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2010-4-11, 2nd Easter

2010-4-11, 2nd Easter

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Published by cceureka

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Published by: cceureka on Apr 15, 2010
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Christ ChurchEureka CaliforniaSecond Sunday of EasterActs 5:27-32, Psalm 118:14-29, Revelation 1:4-8John 20:19-31April 11, 2010The Rev. Ron W. Griffin“Passing the Faith Along”
lmighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenantof reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Bodymay show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ ourLord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
John 20:19-31
hen it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the housewhere the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood amongthem and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and hisside. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peacebe with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathedon them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they areforgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesuscame. So 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 nailsand my hand in his side, I will not believe."A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Althoughthe doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand andput it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and myGod!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are thosewho have not seen and yet have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written inthis book. But 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.Good Morning,It is amazing what a difference a week makes. Last week we were finishing up apower filled 3 days of the Treduum of Holy Week, and then services on Easter Sunday.As this first week of Easter began, like many of you, I had to get on with life in2010, paying bills I had delayed until Monday, preparing for this months responsibilities atthe church and preparing for today. This Sunday has another name besides the secondSunday of Easter. It’s typically thought to be a bit of a yawn and has been called forhundreds of years low Sunday, because attendance is normally, low. And as all of youknow Thursday will be tax giving day.In the spirit of Tax giving day and this being Low Sunday I found something true,ironic and hopefully humorous to help us get started today. Here is an actual letter receivedby the IRS.Attn: IRS Enclosed is my tax return & payment. Please take note of the attachedarticle from USA Today newspaper. In the article, you will see that the Pentagon is paying$171.50 for hammers and NASA has paid $600.00 for a toilet seat. Please find enclosedfour toilet seats (value $2400) and six hammers (value $1029). This brings my totalpayment to $3,429.00. Please note the overpayment of $22.00 and apply it to the"Presidential Election Fund," as noted on my return. It has been a pleasure to pay my taxbill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year. Sincerely, A satisfiedtaxpayer.As the text from John’s gospel opens today, it is still Easter Sunday. The disciplesare still reeling from the week’s events. A powerful group in authority had executed theirbeloved leader and they were known to be his followers. A locked door would seem to bethe right thing to do and fear would seem to be a reasonable response by Jesus' disciples. Inthe midst of all this energy, Jesus arrives, shows them his stigmata and the scripture tells usthen they believed and rejoiced, experiencing the resurrection.
Ten then reported thisto Thomas who wasn’t there, what had happened; and John’s gospel tells us he was notconvinced. This scripture is read every year, a week after Easter Sunday as we move fromthe slow motion and detail of the Passion and Holy week and back to real time of thebeginnings of the church)What a difference a week makes as Jesus is with them again and this time Thomasis there. Throughout, John’s gospel presents Thomas as a committed disciple willing toplace himself at risk to help others and to support the ministry of Jesus. He is as bold asPeter.In today’s scripture Thomas becomes the example of a re-occurring theme inJohn’s gospel. What was the gift of sight was now being passed on as the gift of hearingthrough sharing, (witnessing). It was a real dilemma John the gospel writer faced that is acontinuing dilemma for the church. How do we pass the faith along when Jesus isn’t
around to touch or feel or see anymore? How do we recognize our life is found in sharingnd not just consuming our faith?a There is a little phrase we say every week in the Nicene Creed.Most weeks we move right through it, some folks (those from protestant traditions)might stumble over a word at the beginning but I don’t think most people even pause at thesecond half because we are almost at the end. The phrase is “We believe in one holycatholic and apostolic church.That second half is for us today, the word apostolic. It is often defined as relating tothe apostles or the teaching of the apostles. But it is much more and it is a word we shouldstop and consider for us and for those who will come after us. As John remembered andrecorded this moment between Jesus and Thomas, Passing the faith along suddenly becamea vision of a long line of believers from the first eye witnesses all the way to us. Sharingwhat has been remembered and recorded since those who saw and began to tell the story,and from that first evening there has been a connection of people and their witness that iscalled the church.If we are following The Way today, we have someone to thank. Our faith wasn’tformed in a vacuum but in community and the succession of those authentic and reliablevoices all the way back to the beginning, forms our apostolic connection. But just asimportant was the willingness of those first eye witnesses to write down all that they couldrecall so that all would be able to listen and hear and then see as well. Even when the lineof lives from the beginning would get tangled for a moment, the map was intact with allthat had been written down so that we would always be able to find our way back to theline of lives all the way back to the first see-ers. And when we become discouraged by the journey, the gift of the advocate the Spirit of Holiness, the Holy Spirit will bring ourbelieving to life and keep us connected when we and others have our doubts.Its in today's gospel, John recalls and records this conversation, so we can standwith Thomas and hear the beginnings of what will be the church. Blessed are those whoave not seen and yet have come to believe.h Apollo Anton Ohno who is the most decorated American Winter Olympic athleteof all time. Had an often commentated preparation for every short track race he competedin. As the world watched him prepare and get ready to race they wanted to know, is hebored is he tired. Is he pretending he is a lion? In preparation he would yawn. Yawning,one of the most shared actions ever identified within every human community.Can you all yawn right now? That’s right, try a yawn. See if you can yawn. . .Okay,you can stop now .Really . you can stop now.We judge a yawn to be a sign of tiredness, or lethargy, or just plain boredom. Butthe physiology of a yawn suggests the opposite. Without thinking about it we openourselves up, our mouth stretches wide, and we take in as much life-giving oxygen as wecan. The slowed down, extended exhalation blows out excess carbon dioxide. And thewhole body participates. What looks like a first step toward sleep walking is in reality a

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