Sunday 19th April 2020
Song: “My Only Peace Is You”
We believe in God, Creator of life,
We believe in Jesus Christ, resurrected from the dead
We believe in the Holy Spirit, changing and challenging
We believe in the way of faith, hope and love.
Hymn “The Day Of Resurrection”
Confession: silence followed by:
In the morning in the multi coloured company of your church on earth and in heaven, we celebrate your creation, your life, your death and resurrection, your interest in us. So to you we pray;
Lord bring new life where we are worn and tired, new love, where we have turned hard hearted, forgiveness, where we feel hurt and where we have wounded, and the joy and freedom of your Holy Spirit where we are the prisoners of ourselves. Amen.
The Lords Prayer: Herman
Song: “God We Love You” Gas Street Kids
Psalm 16: Manjit
John 20: 19-29: Jenny
Punjabi translation: Amanuial
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Song: “On the Journey to Emmaus”
Reflection: A Fishy Tale
Song-Beauty for Brokenness
Prayers of Intercession: We pray for those we care for and our world-Claude.
Hymn “Low in the Grave He Lay”
May the everlasting God shield you
East and West and wherever you go
And the blessing of God be upon you
The blessing of the Christ of Love
The blessing of the Spirit of Peace
Song “Worthy is the Lamb”
Like Thomas we are often in the wrong place at the wrong time and because of it we miss out on something special and we could kick ourselves for being so stupid. How many times have you done that? I know I have.
The disciples were scared. Despite their experience they were scared. They had so much faith that they were locked themselves in an upper room for weeks!
Jesus had breathed on them! And imparted the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. And he gives them his peace, that Shalom that encompasses all we could ever need, the peace that passes all understanding.
Soon after he appears through closed doors again, when Thomas is with them. He asks Thomas to feel his wounds in his hands and side. He moves Thomas from doubt to faith. Thomas was lucky. We don’t have that experience. We have to trust God and the gospel texts.
This could be the end of John’s gospel but this doubting disciple was so transformed by his experience, that later he is thought to have Christianised India. Some doubter!
The story of Thomas doubting is one of a number of resurrection stories. In all of them Jesus appears. In all of them he gives his peace and in all of them the setting is in the context of eating. We could extend that to say it is Eucharistic. When we eat bread and drink wine Christ’s body is reconstituted, brought to life and we encounter Christ’s resurrection.
All of us have times when we doubt the existence of God.
A Frenchwoman I knew said I don’t believe in God but I shout at him now and then! Even Job doubted. It seems to be part of our human condition that when things go wrong or maybe we get very comfortable, we doubt God. If a member of the family or our loved one is ill or even dies we may doubt God exists, because of the pain, the suffering and loss we feel. If we experience a relationship breakup or divorce we may doubt God and of course some people’s response to dreadful events, like living in the midst of Covid19, is to ask how can you believe in a loving God when bad things like this happen? Doubt is the flipside to belief.
The Psalmist cries "My God why have you hidden your face from me" in Psalm 22 and Jesus from the cross cries "My God why have you forsaken me?"
An experience of God however turns doubt to faith.
Today many of us are hidden behind closed doors because we have to! And yes we are afraid. Some of us are locked down within ourselves because of a state of mind or because we are physically restricted. And we are afraid. We doubt God is with us. Others tell us that God is with us, even in our own locked spaces. Gods Spirit is with us everywhere and in everything we go through on our journey of life, the ups and the downs, the joys and the sadness. But sometimes we do not feel it or see it. Our faith the prayers of others carry us through these times. And Gods Spirit.
Unlike Thomas we cannot feel the wounds in Jesus body. Our faith depends on things unseen and unfelt. Maybe at times of doubt others have to carry us. Especially at this time we need one another, we need their prayers, we need to hear the words of Jesus, the touch of the God of creation as we look outside.
God is everywhere. Even in Lockdown. Even in Covid-19. We believe, help our unbelief. Help us to grow in this crisis as people, as Gods people, as families, as a community, as a nation. Help us to deepen our faith. We pray Gods Spirit will work in us and through us so we emerge changed.
In Jesus Name Amen.