Easter Worship- April 19

Gospel Lesson: John 20:19-31

An Easter Reflection for the Second Sunday of Easter

On that first day, they were gathered together with the doors locked, closed off from the world. And they were afraid. My, how familiar that sounds. As we sit in our homes, closed off from the world, wracked with fear. And in that room, apart from the world, when all seemed lost…Jesus came to them speaking peace.And in our rooms, in our homes, apart from the world, when all seems lost…Jesus comes to us, speaking peace even now.

On the evening of that first day, the disciples had heard the words of Mary Magdalene, “I have seen the Lord!” but they did not believe. They could not believe. They had not seen Jesus with their own eyes. They had not heard Jesus with their own ears. They had not experienced Jesus calling them by name.  And they were afraid. Afraid to hope, afraid to dare, afraid to believe. And in that moment, behind closed doors, when all the world seemed lost, when everything loomed large and dark, Jesus came speaking peace. And they saw with their own eyes, and they heard with their own ears, the voice of the one who called them by name. This same Jesus, who had called them from boats and families and life to live new life. This same Jesus, who had been arrested, crucified, and buried. This same Jesus now stood before them speaking peace, and giving comfort, and being Love.

But Thomas was not with them. Now, poor Thomas has gotten a bad reputation throughout history. Doubting Thomas, the one who wouldn’t believe. But let’s be honest, was Thomas really any different from any of the other disciples? Mary didn’t believe until Jesus called her by name. The other 10 didn’t believe Mary until Jesus came to them in the locked room. Thomas was simply seeking to know the resurrection in a physical way…just like everyone else did.

And what about us? We are resurrection people, even though we live behind closed doors right now. We are Easter people, even when it doesn’t feel like it…and boy, it sure doesn’t feel like it. We are Easter people, but it feels like we have been shoved back in the tomb. We are Easter people, but snow and sickness and fear have kept us huddled inside. We are Easter people, and whether we feel it or now, Jesus is here speaking peace, infusing us with Holy Spirit. And like Thomas, we experience this bodily. All around us, Jesus is speaking resurrection into being. We see it, as trees bud and daffodils bloom. We hear it, as birds hasten the dawn and squirrels chatter at the feeders.  We know it in our minds and hearts and bodies as waves crash upon the shore, as neighbors tend to one another, as we are called by name, Beloved. We are Easter people, and the promise of the resurrection is present all around us. Let us experience this Easter season with new eyes, with new ears, with new hope. Let us tend to the very reality of resurrection in our midst. Let us live as resurrection people, that all the world might be infused with new life…and bear witness to Jesus’ among us, speaking peace…even in this world. Amen

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Light a candle, if you have one. Take a deep breath. Remember though we gather separately today, we are gathered together, with all the saints, in prayer and praise this day. God is with us. We are not alone. Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!

A reading from John 20:1-18

            Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So, she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So, Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally, the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

An Easter Reflection

            In our dis-belief… in the broken cracks of cynicism and skepticism- we come, expecting to mourn the death of our Lord- and here we find him risen. We see- and cannot believe. To touch him with our hands- to kiss him with our mouths- would not be enough. Yet, here he is. Our Lord, wo died- our Lord, who was laid in the tomb is alive! He has risen- just as he said. He has conquered the powers of sin and death and stands before us now. Our hears are filled with joy- our eyes are filled with tears- Here is Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. And he calls to you- and to me. He welcomes us into his out-stretched arms. He longs to draw us close to himself, to love us, and call us beloved. Forever and ever. Amen.


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*Letter to our Parish regarding COVID-19*

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”    John 14:27

Beloved Harbor United Methodist Church friends and family,

               During this Lenten season, we are reminded of Jesus outpouring of love for those most vulnerable and most marginalized. The text for this coming Sunday finds Jesus offering the Living Water to the Samaritan Woman at the well. Jesus always goes out of his way to offer love, grace, healing, and peace for those he encounters. As the body of Christ, alive and at work in this world, we are called to do the same.  

            As many of you are aware, there is growing concern over COVID-19, also known as the CoronaVirus. Here in Massachusetts there have been several confirmed cases. There are suspected cases within our community at this time. Due to this fact, it is indeed the right time to be making accommodations which encourage “social distancing” as outlined by the CDC and recommended by our Conference and District offices. Social distancing is defined as, “certain actions taken by Public Health official to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.” Social distancing measures include but are not limited to limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, and canceling events.

            After considering our congregation’s physical health and wishing to keep anxiety and fear of exposure to any and all illness at a minimum, our pastor and church leadership have determined that effective immediately, all church-sponsored events, including Sunday worship, will be suspended until Palm Sunday (April 5, 2020). As we continue to receive information from state and local agencies, we will be reassessing the timeline and will be in communication with you should this date change. In the meantime, worship materials will be available in a variety of mediums; more information to follow.

            In an effort to continue providing important needs for the community, our building will remain open to the Senior Feeding Program and our active and thriving AA groups. They will be strongly encouraged to wipe down all surfaces with Lysol before and after each meeting to minimize the spread of any illnesses at this time.

While we are being church in other ways, we continue to have financial needs. Tithes and offerings can be mailed to Harbor United Methodist Church at 55 First Parish Road Scituate, MA 02066. Financial donations can also be made to the Scituate Food Pantry at PO Box 120 Scituate, MA 02066. In times like these, families who are already struggling tend to be first impacted by school closures, lack of childcare, and food insecurity. With every dollar donated, local food pantries can purchase three meals for its clients. Harbor United Methodist Church has also been in conversation with Scituate Public Schools and Scituate Council of Church to help address increased food insecurity in our community as a result of COVID-19.

            The voluntary closing will allow us to do some deep cleaning of the church and give time to assess the impact of any illness on our community. The spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing of our beloved community is a priority for church leadership. We thank you all, in advance, for your patience, your understanding, and your flexibility. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Pastor Bekah or our Staff/Parish Relations Chairperson Tina Gruner should you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

In Grace and Peace,

Rev. Rebekah L Solar

Pastor; Harbor United Methodist Church

Pronouns: (she/her/hers)

Call/Text: 315-408-9452

Email: rebekah.solar@gmail.com

New Year, Same Christ: January 2020

Various candles lit in a darkened room.

Beloved, Welcome to 2020. This will be a big year of changes and challenges for the United Methodist Church and for us at Harbor United Methodist Church. Yet, even with all the uncertainty that swirls around us, the message of Jesus Christ remains the same. We are still people called to live in the love of Jesus, sharing that love with all the world. As the denomination moves toward another General Conference in May, speculation about our future will be reported by multiple media outlets. If you have questions or are confused, please know that you are not alone. A lot of information, misinformation, and partial information makes for a lot of reading and discernment. I am more than happy to meet with anyone to discuss your thoughts, feelings, or questions. Let us continue to do the work of Christ in this place; to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke. (Isaiah 58:6)

Heaven and Nature Sing

Join us Sundays at 10:30a starting December 1st as we raise our glad songs with all of creation in celebrating the coming of the Christ-child!

Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Many thanks to everyone who attended our community Thanksgiving dinner (11/28/19). It was such a joy to come together, share a meal and many good laughs.