The Perfect Day
Opening Question: If you could plan the perfect day, what would it be like? What would you do? Who would be with you? Where would you go? What would the weather be like?
First Reading: Acts 4:32-35
The entire community of the believers met together with one mind and heart. No one claimed some of his possessions as strictly his own. Everything was shared in common. The Apostles gave powerful speeches about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God blessed them all with many gifts. No one was ever in need. Many followers who owned small farms or homes sold them, brought the money they made to church, and placed their profit at the feet of the Apostles. That money was shared according to the needs of the people.
James boarded the school bus for the museum field trip. Everyone whispered how excited they were to see the new dinosaur exhibit. This would be something to see!
The bus ride was longer than everyone expected. And, with other schools at the museum, the line at the museum seemed to go on forever. The excited whispers soon turned to grumbling.
But James was not discouraged. When he entered the museum, he almost ran into a huge T-Rex that stared down at him with a mouth ready to eat him up. Walking down the dark hall, James heard a flock of flying dinosaurs swoop down on their prey. James marveled at the computer generated images and the robotic displays. But the height of the exhibit were the fossils. James felt so small compared to the large bones. "Thank goodness they're not alive," James whispered. "I'd be lunch!"
James had a great day. So did everyone on the bus. On the way home, the kids shared their favorite memories and the adults marveled at harmony in the bus. What a wonderful experience.
As the experience at the museum brought everyone on the bus together, the experience of Jesus alive brought his followers together. They shared, and prayed, and lived together. They wanted everyone to join them, so all people could be with Jesus.
Bridging Question: Have you ever enjoyed an early Spring morning? What happened?
Gospel: John 20:19-31
Late Sunday evening, the followers of Jesus locked the doors where they met because they feared the Jewish leaders. Jesus appeared before them and said:
"Peace be with you."
After he spoke, Jesus showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They felt great joy when they saw the Lord. Again, Jesus said to them:
"Peace be with you. Just as the Father sent me, I am sending you."
Then, Jesus blew on them. Then he said:
"Take in the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive someone's sins, their sins are and will
ever be forgiven.
If you don't forgive their sins, their sins are not forgiven."
But Thomas the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus appeared. The other followers told him over and over, "We've seen the Lord!" Thomas replied, "I won't believe it until I inspect the nail scars in his hands and touch the scar in his side." (Pause) The next Sunday, the followers were inside along with Thomas. Jesus came into the locked room, stood in the before them, and said
"Peace be with you." Then Jesus said to Thomas, "Take your finger and inspect my hands here. Take your hand and inspect my side. Give up your doubts and believe!"
Thomas replied "You are my Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "You believe because you have seen me. Those who haven't seen me and believe are really happy."
Jesus performed many other miracles that are not written down in this book. These miracles have been written down so you can still believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and, believing, you can have life in his name.
Taya woke up early one Sunday morning to see the light of dawn broken by the rising sun. "Everything is so quiet!" Taya thought. "Not a sound." The silence made her feel very uncomfortable.
Quietly, she opened the back door and walked into her yard. She saw the shadows give way to the sun's rays. She felt the cool of the morning and that eerie quiet. Taya took a long breath, filling her lungs with the fresh cool air. As she let the breath go, she felt freshness rush down her arms and legs. "Goose bumps," she thought. She shivered from the cool air for a moment. With another breath she could see steam come from her mouth.
Suddenly, an arm grabbed her from behind and startled her. "Good morning, Taya," said her dad as he hugged her tight. "Dad, you scared me!" Taya squealed. Her Dad laughed and began to blow steam out of his mouth. Taya blew harder than her dad, and soon they had a contest over who could make the most steam.
By the time Taya and her dad went into the house, her mom was cooking breakfast. "Smells good, Mom," Taya said. Taya grinned from ear to ear. She felt the cool morning, played with her dad, and looked forward to her mom's delicious breakfasts. Everything was perfect, just perfect.
Brandon, Taya's brother, woke up to the sound of laughter and a freshly cooked breakfast. Brandon frowned as he yawned. "Why did you have to get up so early?" Brandon said in a grumpy voice. "It's Sunday, the day to sleep in!"
Taya and her parents began to tease the sleepy Brandon. But the more they teased, the grumpier he got. Finally, Taya's dad got serious. "Brandon, you know we get up on Sunday to go to church," he said.
"We shouldn't have to go to church. It's better to get sleep," Brandon shot back.
"That did it!" Taya's dad said sternly. He got up and grabbed Brandon by the arm. For a moment Brandon's face showed a mixture of surprise and fear. "What is my dad going to do?" Brandon thought. Then he knew. His dad picked him up and began to tickle him. At first Brandon fought back, then he just went limp from laughter.
"Did you have enough, grumpy boy?" his dad demanded.
"Yes," Brandon barely said between the giggles.
"Then, go get ready for church!" his dad ordered with a huge smile.
"Yes, Dad," Brandon replied.
Taya and Brandon ran back to their rooms to get ready. On the way to church, Brandon apologized for his grumpiness. Taya recalled the cool morning. And the entire family agreed it would be a great day.
Jesus came to his followers and breathed the Holy Spirit upon them. Like the cool breathe that gave Taya goose bumps down her arms, the Spirit that the followers breathed in felt like new life. The Spirit would bring the followers of Jesus together in love, like the hugs Taya's dad gave her. And no one, not even someone as grumpy as Thomas or Brandon, could get in the way.
Like Taya's family, we can live together in a peace that is better than fear or fighting. Jesus gave it to his followers, and he gives it to us. We know we have his peace because we have his Spirit.
How can you enjoy this day? How can you spread your joy to others?