Sunday 11th April 2021

We welcome you all today as we gather together for online worship.

John 20.19-31

The story of ‘doubting Thomas’ is often seen as a negative one – the disciple who wouldn’t believe without seeing the risen Jesus – and yet he is someone who just wanted to see the evidence for himself. It would have been easy for Thomas to go along with his friends who had already seen Jesus, but Thomas wanted to experience it for himself in order to believe. The meeting with Jesus provides him with the chance to test the truth for himself. In the age of social media and fake news, what helps us to believe in something? Is it knowing where it comes from, personal experience, physical evidence? This week we explore how we come to believe.

Call to worship

We come from a world confused about truth.
We come with our own uncertainties.
Let us bring the darkness of human understanding
into the presence of God, who is light.
Let us bring the story of our search for truth
and share in fellowship the things we have heard and seen and touched.

A gathering prayer

God, whose light shines in the darkness,
shine on us today.
God, made known to those who met Jesus,
touch us through the experiences of our lives.
God, who gave Thomas what he asked,
give us what we need – that we too may come to believe.
Amen.

A prayer of approach

We come in more sombre mood today;
the excitement of Easter past, we return to normal life.
But for Jesus’ followers, after that first Easter,
life would never be the same again.
Their new life with the risen Lord was just beginning.
Let us stir ourselves to remember that we are children of the
resurrection, and we approach our Lord with senses alert
to the new life and lessons he has to share with us today.
Amen.

Song 1: This Is Amazing Grace

Psalm 133 A song of ascents. Of David

1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.

Childrens’ Talk – Angela

Song 2: Joy is the flag flown high

Song 3: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Prayers

Lord, you accept our doubts and embrace our questions
like a wise parent encouraging your children to express themselves;
hiding your hurt at our scepticism,
always hoping for the best and seeing our potential.
We worship and adore you for believing in us. Amen.
Let us pray for a world in need of peace:
peace between warring nations,
peace between conflicting political ideologies,
peace between peoples of faith.

Let us pray for a world in need of love:
love for people who have lost their self-respect,
love for friends who have become alienated,
love for relatives who have lost their affection for each other.

Let us pray for a world in need of hope:
hope in the midst of despair when all seems lost,
hope when evil seems to be winning,
hope for a better future for everyone.

Let us pray for a world in need of joy:
joy when there is cause for celebration,
joy where there is a reason to give thanks,
joy as a means of sharing in the wonder of creation.

Amen.

Open prayer - [Global, National and Intercessions]

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the example of Thomas who had the courage to test the truth of what he’d been told, even if it meant he had to stand alone. We thank you for the example of the other disciples and Jesus, who did not reject Thomas but helped him find what he needed to believe.
Amen.

Song 4: International Christian Union Choir - When I Survey

John 20:19-31 New International Version - Jesus Appears to His Disciples

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.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), 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.

Sermon (Acts 4.32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1.1-2.2; John 20.19-31)

Song 5: He Lives (feat. Chris McClarney) | Church of the City (Lyrics)

A sending out prayer

Father, your Son Jesus did not reject Thomas. Help us to value questions and questioners, and not to reject either when they are awkward; to discern what kind of evidence is appropriate and trustworthy in different situations; and to have the courage ourselves to be questioners and seekers of truth.
Amen.

Supporting Documents

Roots At Home

Activity Sheet

Order of service