A message from our Pastor – September 2022

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

A Message from Pastor Dianne

To the People of God at Harwich,

According to Google, searches for prayer were at an all-time high during the height of the pandemic. Six out of ten people in the US and around the world prayed for an end to the pandemic. People were desperate for a solution. But now that COVID is receding, churches have reopened, and we are resuming familiar ways, prayer searches are back to normal. Yet the need for a deep connection with God remains. [from an online Ministry Matters article]

While worship may never be conducted exactly the way it was prior to the pandemic shutdown, some practices are representative of our theology and are worth re-establishing while new practices become part of our “new normal.” 

On Sunday morning we had a “retiring offering” where the plate was not passed but left near the entrance to the sanctuary. Since we have learned that passing the plate does not pass COVID, we are once again collecting the offering during the service.

More challenging was the practice of communion.  Who should touch the elements and how ought they be distributed?  How can we best control social distancing?  In preparation for the communion, there is still kitchen protocol.  In the sanctuary, we have been receiving communion in both kinds [bread and grape juice] in the pews- like our congregational and Baptist brothers and sisters who emphasize the fellowship aspect of Jesus’ admonition: “do this in remembrance of me.” 

However, it has been our Methodist tradition, to come forward to receive communion at the altar railing thereby emphasizing the hearts yearning to encounter the sacred by leaving our pews to approach God.  Sometimes this involved kneeling [unless that posture was replaced by standing due to physical challenges] and of course, God’s holy presence was always brought to anyone who could not safely navigate the aisle to the railing. Coming forward has been accomplished in a procession or in groups of persons similar to seatings at a table.  This September 4th let’s try approaching the communion table at which Jesus presides.  Think about it…..

After church, we fellowship around tables in the Fellowship Hall….

In the Love of Christ,
Pastor Dianne

 

 

Worship Time

9:30 AM

Harwich UMC

1 Church Street East Harwich, MA 02645 Tel: 508-432-3734

All Rights Reserved Harwich UMC – Website Design by SolutionZ by Mac Marketing

A message from our Pastor – August 2022

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

A Message from Pastor Dianne

A few days ago I was at a stop light behind a truck with the bumper decal:  “If it is tourist season, why can’t we shoot them?”

Well, for economic reasons, they are our guests here on Cape Cod!  That’s why we can’t.

The term “hospitality” refers to the relationship between a guest and a host. If you invite a friend or family member over to your home for dinner, for example, you’ll perform hospitality by accommodating the guest’s needs. Hospitality is understood to be the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.  It is the seasonal specialty in vacation locations!  As an industry, it may include information, transportation, food, and lodging.  Some businesses rely on hospitality to perform their operations and generate revenue.

Hospitality in the Biblical world was a social requirement – a recognition of vulnerability.  In the desert there was a scarcity of resources and survival was a real concern.  Further, tribal interactions might include conquest.  Hospitality between acquaintances and family comes naturally when the need arises to share scarce resources because we are known in the community.  Who would you share your surplus toilet paper with during the early Covid phenomenon?

However, strangers…. Like migrant workers, refugees, immigrants, and tourists… represent the “unknown.”  When lines are longer and traffic stalls, a mind like Christ’s, who suggested we walk the extra mile with our oppressors and give our extra coat away to the needy, would pass gun legislation to protect humans and animals alike rather than declare open season on either.

Enjoy the opportunity to extend hospitality in imitation of Christ.  The opportunity to build the Beloved Community and to break bread with people who have yet to hear the Good News of the life-giving Love of God for each of us. Enjoy the opportunity to extend the Inclusive Kingdom of God.

Pastor Dianne

Worship Time

9:30 AM

Harwich UMC

1 Church Street East Harwich, MA 02645 Tel: 508-432-3734

All Rights Reserved Harwich UMC – Website Design by SolutionZ by Mac Marketing

The Color Purple

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

Sixth Sunday of Easter

[Using the hymn “Shall We Gather at the River,” offer the following call to worship as directed. You will want to have a rehearsal for each part, prior to the worship service. If you have people who can play percussion instruments such as drums, tambourines, maracas, etc., it would be fun to use them during the singing of each verse. Let the atmosphere for this call to worship be joyful.]

L: Come, one and all. Gather together! For this is the day of the Lord!
P: Let’s gather at the river by the throne of God! For there is a blessing forever!
Choir (entering and processing, if able) sings Verse 1 of “Shall We Gather at the River”
L: From the throne of God flows a mighty river of peace and hope for all God’s people!
P: And there shall be rejoicing at the sight of the healing waters!
Choir: singing verse 3 of “Shall We Gather at the River”
L: Our journey brings us to God’s wondrous river of Life!
P: Praise be to God who has drawn us from darkness and filled our world with light.
All: singing verse 4 of “Shall We Gather at the River”

Call to Worship #3:
L: May God be gracious to us and bless us.
P: May God’s face shine upon us and bring us peace!
L: Let all people praise you, O Lord.
P: Let all people shout their joy to your holy name.
L: God blesses us continually throughout all our lives.
P: Thanks be to God, for God’s eternal love and blessing. AMEN.

Words of Assurance:
Let the light of God’s eternal love flood into your hearts this day. Feel the healing presence of God in your lives. Accept God’s love and hope for you. This is the gift freely given for you by Jesus Christ, God’s risen Son our Lord. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer:
Lord, we can only imagine the scene painted for us in Revelation in which we are given a glimpse of eternity. The light of your love pours over all the land, bathing it in healing warmth and hope. We have gathered on this day to celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ. He said to the disciples “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid”. How many times we are troubled and fearful. We feel hopeless in the face of an uncertain future. Help us to place our trust in your love. Open our hearts to see the wonder of your eternity. Release us from our anger, loneliness, and despair. Bring us to the realization that in your love we may find peace and joy. For it is in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we offer this prayer. AMEN.

Benediction:
Beloved of God, go to be a blessing. Bring the good news of forgiveness and healing to this hurting, lonely world. Bring hope to all, for God’s love is poured out for all God’s people.AMEN.

 

John 14:23-29 NRSV Updated Edition

23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me.

25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate,[a] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur you may believe.

Acts 16:9-15 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

The Conversion of Lydia

11 We therefore[a] set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed[b] there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

 

Revelation 21:10  NRSV Updated Edition

10 And in the spirit[a] he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.

Revelation 21:22-22:5

22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The River of Life

22 Then the angel[a] showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life[b] with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

 

The Color Purple
Acts 16:9-15
Revelation 21:1-10, 22–22:5
John 14:23-29
22 May 2022
The Rev Dr. Dianne ES Carpenter

 

In the reading from Acts this morning we hear about the meeting between Paul and a woman called Lydia in the city of Phillippi.  Lydia was a dealer in purple cloth.  Now, usually, I prefer modern translations of the bible, but in the old authorized version, sticking closely to the Greek, it says that she’s “a seller of purple.”  Just that: A seller of purple.

What does purple mean to you?  What does it say?  How many of you are tempted to join the red hat society?  Maybe purple makes you think of the first line from the poem by Jenny Joseph-“when I am an old woman I shall wear purple, with a red hat, which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.” Purple is a dramatic color, an outrageous color.  A bit over the top.

It’s not a color you can ignore, purple.

The cost of purple

These days we’re used to being able to get any color we want.  Recently I was in Home Depot buying yellow paint for the kitchen….  But the lady beside me had a bedspread from the Christmas tree shop with her and the man mixing the paint added a little of this and a little of that and soon he had the exact color of greenish blueish that was in the pattern of the bedspread.

It did not use to be like that.  Dyes were natural, not synthetic, and the dye for purple was made from a juice found in minute quantities in shellfish.  It took thousands of crustaceans to make a yard or two of purple cloth.  So it was very expensive, “worth its weight in silver” it was said.  It was a statement of status and wealth, the Gucci handbag, or the Rolex watch of Roman times.

Lydia

And that’s what Lydia was selling.  She’s selling purple: purple cloth, purple robes, the power of purple.  She’s not local.  She’s from Thyatira, a town well known for making purple cloth.  She seems to be the head of her household with a reference to her servants etc, there’s no husband around, even though she’s a traveling trader.  And if she’s a seller of purple, she’s not poor, because she couldn’t have afforded her stock.

She’s not Jewish, but she believes in God.  She’s what the Jews knew as a “God-fearer”-someone who worships in the synagogue but hasn’t converted completely to Judaism.

But to have a synagogue you need 10 men who will meet together to say prayers.  Phillippi, it seems, doesn’t have a synagogue.  If there’s no synagogue, then any Jews that happened to be in the town or passing through know to meet near the river on the Sabbath to pray.  That’s where Lydia goes, and it’s where Paula and Silas go also.

Paul

So here is this rich, confident woman, meeting Paul for the first time.

It had all started so well.  Paul and Barnabas had traveled through Asia, founding churches and setting people on fire for the gospel.  But they had come back to a less than enthusiastic welcome from the Jerusalem church, who wanted to know why they were baptizing gentiles.

Paul felt the spirit had forbidden Silas and him to go back to Asia.  Whenever he tries to go he feels he is rebuffed, until finally he is called in a dream to Macedonia.  He goes to Philippi, on the outer fringe of the Jewish people, where he finds no synagogue where he could preach the gospel; so he goes to the river probably looking for Jewish leaders and finds ‘only’ women.

There he meets Lydia.  Lydia has had her heart opened by the Holy Spirit so that she can hear the message of God.  Remember this verse:  “the Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.”

Have you ever had experiences that change your life forever?  Special people and special times.  It is excruciatingly difficult, sometimes, to talk to people about their faith.  We get tongue-tied, we feel foolish, and we feel that no one could possibly be convinced by what we have to say.  And that’s quite right, they can’t.  But they can have their hearts opened by the spirit, just waiting for Christians to put into words, or better still into actions, the meaning of their faith in Jesus.  We don’t have to convert people, the spirit does that.  All we have to do is speak honestly and openly about what faith means for us.

So Paul, who seemed at this time to be on a mission that was going nowhere, meets the woman who will be the linchpin of the church in Philippi.  Other churches give him nothing but grief, the Philippians are a constant source of support for him, financial as well as spiritual.  His letter to them is one of the warmest of the epistles.  He’s found a church in what seemed an unlikely place, and it’s been one of his success stories.

Listening to the Spirit

And it happened because he listened to the Spirit, heard and obeyed when the Spirit said “no”, went where the Spirit called him and met Lydia the seller of purple, whose heart the Spirit had opened.

Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, there’s a reason why things don’t seem to go right.  The house sale that falls through.  The job offer that doesn’t come.  Sometimes it’s just is what it is, and we have to cope and try again.  But sometimes it seems that it really is God’s providence; that God has a plan for us, and is just waiting for us to see it, listen to the voice of the Spirit, and follow.  The Church is all about listening to the voice of the Spirit leading us on to our next “world-changing” mission as well as our personal direction.

Lydia, the seller of purple.  Is this just a story of Lydia and Paul, or is it more?

The book of acts is a journey, a journey of the gospel from Jerusalem to Asia and then on to Rome.  And here, near the middle of the story, as Paul leaves Asia for the first time, he meets Lydia the seller of purple.

Purple wasn’t just an indicator of wealth.  It was a symbol of political power.  The more important you were as a Roman senator, the more purple decoration you had on your tunic and your toga.  The emperor, and only the emperor, would wear a toga made entirely of purple cloth.  Purple was the color of the Roman elite. 

And here, as the message of the gospel crosses the Aegean and moves toward the heart of the Greco-Roman world, here the imperial purple and the message of the kingdom meet.

But they don’t meet on a battlefield, they don’t meet in a trial of strength-for example: my God is more powerful than your God.  How can a faith that is based on a God who humbled himself to be a man, who was prepared to die for humanity because he loved us so much, who was prepared to submit to torture and degradation and humiliation, how can a faith like that truly be spread by power politics and strength of arms?

No, the battle between Roman power and the message of the gospel meets in the heart of a woman.  A woman who sold luxury goods to the elite and the powerful, but who knew there was something more to life.  A woman whose heart was prepared by the Holy Spirit to hear the call of Jesus, and to follow him.  Have you been called to use your gifts to follow Jesus into the future?

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

 

He Called My Name

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

A woman wanted to visit a psychic.  Her boyfriend was against it.  “They’re all frauds,” he said. “I want to try it,” she said.  “I’ll pay for it.  Hey, I’ll bet she’ll be able to contact your grandmother.”

The boyfriend gave in. The psychic welcomed them into her room, sat them down at her table in the dimmed room and began the séance.  She closed her eyes. A moment later her eyelids began fluttering and her hands floated up above the table.

Shortly thereafter, a coherent voice emanated saying,

“Grandson? Are you there?“

The man replied, ”Grandmother? is that you?”

”Yes grandson, it’s me,” the voice came back.

“I told you she was real!” the girlfriend whispered to her boyfriend.

“It’s really you, grandmother?” the man repeated.

“Yes, grandson. it’s really me”.

The voice came back once again. The man looked puzzled,

“You’re sure it’s you, grandmother?” he asked again.

“Yes, grandson,” the voice once again returned,” It’s definitely me.”

The man paused a moment.

“Grandmother, I have just one question for you,” he said.

“Anything, my child,” the voice replied.

“When did you learn to speak English?”

 

Mother of God

There were four women bragging about their sons. The first woman says, “Have you heard? My son is a priest. He’s very well respected that when he enters a room or a building, everyone greets him, ‘Hello, Father.’
“Psh! That’s nothing,” the second woman answers. “My son is a bishop so when he enters a building or a room, people greet him, ‘Good morning, Your Excellency!’”
“Is that all you’ve got?” interjects the third woman. “I’ll do you one better! My son is a cardinal, and when he walks into a room, people greet him, ‘Hello, Your Eminence.’”
The fourth woman, who had been quiet thus far smiles and says, “Well, my son doesn’t have any title, but he’s tall, handsome, looks like a Hollywood star, that when he walks into a room, women fan themselves and go, ‘My God!’”

Acts 9:36-43 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
Peter in Lydda and Joppa

36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas.[a] She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37 At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter got up and went with them, and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Meanwhile, he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

  1. 36Tabitha in Aramaic and Dorcas in Greek means a gazelle

 

Revelation 7:9-17 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
The Multitude from Every Nation

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb!”

11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 singing,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 For this reason they are before the throne of God
    and worship him day and night within his temple,
    and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
16 They will hunger no more and thirst no more;
    the sun will not strike them,     nor any scorching heat,
17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

 

John 10:22-30 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
Jesus Is Rejected by the Jews

22 At that time the Festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah,[a] tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me, 26 but you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, in regard to what he has given me, is greater than all,[b] and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

 

“He Called My Name”      
The Rev Dr. Dianne Carpenter
Acts 9:36-43; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30
8 May 2022

 

Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me, 26 but you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep…”

Last Sunday we heard about one of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus in which Jesus sought out Peter and told him that rather than being a Fisherman, Peter was to become the Shepherd of Jesus’ flock.

The bishops of the church have as part of their liturgical garments a Staff, a Shepherd’s crook if you will, to symbolize their place in the work of the church – to follow Jesus like Peter was called to do- shepherding the flock, feeding the lambs and tending the infant church.  In fact, while the terms might not have come into use immediately, Peter was “de facto” the Bishop in Jerusalem just as the Pope is the Bishop of Rome following Paul’s “de facto” call to that office.

Likewise, the orthodox churches are led by Bishops following the Bishop in Constantinople after the church had spread.

And so according to Acts we see Peter involved in ministry in Lydia near Joppa which are Northwest of Jerusalem and on the Mediterranean Sea.  He is summoned it as the recognized shepherd of the Christian flock to the home of Dorcas who has just died.

Dorcas it is referred to as a disciple of Jesus in this passage—a female disciple.  God has empowered a woman whose name means “gazelle” to be Jesus’ disciple.  She functions as one of the early Deacons of the church.  Her ministry is one of service.  She heads up a welfare program among Joppa’s poor people.  In her day widows languished on the very bottom rung of society’s ladder.  They had no one to either protect or represent them.  So widows are society’s most vulnerable citizens to whom Jesus’ disciple Dorcas gives hope.   

In Joppa every believer knew and thanked god for this disciple of Jesus.  Dorcas reminds us of the people in our own congregations who never seem to tire of doing Jesus’ work for hurting people.  God always seems to put them in the right place at the right time, with helpful words and compassionate actions. We thank God for them and wish there were even more of them. The deacons of the Jewish communities were responsible for the care of widows because women were invisible. Today, the women of Afghanistan are becoming invisible as the current regime The Taliban have ordered all women to cover their faces in public in Afghanistan, the latest sweeping restriction by a government that has taken away women’s right to travel long distances alone, work outside healthcare or education, and receive a secondary education.13 hours ago

However, after an apparently short illness, Dorcas’ seemingly boundless capacity for ministry drains away.  She dies, plunging the whole community into profound grief.  And when Dorcas dies, her ministry to people on society’s margins dies with her.

When Peter first arrives, it’s your average pastoral care call.  A friend dies and they call the head pastor, Peter.  He arrives in haste.  I’m sure he was greeted with solemn faces, many tears.  There were hugs and loving touches for all who were grieving.  The house appears full of mourners- widows who had received the love and compassion of a woman named Dorcas.

It was a scene not unlike Jesus being summoned to Mary and Martha’s home upon the death of Lazarus.

Once Peter makes his way through the crowd, the widows begin telling stories.  Isn’t that what we do?  We tell stories of our loved ones when they are gone.  We remember together.  And apparently remembering Dorcas meant remembering her craft. “The widows stood beside Peter, weeping and showing him tunics and other clothing that she made while she was with them.” I imagine many were wearing those tunics and clothing.

It seems a wonderful tribute to Dorcas-the work of her hands walking around while stories are told of her love and compassion. They were showing her off by showing off her handiwork.

With Lazarus Jesus called his name and he came out of the tomb into the midst of the mourners.

But Peter put the mourners outside and, alone, entered the room where Dorcas was. The last time Peter has done something like this he was with Jesus and a couple other friends. They entered the room of Jarius’ daughter who had died.  Jesus told her to get up and she did.

Peter imitated Jesus. He called Dorcas’ name and she got up. 

And then calling the saints and widows-Peter showed them Tabitha. Not the work of her hands but the work of God’s hand, the work of the Spirit to resurrect, to give life, to recreate, to lift up. Peter showed them God’s handiwork.

This text is a happy, hopeful one of healing in the face of chronic illness and life in the face of death.

During his life and ministry Jesus called the names of people and they came to life in his presence.  And John recorded that when Jesus was walking in the portico of the temple for the Festival of Dedications, he said that those who believed, who were his “sheep,” would hear his voice, recognize it and follow in his paths of life…

…” my sheep hear my voice.  I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Mary recognized the risen Christ in the garden when he called her name.

The disciples followed Jesus when he called their names.  Lazarus came from the tomb when Jesus called his name…  Jarius’ daughter got up from death when he called her name…

Last week we heard Jesus asked Peter he loved him and when Peter said ‘yes’ Jesus commissioned him to call the name of those who were sheep of Jesus’ flock.

Peter was to follow in his master’s steps…  Peter called Tabitha’s name and she came to life!

Some people expect a narrow imitation of Jesus.  Healing ministries and resurrections in the flesh.  However, I would like to suggest that Jesus was all about broad interpretations of God’s relationship to humanity and creation.

Dorcas’ rising to life signals that God values societies’ marginalized citizens like widows, as much after Jesus’ resurrection as before it.  Widows, orphans, children, and other vulnerable people are very close to God’s heart.

The church had to deal with many challenging issues within its ranks as well as in relationship to the Roman Empire and the Temple Establishment. Do people become Christ followers by baptism or by becoming Jewish and then Baptized?  Do women speak in the public settings? Can we embrace within our fellowship people whose culture and appearance is not like our own?

The history of the faith is long but the call to various ministries – has continued because God’s work is not done.

Has Jesus called your name….?  To follow him….  To participate in his healing ministry…  To call the name of someone who is sinking or dying emotionally or physically.  Someone whom Jesus loves, one of the sheep.

He called my name and I’ve never been the same…  He is calling the name of someone here today….  To Come to life, to be resurrected, to rise and follow him….  Is it you? 

John 20:1-18

20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told the that he had said these things to her.

Acts 10:34-43

34Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

 

What Kind of Fish were They?

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)

9:1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.   Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

9:7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one.  Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.  For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.  Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”   The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”  But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.”

9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”  So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Revelation 5:11-14

5:11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

5:13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

5:14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

John 21:1-19

21:1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way.  Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples.

21:3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.  Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

21:5 Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.”  He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were and your mouse for your not able to haul it in because there were so I am and all rulers and are you doing up open up their case at all many fish.  That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea.

21:8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.   When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread.   Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

21:11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn.   Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now, none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.

21:13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

21:14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

21:16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

21:18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.”

21:19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

“What Kind of Fish were They?”
The Rev Dr Dianne Carpenter
John 21:1-19
1 May 2022

Jim had an awful day fishing on the lake, sitting in the blazing sun all day without catching one.  On his way home, he stopped at the supermarket and ordered for catfish.  He told the fish salesman, “pick four large ones out and throw them at me, will you?” “Why do you want me to throw that you?”  “Because I want to tell my wife that I caught them.”  “Okay but I suggest that you take the orange roughy.”  “Why?”  “Because your wife came in earlier today and said that if you came by, I should tell you to take orange roughy.  She prefers that for supper tonight.”

Tiberias… St Peter fish tilapia….

We’re on the beach when it happens, a man arrives and makes a fire….  Produces a loaf of bread and begins to cook some fish.  We cannot see what kind of fish, but it smells sooooo good….

What kind of fish are being cooked?…  What are you hungry for?

Then you see the man stand up and wave to the seven men in a boat out on the lake ….

There is some shouting and then they all come ashore and stand around the fire…

And you enjoy this wonderful, magical moment…..  And suddenly you realize that you feel closer to this assembly than possible because the words: “Taste and see, taste and see the goodness of the Lord” comes into your mind….  And you know their names….  And you remember them: “…  Simon Peter, Thomas called the twin, Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples.”

I love the sacramental nature of this whole scene. Jesus was accustomed to the appetite one would have after a long night’s work.  So, he offered them bread and fish.

But in the offer, Jesus also knew of the deeper hunger that each of the disciples possessed.  Hunger for truth; hunger for the love of God; hunger to know this truly was Jesus, risen and standing before them.  So, just as he had offered himself to them every day of his earthly ministry, just as he offered himself to them from the cross, and just as he offered himself to them in the broken bread of that final Passover meal, Jesus once again offers them himself, the bread of life.

Who are you closest to at this moment; Peter the Denyer, Thomas the doubter, Nathaniel the proud, James and John the sons of Zebedee who had said [according to Mark], “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And Jesus said to them, “What you want me to do for you, and two others…

Jesus has come to give followers the desire of their hearts…  What they most desire and need….  More than breakfast after a hard night’s work…  More than success where there had been a failure at the job….  More than coveted seats of power….

At heart, Peter wanted to be forgiven his broken promises and his denial of Jesus on the last night they had eaten together.  Jesus was alive, had appeared to many and to the disciples more than once.  But unable to move past his denial of Jesus and his bravado of steadfastness, Peter went back to the thing he had known from childhood -fishing- and found he could not even do that well!

Until Jesus led him to the future –Peters future –not fishing but shepherding and loving Jesus’ flock, a flock that would grow beyond the imaginings of the last three years.

Across the charcoal fire of breakfast, Jesus begins a poignant journey with Peter filled with questions and answers.  Recalling the very first meeting Jesus says, “Simon son of John, (Simon Bar Jonas) do you love me more than these?” so, just what was Jesus talking about?

Do you love me more than these other men love me?  Do you love me more than you love these men?  Or do you love me more than these things: fishing, fishing boat, nets, the gear, and all the stuff of fishing.  Which one was it?

It was probably a little of all of them.  When Jesus said that all of the disciples would desert him after his betrayal Peter vehemently said,” I don’t care what these guys do, I won’t desert you, no matter what happens.” In a sense Peter had been claiming that his love for Jesus was greater than theirs.  That he was better than them.  But he did these desert Jesus.  Not only did he desert Jesus, he denied even knowing him, not once but three times.  And then the cock crowed.

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these men love me?” humbled, all Peter could say was, “Lord, you know I love you.” As if to say,” Lord, I can’t say that anymore.  Not after what I did, but I do love you.”

With love, compassion, mercy, grace, and forgiveness Jesus looked at Peter across that charcoal fire, with the smell of that denial still in the air, and said, “Feed my lambs.”

Jesus is being very clear about Peter’s role of caring for the young flock of new Christians, the lambs.  Peter was to feed and nurture them through his leadership and faith.  Peter was no longer simply the apprentice shepherd, now the flock was his.  Jesus was passing the mantle just as Elijah had done with Elisha.  “Feed my lambs.  Be the good shepherd that I was.  Be willing to lay down your life for the flock to as I did.”

As if once weren’t enough, a second time Jesus asks, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter must’ve been confused.  He just answered that question.  And yet Jesus was asking again.  So, Peter didn’t hesitate, “yes, Lord; you know that I love you.

Jesus replied, “Tend my sheep.” Just in case Peter didn’t get it, he was a little hardheaded time, his strength wasn’t the only reason Jesus called him ‘the rock’.

Tend my sheep.  Be the shepherd to this brand-new flock that is struggling right now.  Be the shepherd I called you to be and I know you can be.  Tend my sheep.

The third time, Jesus asked, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” I wonder if the smoke of the charcoal fire shifted just about then.  Or maybe it was the coals that shifted and sparked up as Peter heard the question and was stung to the very core.  But what ever happened, I think Peter was drawn back to that seen in Caiaphas’ courtyard.  Maybe another cock crowed.  But I think at that moment it all became clear for Peter.

He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Lord, I can’t hide anything from you.  I can’t hold anything back from you.  You know I would take it all back and do something different if I could.”

Tell them and then, when Peter looked across this charcoal fire and locked eyes with Jesus for the third time, what he saw was different.  It wasn’t a loving disappointment.  What he saw was an invitation to come home from the far country.  It was an invitation into forgiveness.  And it was an invitation back into the position of leadership for which Jesus had trained Peter.

Three acts of denial, three acts of redemption across the charcoal fire.  With love and compassion, filled with redemption and forgiveness, Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus offered reconciliation, forgiveness and redemption.  And in so doing empowered Peter to be the leader he needed to be.

What kind of fish were you fed on the beach that morning…..  The kind you want and need most.

John 20:1-18

20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told the that he had said these things to her.

Acts 10:34-43

34Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com