Junior Church

Paul Carter

Welcome and Opening Prayer (for a recording, see below)

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome to our circuit worship. Today we move beyond the major focus of our faith in Holy Week and Easter Day and into the Sundays of the Easter season, which takes us towards Pentecost at the end of May. In these days which are unprecedented in living memory, it seems almost impossible to consider now what the world might be like at Pentecost, only six weeks away. But the rhythm of our faith continues, however much or however little we value the church’s calendars; and once again we meet in our ones and twos and households to worship God.

We bring all that is on our minds, all our concerns and our joys, all that we are, before God in prayer.

Let us pray.

In a few moments of silence we call to mind what brings us to this point: our stories, the habit of worship, our need for God, our failures and dissatisfactions, our achievements and our joys.

Silence

Loving and Holy God,
you see us as we really are
and have faith in us.

You entrusted the glory of resurrection
to fallible witnesses in hiding,
and you still draw close to us,
bringing forgiveness and acceptance,
breathing your Spirit into us
to draw out the best of what we can be,
lives full of your love,
as we journey on the Way of your Son, our Saviour.

Holy God,
we come and we worship you,
the Spirit breathed into and among us,
the Son who leads us into new life,
the Father whose love enfolds us.

Faithful God,
the strength of all who believe
and the hope of those who doubt;
may we, who have not seen, have faith
and receive the fullness of Christ’s blessing;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Hymn – This Joyful Eastertide

Reading

John 20: 19–31

Reflection (for a copy of the text, see below)

19th-april-reflectionDownload

Hymn – Chosen by John Winterbottom

“I looked at the words of the hymn and thought that they could have reflected Thomas’s situation. What was in his mind. In his doubts

“In his honest doubting, could he follow Jesus, go where he didn’t know, leave himself behind? Could he allow his blindness to be lifted as he was called and leave his ‘You’ behind; those aspects of ourselves that sometimes make us feel unworthy Scared of allowing Christ to quell ours fears. And in His Goodness – never be the same?

“Thankfully, Thomas, both physically and emotionally, felt the wounds and responded to the echoes of Jesus’s summons. And journeyed in His company.” – John Winterbottom

Prayer and Blessing (for a recording, see below)

Let us pray.

We thank you, Lord,
that, even in troubled times,
you come among us
and offer us your peace.

Give us grace to have faith in you
even though we do not see you;
help us to know you
as our Lord and God.

We lift up your troubled world before you,
remembering all those many people affected by Covid-19 in particular:
those who are grieving,
those who are ill,
those who care for them.

We pray for people in isolation,
finding it hard to keep contact with family and friends,
finding life difficult
without the normal social interactions that we depend on.

And we pray for your church in these times,
for your church all around the world
and in this place.

From the Methodist Prayer Handbook
we’re asked today especially to remember
our brothers and sisters in the church in Malaysia and Singapore;
and, in these islands, for the Manchester & Stockport District.

From our District Prayer Handbook
we’re asked to remember the people of the Kettering & Corby circuit:
and we pray for them and for their witness to your love.

We pray for the churches of our circuit here,
and for our neighbouring churches from different traditions,
and for our own church:
may we all also be witnesses to your love —

so that, whatever the future may hold
in the next few days and weeks and months,
we may know your love among us
and we may share your love among us.

With the breath of the Spirit
and in the name of Christ we pray:

Amen.

And now
may God go before you
to lead you on,
God behind you
to strengthen you,
and God alongside you
to hold your hand.

Amen.

Lectionary: Sunday, 19th April

Lectionary readings for the 2nd Sunday of Easter:

Acts 2: 14a, 22–32

Psalm 16

1 Peter 1: 3–9

John 20: 19–31