Wolcott United Methodist Church

Welcome to the Wolcott, VT, United Methodist Church. Unfortunately, due to the uptick in covid-19 cases during the past few weeks, we have decided to suspend live worship once again. Worship will continue to be available via zoom every week, however, and the link can be found here on the front page of the website every Sunday morning. The service is also posted so that you can follow along and participate if you wish. Following the service, Pastor's Mike's sermon will be posted, as well. We welcome you to join us on Sunday mornings whether or not you are a regular part of our congregation.

4023 VT Route 15 , Wolcott , VT 05680
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802.888.0395

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The United Methodist Church

Service and Pastor Mike's Message for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, April 18, 2021 at 10:00am

posted on April 18

Wolcott and Binghamville
United Methodist Churches

  3rd Sunday of Easter      
                                                   April 18, 2021 - 10:00 p.m.
   (Led from the Wolcott UMC) 

GREETING, ANNOUNCEMENTS & CELEBRATIONS
 
PRELUDE:
Bringing in the Light of Christ
 
CALL TO WORSHIP:
L: When we are confused
P: Lord, give us peace.
L: When we are afraid
P: Lord, give us peace.
L: When we are lost in grief
P: Lord, give us peace.
All: O God, meet us in this room
And grant us peace!

(Safiyah Fosua, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship
Resources, Valerie Bridgeman Davis, and Safiyah Fosua Eds., 2007, p.60.)
 
OPENING HYMN:  “Lead Me, Lord”            UMH#473
https://youtu.be/nIwxmEKdIQw
 
OPENING PRAYER (in unison):
A Prayer for Luke 24:39-43
L:  When Jesus appeared to the disciples, he offered his nail-scarred
hands and feet as proof that he was, indeed, the Risen Lord.
Then, he ate in their presence (from Luke 24:39-43).
 
P:  Lord, we are living in a world that behaves as though
you never lived. Our eyes behold atrocities and insults that
we never thought possible and that our grandparents thought
they would never see again. We live in a world that is longing
for proof of the Resurrection, proof of the Living Lord.
 
Lord, show us how to prove your living through our lives.
Put our hands to doing what you would have done were
you still on this earth. Place our feet on a path that leads
others to salvation. Pull us out of our caves of isolation so
that we might be seen as ordinary, living, breathing, caring
people of the Resurrection.
 
 
When the people of the land cry out for proof that you
are alive, or even that you ever existed, may we be able to
offer our hands and feet and our lives as living proof. Amen.
(Safiyah Fosua, Easter Liturgical Resources from Africana
Writers, edited by Safiya Fosua, 2020.)
 
OFFERING
 
OFFERING PRAYER (in unison):  
Mighty God who brings life and hope out of death and
despair, help us hear the invitation Christ offered to the
disciples, “Touch me and see!” Make us bold to grab hold
of the risen Christ – not for this day but for all our days.
May we offer our gifts this morning not to the church
 historical—the church that was—but to a church that is
becoming, that is still being born, that Christ will bring
into the future. May our eyes and ears and hearts continue
to hold on to him as we help Christ lead his church
forward! In his name, we pray. Amen. (Luke 24:36b-48)
 
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 3:12-19
12 Seeing this, Peter addressed the people: “You Israelites, why are
you amazed at this? Why are you staring at us as if we made him
walk by our own power or piety? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob—the God of our ancestors—has glorified his servant Jesus.
This is the one you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, even
though he had already decided to release him. 14 You rejected the holy
and righteous one, and asked that a murderer be released to you
instead. 15 You killed the author of life, the very one whom God raised
from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 His name itself has made
this man strong. That is, because of faith in Jesus’ name, God has
strengthened this man whom you see and know. The faith that comes
through Jesus gave him complete health right before your eyes.
17 “Brothers and sisters, I know you acted in ignorance. So did your
rulers. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he foretold through all the
 prophets: that his Christ would suffer. 19 Change your hearts and
lives! Turn back to God so that your sins may be wiped away.
 
1 John 3:1-7
1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should
be called God’s children, and that is what we are! Because the world
didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.  2 Dear friends, now
we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We
know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him
as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves even as
he is pure. 4 Every person who practices sin commits an act of rebellion,
and sin is rebellion. 5 You know that he appeared to take away sins,
and there is no sin in him. 6 Every person who remains in relationship
to him does not sin. Any person who sins has not seen him or known him.

Practicing sin or righteousness
7
Little children, make sure no one deceives you.  The person who practices
righteousness is righteous, in the same way as Jesus is righteous.

Luke 24:36b-48Jesus appears to the disciples
36 While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among
them and said, “Peace be with you!” 37 They were terrified and
afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost.  38 He said to them,
“Why are you startled? Why are doubts arising in your hearts? 39 Look
at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see, for a ghost
doesn’t have flesh and bones like you see I have.” 40 As he said this,
he showed them his hands and feet. 41 Because they were wondering
and questioning in the midst of their happiness, he said to them, “Do
you have anything to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish.
43 Taking it, he ate it in front of them.  44 Jesus said to them, “These
are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that
everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and
the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to
understand the scriptures. 46 He said to them, “This is what is written:
the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and a
change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached
in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are
witnesses of these things.
 
L: May God’s Word give light to our path and strength for our living.
P: THANKS BE TO GOD.
 
HYMN OF PREPARATION:
“Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”  UMH# 66
https://youtu.be/sx1eMwlDFb8
 
MESSAGE:     “Touch and See”
 
Just last week, we heard almost the exact same Gospel message as we
just read this morning. Last week, doubting Thomas called out Jesus to
prove he lived. This week, we hear Jesus challenging those very same
disciples to put their hands in his wounds, to touch him, to feed him,
to prove He is, indeed, very much alive.
 
Last week's gospel message from John challenged Thomas specifically.
I can imagine Thomas, now slack jawed and dumbstruck, suddenly
accepting the truth simply on sight, without ever actually touching
the Christ, the anointed one.
 
Laurie and I first visited the Grand Canyon fifteen years ago. We had
visited Meteor Crater in the morning then drove out to Sunset Crater.
At our first stop at Sunset Crater, there was a lava flow next to the road
that looked like it had happened the day before. Nothing but a jet black
river of frozen lava some thirty or forty feet high.
 
In total disbelief at what we were seeing, we climbed up onto the flow,
fully expecting it to be so hot as to be melting the rubber on the soles
of our shoes. It wasn't and it didn't. It wasn't enough just for us to look
at it. We had to climb on it. We had to walk on it. We had to touch it.
We had to reach into the spaces that had been formed as the lava
had solidified and touch and feel for life in those spaces.
 
There was none to be found.
 
That lava flow had spewed forth across that road 700 years ago.
Yes, there was life on the edges of that flow. Tiny trees, weeds and
insects scurried around the edges but we found nothing within
the lava field itself.
 
We traveled around the crater loop that early afternoon. Across
from the lava flow, a trail led up the hill to a crater that may very
well have been the source of that lava flow. We took our time
heading up the trail to the summit that was perhaps a thousand feet
above the road. We had to stop several times, the altitude causing
our hearts to race due to being short of breath.
 
The crater at the summit looked like it was full of rich, life giving soil
but it, too, like the lava flow below us, was pretty much devoid of
life. Though numerous trees had sprung up on the slopes of
the crater, there wasn't enough moisture being retained in the
crater itself to really support vegetation in quite the same way.
 
We also explored the Wupatki ruins that same afternoon. Once
again, we were pretty much touchy-feely, in awe of a structure
that had withstood hundreds of years of vacancy.
 
I had checked the map before we left that morning. I had noticed
that the Little Colorado River crossed the road near the turnoff for
Tuba City. A little town stood there, the main feature being a
historic trading post, complete with museum, gas station, restaurant
and of course the main attraction, the actual trading post itself, where
trappers and hunters would have sold hides in exchange for supplies.
 
Curiosity satiated, along with a little food in our bellies from the
restaurant, we still had time to kill. I had hoped to see a little more
of the canyon the Little Colorado flowed through. The East entrance
 to the Grand Canyon was some fifteen miles up the road to the west.
 Laurie's birthday was the next day; I hoped to surprise her with at
least a small glimpse of the canyon on the eve of her special day.
 
We stopped at a couple of pullouts hoping to catch a glimpse of the
canyon but it was too far off in the distance. Navajo vendors were
packing up their wares at a few of the pull-offs.
 
We climbed up some four thousand feet from the Trading Post, the
road winding back and forth, vegetation changing: from cactus, to
scrub brush to tall pines as we rose in elevation. Eventually, we
reached the east gate.
 
Sunset was approaching. I reached for our camera and my camera,
hoping to catch the look of wonder and awe on Laurie's face as
she stepped out of the car and headed for the canyon.
 
By the end of that week, in addition to climbing craters and lava flows,
we would have walked a mile and a half down into the Grand Canyon,
hugging the canyon wall for most of the first mile, brushed up against
mule trains carrying luggage and tourists to Phantom Ranch, scaled
Cathedral rock in Sedona and eaten real Mexican Food, not that
ex-Mex stuff that is most commonly served in the northeast.
 
Jesus invited his disciples to share food with him that day. He invited
them to not only look at him, as one might gape at the sight of a ghost,
but to actually touch him, to confirm the presence of his crucifixion
scars, to physically confirm his presence.
 
That was about two thousand years ago. The stories that tell us of
his presence are as fresh as the 700 year ancient lava flow Laurie
and I experienced in Arizona. Like the occasional small tree
encroaching on the edge of that flow, the stories of Jesus are
tarnished only by the translations we have of them.
 
In both the Luke and John iterations of this event eight days after his
resurrection, Jesus emphasizes the importance of the faith of those
persons who have not seen and have yet believed. Persons like us.
Persons who seek the Lord weekly, daily, or even constantly.  Persons
who can attain that faith without having seen, without having touched.
 
Many of us have witnessed wonders that are present on this earth.
We have seen meteors streak across the night sky, Laurie and I even
heard one roar over our house a few weeks ago. We have seen natural
features, we have seen ruins. we have even seen foreign nations.
 
None of us alive today can offer a believable account of having seen
or touched Jesus.
 
There are times, though, that we have encounters that none of us
can explain in any other way. That daily visitor to your hospital bed
that no one else knew was there, that person who showed up to give
you a ride, that person who stopped to help pick you up when you fell,
that person who wiped away your tears and who you never saw again.
 
We listen to each other tell those stories of faith, those stories of
special moments that only you and that other person who came
to you were witness to.
 
That picture I took of Laurie's wonderment when we got to the Grand
Canyon? Well, you'll just have to accept that one on faith. The camera
never made it to my eye. I paused. Though my hand was on the camera,
I never turned it on, never focused it, never snapped the shutter.
 
While our 21 mile, 11,000 foot elevation change, hike from the North
Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim will probably remain our
greatest physical accomplishment of our lives, that picture my camera
never took of Laurie when she first saw the canyon will remain my
most memorable picture ever.
 
That one you'll just have to accept on faith.
 
Let us be in prayer: Lord, when you came to Your disciples eight days
after your resurrection, you allowed them to touch you, allowed
them to see you, allowed them to experience you. You shared food
with them, you shared the power of the Holy Spirit with them. You
blessed them in person and you bless us through faith. Grant us the
grace and peace that comes with that blessing. In Your most gracious
and Holy Name we pray, Amen.
 
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS
 
L:  Lord Jesus Christ, the light of your love shines on, illuminating the
places where you are present. As the bewildered disciples pondered the
stories of your appearance, you penetrated the darkness of their fear
and doubt with your word of peace. You showed them the appalling
marks of evil pierced on your hands and feet. You opened their minds
to understand why you had to die to defeat such evil and death.
Increase our understanding, we pray, and open our minds and hearts
to receive you . . .
Lord, hear our prayer . . .
 
Bring to us O God, the sense of your living presence as we
go into this new week. Renew in us the faith you want us to have,
the faith that is not afraid to reach out in your name and to share the
treasure you have given us, that treasure which is greater than silver
and gold . . . Lord – you know our hearts, you know our needs, and you
know the hearts of those around us and their needs. We lift ourselves
and them before you at this time . . .
 
Lord, hear our prayer . . .
 
Lord, we specially hold before you today . . .
(intercessions are shared)
 
Lord hear our prayer . . .
 
Finally, O Lord, we ask that you would bless us at the Wolcott and
Binghamville UMC’s with vision for the future and reverence for the
past. Guide us each day as we minister to one another and to world for
which you gave yourself. Help us each day to bear witness to your name
and to do that which you would have us do.
We ask it through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
(Written by Rev. Richard J. Fairchild and posted on his 
Kir-shalom website. Opening paragraph written by Moira Laidlaw, on 
Liturgies Online. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/04/
prayers-of-people-easter-3.html
.)
 
THE LORD'S PRAYER
 
*CLOSING HYMN:
“There Are Some Things I May Not Know”  TFWS#2147
https://youtu.be/W5ftCYF4MRY
 
SENDING FORTH:
L:  Go now as God’s chosen witnesses
to testify that Christ has been raised
and that we are raised with him.
Do not look for him among the dead,
but be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

And may God raise you from all that would
entomb you;  May Christ Jesus call you by
name and go ahead of you; And may the Holy
Spirit empower you for all that is good.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord. . .
P:  In the name of Christ. Amen.
(Copyright © 2003 Nathan Nettleton http://www.laughingbird.net/.
Repostedhttps://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/04/
easter-commission-benediction.html
.)
 
CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE:   “Bind Us Together  ”TFWS#2226
 
We are led this morning by Michael Thorpe 
you may call/text Pastor Mike at 802-355-9574
 
"Prayer is not a substitute for action;
            it is an action for which there is no substitute."
 
Mayerling Anderson    Sabrena Ducharme   Arthur Hooper  Gary Hazard
Paul Moskowitz   Kelly Maxfield    Charles Tinker     Eva Lancaster 
Nathaniel McElroy (Greg McElroy’s son), who lives in Texas
and whose cancer has spread throughout his body 
 Emily (a parishioner of a colleague of Rev. Pat’s in northern Maine) –
who has received her heart transplant but whose mother
died suddenly due to a heart attack     
  Fawn (Barbara Backus’ niece) who is receiving chemo for her cancer and
whose blood count is low and causing fatigue and for her mother, Carol
Kim (a friend of Linda Martin’s) who needs a kidney transplant
Howard (a retired clergy friend of Rev. Pat’s) who will soon be receiving
radiation for pancreatic cancer and for his wife, Dee    
Linda Martin's sister-in-law whose cancer has spread to her lungs
Jane (Vernon’s sister), who is recovering from hip surgery
Josh Ducharme, recovering from a blood marrow transplant,  and his
wife, Shannon who is currently receiving chemotherapy drug for
non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Kelly Robtoy, who has recently had surgery and been unable
to have visits from her family    
Friends of Diane from Binghamville who have Covid
Dan Sargent, a good friend of Barb Backus’ son Matthew,
who has just started treatments for prostate cancer
Linda (Pastor Mike’s Mom and Aunt Cathy’s sister)
who is struggling with stomach issues
Friend of Mike's Aunt Cathy, who is suffering from cancer
Friends of Greg McElroy’s, John and Nancy Eles from Arizona;
Nancy has been very ill and had numerous operations
to diagnose her issues
Anna Sweet, Tara’s oldest daughter, who had acute appendicitis
For all those around us who are suffering from a myriad of issues
as a result of the covid pandemic
Barbara Backus’ niece Melodie, who had a very bad fall from a
loft and is experiencing a lot of pain and bruises
For the families of those who have lost their lives in mass
Shootings during the past weeks
 Traveling mercies for Kathy's daughter, Donna, and
their family as they travel to Alabama
Prayers that those who are having doubts for whatever
reason about receiving the covid vaccine will come to accept its
 value not only for themselves but for keeping others safe, as well
Prayers for Lawrence Douglas who is experiencing health issues
and for his wife, Elizabeth
Mark Faith, our local funeral director, who has been unjustly
put on suspension
The Glow family who had a 90 year old relative who had been fully vaccinated
but got covid anyway – but who survived as a result of the vaccines
The Connelly family who experienced the death of a loved one this week
Young family in which the father is suffering from alcohol addiction

Wolcott United Methodist Church

802.888.0395