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Growing in God's Mission, SC Synod

No Messenger Newsletter UFN (see News Section)

ELCA Disaster Response Fund
click here for direct link

Worship services have resumed each Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.  Reservations for either service are required in advance if larger than standard (one-time or short-duration increase) attendance by families or visitors/prospective new members wish to attend to ensure social distancing per Synod guidelines are maintained. Each Service will be approximately 35 minutes long.  At this time, there will be no Holy Communion.

Announcement letter details download here

**NEW Offering/Giving Option Feature**

Introducing SJLC's Secure Online Offering Link
to the ELCA endorsed host Tithe.ly Website (click here for access)

- Use Signup in upper right corner to create a personal, secure account.
- Login on subsequent visits.
- Use the "To:" pull down menu to select from the four SJLC primary fund options.
- Optionally, create a recurring offering using either:
- Credit Card (Card Number, Expiration Date & CVC) or
- Bank Account ACH fund transfer (Routing & Account Number)

See "News Section" for expanded details regarding this new option



"Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
(Jphn 20:26)

Second Sunday after Easter

He Is Risen

Service of Lessons and Hymns for Easter

First Lesson: Jesus Prays for His Disciples
John 17: 11-19

11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Commentary: Before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus prays to his Father for his followers, including us. In his prayer, he asks that his followers’ joy will be complete, which it will be when they encounter the resurrected Jesus Christ. Jesus also asks God to protect them from evil, so they may be one as Jesus and God are one. And he asks that the Church is sanctified in God’s truth. In this prayer, Jesus is praying that we will have mutual love for one another and be one with God and each other. Through our mutual love, we will be a witness to the gospel. In Christ, we are empowered to be his love to the world.

Second Lesson: Rivers of Living Water
John 7: 37-39

37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Commentary: When Jesus is resurrected and ascends to be with his Father, he will send the Holy Spirit, the living water, who will be received by the Church, so that Christ can dwell in us and we can dwell in Christ and have eternal life.

Third Lesson: The Resurrection of Jesus
John 20: 19-23

19 When it was evening on 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.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Commentary: The Risen One, Jesus Christ, greets his disciples with the words: “Peace be with you.” Jesus comes, offering the very peace that Israel has hoped for. In Ephesians, Jesus is presented as the one who has reconciled God and creation, heaven and earth, Jew and Gentile, in his own person. The favor of the LORD in the benediction of Aaron, whose shining upon us brings peace, Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians, is the face of Jesus Christ from which there shines “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” Only after the disciples have recognized Jesus as their Lord can they receive these words as a gift of peace. And their fear turns to joy. Jesus also says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Jesus sends the community of believers to continue his work on earth. Just as God sent his Son to save the world, Jesus sends his disciples to bring salvation to others by spreading the gospel. But his disciples can’t do this by themselves. Jesus breathes on them so they can receive the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of Jesus, of God, that will strengthen them and sustain them on their mission. It is God’s Spirit, that is present at the creation of the world: “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” It is the Spirit, the breath of God, that gives life: “then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” Ezekiel also reminds us that it is the Spirit of God, the Breath of God, that can give new life to dry bones. It is Jesus’ breath, the Holy Spirit, that the disciples receive. And they are created anew. Jesus gives himself to them, causing them to believe. The disciples believe in Jesus Christ and receive new life. It is the Holy Spirit that will nurture, strengthen, and sustain their new life in Jesus.

Fourth Lesson: Jesus and Thomas
John 20: 24-31

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he 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.” 26 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.” 27 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.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 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.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 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.

Commentary: Jesus also gives himself to Doubting Thomas. Jesus gives himself to the ones whom he loves and who need him. Jesus does not rebuke Thomas for doubting. Doubting can lead to an even stronger faith. Through Thomas' encounter with Jesus, he goes from disbelief to belief. And Thomas responds to Jesus’ love and offer of himself by saying: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas acknowledges Jesus as being raised from the dead and declares Jesus to be his Lord and God. Thomas affirms what Jesus said to him, Philip, and the other disciples at the Last Supper [(John 14:7-13) 7 “If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." 8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”] Thomas is able to see Jesus in his full resurrected glory and boldly claim him as Lord and God. He is only able to do this through his encounter with Jesus. Jesus’ love and concern for his people didn’t end at his death. The crucified and risen Lord continues to give himself to us after his death. He continues to gather us in his arms like a shepherd who has found his lost sheep. He continues to move his people of all generations from disbelief to belief. This is most clear in his blessing: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension are intimately tied to the gift of the Spirit, which creates us anew and empowers us to continue Jesus’ mission of salvation to all. It is the same Spirit present in creation that Jesus breathes on his disciples. It is the same Spirit that we are given in the waters of baptism. It is in this bath that we are given new life in Jesus Christ. In Holy Communion, Jesus continues to give himself to us. We are continually strengthened and nourished in our faith, so we can proudly and confidently claim Jesus as Lord and God. With the power of the Spirit, we are able to spread the love of our Lord. We are able to love one another as he loves us. We are able to live in the reality of the resurrection. The love of God transcended time and space in sending his only Son, that same love transcends time and space to send the Holy Spirit. It is the same love of Jesus Christ that sends the Spirit so that we and generations after us will believe in Jesus. There will be times when our faith will waver. There will be times when we doubt or disbelieve Jesus’ presence with us. But Jesus will continue to give himself to us through the Spirit. He will continue to move us from disbelief to belief. Jesus gives us the gift of his Spirit. The disciples eventually went out of their gathering place to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. They continued God’s saving mission in Christ. We, too, are called out of this gathering place, and are empowered by the Spirit to carry the gospel into the world. We are called to invite others to hear the gospel story, to encounter Jesus Christ. And in their encounter with Jesus, they, too, can move from disbelief to belief and can boldly and confidently claim with Thomas, that the risen Jesus Christ is their Lord and their God.

NSRV & Believer's Study Bible (BSB) Notes

Readings for week of April 18th
Third Sunday of Easter
First: Acts 3: 12-19
Psalm 4
Second: 1 John 3: 1-7
Gospel: Luke 24: 36b-48


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SJLC's Weekly Audio Sermon Archive
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St James Lutheran Church, Sumter SC ELCA Pastor Keith Getz

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Sunday Worship Services at 9:00am and 11:00am (see News Section for details)
Adult Sunday School 9:45am to 10:30am Classroom 5
Youth Sunday School Suspended UFN

Tuesday & Thursday Bible Study (Academic Bldg, Rm 5 & Online) at 10:30 a.m. (see News Section for Details & Online Instructions)
Wednesday Holy Communion Service (Sanctuary) Noon [
Suspended UFN]

1137 Alice Drive • Sumter, South Carolina 29150 • Tel: (803) 773-2260
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