Worship for Sunday 11th April 2021, by Rev. Krystyna Kwarciak

Call to worship


It was late that Sunday evening

when I returned to my brothers,

thinking to find them still grieving

as I was.

They greeted me

in excitement

and great joy.

“We have seen the Lord!”

they said.

Had grief brought them to this—

that they would not accept

that he was gone from us for ever?

Again and again they insisted:

“We have seen the Lord!

He was here among us!”

“I don’t believe it,”

  I said.

“Unless I see the scars

of the nails in his hands

and put my finger on those scars

and my hand in his side,

I will not believe.”


The days passed.

We were together

behind locked doors

when he came again.

There could be no doubt –

Jesus stood among us, saying,

“Peace be with you!”

Then he looked at me

a little sadly.

“Put your finger here,”

he said,

“and look at my hands;

then stretch out your hand

and put it in my side.

Stop your doubting,

and believe!”

I stared, transfixed,

unable to move or to speak.

At last I found my voice

and whispered,

“My Lord and my God!”


Opening prayer

“Christ is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”

We repeat our Easter shouts of
surprise and joy
again and again,
for news of your victory
over powers of death and evil
is news so startling
so amazing
so different from the news that bombards us day by day.

Beyond our comprehension
You startle us again and again
with resurrection Life,
bringing grace and hope and joy.

You, in your risen power,
are shaping all our days,
and so we praise you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


StF 743: Come, let us join our cheerful songs

Come, let us join our cheerful songs
With angels round the throne.
Ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
But all their joys are one.

Worthy the Lamb that died, they cry,
To be exalted thus!
Worthy the Lamb, our hearts reply,
For He was slain for us!

Jesus is worthy to receive
Honour and power divine;
And blessings more than we can give,
Be, Lord, forever Thine.

Let all creation join in one,
To bless the sacred name
Of Him who sits upon the throne,
And to adore the Lamb.

Psalm 133

How very good and pleasant it is
   when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
   running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
   running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
   which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
   life for evermore.

 John 20,19-31 

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!’ 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.


In his book Anglican priest Thomas Clarner asks the question: ‘Do you ever feel like you are an imposter in the church, like you are not a proper Christian and that sooner or later someone is going to notice that you aren’t a proper believer like they are. You don’t pray properly, or hard enough, or often enough. You don’t read the Bible enough, and you certainly don’t believe properly. You don’t understand all this doctrine, but even worse, you don’t feel it all the time, down in your gut, and just occasionally you’re pretty sure that the whole thing is bunk?

Well so do I. I feel like that fairly often. I reckon there’s a lot of us. We should form a club. Actually thinking about it, we have done better than a club. We have the family of God. We have the church.’

And, as our gospel text for today reminds us, to give us encouragement on our journey from doubt to faith, we have Thomas, disciple, apostle, famed for his doubting and great in his believing.

No one knows where Thomas was when the other disciples on that first Easter evening, met with the risen Lord. Was he out shopping? Was he late? Had he forgotten? Was he so depressed and discouraged after the death of his Master that he simply couldn’t face it? Who knows? But he wasn’t there. He missed the ‘big reveal’.

And when he finally does turn up a few days later, with a mixture of hope, desperation and cynicism, he wants proof. Interestingly, although Thomas demands to put his hands into the wounds of Christ, when he is actually presented with Jesus, when he comes face to face with his Master and his King, he suddenly knows exactly who this man is, standing before him in Resurrection glory. He falls to his knees and utters the most profound confession of faith we have evidence of in all the gospels: my Lord, and my God!

All Simon Peter manages is: “You are the Messiah”, the Centurion says: “surely this man was the Son of God,”, but Thomas reaches deeper into the mystery and confesses: “My Lord, and my God!” He is the first one to recognise that Jesus is not just a teacher, prophet or itinerant healer – He is God.

What happens to him after that day? Doubting Thomas does not stay a doubter. When he sees the risen Jesus, all that Jesus has taught over the years now suddenly clicks in, and to his death Thomas is an outspoken advocate for his Lord.

Church tradition tells us that he preaches in ancient Babylon, near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, where Iraq is today. He also travels to Persia, present-day Iran, and continues to win disciples to the Christian faith.

Then he sails south to Malabar on the west coast of India in 52 AD. He preaches, establishes churches, and wins to Christ high caste Brahmins and many others. When the Portuguese land in India in the early 1600s, they find a group of Christians there – the Mar Thoma Church established through Thomas’ preaching a millennium and a half before.

Finally, Thomas travels to the east coast of India, preaching relentlessly. He is killed near Mylapore about 72 AD, near present-day Madras. Tradition tells us that he is thrown into a pit, then pierced through with a spear thrown by an angry pagan priest.

He who had so fervently proclaimed his unbelief carried the Christian message of love and forgiveness to the ends of the earth in his generation.

The story of Thomas’ encounter with the risen Christ is a reminder that we are in fine company when we recognise ourselves as doubting disciples. It is not so much in how often or how heavily we fall down, but in how we rise again.

It also emphasises that the church has always linked doubt and the empty tomb. God is perfectly able to cope with that kind of contradiction, and as someone once said: ‘It is in the space between our doubt and the stone rolled aside that faith begins.’ Amen.

Discussion questions:

  1. What role does doubt play in faith?
  2. How would it change things if you saw your doubts as opportunities to grow deeper in your relationship with God, and not a reason for alarm?

StF 316: When Easter to the dark world came

When Easter to the dark world came,
Fair flowers glowed like scarlet flame:
At Eastertide, at Eastertide,
O glad was the world at Eastertide.

When Mary in the garden walked,
And with her risen Master talked:

When John and Peter in their gloom
Met angels at the empty tomb:

When ten disciples met in fear,
then ‘Peace’ said Jesus, ‘I am here.’

When Thomas’s heart with grief was black,
Then Jesus like a king came back:

And friend to friend in wonder said:
‘The Lord is risen from the dead!’

This Eastertide with joyful voice
We’ll sing: ‘The Lord is King! Rejoice!’
At Eastertide, at Eastertide,
O glad was the world at Eastertide.

Closing prayers

In the evening when the disciples meet

Frightened behind locked doors

You come to them with words of peace.

For wicked plots have failed,

And the cruelty of the world has come to nothing,

And the betrayal and the denial of friends have not prevailed.


Life-giving God,

We give you thanks

For Jesus has risen.

He comes to us with words of peace


Come to us today.

In government rooms where politicians meet

In city board rooms where executives plan,

In court rooms where lawyers debate,

Come with words of peace.


In hospital rooms where people are waiting,

In prison cells where people are afraid

In 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.


This Easter breathe on us again

With your Spirit

For you have overcome evil

And wicked plots fail

And the cruelty of the world comes to nothing

And the betrayal and denial of friends do not prevail.


Renew us in the power of your Spirit

That we may open the doors

And go out into the world

To bring words of peace to the people we meet.


Renew us in the power of your Spirit

That we may have life in your name

And go wherever you send us

In Jesus’ name we 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

The power, and the glory

For ever and ever.


 StF 348: He is Lord, He is Lord

He is Lord, He is Lord
He has risen from the dead
And He is Lord –
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord

You are Lord, You are Lord
You have risen from the dead
And You are Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord


Go now, sent by the one who was sent by God.
Walk in the light;
testify to the resurrection of Christ;
forgive the sins of all,
and live at peace with one another.

And may God bless you with life forever;
May Christ Jesus breathe his Spirit and peace into you;
And may the Holy Spirit lead you into the life and light of God.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
.In the name of Christ.