Holy Communion - 3rd April 2016 - Tenterden Methodist Church

Alleluia! Christ is alive!
Christ is alive indeed! Alleluia!

HYMN: Christ is alive! Let Christians sing

Perhaps you and I are here today because, like the weeping Mary of Magdala once said,
"I have seen the Lord!"

Perhaps you and I are here because Christ has come into our locked spaces
and said to us,
"Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit."

Perhaps you and I are here today like Thomas, honest with his doubt,
who finally cried:
"My Lord and my God."

Perhaps you and I are here like Peter, fighting the temptation to ignore the call of Jesus
and say something like "I'm going fishing."

Perhaps you and I are here this morning because of Jesus, who seems to ask us face-to-face:
"Do you truly love me?"

Perhaps we gather here to whisper timidly,
"Yes, Lord, you know that Perhaps we love you."

Probably we are here as a congregation only because many faithful disciples
have listened to the words of Jesus, and have passed them on.
Bless them all, for the heritage of faith that we enter.
(based on words from the Mennonite Church in Canada)

But we are here, celebrating the living Christ, a small piece of a world-wide community
that has glimpsed God through the life and death of Jesus, and has come to realise
the transforming power of God to make all things new - ourselves included.
So now we invite the presence of God to come amongst us, to refresh and restore and rejuvenate us.
In the name of Jesus we pray, and we now pray the words he gave us:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever,

HYMN: The day of resurrection

Psalm 118: 19-29

Open to me the gates of the temple, that I may enter and give thanks to God.
This is the gate of God; the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you for you have answered me; you have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is God's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day that God has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, O God, we pray!
God, we pray, give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God;
we bless you from the house of God.
God, our God, has given us light;
with palm branches, let us march to the altar.
You are my God, and I will thank you;
you are my God, I will extol you.

Reading: John 20: 19-31

Holy One,
On this Eastertide morning, we come to you,
singing alleluias, celebrating new life all around us.
Perhaps we struggle to believe it all,
but we are reassured by hearing the stories told one more time.

Let us celebrate the doubters and questioners among us,
who simply keep our faith real,
who demand that we live out our believing
into faith that works towards justice and peace,
and making sure that the hungry are nourished and loved.

We celebrate the saints among us, those holy folk
whose courageous faith flies without a safety net,
reminding us that true discipleship is risky and radical
in the face of a world held hostage by greed, love of power, and denial.

We are your Easter people, Holy One.
Doubters, saints, sinners, questioners, spiritual and religious,
who skip, run, and stumble on the journey.
We pray that wherever we are on this journey,
you will open our ears and eyes to your call,
and help us remain faithful as we follow the way of Jesus.

Come to us today.
Break into government rooms where politicians meet
into city board rooms where executives plan,
into court rooms where lawyers debate,
Come with words of peace
into hospital rooms where people are waiting,
into prison cells where people are afraid
into homes where people struggle to make ends meet,
Come with words of peace.

Come to us whenever we are afraid, whenever we are grieving
Come to us now we pray in silence for those we care for and are worried about…
Despite the strong and solid doors we lock to protect ourselves, to shut out the world,
come to us with words of peace.

The Offertory is taken

HYMN: Because thou hast said, "Do this for my sake"

Suddenly the living Christ was with the disciples in that upper room, and said,
"Peace be with you!" Then they were glad when they saw the Lord.

As Christ is here with us now, so we are glad.

Alleluia! The peace of the living Christ be with you.
And also with you.

But Thomas had missed that moment when Jesus appeared.
He had listened to the women, and to his friends,
but could not bring himself to trust their words.

But then, in his own special moment, Christ became real to Thomas, and he could say,
"My Lord and my God!"

So come, bring your doubts and your fears, your disbelief and your questions,
your partial answers to things you don't fully understand,
and lay them before Christ who says to you and to me,
"Peace be with you!"

For on the night of fear and doubt, on the night of betrayal and arrest
on the night when all certainty was stripped away
Jesus broke bread apart, saying,
"take, eat, this is my body broken for you."
And he poured wine and shared it with them, saying,
"Drink this wine, the wine of a new covenant."

So let us also say, with Thomas,
"My Lord and my God."

Gracious God, send your Holy Spirit on us and on what we do here,
that these gifts of bread and wine may be for us signs of life and love
between all of us here, and through us to your world.

As this bread is broken, we remember the brokenness within ourselves,
and pray that we may be made whole as we enter into the life of Christ.

Come now, for all is now ready.

The sharing of the Bread of Life and the Cup of Blessing

O Christ,
alive and at large in the world, help us to follow and find you.
in the people we meet, in the places we visit,
in the conversations we have and wherever we spend our time
Walk with us on our daily journey into life enriched by your presence.

HYMN: We have a gospel to proclaim

From this Easter celebration
we go forth to live resurrection:
with the blessing of God who makes us,
with the blessing of Christ who makes us free,
with the blessing of God's Spirit who makes us one.

Christ is alive!