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May Your Joy Be Complete – 180408

1 John 1:1-4 & John 20:19-31

comedyIn Ecclesiastes – as we have heard throughout Lent – there is a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to weep and a time to laugh.

If we think about these actions and reactions – they involve a stimulus that makes internal things happen within our body, brain, even our chemical make-up and then are seen in our outward actions.

When we experience joy, for instance, it shows on our body, in our movements, in our words and in our voice, in our heart rate.

But, more importantly, we usually share it with others, via a hug, a laugh, strange or excited behaviour – a dance, an announcement or in some other way.

1 John, nails it when the author says that joy comes by what we have seen with our eyes, heard, looked at and touched with our hands, and thus our heart has been changes.

In John, Chapter 20 and verse 20, it says that the disciples rejoiced when they saw and heard the Lord after the resurrection.

Of course, Thomas – who was not present at that time – did not have that experience, that change of heart and attitude, that joy. When Jesus returns a week later, Thomas sees, he hears and he touches.

How is his joy completed? Through its outworking to others – telling the Good News!rejoice-in-the-Lord-child-boy-smiling-christian-wallpaper_1280x800

Tradition has it that the disciple Thomas told others – not just in the neighbourhood, or through all Judea, but also to much of the then known world. Possibly the Billy Graham of his day, Thomas reputedly spread the gospel through Mesopotamia, then to northern India, Southern India and maybe even to Indonesia before being martyred around 72 AD.

In 1 John 3 – we read ‘we declare to you’ linking to verse 4 ‘that our joy may be complete’.

Our joy in the resurrection is not just seen in the partying and in the laughing with the insiders. But it is in the telling others who still sit on the outside of the joy of the resurrection.

You might remember last week when we spoke of the earliest manuscripts of Mark, which finish with the women at the tomb, running off in fear and telling no-one.

We know that’s not the end of the story. They did tell others. Why?

joyfuljoyfulTheir mourning had turned into dancing, their fear into boldness, their incomplete understanding into joy that is complete.

In the coming months we will be having a workshop for our congregation on how to share the gospel with others through:

  • Conversations with
  • Advocacy for
  • Providing hospitality for
  • Praying for and
  • Standing with people who need to hear the Good News.

We do not need to do it all – the Spirit will intercede and lead, so that the people we reach will be transformed b58e8234746716c77b67ac32624cd7e6

to see, hear and touch Christ in their heart and their Spirit – in as real a way as it was for Thomas.

Amen.

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