What you need:
a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack.
Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.
1) Begin with a transition time – Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing, etc. Not a focus on a finished product; just enjoyment.)
2) Next, clear the space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like:
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
- Psalm 119:105. Offer your own prayers, silently, or out loud.
3) Here's the appointed reading; find it in your Bible, if you want. Read it out loud.
(+ scroll to the end of this newsletter to see the reading)
4) Think about what you read, chat about it if you have company, look it up online (if allowed) and see if there's commentary about it – do you agree? Do you feel called to
The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear.
For us, it's not fear of persecution (thank God), but fear of infection. How do you feel about this fear? What does fear make people do? If you could assemble a dream team to be locked in with, who would you pick – write a list. How are you managing with the real life folks with whom you're quarantined?
Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
First off, what! How did he get in there?
And secondly, why did he offer peace?
He showed them his hands and his side.
Jesus' wounds! So Jesus returned from the dead in the injured body his friends knew. Why?
"Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
Why does Jesus repeat himself, offering Peace? What does the second sentence mean: being sent. Why did the Father send him? And where are they being sent? To do what? What if the disciples say, no thanks? What happens if they say Yes? Or you say Yes?
He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
What was that like? What did that mean?
"If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Why forgive sins – or retain them? Who are you being invited to forgive – or not? What kind of relationships do these actions build?
Thomas said to them, "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."
Poor Thomas, wasn't there! Would you have reacted the same way? FOMO Have you ever missed out on something big, yourself? Or the opposite: experienced something huge that others didn't? What did either experience feel like? How did you deal with it? How did others?
"Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."
So now seeing really is believing. But Thomas still had to actually touch, at Jesus' invitation. Would you have reached out? Is “reach out” a metaphor for something more?
Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" . . . through believing you may have life in his name.
Even those blessed believers who have not seen Jesus in person.
5) Brainstorm & make a poster: TOP 10 THINGS WORTH BELIEVING.
6) Snack time! Prayers first: talk to God! "I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for," etc. And/or take 5 or so minutes for centering prayer: relaxing into peace and letting thoughts go. Enjoy your snack.
7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
- Plato. Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area) and say out loud:
Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! ALLELUIA!
(You can say Alleluia as many times as you want, now!)
News & Tasks:
Virtual Coffee Hour returns this Sunday, April 19 – Zoom link has been emailed to adults.
- Send to me your design for a St James Youth Class tee shirt.
- Is there a virtual thing we can do? Dream it!
So we can do it!
How about a Top Ten list of things that are
true but almost impossible to believe
Like airplanes. Like how an owl turns its head. Like breathing. Like love.
+ Here's the Gospel for this Sunday:
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’
22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘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.’
26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 27Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ 28Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.