Easter 3 – April 18

Christ Among Us
Service Prayers for the Third Sunday of Easter

April 18, 2021

Acts 3:12-19    Psalm 4    1 John 3:1-7         Luke 24:36b-48

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

Call to Worship
Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines
One:   Christ is Risen, and greets us with peace.
All:      Out loud but muted
The peace of Christ is among us, indeed.
One:   We are witnesses of God’s glory and steadfast love.
All:      Out loud but muted
The transforming love of Christ is among us, indeed!
One:   Come, let us worship.

Invocation: (Unison)        
One:   God of love and light, 
we come as witnesses of your glory and faithfulness,
amazed to discover your transformative love.
God, we desire for you to abide within us,
and for your grace to be revealed anew daily.
All:      Out loud but muted
Be with us
and awaken within us the call to love one another,
in the way it was made real through Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
One:   Ever-present God,
Forgive us when we stand in disbelief,
and comfort us when our fears outweigh your peace.
God, forgive us when we become too busy to pray.
Help us when we fail to see our neighbors in need.
Abiding God, forgive us when we are overwhelmed
with bad news, and shut down completely.
All:      Out loud but muted
In these times, remind us that we are called to be
your love-lived,
your faithful witnesses, and
your humble servants.
Help us to wake up to the work of love,
and to your renewing strength each day, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
O God, hear our prayers of repentance and forgiveness,
and awaken us from doubt, disbelief, and distress
by transforming us into your resurrection joy!
God, we desire for your loving spirit
to be among us, to comfort us in our fears,
and to renew our faith. Amen. 

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People
Notes for the worship planners in 2021:
Consider a simple message or even an  interactive Bible Study that engages people with the Easter Scriptures for today. Some points to consider:

 Narrative Context:

Christ is alive. Christ is risen, and Christ greets us with peace. As chapter 24:37-39, reveals the immortal Risen Christ to disciples, to comfort their fear-filled hearts. And in chapter 24:40-43, God calls upon the disciples to be joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Christ. Then, in chapter 24:44-48, the disciples are encouraged to trust in the fulfilment of God’s divine plan by remembering the Old Testament scriptures, and its promise of a Messiah.

Conflicts at Play:

The conflicts at play arise as the Risen Christ appears unexpectedly to the disciples. As the Risen Christ challenges the disciples to turn their disbelief into joyful belief. The Risen Christ challenges the disciples to turn their fear into courageous witnesses to God’s glory. As God calls forth a transformative love that marks a change in the ways of repentance, forgiveness, in witnessing the Good News of salvation for everyone, everywhere

For the Prayers of the People, you might use a bidding prayer (“God, we pray today for those who are sick, including ….”) and encourage folk to type in their prayers using Zoom chat or Facebook Live; allow for more time in silence for those prayers to be typed and read. Consider a collective response at the end of each bidding prayer.

  • A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…”  In  a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online.  Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers:  “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief”  etc. 

Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those needed extra pastoral care.

Invitation to Offering
Today, we are reminded of the joy surrounding the witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection! We remember that before their resurrection joy,
these witnesses experienced grief at the cross.
Witnessing the Risen Christ in their midst
challenges the disciples to turn their disbelief into joyful belief.
Witnessing the Risen Christ challenges the disciples
to turn their fear into a courageous proclamation of God’s glory.
God calls forth a transformative love
that marks a change in the ways of repentance and forgiveness,
by witnessing the Good News of salvation for everyone, everywhere.

So, let us give thanks for God’s steadfast love by being witnesses
to those who are hungry for food, encouragement, and relationship.
Let us also witness to those who are poor in spirit,

by allowing God’s Spirit to loosen our grip on belongings and possessions,
in order to awaken every troubled heart.
And lastly, let us offer ourselves in gratitude and with generosity,
as witnesses to God’s goodness by our joyful giving.

God of abundant love,
We offer a portion of our time, spiritual gifts, and resources
as a sign of our love for you and the world.
O God, we give you our thanks for all that we have
and ask a special blessing on these offerings.
And God, we ask that our collective offering
be an expression of healing, that brings hope to a hurting world.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Let us go forth having had laid down our burdens.
Let us go forth rich in spirit,
knowing God has a plan for our lives.
And, let us go forth as witnesses to God’s hope
of justice, peace, grace, and love.
Believing fully that Christ is among all humanity,
now and always. Amen.

To Give Thanks for What God has Done, Service prayers with Communion for Easter Sunday Year B, was written by the Rev .Dr. Sheila Harvey Guillaume, pastor of Union Congregational United Church of Christ in West Palm Beach.

Copyright 2021  Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved.

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