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Service Recording: April 19, 2020
After the service, we will have Fellowship Time in a Zoom video conference. Details for joining will be shared via email and at the end of the live stream.
The Building is Closed and the Church is Open
While we have restricted access to the building, Peace Church is very much open to ministry—working to respond to our own congregation, as well as the needs of our neighbors and community. Please consider giving either to Peace Church general fund or the Gabriel Fund – which is used to meet the needs in the community.
We recognize that in this time, people’s financial situations may have changed. We ask you to prayerfully consider what you can give. If you use electronic giving, we thank you for your constancy of support. If you would like to give through our online form, we would be grateful. For all the contributions from our members and friends—whether financial, time, or prayer—we ask God’s blessings on those gifts that Peace Church may be healing balm in this time when we are living in our own Gilead.
April 19, 2020 ~ 10:30am
Second Sunday of Easter
The People of Peace Church
Doug Bowen-Bailey, ASL Interpreter
Jim Pospisil, Music Director
Rev. Kathryn Nelson, Lead Pastor
Prelude “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves
sung by Jane Aas
Ringing of the Peace Bells
God Is With Us As We Gather
Responsive Call to Worship
We gather this day, finding it strangely comforting, O God, that so many of your servants have doubted you, even Thomas, one of your first disciples.
So, if we cannot always see the sense of your Word, if we do not always feel confident about our faith,
if we wonder where your love is in the face of pain and death, we are not the first.
A great company of saints felt this way before us. Teach us, like them, not so much to fear our doubts as to see them as a sign of the mystery of life and a door to discovery.
On this new morning we praise you even in the midst of all our questions and doubts.
Opening Hymn “Morning Has Broken” (#11 P&W Songbook)
Unison Prayer of Confession adapted from Thom Schuman
Hear the echoes of our locked hearts, Path of Life. We cross the borders into temptation and never seem to find our way back. We multiply the sorrows of others by our hurtful words and the harmful deeds we do.
Have mercy on us, for your Breath gives us new life. Walk through the closed doors of our worries and doubts to stand in our midst, offering us that grace which can heal us, that hope which renews us, and that faith which enables us to follow in your way of love. Amen.
Assurance of God’s Love
Story for All Ages
God is Revealed in the Word
God’s Word in the Gospel: John 20:19–31
Special Music “Leap of Faith” by Ann Reed sung by Jane Aas
Sermon “Room for Doubt”
Room for Doubt
John 20: 19 – 31
I give thanks to Jane Aas today for singing Ann Reed’s song leap of faith .. it is perfect song for today’s Gospel lesson story of the first disciples fear and doubt and yet hope – breath of peace . . . Reed writes,
Ev’ry story’s a thread
In a weave that avows
I don’t know what’s ahead
But I’m standing here now
There are moments I fly
Days when I weep
Sometimes I close my eyes
And remember to breathe
I walk on a fluid road
Ever changing where it goes
I wrestle my fear
And trusting my heart
That strength will appear
Oh, growing there in the dark
Strength appeared to the disciples when they least expected it . Their doors were locked up tight. Things were not going so well for the early Christian Church around 100 A. D. when John was writing his Gospel In fact it was the worst of times. As Nancy Shested wrote, “Doubt barricaded their hearts and questions exiled their hopes. They doubted the Roman persecution would ever end. They doubted that tensions would ever cease between the church and the synagogue. Racial and religious divisions among them left the church doubting their unified identity in Christ.” And so they cowered behind closed doors, afraid. And then Jesus comes—in the midst of them . . Peace Be with You. . . . the exact words they needed to hear. Peace Be with You. And then he breaths on them . . . breath of hope, breath of life, breath of the Holy Spirit.
Poor Thomas he misses it the first time . . he’s not there for that fleeting encounter, the breath of hope Jesus gives. And yet Thomas’ story is our story ..
And Thomas story is the story for the one’s the Gospel writer John is speaking to. They too never saw the resurrected Jesus, Jesus was suppose to come back and hasn’t’ They are starting to wonder about this whole thing. They are we are Thomas. Thomas the one who expresses his deep doubt while remaining part of his faith community. The best part is that his community doesn’t kick him out for not believing . . they welcome his question and his fear.
When Jesus returns eight days later, he again enters with words of Peace– Peace be with you. Jesus then takes Thomas’ questioning, his doubt very seriously. He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and put out your hand and place it in my side.” Doubtfulness is not discounted it is dealt with honestly and straightforwardly. Jesus says, “Go ahead and touch me”. Upon seeing and hearing Jesus, Thomas no longer needed to feel the wounds. Instead he blurts out a confession of faith for the entire community, “My Lord and my God.”
The early followers of Jesus, these people of the way as they were called longed for a home to shelter their doubts. The story of Thomas assured them that into the house of doubt, jesus comes and says to us all . ‘Peace be with you.”
I love this story . . . It reminds us that God is present with us in our homes and in our lives. God allows for our doubts and questions. Into our times of wrestling with faith and in our moments of grief, Christ enters and offers us the same words, “Peace be with you.”
And Christ reached out to Thomas with his raw scared hands. Wounded hands beckoned Thomas from his doubt. So often Jesus name is signed in our worship, Jesus. Jesus, the one with wounded hands. Jesus– touch the place, hear the name in your flesh. Jesus not bound by death and yet scarred for eternity. Wounds, Doubt, Resurrection, Hope bound together in our faith. The resurrected Christ is also the wounded Christ. Living, but never all fixed up. As Rev. Barbara Lundblad wrote, “We must touch the places where the wounds are. It is not the only place, but we cannot deny the wounds. . .The wounded Christ shows us something else; this scarred Jesus does not wait until all fixed up to meet us.’
Today I am holding in my heart Nathalia Hawley, who died one year ago today . .It was on Good Friday that she died last year. . I sat with her for awhile that afternoon. She was named Nat because she was born so close to Christmas on December 12, 2003. Nat for nativity. I baptized her on Christmas Eve . . .She loved candles and light . . She carried so much light in her 16 years. And Nat believed in spite of all the scars … so deep was her trust in the holiness of life . . In so many ways her art expressed it . .
This is her painting that she called ‘We’re not alone . . “ is a painting of tiny baby animals floating on rainbow colored geometric shapes . . they are physically distancing . .space between them means they can’t quite touch but they are not alone, they are there reaching together . . .
And She expressed her Faith so deeply in creating her ‘going home dress “ with Randi Fenoli from the Tv Show “Say Yes to the Dress” … Nat wanted to be a fashion designer . .she spent so many hours creating outfits, include redesigning lab coats for her physcians. Her make a wish was to meet fashion Desinger Randi Fenoli . . and together to design her dress . . He did come one Sunday afternoon to the Masonic Cancer Center in Minneapolis . . and together they created her dress . . beautiful white taffeta and lots of silver crystals . . Nat wanted it high cut in front .. so that her scars would show from her original surgery on her leg where her cancer first started . . She wasn’t afraid touch the scars . and still . believe . . .
Resurrection isn’t something that happened just once, a long time ago, resurrection is something In our day-to-day lives as the people of God, we put our hands on the wounds of this broken world, but we also witness to the hope that sustains us in knowing that we are going to rise again, . . As Rumi wrote we really are just walking each other other . . .
Nat trusted that . .
She planned her going home celebration . . she wanted it to end with the song Clouds . . .written by Zach Sobeich who also had lived with Osteosarcoma . . . zach song gives voice to the pain and doubt .. . but also to the hope . . . We’ll will go up up up .. . it won’t be long now . . it won’t be long now . .
And on the way may we know that we are not alone . .
Peace be with you .. says the scarred and sacred one . . . opening our locked and fearful hearts. Alleluia and Amen.
Hymn “Clouds” by Zach Sobeich
We Respond to God’s Presence
Sharing Our Prayer Concerns, Silent Prayer, Pastoral Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, and Choral Amen
Sharing Our Offerings
The Offertory “Mary” by Patty Griffin Sung by Jane Aas
The Thanksgiving “Thank You Jesus” (#38 P&W Songbook)
Prayer of Dedication
Closing Hymn “Peace I Leave with You My Friends” (#249)