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.


There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.

~J. Robert Oppenheimer


The Gospel of John takes seriously the question of what it means for God to have a human body. It is a sensory, incarnational gospel. The stories in today’s gospel reading are no exception. Jesus appears to his disciples, showing them his wounded hands and side. He then breathes on them, bestowing on them the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the especially intimate scene that follows, Thomas touches Jesus’ wounds. This story reminds us that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are more than abstract concepts; they are bodily experiences. 


We respectfully acknowledge that the Province of Manitoba includes the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Lyiniwok, the Cree, Oji-Cree, Dene and Dakota Peoples and homeland of the Metis People.

As First Peoples have done since time immemorial, we strive to be responsible stewards of the land, and to respect the cultures, ceremonies, and traditions of all who call this land home. As we open our hearts and minds to the past, we commit ourselves to working in a spirit of truth and reconciliation to make a better future for all.

CALL TO WORSHIP – written by Elise Feltrin, Chemainus United Church

God calls us in wind and whisper,

in the laughter of children and the chirping of crickets.

God beckons us through the brilliance of stars in the night sky,

the dance of sunshine on waves, and the glowing of embers in a campfire.

May we hearken our hearts to God’s call – to God’s presence.  May we draw near to God’s warmth and to one another –

united with every living creature

as we join in the holy community of all creation

to celebrate our holy oneness and praise God’s Holy Name.

CHILDREN’S SONG:   Lord, I Lift Your Name On High

CENTERING PRAYER – written by Nancy C. Townley

Lord of Resurrection surprises, open our hearts this day to the presence of Jesus Christ. Erase our excuses for unbelief, and exchange them for strong witness to the power of your mercy and love. Give us courage and challenge us to walk the path of discipleship, knowing that Jesus goes before us, leading and guiding our steps. In his name, we pray. 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.


     Imagine you have a metal box.  This box contains your feelings and fears.  You keep the lid on the box.  Inside there is a pad of paper and a pencil, so you can at least write down how you feel, put to words your fears.  Maybe there is a place to put a lock on the box to make certain it stays closed, so no one, not even God, can see inside to your feelings and fears.  Or so you think…

Then God sends Jesus, and Jesus has this amazing gift!  After God raises Jesus from the dead Jesus appears to his disciples in a locked room!  No one let him in through the door.  The door is still locked, yet Jesus suddenly appears, scaring everybody, because they still have a hard time believing Jesus is alive again!

If Jesus can pop into a locked room and help the disciples face their fears – and they were grownups – then Jesus can see inside and open up your locked box of feelings and fears and help you face them, work through them, move past them.

Absolutely, write down your feelings and fears!  It helps you to sort them out by putting them into words.  Then, pray about them.  Tell Jesus what is on your paper, and on your heart.  Jesus will hear you and guide you.  Tell your parents as well, because the Spirit of Jesus is in them, as it is in you, and they will help you and guide you through your feelings and fears.

I know some children who, sadly, did not have parents who were able to help and guide them.  Thankfully, those children had relatives, teachers, pastors and other adults in their lives to walk with them through their feelings and fears.

Never give up!  Keep talking to Jesus, keep talking to your parents or another trusted adult.  God will guide you through the tough times and help you celebrate the healing when you get through.


You Give Skills For Life:  Kathleen’s Story

Camp is more than a holiday. It gives young people skills that last a lifetime.

Kathleen is a special education teacher, a busy mom of three children under the age of five, and a youth and young adults coordinator at her church. She says her early summer church camp experience continues to impact her approach to each of these important roles.

“Camp taught me that children are precious and we’re there to help them and guide them. Vespers taught me to take a deep breath in times of stress. Chaplains showed me how to bring out the best in children and draw out their talents. All those things I learned from camp I now apply to my everyday world, including motherhood,” says Kathleen.

Kathleen grew up in very formal churches where she felt she had to be perfect all the time. Outdoors, in an informal setting, her faith blossomed.

“I never felt really connected to God before going to camp. It opened up my perspective of what church is. My relationship with God expanded. I learned to pray, to reflect, and to experience God in nature.”

Those early lessons continue to ground Kathleen in trying moments.

“Today, because I learned to connect with God in nature, I can take time to reflect and I can show God’s love. When I’m too stressed, I can take a quick look at a bird or tree and remember that God is with me when a student is expressing their frustration. Staying calm and showing God’s love is huge. It goes a long way. I remind my own children that God is with them, even in the hardest times too,” she says.

Before COVID, approximately 20,000 children attended a United Church camp every year. During the pandemic, many camps provided virtual support to young people during lockdown.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to Mission & Service donors for their support of camps,” says Kathleen. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for their support. 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.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Acts 5:27-32

Peter has been arrested for proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His response to the charges of the high priest summarizes the early church’s proclamation of forgiveness of sin through repentance.

27When they had brought  they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” 29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Psalm 118:14-29

R:  You are my God, and I will exalt you. (Ps. 118:28)

14The Lord is my strength and my song, and has become my salvation.
15Shouts of rejoicing and salvation echo in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord acts valiantly!
16The right hand of the Lord is exalted!  The right hand of the Lord acts valiantly!”
17I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. R
18The Lord indeed punished me sorely, but did not hand me over to death.
19Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them and give thanks to the Lord.
20“This is the gate of the Lord; here the righteous may enter.”
21I give thanks to you, for you have answered me and you have become my salvation. R
22The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23By the Lord has this been done; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25Hosanna! O Lord, save us! We pray to you, Lord, prosper our days! R
26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord.
27The Lord is God and has given us light.
Form a procession with branches up to the corners of the altar.
28You are my God, and I will thank you; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29Give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good; God’s mercy endures forever. R

Second Reading: Revelation 1:4-8

The book of Revelation recounts a mystical vision of the risen Christ experienced by a Christian prophet named John. Here he describes Christ as a timeless redeemer, the beginning, present, and end of all time.

4John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7Look! He is coming with the clouds;

every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him;

and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So it is to be. Amen.

8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Gospel: John 20:19-31

The unprecedented events of the day of resurrection continue as the risen Jesus appears to his fearful disciples. A week later, after Thomas worships Jesus, Jesus pronounces that the blessings of the resurrection are also for those who “have not seen and yet believe.”

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.

HYMN: Because He Lives


The opposite of faith is not doubt, it is fear.

Thomas is emotionally torn apart with grief.  He abandoned his Rabbi in his hour of need; he did not have the courage to show up for Jesus’ crucifixion and he was not around to see where Jesus was laid to rest.  Now the Jewish religious authorities are rumored to be on the lookout for Thomas and the other disciples who, by the way, have literally locked themselves inside a building in fear.  Thomas is on his way to the meeting place, afraid for his life.

Doubting Thomas?  No.  Scared Thomas.  Very, very scared.

If Thomas accepts what the others tell him about Jesus having just left the building – alive – then he will suddenly have to change his whole belief system, his understanding of the world and how Yahweh interacts with that world.  If Thomas takes the risk and believes the experience of his friends, “normal” loses all meaning and a new reality that defies all logic will need to be embraced.  The dead no longer stay dead, a relationship with God suddenly becomes intensely personal and a supernatural power guides the heart and mind.  And that, people, is not even close to the fear Thomas faces at seeing alive the one he loved and abandoned to a cruel death – especially after promising that he would never leave Jesus’ side.

Doubting Thomas?  No.  Scared Thomas.  Scared and ashamed.

Thomas wants proof.  This is not an unreasonable request.  Thomas is the outsider – he missed the punch line!  He was absent when Jesus appeared.  The news is too good to be true and that is all the more reason to fear the reality!  By asking for proof, Thomas is attempting to hold on to his reality and keep some control.  The pain of losing Jesus makes Thomas all the more fearful of accepting the truth.  Better to not hope too much in order to avoid the pain of disappointment and further grief.  Thomas is so afraid to risk believing the miracle that he is blinded to the joy and wonder of his friends!  The reaction of the others to having seen Jesus alive would be enough to remove any doubt, don’t you think?  Such joy could be not be an act.  Academy Award winners the disciples were not!

So, why the need for proof?  Is Thomas really doubting or is he scared to face his failure?

Notice that Jesus does not ridicule Thomas regarding his request for proof.  Jesus does tell Thomas to cease doubting and believe.  “Ah ha!”  you say! “See, he is ‘Doubting Thomas!’”  Perhaps.  Try this interpretation of the situation on for size…

As an actor, one always looks for the strongest motivation in any scene.  As a human being, how does one cover up one’s fear?  Often anger or bravado is the means to hide the fear one feels.  So which is the stronger motivation?  Ignoring the joy of the disciples and spouting one’s disbelief that “Jesus was here”, or realizing that the amazement of one’s friends is genuine and being terrified of Jesus’ response to a broken promise?  What if Jesus does not forgive the betrayal?  What if Jesus stops loving Thomas?

Now, suppose that Jesus is aware of the emotional battle going on inside of Thomas.  Jesus knows the fear and the means Thomas is using to hide it.  What if Jesus’ words are meant to address the fear Thomas has of losing Jesus’ love instead of the doubt he so loudly announces?  What if Jesus is saying to Thomas, “Do not doubt my love, Thomas.  Believe in my love!  Do you feel relief because we are face to face and I do not reject you?  Blessed are those who believe in my love and trust it without my having to say it face to face.”  What if Thomas’ exclamation of, “My Lord and my God!” is not just a statement of belief but of thanks?  By not rejecting Thomas, by allowing the request to touch the wounds be fulfilled, Jesus is letting Thomas know that he is loved and forgiven.

Bottom line – it doesn’t matter whether Thomas was doubting or scared.  What matters is that Jesus is alive; Thomas believed; the Holy Spirit was given and the body of Christ, the Church, is still here today.

To believe in Christ, to follow where he leads takes courage, it takes trust and it involves risk.  Thomas learned that.  I close with a poem that captures the heart of living a life in Christ:


To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But they simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow love or live.
Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave.
They have forfeited freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.


HYMN OF THE MONTH:  MV 139   True Faith Needs No Defence


We pray to the God of resurrection for the church, people in need, and all of creation.

Holy One who acts righteously, equip your church as witnesses of your goodness to go and tell others of your abundant love, that they may believe that Jesus is our salvation and life. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Renew your people’s commitment to use resources responsibly and to live well with your creation. Invite us to recognize and nurture signs of resurrection life in the natural world. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Direct those who are given human authority to lead with humility and compassion. By your Holy Spirit channel their attention toward serving those who are most in need. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Uphold your children who cry out to you. We lift up to you Bill and Terry Howie, Marlene Buhler, Evie and Brian Watt, Tracy Skoglund, Brooke Alexiuk, Joan, the family of Angèle Harmonic, Debbie, Dwayne, Wendy Bachinsky, the Mohr family.  Wherever people are overcome by the fear of death, breathe into them your life and peace. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Inspire those who lead your people in worship and praise especially the creative and music ministries of this congregation. With joyful displays and sound, send us forth with praise that we cannot keep to ourselves. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Give us the words of your saints who, like Thomas, boldly confessed your Son as Lord and God. With Jesus our leader, empower us to live according to his ways. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

In your mercy, O God, respond to these prayers, and renew us by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.



SENDING SONG: WOV 674   Alleluia!  Jesus Is Risen!


God, the Author of life, Christ, the living Cornerstone, and the life-giving Spirit of adoption, ☩ bless you now and forever.



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