First Christian Church, Grand Junction – Praising God, Changing Lives!

April 26, 2020 At-Home Worship Plan

Third Sunday of Eastertide At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
April 26, 2020



  • Paschal Candle – If we were worshipping in the sanctuary, we would keep the Paschal Candle lit on Sunday mornings until Pentecost, so I’ll encourage you to do the same throughout Eastertide during your at-home worship.  You can use any candle you like from around your house.  Place it in your worship space, have a lighter ready, and plan to light it at the beginning of your at-home worship through Pentecost Sunday or when we return for corporate worship, whichever comes first.
  • Communion Elements
  • A computer/tablet/phone for looking up the worshipful songs.  You could also use a hymnal and an instrument.


Songs of Praise

(You can look up the lyrics/music in a hymnal or on hymnary.org)

  • “In the Garden”
  • “I Need Thee Every Hour”


God of Resurrection and New Life,

In a locked room long ago, you presented your risen Son to calm the fears and isolation of the disciples.  Just as you helped them recognize his presence among them, help us to recognize his presence in our midst; help us to recognize his presence in our worship, that we might receive his gifts of presence and power and become people of new life.  We pray this in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray…

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed by 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 debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Lead us, not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory
Forever.  Amen.

Earth Sunday Litany

[Introduction:  For 2020, congregations can choose the Sunday before or after Earth Day – April 22 – to celebrate Earth Sunday.  We have chosen today, April 26.  Earth Sunday is a day to remember and celebrate God’s good creation, as well as a day to remember how God calls us to be good stewards of God’s creation.  You may use the following litany as a call and response (if you have 2+ people worshipping) or simply as a prayer to read alone.  If you use it as a call and response, choose one person in your worship group to be the leader.]

 People: Many and great, O God, are thy things, 

               Maker of earth and sky.


Leader: O God, we thank thee for this universe, our great home;

               for its vastness and riches, for the manifoldness of the life

               that teems upon it and of which we are a part.


People: Thy hands have set the heavens with stars;

               thy fingers spread the mountains and plains.


Leader: We praise thee for the arching sky and the blessed winds,

               For the driving clouds and the constellations on high.


People: Lo, at thy word the waters were formed;

               deep seas obey thy voice.


Leader: We praise thee for the salt sea and the running water,

               for the everlasting hills, for the trees,

               and for the grass under our feet.


People: Grant unto us communion with thee,

               thou star-abiding one.


Leader: We thank thee for our senses

               by which we can see the splendor of the morning,

               and hear the jubilant songs of love,

               and smell the breath of the springtime. 


People: Come unto us and dwell with us;

               with thee are found the gifts of life.


Leader: Grant us, we pray thee, a heart wide open to all this joy and beauty,

               and save our souls from being so steeped in care 

               or so darkened by passion that we pass heedless and unseeing

               when even the thorn bush by the wayside 

               is aflame with the glory of God.


People: Bless us with life that has no end.

               eternal life with thee. 


[Litany from Chalice Worship, pages 165-166; bold words borrowed from “Many and Great, O God”, Chalice Hymnal #58.]

Morning Prayer

(Share joys and concerns, then have someone pray the following prayer or one of your own.)

God of life, in gratitude and great joy we thank and praise you for the gifts of Jesus’ resurrection.  Help us live into the power of resurrection.

As we continue our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, strengthen us to look always for the many ways you make joy in life possible…joys like those mentioned in this service of worship.

Even as we give thanks for the joys you make possible, we know there are people who struggle to find joy, and so we ask also for your strength to entrust the needs of this world and its inhabitants to you.  We entrust to your care this day:

  • All who are on our congregation’s prayer list, and all who have been mentioned by name in our worship;
  • All who suffer from abuse or oppression;
  • All who struggle with anxiety or distress;
  • All who suffer from lack of food, water, shelter, or loving relationships;
  • All who suffer from injury or illness;
  • All who mourn or grieve;
  • All who struggle in their efforts to follow Jesus;
  • All who refuse to seek you;
  • For all who have need but who go unnamed;

For all who have need of your intervention, O God, grant them what you know they need; respond to these prayers in the way you see as being best, the way that will turn shouts of pain and suffering into shouts of joy, the way that will bring glory to your name.

God of life, thank you for the mystery planted within us, the paradox of life from death and community from scattered disciples.

We praise you for the dying that saves us from death, and for the rising which brings us new life.

We pray, as we live, through Jesus the risen one, and in the power of the Holy Spirit…Amen.

Scripture and Message (Sermon)

Read the scripture from pastor Brad’s sermon and then either read or listen to the sermon.  Both can be found on our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org under the “Sermons” tab.


    1. Invitation – Today we read about one of Jesus’ resurrection appearances to two of his disciples, two disciples that were not part of the eleven and so are perhaps more like us.  Through that resurrection appearance, God gave a gift we – today – all need, a gift of presence, a gift of freedom from the fear of isolation and the feeling of having been left alone.  Through that appearance, God provided a model of new life in Christ while on this earth that would help grow the Church throughout the earth.  I invite you to remember in this moment that God has not abandoned you; God has not left you alone.  Even in the seeming isolation of this pandemic, you are not alone.  I encourage you to remember God’s gift of continued presence, and I encourage you to consider how you will respond.
    2. If you feel called to respond by making a monetary gift to continue God’s work through FCCGJ, you can do so right now in one of three ways:
      1. Write a check to First Christian Church and mail it to FCCGJ, 1326 N. 1st Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501.
      2. On your cellphone, text GIVE2FCCGJ (plus the dollar amount you want to give) to 73256.  For example, if you want to offer $50, text GIVE2FCCGJ $50 to 73256.
      3. Via the internet on your computer, go to our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org, click “online giving” on the top menu bar, and then click on the link under the second bullet point to make an online contribution.
    3. Say a prayer asking for God’s blessing upon whatever gift/commitment you made to God, as well as all the other commitments Jesus’ followers are making this morning.


    1. Invitation to Communion:  Two disciples who were still not quite “getting” resurrection – and so still wondered and even worried about the meaning of the events of Holy Week and Easter – had a walking journey with Jesus.  But it wasn’t until they broke bread – partook of the communion meal – that they recognized that it was Jesus (the risen Christ) in their midst.  This is one of the reasons we partake of the communion meal whenever we gather together for worship – and even when we worship without gathering together: so that we may recognize the risen Christ in our midst.  If you are feeling alone and/or isolated during this time, please be intentional about looking for Jesus’ presence in the breaking of bread.
    2. Communion Hymn – “I Hunger and I Thirst” 
    3. Prayer – God of hope, grant that by this bread, which is Jesus’ body broken, and this cup, which is Jesus’ blood shed for us, we followers of Jesus will recognize Jesus’ presence in our midst.  Grant that we will discover in this meal that we are not now and will never be alone.   In this discovery, strengthen us to continue Jesus’ ministry of love.  I pray these things in the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.
    4.  Words of Institution:  We remember that on the night Jesus was to be betrayed, he sat around a table with his disciples and shared a meal.  While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and, after giving thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat.  This is my body, broken for you.”  In the same way, Jesus took a cup, and after blessing it, said, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this in remembrance of me.”
    5. Partake of the bread and cup in your own time.

Closing Song of Celebration

“Christ is Risen! Shout Hosanna!” (hymnary.org or a hymnal)

Easter Blessing (Closing Prayer for the Season of Eastertide)

Through the resurrection of Jesus,
God has given us new life.

May God bless us with joy

And lead us continually into new life.