This Sunday, we begin a post-Easter series titled Revive Us Again following the Revised Common Lectionary and sourced from Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. This series attempts to help us hold on to the glory that is Resurrection!
Rev. Jeri Newell-Davis from St. Mark’s UMC will bring Sunday’s message and she shares the following:
The traditional greeting and response during this Easter Season is
CHRIST IS RISEN!
CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!
On Easter Sunday people all over the world celebrated in ways previously unimagined. There was a rise in telecasting while church pews remain empty. There was a rise in family interaction while schools and businesses are being shuttered. There was a rise in volunteering to care for the vulnerable while some store shelves remain empty. All this to say, CHRIST IS RISEN! CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED! Only Jesus could bring forth life, life in abundance, from what some people say is a time of complete devastation.
For some, Jesus’s resurrection is hard to believe because they may not have personally experienced it. For them it is easier to believe in that nothing good could come of this time in our lives. That death and financial destruction from the coronavirus and COVID-19 will scar our world forever. Author Daniel Defoe wrote in his 1726 book, The Political History of The Devil, “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believ’d.” For some, this is their truth.
But I would offer an alternative truth that life does rise from outwardly dead situations as we witness daffodils springing up from the cold, hard earth. We see more people volunteering time and giving personal resources so that others will have something to tide them over. And my lawn, my lawn is lush with weeds that are growing with gusto despite having been pulled a season ago. This is life! This is resurrection!
John 20:19-31 (CEB)
19It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” 22Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.”
Jesus appears to Thomas and the disciples
24Thomas, the one called Didymus, one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. 25The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.”
26After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!”
28Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”
29Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.”
30Then Jesus did many other miraculous signs in his disciples’ presence, signs that aren’t recorded in this scroll. 31But these things are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and that believing, you will have life in his name.
Consider these questions:
- The very same day that Mary tells the first disciples—Peter and one other—that Jesus has risen, the rest of the disciples either don’t know or perhaps don’t believe. They are locked away, isolated, sheltering in place. Does this seem as though it parallels our current circumstance? What’s similar? What’s different?
- What do you think the disciples felt when Jesus appeared to them? Do you think what they felt inwardly matched what they expressed outwardly? How might these have been the same or different?
- Where do you think Thomas was when this happened? Why wasn’t he with the rest? Was he with Peter and the other disciple? Was he with Mary? When faced with the proclamation, “We’ve seen the Lord!” how did Thomas’ reply differ from what the others had already received?