Doubt with Faith

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio. 1601.

John 20:19-31 is the Gospel story that is shared on the second Sunday of Easter every year.

As I think about the connections between doubt and faith, I wonder if this is really a story about Thomas at all.

Oh, and we are left by the Gospel writer with a question.  Can we believe in things we have not seen?

What do you think? 

Comment below.

Risen Lord Jesus, you come to us precisely in the uncertainties…For this, we thank you.  Amen.

Holy Week Schedule 2011

Whether you are a longtime member or new to the community, you have a place with us at First Lutheran Church. 

Holy Week Worship Schedule for 2011

Wednesday, April 20

no soup supper, no worship, no 9th grade Confirmation, no Sr Choir practice

Maundy Thursday, April 21

6:30 pm Worship with Holy Communion-1st Communion for 5th graders

Sr Choir practice to precede worship at 6 pm

Good Friday, April 22

12 noon  Ecumenical Worship with Holy Communion

7 pm Tenebrae Worship

Easter Sunday, April 24

6:30 am Sunrise Worship with Holy Communion

8:30 am Festival Worship with Holy Communion

*10:00 am Festival Worship with Holy Communion

*1/2 hr earlier than usual

Easter Breakfast will be served from 7:00 am – 9:00 am. 

8:30 am Worship will be broadcast LIVE on KOWZ, 100.9 FM .  You can also live-stream via computer…visit kowzfm.com and click the “listen live” graphic at the top right of the masthead.

Sunday School resumes the following Sunday, May 1.

Peterson Family Visitation

Click this link to visit Patton Funeral Home’s information page and read the obituary.  We thank God for the life of Zella, and First Lutheran holds her entire family in our prayers.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”  -John 11:25-26

March of Dimes Ambassador Family

One of Blooming Prairie’s own, Chantell (Ryks) Piepho, and her family served as the March of Dimes Ambassador family for the Mower County Walk for Babies.  Last summer First Lutheran helped to raise funds for the walk.  And by the way–that walk was today, April 16, 2011.  Read more about the Piepho’s story here:

http://www.austindailyherald.com/2011/04/15/local-family-stresses-march-of-dimes-importance/

and here: 

http://austin.kaaltv.com/news/community-spirit/march-babies/45900

And a final summary here:

http://www.austindailyherald.com/2011/04/16/march-for-babies-raises-50000/

Please pray for all the families affected by preterm labor/early birth.

Hosanna!

All four Gospels give us the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  But Jesus came and went from that city lots of times–what made this different?  (Psst…You’ll have to read the Bible to find out.)

One of the things I notice each year during Palm Sunday is the word which we leave in the original language:  Hosanna!  It is a particular liturgical (worship) word.  It is a word we only use in worship.  I doubt that I have ever spoken this word outside of church circles.  Hosanna can mean, “Save us.”   It has a tone of urgency to it, of desperation.  But Hosanna also has a tone of praise. There is joy, too, in the word Hosanna.

You will notice this Sunday that our worship has both themes, as well:  the theme of praise along with the pleading for salvation.  For people in that era, Jesus’ parade into town–in fact, his entire ministry–is both wonderful and dire, and both at the same time. 

When have you felt compelled to praise and plead, both at the same time?  When in your life can you imagine yourself on the roadside, shouting “Hosanna!”  to Jesus? 

Hosanna, Lord Jesus.  We praise you.  Save us.  Amen.

Peace Lutheran, Eyota

On Sunday, April 10, 2011–a rainy, windy morning–two of our church council leaders traveled to a busy intersection off of Hwy 42 in Eyota, Minnesota to join in the groundbreaking for Peace Lutheran Church in Eyota.  After many years of worshiping in the local school gym, they are finally looking forward to a building of their own.  We thank God for their faithfulness, and rejoice with them in their mission to Eyota and its wider community.

Read the Pastor’s perspective on it all here.

Many thanks to JH for a picture of the event!

Shocking Words

It seems to me that anytime I turn on the TV news, or for sure any of the cable news networks, I am met with these words: BREAKING NEWS!  As these same words are presented to us over and over again it is very probable that some people succumb to the despairing messages engendered in those words.  Please know, I do not wish to underestimate the unfortunate nature of recent news events, but how often are these things truly breaking news and how do these repeated messages affect us? 

Our Bible readings for this Sunday from Ezekiel and St. John include some pretty disastrous scenes that certainly could be deemed as BREAKING NEWS!  In fact, the writers of these passages use some pretty bold and descriptive language such as “rattling dry bones” on the parched floor of a valley and a “stench because he has been dead four days” coming from the tomb of Lazarus.  Maybe these shocking and death filled words are meant to disturb us to the point that we are reminded that even in the driest moments of life and most stench filled times of despair, God will create new life.  Just as God breathed new life into those dry bones and dear old Lazarus, so too will God breathe new life into our times of sadness, disaster, and death.