Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio

A congregation of the Northwestern Ohio Synod

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Second Sunday Easter

Introduction & Welcome

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

In spite of all we have heard and all we have seen, it is often hard to believe. Because it is hard to believe, we will invest ourselves in the Easter mystery for fifty days (a week of weeks). Because it is hard to believe, John the evangelist will provide sign after sign celebrating Jesus’ victory over death. Because it is hard to believe, the risen Jesus will return to us again and again in the mystery of holy communion, inviting us to touch and taste his presence, and offering us his peace.

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

In the waters of baptism,

we have passed over from death to life with Jesus Christ,

and we are a new creation.

For this saving mystery, and for this water, let us bless God,

who was, who is, and who is to come.

We thank you, God, for your river of life,

flowing freely from your throne:

through the earth,

through the city,

through every living thing.

You rescued Noah and his family from the flood;

You opened wide the sea for the Israelites.

Now in these waters you flood us with mercy,

and our sin is drowned forever.

You open the gate of righteousness

and we pass safely through.

In Jesus Christ, you calm and trouble the waters.

You nourish us and enclose us in safety.

You call us forth and send us out.

In lush and barren places, you are with us.

You have become our salvation.

Now breathe upon this water

and awaken your church once more.

Claim us again as your beloved and holy people.

Quench our thirst; cleanse our hearts; wipe away every tear.

To you, our Beginning and our End,

our Shepherd and Lamb,

be honor, glory, praise, and thanksgiving,

now and forever.


Prayer of the Day

O God of life, you reach out to us amid our fears with the wounded hands of your risen Son. By your Spirit’s breath revive our faith in your mercy and strengthen us to be the body of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


First Reading: Acts 5:27-32

Peter has been arrested for proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His response to the charges of the high priest summarizes the early church’s proclamation of forgiveness of sin through repentance.

27When they had brought [the apostles,] they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” 29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Psalm: Psalm 150

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. (Ps. 150:6)

1Hallelujah! Praise God in the holy temple;
praise God in the mighty firmament.
2Praise God for mighty acts;
praise God for exceeding greatness. 
3Praise God with trumpet sound;
praise God with lyre and harp.
4Praise God with tambourine and dance;
praise God with strings and pipe.
5Praise God with resounding cymbals;
praise God with loud clanging cymbals.
6Let everything that has breath
praise the Lord.  Hallelujah! 

Second Reading: Revelation 1:4-8

The book of Revelation recounts a mystical vision of the risen Christ experienced by a Christian prophet named John. Here he describes Christ as a timeless redeemer, the beginning, present, and end of all time.

4John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen.
8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe. Alleluia. (John 20:29)

Gospel: John 20:19-31

The unprecedented events of the day of resurrection continue as the risen Jesus appears to his fearful disciples. A week later, after Thomas worships Jesus, Jesus pronounces that the blessings of the resurrection are also for those who “have not seen and yet believe.”

19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Meditation by David O’Brien

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

That’s quite the radical statement. In fact, it’s a hard statement for a rational mind to believe. We’ve all heard the story of Thomas and his doubts. We even refer to someone who is skeptical of something that we are convinced of as a “doubting Thomas”. I’m not so sure that’s being fair to Thomas. After all, look at how the disciples were in hiding on that Easter evening. In last week’s reading, even after the women had told the disciples about Christ’s resurrection, they were not just doubting, but considered the story “an idle tale, and they did not believe”. Some of them had even seen Christ after His resurrection, on the road to Emmaus, and had told the others. But still they were hiding behind locked doors for fear of what the Jewish authorities were going to do to them. I don’t think this is an unreasonable fear after witnessing Christ’s horrific death. But even after Christ comes to them, they didn’t accept that it was Him until He had shown them the scars in His hands and side. Then, they rejoiced as there could be no doubt about His resurrection! During this encounter with the disciples, Christ sent them into the world to be witnesses to the good news! Thomas wasn’t among them at this event and had a hard time accepting what he was being told by his fellow disciples. They believed because they had seen the risen Lord and Thomas had not seen Him. So, he wanted the same proof that the others had been given. Is that really so hard to understand? Jesus didn’t seem to be offended by this. In fact, He merely told Thomas that he should stop doubting and believe. Thomas responded by being the first to proclaim Christ’s divinity saying, “my Lord and my God!” It seems he was cured of his doubts to me. The Bible doesn’t mention Thomas much after that, but it seems, from reading other historical references and Gnostic texts, that he may have traveled to India to share the good news of Christ there. The Acts of Thomas didn’t make it into the Bible, but it’s interesting to read anyway.

Doubts can be a healthy thing. I saw an ad on the internet for a nice shed for only $80.00! I thought that was a great deal and I ordered one. I never received it, and I’m certain that I never will. Had I paid attention to that little voice inside my head saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true”, I might have saved myself some money and good deal of aggravation. Charlie Brown could use a good dose of skepticism whenever Lucy offers to hold to the football for him to kick. Working in corrections, I’ve become very skeptical of the things the people on my caseload say to me. This has served me well in most instances. Trusting at a guy with a history of abusing his wife when he says he has completed his anger management classes, might not be such a good career move. I think it’s a good thing that I require some proof of the offender’s statement. Not just for me, but also for any woman he might be involved with and for society at large.  Jesus even encourages us to have some skepticism when he warns us to watch out for false prophets.  Peter felt this was important enough that he wrote about it in his second epistle.

It’s human nature to have doubts. We want to know the answers when so much of faith is about mysteries that can’t be solved by human intellect. I think that Thomas truly wanted to believe, he just had a hard time getting past his need for some form of proof that what the other disciples saw was in fact Jesus Christ. After receiving that proof, however, he became one of the fullest and firmest believers in the risen Lord. Thomas overcame his doubts and became faithful unto death in his witness for God. We emerge victorious as we wait on God to reveal Himself to us. Do you have doubts? Keep doing your best to stay faithful. Keep trusting, following, serving and praying. God will reveal himself. He will show you the nail prints.

Prayers of Intercession

Set free from captivity to sin and death, we pray to the God of resurrection for the church, people in need, and all of creation.

A brief silence.

Holy One who acts righteously, equip Elizabeth & Daniel, our bishops, and Howard, our pastor, and all your church as witnesses of your goodness to go and tell others of your abundant love, that they may believe that Jesus is our salvation and life. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Renew your people’s commitment to use resources responsibly and to live well with your creation. Invite us to recognize and nurture signs of resurrection life in the natural world. Let the beauty of nature inspire us to become better stewards of the creation which you have loaned to us. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Direct those who are given human authority to lead with humility and compassion. Bring peace to areas ravaged by wars, such as Ethiopia, Yemen, Ukraine and Myanmar. By your Holy Spirit channel their attention toward serving those who are most in need. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Uphold your children who cry out to you especially those displaced by wars around the world and those whom we remember on our prayer list and prayer board. Wherever people are overcome by the fear of death, breathe into them your life and peace. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Inspire those who lead your people in worship and praise. With joyful motion and sound, send us forth with praise that we cannot keep to ourselves. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Give us the words of your saints who, like Thomas, boldly confessed your Son as Lord and God. With Jesus our leader, empower us to live according to his ways. God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

In your mercy, O God, respond to these prayers, and renew us by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.


Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.


And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.



God, the Author of life,

Christ, the living Cornerstone,

and the life-giving Spirit of adoption,

☩ bless you now and forever.



Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Go in peace. Tell what God has done.

Thanks be to God.