April 23, 2017
Bible Reference: John 20:19-31
I. Welcome: Good Morning girls and boys! I am so happy to see you all this morning! Do we have any new friends with us? (Welcome new friends.)
II. Church Practice:
Today is the second Sunday of Easter. Alleluia! The mystery and joy of Easter are so great that we cannot celebrate it all in just one Sunday. It continues on for 50 days past Easter Sunday ending on Pentecost where we see the red square on our liturgical calendar. The cloth on our Children’s Chapel altar is white today because we are now in the season of Easter. Who would like to move the arrow on our liturgical calendar? (Allow one child to come up to the calendar to move the arrow forward one week.) The arrow is now pointing to the second white square which is the same color as the cloth that we have on our altar. You will also notice that in big church the altar frontal, church dressings, and clergy stoles are white. (Light altar candles.) We light these candles to remind us that Christ is the light of the world. We remember that God is always with us, that Jesus lives in our hearts and that we are inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit. Before we begin our Bible lesson today, let us pray.
III. Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are here to worship and praise you. Open our hearts and minds so that we may hear your words spoken to us through the Bible story today. Draw us near to you and give us strength that we may serve you through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
IV. Introduction: How many of you have ever seen the wind? The wind is not really something that we can see, is it? Have you ever seen a tree dance? No? You’re right trees don’t dance, but sometimes they look like they are dancing. One day when I am sitting outside on a beautiful sunny day I could feel the wind blowing gently and I could see a big tree right in my front yard. As I watched my tree, it looked like it was dancing! The branches were swaying slightly and the leaves were wiggling, moving up and down and all around. Of course I know that the tree was not dancing, the leaves were being moved by the wind. Although, we cannot see the wind, we know the wind is there by seeing and feeling what the wind does all around us.
In our Bible story today, Jesus has risen from the dead and has been visiting with his disciples. One of the disciples, Thomas, was not there. Let’s listen to the story to see what happens.
V. Bible Story: John 20:19-31
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
VI. Response: When Jesus visited his disciples after the resurrection, Thomas wasn’t there. We don’t know where Thomas was at the time, but we do know that when the disciples told Thomas about seeing Jesus, he had trouble believing without seeing for himself. Thomas wanted to see Jesus, too. The Bible story tells us that Thomas does get to see Jesus when Jesus returns. Jesus is not angry or disappointed that Thomas hesitated to believe the others; Jesus simply reaches out to Thomas, saying, “Do not doubt but believe.” It’s easy to understand how Thomas felt. It would be wonderful to see Jesus walk into this room in person and be right here with us so that we could hug him and talk to him face to face. But we know that Jesus is always with us and that we don’t have to actually have to see him in person to know that he is with us. Just like the the wind, we know it is there by seeing what the wind does. We can also look around for what Jesus does. All of the things around us, smiling people, flowers, the blue sky, sunshine, rain, friends, family, ways for us to help others, singing, a phone call, a good book, learning, laughing, loving; all of these things show us that that Jesus is with us. We see his world. We see his love. Jesus simply reaches out to us through all that is around us, saying, “Believe.” Jesus is with us and lives in each of us. His love is our world. Let us continue to rejoice in the mystery and joy of Easter.
Let us pray:
VII. Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father,
Thank You that we see Your love all around us. Help us to help others see your love all around them.