April 28, 2019

Sermon Notes for Sunday 28th April 2019.

Sermon Notes for Sunday 28th April 2019.

Bible Readings.

Acts 5:27-32. The apostles, who were previously arrested and were freed from prison by an angel, are arrested again for refusing to stop preaching about Jesus, and when challenged declare that they must obey God rather than human beings.
Psalm 118.14-29. Here in the second week of Easter, we are still in the thick of celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Psalm 118:17 says, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” With the knowledge of the good news—that life and love can defy death itself— we are charged to go out and declare the impact that God has on us. Hallelujah!
Revelation 1:4-8. John’s introduction to the Revelation, praises Jesus as the resurrected witness, the one who has given us life, and who is God eternal.
John 20:19-31. Thomas, who is not present at the first appearance of Jesus to the disciples, is confronted with the Risen Christ, and invited to put his doubts to rest. He responds by affirming his faith in the Risen One.

Rev Tania  writes,

Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed!  Alleluia!

While this week’s Gospel reading naturally draws us to reflect on doubt and faith, the other readings encourage a slightly different approach, which focuses instead on the proclamation of praise and celebration.

It may be that we make far more of Thomas’s doubt than Jesus does. The point of the story, after all, is Thomas’ shift to faith – not his doubt. If we choose to focus on praise and celebration, however, the readings for this week are both inspiring and deeply challenging, in terms of our witness for Christ.

In the Acts passage, it is the faith and determination of the disciples to worship Jesus, that makes them so bold in the face of the threats from the religious leaders. It is the worship of the Psalmist – and of the people the celebration to go out and declare the impact that God has on us. Hallelujah!

In the Revelation, it is John’s worship of Jesus, and his faith in the Risen One, that moves him to write about his vision of hope and grace in the final consummation of Jesus’ saving work.

And, in the Gospel, Thomas’ journey into faith becomes an example for the Gospel’s readers to follow, and invites people of faith into a life of celebration and of witness to the resurrection.

In the light of this, the call of the Lectionary for this week is for us to respond to God’s saving work in Christ, and in his resurrection, with celebration which then inspires and strengthens us to witness to Christ and Christ’s way, even when we face persecution and suffering for Christ’s sake.

May our worship be celebrative and our celebration be prophetic as we gather this week.

Blessings of New Life this Easter Season,  Rev Tania