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John 20:19-31 RSV
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed then his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not among them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails,and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut , but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here , and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it i my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus in the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
Everybody Loves A Parade
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Matthew 21:1-11 (RSV)
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
21 And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Beth′phage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If any one says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.” 4 This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of an ass.”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. 8 Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Below you will find the sermon audio and Scripture from out lesson for Sunday, April 2, 2017. May you be blessed this week in all you do and may you be a blessing to others.
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Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’ John 11:35-37
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The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth round his face. John 11:44
John 11:1-45 (RSV)
The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a certain man was ill, Laz′arus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Laz′arus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.”5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Laz′arus. 6 So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.10 But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, “Our friend Laz′arus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Laz′arus is dead;15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Laz′arus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying quietly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; 34 and he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Laz′arus, come out.”44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him;
Newsletter, April, 2017
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen, indeed. Alleluia!
We really can’t shout out the above greeting yet, but in two short weeks, Easter will be here. The joy of the Resurrection will be upon us before we know it.
The celebration of Easter is absolutely central to the life of the church and to faithful Christians. Without the new life of Christ touching every aspect of who we are and what we do, we are simply going through religious motions, playing religious games, and putting a religious slipcover over lives that are just like anyone else’s.
To live lives touched by the Resurrection, to be Easter people in a Good Friday world, means many things, but I’d like you to think about a couple of suggestions—
It means that we live unafraid of death, and all that death brings with it. Many folks live in such a way that they will do anything to avoid pain, aging, illness, and death. Maybe that’s you; I can pretty much tell you that I am that way. We go to extraordinary lengths to deny the inevitability of it, fooling only ourselves and a few select others who are in on the game. We use drugs to lessen the impact of what’s coming, or we choose inappropriate and ultimately, damaging lifestyles, or we try to fool ourselves into acting or looking much younger than we are, or we are simply paralyzed by fear into a kind of stupor that keeps us from doing or being anything.
It also means that we live free from sin’s power. Has someone done something to you or me that still controls our hearts and minds? Have we done something that has clouded or affected our whole life? Have we taken the road of temptation that leads only to damage, not only to ourselves, but to others? Have we allowed prejudice or fear to warp our hearts so that you cannot love and forgive?
Easter isn’t just about eggs, bunnies, jelly beans and hollow chocolate Easter bunnies, dressing up, or a big lunch after church. It’s about the new life we have in Christ, in which we are set free to love, to forgive, and to serve, and thereby find a sense of peace and joy in all that we do. By grabbing hold of the cross, we share in Jesus’ victory over sin, death and all that would destroy us.
I hope you have had a blessed Lenten season. I hope you have considered the Lenten triad—fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. I hope that Lent has, in some way, prepared you for the Resurrection of our Lord.
I hope that you can join us for the events leading up to and including Easter Sunday. Our Lenten study continues April 4 and April 11. Holy Week begins on April 9 with our Palm Sunday service. On April 13, our friends from First Presbyterian Church will join us in our sanctuary for our Maundy Thursday service, which will begin at 7:00 PM. Our Easter Sunday service will be April 16 at 10:45 AM
As the month of March comes to a close, I have been your pastor for 10 months. I know I have been on the receiving end of your prayers and kind thoughts, as have been Sarah and Rachel. I want you to know that we are grateful for all of these, and I want you to know that I am honored to be your pastor. This is a journey; it’s not a quick trip. If you know of opportunities for us, as a church, to increase our ministry in our community, please let me know.
Have a blessed remainder of Lent, a reflective Holy Week, and a glorious Easter.