Easter continues! On the second Sunday of Easter, if one belongs to a lectionary church, the gospel is always John 20: 19-31. This resurrection story moves from that first Easter evening to the next week. The author of the gospel recounts the story of the disciples experiencing Jesus raised from the dead. Thomas was not there and did not see the risen Christ. Thomas also said he wouldn’t believe unless he saw the wounds themselves.
I love Thomas and Thomas’ courage and conviction to not believe or just to go with the crowd and pretend to believe. Thomas was determined to find faith and have faith on his terms. In the television show, “Lost” Ben shares with Jack a thought about Thomas the Apostle. You can watch it here.
My sermon takes longer than the one minute of the video to witness to Thomas’ faith and loyalty and integrity. I am grateful every year I have a chance to unpack and proclaim this wonderful Easter story.
Today’s worship was simply wonderful. Our choir director Diane Fast is retiring, but not leaving. She is moving from being our choir director to our choir director emeritus and will be overseeing our choir scholarship fund which gives scholarships for students to be part of our choir. The music each Sunday is always wonderful and amazing, today it was outstanding.
I am grateful to be serving such an amazing community of faith and continuing to be on the move with Jesus.
Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, Indeed! I love Easter, the flowers, the white and gold paraments, the music including Charles Wesley’s hymn Christ the Lord is Risen Today and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. I am aware that not every Easter service includes these musical selections, but when I am pastoring a particular congregation, these two pieces must be done! I am particular that way. Some might say rigid!
For me, it just isn’t Easter without it. After the long, lean days of Lent, what a joy it is to sing and proclaim the new life given through resurrection. This Sunday at First United Methodist Church, the anthems were particularly lovely. The day is itself, dawned bright and beautiful. I was able to take this picture before the sunrise service.
I have celebrated Easter in the midst of rain, snow, cold winds and cloudy days. Today’s sky was spectacular! There is one more service today at the Gathering, but I remind us that Easter is not just a day, or a season, it is a life changing experience. You can find today’s worship service here.
Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, Indeed!
We hit the final Sunday of Easter after a very interesting week, in the United Methodist denomination as a whole and as a local church. I addressed the failure of two constitutional amendments in two separate blogs Not Stopping me! And Not Stopping me! Part II The news of Mead’s Corner, our coffee shop closing was icing on the cake.
So we come to the last Sunday of Easter, Ascension Sunday AND Mother’s Day. It can be a challenge to figure out how to fit it all in as a worshipping community. For me, the importance was to give voice to the challenge and command of Jesus that we are witnesses and to acknowledge that it is not always easy. Stuff happens, but fortunately God is there in the midst.
You can find the entire worship service here. The Chancel Choir was amazing with their anthem Who Will Be a Witness and Chris Kliewer sang It is Well with My Soul. And it is well with my soul! I am sure that what seems to be a movement to deny equality is but a bump in the road in the whole scheme of things. I remind myself that things change ever so slowly and everytime it seems that the move for justice has stopped, it is just a roadblock that must be dismantled or gone around. In the words of Julian of Norwich, “All will be well and all manner of things will be well.”
The forty days of Lent are over and the fifty days of Easter have begun! Today was Easter AND April Fools Day. Some choose to ignore the latter while celebrating the former. I can appreciate that. April Fools Day can be uncomfortable, awkward and downright mean and cruel.
I read a devotion in one of Edward Hay’s books years ago that said April Fools Day began in the middle ages when the calendar changed. At one point, March 25 was the beginning of the new year and ending on April 1 after a week long celebration. When New Year’s Day was moved to January 1, those who refused to change were called “April Fools.”
Regardless, there is something interesting about Lent beginning on Valentine’s Day and Easter being April Fools Day. In a sense, the resurrection of Jesus is a cosmic joke and trick. On Friday, many thought they had won, Jesus was dead, his coming kingdom was buried. On Sunday, the women, the disciples and the world are surprise by an empty tomb. Grace wins, Love wins, good overcomes evil and love defeats hate.
You can watch the Easter Worship service here. Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, Indeed!!!