Notices for Sunday 30th April 2017

And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive.
Luk 24:21b-23 (Message)

Help us Father God to understand that faith – not knowledge, but trusting, courageous faith – will change how we look at our way of living.
Amen.

Welcome to our preacher this morning who is Rev Richard Sharples
After service tea hosts Chris and Evelyn

Our thanks for the flowers which are given by Beti Hughes in memory of her husband Vic
Organist: Joan McGowan

Sunday 7th May
11.00am             Rev John Wiggall
Vestry Steward – Ian
Door Steward – Bob
Tea Hosts – Bob and Evelyn

Diary Dates

May
Mon 1st         “Square Mile” Study in the lounge 2.00pm
Tue 2nd        Coffee Morning at Llangollen 10.00am
Tue 2nd        Oasis of Silence – Regent Street at 12.30pm for 20 minutes. Bring lunch to share afterwards
Fri 5th         Friday Lunch Club 12 noon in the hall £3
Wed 10th      Midweek Communion at Regent Street, 11.15am
Mon 15th       Circuit Men’s Supper at Gresford 7.00pm
Fri 19th        Joan McGowan “May Melodies” Concert 7.30pm in the hall – Tickets £5
Sun 21st       Anniversary Choral Concert at Rhosddu 7.30pm
Sun 28th       Messy Church in the hall 4.00pm to 6.00pm

Please pray for the following:
Isobel Holroyd
Dorreen Holroyd
Michael Shipley
Keith and Myra Baugh
Evelyn Taylor
Gwyneth Williams

All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.

In the lounge
Four Mondays in May
Starting tomorrow 1st May
2.00pm

Square Mile is a study which aims to catalyse and equip Christians to take a truly integrated approach to mission, expressed in four dimensions:

Mercy: demonstrating God’s compassion to the poor.
Influence: being salt and light in the public life of the community.
Life Discipleship: equipping Christians for missional living as workers and neighbours.
Evangelism: faithful and relevant communication of the gospel.

Led by Rev Richard Sharples

Resurrection Doubts

Here’s my brief take this vignette from Luke’s larger narrative about the resurrection appearances of Jesus: if you don’t have serious doubts about the Easter story, you’re not paying attention.

Seriously.

I mean, just read the story. Actually, all of the stories. For while the four gospels have many interesting variations in their account of Jesus’ resurrection, they are absolutely consistent on one thing: no one believes the good news of Jesus’ resurrection when they first hear it. No one. And that includes Jesus’ own disciples, the ones who were closest to him and spent the most time with him. In fact, that level of disbelief starts with the disciples.

Earlier in the verses before this reading, Luke tells us that the disciples dismissed the testimony of the women who had been to the empty tomb as an “idle tale.” Actually, that’s not what Luke tells us, that’s the water-downed translation we’re used to. The Greek word Luke employs – leros – is the root of our word delirious. So in response to the testimony of the women, the disciples say they are out of their freakin’ minds. Nice.

But perhaps expected. You see, here’s the thing: the earth is generally unwilling to cough up the dead. And testimony that it has – that one who died has actually been raised – kind of upsets the natural order and causes you to lose confidence in pretty much everything you thought you could count on. Two things, Benjamin Franklin once wrote to a friend, are certain in this world: death and taxes. Except, according to these women, not death.

So no wonder the disciples doubt their testimony. Except it’s not just their testimony, they doubt; it’s even Jesus. That’s what’s so astounding to me about this passage. Thus far in Luke’s account, the disciples have heard and dismissed the women’s testimony, Peter then ran to the tomb and confirmed at the very least that it’s empty, two disciples on the road to Emmaus were encounter by Jesus and have returned to tell their tale, and now…wait for it, wait for it…now Jesus has appeared among them and invited them to touch him to dispel any doubts they may have that he is real. And then Luke writes, “While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering….”

Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt, in fact, is probably a necessary ingredient to faith. Faith, by definition, is trust in spite of a lack of evidence. Faith is not knowledge. Faith is more tension-filled. It is acting as if something is true even when you have no proof that it is.

Which means that when we talk about the “gathering of the faithful,” we’re not talking about the gathering of those who’s faith/knowledge is absolute or certain or bedrock. We’re talking about those people who have all kinds of questions and doubts but still find joy and wonder in this message of good news about new life. Or maybe who want to find joy and wonder, haven’t yet, but keeping coming because of their hope.

It’s okay to doubt. In fact, it’s probably a requirement of faith. Because, honestly, in light of all the death and trauma and disappoint and tragedy that colours every human life, if you don’t have at least some difficulty believing the promise that God not only raised one person, Jesus, from the dead, but also promises new life and second chances and forgiveness and grace to all, then you’re probably not paying attention.

But if it’s true that God raised Jesus from the dead… If it’s true that God promises to renew the whole creation and grant us new life… If it’s true that nothing – nothing we’ve done or has been done to us – can separate us from the love of God… If it’s true that God will not turn God’s back on any of us but always reaches out to us in grace, mercy, and forgiveness… If any of this – let alone all of this – is true, then how might we live our lives this week differently? How might this faith – not knowledge, but trusting, courageous faith – change how we look at our relationships, and our politics, and our work, and our resources, and our future?

The promise of resurrection, new life, and grace is so outlandish, so uncommon, and so desperately necessary that it has always elicited a measure of doubt. But it has also always elicited changed lives as well.

David Lose, The Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, USA

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