Worship at Home for Sunday, April 16, 2023

Dear Friends,

On this Sunday after Easter, we reflect on the meaning of the resurrection in the lives of the disciples and in our own lives.

New These Days devotional guides are available for April, please let me know if I can deliver one to your home. If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • Youth will shop for Birthday Boxes for Helping Hands on Sunday, April 16 after worship.
  • Bell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm
  • Choir Practice on Wednesday at 7 pm
  • Troubadours Concert at St. Peter’s on Thursday at 7pm
  • Grape Cluster Tending the Vineyard at Camp MoVal on Saturday, April 22 from 10-3. For more information contact Pastor Stephanie
  • Dorcas Brunch for Ukraine on Sunday April 23 at 10am If you would like to with the brunch, please let a member of the Dorcas know. Thank you! The money raised will be sent to our church mission partners (Hungarian Reformed Church and Swiss Reformed Church) who are currently at work in the Ukraine.
  • “Jesus Christ Superstar” is at the Fox Theater. St. Peter’s is planning to go as a group on May 21. Please let Pastor Stephanie know, if you would like to go.


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Acts 2:14a, 22-32, Psalm 16, 1 Peter 1:3-9. John 20:19-31

Sermon:  Thomas the Disciple and Us

This story from John 20:19-31 has long been known as the story about doubting Thomas. Being caste with the title of “Doubting” diminishes the importance of Thomas as a disciple and as his impact in spreading the gospel. Thomas is featured four times in the Gospel of John.

Thomas’ first pivotal moment comes in John 11:16 when Jesus decides to go to Bethany after receiving word that Lazarus has died. “Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’” (John 11:16, NRSVUE) Thomas did not mean that they would die like Lazarus, but that Jesus was returning to a place where people wanted Jesus dead. Lazarus did not stay dead as Jesus raised him from the dead. Of course, we know that Jesus did not stay dead either.

Thomas’ next pivotal moment is in John 14. When Jesus spoke about going ahead to prepare a place for the disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) We read this passage at funerals and find it comforting, but can you imagine how puzzled the disciples were to hear Jesus speak like this. Only Thomas had the courage to voice his confusion, “Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’” (John 14:5)

The third time that Thomas is featured in John is today’s reading when Thomas wanted what the others experienced, the opportunity to see the risen Christ and to touch Jesus’ wounds himself. Jesus understood and gave Thomas the opportunity to see and touch him too. Thomas had asked for and received what we all would have wanted.

Finally, Thomas was in the boat with Peter and several other disciples. After a night of failing to catch any fish, the risen Jesus told the disciples to cast their nets off the right side of the boat. The catch was so abundant that they had trouble hauling it into the boat. Thomas was a witness to this last amazing miracle and the breakfast of fish on the beach with Jesus.

Thomas did as Jesus commanded and went out into the world to share the good news. Thomas traveled all the way to India and founded churches that are still active to this day. This reflection about Thomas’ need to touch Jesus’ wounds and the impact of his ministry appears on the UCC website. I am sharing it with you, so that you may have a better appreciation for St. Thomas.

Reflection: “Wounds Empower Us”
Written by Rev. Vinod Wesley, Pastor of Chicago Tamil Church (CTC).

St. Thomas Mount, Little Mount and Santhome Cathedral in Southern India are three important pilgrim places for Christians and people of other faiths in India. These are places, where St. Thomas worked and was killed and his tomb is present. People visit these places to witness the sacrificial love of God and to meditate on how a doubting Thomas became an apostle to India. People like me, who come from the same city where the three St. Thomas’s shrines are present, always felt proud of its Christian witness to God’s love for humanity.

What surprises me, when I visit these places is that people who come see the relics of St. Thomas, like his bones and the spear that killed him, the tomb on which the Cathedral is built, and read stories of his struggles in the exhibits went back empowered to live a life witnessing to God’s grace and love. These relics and the images of the wounds of Jesus and the tomb of Thomas did not create fear, but instead resurrected their spiritual fervor to live more for God as Jesus and Thomas lived in this world. This is where I experienced how the wounds and deaths tell us stories and become symbols of faith and life. These wounds tell stories of how injustice tries to curb the peace of God in this world. The wounds tell us how faithful people resisted against these injustices in non-violent ways.  People who have fear, troubles and challenges visit these shrines to resurrect themselves, the spirit to resist, trust and hope towards a new life. When our wounds, doubts and fears meet with the wounds of Thomas and Jesus. new life resurrects.

The story of Thomas doubting the resurrection of Jesus reminds us about the moments in our lives when our faith is shaken. The violence surrounding us, the deaths of innocent lives due to war, the loss of life and livelihoods because of extreme climate disaster, increase in poverty because of economic uncertainties, depression and mental illness etc., all create uncertainties and fear in us. This season of Easter, we are invited to meet our fears and doubts with the wounds of the resurrected Christ. By doing so, we will receive the peace that Christ gave to Thomas and other disciples which will empower us to become Christ’s apostles of hope and to serve for God’s reign in our communities. Peace be with you. Amen.

Prayer: Risen Christ, you understand us with our wounds, doubts, and fears. Grant us the power of the Spirit so that we may live in trust and hope in you. Amen.

Prayer list: Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Jaqueline-Dixon’s daughter, Kirk, Barbara, Mitchell, Mahala, Mary, La Rae, Bud, Tyra, Marilyn, Tom, Jeff, Jesse, Kate, Kyle, Carmen, Sandy, Gary, Terry, Bob, Mark’s brother Billy and sister-in-law Jane, Delores W., Tyra, Freya and for peace.  

Special prayers for the victims of the Louisville Bank Shooting, especially for the family of Wendy’s friend Josh a victim of the shooting who died.