Sunday Worship Service: The Resilience of Grace

“If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.” 

~ African proverb

Just for Fun Music Prelude: 

Sicilian 12-year-old twins from Agrigento, Sicily (Italy) put on a violin concert while in quarantine, performing Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”

Call to Worship: Psalms 118:1-2, 22-24

Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; and God’s love endures forever.

Let Israel say: “God’s love endures forever.”
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Opening Hymn: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Lyrics included with male choir accompaniment!)

Passing of the Peace:

Pastor Don: May the Peace of Christ be with you.  Congregation at Home: And also with you.  Pastor Don: Consider three ways that you can extend peace to one another this week through a phone call, text or email.

Christian Reading: John 20:24-29

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Theme Music Video (View & Listen):

Andrea Bocelli: Amazing Grace — Music for Hope (Live from Duomo di Milano)

Theme Reading: Lewis Smedes, Theologian and Ethicist. 

“Grace does not make everything right in our world. Grace’s trick is to show us that it is right for us to live; that it is truly good, wonderful even, for us to be breathing and feeling.  Grace does not cure all our cancers, transform all our kids into winners, or send us all soaring into the high skies of sex and success. Grace is rather an amazing power to look earthly reality full in the face, see the sad and tragic edges, and yet feel in your deepest being that it is good and right to be alive on God’s good earth. Grace is power to see life very clearly, admit that it is sometimes all wrong, and still know that somehow, in the center of your life, “It is all right.” This is one reason we call it amazing grace. Grace is the one word for all that God is for us in the formc of Jesus Christ.”

“Resilience of Grace!”
Rev. Don Ludwig

If you prefer to read the sermon text, click here

Inspirational Hymn/Video (join in the singing):  

Staff Anthem: Ralph Vaughan Williams – The Call (from Five Mystical Songs), virtually performed by Jason Sabino and Matt Thompson-Aue

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a Way, as gives us breath:
Such a Truth, as ends all strife:
Such a Life, as killeth death.

Come, My Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a Light, as shows a feast:
Such a Feast, as mends in length:
Such a Strength, as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a Joy, as none can move:
Such a Love, as none can part:
Such a Heart, as joys in love.

Take a moment to listen to the music, perhaps close your eyes, breathe deeply, and simply be in this moment!

Pastoral Prayer:  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalms 46:1-2).

Spirit of Life that calls us to presence. Spirit of Love that calls us to connection.
God of both suffering and grace. God of Spring… the proof that rebirth is real.
Help us stay connected even while we must remain physically distant.
Let our hearts do the touching while our hands must stay at our sides. 
Help us find ways to support one another and those who suffer most
And let our spirits discover clarity and strength. We especially pray for those family and friends and issues that are on our hearts this morning….(talk a moment to name them now….)
Even in these days…as Easter people, may we rise with grace and compassion toward all. Amen.

Time for Offering: 

As we reflect on all of our blessings, individually and as a community, may we consider how we may give of ourselves so that the work of Christ’s love and peace may continue throughout our world. (Please contact, or one of our Trustees to discover simple ways you may give electronically or via mail. Thank you for supporting the staff and on-going ministries of Southminster Presbyterian Church).

Final Blessing and Benediction: 

Friends, We are resilient people. WE GOT THIS! Please let me know if there is anything that you need as we continue to imagine a world of health, hope, peace and solidarity.

Now, as you enter a new week, have hope, good people of Southminster.
Have hope that the way will emerge.  Have hope that we will move forward.
Have hope in a new day that is coming.  And live each day by Grace.


Inspirational Hymn/Video (join in the singing):  

The Strife is O’er” Music by Giovanni Palestrina [“Victory’]

Sung by the choir and congregation of Sunderland Minster, UK on Easter Day 2012 Organist: Tom Honeyman