Jesus' Last Week: Way to the Father

Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!

---

Sunday’s Scripture ~ John 14:1-7.


Devotional Scripture ~ John 20:27-29.


Thomas gets a bad rap.


He was a disciple. He was a twin.


We remember him most as a ‘doubter.’



While the other ten disciples were hidden away after Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus appeared to them. They all saw him.


Except Thomas. And so he doubted their experience.


Where was Thomas? We are not entirely sure. I like to think of Thomas as being out and about continuing Jesus’ work. I like to think that while the others hid away, Thomas did not want their to be a lapse in Jesus’ continued witness or service.


Nevertheless, he persisted.


Thomas’ fellow disciples told him they saw Jesus, but Thomas was not convinced. He wanted physical blessed assurance, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20:25).


Jesus next appears to the disciples a week later, and this time Thomas is among them. Without opening a door or cracking a window, Jesus is there and greets the group once more with words of peace.


Jesus, then, presents himself to Thomas, meaning that he makes himself available to Thomas according to his – according to Thomas’ – need.


Jesus makes himself available to Thomas to personally touch and to be personally touched.

Curiously, the text does not tell us if Thomas touched Jesus, only that Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!” But Jesus’ offer was made, and the legacy of Jesus’ offer remains.



From this resurrection encounter we learn that not everyone comes to faith in the same way. Not everyone comes to believe in Christ in the same way. There is not a set prescription or procedure for our coming-to-faith experience. There is not a set design that ‘this is the only way to begin a relationship with Christ.’


The risen Christ comes to each person – uniquely and appropriately – according to his, her, or their need. The way we come to know and experience the risen Christ is tailored specifically to each of us.


Our experiences may resonate with or be vastly different from another. No ‘coming to faith in Christ’ experience is any greater or lesser than another. All are valuable. Each is precious, just as each one of us is precious in Jesus’ sight.


Jesus makes himself available to us in these ways because Jesus loves each of us in our own particular (and sometimes, even peculiar) ways.



I believe Jesus desires for each of us to have physical blessed assurance. I believe Jesus provides that physical blessed assurance…it just may not be provided in ways that we immediately recognize or identify. And so we pray for faith to see and hear and connect with God in new ways. There is so much to wonder at about God. God is – truly – a Holy Mystery, who is making Godself known to each of us – uniquely and appropriately – according to our need and according to God’s timetable. As God’s revelation unfurls, may we become evermore comfortable in the contentment of waiting. May feelings of patience replace feelings of anxiousness. And may we be assured of God’s eternal presence in our present – especially in the unseen and the not yet known.



JOIN SOUTH SHORE UMC FOR OUR HOLY WEEK SERVICES

AND SPECIAL OFFERING CHALLENGE


Palm Sunday, March 28 ~ 8:30am Traditional and 11am Contemporary

Thursday, April 1 @ 7pm ~ Maundy Thursday Service

Friday, April 2 @ 7pm ~ Good Friday Tenebrae Service

Easter Sunday, April 4 ~ 8:30am Traditional and 11am Contemporary

All services will gather safely in-person and broadcast to youtube.com/c/southshoreumc


Nursery is available Birth through Pre-K4 for our Holy Week Services by reservation.

Please email jeanie@southshoreumc.com

  • by Friday, March 26 at 3pm to confirm for Palm Sunday

  • by Tuesday, March 30 at 3pm to confirm for Maundy Thursday and/or Good Friday

  • by Friday, April 2 at 3pm to confirm for Easter Sunday


EASTER WORSHIP IS ‘OUT OF THE BOX’ ON THE FRONT LAWN

8:30am Traditional and 11am Contemporary


We invite you to bring with you:

  • Masks to wear so we can gather as safely as possible.

  • Chairs for seating labeled with your name; if you have an extra, please bring it for a guest!

  • Non-perishable food donations for our ‘Fill The Box’ Easter Restore Challenge!

  • Fresh cut flowers to add to our Resurrection Flower Cross.


‘FILL THE BOX’ EASTER RESTORE CHALLENGE


Our congregation accepts the challenge for to fill Troop 606’s trailer full of non-perishable food donations for our April ‘Replenish Restore.’ This is an incredible outreach and witness opportunity for our congregation. Spread the word with your friends, neighbors, coworkers, book club, workout group, on your social media, and more! We want to ‘fill the box’ with food and help alleviate the food insecurities experienced by vulnerable members in our local community.

We are accepting your non-perishable food donations at the church now through April 4. Participate with us – and strengthen our congregation’s witness and outreach! – as we ‘Fill the Box’ with Food for Easter!



Reflection: In what ways do you see yourself in Thomas? Write a prayer to God asking to strengthen your faith today, especially naming the areas and instances awaiting answers to prayer.


Prayer: “Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain, free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calvary’s mountain. Near the cross I’ll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever, till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river.In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.”* Amen.


*”Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross,” The United Methodist Hymnal 301.

**Devotional Resource: The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal