Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
12:00pm Fellowship
Pastor Rev. Brooke Newell
Secretary Donna McDonald
315-265-7474

Hear, See, Tell

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April 15th:

Hear, See, Tell
April 15, 2012
Call:           1 John 1:1 - 2:2
Text:           John 20: 19-31
Read:   W&S #33

                                Hear, See, Tell

Easter is over. We can now get back to normal.

Easter was exciting
        I preached three times that morning     at 6:15, 8:30, and 10:30
                And never lost my enthusiasm for what I was doing
                        What I was celebrating.

It was an exciting day!

To be honest all of Holy Week was exciting.

The Palm/Passion service moved me
        And it moved at least one worshipper
        Who told me that the service had brought tears to her eyes.

The haunting sound of "We Sang Our Glad Hosannas"
        Took us from Hosannas and palm branches to jealousy and arrogance
        and finally to the anticipation of the cross itself.

I was moved.

Thursday's attempt to imagine
what it would have been like to have been at Christ's last meal
was enhanced by our more intimate communion
                and by the candles being extinguished one by one by one
                        as he moved to the cross
                        and we chose darkness over light.

And that moved me as well.

On Easter,
        After we had gone to the tomb before the sun rose
        And after the gardener had told us of Mary Magdalene's visit
                And of her discovery that Jesus had risen
The first person I saw as I moved to the back of the sanctuary
had a look of pure joy and excitement in her eyes

Oh,     the services were exciting
        The choir was great
        The music enriched our experience
and     The scriptures were thought provoking

As I said,
Easter,         in fact all of Holy week,       excited and moved me.

But Holy Week ended with Easter
        And Easter was a week ago
Now we can get back to normal.

But     I       hope            we      don't           !!!

Because if we do,
then neither Easter nor Holy week
excited or moved us enough.

And our lives will have become for now,
immovable objects       successfully resisting      the irresistible force

If you and I say
        "That week went well
        I enjoyed it and found it meaningful"

But we have done so as spectators and observers
        Instead of as participants and disciples
We have failed.

For Easter and Holy Week
        Should have transformed us
        Should have made us better servants
        Should have inspired us
                To share the story
                To teach its lessons
        And     To reach out on Christ's behalf.

We should be better able and more willing to tell what we have seen.
We should be better able and more willing to tell what we have heard.

Those are what Christ charged the disciples to do
        As the first Easter ended the first Holy Week
                A Holy Week that was even more exciting, more moving, and more awe inspiring than this one
        And an Easter   which also - it goes without saying - was
Even more exciting, moving, and awe inspiring as well.

Part of the excitement was at the tomb
Part of it was when Mary stunned the disciples by saying
        "I have seen the Lord."

Part of it was what John tells us occurred Easter night and a week later
        As Jesus sent the disciples out
        To tell what they had seen and what they had heard.

[John 20: 19-31]

The Thomas part of this story is familiar
        - The skepticism that weakened his faith
        - His failure to believe his companions among the twelve
                When they told him the same thing that Mary had said that morning
                        "I have seen the Lord."

His insistence that he would need to see
the mark of the nails in Christ's hands
                that he would need to
Put his finger in those marks
                        And put his hand in Christ's side

Before he would believe.
        What the others had told him
Before he would believe
        The very people with whom he had worked for the last three years
We have even developed a term to describe a person who doubts the accuracy of what we are certain is true.
        We call that person a   "Doubting Thomas"

Now, in all fairness to Thomas, what the others told him was amazing

Can we really blame Thomas for having had trouble processing and accepting it
        Until the following week when Christ appeared again
This time with Thomas present?
This time with Thomas believing what he saw and heard

Wouldn't many of us
        In this well educated and reasonably sophisticated community
                Have responded very much like Thomas did?

It is that universal tendency to react with skepticism similar to that of Thomas
                That puts the oomph in the scripture

For the scripture is less about faith
        Than about the job Jesus is giving to the disciples
That is
        The responsibility of telling others about what they have seen
And     The responsibility of telling others about what they have heard.

Look at it
        On Easter night, while Thomas was off doing whatever Thomas was doing, Jesus said to the disciples
                "As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
        And he breathed on them and said,
                "Receive the Holy Spirit."

Confident that Holy week and Easter should have transformed them
        From mere disciples
        To his apostles or representatives in and to this world,

He was sending them out to tell what they had seen and heard
He was sending them out to make disciples for Him
        By what they said, of course,
        But also by how they lived their lives.

And understanding his words to the skeptical Thomas
        "Blessed are those who have not seen
                And yet have come to believe."
Was an essential factor - even building block -
        In their fulfilling their assigned task
And their spreading of the faith
                Across the miles                and across the centuries.

For the people to whom Christ was sending the disciples
        Weren't ones who heard the Sermon on the Mount
        Weren't ones who ate the loaves and fishes
        Weren't ones who ate the last supper in the upper room
        Weren't visitors to the cross or the empty tomb

The people to whom Christ was sending the disciples
        Weren't people who saw Christ in that room with the locked doors
        Weren't ones who saw the nail marks or the hole in his side

Therefore, for Christ's sacrifice to have been successful
        The disciples had to be sent to tell what they had seen and heard
And the people who heard that story from the disciples
        Had to be sent to continue to tell the story.

For our time,           we are those people.

Having been transformed by Holy Week and Easter
        You and I can't go back to what was normal in the past.

We must hear the story
We must see the story
We must tell the story

So that those who have not yet seen   (and those who have not yet heard)
        May come to believe
And     blessed.