Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd, and tells us that he wants abundant life for us. But there are thieves and bandits who want to distract us. How do we listen to the voice of the one who wants us to live?
On the first Easter, two disciples were walking down the road to Emmaus. When a stranger joined him, they didn't recognize him as Jesus until later. Sometimes on our own journeys we have trouble recognizing that God is with us, and that we are not alone.
Thomas was the disciples who didn't get a chance to see Jesus when everyone else did. When told that Jesus was alive, he doubted. That's understandable. It's what most of us would probably do. Thomas' story reminds us that sometimes faith is not about believing in the moment, but about continuing to come back, time and again, in order to wrestle with our faith.
Before Jesus was born, John the Baptist told the people of God to "prepare the way". On Palm Sunday we remember how the people of Jerusalem gathered to "prepare the way" for Jesus to make a holy journey. We wave palms and shout "hosanna". But are we just reenacting the past? Or, is this our journey too?
In 1638 a small group of religious refugees found their way to New Hampshire. The church, and community, they founded would take root and grow. 379 years later, we are still here. This is their story, and this is our story. But most of all, this is God's story here in Exeter.
The letter to the Ephesians tells Christians to be "children of light". Pastor Emily Heath talks about how sometimes the job of people of faith is to shine a light into hidden places. And sometimes the job is to "get woke" and "stay woke".
We all have our own personal Pharaohs who hold us back. But we'll never get to the Promised Land until we dare to leave them behind, and step out into the wilderness. Pastor Emily Heath talks about being lost in the wilderness, and the journey towards something better.
When you hear that you need to be "born again" do you think of it as a one-time thing? Or, is being "born again" something that happens throughout our whole life? Pastor Emily talks about Jesus, Nicodemus, and the ways our questions lead us to new life.