Third Sunday of Easter
April 23, 2023
Springwell Holy Eucharist
Biblical scholars—be they in the academy, in writing and letters, or faithfully worshipping before the altar—have often adopted an attitude that religious truth is foreordained. Over the centuries, we made Jesus as being seemingly inevitable. Of course, we know who Jesus was: we are the elect! From two thousand years later, if we don’t express faith in some religiously approved fashion, then the problem is our fault. And by getting it, we also mean, getting it immediately.
Thus, the apostle Thomas is a particular challenge. Thomas didn’t get it. In fact, Thomas stuck to his guns. Thomas needed proof, no matter what others said. The proof that could only derive from the squirmiest way possible. Probing Jesus’ wounds with his fingers and hands. Remember, this story from the Gospel of John would take place only about ten days after Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus’ wounds would have been fresh, warm, moist, and unhealed. Just meat.
And so the opportunity came to pass. All of Jesus’ closest followers were gathered in the upper room, Thomas was there, and Jesus materialized in their midst. Jesus took Thomas’ challenge. Jesus presented Thomas with his corporeal body. He directed that Thomas probe what Jesus had endured. That is, what had killed him. Thomas did, realized the wounds spoke truth, and was so filled with the Spirit of God, that Thomas had a profound, conversion experience. He fell at Jesus’ feet, and witnessed, “My Lord, and my God.”
Thereupon was the business of doubt and un-doubt. Incidentally the latter category includes everyone but a few dozens of persons, max, who’ve lived in the past two thousand years. Yet faith isn’t about keeping score. We don’t get points because our belief happens in one way or the other. What is crucial only is precisely what Thomas proclaimed, “My Lord, and my God.” Pastor Neil
CALL TO GATHER FOR WORSHIP
Celebrant ☩ Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever.
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Celebrant Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There are no other commandments greater than these.”
THE COLLECT OF THE DAY
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
THE LESSON Acts 2:14a,22-32
Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd, “You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God
with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law.
But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him, “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; Therefore, my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover, my flesh will live in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.” “Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, ‘He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.’
This Jesus, God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.”
Celebrant The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
THE PSALM Psalm 121
Let us read the appointed selection of the Psalter in unison
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
from where is my help to come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, *
the maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved *
and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
4 Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *
shall neither slumber nor sleep;
5 The Lord himself watches over you; *
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
6 So that the sun shall not strike you by day, *
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; *
it is he who shall keep you safe.
8 The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in, * from this time forth for evermore.
Celebrant The holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to John.
People Praise be to you, O Christ.
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 marauders, 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!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Celebrant: The Gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise be to thee, O Christ.
SERMON PASTOR NEIL
This is the Day the Lord Has Made
Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad in It
At the end of the sermon, Celebrant: Let us bless the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
Celebrant and People together
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Celebrant Let us pray for the Church and for the world.
Leader In peace, we pray to you, Lord God. People Lord have mercy.
Leader For all people in their daily life and work; For our families, friends, and neighbors, and for those who
are alone. People Lord have mercy.
Leader For this community, the nation, and the world; For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace. People Lord have mercy.
Leader For the just and proper use of your creation;
For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.
For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;
For those who minister to the sick, the friendless, and the
needy. People Lord have mercy.
Leader For the peace and unity of the Church of God; For all who proclaim the Gospel, and all who seek the Truth. For all bishops and other ministers. For all who serve God in his Church. People Lord have mercy.
Leader For the special needs and concerns of this conger-gation. People Lord have mercy.
Celebrant Almighty and eternal God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth: Mercifully accept the prayers of your people, and strengthen us to do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A CONFESSION OF OUR SINS TO GOD
Celebrant Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbors.
Silence will be kept
Celebrant and People Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Celebrant Almighty God have mercy on you, ☩ forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.
Celebrant: The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.
Then the Ministers and People may greet one another
in the name of the Lord
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Celebrant It is indeed right and holy that we should— in all times and in all places—give thanks to you, Almighty Father, through Jesus Christ your son. But chiefly are we bound to praise you for the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who was sacrificed for us, and has taken away the sin of the world. By his death he has destroyed death, and by his rising to life again he has won for us everlasting life. Therefore, we praise your name and join angels and archangels by saying:
All, spoken: Holy, holy, holy Lord; God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. ☩ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself. When we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you in your mercy sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.
He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself
in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole
On the night before his death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”
Therefore, we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanks- giving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. ☩ Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. ☩ Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace. And at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ.
By him, and with him, and in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father,
now and forever. Amen.
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
THE CALL TO COMMUNION
Celebrant The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
Celebrant will distribute communion to people in their chairs.
THE GENERAL THANKSGIVING
Celebrant Almighty and ever-living God,
All We thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen
Celebrant Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace. We live and walk as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, to hold on to what is good, and to return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering; do justice, honor all people, and let our gentleness be known by everyone. May God, who raised our Lord Jesus from death, lift us up and restore us to wholeness. And may God bless us all, ☩ in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia, Alleluia.
People Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.