A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS

GATHERING HYMN          “That Easter Day with Joy Was Bright”        red book # 384

GREETING                                                    

KYRIE                                                                                                     red book pg. 147(set 4)               

CANTICLE of PRAISE                                                                        red book page 149 (set 4)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

ACTS 5:27-32

PSALM 118:14-29

REVELATION 1:4-8

JOHN 20:19-31

SERMON                                                                                                    Pastor Chris Halverson

Easter isn’t over

 

I remember this week—the second week of Easter—3 years ago.

I remember it mainly, because the previous Sunday—Easter Sunday—didn’t feel a whole lot like Easter.

As most of your know I’ve had 4 open heart surgeries, and therefore I go for annual heart check-ups. Well, I’d been to my annual check-up near the end of Lent and the doctors found some stuff they didn’t think looked good.

So they took me in and did an MRI…

I don’t always read people well, but I do generally read doctors well—it’s sort of a self-preservation kind of thing.

I can tell when they are anxious or confused. I know what a doctor acts like right before she or he say, “we need to operate.”

And that’s how the doctor in Baltimore was acting.

Waiting for more information from them was killing me. For two and a half weeks I sat on pins and needles, waiting to know if I was about to undergo open heart surgery number 5.

I began to think through some of the implications:

 

  • My internship would end.
  • I’d have to find a place to recuperate from the trauma of having my chest cracked open and my internal organs messed with again—meaning I’d probably have to move into my parent’s basement in Arizona.
  • My insurance company had let me know my heart condition was a pre-existing one so they wouldn’t cover any surgery.
  • My candidacy toward ordination would have been sidetracked.
  • For that matter, whenever they operate there is a chance things won’t work out and they’ll kill or maim me.

        Let me tell you it’s hard to concentrate on Holy Week and Easter when you are worried about your potential impending death.

But still, Easter came.

Everyone at St. John’s said with great joy, “Christ is risen. He has risen indeed. Alleluia.”

I said it too. I meant it even… as much as I could, but it didn’t feel like Easter—it didn’t feel like a time to celebrate.

Then, the Friday before that second Sunday of Easter I found out the reason the doctors were acting like they wanted to cut me open.

It was that they wanted to correct something that my surgeons had decided since I was three days old didn’t need fixing.

And then, that 2nd Sunday of Easter—three years ago, with that weight off my shoulders—

It felt like I could see color again.

It felt like I’d been given back my life.

It finally felt like Easter for me too!

 

And I want to tell you all today that will happen continually to us and to our neighbors—Easter will come again and again to us at different times and in different ways.     It will come to us unexpectedly

and it will come to us in our recounting of the Easter story.

because Easter isn’t over.

Easter isn’t over

 

Prayer

 

Easter isn’t over        

According to the Gospel of John, Easter began with Jesus calling Mary by name in the garden.

And the disciples are told of this—and they meet together—locked in fear

worried about the consequences of Christ’s crucifixion

and worried too, about the consequences of Mary telling people about his resurrection.

 

The consequence that the high priest’s men will persecute them.

That they will even kill them.

As I said, it’s hard to concentrate on Easter when you’re worried about impending death.

The consequence that people will think they’re as crazy as Mary

as grief struck as Mary

seeing the dead master where he is not—like Mary.

The consequence, even, of Mary being right!

What kind of thing is God doing among us if we are to follow our Rabbi even after his death!?!

What bizarre new things will come about!

 

And so, they lock the doors and batten down the hatches.

But still they meet the resurrected Christ. Because Easter isn’t over.

 

He comes to them and sends them out of those locked doors—breathing his Spirit upon them—it’s John’s account of Pentecost.

He gives them peace, and sends them out, with a clear mission, the remission and retention of sins.

Easter isn’t over—for they’ve encountered the resurrected Christ.

 

Yet, as much as I felt left out of the celebration of Christ’s resurrection three years ago—I can’t imagine how Thomas must have felt—

Hurt,

betrayed,

disbelieving in the words of his brothers’

disbelieving in the witness the disciples had given of the resurrection.

Disbelieving in Easter.

 

But to him as well comes Jesus

Jesus comes to him as Thomas needs him to—with brutal physicality, “Put your finger here and reach inside my wound.”

But also, with a teacher’s tenderness, “Peace be with you.”

Yes, Easter isn’t over, and so Thomas, though late, still partakes in our joy.

 

No Easter isn’t over—look at the disciples in Acts, these men who hid from the consequences of Easter—not long after, are energized by it.

Before they locked doors to keep the temple police, the council and the high priest from harming them—now they confront them boldly stating, “We must obey God’s authority, not human authorities.”

Easter is working itself out within them—in their proclamation

 

The disciples ride the wave of resurrection and Easter springs anew each time they tell of it.

Likewise, Thomas misses Easter, but Easter comes anyway. He missed Christ’s initial calling to his community—but that didn’t mean he missed Christ.

Each time we tell of it,

and each time it catches us

there Easter is.

Easter isn’t over.

 

Oh. There is one more thing.

You may have noticed in John 20:24 Thomas has a particular name—no, not doubting… but instead doubled

Thomas Didymus—that is, in Aramaic “Twin Didymus,”

and in Greek “Thomas Twin”…

Or, assuming you speak both Aramaic and Greek “Twin Twin.”

 

 

And to you child, and you child—you twins here today to be Baptized. I have the same message as today’s gospel—

I don’t know how long you’re life will be, or what experiences you will be beset with or graced with—but I know you are not abandoned to them, just as the Disciple-called-Twin was not abandoned to them.

It won’t always feel like Easter, but I know there will be Easter moments,

Resurrection moments,

Moments that Jesus will meet you in—in your lives.

 

And to you parents—Today you are promising to “proclaim Christ through word and deed,” to your twins.

In your telling of Easter, you will both experience Easter anew yourself, and lead your children to it as well.

 

As we tell of Easter, and as Easter catches us unexpected, we know that

Easter isn’t over.

 

HYMN of the DAY                                     “Borning Cry”                                  red book # 732

BAPTISM

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE                                 

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY ANTHEM                            “Come As A Child”

GREAT THANKSGIVING

Lord’s Prayer

Communion Song

     “Let There Be Peace on Earth” also red #742, red # 856

Sending

Blessing

Sending Song                               “Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen!”                          red book # 377

Announcements

Dismissal

POSTLUDE

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