A WORD FROM THE PASTOR: BLESSED ARE THE DOUBTERS
If you ask me, Thomas has gotten a bad rap. “Doubting Thomas.” Like he never did anything else in his life! Like doubting is always a bad thing! How about Realistic Thomas? Or Common-Sensical Thomas? Or Using-His-Brain Thomas? Or how about Believing Thomas?
We all know the story: The risen Jesus appeared to his disciples (minus Thomas) as they huddled in a locked room—for fear of meeting the same fate as their leader—and he proved to them that he was alive by showing them his pierced hands and side wound. And John tells us that “the disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” But when the disciples met up with Thomas later and told him about Jesus, he was skeptical at their crazy talk. Realistic. Smart. Because dead bodies don’t ordinarily come back to life after being in the tomb! You and I would do the same; we wouldn’t immediately abandon reason just because of some story. Right? Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side”—which, by the way, were things the other disciples got to do—“I will not believe.”
A week later Jesus appeared to his disciples behind locked doors again (something else corpses aren’t supposed to do!). And Jesus directly addressed Thomas: “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Or to translate it another way: “Do not become unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas believed. But it wasn’t just a mushy happiness like his friends felt when they saw the risen Jesus. He came to a firm conviction, the kind only doubters arrive at: “My Lord and my God!”
A little skepticism is healthy—there’s little worse than folks who will fall for whatever they see on TV and give their credit card information to whatever charlatan makes the best pitch! Common sense is our friend. But Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We may be a bit skeptical about some of the things other Christians believe and say and do. But Jesus still comes to us by his Spirit—and through the testimony of his first followers—and he confronts us with the reality of his resurrection. (An event, by the way, that is better attested than many things we accept as historical fact!) And Jesus still invites us to check the facts for ourselves, to use our brains: an empty tomb, lives changed, history altered, civilizations transformed, his continuing living presence in the hearts of those who love him.
Although we may not have the luxury of touching Jesus’ risen body, we are blessed if we come to same firm conviction as Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” May you be blessed this Easter season.
HOLY WEEK SERVICES:
Journey to the upper room, the cross, and the empty tomb!
- Maundy Thursday, 4/5: Communion service at 7:00 p.m.
- Good Friday, 4/6: community service at 12:00 noon—begins at First Presbyterian Church and will end at First United Methodist Church (rain location or for non-walkers, meet at First United Methodist Church).
- Easter Sunday, 4/8: Easter Brunch at 9:00 a.m. – sign up at the Opportunity Table if you would like to bring something! Worship with Communion and baptism at 10:00a.m. (There will be no church school on Easter.)
Celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior! Invite a friend, and come expecting to meet Jesus.
EASTER LILIES WELCOME
Please help decorate our house of worship with symbols of new life in Christ. Bring your own Easter lilies and place them on the chancel in our sanctuary for the season of Easter (4/8-5/20).
The High School Youth Fellowship will meet on the following Wednesdays during April: 4/4 and 4/18. The Middle School Youth Fellowship will meet on 4/11 and 4/25. Invite a friend! Both youth groups meet from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Youth Room.
High school youth fellowship will meet for its final time on Wednesday, May 2, and middle school for its final time on Wednesday, May 9. Please bring your ideas for summer reunions!
The Session will gather on Monday, May 14, at 8:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, to meet with Confirmation students. Please note the time and date variance.
The Presbyterian Women will have their monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. There will be a short business meeting followed by Bible Study ~ Lesson 7 of our study. The leader will be Shari Paige, and hostess will be Joyce Voyles.
Sewing Souls will meet on Wednesday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m. and the hostess will be Babs Middleton. Bring your projects!
INTRO TO KNITTING & CROCHETING
On Wednesday, April 25, at 7:00 p.m., there will be an Intro to Knitting, Crocheting, Sewing, Etc. class. If you are interested in learning to do any or all of these techniques, please come! Your hostess will be Judy Lindberg.
SUMMER CAMP IS COMING!
It’s time to register for a life-changing week of summer camp at Calvin Crest! Choose from family, ranch, explorer, night owl, mountain biking, or adventure camps. To help make camp accessible for everyone, our elders have pledged to pay for at least half of the camp fee for all our church’s kids. We say “at least half,” because we don’t want a little thing like money to stand in the way of going to camp. So please visit confidentially with Pastor Ray if you need some extra help. The elders have also set aside a few scholarships, too: so if you have an unchurched friend who would benefit from going to camp, refer them to Pastor Ray! For schedules and registration, pick up a brochure at the Opportunity Table, or visit www.calvincrest.org.
PFALTZGRAFF AND PFRIENDS
Phil Pfaltzgraff is bringing his usually humorous and always entertaining program to our church! Join Phil and his “Pfriends” for a concert on Monday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary.
- The Confirmation retreat will be April 20-22 at Calvin Crest. We will leave Wayne at 5:15 p.m. and be back on Sunday by mid-afternoon.
- The Confirmation students are invited to present themselves for active membership before the session on Monday, May 14, at 8:00 p.m.
- The Confirmation students will make their profession of faith during worship on Sunday, May 20.
Homestead Presbytery is sponsoring a day of learning and spiritual growth at Calvin Crest on Saturday, May 5, from 9:00-3:00. The cost is $10 (before April 15 and $15 after that). Discover the nuts and bolts of church leadership and some fun topics like astronomy and Dr. Seuss. See the Presbytery Day packet at the Opportunity Table, or visit www.homesteadpres.org for more information.
BENEFIT FOR CANDACE JARESKE
A benefit for Candace Jareske is planned for Sunday, April 22, from 10:30-2:00 at the Wayne Armory. There will be a soup and sandwich lunch as well as a live auction, silent auction, and bake sale. If you have any items you would like to donate, please contact Ellen Heinemann at 375-1488 or Becky Longe at 402-287-9960.