with joy was bright;
the sunshine e'en with fairer light,
when, to their longing eyes restored,
the apostles saw their risen Lord.

 

2 His risen flesh with radiance glowed;
his wounded hands and feet he showed;
the scars their solemn witness gave
that Christ was risen from the grave.

 

3 O Jesus, King of gentleness,
Do Thou Thyself our hearts possess 
that we may give Thee all our days
the tribute of our grateful praise?

 

4 From every weapon death can wield, 
your own redeemed forever shield;
O God of all, with us abide
in this our joyful Eastertide. 

 

CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE OF GOD'S GRACE 

CALL TO CONFESSION

Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our merciful God has given us living hope that we, too, may share in new and abundant life. Yet, we do not always live as an Easter people. Trusting that God will transform our hearts, let us confess our tendency to cling to old ways of living rather than embracing the gift of new life.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Risen Lord, you have breathed the Spirit upon us, and sent us forth to testify to what we have heard and seen. Yet we resist this calling, huddling behind locked doors rather than stepping out with confidence. We yearn for more — more proof, more courage, more guidance, more faith — and forget that you have given us all we need: the gift of the Holy Spirit. Forgive us, we pray. Free us from fear and send us forth to proclaim: "We have seen the Lord!"

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Let your hearts be glad and your souls rejoice! For the One who raised Jesus from the dead does not abandon us to the grave; the One who sent Jesus into the world teaches us the way that leads to life. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace. Alleluia! Amen! 

 

ANTHEM                                                "Agnus Dei," from Coronation Mass                                   W A MOZART

                                                                        Tanya Roberts, Soprano

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, misere nobis.                
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, misere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem. 
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace. 

 

PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION

Living God, with joy we celebrate the presence of your risen Word. Enliven our hearts by your Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news of eternal and abundant life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

 

SCRIPTURE              Acts 2:14:22–32 (NSRV); 1 Peter 1:3–9 (NSRV); John 20:19–31 (The Message (MSG))

Acts 2:14:22–32 — Peter Addresses the Crowd

14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and listen to what I say. 

22"You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know — 23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25For David says concerning him, 

'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. 27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. 28You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'

29"Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. 31Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the messiah, saying, 'He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.' 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses." 

 

1 Peter 1:3–9 — A Living Hope

3Blessed 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, 4and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7so that the genuineness of your faith — being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 

 

John 20:19–31 — To Believe

19–20Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." then he showed them his hands and side.

20–21The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: "Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you." 

22–23Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he said. "If you forgive someone's sins, they're gone for good. If you don't forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?" 

24–25But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, "We saw the Master." But he said, "Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won't believe it." 26Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." 27Then he focused his attention on Thomas. "Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don't be unbelieving. Believe." 28Thomas said, "My Master! My God!" 29Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing." 30–31Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it. 

 

SERMON                                                            Apostles of Hope                                             Rev. Chris Stewart

 

HYMN                                                                  Thine Be the Glory                                        JUDAS MACCABEUS

 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

Life in Christ is life eternal. The resurrection of Jesus is the sign that God will consummate the work of creation and reconciliation beyond death and bring to fulfillment the new life begun in Christ. Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.26

 

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE LORD'S PRAYER

God of redemption and resurrection, we come to you as we are, rejoicing that our Lord is alive, yet still afraid of the chaos around and within us. We cannot help but doubt your goodness when so much suffering surrounds us. The pandemic continues to cause sickness and take life. Resources are scarce in the places they are needed the most. People all over the world are desperate for life's necessities. Our Easter alleluias get stuck in our throats when we survey the pain of your glorious creation. 

Come, Risen Lord, walk among us, show us your wounds, give us your peace, breathe the Spirit into our weariness and worries. 

God of pursuing grace and mercy, we come to you as we are, grateful for the gift of reconciliation, yet still unsure if we dare to go and extend your forgiveness to others. We are prone to hold grudges and too often find satisfaction in the downfall of our enemies. Partisanship continues despite our need to come together to defeat the scourge of injustice, ever-growing inequity, and the pervasiveness of poverty. Our Easter alleluias feel hypocritical when we look around at the systemic sin in which we participate. 

Come, Risen Lord, walk among us, show us you are alive, grant us the peace that passes understanding. Embolden us with the Spirit so that we might speak your Word and do your will. 

God of loving-kindness and relentless reconciliation, we come to you as we are, praising you for your unwillingness to leave us alone, yet tired in the face of the world's overwhelming needs. We believe that Jesus is our Lord and God. We know he commands us to follow his example of servant leadership. We remember all he taught us about the least and the last, asking and receiving, moving mountains with mustard seed faith. Knowing that you come to us, just as we are, keeping your promises and never abandoning us, we shout our Easter alleluias echoing the heavenly chorus that spurs us on to run the race set before us. 

You are here, Risen Lord, wounded and standing before us. Your sure presence gives us peace. Your Spirit, our Advocate, Comforter and Teacher, will show us the way and accomplish your plans. 

We worship you, our Lord and our God, and we pray in your name and as you taught us, saying, 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 sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. 

 

INVITATION TO OFFERING

How does God's love abide in anyone
who has the world's goods
yet refuses to help a sister or brother in need?
Remembering God's great love for the world,
let us offer our lives to the Lord. 1 John 3:16–17

 

OFFERING

Your finance committee encourages you to continue your stewardship support by mailing contributions to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 353 E. Pine St, Wooster, OH 44691, Attn: Financial Secretary. 

 

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Great God, to you we give our thanks; 
your steadfast love endures forever. 
With gratitude we bring our gifts to you. 
Bless us and our gifts,
that our lives and our resources 
may be a source of healing and hope,
of joy and justice in our world. Amen. 

 

HYMN NO. 250                                              In the Bulb, There is a Flower                                                PROMISE

 

BLESSING AND CHARGE

May the love of the holy triune God —
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit —
abide with you forever. Alleluia! 
1 John 4:13–16

 

Now go forth in Jesus' name,
remembering his new commandment
to love one another, just as he has loved us. Amen.
1 John 3:23

 

CHORAL BENEDICTION                                  "Pie Jesu," from Requiem                                 GABRIEL FAURE

                                                                            Tanya Roberts, Soprano

Pie Jesu Domine, 
dona els requiem
sempiternam requiem. 
Merciful Jesus
Grant them everlasting rest.

 

Thank you to those who participated in the creation of this worship service:

Greg Barbu
Joel Chupp
Gracie DeLollis
Josie Drushal
Tanya Roberts
Ken Shafer
Rev. Chris Stewart 
Barbara Tartir
Pong Thiemmedh 

 

 

Canadian-American soprano Tanya Roberts looks forward to returning for her sixth season at Ohio Light Opera in 2021 as Mary (Let 'Em Eat Cake), Prince Caprice (Voyage to the Moon), Saphir (Patience), Mrs. Mullin (Carousel), and Juliane (The Mock Marriage). Tanya has performed over 75 opera, operetta, and musical theatre roles worldwide. Regional: Lyric Opera Chicago, Michigan Opera, Charlottesville Opera. International: Lyrique-en-Mer, Edmonton Opera, Tel Aviv Festival. Concert: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Banff Centre, Chicago Symphony. TV: "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." Tanya is a native of Toronto, graduate of McGill University, and resident of New York City. www.tanya-roberts.com | @tanyacroberts 
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