We're glad you've joined us for ToGather for May 3, 2020! (What is ToGather?) Below, you will find a guide for home worship with Scriptures, songs, a Communion reflection, and an encouraging message from Psalm 5:3 about drawing near to God each morning. We encourage you to open your heart as we worship God! You will also want to have bread and wine (or grape juice) for the time of Communion.

May God bless you, those you love, and those you want to reach with the grace of Jesus!

The ToGather.church Team

Invitation to Worship:

No matter where we are physically, we are together spiritually, connecting with others to honor God as the Holy Spirit transforms us to be more like Christ. Our focus this week is the expectation of meeting God.

Let's begin with Elevation Worship leading us to worship with "O Come to the Altar." Whether we are alone or with others, we can draw near to God and be thankful that Jesus is calling us to draw near.

As we continue our worship, let's read 1 Peter 1:6-9 aloud. Our reading reminds us that, because we have a risen Savior who is present with us and who has brought us eternal salvation, we can rejoice despite the challenges and difficulties we face!

In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith — being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:6—9 NRSV).

Focusing on Jesus' Grace in the Lord's Supper:

Thomas wouldn't believe Jesus' resurrection until he placed his hands in the places where Jesus' body had been wounded during his crucifixion. Thomas wanted to know for sure that the seemingly impossible had happened: Jesus had defeated death and was alive again. Let's join Hallal as they lead us in the hymn of faith called "Thomas' Song" to confess with Thomas that Jesus is our Lord and our God.

Today, you are invited to the Lord's Table by Brad Carter, president of African Christian College in eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), and two students there. They are living under the challenges of social distancing, but share a vibrant faith and a great hope rooted in Jesus' victory over sin and death through his cross and his resurrection.

Brad reminds us that the death of Jesus was devastating to his early followers. Left to grieve the loss of their friend, Jesus, they also mourned their destroyed hopes for an earthly kingdom and deliverance from their oppressors. A simple walk and a gracious meal with an unrecognized fellow traveler changed everything for two of them, who then shared their discovery with others.

A similar simple meal can change everything for us, too! Brad helps us see that the Communion we share is not just a reminder of Jesus' death on the cross, but also of his triumph over sin, death, and grief. The walk of Jesus with two friends from Emmaus was a journey that led them out of despair and into an unfailing hope and expectation.

Because of Jesus' triumph over all that we fear, the Lord is our refuge. Let's declare this truth in song as the Zoe Group leads us in "You, O Lord, Are My Refuge":

Approaching Each Day with the Expectation of Meeting God:

Vibrant faith is rooted in daily time with God.
We can approach each day with hope and expectation because of God's faithfulness. We have declared in scripture and song that God is faithful, our refuge, hope, and joy. No matter what happens today, this week, or in the future, we can face it with faith, knowing that the God who sustained Israel, Jesus, and the early disciples, can also sustain us. Vibrant faith is rooted in daily time with God. More than just a quiet time to meditate and pray, we can enter this time expecting to meet God!

Our God, who meets us in the morning to welcome our prayers, will not fail us. He will show up and renew us as we face challenging times. He will walk with us into great opportunities and into his new future for us. Jesus is our reminder that God's promises still stand and are sure. We can have confidence he will "Do It Again." Let's declare that faith in song with Elevation Worship as we sing, "Do It Again"!

Finishing with Faith:

Because we choose to begin each day by drawing near to God and expecting his presence, we can also close each day and finish our lives with faith. As we approach the end of our ToGather worship today, let's join in a song of trust, "When the Night is Falling," led by the Hallal Group.

Let's close with a declaration of faith from the prayer in Psalm 5:

[L]et all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

(Psalm 5:11).