This joyful Eastertide there is no need for grieving, as Christ is arisen!

Hello everybody! Today started bright sunny and freezing, but the ice soon melted on the windscreens quickly, although the wind was freezing, when I set out to church to lead the worship. It was lovely and warm in the church. I was pleased when a member of the congregation came somewhat apologetically to ask me to pray for her daughter and grandson, and her addicted partner. I told her not to apologise and then and there I took her in my arms and prayed for family. I felt glad that I had redone the sermon to emphasise the times we all face struggle, doubt and pain, when the problems of life loom large. Thomas was not there when Jesus came to see the disciples hiding behind locked doors for fear that they too might die like their beloved master. He came and brought the greeting of peace to his fearful disciples and reminded them that as God had sent him, he was sending them and he breathed on them with the Holy Spirit to empower them for the tasks ahead. The disciples were so excited and couldn’t wait to tell Thomas they had seen the Lord. He had been alone probably as he grieved, feeling angry, disappointed and abandoned by his Lord, when he needed the fellowship of the others. He perhaps felt even more annoyed that Jesus had come to show himself to the other disciples, when he was not there. I can imagine him angrily saying he would only believe if he could put his hands in Jesus’ wounds he would believe. When Jesus came on the following Sunday he approached Thomas with love and compassion and Thomas’s anger disappeared and he said simply, ‘My love and my God!’ Suddenly his doubts and grief evaporated, when he saw Jesus. I have had my struggles in the past, when I lost my first husband after his battles with mental health issues. I felt at times that faith was just pain, but God was with me giving my soul mate Malcolm to share my life and he was alongside me as I had a breakdown, but my struggles have given me a stronger faith. I can also understand those who go through difficult times. Thomas had struggled with doubt and loss, but he came through with a strong faith, when he saw Jesus. Why had he struggled so much? As he nursed his grief alone, he missed the fellowship with the other disciples and we all need the support of fellowship, as the early church discovered; only as we meet together and share each other’s pain through listening, being with people and holding someone’s hand. We sang ‘This joyful Eastertide’ to start worship which reminded us that we no longer need grieve but to share our Easter joy that death could not imprison, nor any power destroy, our Christ, who is arisen! We sang another favourite of mine; I know that my Redeemer lives and ending with the hymn of triumph ‘Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son, endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won!’ Alleluia! He is risen.

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