Prince Edward North Pastoral Charge

April 11,  2021    10:30am        2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER

ANNOUNCMENTS:

  1. Birthdays and anniversaries.   Remember to let Melody know your birthday or anniversary. Happy Birthday Doris!
  2. ZOOM Bible study –  Monday at 7pm. Acts 15.
  3. ZOOM Coffee time/Bible study 
  4. READ THE BIBLE IN A YEAR: WEEK 20. Starting April 11

Sunday (Epistle):                    2 Corinthians 9-10

Monday (The Law):                Exodus 25-28

Tuesday (History):                  2 Samuel 15-19;

Wednesday (Psalms):              Psalms 57-59 ;

Thursday (Poetry):                  Job 39-40;

Friday (Prophets):                   Jeremiah 37-41;

Saturday (Gospel) :                 Luke 3-4.

MISSION STATEMENT

We are a group of followers of Jesus Christ, worshipping Jesus Christ as Lord, making God’s love known to all ages through joyful, warm worship and compassionate caring for one another, our community, and God’s creation.

GATHERING MOMENT    Psalm 133.  How Good and Pleasant It is

  How very good and pleasant it is
    when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
    running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
    running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
    which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
    life forevermore.

Lighting of the Christ Candle

May the light of the Risen Christ scatter the darkness, and bring light into our hearts, our lives, our world, and our Church.

MUSICAL INTERLUDE   Thank you, Brenda

Today is Holy Humor Sunday – which always falls on the 2nd Sunday of Easter.  So, to mark this day I would like to share with you a little something to bring a smile to your face, and perhaps, a groan to your lips.

  1. Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, ‘Why is the bride dressed in white?’    The mother replied, ‘Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life.’  The child thought about this for a moment then said,  “So why is the groom wearing black?’
  • At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings.  Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him  how Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs.

    Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and she said,   ‘Johnny, what is the matter?’ Little Johnny responded,  ‘I have pain in my side. I think I’m going to have a wife.’
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there?  Rita. Rita who?  Rita bible if you want to hear the good news….
  • Knock knock,  who’s there?  Oliver.  Oliver who? All of our joys come from the Lord.

PRAYER:

Lord of Resurrection surprises, open our hearts this day to the presence of Jesus Christ.  You have offered to us the greatest miracle of all time. We sang and celebrated last Sunday, but so much happens in a week, in our lives, and in our world, that cause us to forget, doubt, fear, worry, be anxious.  Give us new eyes to see our risen Savior. Erase our excuses for unbelief, and exchange them for strong witness to the power of your mercy and love. Give us courage and challenge us to walk the path of discipleship, knowing that the way is hard, but, Jesus goes before us, leading and guiding our steps. Let the stones of fear, worry and anxiety be rolled away from our hearts, so that we can enter fully into the joy of the resurrection, and be at peace.  We pray this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

SING ALONG :    Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah VU# 651

READING:     John 20:19-31 Jesus Appears to His Disciples

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.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name

REFLECTION:  “Peace be with you”

You’ve all heard the story many times, I am sure.

The disciples had gone to the tomb and found it empty. They had heard the messengers of God tell them –  Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here. He is risen.

Yet, there was still doubt. There was still fear. There was still confusion. There was still this feeling of being lost, without direction and guidance and support.  And while all around them was chaos, this chaos had sunk into the very depths of their beings, where once there had been peace.

Then the miraculous happened.

 Unrestrained by the locked door, Jesus appeared before them.

And the amazing thing was that the disciples could recognize him – not because he looked like he once had, but because of two things –   the wounds and the scars on his body –  but more importantly,  by his voice. Reminding us of John 10:27. “The Sheep hear my voice.  I know them and they follow me.” https://youtu.be/yk-K0uuz-94

The most important words Jesus said in the passage we read today are these: From verses 21-23: “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.”

I don’t know why we choose so often to gloss over these words and focus instead on Thomas and his doubts.  Because these words are the very heart of the gospel and the very reason why the risen Christ appeared to the disciples.  It was to show them the way, to give them the truth, to lead them to new life.   Because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

  1.  I AM THE WAY

A long time before this moment, the prophet Isaiah had said:  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually,     and there shall be endless peace.

Everything about Jesus revolved around peace – being at peace, living in peace, sharing the peace, spreading the peace – because the way of Jesus is the way of peace.  

Before he had died, Jesus had made a promise to the disciples. He had said: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

But, given everything that happened between Jesus speaking those words, and to this very moment in the upper room, they had not felt at peace. The events of Holy week. The confusion of Easter Sunday morning. The continuing persecutions. Their state of mind – shock, mourning, confusion, sorrow, sadness, hopelessness and helplessness.  And even though they knew that Jesus’s body was no longer in the tomb, and even though a few of them had supposedly seen the Risen Christ, it wasn’t enough.

So, in fulfillment of the promise he had made, when the Risen Christ appeared in their midst, the first words he uttered were these: Peace be with you.  

It wasn’t that he was giving them peace as one gives a present. He didn’t just hand them peace on a plate, and say “Here it is . Come and get it.”  

His very presence was peace.   And that is remarkable.  Sheila Walsh once wrote:  Peace is not the absence of troubles, it is the presence of Christ.

If the very presence of Christ brings peace, then, to be at peace, we should strive to put the very presence of Christ at the center of our living and being.

And when we put Christ at the center of our relationship with God, there is peace.

When we put Christ at the center of our relationship with others, there is peace.

When we put Christ at the center of our very being, in our heart and soul, there is peace.

When we put Christ at the center of our relationships with the world, there is peace.

  •  I AM THE TRUTH

Jesus had made another promise to the disciples before he died, which we find in John 14, verses 15-17, – he said:

 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate  to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.  

This promise was fulfilled when the risen Christ breathed on the disciples, and spoke these words: Receive the Holy Spirit. 

And in John 10:26

26 The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit was like having Jesus with them forever and ever – maybe not tangibly, but always accessible. All they needed to know was already within them through the Holy Spirit. All they had to do was search within themselves. The Truth was there.  And what is true for those first disciples, is also true for us.  For it is the same Spirit that lives in us and among us, that lived in them and among them.

  •  I AM THE LIFE –

Our God is a loving and forgiving God,  who raised Jesus from the dead and gave him new life.  But that is not all.  Through Christ Jesus, God makes that same promise of new life to you, and  to me, and to all who believe – abundant life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.  This new life begins with forgiveness. 

So when the Risen Christ appeared to his disciples in that locked upper room, it is significant that he said to them:  If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

The thing here is not that all of a sudden, the Risen Christ has given the disciples the power to forgive, or not to forgive.  Forgiveness always has and always will belong to God and God alone. 

But Christ has given them the job of bringing the Good News to the world, so that others will

have the opportunity to come to know Christ, to believe in him, to receive God’s love and forgiveness through Him, and to find their way to abundant life in this world, and  eternal life in the world that is to come.  Faith is the key to life.

John 10:10, Jesus said, “ I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

And in John 10:28, Jesus says:  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

And in John 3:16  God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Christ is right smack dab in the center of life and forgiveness.  

Ultimately, forgiveness belongs to God, but Jesus also told them: “As your Father has forgiven you, so should you forgive one another.”

This work of forgiveness never ends. It is the way to new life in Christ. It was the work of the first disciples. And it continues to be our work. And it will be the work of those who come after us.

It is an interesting few verses in John’s gospel that we often gloss over because we are more interested in Thomas and his doubts.  But, these verses are the very heart of the Gospel – I am the way – Peace be with you. I am the truth – Receive the Holy Spirit. I am the life – Forgive one another as God has forgiven you.

Thanks be to God who loves us more than we can imagine, who forgives us more than we deserve and who is with us forever and always.  Amen.

THE GIFT OF MUSIC BY THE CHOIR: The King is Coming

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER

MUSICAL INTERLUDE   Thank you, Brenda

BENEDICTION  (from https://teaandtheology.com/worship-words-an-easter-benediction/)

As you go out into God’s world this week, be Easter people! Be those who say, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here. He is risen.” Be ready to be surprised with what God will do next. Look for the risen Christ in those you meet. Let the Holy Spirit nudge and guide you. The tomb is empty because Jesus is out in the world, and now we must go out into the world too! May the joy and wonder of that first Easter morning live in your hearts today and everyday. Amen.

DISMISSAL 

Go now in peace, never be afraid.

God will go with you each hour of every day.

Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true.

Know He will guide you in all you do.

Go now in love and show you believe.

Reach out to others so all the world can see

God will be there, watching from above.

Go now in peace, in faith, and in love.  Amen