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Food
For Thought

By: 

Rev. Shirley D. Heermance

WELCOME TO THE EASTERTIDE

 

EASTERTIDE READING

May 18, 2022

 

Today’s reading is John 20:24-31 and is a marvelous account of how Christ Jesus will present Himself to ensure that all who desire to believe, are able to do so.  This reading reminds us of one of the most difficult issues of our faith, believing without seeing. 

 

Today we are reminded that, by the time of our text, the resurrected Jesus had been seen by many people, most of His disciples also.  In last week’s reading the disciple Thomas, who was also called Didymus, was not in attendance when Jesus showed Himself to the others.  Eight days later they were all together, locked away in some undisclosed hiding place, when Jesus appeared to them the second time.  Thomas had already declared his inability to believe that Jesus resurrected, without tangible proof, and on the day in our text Jesus came to be the proof that Thomas needed.

 

This portion of scripture is often taught to express the doubt of Thomas, to give example to what disbelieving or having reservations or hesitations can do.  I have, over my lifetime, heard many sermons bashing Thomas for doubting that Jesus was alive after the brutal murder He endured.  But Thomas needed proof, to believe, like many may require today.  Blind faith is not always easy.  In fact, the supernatural of Jesus is so far beyond our human understanding, that there are instances that, if we are honest, we might find and/or have found ourselves just like Thomas.  Doubters!  Hesitators!  Suspicious of everything, trusting nothing or no one!  Why?  Because the supernatural of what we are called to believe is too often naturally unbelievable.

 

With today’s reading, try not to judge Thomas’ actions.  Note verse 31 instead and realize the true importance of having faith, of believing in the power and purpose of Christ Jesus.  For your own life, don’t be too hard on yourself if you are having problems believing the supernatural of God.  Just as with Thomas, Christ Jesus will help your unbelief.  If you notice in today’s text, Jesus’ aim was to simply help Thomas believe that He is alive.  Yes, people who believe without seeing are, by all accounts, truly blessed, but so are they who find faith through the special efforts that Christ Jesus bestows upon their lives tangibly.  That is what Jesus did for Thomas.  I thank Christ Jesus for showing up so that Thomas could believe, whatever else transpired in our text, nothing was more important than that.  Bottom line, Jesus heard Thomas pray, unless I see you Jesus for myself, I can’t believe it.  And just as Jesus answered Thomas’ prayer, He will answer your prayer too. Be patient, it took eight days for Thomas to get His answer.   Jesus will manifest in your personal life, in ways that you will need for Him to, so you are able to believe also.   All you have to do is make your request known and just wait on Him.  

 

With that let us pray:

 

Dear Jesus, I want to see you for myself.  To be touched by your nail torn hands.  To be cradled at your pierced side.  To have my faith renewed.  To be blessed by your love and tender mercies.  Grant me dear Savior the ability to live my life through the power of having faith in you, and knowing all that you do, concerning my faith, help my unbelief and grant me faith enough to see into the supernatural of believing.   In the precious name of Jesus, the Christ, I pray these and all things.  Amen.

EASTERTIDE READING

Wednesday May 11, 2022

 

By today, you should complete the assigned reading found in John 20:11-23.  The tomb that once held the lifeless body of Jesus was found empty by Mary Magdalene and verified by Simon Peter and John (vs.1-10).  Each of them with an urgent need to look and to discover for themselves that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, all that was left were His grave clothes.  They had all, naturally, thought someone had stolen the body of Christ and with today’s reading it continues with Mary Magdalene still standing outside the empty grave crying.  Not finding what she expected was more than she could bear, her heart was broken, her mind wheeling with misplaced wonder.  She was so focused on the natural of what should have been, that she simply missed the miracle of what was.

 

When Mary looked in the tomb, she saw two angels sitting where Jesus’ body was expected to be, one at the head and the other at the foot.  They asked her “why are you crying?”  her answer was “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”  She supposed that someone had the power to steal Jesus away and to hide Him from her.  It never dawned on Mary’s thinking that Jesus did exactly what He had promised to do, after three days in the grave, He arose.  In fact, it is at the time of today’s reading that Jesus showed Himself to Mary, asking her the same question the angels asked, “why are you crying?”  Though Mary looked at Jesus, she could not recognize Him, not until He called her name.

 

When you read today, go back over the first ten verses of John 20 to be sure to connect the event, up to and through verse 23.  Try to imagine how you would have handled finding out for yourself that Christ had risen, in the manner that Mary Magdalene had.  Do you think trying to grasp the magnitude of the experience of seeing Jesus’ lifeless brutalized body, just days prior, laying where the angels now sat, gone but not far, just a turn of her head and a twist of her body and there Jesus stood before her.  Can you imagine the enormity of her trying to process, in her own mind, that Jesus after the crucifixion lived?  And both the angels and Jesus asked her, “why are you crying?”

 

Sometimes life causes us to feel like Jesus is nowhere to be found.  Sometimes through our pain, our grief, our sorrows we are unable to recognize that He is just a whisper away.  Not always standing in front of us, oft-time behind us, and like with Mary Magdalene, so when He calls to us, we are forced to turn from what is overwhelming us, to see only His face.  We may not recognize Him at first, that’s okay, because Jesus will make Himself known to us, in every situation.  All we have to do is keep looking for Him and listening for our own name.  Jesus offered His followers the blessing of Peace and the gift of the Holy Spirit that day in our text.  His peace and the power of the Holy Spirit is still all we need, to get us through whatever life’s circumstances may offer. 

 

Perhaps today, you need only to stand still and listen for the voice of Christ Jesus, as He calls out your name.  Cry if you must, but when the Risen Christ ask you why you are crying, tell Him, because I could not find you.  Then rejoice in knowing that your savior has come!  If you can’t see Him, because of what is in front of you, perhaps you just need to turn around.  

 

Happy Eastertide!

 Rev. Shirley D. Heermance

Week1

WHAT HAPPENED AFTER EASTER?

 

More than 2,000 years ago Jesus conquered death forever.  The concept of death is perhaps the most feared reality among humanity, if they do not believe that Jesus did what was necessary to take the finality away from it.  With Jesus, dying to mortal life means for the believer that one can gain entrance into the realm of life everlasting.  Before Jesus, whatever determined the inevitabilities of death, were all subjected to the decisions of Christ, who removed the barriers that once contained our human souls and took away the sting and victory from death.  Our eternal victory was won on Calvary’s cross, by the loving sacrifice of Christ Jesus.  As the stone was rolled away from the empty tomb, we were given a chance to experience new life, eternal life because of Christ. 

 

As we move from the Lenten and Easter season, the question is what happened next.  What happened after Jesus defeated death and the grave?  We are told that after the Resurrection of Christ, Jesus showed Himself to various people through many experiences for another 40 days.  On the Christian Calendar is a season termed as Eastertide, which is the period from Easter or Resurrection Sunday to Ascension Day, to Trinity Sunday.  The Eastertide Season moves between Easter Sunday April 17, 2022 – Pentecost Sunday June 5, 2022.  With Trinity Sunday this year on June 12, 2022.  (I will give further explanation in another post).

 

During this Season, we will spend each Wednesday focused on what Jesus and His followers did after His Resurrection and before His Ascension.  Jesus spent some 40 days on earth to assure His followers of the fact that He was alive, and His resurrection was more than just religious speculation or guesswork.  They needed to be sure of what they believed, in order to complete the work that Jesus left to them.  And, every Wednesday, God saying the same, I will share a post for you to read, at your leisure.  I will try to place it in your email box by 6:00am each Wednesday morning, starting next Wednesday, and will invite you to share comments, ask questions, and give your take on the scriptures that will lead into each discussion. 

 

I want to thank you for staying the course with me during the Lenten Season.  Thank you to those who shared with me, your feelings on the readings, all who read thank you for entrusting me with a part of your devotion time.  I moved through a period of obedience, trusting that the Lenten movement was Holy Ghost inspired.  I’m trusting for the same as we travel through the Eastertide Season, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday, that the Holy Spirit will give us not only inspiration but directions for what the Lord would have us to do as His 21st Century followers. 

 

Until after the 142nd Anniversary Celebration this will also be how we spend our Bible Study connection, through what is essentially independent study.  I will refer to each Sunday identifying where we are in the season, there will be occasions for us to meet in our ZOOM Sanctuary for special discussions, speakers, movies, etc.  Please feel free to invite others to participate with us.  Please look for the Eastertide schedule on Monday April 25th in your email or on the St. Mark’s Webpage.  As with the Lenten Season Daily Readings, I will also put the Weekly Eastertide Readings on our Website, under “Food for Thought.”

 

May God’s richest blessings follow you and your families throughout this Eastertide Season. 

 

Have a blessed Day today.

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Welcome To the Eastertide.

First let me thank you for taking the Lenten Journey with me.  I pray that our daily readings helped us to better envision the reality of the season.  The Holy Week activities were a true blessing and I thank God for allowing our participation in the Midwest Conference Good Friday 7 Last Words Service (Minister Sexton preached the 3rd Word), as well as the Topeka Methodist Union Lenten and Holy Week Services (Asbury Mt. Olive UMC, Lane Chapel CMEC, St. John AMEC, and St. Mark's AMEC).  I feel stronger and more spiritually empowered due to our time of fasting and praying, our Bible Study groups joining in the Midweek Preaching Series with the St. John Omaha Preaching series, where I had opportunity to be one of the preachers.  It has been an incredible journey and for every moment of the time that led from Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday I give God all the glory!

 

So now I welcome you to the Eastertide season.  I don't know yet what my directives are from here to June 5, 2022.  I just want to be sure, on this morning, that you are aware that the season continues, even as we are reminded that after Jesus' resurrection that He remained on the earth to complete the work that ensures we are able to receive the grace necessary for our salvation.  As God moves in my Spirit, I will endeavor to be obedient to His call.  Please pray that I might have ears to hear.

 

Be blessed.  You are a blessing.

 

  

DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

 

Isaiah 54:1-10 MSG

St. Luke 12:29-32

 

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