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Home Prayers for Sunday April 19th 2020 – Morning Prayers by Candlelight


(If possible, some of us may be able to do this service at home Sunday morning, beginning at 10:30am. I will be doing this, and hopefully many of us will be lighting our candles and saying our prayers together, even though apart. We are always the church together, wherever we are!)


(If available, pick a space in your home that is peaceful and quiet. Perhaps if there is a table, place a candle in the centre of it and light it. Allow yourself a few moments to become centered, and ready for prayer)


(For the rest of this prayer service, you may say it out loud in its entirety, or read it prayerfully in silence, or divide it up if you have someone else to share this with, reading back-and-forth to one another. There are no leader parts, anyone can do any part they would like)


(Please note that there is a sermon after the service if you wish to read on)


Opening Prayers

God is our light and our salvation, and in God’s presence we light one candle, signifying unity among us. May its flame remind us of the light and life in every living being around the world in this moment. We are connected. As it burns, so may our passion burn to be people of compassion in every circumstance this day may bring. We are connected. May this light remind us of the beauty of God’s truth, which is love. We are connected. May our hearts be open to the light of the Spirit within each of us, as we seek to be the hearts and hands of love, here on earth. We are connected.


Lord, in your mercy, let there be light.

O God, you command a light to shine out of darkness. Shine in our hearts that we may be as lights in the world reflecting the love of Jesus in our lives.

God is light and in God there is no darkness.


Jesus said, “And if I am lifted up, I will draw the whole world to myself.”

We will take up our cross and follow him.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Almighty God, by the suffering of your Son you have brought hope to the whole world. Help us in our trials and be the strength humanity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Reading: JOHN 20:19-31


Prayers of intercession

After the resurrection of Jesus, he remained amongst his peoples teaching them to love all people as neighbors. So it is that we offer these prayers on behalf of the universe in which we are privileged to live and our neighbor with whom we share it, saying, God of Resurrection Joy, fill us with Hope.


God of Resurrection Joy, fill us with Hope.


For a new birth of justice, love and peace on the earth. Wherever God’s image is disfigured by poverty, sickness, selfishness, war and greed, that individuals and communities would be healed and transformed of all that is broken.


God of Resurrection Joy, fill us with Hope..


For the whole body of Christ, for all who witness and walk his holy way, for all pastors and people who, in a world made unfamiliar by a virus of pandemic proportions, must find new ways to reach out in love and compassion to a hurting and needy world,


God of Resurrection Joy, fill us with Hope.


For this country of Canada and for all the nations of the world, that

those who lead would know truth and practice integrity so that all people may grow together in concord. We give thanks for the leadership that has blessed us with light in the midst of darkness.


God of Resurrection Joy, fill us with Hope.


For all in mental anguish: for all whose lives have moved to the margins, for all who face uncertainty, fear, lack of food, money and who are without the basic necessities of shelter, clean water and sanitation that they would helped to find a new hope and peace for their lives.


God of Resurrection Joy, fill us with Hope.


For all who are discovering the joy of sharing and the joy of loving those who are our neighbors: for the inventiveness and resourcefulness of individuals and companies, for the dedication of researchers searching for an antidote to this virus, for folks making food for truck drivers and hospital personnel. For all of us as we reset our values to truly look out for each other as one family under God.


God of Resurrection Joy, fill us with Hope.


For all who are sick at home, in hospital, or in a home for extended care: for all suffering from the COVID-19 virus, for those anxiously waiting for medical procedures; and, for all others in need of medical help and care. We also remember those who are suffering the added trauma of grieving the loss of a loved one while separated by social distancing, quarantine or lock-down .


We pray that they would know the love and compassion of a serving community bringing hope and comfort where they can.


God of Resurrection Joy, fill us with Hope.


Open our hearts, O God, to your power moving around us and between us and within us. May we, with Jesus as our guide, look to the future with hope, unafraid of our dreams, realistic about our limitations, yet never losing hope in our potential to live courageously in today, and for tomorrow. AMEN


The Lord’s Prayer (Maori version, New Zealand)

Eternal Spirit,

Earth-maker, Pain bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe;

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world;

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings;

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom

sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trial too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,

now and forever. Amen.


Parting Prayer

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

Let us be compassionate in our poverty.

Blessed are those who mourn,

Let us grieve together and comfort one another.

Blessed are the gentle,

Let us bring gentleness to every word, touch and thought.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right,

Let our lives be centered on truth, justice and peace.

Blessed are the merciful,

Let us choose mercy always.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

Let us be people of the heart.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

Let our lives and choices be a legacy of peace.


Guide us, O God as people who know we are intended by you. Change our perceptions, fill us with compassion, and remind us throughout this day that we are connected to every being, seen and unseen, in the beautiful, life giving complexity of Your web of life. In the morning we seek you. Through the day we turn to you. In the night we rest in you. Grant us your peace.




Note: this service is based on the BAS service of Home Prayers, adapted for use with no designated leader. It was rewritten to reflect inclusive language, with inclusions from the New Zealand Prayer Book, and additional prayers written by the Rev’d Mark Pretty. The prayers of intercession were composed by Gerry Punke, for the 2nd Sunday of Easter.



In today’s gospel story, we have a classic. Good old doubting Thomas. I’ve always loved this story because I have found through the years that so many of us fit his profile. For excellent reasons.


I am not a superstitious person. And I’m not talking about ghosts and goblins and spooky things … though I watch the TV series Supernatural (14 seasons so far) and I love a good horror movie! And yes, after seeing The Grudge, I will probably never look down a well if I find one in a field in the middle of nowhere!. But that’s all entertainment.


Thomas struggles to believe that Jesus was resurrected. But I don’t think it was because he did or didn’t buy into the “ghost stories” of Jesus appearing to people after being dead. I’m not sure that was the issue at all.


Thomas was in deep grief. It would be absolutely no different for him, then it would be for you and I. Not only did he just lose someone he loved, he also lost someone who was part of his life every day, someone with whom he found life-changing insights and a belief about what love is like and what the world can be. But that great friendship and deep connection became traumatized. I don’t even want to think about how it would feel to see someone you love that much, tortured, subjected to prejudice and abuse, and then murdered.


But that level grief and pain, is just as real now any of the many places in this world where this happens all the time. So many places that have been at war, consumed by hatred and grief, for generations.


And it’s just as true for you and I, or anyone we know who has lost someone in tragedy and drama. It takes years, and years, for that shock and pain to begin moving within us, to begin to feel anything beyond that sadness and loss.


I once heard a psychologist describe his loss in the following way. It was as if someone suddenly turned everything off. Sight, smell, taste, touch, sound… everything that was once beautiful or meaningful, was completely gone. He said it was years later, while sitting by a lake looking over the water that he realized that what he was looking at was beautiful and meant something. It was first time he was able to feel something along side of the pain inside. Which does not mean the world was suddenly beautiful again, or that he had found meaning again. It was a first step.


When I think of Thomas, and everyone in that group, that’s how I think of them. And I think it’s vital to understand them as people in deep grief, who have been traumatized. Because it means that every single thing they do from here forward, takes so much strength, and so much heart.


It is so unfortunate that so much of religion in our time is about things that don’t matter. Among Christians, differences of belief, like whether the bread and wine are symbols or the actual body and blood of Christ. Or where and how we worship (something that is changing dramatically now with pandemic restrictions). Or whether love is love, between opposite genders, same genders, and so on. Or the things that define and distinguish an Anglican from a Catholic from a Baptist from the United (there are over 300 different flavours of Christianity in Canada alone).


Between major world religions… the fanatical believe that my God is the true God and yours is not. Christians are as guilty of that has any religion on this planet. Or the hype and sensationalism of religious recruitment and advertisement. Or centuries and even millennia of a religion attempting to construct a belief system that proves and justifies it is what it says it is. Or that it is OK to do the horrible things it does, in the name of its God.


The reason I cherish stories like that of doubting Thomas, is because this is a point in our religion when none of that other stuff has happened yet. This was when people were grieving deeply, traumatized and in shock over the loss of someone they loved so much, and the horrible things that they had seen done to him.


And I cannot possibly overstate this. What that means is that everything they did from then on, they did because they believed in that relationship, and that kind of love. In trying to give that to others. Their grief and loss are transforming into believing they could change the world they lived in. Believing that doing so honours the memory of someone they loved so much.. Wanting, with all their heart and soul, to create a world where crucifying a human being would become unthinkable.


That is the transforming power of grief and loss. Honouring. Changing. The things we believe in because of the person we love. The missing, that guides our heart every day after. The need to keep loving.


And so as people of faith, we are in a sense, in a faith that began as grieving. Which is to say, we don’t live in that grief, but we do live with that same, life altering, passionate belief that we are still creating that world to honour and cherish the people we have lost, those we can still wrap our arms around, and those beautiful souls who are yet to come.