eChurch #5

(Low Sunday; Holy Humour Sunday!)


Sing! When morning gilds the skies “May Jesus Christ be praised!”

Lord’s Prayer


Jam Club Feedback so far (Show & tell!)


Jam Club challenge? Find … an Easter egg! It’s Easter Sunday today in Tura’an - but every day is Easter! Jesus is alive!

Youth Mix coming off a virtual sleepover too!


Bible reading John 20, 19-29 read by Emma N

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


Song Blessed be your name read by Karen T


WRBC Object Cross in church! Olive wood cross - from Tony & Marie T


Prayers for others led by Geoff M


Song By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered read by Sue & Steve J


Who Am I? by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Who am I? They often tell me

I stepped from my cell’s confinement Calmly, cheerfully, firmly, Like a squire from his country house. Who am I? They often tell me I used to speak to my warders Freely and friendly and clearly, As thought it were mine to command. Who am I? They also tell me I bore the days of misfortune Equably, smilingly, proudly, like one accustomed to win. Am I then really that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself? Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,


Yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds,

Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighbourliness,

Tossing in expectations of great events,

Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,

Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,

Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.


Who am I? This or the Other?

Am I one person today and tomorrow another?

Am I both at once?A hypocrite before others,

And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?

Or is something within me still like a beaten army

Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?


Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.

Whoever I am,

Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!


2 Chronicles 20, 12We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you, Lord.” This is the verse with which we started our response to the COVID-19 lockdown. But also it was the verse used by German preacher Hildebrandt at Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s memorial service, July 1945, at Holy Trinity, Brompton (now known as the home of Alpha course). He died/ was executed 9 April 1945 (exactly 75 years ago on this year’s Maundy Thursday). His final words: “This is the end”, he said. “For me the beginning of life.” Expanded in an earlier sermon preached in London: No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of God, no one has yet heard about the realm of the resurrected, and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward joyfully to being released from bodily existence. Whether we are young or old makes no difference. What are 20, 30, or 50 years in the sight of God. And which if us knows how near he or she may already be to the goal? That life only really begins when it ends here on earth, that all that is here, is only the prologue before the curtain goes up – that is for young and old alike to think about. Life Together - one of his books: ch 1 Community; ch 2 The Day With Others; ch 3 The Day Alone A certain contemporary feel for us today in lockdown? Deeds and words – belief and behaviour – faith fulfilled in daily life, whatever the cost.

We considered too the reading from John 20, where there are two episodes separated by a week; one on Easter Sunday evening (and remember today is Easter Sunday on the Eastern calendar!), the other a week after the resurrection happens (and today is a week after Easter Sunday on our regular calendar!). Common to both episodes – Jesus’ appearance and his greeting with the words Peace be with you. Unique to the first episode (unique in the Gospels) is the commissioning (sending) and the equipping; here is Ascension and Pentecost; the great Commission in the other Gospels is at the moment of Jesus’ return to his father, but John shortens the timeline; and he includes Pentecost too (breathing the Spirit). Unique to the second episode is Thomas’s confession of faith, one of the most remarkable statements about Jesus in the Bible, but with this too is another unique feature – with Thomas alone in all the resurrection appearances, Jesus reveals his wounds; doesn’t do this any other time; doesn’t make a pattern of this; Jesus doesn’t repeat this, it’s uniquely for Thomas. And it results in his confession. Who do we say Jesus is (for us/ today)? Words and deeds.

Luke 24, 19 - two on the Emmaus Rd speak of who Jesus is “a prophet powerful in word and deed before God and all the people”; it’s significant, but even this falls short of what the risen Christ would have them embrace. Eddie Askew reflects in another prayer, based on this verse, on deeds and words as “twins who live together”, and all the more because of the resurrection.

Your truth shines bright, Lord, Dazzling, Chasing away the shadows of my hesitation. Stands stark, confronts me in uncomfortable clarity. And what you ask highlights the gap between the wish and the reality.

Easy to say, that deeds must match my words; harder to take into my life – consistent only in its inconsistency – and live it out.

I’d rather leave that to the prophets, driven ones, who had to speak for you whatever it would cost. The trouble is however hard I try, I find I cannot turn my back. However deeply I submerge your words within the depths, they rise again insistent, telling me that word and deed are twins who live together, each incomplete without the other.

Lord, help me to find the courage and the joy that with glad energy I may work out my words in life and love.


A prayer by Eddie Askew, reflecting on Luke 24, 19 - “a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.” From Cross Purposes


Sing Thine be the glory


Notices


Blessing


** Due to technical issues, there is no recording of this week's service available **


Walsworth road
Baptist church
hitchin

Charity No: 1155718

wrbchitchin.org.uk

Walsworth Road

Hitchin, SG4 9SP

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