Sunday Worship - Sunday 19th April
Click below on the red play button to start the video. You may need to be patient as the video is a very large file and may take a little while to load.
Below the video you will find a message from Glenda Taylor who was planned to speak at Grangewood today.
God Bless x
Message – Glenda Taylor
A Living Hope
The resurrection of Jesus is such a high impact event that over the next 7 weeks we continue to celebrate it. The resurrection of Jesus gave his disciples a living hope all those years ago and still provides us with a living hope today.
Our gospel reading this morning was from John - a gospel best thought of as a collection of meditations, reflections or sermons on Jesus’ life. Throughout the first part of his gospel John is building up to the passion and he portrays Jesus as a man fully aware of the events which will befall him from the beginning. As we know Jesus claimed to give the gift of eternal life to those who believed in him by raising them from Spiritual death. John believed it was this claim which led to Jesus’ crucifixion and this is why if you read John’s gospel you will find the well-known story about Lazarus and how Jesus raised him from the dead told by John on the eve of the Passion when the other gospel writers do not mention it. John wants us to see the raising of Lazarus from death to life as the event which led the Jews to capture Jesus and crucify him. For in raising Lazarus from physical death we can see more clearly than through any words the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection – namely to overcome death once and for all for us, to reconcile us to God and therefore enable us to begin a new life as children of God.
The disciples spent the evening of Easter Day behind locked doors. Peter and another disciple have seen the empty tomb and Mary Magdalene has spoken with the risen Christ and told the disciples about it. It is to his fearful disciples, hiding behind locked doors that the risen Christ chooses to appear. He is concerned for them because he knows they are frightened and says to them: “Peace be with you”. He shows them his hands and his sides, still apparent on his glorified body. Their fear dissolves, and they rejoice to see him alive again. Jesus brings his disciples a living hope.
When Thomas hears from others that Jesus is back again, he makes what seems like an outrageous demand. He refuses to believe that Jesus is alive unless he can see and touch the wounds of his crucified leader. Then one week later, the equivalent of today, Thomas gets his chance there in the upstairs room. Jesus enters, and invites Thomas to examine his wounds. The appearance of Jesus to Thomas had an enormous effect on Thomas, giving him a living hope and enabling him to proclaim that Jesus was his Lord and his God.
In our reading from 1 Peter 1 verses 3 – 9, Peter echoes the message of the Gospel that trust in the Easter message brings love, joy and hope. Jesus again provides a living hope.
What effect does the appearance of Jesus to his disciples have on us? The return of Jesus promises us our resurrection at the end of time. He comes back to reconcile us with God and other people and to make us instruments for reconciliation in the world. Like the first disciples, we experience Jesus risen from the dead, freeing us from the fear of the death that will come at life's end, and freeing us from all the other deathly fears that hold power over our lives today. Jesus comes to break the chains of fear and so provides us with a living hope.
What are the fears we experience? Some are announced in the headlines: illnesses for which no cure is known (Coronavirus), a faltering economy, wars and rumours of wars. Other fears are more personal, more private: a bad medical report, a broken marriage, a career that crashes.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. And we too can rejoice, even when we are afraid, when we recognise that Christ is here with us. It is not that the fear disappears but rather that it no longer dominates our lives. Christ has shown himself more powerful, and we acknowledge him as Lord. It is he who is our living hope.