Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 15 April 2018

Worship Suggestions

Third Sunday of Easter

LUKE 24:36b–48/24:34–47 IV

You Are Witnesses

Additional Scriptures

Acts 3:12–19, Psalm 4, 1 John 3:1–7, Doctrine and Covenants 165:1c


Prelude

Gathering Hymns

“O Lord, Grace Our Communion”             CCS 80

OR “Praise to the Living God”       CCS 8

Welcome and Invitation to Worship

Community Sharing—Joys and Prayer Concerns

Prayer of Gratitude and Petition

Call to Worship

Responsive Reading

Leader: What love the Father has given us, that we should be called “children of God.”

Congregation:    All praise to such a loving God. How “awesome” is it to know we are children of God. You and me! But just not us…everyone! Every color, every race.

Leader: Truly, we are all God’s children, and in the day our Lord is revealed, we will understand this more fully.

Congregation:    Until then, we are called to purify ourselves and live humbly, yet confidently, as children of God.

—Based on 1 John 3:1–7

Hymn of Praise

“O God beyond All Praising”         CCS 90

OR “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”       CCS 101

Invocation

Response

Focus Moment

Either provide an open time of sharing or ask two or three people to be prepared to share briefly on the question below that resonates the most strongly with them. Project or print the questions for all to see.

Today is the third Sunday after the resurrection of Jesus. During the last two weeks, we have watched Jesus instill confidence in his disciples to carry on in his stead; confidence to share what they had witnessed with others who felt lost without Jesus’ presence. Imagine their joy when they heard the good news! Imagine how the news must have spread!

  • How has Jesus’ resurrection affected your life?
  • In what ways do you feel more confident living day-to-day?
  • When have you felt inspired to share the joy you have found with others?

Hymn of Confession and Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle, then lead the congregation in one of the following hymns.

Hymn

“We Are the Ones the World Awaits”        CCS 305

OR “Lord Jesus, of You I Will Sing”             CCS 556

Prayer for Peace

Holy Creator of Wisdom and Guidance,

We thank you for your mission of peace in our lives. We know your message is for all people, for all times, and for all places. As you move among us this day, help us replicate your steps to share your peace with others.

Help us carry your message of shalom to those who suffer, to those who are lost, to those who have no voice in this world. Help us share your gospel of the worth of all people to those throughout our communities, countries, and even your world.

Guide us, Holy Spirit, as people of peace. Amen.

For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org /daily-prayer-for-peace.

Sermon

Based on Luke 24:36b–48/24:34–47 IV

Disciples’ Generous Response

Statement

One day, as Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray, they passed a man—lame from birth—asking for alms. They did not have any silver or gold to give and yet something in the man’s eyes would not allow them to just keep walking. Then, the Spirit reminded them of what they did have—their faith in Jesus. And in the name of Jesus, the man was healed. The onlookers were astonished, which gave Peter the opening he needed to witness to those who had yet to believe.

Generosity comes in many forms: testimonies of faith; companionship, loving presence, and offerings of generosity. May our hearts be ever open to the many ways we can offer A Disciple’s Generous Response.

—Based on Acts 3:1–19

As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true capacity of time, talent, and testimony.

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples -generous-response-tools.

Hymn of Commitment

“Make Us, O God, a Church That Shares” CCS 657

OR “Help Us Express Your Love”  CCS 621

Benediction

Response

Sending Forth

Doctrine and Covenants 165:1c

Let us go from this time of worship with a sense of joy and be led forth as witnesses of Christ’s peace.

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Third Sunday of Easter

LUKE 24:36b–48 

Exploring the Scripture

In the scripture passages for today, there is the great theme that God’s faithful presence continues in Jesus’ resurrection. The author, Luke, clearly presents the resurrected Jesus as one who has a physical body and walks, talks, and eats. This idea alone asks us to open our minds to accept the idea that in and through Christ something is new and different. There are possibilities we have not considered or fathomed. We are invited to explore our faith journey.

In this passage, Jesus has been crucified and the rumors of people seeing him are moving fast through towns and cities. His followers are hearing rumors of his being alive and they don’t understand. How can Jesus be seen walking here and there? Is he a ghost or spirit? They want to believe he is alive, but it just doesn’t make sense to them.

When Jesus appears to his disciples, he recognizes their fears and says to them: “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36b). And then he addresses each source of their doubts and fears. He extends his hands and feet for them to see the scars, he invites them to touch him, and he asks for food and eats fish. With each of these actions the disciple’s fears are receding.

Now that fear and doubt are lessened, the disciples sit down with Jesus for scripture study. They have a new frame of reference to hear scripture—the resurrection. There is life after

death. And there is new life now, through Jesus. The scriptures are being heard through hearts that have experienced the risen Messiah. The words of the prophets are fulfilled!

Jesus then renewed the disciples’ call to discipleship when he told them they “are witnesses of these things” (v. 48). What they experienced is not for them alone, but the message is to be proclaimed to all nations.

This message of hope is ours today. God continues to be present in our lives, through our fears and doubts, as we open our minds and hearts to receive resurrection.

Central Ideas

  1. God continues to be present in our lives even when we have doubts and fears.
  2. When we can set aside our fears, we can hear and receive scripture in ways that bring new understanding.
  3. We are called to be the messengers of repentance, forgiveness, and resurrection.

Questions to Consider

  1. When have fears and doubts kept you from recognizing the Holy Spirit moving in your life?
  2. How have you experienced or witnessed resurrection?
  3. Where do you see others engaging in acts of resurrection (bringing hope to the hopeless)? 

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Third Sunday of Easter

LUKE 24:36–48 NRSV

The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.

The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.


Gathering

Welcome

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.

Holy Creator of wisdom and guidance,
We thank you for your mission of peace in our lives. We know your message is for all people, for all times, and for all places. As you move among us this day, help us replicate your steps to share your peace with others.

Help us carry your message of shalom to those who suffer, to those who are lost, to those who have no voice in this world. Help us share your gospel of the Worth of All Persons to those throughout our communities, countries, and even your world.
Guide us, Holy Spirit, as people of peace. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Dwelling in the Word

I will read a scripture aloud. As you hear it, allow words, images, or phrases to come to mind. Try not to focus on them. Let them rest with you.

After a moment of silence I will read the scripture a second time. As you hear the scripture again, listen for how God’s Spirit nudges you or catches your attention.

Read the scripture:

Lovingly invite others to experience the good news of new life in community with Christ. Opportunities abound in your daily lives if you choose to see them.

Undertake compassionate and just actions to abolish poverty and end needless suffering. Pursue peace on and for the Earth.

Let nothing separate you from this mission. It reveals divine intent for personal, societal, and environmental salvation; a fullness of gospel witness for creation’s restoration.

—Doctrine and covenants 165:1c–e

Pause. Read the scripture a second time. Invite group members to share responses to these questions:

  1. What words, phrases, or images came to mind?
  2. How is God’s Spirit nudging you to participate in God’s restorative mission in the world?

Sharing Around the Table

Luke 24:36-48 NRSV

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

In this passage, Jesus has been crucified, and rumors of people seeing him are moving fast through towns and cities. His followers are hearing rumors of his being alive, and they don’t understand. How can Jesus be seen walking here and there? Is he a ghost or spirit? They want to believe he is alive, but it doesn’t make sense to them.

When Jesus appears to his disciples, he recognizes their fears and says: “Peace be with you.” He then addresses their doubts and fears. He extends his hands and feet for them to see the scars. He invites them to touch him, and he asks for food and eats fish. With each of these actions the disciples’ fears recede.

As fear and doubt are lessened, the disciples sit with Jesus for scripture study. They have a new frame of reference to hear scripture—the resurrection. There is life after death. And there is new life now, through Jesus. Jesus again calls them deeper into discipleship and witness. What they experience is not for them alone, but they are to proclaim the message to others.

This message of hope is ours today. God continues to be present in our lives, even when we have fears and doubts. We, too, journey deeper in our discipleship as we spend time in God’s presence, study, and witness of our encounters with Jesus Christ.

Questions

  1. When have fears and doubts kept you from recognizing the Holy Spirit moving in your life?
  2. How do you experience Christ’s peace?
  3. How do you share your witness of your experiences with the Living Christ?

Sending

Generosity Statement

“Sharing for the common good is the spirit of Zion” (Doctrine and Covenants 165:2f).

We receive God’s grace and generosity. The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

This offering prayer is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

God of rejoicing, we share our gifts joyfully and with thanksgiving in response to the generous gifts you have given us. May the offerings we share bring joy, hope, love, and peace into the lives of others that they might experience your mercy and grace. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 625, “You Are Called to Tell the Story”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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