But [Thomas] said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
John 20:25 (NRSV)
Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that’s been beaten too much
‘Til you spend half your life just coverin’ up
“Born in the USA,” Bruce Springsteen
The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that, sometime in the 17th century, around the same time Caravaggio was playing with light and shadows in his paintings of the disciples, the word “vulnerable” entered into usage. It’s an English rendering of the late Latin word “vulnerabilis,” from the Latin “to wound” and vulnus “wound.”
Popular authors like Brene Brown have helped us realize that vulnerability is the key to authentic relationships. We have to show ourselves, even our wounds, if we are ever to be seen, known, and loved as we are.
Springsteen’s disenchanted Vietnam veteran narrator in “Born in the USA” reminds us how hard that is. The more we are wounded, the harder it gets to stop covering up and preemptively protecting ourselves from the blows to come.
Thomas missed seeing Jesus, and for whatever reason did not trust his companions. Maybe they had a history of jokes and pranks that led him to be suspicious. Whatever the reason, Thomas wasn’t going to be fooled. Sure, you saw Jesus? OK, I’ll believe it when I see the wounds. Jesus, of course, returns and obliges. When Thomas sees his wounds he exclaims “My Lord and my God!”
It is always worth contemplating why Jesus’s resurrection body still bore the marks of his painful passion. He returned in glory – why keep those marks? Those wounds remind us that God came to us able to be harmed, and even killed, by us. They are a tangible mark of our sin, and yet they are also where the light shines through. Take time today to pray and reflect on the vulnerability of Jesus and what that means for us who follow him each day.
Keep the Faith,
Charge Conference Tuesday, April 13th at 6:30PM
The Leadership Council will hold a brief Charge Conference presided over by Pastor Ben with District Superintendent Sang Won Doh’s permission. The topics of the conference are the approval of Pastor Chris’s compensation package, as well as adding and removing members to the Leadership Council team. If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Ben.
Did you know that Flemington UMC has worked to welcome a preschool in the lower level of the building? There has been extensive work to prepare the space for all the necessary inspections and approvals required to have the space licensed for children to attend. Beginning two years ago with the Trustees and continuing this year in the combined Leadership Council, there have been issues to address from stubborn moisture, heating/cooling, leaks, and more. This week, one of the most stubborn issues involving plumbing, took a promising turn when blockages like flushable (or non-flushable) wipes were discovered in the waste pipe.
Serving on the Leadership Council of FUMC gives you a front-seat view of all the different ways we as a church seek to share the light of Christ with our community. If you would like to learn more or find out how you can share your gifts too, please respond to this message.
Continuing Coffee Hour Over Zoom
Laura Newton will host a weekly time of conversation and connection at 11:30 am after our worship service each week. Login is available at 11:15 am or conclusion of worship, whichever is later.
Here is a link to that time –
If you have questions or need help, you can ask Pastor Ben or Laura. Don’t be shy, you are missed and a part of this church family, too!
New Upper Rooms are Available in the Church Office
The new Upper Room Daily Devotionals are also available now. If you’d like to pick yours up, Gretchen is in the church office from 9 am-noon Tuesday – Friday each week. Please call ahead so she can set whatever you are picking up out for you.
You will find every newsletter, worship service, devotional, and additional material posted on our Facebook page:
Even if you don’t use Facebook, you can access everything we have there. If you do have a Facebook account, “like” to follow our page and be notified when new things are posted or when videos are about to go live so you don’t miss anything.
Coffee Hour is a time of sharing after Sunday morning worship hosted by Laura Newton at approximately 11:30 am. All are welcome!
If you have any difficulties accessing any of those links, please reply to this message or call the church office at (908)782-1070 and we will get you connected right away.