April 8, 2007

The following presentation of the Easter story was used in an intergenerational worship service at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Saskatoon for Easter Sunday, 2007. Suzy and Harold are puppet characters played by two young adults in our congregation. Amanda is the minister. Suzy and Harold are meant to be young members of the congregation. Suzy is a somewhat “goodie two-shoes” character who has grown up going to church and church school. Harold is a new church-goer and has lots of questions. The scripture readings from John 20 are interspersed throughout the dialogue. At St. Andrew’s, they were read by children from the Contemporary English Version. The song used throughout the dialogue was sung by the choir and congregation (#254 in the Presbyterian Book of Praise). The EASTER STORY in Scripture and Song Amanda: Good morning, and Happy Easter to you all! Harold: Happy Easter Amanda! Suzy: Happy Easter everyone! Amanda: Easter Sunday is a very special day in the church year, because it’s the day that we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Harold: “Resurrection” from the dead? Suzy: Resurrection means new life, Harold. Jesus died on a cross. He was dead, but on the third day he rose again. He came back to life! Amanda: Yes, that’s resurrection, Suzy. New life for Jesus, and good news for all of us because we learn that God is more powerful than death and evil and all the bad stuff in the world. God wins over death. God wins over hatred. … Read more »

March 30, 2008

John 20:19-31 Early on the first day of the week, a friend of Jesus named Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where he had been buried, and discovered that his body was gone. Peter and another disciple went and saw it too. Jesus’ grave clothes were there, but he was gone. Only Mary saw the angels that morning and spoke with Jesus in the garden, but she told the others that she had seen the Lord, that he was raised, and that he was going up to be with God. The author of John’s Gospel doesn’t tell us what the other disciples thought of her report that morning, but when evening came they were huddled together, scared as could be, all of them in a house with the doors locked. But Jesus will not allow them to hide for long. Neither the locked doors, nor their recent failure to stick by Jesus when he most needed them, will stop Jesus from returning to them, and blessing them, and commissioning them to carry on his work. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” It was a conventional greeting to follow a not-so-conventional entrance. But it was more than that too. It was Jesus bringing a gift of peace to a group of frightened and overwhelmed followers, for whom peace would not have seemed possible. Then Jesus showed them his hands and his side, and they were overjoyed. I guess it was seeing those distinctive wounds that … Read more »

May 1, 2011

John 20:19-31 There are stories that get told every year at Knox College (where I went to seminary) about the ghosts that have been seen over the years in the academic wing of the building. People have spotted them numerous times in the chapel, in the classrooms, and especially in the library. One student, who studied at Knox a couple of years before I did, described in great detail the appearance of a ghost who seemed to walk right through her as she stood in the hallway late one night. According to the stories, library staff have often noted one particular chair which is always pulled out when they arrive in the morning, and a series of books that mysteriously find their way back to that desk. Some say that the ghost must be a doctoral student who died before completing his thesis. As compelling as some of these stories may be, especially when told with dramatic detail and suspense, when I heard them, I was sceptical. I just don’t believe in ghosts. They don’t fit in with my understanding of the world. People are either alive or they’re dead. And as much as I believe in eternal life, I don’t think it involves disembodied people floating around old buildings or trying to finish uncompleted dissertations. The Easter story – the story of Jesus’ resurrection – his rising from the dead – is similarly unbelievable. It was Sunday night, the same day that Mary Magdalene said she saw Jesus alive … Read more »

April 7, 2013

Revelation 1:4-8 John 20:19-31 “Not the End of the Story” Welcome to the second Sunday in the Season of Easter. I don’t know about you, but it kind of feels like a low Sunday to me. The church isn’t as full as it was last week, and the energy level and anticipation isn’t quite as high either. Someone said that there was something pretty special about the experience of coming in to church last Sunday. Everyone was so joyful and upbeat. It was definitely a day of celebration as we sang the songs of Easter and proclaimed the resurrection of Christ Jesus, our Lord. But when the Easter weekend came to an end, many of us went back to the grind of work on Monday or Tuesday. We came face to face with exam time looming, or a house in need of a good Spring cleaning, or the challenges of health issues, or a strained relationship in need of repair, or the stress of tax time and worry about how to make the payments, or just the news from the world this week that some young Canadian men have become terrorists, that there was a shooting in a Gatineau daycare, that all is not yet right in the world. Lauren Winner, reflecting on the day of her baptism as a young adult, remembers a typo in the Communion prayer response: It said, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ has come again.” (Instead of Christ WILL come again. It said … Read more »

March 27, 2016

John 20:1-18 “My Father and Your Father” Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the Church rejoice and sing this Easter Day! Christ is risen! [He is risen indeed!] We’ve heard the Easter story many times before. It’s told in all the Gospels. It’s repeated in many of the letters of Paul and in the Acts of the Apostles. It’s the story that is the foundation of our faith. It’s the story that gives shape to our life as Christians. We believe in God. We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. We believe that Jesus was killed on a cross, but that he didn’t stay dead. God raised him on the third day. His body was not stolen. It was raised. We believe that he was the first to be raised, but that all will be raised on the last day. God is more powerful than death. Death is not the end. This is the Good News of Easter, and this is what we believe. And so, as did the first disciples who witnessed the resurrection, we tell the story. We tell it over and over… Easter after Easter, Sunday after Sunday. After years of preaching, many ministers have admitted that it becomes difficult to find fresh ways of telling the story. We are fortunate, in that the story is rich. It is filled with people, and questions, and insights upon which to reflect. There’s Mary and her worrying, the disciples running, the empty tomb, the linen wrappings rolled up. There are the angels, … Read more »

April 3, 2016

John 20:19-31 “The Benefit of the Doubt” Oh, Thomas! Poor Thomas! He has been permanently labeled a “doubter” by two millennia of history books, sermons, cartoons, and theological writings in the Christian tradition. A cartoon by Joshua Harris has Thomas crying out, “All I’m saying is we don’t call Peter ‘denying Peter.’” Poor Thomas seems only to be remembered for this morning’s Gospel story in which he misses Jesus’ appearance to the other disciples in the locked room on Easter Sunday evening, declares his doubt, and then receives the benefit of a repeat performance by Jesus eight days later so that Thomas can see for himself and believe. But this isn’t the first time that Thomas shows up in the Gospel of John. He speaks way back in the eleventh chapter just after Jesus and the disciples get the news that Lazarus has died. Most of the disciples don’t want to go back to Judea where some people had attempted to stone Jesus, but Thomas is willing to go no matter what challenges they may encounter there. Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” A few chapters later, Thomas speaks up again. This time Jesus is explaining that he is going to be killed, but then he will be raised, and he will go ahead of the disciples to the heavenly home that God is preparing for them all. When Jesus assures them that they all know the way to the place he is going, … Read more »

April 23, 2017

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie John 20:19-31 Listen to this Sermon “The Benefit of the Doubt” Poor “Doubting Thomas” seems only to be remembered for this morning’s Gospel story, where he doesn’t come off too well. You see, on Easter Sunday evening, Thomas misses Jesus’ appearance to the other disciples in the locked room, he declares his doubt, and then he receives the benefit of a repeat performance by Jesus eight days later so that Thomas can see for himself and believe. But this isn’t the first time that Thomas shows up in the Gospel of John. Thomas speaks way back in the eleventh chapter just after Jesus and the disciples get the news that Lazarus has died. Most of the disciples don’t want to go back to Judea where some people had attempted to stone Jesus, but Thomas is willing to go no matter what challenges they may encounter there. Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” A few chapters later, Thomas speaks up again. This time Jesus is explaining that he is going to be killed, but then he will be raised, and he will go ahead of the disciples to the heavenly home that God is preparing for them all. When Jesus assures them that they all know the way to the place he is going, Thomas is willing to voice the confusion that the others are likely feeling as well: “Jesus, we don’t know where you are going. How can … Read more »