Sunday, April 8, 2018

Light, Truth, and Community

• Second Sunday of Easter
with John 20:1-31  and  1 John 1:1-5    @FirstUMCBville   @kerrfunk
This sermon was broadcast on Facebook Live 4/8/18

• It always kind of baffled me that every year the Sunday after Easter the Gospel reading is the same, and always found it a little odd. Jesus breathed on them. Thomas wasn’t there, and he says he won’t believe without seeing. And a week later he gets the chance, and he believes, and Jesus says blessed are those who believe without seeing.
One of the earliest things I learned about the lectionary, because I was youth director, and that church did youth Sunday the Sunday after Easter.
Figured out this year that the event itself takes place a week after Easter. Ha.
• Little bit of a conundrum: we are social, storytellers, made in image of God. Easy to identify with Thomas, in that we were not there on Resurrection Sunday to witness.
What do we do when lacking convincing evidence?
What about the darkness (1 John 1:5, no darkness in God) and the hidden feeling?
• After college invited to learn about opportunity to generate income. Interested and skeptical. Listened to pitch, investigated, considered character.
Ended up making friends and cultivating purpose and hope.
• Would love to know about days 2-7, discussions and interactions the community had that week. We are social beings
and we read in 1 John We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
because we delight in telling news, especially good news.
We delight in seeing the lightbulb go on
and we delight in community of shared experiences and values.
• No evidence that Thomas was kicked out of community or belittled for his questioning.
Jesus appeared again in day 8 and the community was still together and Jesus addressed the concern Thomas had, and Thomas offers terrific conf of faith: My Lord and My God!
So what do we do when lacking convincing evidence?
What about the darkness (1 John 1:5, no darkness in God) and the hidden feeling?
We stay in community, we accept one another and continue to gather.
We facilitate forgiveness – seems like a random teaching of Jesus’ right there, about forgiveness, but it must be important to Jesus’ purpose and therefore the purpose of the Jesus community, not to hold things against one another.
We do what we can to embody reconciliation and to dispel darkness.
We nurture trust.
Where/when I may be unconvinced, I trust the testimony of others.
John Wesley was counseled by one of the fathers of our Methodist faith, “Preach the faith until you have it and then because you have it.” (Moravian Peter Bohler)
There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep one in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation. Herbert Spencer, d. 1903.

• Hymn 467 Trust and Obey

1 John 1:1-5 (HCSB)
1 What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have observed
and have touched with our hands,
concerning the Word of life—
2 that life was revealed,
and we have seen it
and we testify and declare to you
the eternal life that was with the Father
and was revealed to us—
3 what we have seen and heard
we also declare to you,
so that you may have fellowship along with us;
and indeed our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4 We are writing these things
so that our joy may be complete.
5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. ò

John 20:19-31 (HCSB)
19 In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews. Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
20 Having said this, He showed them His hands and His side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 After saying this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
24 But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called “the Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!”
26 After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!”
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.”
28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name. ò

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