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DOUBT

Let me meet you on the mountain, Lord,
Just once.
You wouldn't have to burn a whole bush.
Just a few smoking branches
And I would surely be ...your Moses.

Let me meet you on the water, Lord,
Just once.
It wouldn't have to be on the North Sea.
Just on a puddle after the Hartlepool rain
And I would surely be...your Peter.

Let me meet you on the road, Lord,
Just once.
You wouldn't have to blind me on the M1.
Just a few bright lights on the way to church
And I would surely be...your Paul.

Let me meet you, Lord,
Just once.
Anywhere. Anytime.
Just meeting you in the Word is so hard sometimes
Must I always be...your Thomas?

Norman Shirk   (Adapted)

Call to worship

based on Psalm 116:1-4

I love the Lord because he hears me
HE LISTENS TO MY PRAYERS
Every time I call him
HE LISTENS TO MY PRAYERS
The danger of death was all around me,
I was filled with fear. I called to the Lord
HE LISTENS TO MY PRAYERS
Then the risen Lord was with me, 'Peace be with you' he said.
He is with me still
HE LISTENS TO MY PRAYERS
LET US WORSHIP OUR LIVING, LOVING LORD!

Prayers

Prayer of praise - 1 Peter 1:17-23

O God our Father, how we want to praise you!
We want to fill the rest of our lives with reverent praise

When we are judged we may be found wanting
But you have set us free from sin and death,
from lives which are worthless, filled day after day with emptiness.
And you set us free with a cost you were willing to pay - the life of Christ.
One with you, even before creation itself.
And yet, you gave him to us - a man, the cross, the victory!
Our Lord, the tomb, new life for all!
Through him, our faith and hope are fixed on you.
Through him our hearts are open to love our brothers and sisters
Through him, our lives are filled with praise for you,
Our Immortal Father, Our God.

O God our Father, how we want to praise you!
We want to fill the rest of our lives with reverent praise

Prayer of confession - based on John 20:19-31

Jesus appeared in the locked room
- Lord for all the times we have locked ourselves away, too scared to face the world and its indifference, forgive us.
Jesus said 'Peace be with you'.
- Lord for all the times when we have fought with others, battles of words, battles for superiority, battles because we are bored, forgive us.
Jesus showed them his scarred hands and his side.
- Lord for all the times we have inflicted wounds on others - through our words or our actions, forgive us.
Jesus said 'As the Father sent me, so I send you'
- Lord for all the times we have failed to be bringers of the good news, forgive us.
Jesus breathed on them and said 'receive the Holy Spirit'
- Lord for all the times we have refused to let the Holy Spirit into our hearts or ignored her nudgings, forgive us.
Jesus said 'if you forgive people's sins they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them they are not forgiven.'
 - Lord, for the times we have failed to seek out forgiveness or have hardened our hearts against granting it, forgive us.

Our risen Lord stands among us, see his scars, hear his voice.
Through his death and resurrection, he offers forgiveness, he offers love, he brings his peace.
When we turn to him in repentance and in faith he says - you are forgiven.
He sends us out, he breathes his Spirit on us, thanks be to God!

Intercession:

Lord, as you were real to Thomas and the other disciples,
be real to your disciples here today.

Loving God, we have our doubts, unspoken doubts...
doubts about you.
Our hymns and our prayers confidently describe your power,
your goodness, your faithfulness, your love.
Sometimes it is easy to believe;
when something we feel, or see or touch affirms your living, loving presence.
But sometimes it is far from easy to believe;
the reality of evil and suffering and the shallowness of our own lives
leave us doubtful and afraid

Lord, as you were real to Thomas and the other disciples,
be real to your disciples here today.

Loving God, we have our doubts, uncomfortable doubts...
doubts about ourselves.
Do we have control over our future? Do we really know who we are?
Ruled by emotions, circumstances, responsibilities;
Frustrated by weakness, fear, apathy.
We sense we are not what you created us to be,
yet we feel powerless to change.

Lord, as you were real to Thomas and the other disciples,
be real to your disciples here today.

Loving God, we have our doubts, unanswered doubts...
doubts about the Church.
We're not so sure nowadays what is the nature of our Mission;
We're not so sure nowadays whether people will listen;
We're not so sure nowadays that our voice will make a difference;
We're not so sure nowadays whether the answers we have are good enough for a complex world.
We feel powerless and small in the face of it all.

Lord, as you were real to Thomas and the other disciples,
be real to your disciples here today.

Loving God, we have our doubts, unnerving doubts...
doubts about the World in which we live.
We are haunted by the ravages of hunger and disease, pollution and war;
We feel powerless in the face of global economic forces pulling humankind apart;
We are trapped in unsustainable lifestyles where more is better and everything has its price.

Lord, as you were real to Thomas and the other disciples,
be real to your disciples here today.