Second Sunday of Easter (Online Service)

Online Worship

Second Sunday of Easter
April 11, 2021


Welcome to our online worship service! This service is an interactive liturgy with songs and prayers of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, and uplifting sermons that focus on the Word of God. We pray that you are deeply blessed as you take part in this gathering.


Opening Prayer


LEADER: Through grief like Mary Magdalene,

PEOPLE: The Light of Christ is with us!

LEADER: Through shame like Simon Peter,

PEOPLE: The Light of Christ is with us!

LEADER: Though faith like John of Patmos,

PEOPLE: The Light of Christ is with us!

LEADER: And through doubt like blessed Thomas,

PEOPLE: The Light of Christ is with us!

ALL: O Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, shine on us as we worship You. Amen.


Song of Adoration

Walk In The Light


Walk in the light, beautiful light,
Come where the dew-drops of mercy are bright;
Shine all around us by day and by night,
Jesus, the Light of the world.

Lord, our Lord, Thy glorious Name;
Jesus, the Light of the world.
All Thy wondrous works proclaim;
Jesus, the Light of the world.

Walk in the light, beautiful light,
Come where the dew-drops of mercy are bright;
Shine all around us by day and by night,
Jesus, the Light of the world.

In the heavens with radiant signs;
Jesus, the Light of the world.
Evermore Thy glory shines.
Jesus, the Light of the world.

Walk in the light, beautiful light,
Come where the dew-drops of mercy are bright;
Shine all around us by day and by night,
Jesus, the Light of the world.


Prayer of Confession


LEADER: Friends, let us confess our sins together saying….

ALL: O Christ our Savior, we confess that we have sinned against God and neighbor in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We are blind while Your light shines around us, and we choose the darkness and its promises. And though we know Your presence and works, we are often weighed down by unbelief. Lord, in Your mercy forgive us and restore us. Makes us like Mary who beheld You, Peter who proclaimed You, John who loved You, and Thomas who touched You. In Your holy name we pray. Amen. 

Song of Confession

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior


Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Let me at Thy throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief.

Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.

Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Thou the Spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee?
Whom in heaven but Thee?

Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Confession of Forgiveness and Faith

(based on the Second Helvetic Confession)


LEADER: Brothers and Sisters, our God (Who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love) loves us just as we are. Therefore, as a called and ordained servant of the Church of Jesus Christ, Who does not pass us by and hears our every cry, I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all of our sins. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

ALL: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and made righteous. Thanks be to God!

LEADER: Let us confess our faith together saying…

ALL: We believe in one God Who created all things and is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and we believe in the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, as the Word of God and rule of faith. We believe that God should be worshiped alone through the power of the Spirit and in Jesus’ name. And we believe in the holy universal Church where sins are forgiven, grace abounds, and eternal life is given to all. Amen.


Sermon

Text: John 20:24-31
Title: Unless I See His Hands
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Scotty J. Williams


24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.


Offering

If you would like to make a financial contribution to All Souls, please click on the tip jar below.


Song of Thanksgiving

Because He Lives


God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth a living, just because He lives

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day, because He lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth a living, just because He lives

And then one day, I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory, and I’ll know He reigns

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth a living, just because He lives


Closing Prayer

with the Lord's Prayer and Benediction


LEADER: O Christ our Light, Whose glorious resurrection has brought us from the darkness, we thank You that because You live we can have life in a world where there is death. Because You live, we can face the past with mistakes we cannot change. Because You live, we can face the present with all the challenges that it brings to us. And because You live, we can face the future which is always in Your hands; a future of hope that we can see within the prayer that You taught us to pray saying….

ALL: 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, Forever and ever. Amen.

LEADER: May God the Father Who made the waves to run, the air to flow, the earth to be still, and the stars to shine give you the deep peace of God the Son. Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, Who lives and reigns in all of us through God the Holy Spirit.

ALL: Amen!

LEADER: Go in grace! Go in peace! You belong to Jesus!


This service is © All Souls Protestant Church • St. Gallen and East Switzerland

Cover image, “Man Hand Pointing Jesus“, by JooJoo41 (Vicki Nunn). This image comes from Pixabay and is free for commercial use


Pastor's Desk: Holy Week 2021

Holy Week 2021

Seeing things differently.


1. April 2021In Pastor's deskBy Scotty Williams3 Minutes

Last year we celebrated Holy Week in lockdown, and it is still hard to believe that we somehow managed to pull it off. It is also hard to believe the perspective that it gave us, for it took away the finery and pomp that we are used to. Instead, worshiping in sanctuaries we stayed home like the early Church, and received a taste of what they felt as Jesus went to Calvary. We felt powerless as we read the stories of Good Friday, and on Holy Saturday we felt the cold and silence of the stony tomb. Then on Easter Sunday we heard “Christ is risen!” differently, and it felt just like the disciples who were wrestling hard with unbelief.

Indeed, the lockdown gave us a new perspective of Holy Week and Easter, and as I thought about it, I came across a poem called “Precious Pearl”.

 

Many things are precious to me,
treasures collected over the years,
fulfillment of wishes, me heart’s desire –
I love them,
would not let them go.

But You, O Lord, are so much more –
I see it day by day:
Your love to me is worth so much
that I could never repay

So what can I do?
You’ve covered me with blessings so abundantly,
undeserved.
The most precious pearl.
So I let it go and give all up
to have only You for You are enough.
I pour out on You all that I have,
this precious oil
my sign of love.

This poem comes from a book by the Rev. Desiree Bergauer-Dippenaar, and in it, she presents the Passion of Christ from a perspective that is not the norm. She shows the suffering and death of Christ through the eyes of the women who witnessed it, from the women who anointed His feet with oil to Joanne the wife of Chuza.

This book has been a help to me as I approach this year’s Holy week with different eyes, and it helped my with our Good Friday service which not be done in our usual way. Instead of reading the Passion Gospel, we will journey to the cross through Pastor Desiree’s poetry, and I pray that it will give us a deeper appreciation of the things that Christ has done for us.

I also pray that Pastor Desiree’s poetry will give us a deeper appreciation of the Resurrection, and make the proclamation “Christ is Risen” be sweeter to us than years before.

Blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter,
-Pastor Scotty

*Image – Cross People Womanby StockSnap “”(this image comes from Pixabay and are free for commercial use; no attribution required.)


For God So Loved The World

For God so loved the world

Fourth Sunday in Lent. Online service.


14. March 2021By Scotty Williams

Welcome to our online worship service! This service is an interactive liturgy with songs and prayers of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, and uplifting sermons that focus on the Word of God. We pray that you are deeply blessed as you take part in this gathering.


Opening Prayer

LEADER: O Jesus Christ, we greet You!
PEOPLE: The Son of God anointed!
LEADER: O Jesus Christ, we greet You!
PEOPLE: The Son of God eternal!
LEADER: O Jesus Christ, we greet You!
PEOPLE: The Son of God once lifted!
LEADER: O Jesus Christ, we greet You!
PEOPLE: The Son of God Who saved us!
ALL: O Jesus Christ we welcome You, and worship You with thanks and praise. Amen.

Song of Adoration

I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art

I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only Trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee, from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

Thou art the life by which alone we live
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Sustain us by Thy faith and by Thy power,
And give us strength in every trying hour.

Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace and make us calm and sure,
That in Thy strength we evermore endure.

Prayer of Confession

LEADER: Brothers and Sisters, as we greet the the Savior, let us confess our sins together saying….

ALL: Our Lord Jesus, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change, open to us a future in which we can be changed, and grant us grace to grow more and more in Your image and likeness. In Your holy gracious name we pray. Amen.

(confess in silence)

Song of Confession

Jesus, What A Friend For Sinners

Jesus! What a friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! What a strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my strength, my victory wins.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! What a help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my comfort, helps my soul.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Confession of Forgiveness and Faith

(from St. Ignatius of Antioch, 107AD)

LEADER: Brothers and Sisters, if we confess our sins Christ our Savior is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Therefore, as a called and ordained servant of his holy Church, I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all of our sins. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

ALL: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and made righteous. Thanks be to God!

LEADER: Friends, let us confess our faith together saying….

ALL: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His 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, and He is seated at the right hand of the Father; He will come again 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. Amen.

*The word catholic means “universal” or “for all people” (not the Roman Catholic Church).

Sermon

For God So Loved The World. John 3:14-21.
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Scotty J. Williams

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because they do not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest their works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their works have been carried out in God.”

Thanksgiving

If you would like to make a financial contribution to All Souls, please click on the tip jar below.

Song of Thanksgiving

O The Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth,
Watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
’Tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
’Tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee!

Closing Prayer and Benediction

with the Lord's Prayer and Benediction

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LEADER: O Lord Jesus, we thank You for this time of celebrating Your love; Your love which shows the heart of God and saved the world from sin and death. Immerse us deep within Your commitment to well-being of all things, and grow us in this commitment as we pray the prayer that You taught us saying….

ALL: 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, Forever and ever. Amen.

LEADER: Receive this blessing….May God the Father (Who made the waves to run, the air to flow, the earth to still and stars to shine) give you the deep peace of God the Son. Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, Who lives and reigns in all of us through the God the Holy Spirit.

ALL: Amen!

LEADER: Go in grace! Go in peace! You belong to Jesus!


This service is © All Souls Protestant Church • St. Gallen and East Switzerland

Cover image, “Church Religion Freedom“, by fancycrave1. This image comes from Pixabay and is free for commercial use


Transfiguration Sunday (Online Service)

Online Worship

Transfiguration Sunday
February 14, 2021


Welcome to our online worship service! This service is an interactive liturgy with songs and prayers of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, and uplifting sermons that focus on the Word of God. We pray that you are deeply blessed as you take part in this gathering.


Opening Prayer


LEADER: O Wondrous God, like Peter on the mountain top,

PEOPLE: Let us see with open eyes.

LEADER: Like James upon the mountain top,

PEOPLE: Let us hear with open ears.

LEADER: Like John upon the mountain top,

PEOPLE: Let us feel with open hearts.

LEADER: And like all the saints in ages past,

PEOPLE: Let us offer thanks and praise.

ALL: To You be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


Song of Adoration

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah


Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes,
Nor for help on man depend;
He shall die, to dust returning,
And his purposes shall end.

Happy is the man that chooses
Israel’s God to be his aid;
He is blest whose hope of blessing
On the Lord his God is stayed.
Heaven and earth the Lord created,
Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression,
Righteousness He will maintain.

Food He daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning prisoner free,
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see,
Well Jehovah loves the righteous,
And the stranger He befriends,
Helps the fatherless and widow,
Judgment on the wicked sends.

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns forever,
Through all ages He is King;
Unto Him, thy God, O Zion,
Joyful hallelujahs sing.


Prayer of Confession


LEADER: Friends, let us confess our sins together saying….

ALL: O Great Jehovah, though we know and call upon Your name, we live as if we know You not, and sometimes we call upon the name of things apart from You. Sometimes we call upon the names of other people, and place our trust in princes and their chariots that fail us. Sometimes we call upon the names of our achievements, and place our trust in what we have and actions that will fail us. Lord, in Your mercy, forgive us and restore us; restore us as Your children who place their hope and trust in You. In Your holy name we pray. Amen. 

(confess in silence)

Song of Confession

Heal Us


Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are
We long to feel Thy touch
Deep wounded souls to Thee we fly
O Savior hear our cry.

Our faith is feeble, we confess
We faintly trust Thy word
But will You pity us the less?
Be that far from You Lord.

Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are
We long to feel Thy touch
Deep wounded souls to Thee we fly
O Savior hear our cry.

Remember him who once applied
With trembling for relief
“Lord, I believe,” with tears he cried
“O help my unbelief!”.

Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are
We long to feel Thy touch
Deep wounded souls to Thee we fly
O Savior hear our cry.

She, too, who touched you in the press
And healing virtue stole
Was answered, “Daughter, go in peace
Thy faith has made thee whole.”

Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are
We long to feel Thy touch
Deep wounded souls to Thee we fly
O Savior hear our cry.

Like her, with hopes and fears we come
To touch You if we may
O send us not despairing home
Send none unhealed away.

Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are
We long to feel Thy touch
Deep wounded souls to Thee we fly
O Savior hear our cry.

Confession of Forgiveness and Faith

(from St. Ignatius of Antioch, 107AD)


LEADER: Brothers and Sisters, our God (Who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love) loves us just as we are. Therefore, as a called and ordained servant of the Church of Jesus Christ, and by His grace, mercy, and steadfast love, I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all of our sins. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

ALL: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and made righteous. Thanks be to God!

LEADER: Friends, what do we believe about Jesus Christ?

ALL: He was descended from the family of David and born of Mary; He was a man. He truly was born both of God and of the Virgin Mary; He was God. He truly ate and drank, truly suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was truly crucified and died; He suffered for us. He was also truly raised from the dead and rose after three days as His Father raised Him up; He rose for us. After having spent forty days with the Apostles, He was received up to the Father, and sits at His right hand, waiting until His enemies are put under His feet; He reigns over us. Amen.


Sermon

Text: Mark 9:2-9
Title: More Than Mountaintops
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Scotty J. Williams


And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them, and His clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, He charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.


Thanksgiving

If you would like to make a financial contribution to All Souls, please click on the tip jar below.


Song of Thanksgiving

Jesus I'll Never Forget


Jesus I’ll never forget what You’ve done for me!
Jesus I’ll never forget how You set me free!
Jesus I’ll never forget how You’ve brought me out!
Jesus I’ll never forget! No never!

How can I forget when way down in Egypt land,
How You brought me out with Your mighty outstretched hand?
You broke the bands of sin, and You set me free!
Gave me joy and peace and victory!

How can I forget what You’ve done for me?
How can I forget how You set me free?
How can I forget how You’ve brought me out?
How can I forget? No never!

Jesus I’ll never forget what You’ve done for me!
Jesus I’ll never forget how You set me free!
Jesus I’ll never forget how You’ve brought me out!
Jesus I’ll never forget! No never!


CLOSING PRAYER

with the Lord's Prayer and Benediction


LEADER: O Lord Jesus, how can we forget all of the wonderful things You have done for us? You left Your throne in glory and came down among us. You wrapped Yourself in human flesh and walked among us. You came to know our sufferings, and healed among us. And You took a cross and stony grave, and rose again from death for us. O Lord, we thank You for all that You have done, and with songs of praise in heart and mind we pray the prayer that You taught us saying….

ALL: 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, Forever and ever. Amen.

LEADER: Receive this blessing….May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the sweet and fragrant rain of God’s blessings fall soft upon your lives. And until we meet again (Brothers and Sisters, family and friends in Christ), may Almighty God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, hold you in the hollow of His hand.

ALL: Amen!

LEADER: Go in grace! Go in peace! You belong to Jesus!


This service is © All Souls Protestant Church • St. Gallen and East Switzerland

Cover image, “Litermont Summit Cross“, by GuentherDillingen (Günther Schneider). This image comes from Pixabay and is free for commercial use


Upcoming Services

Upcoming Services

What are our worship plans for 2021?


1. February 2021In NewsBy Scotty Williams1 Minute

For this year’s services we have planned two live worship gatherings and two online worship gatherings each month. Though the idea of only having online services was being considered, it has been decided that we will continue with our current service plan.

For more details, check out the Church calendar on our Events page at: ASPC EVENTS

*Image – “Liturgy Booklet” by Raquel Sandoval (this image was taken during an ASPC service and purchased by the congregation; ASPC has the photographers permission and full right to use this image).


Word of the Day 2021

Word of the Day 2021

The daily encouragement continues


1. February 2021In NewsBy Scotty Williams1 Minute

Last year we released an online devotional called “Word of the Day” with daily posts to encourage the soul. Many thanks to Karsten Risseeuw and Rafat Tadros for contributing to the devotional for the last two months, and it will continue for the rest of year.

To see “Word of the Day” go here: WOTD 2021


Pastor's Desk: Back to the Table

Back to the Table

Resuming Communion at All Souls


1. February 2021In Pastor's deskBy Scotty Williams7 Minutes

Out of all my pastoral duties, serving Communion is my favorite. I love chanting the Sanctus, consecrating the elements, and declaring the mystery of faith in Christ. But the thing I love the most about Communion is the way that it shows God’s grace; the grace that has carried me for almost a year since the Pandemic suspended it.


“Do this” He said – not believe this but do this – “in remembrance of me.

– Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor


Beyond Belief

In addition to the grace of God, what makes Communion so special is that it is more than belief. Of course, we must come to the Table with faith, but the focus of this moment is the things that are done. We are called to break bread as the body of Christ was broken for us. We are called to pour out wine or grape juice as the blood of Jesus was poured out for us. And, before we come to Table, we are called to settle conflicts with fellow believers, and to seek forgiveness from those we have wronged that we might eat and drink in a worthy manner.

Communion takes us beyond belief and puts our faith into action, and all the things that we believe about Christ are lived out in the worship place. And when we live what we believe about Christ we find that He is present with us, and are reminded that His presence is shown through us in our daily lives throughout the week. In addition to Sunday, Communion compels us to put faith intoaction from Monday to Saturday, and through our works we bring to the minds of others the memory of our living Lord.


We look to the future, as we believe that the Lord’s Supper is a foretaste of the Messianic Banquet.

– Book of Common Worship (Presbyterian)


A Foretaste

The Reformer John Calvin taught that Communion is a foretaste of a banquet to come or a glimpse into the future where the Church will feast with Christ at the Table of eternity. At this feast we will see the fullness of who God is making us to be, and that is something far greater than the divided and broken humanity that we currently are. Bishop Michael Curry once told a story about his parents, who attended a service at an Episcopal Church during the Jim Crow era of the American South. They were the only African-Americans in the predominantly White congregation, but when Communion came they drank the wine from the same cup as everyone else.

What Bishop Curry’s parents experienced was a foretaste of the future, where humanity is united by God’s love and free from the powers of sin and death. Like the foot of Jesus’ cross, His Table is place of level ground where no one can look down on others and can only look up to Him. At the feast that is to come this level ground will be unending, and all eyes will gaze upon Christ while the troubles we know will pass away forever. In Communion we have the chance to live out the second part of the Lord’s Prayer, where we say with hope for the future, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.


We will feast in the house of Zion. We will sing with our hearts restored.

– Sandra McCracken


We Will Feast

Due to new COVID-19 restrictions from the Swiss Federal Council we have taken many measures to keep everyone safe, and one measure that was being considered was putting all services online until further notice. It has been decided that we will continue holding public worship gatherings, and one reason for this is that people have expressed a strong desire to celebrate Communion again. Yes, we coulc take the elements together from the comforts of our home during a livestream, but Communion is about fellowshipping with other believers in the same time and space.

During last year’s Early Christmas service we found an alternative way to eat and drink in the sanctuary, and since then we have found another alternative way that is much safer than the first. Though I am not too keen on the prepackaged elements that we will use, I am grateful that we can once again feast in the sanctuary. We can once again do what Christ has called us to do in remembrance of Him and receive a glimpse of the coming day when we will feast together in the house of Zion and sing together with our hearts restored.

Blessings,

–Pastor Scotty

*Images – “The Cup” by Raquel Sandoval (this image was taken during an ASPC service and purchased by the congregation; ASPC has the photographers permission and full right to use this image). “Cup and Candle” by Scotty J. Williams (this image was taken by the author of this article and requires no license). Paino Communion Church Bible by fbcstcharles and  “Celebration of the Eucharist“, by norbert47/Nobert Staudt “”(these images comes from Pixabay and are free for commercial use; no attribution required.)


COVID-19 vaccines

COVID vaccine

Resources for questions and concerns


24. January 2021In SocietyBy Scotty Williams1 Minute

Since the release of vaccines for COVID-19, several people have presented questions and expressed concerns. To help with these questions and concerns, Karsten Risseeuw has come up with this list of good resources.

*Image, “Vaccination“, by Whitesession Angelo Esslinger (this image comes from Pixabay and is free for commercial use)


It's healing time!

It's healing time!

What must the Church do as the pandemic ends?


24. January 2021In ReflectionsBy Scotty Williams5 Minutes

Healing Hands

One of my favorite sermons is from the Rev. Dr. James Forbes of Riverside Church, where he talks about the healing hands of his father (Click HERE for the sermon). As a boy the Rev. Forbes was convulsing with a great fever, and in response his father laid his hands on him and prayed:

God, You made this boy. You know how to fix what’s wrong with him. Heal him will You. In Jesus’ name.

After hearing his father’s prayer, the young Rev. Forbes began to cool down, and a few hours later he was up and playing outside with his friends. That day he discovered that his father had healing hands, hands like those in the Holy Scriptures that bring relief to suffering.

The Hands Before Us

Throughout the Bible one will see numerous examples of healing hands, and the greatest hands can be found in the Gospels with Jesus. Like the father of Rev. Forbes, Jesus often gave a simple prayer, and sometimes He was silent and did not touch those in need at all (e.g., the Centurian’s servant in Matthew 8:5-13). Nevertheless, whether He touched or not, Jesus had healing hands, and He encouraged the disciples and early Church to follow His example.

Upon sending His disciples out Jesus told them to, “Heal the sick”, and after His resurrection He commissioned them to do the same. And in the early Church, the Apostle James told believers this:

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. – James 5:14

Indeed, the Bible has many examples of healing hands, and these hands before us from ages past encourage us to be healers today. And we are not just called to heal those with diseases; we are also called to bring relief to any situation of suffering.

Our Hands Today

In this world there is brokenness in every part of human life, from the relationships that we have with others to dysfunction in our places of work. Furthermore, many people long to see the brokenness around them mended, and are crying out in different ways for someone with a healing touch. In his sermon the Rev. Forbes talked about a boy in Detroit who was wearing a shirt that had the phrase, “Shoot me, I’m already dead”. This boy was crying out for healing from his brokenness, and looking for a voice to say, “Oh no, you can have life.”

Like the Apostles and early Church, we too have been commissioned by Christ, and are called to bring much needed relief to a host of sufferings in our world. We now have healing hands, though our touch may never cure the sick, and we all must strive to be agents of life that push away the shadow of death.

It’s Healing Time

As the current pandemic ends, some are wondering what the Church must do, and I don’t believe that our tasks will be getting back to “normal”. Before COVID-19 came there were so-called normal things that were wrong in our world, and these things brought much brokenness and hindered people from finding life. There were things like divisions which kept communities at odds and apart from one another, and overlooking the marginalized at the edges of society. There was also taking for granted the essential workers who have kept us afloat, and the mistreatment of women who have marched en masse to make their voices heard.

Many things we saw as normal brought about much pain and suffering, and in the days ahead as the Pandemic fades the Church must strive to bring relief. We must lift our hands with love and proclaim life in the wake of the shadow of death. We must be like Christ and the early Church and tell the world, “It’s healing time!”

*Image, “Bible Cross God Healing Hand“, by Didgeman Thomas B. (this image comes from Pixabay and is free for commercial use)


Second Sunday After Epiphany (Online Service)

Online Worship

Second Sunday after Epiphany
January 17, 2021


Welcome to our online worship service! This service is an interactive liturgy with songs and prayers of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, and uplifting sermons that focus on the Word of God. We pray that you are deeply blessed as you take part in this gathering.


Opening Prayer


LEADER: O Jesus Christ, we follow You,

PEOPLE: The Way of God before us.

LEADER: O Jesus Christ, we follow You,

PEOPLE: The Truth of God before us.

LEADER: O Jesus Christ, we follow You,

PEOPLE: The Life of God before us.

LEADER: O Jesus Christ, we follow You,

PEOPLE: The Light of God before us.

LEADER: Friends, let us pray….

ALL: Our Lord Jesus, Who is the Way, Truth, and Life of God, we thank You for the light of Joy and Hope that You have been to us. Thank You for guiding us through another week of ups and downs, and thank You for bringing us to this time of rest within Your Word. Receive our sacrifice of praise to You with prayer and song, and keep us as we follow You like the first disciples long ago. In Your gracious name we pray. Amen.


Song of Adoration

Thou Lovely Source Of True Delight


Thou lovely source of true delight
Whom I unseen adore
Unveil Thy beauties to my sight
That I might love Thee more,
Oh that I might love Thee more.

Thy glory o’er creation shines
But in Thy sacred Word
I read in fairer, brighter lines
My bleeding, dying Lord,
See my bleeding, dying Lord.

Tis here, whene’er my comforts droop
And sin and sorrow rise
Thy love with cheering beams of hope
My fainting heart supplies,
My fainting heart’s supplied.

But ah! Too soon the pleasing scene
Is clouded o’er with pain
My gloomy fears rise dark between
And I again complain,
Oh and I again complain.

Jesus, my Lord, my life, my light
Oh come with blissful ray
Break radiant through the shades of night
And chase my fears away,
Won’t You chase my fears away.

Then shall my soul with rapture trace
The wonders of Thy love
But the full glories of Thy face
Are only known above,
They are only known above.


Prayer of Confession


LEADER: Friends, let us confess our sins together saying….

ALL: O Lord Jesus as we look to You as Savior we also call You Teacher and seek to learn Your gracious way. Like the ancient rabbis You beckon us to follow You, but many times we walk a way that goes from Your instructions. Though You tell us to love God, we love the idols we possess. Though you tell us to love all people, we only love the people we like. Though you tell us to forgive, we pardon those deemed worthy. And though you tell us sin no more, we fail to live in righteousness. Lord, in Your mercy, forgive us for our stubbornness and humble us that we might be disciples who can follow You. In Your gracious name we pray. Amen. 

(confess in silence)

Song of Confession

Jesus Cast A Look On Me


Jesus cast a look on me,
Give me sweet simplicity
Make me poor and keep me low,
Seeking only Thee to know.

All that feeds my busy pride,
Cast it evermore aside
Bid my will to Thine submit,
Lay me humbly at Thy feet.

Make me like a little child,
Of my strength and wisdom spoiled
Seeing only in Thy light,
Walking only in Thy might.

Leaning on Thy loving breast,
Where a weary soul can rest
Feeling well the peace of God,
Flowing from His precious blood.

In this posture let me live,
And hosannas daily give
In this temper let me die,
And hosannas ever cry!

Confession of Forgiveness and Faith

(based on Matthew 11:28 and the Apostles Creed)


LEADER: Brothers and Sisters, Jesus tells us, “Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. Therefore, having laid our burdens at His feet and having found rest in His grace and love, I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all of our sins. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

ALL: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and made righteous. Thanks be to God!

LEADER: Let us confess our faith together saying….

ALL: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His 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, and He is seated at the right hand of the Father; He will come again 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. Amen.

*The word catholic means “universal” or “for all people” (not the Roman Catholic Church).


Sermon

Text: John 1:43-51
Title: Can Anything Good Come From Nazareth?
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Scotty J. Williams


43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of Whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said of Him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


Thanksgiving

If you would like to make a financial contribution to All Souls, please click on the tip jar below.


Song of Thanksgiving

The King Of Love My Shepherd Is


The King of Love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And, where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me;
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing brought me.

In death’s dark vale, I fear no ill
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
Thine unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth.

And so through all the length of days,
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house forever.


CLOSING PRAYER

with the Lord's Prayer and Benediction


LEADER: O King of love and Shepherd of grace, we thank You for Your calling; the calling to leave all burdens behind and follow You in righteousness.  Lord, may we leave our burdens at Your feet this hour, and may we go forth in the world as students in Your humble way. Teach us by Your Holy Spirit that we might truly know God’s perfect will, and may Your name be glorified through all of our thoughts, words, and deeds. We ask all this in Your gracious name and pray the prayer that You taught us saying….

ALL: 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, Forever and ever. Amen.

LEADER: Receive this blessing….May the blessing of the God of Sarah and Abraham, may the blessing of the Son born of Mary, and may the blessing of the Holy Spirit, Who watches over us as a mother watches over her children, be upon you and with you always.

ALL: Amen!

LEADER: Go in grace! Go in peace! You belong to Jesus!


This service is © All Souls Protestant Church • St. Gallen and East Switzerland

Cover image by Scotty J. Williams