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April 7, 2024: Sunday Service
Rev Dr John Smith
Rev Dr John Smith
Sunday, April 7, 2024
Service and Hymns
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April 7th, 2024

2nd Sunday of Easter

Find this service at

Leading us today in Worship:
     Minister: Rev. Dr. John Greg. Smith
     Music Director: Dr. Christopher Burton
     Scripture Reader: Orleen Anderson

Leader: regular font ~ All: bold font ~ Sung words: bold italics
Asterisk * Indicates when the congregation may stand if able.

We Gather 

“Raindrop” Prelude - F. Chopin


Today we light the Christ candle as a sign and symbol of God’s great light,
A light that shines in our hearts and in our church.
In this season of Easter, let us pause to remember
That there is nothing on earth, or in life or death,
That can extinguish the light of Christ.
It is this truth that gives us hope and courage for the living of these days!

We believe all people are made in the image of God and are entitled to dignity and respect.  At Grace United Church we try to offer a safer, inclusive and generous space for all who are seeking a faith community.  We offer full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, all races, ages and abilities in the life and work of the ministry.

Grace United Church is situated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabek, Petun, Huron-Wendat, and Mississauga peoples, located within the boundary of Treaty 18 region of 1818. We humbly acknowledge the First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada as traditional stewards of the land on which we work and worship and are committed to working actively toward genuine restitution and reconciliation.

Doubt is our constant companion on our spiritual journey.
It is resilient and persistent, and sometimes clouds our eyes.
We doubt the good stories we hear, we doubt someone’s motives,
We doubt whether what we read is true, we doubt what others tell us.
Often, we doubt ourselves.
We’re afraid others might find out who we really are:  a swirling pool of doubt and anxiety.
But doubt can be our teacher.  It can be our friend.
Like Thomas in the final pages of the gospel,
we may find that doubt leads us to a deeper place,
far beyond the rigid boundaries of certainty.
So for those of you who today feel that your doubts outnumber your beliefs, this is for you!
For those of you who have many doubts, even about yourself, this is for you!
And for those of you who have been taught it is wrong to doubt, well, this is for you!
Let doubt today take us further on our spiritual journey, further into the heart of things,
Further into the heart of our own beloved beings.

“The Risen Christ”

1. The risen Christ, who walks on wounded feet
from garden tomb through darkened city street,
unlocks the door of grief, despair, and fear,
and speaks a word of peace to all who hear.

2. The risen Christ, who stands with wounded side,
breathes out his Spirit on them to abide
whose faith still wavers, who dare not believe,
new grace, new strength, new purpose they receive.

3. The risen Christ, who breaks with wounded hand
the bread for those who fail to understand,
reveals himself, despite their lingering tears,
enflames their hearts, then quickly disappears.

4. May we, Christ’s body, walk and serve and stand
with the oppressed in this and every land,
till all are blessed and can a blessing be,
restored in Christ to true humanity.

We’ll begin our prayer today with some silent time.
In the silence, pay attention to your basket of feelings today.
What are you holding on to that brings you pain and sorrow?
What are you holding on to that brings you joy?
See if you can hold them all in your hands and your heart,
Without the need to judge them, or to criticize yourself.

(prayer bowl rings)

As we gather together, we are a mix of thoughts and feelings,  joys and sorrow.
Sometimes we are overwhelmed with our thoughts and our feelings.
Sometimes we are empty, numb, unable to feel.
Sometimes we just don’t know what to think or how to feel!
All these times are in your hand, O God our Beloved.
All our times are part of the divine light you have given us to carry.
Help us learn to shine your divine light on all our fears, all our joys,
All our sorrow,all our hopes and dreams.

Help us to hold the world this way today God.
It’s a swirling mess, a jumble of colourful problems,
but it is also full of beautiful souls.
Help us to simply hold our concern for the earth in our hearts,
Without the need to fix everything.
Then help us to learn what one small part we are called to play in this drama.
And let us play it well.

As we gather in this community of love and blessing,
God fill us with your light and lead us forward with courage.
Fill us with love that takes action.
Fill us with hope that whatever we will, you will turn it to gold.
We pray in Christ’s name,

*HYMN: VU #166 
Joy Comes with the Dawn”

Joy comes with the dawn;
joy comes with the morning sun;
joy springs from the tomb
and scatters the night with her song,
joy comes with the dawn.

1. Weeping may come;
weeping may come in the night,
when dark shadows cloud our sight.
Joy comes with the dawn;
joy comes with the morning sun;
joy springs from the tomb
and scatters the night with her song,
joy comes with the dawn.

2. Sorrow will turn,
sorrow will turn into song,
and God’s laughter make us strong.
Joy comes with the dawn;
joy comes with the morning sun;
joy springs from the tomb
and scatters the night with her song,
joy comes with the dawn.

3. We will rejoice,
we will rejoice, and give praise,
to the One who brings us grace.
Joy comes with the dawn;
joy comes with the morning sun;
joy springs from the tomb
and scatters the night with her song,
joy comes with the dawn.

We Listen 

1st John 1: 1 – 10  &  2:  9-11
(Contemporary English Version)

The Word that gives life
    was from the beginning,
and this is the one
    our message is about.

Our ears have heard,
    our eyes have seen,
and our hands have touched
    this Word.

The one who gives life appeared! We saw it happen, and we are witnesses to what we have seen. Now we are telling you about this eternal life that was with the Father and appeared to us.  We are telling you what we have seen and heard, so you may share in this life with us. And we share in it with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.  We are writing to tell you these things, because this makes us truly happy.

God Is Light
Jesus told us God is light and doesn't have any darkness in him. Now we are telling you.
If we say we share in life with God and keep on living in the dark, we are lying and are not living by the truth.   But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away.  If we say we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn't in our hearts.  But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.
If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and his message isn't in our hearts.
If we claim to be in the light and hate someone, we are still in the dark.  But if we love others, we are in the light, and we don't cause problems for them.  If we hate others, we are living and walking in the dark. We don't know where we are going, because we can't see in the dark.

John 20: 24 -31     
(Contemporary English Version)

Jesus and Thomas
Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn't with the others when Jesus appeared to them. So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won't believe unless I do this!”
A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples  and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”
Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!”
Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”
Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book.  But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

May these words of scripture inspire us in heart, mind and soul. 

“We Cannot Own the Sunlit Sky” - M. Haugen

SERMON: “Opening the Door”

We Respond 

*HYMN: VU #703   In The Bulb There is a Flower

1. In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise:
butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter
there’s a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

2. There’s a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody;
there’s a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future;
what it holds, a mystery,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

3. In our end is our beginning;
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing;
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

The work of creating a world that works for all,
Requires many gifts, many talents, many resources.
We bring all that we have, our courage, our strength,
Our prayers and our dreams,
Our gifts of time and treasure,
And all the love and acceptance we embody,
To create God’s world of justice and joy.
Thanks be to God.

Donate online: select, “Give”,
     or contact the office by email:
     or phone: 519-599-2438 to arrange a cheque pick-up, or an e-transfer
     Mail: Grace UC, 140 Bruce St. S. PO Box 219, Thornbury, ON.  N0H 2P0
     or  Offering Plate: at the back of the sanctuary.

     Care, Prayer, Share


What’s Up at Grace?


*HYMN: VU #164  
The Day of Resurrection

1. The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad;
the passover of gladness, the passover of God!
From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
our Christ has brought us over with hymns of victory.

2. Our hearts be free of evil, that we may see aright
the Christ in rays eternal of resurrection light,
and, listening to the accents, may hear so calm and plain
Christ’s own ‘All hail!’ and, hearing, may raise the victor strain.

3. Now let the heavens be joyful, let earth its song begin,
the round world keep high triumph, and all that is therein;
let all things seen and unseen their notes of gladness blend,
for Christ indeed is risen, our Joy that has no end.


“In All of my Life”

In all of my life
In all of my ways
In all my priorities
Through all of my days
In all that I choose
In all that I say:
May love be supreme in my life
This I pray.

“Prelude in D flat Major” - R. Glière


LITURGY SOURCES: The following are used with permission:
Prayers written by Rev. Dr. John G. Smith.
- “The Risen Christ:” Words: © 1993 Nigel Weaver, P.O. Box 6528, 16 Candlelight Park, Cornwall, PE C0A 1H0. Music: Used by permission of Oxford University Press. Words: Nigel Weaver. Music: Oxford University Press. One License #806577
- “Joy Comes with the Dawn:” Words, Music: Gordon Light © 1985 Common Cup Company. Arrangement: © 1995 Nan Thompson. Words, Music: Common Cup Company. Arrangement: Nan Thompson. One License #608577
- “In the Bulb There is a Flower:” Words, Music: Natalie Sleeth © 1986 Hope Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Words, Music: Hope Publishing Company. One License #608577
- “The Day of Resurrection:” Words: John of Damascus, translated by John Mason Neale. Music: Gesangbuch der Herzogl Wirtembergischen Katholischen Hofkapelle.  Public Domain
- Sung Blessing: “In All My Life:” Used with permission, © 2006 Scott Kearns,
Scripture Passages: Contemporary English Version
Prelude: “Raindrop” Prelude - F. Chopin
Anthem: “We Cannot Own the Sunlit Sky” - M. Haugen.  Words and Music copyright © by GIA Publications.  OneLicense #608577
Postlude: “Prelude in D flat Major “- R. Gliè