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Second Sunday of Easter "The Easter Touch" homily by Pr. Jim


11 April 2021

Grace Lutheran Church

Ashland, Oregon

The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim


Jesus’ Resurrection is the single greatest ever in all history. It is the turning point of history and the birthplace of all hope, peace, and true joy. We are glad that you have chosen to worship with the people of God gathered in this place around Word and Sacrament. If you are a guest or visitor and have not done so already, please honor

us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave. If you have no church home of your own in the area, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Pastor Jim or this morning’s lay assistant will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning our parish. Come to worship with us again and often!


The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we revel in the mystery of the Risen Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread and wine of The Sacrament. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open hearts, doors, peace, forgiveness, and material blessings such that no one among us is in need.


Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death and opened for us the gate of eternal life. Give us your continual hope; put good desires into our minds and bring them to full effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


PRE-SERVICE MUSIC Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds LSB 465

This Joyful Eastertide LSB 482



PRELUDE I Stand Amazed—C. F. Walz

Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano


Alleluia! The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We are risen to a new life!

In Christ, we are risen indeed!

We were baptized in the Name of the Father

and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

In whose Name we worship. Amen.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

HYMN Good Christian Friends, Rejoice and Sing LSB 475 (Join in singing)


When we were baptized, we died to sin and were buried with Christ.

               We were baptized so that we might have a new life, as Christ was raised

to life by the glory of the Father.

Therefore, let us confess our sins to God, so that we may turn from the darkness

of doubt and disbelief, and walk in the light of the Lord.

Almighty and all-merciful God, we confess that we are dead in trespasses and sin; we have no power to rise. We have offended your majesty and brought death

and darkness where you once said, “Let there be light.” For the sake of your

Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.

“Thus it is written that the Messiah had to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins must be proclaimed in his Name.” That word is now proclaimed to you. Your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


KYRIE (Sung by the Worship Team. Please join in singing the Refrain.)

Refrain: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison

Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations into the

peace of God’s Kingdom. Refrain

You came in Word and Sacrament to strengthen us

in holiness. Refrain

You will come in glory with salvation for your people.



Almighty God, with joy we celebrate the day of our Lord’s Resurrection. By the grace of Christ among us, enable us to show the power of the Resurrection in all that we say and do, through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and

forever. Amen.

FIRST LESSON Acts 4:32-35

[In today’s reading, The Church glimpses the life of the first Christian community. Here the author of Acts describes the social dimension of Christian life. Animated by the Spirit of the risen Lord, the body of Christ cares for those in need and holds all things in common.]

Now the whole groups of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

The word of the Lord.

                                       Thanks be to God!

PSALM 150 (Please join Worship Team in singing the Refrain)

          Refrain: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness. Refrain

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with strings and flute. Refrain

Praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD. Refrain

SECOND LESSON 1st John 1:1-2:2

[The opening of this letter serves as a reality check. The reality of God is light, but our confessed reality has been sin. God cleanses us from our sinful reality through Christ’s death so that we live in fellowship with Christ and walk in God’s light.]

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not among us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but all for the sins of the whole world.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

SPECIAL MUSIC Jesus Paid It All—Jason W. Krug

GOSPEL John 20:19-31

The Holy Gospel according to John, the 20th chapter.

               Glory to you, O Lord.

[The story of Easter continues as the risen Lord appears to his disciples. His words of Thomas offer a blessing to all who entrust themselves in faith to the risen Lord.]

When it was evening of that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came

and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I seek 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.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have

life in his name.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

     Praise to you, O Christ.

GRACE CHOIR We Welcome Glad EasterJohn Purifoy

HOMILY The Easter Touch—Pr. Jim Text: The Gospel Lesson

Easter Must Go

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

I remember a sign “Clearance—Everything Easter Must Go.” Christ is risen AND the price of Easter merchandise has gone down? But there’s also a letdown that goes with it too, isn’t there—is Easter really all over? It was just a week ago that the sanctuary attendance was the highest since pre-COVID days. You could literally feel the joy and promise as members gathered to celebrate Easter and three baptisms together. And now this morning Easter seems like it’s on discount, Easter must go.

Today we hear how the disciples celebrated their first Easter evening by locking themselves together inside their room … hiding in a tomb of their own making, because they were afraid.

All of us know about locking the doors because we are afraid of who might come in. Gone are the days of unlocked doors. We also know about hiding in fear, in tombs we’ve made in our own lives, with doors “tic-toc-double-locked behind us. Anytime there’s a crisis now, this is the order … shelter in place. We’re afraid of what the disciples were afraid of … afraid for our safety … what others think of us … our reputations … being rejected and judged … how we’ll get by day to day … afraid for our sins—what’s been done and left undone … afraid of our own death … afraid for our families and loved ones … afraid of what the future will hold for us. Into that fear … where you and I are locked away … our risen Lord comes and speaks a word of Shalom! … “Peace be with you!” “Peace be with you!”

The disciples must have thought they were seeing a ghost. And so, Jesus showed them his hands and his side … the scars of his crucifixion. This was no ghost … no figment of their imagination … but a real live … flesh-and-blood resurrected Jesus. Instead of saying, “How could you have done this to me? … Why did you forsake me? … Some friends and disciples you are.” Instead, Jesus says, “Shalom” … “Peace be with you!” And if they didn’t get it … if they didn’t understand yet that Life had changed forever because of The Resurrection … that God doesn’t hold our sins against us but comes with forgiveness on his lips … then Jesus says it again just for you this morning, “Peace be with you.” Then Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit. Jesus will use his disciples … his Church … use you and me … to spread his forgiveness and the promise of new life in him.

But … there was a problem. There was one missing. Thomas wasn’t there. Perhaps it was his fear that kept him away from the other disciples that first Easter. Or maybe this was part of God’s love towards us, that Thomas wasn’t there to see, and so had to wonder and doubt out loud if Easter really happened.

So, when the other disciples told Thomas, “We have seen the Lord”, he wasn’t impressed or convinced. “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,” he says, “and unless I put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

Thomas is a realist. He’s practical. He doesn’t pull any punches. He doesn’t want to be set up with false hope. He wants to see for himself. He won’t by duped by anyone. He’s a little bit cynical … a perfect sceptic.

Part of me loves Thomas. He’s a thinking person. He wants to see for himself. He’s not satisfied by easy canned answers. The witness of his brothers and sisters isn’t enough for him. Easter is only an unsubstantiated theory for Thomas. Yet part of me feels sorry for Thomas. He will only believe on his terms. And Jesus loves Thomas … loves him enough not to leave him where he is locked up behind the door of his own doubt.

So, the following Sunday the disciples were all gathered again behind locked doors. Thomas showed up this time … perhaps sitting in his usual seat in the back … when the risen Jesus again appears in their midst and once more said, “Peace be with you.” He gives his peace to Thomas … to you and me who wonder … who sometimes doubt … who are so afraid and anxious of so many things. “Peace be with you,” he says, and breathes on you.

Then Jesus turns to Thomas and offers him the exact proof he had asked for. “Put your finger here and see my hands; reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

But for Thomas the Word of Jesus was enough. In the fullest confession of faith in Jesus Christ in all of Scripture, he exclaims, “My Lord, and my God.”

What about you and me? Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Our faith comes by hearing, not by seeing. We walk by faith, not by sight. The word about Easter has come down from eyewitness apostles and martyrs … from confessors and pastors … from grandmas and grandpas … Sunday School teachers … from parent to child, down the centuries, to you. Jesus still comes into our midst … sharing his Word … breathing out his Spirit … offering us his Shalom.

And if you still doubt … he’s right here for you and me … present among us in Word and Sacrament. His wounded and risen body and blood are here in the bread and wine for us to taste and touch and hold … to strengthen and renew your faith and mine.

Maybe that sign of long ago was right after all … “Everything Easter must go.” Yes … Easter must go … the Risen Christ must go out with you to unlock every closed and locked door of every fearful and doubting heart. Easter must go out to the whole world, beginning with you and me. So “Peace be with you”, Jesus said, and breathed out the Holy Spirit.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

APOSTOLIC CREED                                

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life + everlasting. Amen.


Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, let us pray for the Church, the world, and all those in need.

You shower your Church, O God, with gifts of mercy and grace. Unite the whole Church on earth, so that with one heart it testifies to the Resurrection of your Son with power and love. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

You proclaim the blessing of life forevermore, O God. Like dew upon the mountains and prairies, refresh your creation. Restore waters, cleanse the air, and provide needed rain to parched land. Give your whole creation the promise of new life and cultivate our care for what you made. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You direct the nations, O God. Guide all in authority, that they may wisely shepherd their people in the ways of your love. Fill the nations with your peace and defeat the impulse to war. Let the peace of Christ rest upon those in authority and breathe upon them the spirit of wisdom and compassion. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You fill all in need with hope, O God: those who are afraid or confused, those who are ill and grow weary in their struggle with health concerns especially Charlie and Marguerite (MaryAnn’s father and mother), Rusty (under hospice care), Shari (continued cancer therapy), those suffering from COVID-19, together with those we name in our hearts that they may receive hope, healing, and the mercies rendered by us as God’s people as we pray for them. Embrace all who are lonely or homebound, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, and those we name in our hearts that they may be assured of your loving presence in our compassion, prayers, and care for them. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You give us fellowship with one another in this community of faith, O God. Shine the light of the Risen Christ in our life together, so that we live in love for one another and our joy may be complete. Give us patience and courage when the call process seems long and never-ending. Keep us mindful that it is your Spirit who leads and guides us and will in due time provide us with a pastor. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You bless us with the gift of eternal life in your Son, O God. In thanksgiving and remembrance, we recall the lives and gifts of those who have gone before us with the sign of faith and now live in endless joy. Fill us with Resurrection hope that we may join them in proclaiming “your mercy endures forever!” Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Heavenly Father, we welcome this day of Resurrection with it is opportunity

to bring gifts to a living God. Receive these offerings, we pray, as our joyful celebration of your new life in Jesus your Son. And through the bread and

wine we have presented, share your new life with us. Through the same

Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.


The Lord be with you.

   And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

   We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

   It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O holy God:

You are the Life and Light of all.

By your powerful word you created all things.

Through the prophets you called your people

to be a light to the nations

Blessed are you for Jesus, your Son.

He is your Light, shining in our darkness

And revealing to us your mercy and might.


In the night in which he was betrayed,

our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:

Take and eat; this is my + body which is given

for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

And gave it for all to drink, saying:

This cup is the new covenant in my + blood

shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness

of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.

Remembering, therefore, his preaching and healing,

his dying and rising, and his promise to come again,

we await that day when all the universe will rejoice in

your holy and life-giving light.

                    Come, Lord Jesus, live in us that we may live in you.

By your Spirit bless us and this meal, that refreshed with

this heavenly food, we may be light for the world, revealing

the brilliance of your Son.

Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.

Through him all glory and honor are yours, Almighty Father,

with the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and

forever. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven;

hallowed be Thy Name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses .

as we forgive those

who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil;

For thine is the kingdom

and the power and the glory

forever and ever. Amen.

The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.


Distribution Music At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing LSB 633



Lord Jesus Christ, in this meal you have put gladness in our hearts. Satisfy the hunger still around us, and send us as joyful witnesses of

all that you have done for us, so that your love may bring joy to the

hearts of all people. We ask this in your Name. Amen.


SONG Give Thanks LSB 806(Join in singing)

Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One,

Give because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son.

Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One,

Give because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son.

And now let the weak say, “I am strong.” Let the poor say, “I am rich,”

Because of what the Lord has done for us.

And now let the weak say, “I am strong.” Let the poor say, “I am rich,”

Because of what the Lord has done for us.

Give thanks, give thanks.


Alleluia! Christ is risen.

             He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

             Thanks be to God!       

+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +