Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
Limits, John 20:19-31
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 4-12-15
Thomas is the most scientific of the disciples. He wants to test the risen Christ by placing his fingers in the wounds. Do you remember the details of the story?
In John’s gospel Mary Magdalene, a woman who was a disciple/follower of Jesus, became the first witness to the resurrection. The risen Christ called her by name and she recognized him. She told the men what she had seen and heard.
Retell the Scripture Story
In our lesson today ten of the eleven remaining male disciples were huddled in fear behind locked doors, and Jesus, the risen Christ, stood among them and said “Peace be with you.”
This is John’s Pentecost. Luke gives us the story with wind and fire and many languages being understood, but John tells the story in the locked room.
Jesus showed the eleven his hands and his side and the disciples rejoiced to see the Lord. Jesus says again “Peace be with you.” He then continues, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.”
This is the great commission as told by John. Christians are sent into the world with the good news of peace, love, and new life.
When Jesus had said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
This may be more power than we want, but if you think about it, you can see that this is how forgiveness works. If we do not forgive, there are consequences both to us and to the other. This is not God’s problem, but ours. When we forgive, we are forgiven. Do you remember the line from the Lord’s Prayer? “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” This is how it works.
And now we come to the scientific method. Thomas was not with them. He missed Pentecost.
Do you notice that in these stories people had to experience the risen Christ for themselves? They could be told about an experience, but they did not take the word of others. When they had an experience of their own, they were transformed from the fearful to the faithful who would change the world.
Thomas said, “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.”
A week later, not right away, Thomas was with the others in the room and Jesus appeared again saying, “Peace be with you.” Jesus didn’t wait for Thomas to express his doubt, but addressed him immediately, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Most of us have not seen the risen Christ, except in the people gathered here. We did not live at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. We have responded to something in our hearts that says, “Come. Follow me. Tell the others what you have seen and heard. Live in the light, and share your joy with others. This is the great good news.”
My friend, Ray Pitsker, told me of his experience. When he was a teen, he says Jesus appeared to him. Ray said it wasn’t merely a vision. It was real. Ray’s faith was absolute. I learned a lot from Ray about how to be a person of faith in this world. Ray lived and died as a person of faith. His memory is a blessing to me and to those who knew him.
My faith is mixed with doubt most of the time, but I try to serve the faith, not the doubt. I practice the faith, believing in the practice more than the doctrines. Beyond belief, beyond the scientific method, there is an unseen world that we can sense as we share the sacrament of Holy Communion. The body and blood of Christ given for us reminds us of the great love of God for all creation. We remember Jesus. We remember those who have received communion here and those who have distributed the elements.
A mystery of the Christian faith is the belief in the bodily resurrection. This is recorded in the songs and stories of our faith tradition. In this post-modern world, I find it comforting to think that everything doesn’t quite fit in the test tube. The scientific method has its limits. There are mysteries remaining that can still fill us with wonder.
Let us be in prayer.
Joys and Concerns
Terry Cullinane, a dear friend of Fran Smith, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. Terry has helped us numerous times working at the Sweetheart Dinner and with UMW on many of our teas. She is a treasure. Prayers for healing are welcome. If you would like to send a card: 995 Glendora, Oakland 94602.
Julio Osegueda reports that his wife Carol’s ninety-three year old mother died peacefully this past week. If you would like to send notes or cards: 5 Sand Point Dr., Richmond, 94801
Sandra Kokoruda (Fran Smith’s daughter) up date: Sandra thanks everyone for their prayers and concerns. Fran reports that Sandra is more animated and cheerful than she has been in months. Sandra has undergone 4 chemo treatments and feels good. Both Fran and Sandra ask that prayers continue.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support and healing. Update: Linda will be having Hospice services starting next week which should be a benefit to both of them. Linda has great difficulty standing for transfers and is becoming discouraged. Do stop by and visit if you can.
Robbie Robinson would appreciate your prayers.
Helen Wysham welcomes your prayers for healing as she undergoes chemotherapy.
Bobby and Pamella Hall would like to be remembered in prayer as they go through some difficult personal times.
Arpha MacIntyre is doing better. She is still in the Residential Treatment area but has been able to return to her own apartment for parts of the day and has been able to play the piano again! Arpha played the piano at our church for many years. If you wish to send a card: Sierra View Homes Retirement Community, 1155 E. Springfield Ave., Reedly, CA 93654. Jane Carnall has spoken with Arpha several times and Arpha is thrilled to be getting cards and messages of love from our church community.
Please keep the people of Camp Liberty in your prayers as chaos reigns in Iraq and near the camp.
Saturday, April 18 at 3 pm, Epworth UMC is sponsoring a Spirituals Sing Along and Workshop led by Dr. Lynne Morrow, Music Director of Pacific Edge Voices, Oakland Symphony Chorus, and Professor of Voice at Sonoma State. All are welcome. Tickets $10 advance and $15 at the door, children $5. Tickets: PacificEdgeVoices.org or 510 848 8022. 1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley.
Karen Bianchini who used to work for the Early Childhood Mental Health Program, which we support with donations of diapers, told us that Lynn Martin, the director of the program, was found murdered in her home about a month ago. The staff is having a hard time absorbing the loss of Lynn and the manner of her death. Our sympathies are extended to them. If you would like to send a card or note to the staff: Early Childhood Mental Health Program, 4101 Macdonald Ave., Richmond, 94805.
The Richmond Commission on Aging is presenting its 22nd Annual Senior Nite Out on Saturday, May 2, 6-10:30 pm. This includes dinner, 6:30-7:30 and live entertainment featuring Top Shelf and drawings for prizes. Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza. Advance tickets through the Richmond Recreation Dept. 3230 Macdonald Ave. $25, at the door $30.
CA/Nev Annual Conference registration is open at www.cnumc.org/acs15.
United Methodist Women are starting a collection for 10 School Kits. There will be a box in Friendship Hall for your donations. Lists of needed supplies will also be in Friendship Hall for pick up. Remember that you can only donate things that are on the list or UMCOR will remove them. Linda Woody-Wood is generously going to sew the school bags for us again. We would like to have our kits packed up and ready to go to the Annual Conference in June. Update: Rulers have been purchased so cross them off your list.
Don’t forget that donations for Imagine No Malaria are always welcome.
Sunday, April 19, Native American Sunday. Special donations for funding Native American Seminary students, assisting Native American congregations to honor their heritage and be followers of Jesus.
Friday, April 24, 7:30 pm, PRJazz presents Enion Pelta-Tiller and Taarka. Taarka is described as a virtuosic ensemble featuring strings and vocals with beautiful compositions, high-energy performance and songs weaving the sounds of old and new. Enion Pelta-Tiller, violin, vocalist, David Tiller, guitar, vocalist, Ross Martin, guitar and Sam Guisman, bass. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. Advance tickets $15, at the door $20. Tickets through prjazz.org.
Saturday, April 25, 11 am to 1 pm, Workshop with Enion Pelta-Tiller First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St.,Point Richmond. Further info: prjazz.org.
ANNUAL JUNKTIQUE SALE is SAT. MAY 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Point Richmond’s Historic First United Methodist Church.
We are now accepting donations of still usable furniture, toys, books, electronics, appliances and other household items as we look forward to our biggest fundraiser of the year. (Please no clothing, shoes, hide-a-beds, exercise equipment, metal frame recliners, particle board furniture.)
The church basement door facing West Richmond Ave. will be open for drop-off donations:
Wed. mornings through April from 10 am to noon.
Thurs. evenings through April from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat. mornings through April from 10 a.m. to Noon
Please also email the above people to arrange to help in other ways: to price, organize or clean items before the sale or to help move merchandise before, during or after the sale.
Don’t forget our Famous Lunch of Chili, Minestrone, Hot Dogs, & Pie from 11:30 a.m. til gone.
The day of the sale, come early and avail yourself of the bargains and unbelievable one-of-a-kind items. And bring a friend!
Sign up sheets for pies and helping before and during the sale are in Friendship Hall.
Save the Date: Saturday, May 16, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, District Conference. Rev. Schuyler Rhodes has sent this reminder. The Conference includes a Mission Fair with displays by local churches, a fair trade marketplace, training opportunities for Staff-Parish Relations Committee Members, Trustees, church council and more. Plus a briefing on legislation coming up at the Annual Conference. Donations $15 includes lunch and materials. First United Methodist Church, 502 Virginia St., Vallejo, CA 94590. To register: https://calnev-reg.betrapp.com.
Ca/Nev Annual Conference, June 17-20 (Wed. thru Sat.). This year’s theme is ” Engaging Faith in the Public Square”. Registration is now open at www.cnum.org/acs15. San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency, 1333 Old Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA.
Save the Dates: June 14-20 for Mt. Lassen Journey Farthest Out Camp. The camp provides a time apart for spiritual growth and opening our lives to God physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The vision is to provide a place where all people are accepted with the unconditional love that Jesus shares. All ages are welcome. Registration is open through “Mt. Lassen JFO”.
The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) is meeting in San Antonio, Texas in conjunction with the Reconciling Ministries Network. Gather at the River, Thursday, August 6 to Sunday, August 9. The conference will be working on issues of justice throughout the church and resolutions they would like to see presented at the General Conference in 2016. Register at http://www.gather2015.org/.
Please send submissions for FUMC News and Events to Barbara Haley, editor: firstname.lastname@example.org