Watch the service here.
If you are watching our live stream this morning, you are invited to find a candle, so that we can all light candles at the same time.
CALL TO WORSHIP (1 John 4:7, 19)
Beloved, let us love one another.
We love because God first loved us.
Let us pray: O God, form the minds of your faithful people into a single will. Make us love what you command and desire what you promise, that, amid all the changes of this world, our hearts may be fixed where true joy is found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
CALL TO THANKSGIVING
In the season of Easter, we use this time to offer our thanks to God, rather than our confessions, because Christ has died for our sins and has risen to give us new life.
Please join me in the prayer of thanksgiving, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Eternal God, we praise you that your glory has dawned on us, and brought us into this Day of Resurrection. We rejoice that the grave could not hold your Son, and that he has conquered death, risen to rule over all powers of this earth. We praise you that he summons us into new life, to follow him with joy and gladness. By your Spirit, lift us from doubt and despair, and set our feet in Christ’s holy way, that our lives may be signs of his life, and all we have may show forth his love. Praise, glory, and thanksgiving to you, our God, forever and ever. Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what are you thankful for this week?
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Let us pray: Gracious God, in this moment we want to listen attentively to you. Send your Spirit to silence the distractions within and without. Quiet any noise that beckons us away from your voice. Help us to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear his living Word.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
PSALM 31:1-5, 15-16
In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
1 Jesus, lover of my soul,
let me to thy bosom fly,
while the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
till the storm of life is past.
Safe into the haven guide.
O receive my soul at last!
2 Other refuge have I none;
hangs my helpless soul on thee.
Leave, ah! leave me not alone;
still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed;
all my help from thee I bring.
Cover my defenseless head
with the shadow of thy wing.
3 Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
more than all in thee I find.
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is thy name;
I am all unrighteousness.
False and full of sin I am;
thou art full of truth and grace.
4 Plenteous grace with thee is found,
grace to cover all my sin.
Let the healing streams abound;
make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art;
freely let me take of thee.
Spring thou up within my heart.
Rise to all eternity.
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
Jesus said, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’
Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’
Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.’
- What kind of question would you ask Jesus?
- When have you felt as if someone prepared a place for you? What did that feel like?
- How is your heart troubled this week? Does this passage from John ease your troubled heart? What brings you relief when you are troubled?
Listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “One Last Time,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (JILL DUFFIELD)
Lord, we are here. Perhaps not unlike Jesus’ first disciples, we come to you a little fearful, scattered, grateful for our encounters with the risen Christ — but troubled and unsure what to do next. As we continue to worship in our separate spaces, we long to be together, gathered in your home, brought to the places you prepare for us. In our anxiety over the duration of this pandemic and in our worries about the many and long ramifications of this trying time, we want desperately to believe in you and believe in Jesus. We pray for an outpouring of your Spirit. Send the Comforter, our Advocate, to show us the way, remind us of the truth and grant us abundant life.
Lord, we have questions. We know there are lessons we should know well but cannot seem to recall. We feel upended by so much change and so little control. We confess that there are commandments of Jesus we remember but struggle to keep. We need to be honest about our misgivings and doubts. Confident that you will love us to the end and despite our failings, we share with you all that troubles our hearts:
We are troubled by the mounting deaths caused by COVID-19.
We are troubled by the growing numbers of lost jobs and economic turmoil.
We are troubled by our inability to be close to the ones we love when they need us the most.
We are troubled by children missing out on their education, those who wonder when they will next eat, those with no place to find shelter.
We are troubled by the people wrestling with addiction, those suffering from mental illness and those languishing in loneliness.
We are troubled by pain within and without, the violence inflicted on the innocent, the cruelty perpetrated on the vulnerable, the scarcity that belies your generosity and abundance.
Lord, we come to you, aching to be given a place to rest and a space to set our burdens down. We come to you because we believe in you, your grace, your mercy, your compassion and your power. You promise us spaces of rest, inexplicable peace, joy not dependent upon our circumstances. In you we find our home. You set us free to do your work in this world.
Grant us the courage to name how we feel, lament what we see and then turn us toward the people who need their hearts put at ease. Make of us living stones who create buildings of relief, shelters of compassion, tabernacles of mercy.
Lord, we boldly ask to follow you so closely that others will come to know you and believe in you through our work and our witness. May our faithful discipleship ease our troubled hearts and perpetuate the love of the One in whose name we pray, our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught us to say when we pray:
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
1 Sing praise to God who reigns above,
the God of all creation,
the God of power, the God of love,
the God of our salvation.
With healing balm my soul is filled,
and every faithless murmur stilled:
to God all praise and glory!
2 What God’s almighty power has made
God’s gracious mercy keepeth;
by morning glow or evening shade
God’s watchful eye ne’er sleepeth.
Within the kingdom of God’s might,
lo! all is just and all is right:
to God all praise and glory!
3 The Lord is never far away,
but, through all grief distressing,
an ever-present help and stay,
our peace and joy and blessing,
as with a mother’s tender hand
God gently leads the chosen band:
to God all praise and glory!
4 Thus all my toilsome way along
I sing aloud thy praises,
that all may hear the grateful song
my voice unwearied raises.
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart;
both soul and body, take your part:
to God all praise and glory!
INVITATION TO OFFERING
Into the hands of God we commit our spirits and ourselves. All we have comes from the one who made heaven and earth. In gratitude for all the blessings of this life, we offer with joy God’s tithes and our offerings.
If you are able to, please consider mailing your offerings to the church (210 Smith Street). Alternatively, there is a link at the top of this page that will take you directly to a secure page where you can make a one-time donation. We appreciate your generosity as we seek to continue our mission and ministry throughout the community during this difficult time.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Let us pray: Lord, out of love you prepare a place for us not only in heaven, but on earth. We are never outside of your care or left to fend for ourselves. You are the way, the truth and the life that eases the troubles of our hearts. Take these gifts, bless and use them to create places of refuge for those most in need of your peace and rest. May these offerings build spaces of love and grace here and now, so that all can celebrate together in our Father’s house. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (The Apostles Creed)
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God’s countenance be lifted upon you and give you peace.
Trust that Jesus is leading us home
to the house of the Lord
where we will dwell forever.
God has seen us through uncertain times before,
and God will see us through again.
From wherever you are, serve the Lord: Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.
VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR
If you are using this page to follow along with today’s worship service while it is being live streamed, please join us for virtual coffee hour! Turn on your video camera and join us at about 11am or a little before with this link. You could also join over the telephone by dialing (312) 626-6799 and entering the meeting code 146 874 134, followed by the password 075003.