Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

Sunday Night Live

Listen to the Sermon or the Entire Service

April 27:

Call:    Acts 2: 14a, 29-32
Text:    John 20: 19-31
Closing: 1 Peter 1: 3-9
Prayer:  W&S #60
Psalm:   Psalm 16 (748)

            Sunday Night Live

I'll bet you didn't know
   That modern Daylight Savings Time was first proposed by a New Zealander, George Vernon Hudson in 1895.
   Did you know that?

I'll bet you didn't know that modern DST was first used in Germany and Austria Hungary in 1916.
   Did you know that?

Did you know that in the United States DST did not become standard until 1966
   Although it had been used a great deal before that
      Including during both world wars
      And many - in fact, most - states had adopted DST before the Federal government standardized it 48 years ago

This state involvement led to a strange situation in May of 1955
   [And Carol, I am so glad you are back to hear this]
That month the Federal DST
Began two weeks before the Minnesota DST
St. Paul elected to begin with the federal date
Minneapolis, however, elected the state date

So, for two weeks in May 1955
if it was 10:30 in St. Paul, it was still 9:30 in Minneapolis.
   And these two are known as the "Twin Cities."

What a joy it must have been  to live in Minnesota that May.

But the story in our scripture does not take place in Minnesota
   [Which means that Christ was not necessarily a Lutheran.]

Our story does not take place in the 49 other US states
Or in Austria Hungary
Or in New Zealand

And this recitation on Daylight Savings time
   Takes place only so that I am perfectly accurate
When I tell you that
although we never got past
talking about the first several hours of daylight last week,
the first Easter was a 24 hour day.

I was trying to avoid any creative soul in the congregation
Observing   "But Jim, if it was the day to set the clocks ahead
   There would only have been 23 hours.

[Of course, in all likelihood,
the only one in the congregation who would have thought that way
   is me.   But I wanted to be careful - and accurate.]

Suffice it to say, therefore, on the day of resurrection
Jerusalem was not on Daylight Savings time
And so it had a full 24 hours
   Well more than half of which came after
Mary went to the disciples and said,
            "I have seen the Lord."
And yet in our Easter celebrations,
   We seldom get past the early morning.

The two major stories about the rest of the day
are saved for this week
      John's telling us about
      Christ's evening visit to the disciples
and next week
Luke's telling us about
      Christ and Cleopas walking to Emmaus that afternoon

It feels like the order is reversed in the lectionary
   Like you, I am used to the afternoon preceding the evening

But I am grateful that we get to .talk about these remarkable stories
   Regardless of Chronology.

And so now, we move to what happened
On the evening of that same day
   Several hours after Mary's exclamation to the disciples

We move to that Sunday night when they saw Jesus   - live!

[John 20: 19-31]

Sunday morning Peter and John
   Had visited and entered the empty tomb
   But finding only linens and a cloth
they, in contrast to Mary,
had left the garden and returned to their homes

A week ago, we suggested that they returned home
   Either   as a sign of giving up
Or Because  they were afraid they might be next on the hit list.

Now, on Sunday night       we find the disciples huddled in a house
   With the doors locked
And the doors were locked
   Because they feared the Jewish leadership.

They were scared.
They didn't know what to do.

Thus, even after Mary's assurances that she had seen the Lord
   The disciples remained frightened and fearful

And then,
   Not with fanfare
   Not with drama
   Not with earthquake or thunder
Jesus was among them.

Jesus was standing right there among them.

How did he get in?
   I don't know
   The disciples didn't know
But he was there.

Initially, there must have been a quantum increase in their fear.

I figure if I had been there and experienced this
   I would have tried to walk backwards away from him
   And undoubtedly would have tripped over a chair
      And noisily fallen to the floor.

But Jesus immediately calmed them with his words,
   "Peace be with you."

Then after showing them his hands and his side, Jesus repeated,
   "Peace be with you,"
This time adding,
      "as the father has sent me, I send you."

He breathed on them, saying,  "Receive the Holy Spirit"

There is no indication in the story
   That the followers said anything in response while he was there.

What could they have said?
as the crucified man made a special guest appearance
   on Sunday night - live;

But at least one of the disciples was not there

His name was Thomas
Like Minneapolis and St. Paul he was called "The Twin."
He was one of the twelve

We don't know why Thomas wasn't there
   He may have been doing some ministry
   He may have been making plans to return to Galilee
   He may have been out buying pizza for the guys
But he wasn't there

And because he had not seen Christ himself
   He wouldn't believe
   He would not believe the other disciples when they told him
      That Jesus had visited them while he was gone.

Isn't that like
   Carol getting back from her trip to Texas and Minnesota
   And everyone of us telling her that Jesus was physically here last week
   And her saying, "I don't believe you!"
      She knows us She should trust us   (most of us anyway)
   But still she couldn't bring herself to believe us.

Thomas said emphatically,
   Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
   Unless I put my finger in the mark of the nails,
      And also put my hand in his side
I will not believe.

And then a week later
on the first day of the next week
which of course,
   is today
Jesus pays another visit to the gathered disciples

This time Thomas wasn't off getting pizza

Jesus entered the room
and again reassured them, "Peace be with you."

Then he walked right over to Thomas
[How tall do you think Thomas felt at that moment?]

He walked right over to that doubting disciple
He invited him to put his finger in the nail holes
He invited him to put his hand in his side.

This time Thomas' reaction was one of belief,
   "My Lord and my God!"

You can practically see Thomas drop to his knees
   As he responds to Christ's offer.
I have loved this story ever since I first preached on it
   The Sunday after Easter in 1996.

I love it for two reasons.

First, without the appearances that follow the resurrection
   To Mary in the garden   ;  and then
      This one
      The breakfast on the beach
      The bread at Emmaus
It would be hard to find the story of the resurrection
   To be real     or credible

These appearances and the fact that people told about them
   Help us recognize and understand
our own experiences with Christ
and know that He is indeed real and alive.

Second, the stories reveal    to the imperfect people that we are
the fact that fears and doubts
are parts of the faith journeys of everyone
       If Thomas who had walked with him and talked with him
         For some three years
      Could have had doubts and overcome them
      So can you and I
Even when we have days and weeks that drain us

Wherever we are,
what we need to know to overcome those fears and doubts
is that Jesus is with us

And we can remind ourselves of that by recalling the time when John through his gospel proclaimed
   "Live from Jerusalem    It's Sunday night
   with tonight's special guest host:     The Resurrected Christ!"