Then he said to Thomas…, “Do not doubt but believe.”
Why do you doubt?
Check that. There is no word for doubt in this story of Thomas and the other disciples. The word is faith (pistis), actually no faith (apistis) in Jesus’ charge.
Better: why do you not believe?
It is an important question in many forms and certainly why Thomas shows up every year on the second Sunday of Eastertide.
Say it this way: Don’t friends believe their friends? Don’t we believe the story of those we know and trust, even when it may be distant from our own experiences? Shouldn’t we?
But there is tension to be held here. Shouldn’t we also be honest, vulnerable, and courageous with where we are in our own stories? Doubt, after all, is not the opposite of faith(apistis). Certainty is a closer counterpart. Here’s a cognate: Bonhoeffer said, “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture, and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security.”
Daring and courage, the strength that comes from being a part of something larger than yourself. Here is blessing that endures, new life in this Eastertide. Or as Jesus says it in John, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Enter into worship.
Readings: Acts 2:14a, 22-32 † Psalm 16 † 1 Peter 1:3-9 † John 20:19-31
About the Art:: LeCompte, Rowan and Irene LeCompte. Christ shows himself to Thomas, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54879 [retrieved April 9, 2023]. Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maryannsolari/5119341372/.
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Mary, the tower of faith, who seems not to have faltered, marvels at this astonishing turn. Who would think that such a turn could be possible? Do we?
In this moment of loss, in this era of embittered and embattled sides, this season of denial and disappointment, this time of trials and tribulations, in this season of isolation could we really imagine something new?
And yet, you feel it, don’t you? You sense something emerging. Something growing. Sprouts of possibility. We are becoming awake. All it takes is a word.
Enter into worship.
Readings: Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6 † Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 † Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43 † Matthew 28:1-10 or John 20:1-18
About the Art: Photo (detail) and card design by Barbara Anderson. This is an image of a series of cards produced for Lent, 2023, this theme based on resources from Scott Anderson.
‘He has been raised from the dead, and see, he is on to Galilee ahead of you; there you all will see him.’ This is my message for you.”
– Matthew 28:7
Rejoice heavenly powers!
For three days Esther fasted and Judith kept vigil, the exiles came home from Jerusalem and the Hebrews marched to the bitter waters of Marah. For three days darkness afflicted the Egyptians, Hezekiah lay mortally ill, Jonah was entombed in the belly of a fish. And Saul who became Paul waited three days in blindness before he saw.
To say it differently, in all these stories God makes God’s home with us, God settles into the neighborhood, as The Message so familiarly says it. It means that God wrestled with Jacob and talked with Adam and Eve and Hagar.
It means Jesus knew a guy who had a donkey, a woman who was a pillar of the community and of faith. He knew someone with an upper room and a Pharisee that was just waiting to brave.He knew sickness and he knew death. He nurtured relationships in the neighborhood and saw earth tangle with heaven as it does every day and in every moment, every bush ablaze, whether we notice or not. He feasted and marched. He protested and built bridges. He made friends and allies. He laughed and he cried. He lived like he died that something new (and older than the hills) might come of it.
This night, of all nights, is a night to notice…and maybe to be just a little more brave for doing so.
Enter into worship[i].
Easter Vigil: Genesis 1:1–2, 26–27; 2:1–4 † Daniel (LXX) 3:52–60 † Genesis 21:2, 8–21 † Psalm 27:5–7, 10–14 † Genesis 21:2, 8–21 † Psalm 27:5–7, 10–14 † Exodus 14:26–29; 15:20–21 † Exodus 15:1–3, 11, 13, 17–18 † Joshua 2:1–14; 6:15–17, 22–23 † Wisdom 5:1–5; 6:6–7 † Judges 4:1–10, 23 † Judges 5:1, 4–7, 12, 24, 31 † 2 Kings 11:1–4, 10–12 † Psalm 9:1–2, 7–11, 13–14 † Judith 8:9–10, 32–34; 13:3–14, 17–18 † Judith 16:1–6, 13 † Acts 16:13–15 † Matthew 28:1–10 [ii]
[i] Easter Tree. Received in personal email. Origin uncertain.
[ii] Gafney, Wilda C.. A Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church (pp. 241-259). Church Publishing Incorporated. Kindle Edition.
Holy God, Holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.
Our Three Days service continues tonight at the cross. Good Friday is a day where we give ourselves to the suffering and injustice of the world, and of us. The church prays for the world—the whole world. It is a day where we take a close look at suffering and power—its use and misuse and we pray. We pray, and we remember that God with us—the immanuel—remains with us through the worst that the world, and the worst that we, can do. God with us—the immanuel—remains with us and loves us in death, even as in life.
Readings: Psalm 22 † Hebrews 12:1–4 † Luke 22:14–23:56[i]
Enter into worship.
About the Art: Wesley, Frank, 1923-2002. Peter's Denial, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=59181 [retrieved April 4, 2023]. Original source: Estate of Frank Wesley, http://www.frankwesleyart.com/main_page.htm.
[i] Gafney, Wilda C.. A Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church (pp. 220-231). Church Publishing Incorporated. Kindle Edition.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. --John 13:34
Three holy days enfold us now in gathering friends and breaking bread,
in cross and font and life renewed: in Christ, God’s first-born from the dead.
The mystery hid from ages past is here revealed in word and sign,
for Jesus’ story is our own: new life through death is God’s design.
Christ lifted high upon the tree, before you every knee shall bend
and every tongue in praise proclaim: “You are the Holy One. Amen.”
Enter into worship.
Readings, Maundy Thursday: Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14 † Psalm 116:1–2, 12-19 † 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 † John 13:1-17, 31b-35
About the Art: Swanson, John August. Washing of the Feet II, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=58580 [retrieved April 6, 2023]. Original source: Estate of John August Swanson, https://www.johnaugustswanson.com/.
It was a different kind of day. Crowds gathered. Palms and coats spread. Something, someone disruptive was coming and nothing would be the same by week’s end, or ever. The whole city was involved. It turns out Jesus had a guy (or a woman) or two he could count on—for a donkey, of all things, or an upper room—a vast network of disciples and partners and allies spilling out of the story! And resistance.
For those of us who find great comfort and meaning in the cycle of stories the church year brings Palm Sunday or Palm-Passion Sunday ranks up there for its knitting together of energy and splendor and pathos.
And for its disruption.
What does it mean to belong to something like this story in this day given what we know and what we don’t? How might we map the experience, name it? What would others say about it that might teach and expand our knowing? The St. Andrew Learning group has found many of our questions and much of our curiosity organized around this notion of belonging. And we want to learn from you. We want to explore together.
Where do we feel connected? What does it feel like? Sound like? Smell like? Look like? How do you know when you belong? When do you feel excluded or like you don’t have a place?
This Sunday we hope you will join us for something just a little different—a conversation together, an opportunity for reflection and curiosity. We will not worship in our normal pattern, but the elements of our worship will still be present.
We will start at our usual 10:00am time but plan to stay just a little longer, until noon. We will gather around tables and good conversation hosted by our learning group, including Karla Kallberg, Raiden Kallberg, Melet Whinston, Jill Jones, Bob Seel, Julie Kae Sigars, Maggie Breen and Scott Anderson.
If you can’t be physically present you can still join us on Zoom. Here’s the link. Your voices may be some of the most important.
Readings: Matthew 21:1-11 † Psalm 118 † Isaiah 50:4-9a † Psalm 31:9-16 † Philippians 2:5-11 † Matthew 27:11-54
About the Art: Knitted swatch by Jake Shirey. Card design by Barbara Anderson. This is an image from a series of cards produced for Lent, 2023, this theme based on resources from Scott Anderson.
We are so grateful to be gathering in person. If you can't join us, you can watch the service in real-time. Join us in person or, this Sunday only, join us on Zoom (link above) live Sunday morning, 10:00am.
We continue to keep our financial commitments to our mission partners and staff. If you are not yet able to join us, thank you for remembering to send in your financial pledges and offerings or donating here.
You'll find here links to weekly worship and, where applicable archived service videos.