I invite you to enjoy these weekly meditations and also check out my Talk with Pastor post for reflections on Easter.
I will be traveling to Chile in April and will be back for Mother’s Day. Blessings, Pastor June Fothergill
Alleluia! Christ is risen! But at the beginning of today’s
Resurrection scripture, we meet Mary Magdalene, Mary
the mother of James, and Salome grieving the loss of their
friend and teacher, and on their way to anoint Jesus’ body.
They find an empty tomb and an angel who tells them
Jesus has risen! Their lives are forever changed. What do
we do with that life-altering news today? What is our role
in the ongoing story of Jesus’ resurrection?
This week, live out the Easter story by being a sign of new
life for someone. Give an Easter basket to a homebound or
elderly neighbour, offer a word or sign of hope to someone
in despair, make a donation to a life-giving nonprofit
organization, or invite someone to church.
The story of Thomas is one we can probably all relate
to – for how often do we want proof before we believe
something? The important thing about Thomas’ story
is that he doesn’t completely disengage from his faith.
He wonders and questions, and then comes to believe
after ecountering the resurrected Christ. Jesus says to
the disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (verse 22), and
as disciples today, we have the Holy Spirit with us as we
share our wonderings and welcome them from others.
This week, write down some of the wonderings or questions
you have about faith. Share these with another person
– maybe your pastor or a close friend of faith.
God’s presence among us can sometimes go unnoticed
or even completely ignored. The disciples in this week’s
focus scripture are “startled and terrified” and think
they’ve seen a ghost, not the risen Christ. He shows them
his wounds and asks for fish to eat. He is no longer a ghost,
but their resurrected teacher and friend! In our everyday
lives we are called to embrace this risen Christ and share
God’s love with our communities. As Christ was transformed
in the eyes of the disciples from ghost to friend,
how are we called to transformation in our own lives?
This week, at the end of each day, jot down the ways you’ve
encountered God’s presence during the day. Say a quick
prayer of thanksgiving for the many ways God reveals
the hope and presence of the resurrected Christ to you
in your daily life.
In this week’s focus scripture, Jesus uses the analogy of a
shepherd and his flock to describe our relationship with
God and one another. He is teaching us how to be a flock
– to recognize that the shepherd cares for those already a
part of the flock and also “other sheep who do not belong
to this fold” (verse 16). There will be one flock and one
shepherd, Jesus explains. We are one – all loved by God
and called to love one another.
This week, spend some time with animals. If you have
pets, plan to spend some extra time with them – take them
on a hike or to a dog run. If you don’t have pets, plan a
trip to a local farm or zoo to enjoy the animals.
Last week, Jesus used the image of the shepherd to teach
us about God’s love. This week he explains that God is
like an expert gardener. This image was well understood
by the people who lived in Jesus’ agrarian times.
Today, we can still identify with this imagery’s meaning
in our lives. We might already know that if we don’t stay
connected to the source of life we will not flourish. We
will not bear fruit. That connection, to the source of life
and community, is vital to our Christian faith. When we
forget, how do we become reconnected?
This week, plant something new in your garden or on a
windowsill and watch it grow. If you don’t have a “green
thumb,” get a head start by planting something that’s
already flowering or producing fruit, such as a basil plant
or flowering bush.