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Boy Scouts Mon 7PM
Book Club 2nd Mon 5PM
Julian Prayer Group 3rd Mon 5PM
Vestry 3rd Tues 6PM

Choir Thurs 6PM
AA Thurs. 7:30PM
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  Weekly Worship

  Wednesday 6PM - Evening Prayer
  Sunday 8AM - Holy Eucharist
      (8AM Morning Prayer on 2nd Sundays)
  Sunday 10:30AM - Holy Eucharist



Recognizing Salvation

The gospels are filled with stories of the disciples not recognizing after he has risen. In John, Mary thinks Jesus is the gardener and begs him to reveal where he has hidden her Lord's body. In the same gospel, the disciples in the upper room do not recognize the Lord when he appears to the Easter evening. In Luke, two disciples spend an entire afternoon with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and do not recognize him. Even as the disciples rejoice together when the Emmaus experience is shared with them, they are frightened by Jesus' direct appearance to them. Later in John, Jesus appears to the disciples who have returned to Galilee to fish. He calls to them but Peter only recognizes him when they cast their nets and catch so many fish the nets cannot hold them.

So how is it that we are to recognize Jesus? Will we recognize him in the miracles that we witness? Yes, but miracles tend to be rare. Will we recognize Jesus when he speaks to us? Maybe. Most people that claim to have a direct conversation with Jesus we tend to view cynically or lock up because they are delusional. Will we recognize Jesus as St. Thomas did, only when he reveals the wounds in his hands and side? Doubtful. Few if any of us will see Jesus face to face and fewer will have visions of his wounds. Jesus' appearance to St. Paul comes as a blinding light and a voice. Indeed with human beings, we tend to recognize the victors more than the defeated, the lost and the wounded. So how will it be that we will recognize the risen Lord in our daily lives?

Perhaps, it is precisely it is among the defeated, the lost and the wounded that we should be looking? The crucified savior victory comes at the point of his defeat by the powerful. His wounds are the result of the lash and spears of his detractors. His death is at the hands of those who use their power to oppress and beat down parts of the human family that God made one. If we don't see the resurrected Lord, perhaps we need to look among the defeated for whom life is a daily, hourly struggle? Perhaps we need to look among the lost, the people who have no safe refuge, who can't find their homes or have been driven from them? Perhaps we need to look at the wounded, who have broken bodies and minds where the healing power of our acknowledgment of their existence and the touch of social interaction, rather than our turning away, can bring miracles. These are the faces where we will recognize the Lord of Life.

Once we have found Jesus and see Christ in the faces of defeated, wounded, and lost brothers and sisters, how will we be known as his disciples? The Gospel of Matthew teaches that when we feed the hungry; give the thirsty something to drink; welcome the stranger; clothe the naked; take care of the sick and the weak, and visit those in prison; we do these things for Christ himself.

Remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ. (1st Cor 11:1)" When others curse us, we must bless; when slandered, we speak kindly; when persecuted we endure. We do everything for the building up of our community to the glory of God. We can imitate Jesus by being healers, not only of the body but of the spirit as well.

These are not easy things to do, but they are the only things that we distinguish us as followers of Jesus. And if we do these things, what is our reward? Henri Nouwen once wrote:

"Eternal life is not some great surprise that comes at once at the end of our existence in time; it is rather, the full revelation of what we have been and have lived all along. The evangelist John expresses this succinctly when he says: 'My dear people, what we are to be in the future has not yet been recorded; all we know is that, when it is recorded, we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is' (1 John 3:2-3)."

We will see the Christ and recognize him best, when we see him in our words, our deeds, and ourselves. "And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love! Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love!"

Happy Easter!



Jeff+






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© Apr 2017 by The Rev. Jeff Douglas


St. Thomas is a vibrant, welcoming, Christian community cultivating mind, body & spirit through worship, fellowship, and service, loving our neighbors as ourselves

The Rev. Jeff Douglas, Rector

Our Staff:
       Parish Secretary
       Julie Bazemore
       Musician:
       Jonathan Johnston
Our Vestry:
       Claudia Griffin,Sr. Warden
       Michael Steczak, Jr. Warden
       Brenda Hewitt,Clerk
       Ernie Carter,Treasurer
       David Simons
       Fred Liverman
       Rob Outland
       Martie Tayloe
       Dr. Charles Sawyer
       Buddy Jones

Parish Commissions:

Administration:
       David Simons
       Ernie Carter, Treas.
       
Parish Life/Communications:
       Brenda Hewitt
       
Pastoral Care:
       Martie Tayloe
       Claudia Griffin, Sr. Warden
       
Worship:
       Dr. Charles Sawyer
       The Rev. Jeff Douglas
       
Buildings & Grounds
       Mike Steczak, Jr. Warden
       
Christian Education & Youth
       Buddy Jones
       Rob Outland
       
Outreach
       Fred Liverman
       
If you would like to volunteer or have ideas about how St. Thomas' can have a more effective ministry in these areas, contact the appropriate person and make St. Thomas' ministry even better.