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The Parish Gathering | April 19, 2020 (Second Week of Eastertide)

Series: Eastertide 2020: When Easter Happened

Please participate in the following liturgy, reading aloud all the parts in bold italics.


Invitation

To all who are weary and need rest,
To all who mourn and long for comfort,
To all who feel worthless and wonder if God cares,
To all who fail and desire strength,
To all who sin and need a Savior,
The Church opens wide her doors
With a welcome from Jesus Christ,
The Ally of his enemies,
The Defender of the guilty,
The Justifier of the inexcusable,
The Friend of sinners.
Welcome!


Call to Worship

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Rejoice, Oh heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Rejoice, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Praise to You, Risen Christ!

Rejoice, Oh Creation dear to God,
Radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness passes away forever!

Praise to You, Risen Christ!

Rejoice, Oh Church, Bride of the Liberating King!
The Lord of life shines upon you!
Let this place brim with joy,
Echoing the mighty song of all God’s world,
Echoing the mighty song of all God’s people:

Alleluia, Alleluia!
Praise to You, Risen Christ!


Stillness

(A moment to breathe, still our hearts, and loosen the tightness in our chests)

Oh, there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You
Lord, there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You


Prayers of the People

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray together as God’s people:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Life-giver, Pain-bearer, Love-maker,
God in three Persons, overflowing in the creative love that creates new life,
day by day you sustain the weary with your word,
day by day you gently encourage us to place our trust in you.
Awaken us to the suffering of those around us;
save us from hiding in denials or taunts that deepen the hurt;
give us grace to share one another’s burdens in humble service.

Lift up prayers for the Church gathered around the world.

You hear us calling,
You hear us calling, O Creator.

Creator of the universe,
you made the world in beauty,
and restore all things in glory
through the victory of Jesus Christ.
We pray that, wherever your image is still disfigured
by poverty, sickness, selfishness, war and greed,
the new creation in Jesus Christ may appear in justice, love, and peace,
to the glory of your name.

Offer your prayers for the welfare of the world.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

We lift up our prayers for the community of friends in this gathering,
Our families, friends, and all whose lives are closely linked with ours.
May we be lifted this week by each surprising movement of grace this week,
experiencing afresh your presence that surrounds us still.

And we pray for Atlanta, North Fulton, Forysth, Cobb, Cherokee, and Gwinnett counties,
and for the community of neighbors just outside our doors.
Jesus, we ask you:
for protection,
for healing,
for unity,
for justice,
for hope.

Lift up your prayers for the wholeness of our friends, families, and neighbors.

You hear us calling,
You hear us calling, O Creator.

We hold up in your great light those in the darkness of deep pain,
those who suffer, all who are sick,
and the many who are worn down.

Jesus, we ask you:
for fresh strength,
for your nearness,
for Life today,
for Life to come.

Offer your prayers for those who are suffering and in need.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Lord in Your mercy,
Hear our Prayer.


The Good News

as told by John, in John 20:19-28

“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to You, Lord Christ


Now: Pressing In

Song: The Way

Through every battle
every heartbreak
every circumstance

I believe You are my fortress
You are my portion
You are my hiding place

I believe You are the Way, the Truth, the Life
I believe You are the Way, the Truth, the Life
I believe

Through every blessing
every promise
very breath I take

I believe that
You are provider, You are protector
You are the one I love

I believe You are the Way, the Truth, the Life
I believe You are the Way, the Truth, the Life
I believe You are

It’s a new horizon and I’m set on You
and you meet me here today with mercies that are new
all my fears and doubts, they can all come too
because they can’t stay long when I’m here with You

It’s a new horizon and I’m set on You
and you meet me here today with mercies that are new
all my fears and doubts, they can all come too
because they can’t stay long when I believe You are

The Way, the Truth, the Life
I believe You are the Way, the Truth, the Life
I believe You are


Not Yet: God’s Song in Unknown Lands

Confession Assurance

In Easter’s season, we stand outside the tomb of Jesus Christ, and hear the announcement afresh:
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? What you are looking for is not here! He is Risen!”

So now we follow Jesus’ lead:
    To the cross, being crucified with Him,
    To the grave, letting go of our old lives,
    To the garden of a new life, leaving the way of sin and death behind.

Sorrow and mourning.
    we leave in the tomb.
Fear and shame.
    we leave in the tomb.
Sin and death.
    we leave in the tomb.
Our old ways and our old selves.
    we leave in the tomb.

Silent confession (space to notice, name, and confess your allegiance to sin and wait in God’s presence)

Most merciful God, by your power and grace you raised Christ Jesus from death, giving us the incredible gift of new life.
Forgive us, oh Lord, for living as though we were still held captive by sin and death.

I confess to you:
    my sin, shame, and selfishness,
    my contributions to prop up systemic brokenness and injustice,
    all I hold to from past that is no longer true of me in the light of Jesus’ resurrection,
    and all that no longer belongs in his coming Kingdom of life.
These things I leave in the grave of Jesus Christ.

May you hear deeply the words from the gardener of life:
“I who made you, now make all things new.”
Be free! We are forgiven.
Laugh out loud! We are forgiven.
Love God with everything! We are loved.

Silent assurance (space to receive God’s merciful love and say “thank you” in response)

May we join Jesus now,
on the other side of the Cross,
risen to new life,
empowered with that same power that conquered the grave
to join the great mission to renew all things.

Raise us up, by your Spirit, to live as your resurrection people.
Amen.


Sacrament of Desire

There are many times and places in Church history where participating in Communion was not possible (times of persecution, martyrdom, imprisonment, famine, sickness, and warfare).

While our gatherings are always intended to reach their apex at the Lord’s Table, God is not limited to the physical partaking of the elements as a means of mediating grace into our lives.

In times when communion cannot be taken physically, a Sacrament of Desire is made available instead. In keeping with this tradition, we’ll engage now a Liturgy of the Table culminating in a prayer which expresses desire to receive God’s grace.


The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

And so this day, we join with Saints and Angels
in the chorus of praise that rings through eternity,
lifting our voices to bless you we say:

Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God Almighty
heaven and earth are full of Your glory,
Glory to you, O Lord most high.

Is the Father with us?
He is.
Is Christ among us?
He is.
Is the Spirit here?
He is.

This is our God.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are his people.
We are redeemed.

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Now, in union, O Lord with the faithful at every altar of Your Church,
where the Great Thanksgiving is celebrated,
I desire to offer my praise and thanksgiving too.

I present to You my soul and body
with the earnest prayer that I will remain united to you.

And since I cannot now receive You sacramentally,
I pray that you would come to me spiritually.

I unite myself to you, and embrace you with my soul’s affection.
Let nothing separate me from you,
that I may live and die in Your love.

Amen.


Song: Graves Into Gardens

I searched the world, but it couldn’t fill me
Man’s empty praise and treasures that fade are never enough
Then You came along, and put me back together
And every desire is now satisfied
Here in Your love

Oh, there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You
Lord, there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You

I’m not afraid, to show You my weakness
my failures and flaws
Lord, You’ve seem them all
And You still call me friend

‘Cause the God of the mountain
Is the God of the valley
There’s not a place
Your mercy and grace
Won’t find me again

Oh, there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You
Lord, there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You

You turn mourning to dancing
You give beauty for ashes
You turn shame into glory
You’re the only one who can

You turn graves into gardens
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
You’re the only one who can
You’re the only one who can

Oh, there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You
Lord, there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You


Community Life

The Cross of Christ

All our problems,
We send to the cross of Christ!
All our difficulties,
We send to the cross of Christ!
All the devil’s works,
We send to the cross of Christ!
And all our hopes,
We set on the Risen Christ!


Blessing & Sending

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever he may send you.
May he guide you in the wilderness,
protect you in the storm.
May he bring you home rejoicing,
at the wonders he has shown you.
May he bring you home rejoicing,
once again into our doors.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Amen.

Alleluia, Alleluia! Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit!
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Alleluia, Alleluia!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.


3 Good Minutes (Optional)

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