May 2 Worship notes

Thought for the week
“‘People often say that motivation doesn’t last.’
Well, neither does bathing. .. that’s why we recommend it daily!”
(Zig Ziglar)
Welcome to the fifth Sunday of the Resurrection Season.
Wh at do we mean by the term : “RESURRECTION?” WHAT IS
RESURRECTION? Jesus appeared to his disciples and convinced them that he was alive in the flesh! Last week, the readings emphasized that the Good Shepherd was
a symbol of the resurrected Christ: protecting, leading and comforting his sheep/ disciples. This week the readings move to another symbol of the resurrection: the vine and the branches.
The gospel reading points out that the job of the branches in Christ is to bear fruit for Christ. For the branches to bear fruit
they need to be constantly nourished, pruned and reshaped .
Branches that are having little or no nourishing food , pruning
and re – shaping soon dry up and are cut off or fall off and
thrown into the fire. Phillip the evangelist (not one of the
twelve ) is given as the example of a branch that bears fruit. He
converted the Ethiopian Eunuch.  Hear the story of Phillip and
the Ethiopian Eunuch!
The Eunuch (a black African from Ethiopia) , a “court official” of the “queen of the Ethiopians” is returning from worshiping
in Jerusalem. Passover was finished and he was on his way home. He had picked up a scroll to read on his long journey
back home. It was a part of the prophet Isaiah. As he was reading from Isaiah chapter 53, Philip, one of Jesus followers
suddenly appeared running toward his chariot. Hearing the
Eunuch reading Isaiah, he asked him if he understood what he was reading. The response was: “How can I, unless someone
explains it to me?” Phillip then explained it to him and the event
concluded with the Ethiopian’s baptism. This was a branch (Philip) bearing fruit (the Eunuch) ! The Eunuch was a God – fearer , but because he was a eunuch he was disqualified from being a proselyte (a gentile converted to Judaism ) . The words of the prophet Isaiah regarding the Suffering Servant must have resonated with the Eunuch (Isaiah 53:3). He may have understood himself to be a “suffering servant.”
The Ethiopian Eunuch  was the first Gentile to be converted
to the gospel through the witness of another Gentile, Philip, a
converted Greek or Hellenistic Jewish . Tradition has it that
this eunuch went back to Ethiopia and organized what is now the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, a Christian community that is co – equal and that has co- existed outside of the Roman  Church all through years . The event is symbolic of: Root, stem and branches bearing fruit. May this resurrection season  continue to bring you inner insights, new hope, endless joy,
enduring strength and faith to live out your devotion to the resurrected Christ as you “ bear much fruit for him ! ”
Thanks to all for worshiping with us!
Ernest Belisle (Pastor)

Good Shepherd 4/26/2021

Welcome to Good Shepherd’s Sunday and the fourth
Sunday of the Resurrection or Easter. On every fourth
Sunday of Easter we remembered Jesus as the Good
Our Resurrection/Easter readings are filled with symbols
of the strength and optimism as the first Christian
community received and recognized that the resurrected
Christ, their Good Shepherd, was present leading them.
Peter made it clear that their strength to survive the
hostility they faced came from “ the Shepherd and
Guardian of your souls,” (I Peter 2:25b NRSV).
The first Christians were confident in the risen Christ, the
Good Shepherd who had defeated death and the grave!
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us that
“filled with the Holy Spirit,” Peter was able to speak God’s truth to the powers that were. Listen to how Peter puts it when he was asked, “ By what power or by what name do you do this?”
(Peter had cured the lame and healed the sick.) He said,
“Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick…, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.”
Devout Christians down through the ages have lived out their faith in the world by being confident in Christ, and faithful to Christ. Let us sit up and take note of how we ought to live out our faith in our world today. May this resurrection season continue to bring you, inner strength and faith to live out your devotion to the resurrected Christ in our troubled world. May you be blessed as you listen to today’s Scripture readings, music/hymns and sermon.
Thanks to all for worshiping with us!
Ernest Belisle (Pastor)

April 18, 2021

to Chilmark Community Church on this third Sunday
of the resurrection season. We pray you will come to know the
risen presence of Christ Jesus our Lord as you worship with us.
The Gospel reading for the day is from St. Luke and has
interesting comments on the spiritual and emotional state of
the disciples. Notice how the Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes
comments capture the Easter Joy and Disbelief of the Disciples
in his poem:
“ In their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering …
( Luke 24.41) God, it’s all here at once, joy and disbelieving, dullness and wonder. Let my joy flower, my disbelieving keep on wondering. Give me the faith to watch in amazement, to finally know what I know, to rejoice before I understand. Wonder, lead me where I wouldn’t go without you. O soul, drag me into the dance, guided in your arms, looking into my
Savior’s eyes, without even knowing it. (Steve Garnaas-Holmes,
Unfolding Light,
I like the phrase, “In their [Resurrection] Joy they were disbelieving and still wondering…” What are some of the everyday things in our life that bring us joy, yet we cannot understand them although we know them to be true? So we stand in joyous amazement, wondering, what is this event we Christians call ‘resurrection’? This is truly how God’s grace works! It is all too good to be true! WOW! Is there JOY, HOLY DISBELIEVING AND WONDERING?
Ernest Belisle (Pastor)