We acknowledge this land that God has created and blessed. We pay our respects to the Wallumettagal people of the Eora Nation, the first inhabitants of this place. We honour their custodianship of the land on which we gather today and its surrounding waters, and offer our respect to their Elders, past, present, and emerging.
Today I am thankful for…
So, what are you thankful for today?
34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
In our understanding, it was a radical way to live with each other in a Christian community. But for them, it was the way to prove their faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ who gave up all for them, even life.
Today we worship the risen Lord Jesus Christ together. I believe that it is right to give thanks to God and to share our thankfulness with each other as we come before God and our dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let us pray:
on this day of thankfulness
we offer our thanks and praise to You;
creator of heaven and earth,
creator and sustainer of all humanity.
We bless You for creating the whole world,
for Your promises to Your people Israel,
and for the life we know in Jesus Christ Your Son.
Even when we turned away from You,
You never rejected us.
You spoke words of mercy and love
through the prophets;
promising to swallow up death forever
and to host a banquet for all people;
a feast of life-giving sustenance.
We praise you for Christ Jesus,
Your Word Incarnate made Flesh.
Born of Mary, He shares our life.
Eating with sinners, He welcomes us.
Leading His followers, He guides us.
Dying on the cross, He rescues us.
Risen from the dead, He gives new life.
Most resilient God,
Source of all that is eternally raised up,
we give you thanks
for your unspeakable gift of Christ Jesus.
We pray in the most precious name of Jesus Christ.
362 Jesus Christ is risen today
Jesus Christ is risen today,
our triumphant holy day,
who so lately on the cross
suffered to redeem our loss,
Hymns of praise then let us sing
unto Christ, our heavenly king,
who endured the cross and grave
sinners to redeem and save.
But the pain that he endured
our salvation have procured;
now exalted he is king,
and the angels ever sing:
John 20:19-21 (The Message)
19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.
20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were awestruck. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”
22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”
27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”
28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”
29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.
John: The Gospel of the Lord
Peace be with you
Service of Commissioning for Soul Survivor camp leader and campers
Leader to Congregation:
Tomorrow five young people will begin four days of Soul Survivor Camp at Youthworks Port Hacking conference centre.
They will pray, read scripture, play, worship, study, hike, and participate in workshops.
These activities will foster
a sense of community and belonging
and will allow all to know the awesomeness
that is our God.
We gather today,
to give thanks for the gift of community,
the gift of church as the Body of risen Christ, and we praise God with thankful hearts.
I invite all those
who will be attending camp this week
to come forward.
Leader invites Daniel, Ashley, Zachary, Emily and Heather to the front.
Leader to Campers:
As you leave for Camp, it is our prayer that it will be one of the most exciting experiences of your life.
From the time of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and his people, and Jesus and the followers, people have lived in the outdoors, searching for God.
As you enter the camp experience you will develop friendships that may last for many years to come. But allow time also to be still, to listen, to be open to God’s presence with you.
Boronia Park congregation sends you out with our love and we charge you with these responsibilities:
Leader to Congregation:
I now commission all of you, as church family,
with these responsibilities:
Leader in Prayer:
Let us pray...
your will is that all your children to grow into fullness of life,
and so today, we offer these people to you.
We offer up blessings upon their ministry and their lives.
We offer you thanks for camping,
to teach us that the world is our great home;
for study and work, to build character;
for service, to see our responsibility to those in need;
for encouragement, so that we may remember that we are never alone;
for play, so that we may live into being your children.
Bless the work of the leaders
and the directors of Soul Survivor this week and bless the campers,
that they may be renewed and lifted up in your love.
May we share the gifts of your goodness with one another.
We pray all of this in your name. Amen
May the feet of God walk with you
May the feet of God
walk with you,
and his hand hold you tight.
May the eye of God
rest on you,
and his ear hear your cry.
May the smile of God
be for you,
and his breath give you life.
May the Child of God
grow in you,
and his love bring you home.
Ask members to extend their arms to the campers for blessings.
In our learning and our teaching,
may we grow in service to others
and in love for your world,
through Jesus Christ we pray.
A lot happened on resurrection day. The opening scene of today’s passage tells us that Jesus appears before fearful disciples gathered behind closed doors and greets them with the words, 'Peace to you!' Jesus proves his earthly flesh, showing them his hands and feet, suggesting they feel him and then, to confirm the proof and believe instead of unbelieving.
Now the words of peace are repeated and followed by a portrait of Jesus giving the Spirit and commissioning the disciples like today we are commissioning our young ones. The commissioning for the disciples after the resurrection did not include Thomas who insists on Jesus’ earthly body that was pierced and torn. We don’t know where he was during the first meeting with Jesus, their master. Whether a further meeting was planned for Thomas to meet Jesus or not, there was the second meeting a week later where his concerns are satisfied, and he praises Jesus, Lord and God.
In the encounter between Jesus and Thomas, we are again reminded the story of Jesus’ suffering and his body hung on cross by viewing to Thomas the wounded hands, maybe the feet, and side. In Thomas’ doubting but then believing, we probably have a very creative reworking of an old story. The one-week-old story that we studied, meditated, but deeply felt sorry because of our doubt last weekend, the holy week. However, on Easter Sunday, we celebrated the power of the event and the experience in the life of Jesus’ very first community. And today we are able to affirm that the story of Jesus’ visit for his disciples and Thomas has much to say to faith. Faith that we have. Faith that we might question or wonder. And faith that we hold and bring into the world we live today.
'Peace', 'Shalom' is a standard greeting, but in the passage ‘peace to you’ echoes the promise of peace given by Jesus in John 14:27.
Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
and do not let them be afraid.
(John 14:27, NRSV)
In the same chapter, Jesus recalls the promise of the Spirit. John's disciples are glad at Jesus' appearance. They become models for believers. The negative feature might be attached to Thomas. The result is that the scene becomes a celebration of the Church, its formation, its task, its reason of existence, and its mission toward the world.
Jesus sends the disciples, just as he was sent. This is the foundation for discipleship. It sets our goal in God’s purpose and mission by directing us to what Jesus did, especially as he is portrayed in John’s gospel. Jesus offered light and life and truth through relationship with himself, through relationship with God. Our role is also to offer light and life and truth through a relationship with God. We are the followers of Jesus Christ, but the task is the same given by God. As he was God's representative, so his disciples, and you and I, are to be messengers. Every and each one of us is a message bearer like the legendary messenger who ran from Marathon to Athens with the news of victory over a battle. We are messengers of Christ victory over sin and death so that we are able to act for Christ and act on the authority of the One who did the sending. It is authority to offer the relationship in the life. In Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, we are given the true relationship with God and his people. In the sending of God and by God’s people, we are able to go out for the world as messenger, proclaiming Christ is risen indeed.
We are called to take part in the story of risen Lord Jesus Christ. No matter we are like the ones in Jesus’ first visit or like Thomas, we were there to greet with sharing peace, touch the wounds, breathe with Jesus in that room and be sent forth to bring the breath of God to the world. This is our mission today, this is our purpose in life. Here is a new beginning.
The Spirit, the helper, will help us as helped the first disciples in the past. We carry the cross that Jesus carried. We imitate the goodness of God as he demonstrated. We do good, empowering each other, our young ones, friends and neighbour as he empowered all his followers and disciples, no matter who they were, where they came from. By this, the power of sin and death is removed, the goodness of God is vindicated, and the evil is disempowered. We are called to forgive each other, giving God’s grace, mercy, patience and love to the world.
In verse 23, it gives us the power and authority to give structure and discipline to the community. This is to be ministry and community with accountability. It says,
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
(verse 23, NRSV)
This year, the Uniting Church in New South Wales and the Australia Capital Territory has a state level council meeting called the Synod. Robyn and I are members of the Synod this year, representing both Boronia Park congregation and Sydney Central Coast Presbytery. And if you serve our church as elder or church council member, in big picture you are member of the synod too. The meeting is held online due to the current situation of COVID-19. So I can join the meeting wherever I am. Yesterday, there was 4 hours meeting online I joined and participated in. During the meeting, for all members of the Synod were challenged by a question, asking, “how do you contribute to God’s mission?” when the General Secretary talked about the future of Uniting Church. This disturbing question stirred up my heart. My heart was burning while I was wrestling with it. For me, this question was not asking what should I do but how should I believe? This was a question about my faith in risen Lord Jesus Christ. How do I believe in Jesus Christ in God’s mission today? How do you believe in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord in your life and in God’s mission? What am I missing? What are we not getting yet? Important questions, aren’t they?
I want to read the verse 32 together with one voice as we are seeking to find an answer to those questions. It says,
“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.”
(verse 32 NRSV)
This verse returns to the central focus of the Good News of Jesus Christ – that is LIFE! It is the Foundation of our faith, life and mission every day. And this is the Message that we run with today. The Easter message is Life! The significant change is that today we are called to be messengers of the Life. And our young ones are emerging to become a new generation of messengers into the church tomorrow.
Dear my brothers and sisters in Christ, please remember we are the people of the risen Lord Jesus Christ and the Life given by him. We have only one step away to the final decision: Believe. You might be ready to take one more step to believe in Jesus Christ. In that one step, you may have eternal life. In that one step, you may save many lives near and in distance. Like the disciples who were fearful but opened their door to welcome Jesus, like Thomas who was doubtful but believe by seeing and touching, let us take one step forward to Jesus together today. We are together in this moment with the Holy Spirit. I may ask on behalf of us, the Holy Spirit to come dwell among us and to come lead us to the life everlasting.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for the joy that the resurrection of Jesus brings. For everyone, it brings hope not only for today and tomorrow but also Eternal Hope.
We bring before you at this time Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and her family as they mourn the loss of Prince Phillip. We thank you for his life of service, not only to his wife but also to England and the Commonwealth of Nations. A life of service is not the easy road but one of commitment and perseverance. Help us to have servant hearts as Jesus desires.
We also pray for many others who are mourning the loss of loved ones in these difficult COVID times where funeral services are so challenging for many.
We pray for all the young people and leaders attending SOUL SURVIVOR this week. We pray for personal Christian growth, for new friendships, for fun and for safety.
Father, we pray for your direction in future planning for our church and for the appointment of a suitable person as a Community Worker. Thank you Lord for the continuing work of our Church Council and Elders in supporting our Church Community. We pray for Seungjae in his ministry to young people through Scripture classes and also other Scripture teachers who serve you faithfully in this area. Our prayers for the wider world this week include Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. We pray for unity amongst these nations and especially the Christian people who continue to be faithful to you as they stand united in a divided world.
Father, we pray for members of our congregation in difficult circumstances, be closed to them and give them the support they need. We continue praying for our minister, Seungjae and his family and thank you for all they contribute to our worship and witness.
We pray all these things in Jesus Name
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.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest
drought and storm.
What heights of love,
what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled,
when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, who took on flesh,
fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones
He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied.
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death
of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then, bursting forth in glorious Day,
up from the grave
He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine,
bought with the precious
blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
this is the pow’r of Christ in us;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
can ever pluck us from His hand;
‘Till He returns or calls us home,
here in the pow’r of
Christ we’ll stand!
Words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
“Peace be with you.
As the Father sent me, so I am now sending you”.
He believes in you.
The busy world awaits your compassion.
Sometimes you will give your best yet fail.
At other times you will succeed in spite of your falling.
daring to succeed or fail to the glory of God,
and then at the very end,
nothing shall disappoint you.
The help of the saving Christ,
the wisdom of the Living God,
and the support of the loving Spirit,
will be with you
every step of the way, now and always.
Gathered here within this place,
we can share in God’s redeeming grace.
There’s no room for doubt or fear;
we can feel His presence here.
As we face each passing day
we will serve and honour and obey;
and if hope should start to dim,
we will know our trust is in Him.
And we will keep our faith alive,
God will always be our guide
Through the darkest night,
we will see God’s light.
We will keep our faith alive!