Material for Worship on the Second Sunday of Easter

In today’s reading from St John’s Gospel, writes the Venerable Peter M Potter, we are still at the first Easter Day, but it is now evening and the scene has shifted to the upper room where the disciples have taken refuge.

When it comes to matters of faith and doubt, C. S. Lewis advocated embracing the most plausible hypothesis currently available to us. Importantly, this means we do not have to look for absolute certainty. Religious commitment is essentially about faith, which, in its turn, is a matter of trust in the plausibility of its claims.

Hymn: Now the Green Blade Riseth, CP153. As you follow the words, listen to the tune played by David .

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love who had been slain,
Thinking that He never would awake again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Forth He came at Easter, like the risen grain,
Jesus who for three days in the grave had lain;
Quick from the dead the risen One is seen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Jesus’ touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

A prayer of confession
In baptism we died with Christ,
so that as Christ was raised from the dead, we might walk in newness of life.
Let us receive new life in him as we confess our sins in penitence and faith.
Like Mary at the empty tomb,
we fail to grasp the wonder of your presence.
Lord have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Like the disciples behind locked doors
we are afraid to be seen as your followers.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Like Thomas in the upper room
we are slow to believe.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.


Almighty God, in your great goodness, grant that we, as pilgrims through the Easter mysteries, may hold them fast in our lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Acts 4.32-35 (read by Margaret)

John 20.19-31 (read by Les)


There’s not much I can do about it now, I suppose. Not after all these years. But, you know, it really isn’t right. I mean, every time my name is mentioned – Thomas. Oh yes, people say – Doubting Thomas.
Why me? The other disciples didn’t get it at first, did they? When the women came back from the tomb in the garden, they didn’t believe what they’d told them. But nobody says Doubting Peter or Doubting Andrew, do they? Why not? It doesn’t seem fair. The name has stuck. Even in India – you know I travelled to India in those early days, preaching the Gospel? The name travelled with me and they even called their Church after me: The Mar Thoma Church.

Doubting Thomas… I mean, what would you have done? You saw him die on the cross, didn’t you? But then, in the upper room … I knew it was him. He said to me, “Put your finger here … reach out and put your hand in my side”. But I didn’t need to. I knew it was not a hallucination or a ghost. It really was him. Alive.
And there was something else. Oh, it was him all right. The one we had walked the length and breadth of the country with, gone fishing with, shared bread and wine with. But there was something else now. When Mary saw him in the garden, she called him “My teacher”. But no, in the upper room there, he was more than that. “My Lord and my God!” That’s what I called him and that’s who he is.
And no, I don’t mean I had turned this man who was our rabbi, our teacher, into a god – the way the Romans do with their dead emperors. He really is God. Now I come to think of it, when he walked and talked with us before he was – you know – crucified; well, it was like God walked and talked with us. Not that we realised it then of course. But that’s how it was. The one with us was the same as the Lord God who walked and talked with the first humans in the Garden of Eden.
So, I don’t know what came over me there, in the upper room. It was like some power had got hold of me and I blurted out the name of God. You know, the name we’re not supposed to say. I had seen God – like Moses; you could have touched him – like Jacob, who wrestled with him. Because that’s who Jesus is. Walking and talking with us in the cool of the evening – ah yes, the Garden of Eden. That’s what he is doing. Recreating and restoring it. Getting it back to how it was between us before it all went wrong. No wonder Mary mistook him for the gardener.
He was doing all this so we could be at one with him – an atonement, if we’re being precise about it. Think of the locks on the door of the upper room that evening. Didn’t stop him, did they? What about the wounds in his hands and feet? “I’ve still got them. You can touch them if you like?” That’s what he said to me. But those wounds didn’t stop him either, did they? Still at one with us.
You know – all this time; for centuries since we lost that easy-going close feeling of being at one with God, we’ve been trying to keep him at arm’s length – been afraid of him as if he were a bad-tempered parent; or we thought we were too big to hold his hand anymore; or we thought we knew better then him. What a shame, what a waste.
How often have you said to yourself – if only we could get it back; if only it could be like it was. When we really could be at one with God – not have that nagging feeling inside us that something’s wrong between us, something’s keeping us apart. But we can. We did. That’s what suddenly hit me there in the upper room. Jesus had been with us on the roads, in the fields. We had eaten and talked together; all natural and completely at one, even if we didn’t always get it. And there he was – my Lord and my God. It was me who said it first – for all to hear. They got the message.
And you call me doubting!

Prayers of Intercession
We pray for a world where many put their trust in force, weapons, oppression….. Open the way to freedom so that the peace of Christ may prevail among nations and in the hearts of all.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
Grant to us, our families, friends and neighbours the grace of the Resurrection. Break through the closed doors of our fear and doubt. … Give us confidence to face the challenges of daily living.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
Grant to the Church the wisdom to know and power to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection. … May her ministers be strong in the Holy Spirit to bring pardon and healing in the name of Jesus.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
Have mercy on all who suffer persecution for their faith, who must meet in secret and cannot worship openly. … Give them strength in their need and the knowledge that they are not alone.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
Remembering that our risen Lord still bore the scars of his suffering, we pray for anyone for whom life is difficult just now. … Be close to them, grant them courage and healing.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
We pray for the departed, especially those who have died recently and our loved ones whom we see no longer. … May they know our risen Lord in the fullness of his glory and may we share with them in his promised blessing.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
We make our prayers together with those of the saints triumphant in heaven, through your Son Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Closing hymn: Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord, CP136. As you follow the words, listen to the tune played by David.

Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord,
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to His name.
Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
He is the King of creation. Refrain.
Spread the good news o’er all the earth.
Jesus has died and has risen. Refrain.
We have been crucified with Christ.
Now we shall live forever. Refrain.
God has proclaimed the just reward:
Life for all men, alleluia! Refrain.
Come, let us praise the living God,
Joyfully sing to our Saviour.
Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord,
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to His name.