The Great Fifty Days of Eastertide form a single festival period in which the tone of joy created at the Easter Vigil is sustained through the following seven weeks and the Church celebrates the gloriously risen Christ. The Easter candle stands prominently in church for all of this season. The Alleluia appears frequently in the liturgy and white/gold as the liturgical colour for vestments and decorations emphasise the joy and brightness of the season.
Theme: Testing Truth
Gathering and Opening Prayers
A call to worship and a gathering prayer
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.
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.
The Collect for Easter2:
Risen Christ for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:
open the doors of our hearts
that we may seek the good of others and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace
to the praise of God the Father.
Gathering around the Word
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?
- How can you tell if something is ‘fake news’?
- If someone asked, what is your ‘evidence’ for your faith?
- What would you ask Jesus if you had the chance?
An Easter Affirmation of Faith:
As Christians throughout the world what unites us, not only at this time but always, is our belief, our trust in a loving and ever present God – but today because we live in extraordinary times we join in this unusual version.
We believe that behind the Lenten mist the sun waits.
We believe that beyond the dark night of Good Friday it is raining stars.We will not be robbed of faith and Easter hope, this shall not be broken.We believe – and may we live to prove, on earth as it is in heaven:that goodness is stronger than evilthat light is stronger than darknessthat love is stronger than hatethat life is stronger than death.(Adapted from: ‘Confessing our Faith Around the World’ from Chile, in ‘Bread of Tomorrow’ ed. by Janet Morley 1992 and Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
A prayer of thanksgiving
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.
Prayers of Intercession: led this week by Andrew Heldt
Response: Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.
The Our Father
We join with others of the St Catherine’s family across the globe
in our preferred form or language.
The Sending Out
A sending out prayer
Lord Jesus, we often have questions.
We don’t always find an answer,
but we know we can trust you with the worries inside us.
Help us always to look to you when we are unsure.
|Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
|Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Saviour am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
|This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long.
|Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Organ voluntary: Organist Stephen Brown