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Visit our Sunday worship services at 8 or 10:30 am. Sunday school and adult Bible class at 9:15. We are "Making Christ Known" by faith, worship and witness to get the message of Jesus Christ to all people.

April 11 Worship Service

He is Risen! Our April 11 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.

Click on picture to view video

The April 18 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. We will still be wearing masks, social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer, but we will be open.

It is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.

We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.

April 11 Sermon
Acts 4:32-35 | Psalm 133
John 1:1-2:2 | John 20:19-31

“Left Out Thomas,” “Johnny Come Lately Thomas,” that is whose story we have today. You know how I feel about his usual moniker. Thomas in John’s Gospel shares the trait, like Peter, of often saying what the others are thinking. And, I do wonder if this story may have something to do with where we get the saying, “Seeing is believing,” comes from. Or, we’re in Missouri, “Show me.” This story is one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, and the first time, occurs on the evening of Easter Day, then a week later. You know, today!

The disciples are hiding away in a locked room, with the windows barred. Why? Because they are afraid that they will be the next ones to be crucified, that the Romans now having executed their leader, they will come for the followers. That makes you wonder about the saying, “Take up your cross and follow me.” They would rather be “a light hiding under a basket.” Regardless of their fears at the time, Jesus appears among them, and immediately says, Peace be with you.” Words, which the disciples desperately need to hear. They are scared, and for a number of reasons if you think about the events of the last couple of weeks. They probably also need to hear the words “Peace be with you” because Jesus who they saw crucified and buried is now suddenly standing among them, alive. If anyone needs peace, it is the disciples. In fact, Jesus says “Peace be with you” three times in the Gospel lesson this morning. They really do need to hear those words.

“Peace be with you.” In Christ, there is peace itself. He himself says, “My peace I give to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give.” Peace comes only from beyond. That is true peace, not that fleeting peace which we too often accept as peace for lack of anything else – like when the TV is off, and the phone isn’t ringing, and for a brief moment, all seems to be at peace in our lives. That isn’t it. That is just a peaceful moment. In Christ, there is peace. Christ is peace. For in Christ, we are given peace with God. And as I was inadvertently reminded of the other night, in the Sermon on the Mount, in the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Who is the Son of God, and who is the greatest peacemaker? Jesus!

Peace with God is freedom. Freedom from the enemies we are born with; sin, death and evil. Freedom from them. Freedom from the Law which condemns us because of them. Freedom, because Christ has claimed us as his own. He has delivered us into the hands of the Father, from whom no one can take us. Through Christ, we have become children of God as well, and are to be peacemakers. We have freedom through forgiveness.

But, poor Thomas isn’t there to hear nor experience this peace. Maybe we should call him Absent Thomas, or Tardy Thomas. Or better yet, Brave Thomas. Of all of the disciples, he alone has ventured out in the streets from the locked room. He would be braver than the others. But, he is not at peace. He is in anguish, as well as we may say doubt. But, many people have doubts. In the faith, the resurrection is probably the most difficult part to accept. Although the more liberal theologians of the present time are usually willing to give up the virgin birth as “unreasonable,” let’s face it, the resurrection is really irrational! They are both well outside out of our earthly experience. But, they are both matters of faith, not reason! The resurrection is central to Christianity, the sine qua non. Thomas doubts, even though the others, his friends and colleagues tell him that they have seen, and touched, and heard the Lord (as John writes about in his epistle today: again to make the same point as the Gospel lesson today). But, Thomas has no peace in himself.

A week later, (that is a week after the Resurrection, or for us, today!), Jesus appears again. “Peace be with you,” and turns to Thomas (who is almost certainly stunned and speechless now). And it seems from the way that the story reads, that this is done specifically for Thomas and his problems, his lack of peace and belief. But, this is what Thomas needs. Thomas now, has peace, and believes. He doesn’t have to fulfill the demands which he had made a week earlier. We’re not told whether he actually had to touch Jesus’ wounds. I seriously doubt that he did. He is in the presence of the Risen Christ. He cannot not believe. Christ is raised victorious over the grave! He is standing right there! The only thing that Thomas can do, or say now is to cry out, “My Lord and my God!” There simply is nothing else to say. That says it all.

We have in the Gospel text today what I consider two of the most poignant verses in the Bible. And, they reemphasize the Doubting Thomas episode. They reinforce it. John literally tells us why he wrote his Gospel. They are the last two verses in John, “Jesus did many other signs…” which John did not write down. He tells us that he only recorded the important things that Jesus did. And the purpose of him recording what he did, “these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name,” like Thomas did. So that following generations, and that includes us, too may cry out with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” There is nothing else to say or believe. That is the Gospel.
Pastor Rose

Easter Sunday Worship Service

He is Risen! Our April 4 Easter Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.

Click on picture to view video

The April 11 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. We will still be wearing masks, social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer, but we will be open.

It is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.

We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.

THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD
Acts 10:34-43 | Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 | John 20:1-18

“Early on the first day of the week.” Early, that usually indicates something important, or urgent, which needs to be taken care of before anything else. First day of the week, that is Sunday, look at a calendar (except some of the made in Japan varieties—now starting the week on Monday). Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb. That is why Christians worship on a Sunday, and usually in the morning (though I’m not to sure about that “early” part, especially the before dawn part). Christians do not worship on the Sabbath, like the Jews, Mary had to wait until the Sabbath was over, which is Saturday night, to make the journey to the tomb because of the Sabbath Laws on travel. Rather, Christians worship on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the day on which Jesus rose from the dead. That is one thing which separates Christians from Jews.

So, the day begins with an act of devotion. Mary is performing a duty to her dead teacher, leader and friend. Mary, and quite possibly some others (according to the other gospels), goes to the tomb early, as soon as it is light enough to see and travel. She goes to finish the anointing and embalming of Jesus’ body which Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had performed Friday evening. There had not been time enough to do this completely before the beginning of the Sabbath and the Festival of Passover. He had died about 3:00 in the afternoon, and had hung on the cross probably for some time before Joseph of Arimathea had gotten permission from Pontius Pilate to bury the body. It had to be done. Usually the bodies of a crucifixion were not taken down and buried. That was part of the horror of that form of execution. So, even though Nicodemus had brought 70 pounds of herbs for embalming, they probably did not have enough time to do a proper job by the time they got Jesus’ body to Joseph’s new tomb, because of the start of the Sabbath. The Sabbath starts in the evening when the 4th star is visible in the night’s sky. And when the Sabbath begins, no one is allowed to do any work with their hands. There wasn’t much time. Mary is probably going to do the job proper.

On the way, after a dreadful couple of days, she was probably wondering what awaited her. She was probably wondering about the stone door at the tomb, and how to move it. But, she finds something even more dreadful, the stone has been moved away. What has happened? Has someone desecrated the tomb? Has the body been stolen? Some act by Jesus’ enemies to prevent any rumors of his predicted resurrection? No, that was the reason for the Roman guards at the tomb. Where were the guards? She runs to Peter and the others. She needs help. Something has happened, and she can’t cope with it right now. The shock of the last few days had already taken a toll on her.

Peter and John run to the tomb, after hearing her tale. They are worried too. John gets there first, younger and faster, but doesn’t go in. Peter, as usual, plunges right into the tomb, as he plunged into everything. The tomb is empty, only the grave cloths. That is enough to cause Peter and John to wonder, or at least to start to believe that Jesus has risen, as he said he would. They had not understood the scriptures, nor Jesus’ own predictions of the resurrection. But, now, they begin to believe, but they don’t talk to Mary about it. They leave to tell the others, and consider their own thoughts. They don’t say anything at this time, they are not sure themselves. Can we blame them?
But Mary remains. She doesn’t know what to think. She really doesn’t understand what has happened, but who can blame her as well? All that Mary knows is that the body of her Lord is missing. Someone must have moved it. But who? And why? The questions are logical. But, the answers are not logical at all.

Peering into the tomb, there are now two angels there. She is so deep in her grief and anguish, that that vision doesn’t even phase her! And as she turns, there is the Risen Christ!! He reveals himself to her, as he calls her by name. He has come to comfort her, to take her misery away, to strengthen her faith.

This is the first resurrection appearance. The impossible, the miraculous has happened. The Risen Christ comes to tell her the Good News, personally. She is the first witness to the Resurrection. Jesus’ body is not stolen, rather something extraordinary, wonderful, even divine has happened. Jesus has been raised from the death. By the power of the glory of God, he is victorious even over the power of death. He is risen, He is risen indeed. He is the Son of God, the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.

It is this appearance of the Risen Christ in person which convinces her, and the others. Quite simply, she cannot not believe. He is raised, and standing beside her, talking to her. She can see and touch him. She is the first witness to the message, the central message and creed, which the Church proclaims, and has for nearly 2,000 years: Jesus Christ is risen today. He is risen, indeed.

D. That is the message which we proclaim this day, and every day. Death could not hold him. The powers of sin, death and evil are broken by the power of God in Christ. And now, Christ holds those who believe, now and forever, in His grace, even beyond the end of the age.