Preparation: For the Children’s sermon you will not need anything.
For the worship station you will need a large bowl or jar (even better if you can take all this outside and use a large metal bucket and burn the paper that will be put in it), many small pieces of paper and pens or pencils to write or draw with.
I want to read you something from a different translation of the Bible – this is from a translation called The Message, by Eugene Peterson. John 20:23 in this translation says, “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
That got me thinking about this whole reading today about Jesus and the disciples. We often focus on Thomas when we read this story – maybe because we don’t want to be like Thomas, or maybe because we feel blessed that we have not seen and we still believe. I want to think about this a different way – how do you think that Thomas felt? How did he feel about Jesus dying? How did he feel about his friends claiming to see Jesus when he had not? If they were telling the truth, how did he feel about Jesus appearing the them and not to him? Did he feel hurt? Angry? Sad?
We will never really know, but think about those times when you are hurt or sad or angry. It can be really difficult to let those feelings go, and then we hold on to whatever it was that made us feel that way. We are slow to forgive, and we hold onto the sins – then what do we do with them?
Jesus appearing to Thomas opened a path for Thomas to forgive and to let go. Something that we all need at some point.
Loving God, in this season of Easter we celebrate your victory over sin and death, we rejoice in the freedom of your love and mercy. Teach us to forgive and be merciful so that we can be free from the weight of sin and grudges. Amen
This is a twist on the idea of writing confessions on paper and burning them This time invite people to write things that they need to forgive on paper. People are welcome to keep their paper as a reminder to go and forgive, or to release their paper into the bucket or jar so that they can let the sin go.
Set up a station with a large bowl, bucket or jar (or, as I said earlier – a way to collect and then burn the paper safely!). You can leave paper and pens at the station or distribute them around the worship space.