Good News For All

John 20. 19-end

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. Footnotes:John 20:24 Thomas (Aramaic) and Didymus (Greek)

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Suggested hymns and songs

Come on and celebrate 73

See what a morning 2020

At your feet we fall 34

Rejoice! Rejoice! 480

I am he that liveth

Ye servants of God 620

All-age spot:

Question: On Friday, a lady being interviewed in the crowd at the Royal wedding, said that it had come at “a good time like a ray of sunshine in a world that seems full of bad news at the moment.”Examples? Rioting student demonstrations; expenses scandals’ earthquakes; gang warfare; volcanoes erupting; flooding; severe weather conditions, the list is endless.

Let’s consider this morning: Good News? And do we always feel easy sharing it?

It probably depends on what exactly our Good News is!

Has anyone got any good news to share this morning? Any good news no matter how small, that they don’t mind sharing with everyone?

MICROPHONE IS SENT AROUND THE CONGREGATION

Let’s look at good news in the world, say in the last year?

Remember any of these? FIND YOUR OWN SLIDES OR PHOTOGRAPHS

  • 33 Chilean miners rescued after being 6 weeks (69 days) buried underground

  • Paul and Rachel Chandler released from the clutches of Somali pirates;(the definitive news story of 2010 ~ 2000 feet of rock! Phoenix

  • The world’s largest chocolate maker says it may have come up with a chocolate bar that could fight wrinkles and slow the aging process!

( Callebaut? But Nestle and Danone are pushing to this as well)

  • Swine flu might very well be eradicated from the human population in the next few years, (in light of tests on vaccines given out in the Pandemic)

  • Land mines have been cleared from 3,200 square kilometers (1,236 square miles) in 90 countries — an area twice the size of London — in the last decade. Think of the brave people who do that kind of work! ( 1260 lives lost in 2010)

  • Butterflies called Large Blues were officially declared extinct in Britain thirty years ago, but they have made an astonishing return. Around 20,000 will be flitting through the countryside this summer as a result of reintroduction efforts, scientists say

  • In the recent tornado storms in Southern states of USA, a woman and her two children Skye and Storm, took shelter in a tanning bed in This family just all got in, pulled over the lid and prayed. After the storm the building had been destroyed. But they survived.

  • And WHAT ABOUT FRIDAY’S ROYAL WEDDING? What more can I say?

A bit of Good News DOES you good!

A few weeks ago we heard Roger describing Good News, as God acting in history; he told us how God saw his troubled world and he entered into history and did something about it.

John ‘s gospel tells us the Word of God, (who was God) took flesh, and came to earth as a baby to become the Saviour of the world, by leading the way, himself and dying for it.

So I thought I would tell you as children a story that’s very similar about wild geese which might help you understand it a little more.

Now you may have heard this story before, but you won’t have heard this version of it; because just to test your knowledge I’ve hidden some names of birds in the story, and you have to tell me at the end exactly how many birds I mention.

There may be a prize for the winner; adult or child.

(One bird is mentioned twice and must be counted as one. The word Geese is a freebie, because the story is about a flock of wild geese.

I’m doing this to keep the grown ups focussed and interested in the story! They sometimes dream a lot and fidget, do adults! Are you all sitting comfortably? (21)

There was a farmer once called Albert Ross, who lived with his family in the Scottish Highlands.

One Christmas, his wife Robyn and his son Martin were leaving the house to attend a Christmas service, and as they got into the car he laughed at them, as usual, for believing such nonsense! He said to his wife, “Eee gul how could God possibly become human and come to live in the form of a baby at Bethlehem. Why would he lower himself to become like us? It’s all nonsense!”

He shouted to his son , “I’ll be in the House Martin keeping the fire warm for when you get back.

Don’t be like that dad, you’re as high as a Kite! You’ve got nothing to Crow about! said his son.

Albert replied, What do you know you’re just a Myna!

His wife and son took no notice, “Toucan play at that game!’ she said, “you just repeat other people’s arguments Parrot fashion. You never think for yourself!’ and off they went.

The air was cold, and later it began to snow very heavily.

All of a sudden there was a very loud thump on his roof, then he heard more in his yard. He was alarmed! He found it hard to Swallow he was so nervous.

Then he realised what it was that was causing the awful noise.

A flock of Geese that had been flying low over his house had become very confused by the snowstorm. Stranded and unable to fly on, they couldn’t see where they were going, and they were slowly freezing in the icy air.

Swift as a flash, the farmer sprang into action; he wanted desperately to save them all.

He put on his coat and ran outside to open the barn door!

“Keep your Heron!” he thought to himself, and just act calmly!”

He opened doors and beckoned them in. They flapped around and he had to Duck several times.

He tried to get round behind them, Stork them and shoo them in, but he coot n’t

He even ran into the kitchen and got some bread to leave a trail into the barn.

Each time he tried something new, they flapped their wings and fluttered away from him. Frustrated he started to Owl,

‘Are they Cuckoo or what, why don’t they follow me? Do they think I want to Lark around like this?

Can’t they see that this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them to follow me? How can I possibly save them?

The only way would for me to become a Goose! If only I could be one of them, I could save them.

They would follow me in, and I could lead them all to safety!

Suddenly he realised what he had said,

“IF ONLY I COULD BECOME LIKE ONE OF THEM I COULD SAVE THEM!!”

Wren at last he understood God’s plan for the world.

He fell on his knees in the snow and worshipped God.

This is what Christians call THE INCARNATION.

(Prize: a small easter egg)

Children’s activity in a designated space with teachers, while address for adults is taking place. :

Children make a Good News newspaper with their own good news or pictures to illustrate good news events in their lives. Editors (in the form of teachers) needed?

Address:-

I don’t know if you remember seeing that famous Kit Kat advert on the television? A photographer stands with his cine camera on a tripod, for ages hoping to get a glimpse of a family of pandas coming out of their hut to play in their enclosure; he ‘s been waiting for ages and he decides to take a break to have a Kit Kat. As soon as he turns his back and walks away, out come the pandas who all frolic around until the moment just before he comes back to his camera, and they go back in!

He misses them. But we, the viewers did see them!

It was like that for Thomas, when Jesus first appeared to the disciples in the upper room on the evening of the day that he was raised to life. He had gone off somewhere and he missed the big moment!

The disciples had all heard accounts from the women but had they been merely imagining it all?

No they hadn’t Jesus is suddenly there in the midst of them, saying, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you!”

In other words “Don’t get too excited boys, keep calm it’s me! But now it’s your turn to do your bit.”

While he is there he proves to them it is indeed true. He shows them the scars in his hands and sides, and they are overjoyed. Then once Jesus has gone,

Thomas returns!

The bible records that the first thin the disciples do is rush to him and tell him the Good News; that they too have now seen Jesus!

You just cannot keep good news in!

Good news is

  • uplifting and

  • exciting and

  • fresh;

  • something that makes people overflow with joy!

So much so that you can’t keep it in!

We have good news, in a single word Jesus:

As Christians we believe that everything about him was good news.

The life he lived, the things he taught, the claims he made about himself, the miracles he performed, the rich stories he told. This promises we trust in: his prophesies that came true!

The death he died to buy our forgiveness ; the promised resurrection bringing hope to the world concerning eternal life.

He is our good news.

THOMAS’S COMMENTS:

It’s worth noting that when Thomas saw Jesus for himself later that week and was invited to put his own hands into the wounds and examine them himself, he cried out “ My Lord and my God!”

It was no OMG statement; that has been put to me by certain witnesses in the past at the front door; but that could not be! Jesus would have corrected him for blaspheming, taking God’s name in vain, speaking of it without respect.

As it happened, Jesus did not say, Thomas , you must not call me that, no he rebuked him, told him off more or less for being so slow to accept it!!!

The Venerable Bede, our local Holy Man of God was not only a priest and monk, but also a historian and author. . . and he tells a wonderful story about when the Good news came to our part of the world, the NE of England.

This story has a bird in too. A swallow.

This is how Bede tells it . . .

(or in my own words)

The king, hearing these words, answered that he was both willing and bound to receive the faith which he taught; but that he would confer about it with his principal friends and counsellors, to the end that if they also were of his opinion, they might all together be cleansed in Christ the Fountain of Life.

Paulinus consenting, the king did as he said; for, holding a council with the wise men, he asked of everyone in particular what he thought of the new doctrine, and the new worship that was preached? To which the chief of his own priests, Coifi, immediately answered, "O King, consider what this is which is now preached to us; for I verily declare to you, that the religion which we have hitherto professed has, as far as I can learn, no virtue in it. For none of your people has applied himself more delightedly to the worship of our own gods than I; and yet there are many who receive greater favours from you, and are more preferred than I, and are more prosperous in all their undertakings. Now if the gods were good for anything, they would rather forward me, who have been more careful to serve them It remains, therefore, that if upon examination you find those new doctrines which are now preached to us better and more efficacious, we immediately receive them without delay."

TWO SLIDES Another of the king's chief men, approving of his words and exhortations, presently added, "The present life of man, O King, seems to be, in comparison with that time which is unknown to us, like the swift flight of a sparrow through the room wherein You sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are entirely ignorant. If, therefore, this new doctrine contains something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed."

And so the Christian faith came to the North!

All this was not just good news for them, it was TREMENDOUS NEWS

The Christian teaching answered their questions about who they were and where they were going! And an end to guilt and shame.

They were ready to embrace, like the swallow flying through the hall, the rich abundant life Jesus offered, and also the warmth and compassion he would place into their hearts for others. They would now have a friend who was always with them, right through to eternity.

So is the good news of Jesus for everyone? No some just don’t want to know. They close their ears!

No it wasn’t and still isn’t for some.

It was actually BAD news for all those responsible for Jesus execution, once the rumours filtered out about Jesus being alive again? They had mocked him for not saving himself from death on the cross, and here people were saying he was indeed alive!

I suppose they wanted to shut their ears too!

(picture of Royal bridesmaid on balcony with fingers over her ears) SLIDE

Or what about when Peter preached on the day of Pentecost? He told the crowd in no uncertain terms that they were responsible for Jesus death, and now he had risen, and they were cut to the heart by his ‘good news; but many responded that day, and repented and were baptised. Peter’s message BECAME good news!

Many today don’t believe in the Good News, don’t want to know. They close their ears, WHY?

Here is a drama all about tasting, seeing, discovering and sharing. You’ll see why some reject the message.

Drama: The Banana Drama performed by our own drama group

(see my drama link) this drama is all about sharing Good News.

For some people the Christian message will not be good news. There’ll be

a) those quick to dismiss out of hand, the ANTI- squad; suspicious, reserved, aggressive, reticent. (rather like those being confronted by the disciples after the resurrection. Think how furious Paul (as Saul of TARSUS)was; he was so AGAINST them he wanted to wipe these disciples out!)

b) those who never get below the surface of anything, very shallow, who’ve got better things, more important things to do with their lives;(I suppose like the rich young ruler; irritated because someone is setting out a path they don’t want to walk on just yet.)

c) those who are too busy, suffocated by weeds of multi- tasking

(probably one of the biggest problems today, as the important message is being squeezed out, in favour of more trivial ones in our digital age) I just can’t imagine the disciples being too busy to report the news to Thomas, as soon as he returned)

d) but there WILL be those who will be seeking and thirsting for the Good News.

It’s up to us to share it, in whatever way we can; creatively, enthusiastically, and with great courage, I believe, in the days yet to come!

St Paul writes to Timothy that he must preach the good news ‘in season or out of season’; whether it is accepted or rejected; we must tell it and trust and hope that some seed is planted in fertile ground.

2 Tim 4.2

‘Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage, with great patience and careful instruction. For there will come a time when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Giving out of holding crosses

Giving out of holding crosses

Here is what Angela Ashwin writes in a leaflet designed to be used with the holding cross:

“A holding cross is designed not so much to look right as to feel right. The cross is deliberately uneven, in order to fit between your fingers more comfortably than a “correctly shaped” cross would do.

“Because a holding cross is not decorated or ornamental, it is a harsh reminder of the wood of the cross of Jesus.

“Sometimes it is enough simply to hold the cross silently – this is itself prayer. Maybe you have no words anyway, and it is through your sense of touch that you are expressing your love of Christ and your need of him.

“Holding a cross can also be a way of praying for others, especially those who are suffering. Or it can be helpful to hold a cross when making an act of penitence.

“If you are ill, simply holding the cross may be the best way to pray. It doesn’t matter that you have no energy for other kinds of prayer. You can give a wooden cross to a blind person, or someone who is ill or dying, as a way of sharing the love of Christ with them.”

Short prayers to use with the cross could be: SLIDE

“As I hang on to this cross, Lord, hang on to me.” “As I hold this cross, Lord, fill me with your strength and peace.” “As I hold this cross, Lord, I remember the cost of your great love for me.” “As I hold this cross, Lord, I rejoice in the knowledge that evil and sin do not have the last word, and that your love is indestructible.”

If you have someone in mind that you could share the Good News with; if there is someone who you think would appreciate one of these holding crosses and a message full of hope; then come out and receive one of these crosses, and this prayer card of commitment and offer the gift of life to that person, perhaps even pray with them. Then come out and get one. I only have sixty here, and they’re FREE, just like the most marvellous message in the world. It doesn’t matter what age you are, we all have a tongue to tell the Good news. You may even want one yourself.

While you do that I have a poem for you about the Christian Hope. Please come forward very quietly, as I read it, and make sure you take a prayer card aswell.

Five candles slowly burned

The ambience was so soft one could almost hear them talking

The first candle said "I am Peace"

"The world is so full of anger and fighting that nobody can keep me alight"

Then the candle of peace went out completely.

Then the second candle said

"I am Faith"

"I am no longer indispensable

It does not make any sense that I stay awake one moment longer."

Then a breeze softly blew out Faith's flame.

The third candle shuddered at the evil in the world and cried out, ‘I am Goodness’

I see so much cruelty, such inhumanity to man;

Is there no-one who will do what is good anymore?

A sad and quiet song filled the room, and someone snuffed out the flame.

Sadly the fourth candle began to speak

"I am Love"

"People don't understand my importance,

So they put me aside.

They even forget to love nearest to them.

I don't have the strength to stay alight"

And waiting no longer the candle of Love went out.

A child entered the room where the candles were

And saw that four of the candles were unlit.

"Why are you not burning?" said the child

"You are supposed to stay alight until the very end"

And the child was frightened and began to cry.

Then the fifth candle said

"Don't be afraid.’ I am Hope’

And while I am burning we can light the other candles"

With shining eyes the child took the candle of Hope

And lit the other candles. (pause while candles are lit)

The flame of Hope should never go out from our lives,

And with Hope each of us can have a life

With Peace, Faith, Goodness and Love.

Source anon, to which I added a fifth candle for a candleholder with five sections

Prayers to follow