Introduction from Rev’d Elizabeth:
Alleluia! Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed. ALLELUIA!
Dear Friends in Christ,
As we continue our Easter Celebration on this Second Sunday of Easter, I have provided a service of Evening Prayer for tonight. To view it, you simply click on the link below.
Today’s Gospel ( John 20:19-31) is the Story of Jesus appearing to the disciples in the Upper Room, and with “Doubting Thomas”. It is a story that speaks about our Faith Journey, of how different that can be for each one of us, and how it is through faith in our Risen Lord that we are all united in our Christian faith.
I have also included today’s reflection here as well. It is called “Faith”. This reflection comes from Spiritual Literacy by Frederic and Mary Ann Brusset. I hope that it will help inspire your faith tonight, and in the days ahead.
I continue to pray that you and those you love remain safe and well
With every Blessing in this Season of New Life in Christ, Elizabeth+
YouTube link to recorded service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ4Iy2yYuAc
“Faith is the touching of a mystery,” writes Alexander Schmemann, a Russian Orthodox priest. “It is to perceive another dimension to absolutely everything in the world. In faith, the mysterious meaning of life comes through…To speak in the simplest possible terms: faith sees, knows, senses the presence of God in the world.”
Faith is a relationship with the Ancient of Days that grounds one’s life. Or as Protestant theologian Paul Tillich puts it, “Faith means being grasped by a power that is greater than we are, a power that shakes us and turns us, and transforms and heals us.”
Jews, Christians and Muslims all hold to the catalytic power of faith. It enables believers to walk in the dark without fear.
Bakole wa Ilunga, a Catholic archbishop in Zaire, assures us, “Faith is not a momentary feeling but a struggle against the discouragement that threatens us every time we meet with resistance.”
There is no guarantee of an easy or smooth ride for believers. “Faith”, according to Protestant minister Samuel H. Miller, faces everything that makes the world uncomfortable – pain, fear, loneliness, shame, death – and acts with compassion by which these things are transformed, even exalted.”
Every new experience is a challenge to faith since the way is never clear and the obstacles are many. “To choose what is difficult all one’s days as if it were easy,” notes English poet W.H. Auden, “that is faith.”
Although certitude about God is a temptation to believers, it is an illusion. “True faith,” Anglican priest Kenneth Leech suggests, “can only grow and mature if it includes the elements of paradox and creative doubt. Such doubt is not the enemy of faith but an essential element of it. For faith in God does not bring the false peace of answered questions and resolved paradoxes.”
We must be content to live with mysteries that cannot be explained or solved. Our task is to stay human.
Another part of our task, according to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is to “to bring God back into the world, into our lives…To have faith in God is to reveal what is concealed.”
Faith is a path of heart that enables us to perceive the mysterious meaning of life, to confront and overcome obstacles, to live with doubt and paradox, and to be at home in a world where the Ground of Being is always present.
Although faith is usually spoken of in somber or sober terms, we prefer the more buoyant note of the hymn composed by Protestant minister Al Carmines: “Faith is such a simple thing. It can’t talk, but only sing. It can’t reason, but can dance. Take a chance. Life is full of ways to go. Sun, rain, wind and snow. All unknowingly we trace a geography of grace. From breath to breath and blink to blink, it’s never quite the way we think.”