Thank you, Everyone, for the wonderful Easter Celebrations we had at Grey Eagle UMC and Peace United Church. Attendance at each church was 83 and 138 respectively. We must also acknowledge that it was a bittersweet day for Peace United Church as we worshiped for the last time at the South Church (AKA “The Golf Course Church”).
This week we will begin reading Acts (7 weeks), Revelation (6 weeks), and the Gospel of John (8 weeks). Acts will serve as our Old Testament lesson even though it is a New Testament book.
This week we begin reading through those books with:
Acts 5:27-32 – Peter and other apostle were healing and teaching the people of Jerusalem. They are thrown into jail. During the night an angel brings them out and tells them to keep preaching the good news. At daylight, they go to the Temple and do just that. When the jail cell is found empty and reports come in that Peter and the others are in the Temple, the police haul them before the Chief Priest and the Sadducees. Peter testifies to the risen Jesus who was crucified by those very same authorities. How will we testify when threatened?
Psalm 118:14-29 – There are three verses that are well known and oft repeated. Verse 22 is quoted often in the New Testament. Verse 24 is a common refrain that I am currently singing in my head. Verse 26 is quoted by the congregation in the Communion liturgy. You will recognize them all.
OR Psalm 150 – I often read this Psalm for families before the start of a funeral. It reminds us that we always need to praise God even in the depths of our grief.
Revelation 1:4-8 – First off the book is one Revelation and several Revelations. I often slip and say “Revelations”. One Revelation of Jesus Christ. This Revelation was given to Jesus by God according to verse one. Jesus then shares this Revelation with his servant John. John in turn shares this Revelation to seven churches in Asia (now modern day Turkey). These opening words praises Jesus and God.
John 20:19-31 – This is the report of Jesus’ first two appearances to the male disciples. Jesus has already appeared to Mary Magdalene on Easter morning. The first appearance to the men occurs in the evening of Easter. They are hiding from the authorities fearing reprisals against them as followers of Jesus and the doors are locked. Jesus appears speaking peace and he shares the Holy Spirit with them. Unfortunately, Thomas is not with them and when they tell him he demands actual proof. On the next Sunday evening Jesus again appears to the disciples including Thomas. When Jesus shows his wounds Thomas believes. Do we need “proof” to believe?
Christ is Risen!
Pass it on.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor