This Sunday we are pleased to welcome the handbell choir Jubiloso as they take part in our worship.
We will also be celebrating the sacrament of baptism.
The Scripture passage for this week is John 20:19-31
The Sermon title is Would You Believe?
Early Thoughts: I have always felt sorry for Thomas. In John 20 we are told that on the evening of Easter Day the disciples are huddled in an upper room, plausibly hiding from the authorities who might haul them all off to be crucified next, Thomas has the courage (or maybe he drew the short straw) to go out into town. Maybe he went to buy food?
While he was away Jesus appears in the room, Easter becomes real for the people gathered there. When Thomas gets back they all tell him “We have seen the Lord” but Thomas says he will only believe when he sees for himself. And ever since Christians have called him Doubting Thomas
It has been said that Thomas is the patron saint of everyone who misses church (or some other gathering) only to be told that the most wonderful thing has happened that day. But really I think he gets a raw deal. After all, what would you say if you were him? Would you believe this amazing story?
And to be fair Thomas does not ask for anything that all the others did not get. They all got to see and hear the Risen Christ before they believed/understood Easter. Thomas simply says he needs the same level of proof.
The challenge is for us. We do not generally experience the Risen Christ standing in our midst showing us the wounds of crucifixion (or if we do it is a much more mystical way than that described in the Easter stories). Even Paul (whose story we will hear later this month) has a different type of experience than the ones we find in the appearance stories. How can we believe that Jesus who died is now alive? And can we accept that this Risen Christ has deputized us, as he deputizes the disciples in an upper room in this passage, to go out and continue sharing the Good News? Where do we find the energy/strength/confidence to continue the work of Kingdom-building?
It is the Easter season. Christ is Risen. Can we believe it? Can we allow resurrection to change how we live?