Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.



“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.” 

                         ― Anthony de Mello


Jesus makes faith happen today by breathing the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and blessing them with peace. He shows Thomas and all God’s people that the life-changing resurrection embraces the wounds all people carry. God the Creator’s peace, Jesus’ wounds, and the breath of the Holy Spirit lead Thomas to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. Then, Thomas trusts God to care for his body and his life. Just like Jesus’ ministry prior to the cross, Jesus reaches for the outsider and restores Thomas to his place in the community.


You have turned our mourning into dancing!

You have taken away our funeral clothes and re-clothed us in joy,

so that our whole being—body, mind and soul—

might sing praise to you and not be silent.

O Lord, our Lord, we will give thanks to you forever!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!


Darkness has been vanquished!


Come let us worship and celebrate the Good News!



CHILDREN’S SONG  VU 585  Jesus Bids Us Shine


Gracious God, we thank you that Easter is not about a people, but all people, that your love and your Salvation are for all who confess with voices, hearts and lives that the tomb is empty because Jesus is risen, that we might know forgiveness, that lives might be reborn and your name glorified now and for eternity.  Amen.


We are not alone; we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:  who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:  to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.


     In our Gospel reading for today, Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, is not present when Jesus pops into a locked room and scares the remaining disciples!  Well, he didn’t mean to scare them, but since they believed he was dead – ya, they were scared!  But after seeing him, seeing the holes from the nails on his body and the wound from being stabbed with a spear, they believe that it really is Jesus and he really is alive!  Then they are so happy they could cry!  They are no longer afraid!  Except for Thomas.  He missed the whole scene.

     I can understand why Thomas wants proof for himself, to see if Jesus really is alive.  Perhaps he thinks the other disciples are teasing him, tricking him, and he is so sad about Jesus’ death that he wants to see for himself that Jesus is alive.  Jesus gives him that.  Jesus shows Thomas the nail wounds and spear wound, invites Thomas to touch those wounds so he can feel the proof as well as see it.  Thomas believes because he sees Jesus’ wounds and knows Jesus is real and not a ghost. 

      While that is wonderful, Jesus says to Thomas, “What about the people who have not seen me or my wounds and believe anyway?”  Good question, Jesus!

     Do you have scars from falling down and cutting your skin?  Maybe you did what I did and took a chunk of flesh out of your knee on the head of a nail, so you have an obvious scar from the experience.  When people see our scars, they know that we have suffered somehow and survived to carry on.  Sometimes, when people are hurting, they trust us more because they can see our scars and know we have had hard times.  But what if people are hurting and there aren’t any scars?  Then what?  How can we tell if people are hurting when there aren’t any scars?  “Ah”, says Jesus, “that is a very good question!”  The answer is that we can’t tell if people are hurting, especially since they may have no scars.  “So”, says Jesus, “treat everyone with love, respect and kindness because you just never know if someone is sad about someone they love who is dying, or maybe because of Covid they could not pay for their house and are now living in a homeless shelter, or maybe they live with depression, or cancer, or some other illness.  When you treat everyone with love, respect and kindness, you may be helping them to heal.”  Wise words, Jesus! 

     Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, sometimes, like the disciples, I am scared.  Sometimes, I have a hard time believing you are always with me, and, like Thomas, want some proof so I know that I am not alone.  Help me to believe in you, so that by living out my faith, others may believe in you too.  Amen.


Rainbow Camp® provides campers with a safe space to be who they are without judgment.

     Chris Southin was lounging in front of the television and Harry Stewart was in the kitchen when they got the call from the Governor General’s office. Over the phone, the couple learned they had won an award from the Governor General recognizing “great Canadians for exceptional deeds that bring honour to our country.” They received the honour for co-founding Rainbow Camp®, based in northern Ontario. Since 2012, the camp has welcomed young people of all sexual identities.

     “It was unbelievable. We didn’t even know we were nominated,” says Stewart. “We will receive the award in person when the pandemic lifts. I guess I’ll need to buy a suit,” he laughs.

     From the beginning, Mission & Service has supported Welcome Friend Association, which runs Rainbow Camp®.

     “Initially, we wanted to bridge the local LGBTQ community with area churches. We started the association, and then we launched the camp. We had no idea what we were doing at the time. Only one person on the board had camp experience, but we knew that young people would benefit,” says Southin.

     Originally a one-week camp with 14 youths, Rainbow Camp® now serves up to 50 youth each week for four weeks. Expansion plans are in the works; over the next couple of years, Rainbow Camp® will pilot on the east and west coasts. “We’ve had an invitation to duplicate the Rainbow Camp® experience in Australia and in the UK too. It’s exciting!” says Stewart.

     Above all, Rainbow Camp® provides campers with a safe space to be who they are without judgment.

      “I’ll never forget our first year of camp. It was the second full day. A camper told us his mom had found a dress in his closet. He lied to her and said that it belonged to his girlfriend. He had brought the dress to camp and said he would like to wear it. High heels and sand don’t mix!” Stewart explains, laughing: “But the warmth, love, and compassion that the camper received from everyone at camp was amazing. We tell all of our staff ‘Your job is to make sure that each and every camper has the best possible time at Rainbow Camp®.’”

      Southin and Stewart say they want the camp experience to be memorable, fun, soul-searching, and supportive. “We don’t want any camper to feel afraid to be who they are. I think that’s why so many now call it their home.”

     Your generosity through Mission & Service supports safe, welcoming spaces like Rainbow Camp®. Thank you!


Resurrected God, though we have hidden ourselves in a locked room and huddled together as ones who build barriers, send your Living Word through our locked doors and into our guarded hearts that we might be witnesses of your grace and couriers of your goodness.  By the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us the trust to believe the Gospel not because we see it but because we have been seen by it and transformed through it. Amen.

                                       ~Written by Stephen M. Fearing

Readings and Psalm

 First Reading: Acts 4:32-35

While the apostles testified to others about the resurrection of Jesus, the early Christian community shared what they owned or sold their possessions to help their fellow believers who were in need.

32Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There 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. 35They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

  • Psalm 133

R:  How good and pleasant it is to live together in unity. (Ps. 133:1)

1How good and how pleasant it is, when kindred live together in unity! 

2It is like fine oil upon the head, flowing down upon the beard, upon the beard of Aaron, flowing down upon the collar of his robe. R 

3It is like the dew of Hermon flowing down upon the hills of Zion. For there the Lord has commanded the blessing: life forevermore. R

  • Second Reading: 1 John 1:1–2:2

The opening of this letter serves as a reality check. The reality of God is light, but our confessed reality has been sin. God cleanses us from our sinful reality through Christ’s death so that we live in fellowship with Christ and walk in God’s light.

     1We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—2this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—3we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

  5This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

2:1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

  • Gospel: John 20:19-31

The story of Easter continues as the risen Jesus appears to his disciples. His words to Thomas offer a blessing to all who entrust themselves in faith to the risen Lord.

     19When 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.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
  24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So 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.”

  26A 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.” 27Then 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.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
  30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But 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.


When it was evening of that day, the last day of the week, and the doors of the prison where the disciples met were locked to secure them away from the rest of society, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

But someone was not with them when Jesus came, and even though the lives of those who had seen him were changed, this one would not believe that Jesus had been there.  And sadly, this one’s life was all the poorer for not having believed the change that had taken hold of the others when Christ had entered their broken lives.

Doubt is very detrimental to faith.  Demanding proof of God’s existence in order to overcome our inability to believe is certainly part of being human, yet, like Thomas, it does bear some reproach from the Risen One: “Do not doubt but believe.”

It seems rather odd, actually, that Thomas would not believe without seeing, especially after witnessing all that Jesus had done and spoke.  Many would say that he lacked faith. I think he just needed a different perspective.  All the evidence he required was right there around him, but he chose not to see it.  Instead, he demanded precisely what Jesus had struggled to avoid — “give me a sign so that I might believe.”  Look around you Thomas!  Look at your peers!  Yesterday they were living in grief and despair!  Now they shine with life and joy and hope!  Can you not see that Thomas?!  What more evidence do you need?  The lives of those around you are aglow with the life that faith in the risen Christ gives!  Trust that, Thomas!  There is your proof!  Jesus is the God of the living, not the dead!

I had been invited to attend a social function at the Prince Albert penitentiary.  Inside the walls, the disciples of Christ met.  There was an Indian round dance taking place and it was a marvelous celebration!  I spent some of my time observing the faces of the inmates in the gym.  As I did so, I thought of this gospel text and imagined myself sitting in the upper room looking at the faces of Jesus’ disciples of two thousand years past.  To me, all the faces that lined the walls were beautiful, and all told a story.  There were many Thomas’s present, but there were a vast majority of others who were aglow with the life that faith in the risen Christ can give to one who believes. 

Even as the dancing and singing went on, and guests and inmates alike were caught up in the joy and wonder of being together and enjoying life, there were those whose anger permeated from the core of their being and settled in their faces.  Their brows were furrowed, the lines etched.  Their bitterness and disbelief in the joy around them was very evident.  Some were able to overcome their bitterness and smile as their soul got caught up in the dance, but others doubted. 


Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  Christ was very much present in the prison.  Prayers were reverently said to the Creator, thanks was given for the gathering and for the joy and love experienced. People hugged and laughed, broke bannock and lived.  They shared their stories and their pain.  The peace of Christ was filling the hearts of many.  Others doubted.

You see, there had been over 100 guests personally invited.  Many had said they would come.  Only 22 showed up.  In many ways I believe that those who chose not to come were like Thomas.  They did not want to believe that Christ had truly risen, that lives were being changed inside the walls; that Jesus could enter through closed doors. They wanted proof of Jesus’ presence, yes.  But they wanted their proof to appear to them on their side of the wall.  When I heard the news of the no-shows I thought, “How sad.  For is it not in our moment of greatest pain and weakness that Jesus comes to us?  Was it not to a group of frightened, hurting, grieving, locked-in people that the risen Christ appeared?”  Healing, hope, joy and peace, for those first disciples took place behind a locked door.

Note, however, that Thomas’ request was not denied, however he did receive some reproach– “Do not doubt, but believe.”  There are many prisons.  Doubt is but one of them.  Perhaps Thomas needed more than a different perspective.  Maybe he needed new vision.

At the end of the evening some of the guests were given gifts.  I received a beautiful painting of a loon.  There are many people who are amazed at the wonderful art work and crafts that the men in prison create.  They seem to think that once someone commits a crime, they are permanently evil, incapable of creating beauty.  To such as these I offer this new vision:  in order for an individual to create beauty, it must first exist within.  Otherwise, how else could it be expressed if it did not already exist.  The sad part is, we often choose not to look for the beauty inside but doubt instead. 

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples behind the locked doors of the prison, which are not written in this sermon.  But this one has been written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, who is capable of entering through locked doors and locked, doubting hearts; that God is God of the living, giving hope, forgiveness and new life, that through believing you may have life, new vision, and a new heart in his name.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH     WOV 669  Come Away To The Skies  


Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring our prayers before God who promises to hear us and answer in steadfast love.

You shower your church with grace, O God. Unite the whole church on earth, so that with one heart it testifies to the resurrection of Jesus Christ with power and love.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You proclaim the blessing of life forevermore. Like dew upon the mountains, refresh your creation. Restore waters, cleanse the air, and provide revitalizing moisture to parched land. Give your whole creation the promise of new life.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You direct the nations, O God. Guide all in authority, that they shepherd their peoples in the ways of your love. Defeat in us our impulse to war. Bestow the peace of Christ upon those in authority and breathe upon them the Holy Spirit.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You place within the heart of the church a spirit of sharing. Give us the power of your generous Spirit, that we provide for the needs of others. Announce your peace to those who are lonely, hurting, suffering, or afraid. We pray especially for Lil Schieman, Larry McCrady, Mike Froese, Brooke Alexiuk, Tracy Skoglund, Carolyn, Douglas, Debbie, Dwayne; Matthew Grossman, Lorraine & Walter Pokrant, Thomas & Zach Maynard.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You give us fellowship with one another in this faith community. Shine the light of the risen Christ in our life together, so that we live in love for one another and our joy may be complete.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You share the gift of eternal life. In thanksgiving and remembrance, we recall the lives and gifts of those who now live in endless joy. Unite us with them in resurrection hope.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.




SENDING SONG  VU 402  We Are One


May our glorious God grant you a spirit of wisdom to know and to love the risen Lord Jesus.

The God of life, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.


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© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca.