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Sermon for Third Sunday of Easter 2020

Two weeks ago I showed you a rabbit that I put into a hat, this hat, and it disappeared. Like the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday, my hat was empty. Still today, the hat is empty, look! However, if I told you that now, after waving my hand mysteriously over the hat, the rabbit is back in my hat, who will believe me. Let’s see, hands up if you believe the rabbit is in this hat that still looks very empty. Anyone? I don’t see any hands. So maybe I must show you that the rabbit is in the hat, by taking it out…now do you believe me?

It was exactly the same for the disciples. They had the knowledge, in fact, Jesus even made it more clear how the Messiah is evident in the Old Testament. The disciples Jesus walked with on the road to Emmaus said “didn’t our hearts burn while he was showing us the Messiah in scripture?” They had the knowledge, they had the information. Today we could say that they had the benefit of Google, or DuckDuckGo or any other search engine, to find the information. But, like us, they did not believe until they had seen it. We didn’t believe until we saw the rabbit come out of the hat.

If we need to see to believe, how much more does the rest of the world need to see to believe? Even the hope that we share requires some belief, and the need to see in order that belief can follow. Now I remind you, WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST, and so, through us, Christ can be visible, and through us the world can believe. But we need to make it clear that we are the body. Just the knowledge is not good enough. The world needs to see that we are the body.

Our acts of generosity, of love, of support, the prayers we pray, all go a long way to making Christ visible. I commend you for the support you have shown one another at this time of lockdown. I commend you for the acts of kindness carried out. Within the St. Thomas family CHrist is visible. The challenge is, will He be visible in the world as restrictions are lifted? Will Christ be visible, so that the world may believe, after the COVID-19 crisis is over?

This is up to you, and it does depend on whether you have knowledge or belief. To assist with the distinction between the two, we plan to relaunch all Bible Study Groups and I hope to create some more that can meet, online, during lockdown, and continue after the crisis is resolved. My hope, my prayer, is that we can get ALL of the St. Thomas family taking part. I have started the education process (with me) and will pass this on, so that all group leaders (may I rather refer to you as hosts?) have been equipped and challenged. If you are a host, or would like to be a host, please drop Brenda Acutt, or me, a line to indicate this, so that we can include you in the initial training.

May God use you as a blessing in the lives of folk you support. May you be blessed beyond what you can think or imagine, and to the only wise God, our loving Father, selfless Christ and empowering Holy Spirit, be all glory, honour, power and praise.

Amen