April 27, 2014
John 20:19-31
1 Peter 1:3-9
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Psalm 16

Show Me the Marks
Easter 2

Click here for the full installment.

Mary Austin

This week’s lectionary gospel text features “doubting Thomas,” whose skepticism marks him as something of an archetypal 21st-century Christian. He clearly doesn’t want to be taken in by some sort of hoax or wishful thinking on the part of his colleagues, and so Thomas maintains that he won’t believe his fellow disciples’ account about Jesus unless he can experience it for himself. When he does encounter Jesus, Jesus’ response is to simply have Thomas touch his scars -- and when that happens, all of Thomas’s skepticism melts away. In the next installment of The Immediate Word, team member Mary Austin suggests that this story reveals a larger paradigm which provides an important lesson for us -- namely, that when we respond to doubt with genuine witness, belief is the inevitable result. The most powerful Christian witness we can offer, as Nadia Bolz-Weber once put it, is to “preach from our scars.” Showing one’s scars can be extremely moving testimony -- and Mary points out that we’re seeing numerous examples of that in the headlines, most notably in the actions of the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. Many of the survivors are returning for this year’s marathon, as if on a pilgrimage to demonstrate how they’re still standing tall despite the blows they absorbed to body and soul. Here’s a preview:

Show Me the Marks
by Mary Austin
John 20:19-31

The Boston Marathon is for the fit, the strong, and the prepared. Only elite runners can qualify (based on their times in other, approved races), and so it has its own mystique. This year, though, Boston belongs to the scarred. 

A year after the bombings that killed three and injured hundreds, people who lost limbs in the bombing are returning to reclaim Boston as a place of recovery. Survivors have been open about their injuries, recovery, scars, and prosthetic limbs, and all of that mix of human limitation and transformation is evident on marathon day 2014. 

>> Click here for the full installment.

>> Subscribe to The Immediate Word

What is The Immediate Word?

The Immediate Word gives a theological perspective on today's headlines and popular culture for your sermon, children’s sermon, and worship service. The Immediate Word gives a theological perspective on today's headlines and popular culture.

Cutting Edge: THE IMMEDIATE WORD gives you the tools to be cutting edge ... to put you in touch with today's most critical issues and to aid you in crafting messages and presentations that will truly help your congregants understand the Gospel in the context of what is current and most important to them.

Collaborative: THE IMMEDIATE WORD is a unique collaboration of some of the sharpest, most contemporary clergy of our day in an Internet-based service that gives you weekly information, inspiration, and presentation materials for your sermon, children’s sermon, and worship service.

Enabling: THE IMMEDIATE WORD will enable you to create high-impact sermons, children’s sermons, sermon outlines, worship services and compose pastoral prayers that help people pray with you, write compelling pastoral columns for your newsletter, arm your Sunday school teachers with meaningful, up-to-the-minute discussion sermon material, speak more constructively during the "Concerns of the Church" portion of your sermon, children's sermon and worship service about matters that worry your parishioners, advertise timely discussion topics to draw people into your church, and more.

Interactive: THE IMMEDIATE WORD is a dynamic, interactive process. First, among the team of clergy that creates it every week. Secondly, with you: you can personally participate in the creation process by providing your input and reactions to the input of others on new sermons, children’s sermons, sermon outlines and worship resources.

Timely: THE IMMEDIATE WORD sends participants the topic of the week on Friday and the final product on Tuesday afternoon, giving you time to digest the sermon and worship service materials and then incorporate them into your preparations for the coming Sunday service to deliver high-impact sermons and worship services.

Satisfaction Guaranteed: THE IMMEDIATE WORD is not only guaranteed to satisfy you, we believe it will actually energize your ministry. We are so confident that you will find THE IMMEDIATE WORD to be such a great value that if you are not completely satisfied with the service we will refund the balance of your subscription payment, no questions asked.

>> Subscribe to The Immediate Word
Immediate Word Team
(Click on photo
  for author's bio.)

George Reed

Mary Austin

Ronald H. Love

Dean Feldmeyer

Leah Lonsbury

Chris Keating