Pastoral Message for the Second Sunday of Easter - April 19, 2020

Pastoral Message
(for members and friends of
Geeseytown & Newry Lutheran Churches)
Second Sunday of Easter
April 19, 2020
We begin by remember “I love you, O Lord, my strength, The Lord is my rock,
my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield,
and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 118:1-2)
Let us pray: Almighty and eternal God, the strength of those who believe and the
hope of those who doubt, may we, who have not seen, have faith in you and
receive the fullness of Christ’s blessing, who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Scripture Reading - John 20:19-31 “Beholding the wounds of the risen Christ”
Thoughts from the Pastor:
It is Monday morning as I write this devotional, and it seems strange not
being together yesterday in worship celebrating the risen Christ on Easter Sunday.
These are unusual times and we find ourselves in unusual circumstances. My
thoughts this morning begin with Psalm 118:1-2 where King David expressed his
love for the Lord. He used a special word that means “to love deeply, to have
compassion.” It is related to the Hebrew word for “womb” and describes the kind
of love a mother has for her baby and a father has for his children, and the Lord has
for God’s chosen people Israel and for us. It is a deep and fervent love, the kind of
love all of us should have for the Lord.
As we currently face the struggles of this coronavirus, we can do it with love
and hope praying to God for all of us. Psalm 118 is a psalm of praise and victory
and God will lead us through with God’s divine love giving us an enduring hope.
God knows we are all in this struggle and unusual circumstance, but we must
remember God never gives up on us. God has a deep and fervent love for us and
we see it John 20:19-31. Through his divine love Jesus commissioned the apostles
as messengers of the Good News, and in doing so he breathed on them and said to
them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus’ Holy Spirit is in your heart giving you love, hope, faith, and strength.
It is an encouragement to us to know that the Lord had a personal interest in and
concern for doubting Thomas; likewise, our Lord also has a personal interest in and

concern for us as we are confronted with struggles of this coronavirus. Jesus
wanted to strengthen his faith in the disciples and include him in the blessings that
lay in store for his followers, which are all of us. In John 20:19-31 Thomas
reminds us that unbelief robs us of blessings and opportunities; of course, it may
sound sophisticated and intellectual to question what Jesus did, but such questions
are usually evidence of hard hearts, and not of searching minds.
We need to open our hearts and love deeply and show this compassion to
everyone during these trying times being willing to reach out with a phone
checking on our family, friends, neighbors and church members. An example of a
changed person showing an open heart and showing his love for others is Peter in
Acts 2:14-21. After the Lord forgave Peter for denying him three times and then
Jesus enables his disciples and Peter to receive the Holy Spirit from the Lord. In
Acts 2 Peter is addressing a crowd with the eleven disciples raising his voice to the
men of Judea telling them that in the last days God would bring completion to
God’s plan for salvation for humankind. Peter was totally changed and driven to
tell the world about the Lord.
As I thought further, Jesus had finished the great work of redemption, and
nothing more had to be done except to share the good news with the world,
beginning with the nation of Israel. The invitation is “Whoever who calls on the
name of the Lord shall be saved.” That invitation has not changed. One
commentator said that the coronavirus has turned this world upside down. I have a
problem with that statement because, “God did that over 2,000 years ago, with love
from his Son, Jesus Christ and it was for the better and the salvation for
humankind.” That will never change!
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Dick Henry

Geeseytown / Newry Lutheran Parish

info@GNLutheran.org

Newry Lutheran Church

1030 Shamrock Lane

PO Box 397

Newry, PA 16665

P: 814-695-3036

 
 

Geeseytown Lutheran Church

462 Route 22

Hollidaysburg, PA 16648

P: 814-696-0743

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