The Second Week of the Easter Season

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Great is the mystery of faith.
Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!

Continued joy and blessings to you this Eastertide.

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So 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.’ (John 20:24-25)

The words above are part of one of the classic Easter stories and forever Thomas will be remembered for his doubting. We overlook two other stories and miss out on who he was, he was more than a doubter.

Thomas first speaks in John (11.16), Lazarus had recently died, some of the disciples did not wish to go back to where Lazarus lived as it was a place where some Jews had attempted to stone Jesus. Thomas, however, says: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Hardly, classical doubting behaviour! Later Thomas speaks again in John’s gospel, Jesus had just explained to his disciples that he was going away to prepare a heavenly place for his followers and says ‘you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas responds, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’. (John 14:4-5).

Thomas could be brave; he could question and yes doubt but through all this he was a follower of Jesus. I imagine there is something of Thomas in us all.

Heather Gallagher has penned a marvellous hymn that recognised the Thomas in us all.

Life is hard at times,
So much fear.
Hope seems lost to me,
Are you near?
I need you here beside me
For strength along the way,
So I can say, like Thomas every day,
My Lord and my God
I believe! I believe!

Doubts can wear me down
Through the years
And my trust in you
I need you here beside me
For strength along the way,
So I can say, like Thomas every day,
My Lord and my God
I believe! I believe!

When my faith is low,
Stay by me.
Let me feel your scars,
Help me see
That you are here beside me
For strength along the way
So I can say, like Thomas every day,
My Lord and my God
I believe! I believe!
Words and music © Heather Gallagher 2009. Revised 2015

I also suggest that you read through the Acts of the Apostles during the 50 days of Easter. Read at your pace, re-read verses if you wish, just slowly engage with the story of the early Church and how the Good News, the Easter story was shared.

At the end of the daily prayers there are suggested readings from Acts for the week. I have used the Revised Common Lectionary as a source.

Moments of stillness, reflection and prayers

Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Amen

O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.

If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I make the grave my bed, you are there also. Psalm 139:7

Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am glorified with him.
Yesterday I was dead with Christ; today I am sharing in his resurrection.
Yesterday I was buried with him; today I am waking with him from the sleep of death.
(Gregory of Nazianzus (389))

Words from Psalm 117
Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever. Amen

Alleluia, alleluia, read and hear words from our sacred texts:
(Words from Mark’s Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles and the first letter of John)

Slowly read these words, let them become special words for today.

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it.
(1 John 1:1-2)

. . . we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
(1 John 1:3)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light . . .
(1 John 1:5-7a)

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
(Acts 4:32-33)

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
(Luke 24.36b-38)

Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’
(Luke 24.38-41)

They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
(Luke 24.42-43)

Lord, you have promised to hear those who pray to you in faith:
Lord, hear now the prayers we offer…

Risen Christ, for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred: open the doors of our hearts, that we may seek the good of others and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace, to the praise of God the Father.

Intercessions may be offered for friends and family, our church and for the leaders of Church and nation.

God of love and light,
in this time of fear, give us your peace.
In this time of isolation, give us your presence.
In this time of sickness, give us your healing.
In this time of uncertainty, give us your wisdom.
In this time of darkness, shine your light upon us all.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God of Life, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection have delivered us from the power of our enemy: grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, …

May God fill us all with hope, joy, patience and enthusiasm this Easter season so we can continue to be a follower of Jesus who has suffered, died and has risen..
Every blessing to you and your families!

May the souls of departed through the mercy of God rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.
Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Easter Readings from Acts – The 50 days of Easter

Day 8 – 14

Easter 2 (8) Acts 4.32-35

Monday (9) Acts 4.23-31

Tuesday (10) Acts 4.32-end

Wednesday (11) Acts 5.17-26

Thursday (12) Acts 5.27-33

Friday (13) Acts 5.34-42

Saturday (14) Acts 6.1-7

Easter 3 (15) Acts 3.12-19

Monday (16) Acts 6.8-15

Tuesday (17) Acts 7.51-8.1a


Rev Derek AKKER

Image by Thomas B. from Pixabay