There was once a community of people that lived in a world that was grey. The grass was grey, the sky was not blue but grey. Everyone’s hair was grey, the rainbow had only shades of grey in it, even milk was grey. It was very difficult to tell teams apart on a sports field and spring time was no where near as much fun – There were only grey daffodils for a start. If you have ever felt like you have lived in a world of grey you know how difficult it can be, especially when you have lived with colour. This people had lived only ever with grey, it was all they had known. For us it would be like living a really dense think fog all of the time – although it was probably worse.
Anyway one day a ,man came along and talked about a better place, a place which was not just grey but had something called ‘colour’ in it. Those who live din grey world were amazed at such a thing. ‘Colour’ they had never heard that word before, he talked about blue and red and yellow. He never seemed to use the word grey at all.
A few of them were persuaded to take a journey on a bus to this better place. As you can imagine they were very excited, but a bit scared at the same time of visiting this colour world. The bus set off and as you can imagine there was lots of talking and discussing. There were lots of ‘are we there yet?’ and they had eaten all of their grey cheese sandwiches by the time an hour had passed.
Eventually they arrived. It was truly beautiful. But the new world hurt their eyes, they were not used to so much colour, it was so, …it was so bright. It was a bit like the light being switched on in the morning when you have just woken up. It made them blink, hard, some shielded their eyes. They were invited to get off the bus and they did, but,… well, the grass hurt their feet, some even cut their feet on it. What was wrong? Grey grass never hurts like this it was always soft and never cut your feet. The man tried to persuade them to stay, they would get used to the colour, the glare and the ‘hard’ grass and streams. They would get used to the fact that this world seemed more solid, more stable, compared to them and their grey world. But they would not stay, and they got back on their bus and travelled back to their grey world
(Based on C. S. Lewis The Great Divorce)
But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”
Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands.
Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”
Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”
Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
John 20:27-29 (The Message)
Who thinks the bible passage we have just looked at has a ghost in it? Did you see it?
Where was it? Jesus walked through the walls because he had to, the doors were locked. The Disciples were still worried for their lives and what the Jewish authorities might do them.
Just hold on a minute. Let’s turn it around through 180 degrees. What happens if Jesus is the one who is more real than this world? What happens if the walls of that room compared to Jesus were not as ‘solid’? What happens if you turn to the person next to you and look at them and compared to the resurrected Jesus they are a ghost?
Now don’t go round getting frightened, because I know some of you will be when it comes to ghosts. But Christians make an audacious claim about Jesus. Some would say it is a ridiculous claim, a fanciful claim. Christians claim that Jesus was resurrected and that in being resurrected he became more real than the world we live in right now. He was the first fruit of the new heaven and new earth.
Mind blowing, scary and amazing all at the same time.
In the world when Jesus was alive ‘resurrection’ was never used to mean ‘live after death’. It was used to denote new bodily life after. This is what Christian hope is firmly based upon. It does not mean ‘going to heaven’ or even ‘escaping death’ but it does mean coming to bodily life again after bodily death.
This world is grey compared to what the new heaven and earth will be like in all it’s colour and solidness.
The invitation is the same today, as it was to Thomas. Thomas the ‘muddled, dogged Disciple determined not to be taken in, standing in his rights not to believe anything until he got solid evidence, was confronted by the smiling Jesus who had just walked through a locked door” Make no mistake these appearances of Jesus to the Disciples seems to show he belonged to this world and a different world. And what was Thomas’s response? It was just the same as Jo’s today, “My Master, my God”
What about you? What do you respond? Leave the grey world behind and come and live in colour.
You do have an opportunity to respond now as we share a special meal together.
Bible reading -
Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said,
This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.
After supper, he did the same thing with the cup:
This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you.
Each time you drink this cup, remember me.
What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you re-enact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (The Message)
Words of invitation
The table of Jesus is your place of gathering
Here you are welcomed, wanted, loved
Here there is a place set for you
So come all you who thirst
All you who hunger for the bread of life
All you whose souls cry out for healing
Come all you who are weary
All you who are bowed down with worry
All you who ache with the tiredness of living
Come all you poor
All you who are without food or refuge
Ail you who go hungry in a fat land
Come all you who are lost
All you who search for meaning but cannot find it
All you who have no place of belonging
Jesus invites you
Draw near with faith
Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ which he gave for you and his blood which he shed for you
Eat and drink in remembrance that Christ died for you and feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving.
If this is part of your story, if you would like to be part of the community that tells this story, if you want to remember, then come. Come with family, come with friends, come as you are, for all is ready
There will be 4 areas around the room. At two of them you will be able to receive the bread and wine from someone, at the other two you will be able to serve yourself.
The will be some music playing and some pictures on the screen.