Welcome to our congregation! Open Arms presents basic Christian faith. If you are investigating Christianity, or if you are a follower of Christ who prefers contemporary worship, these services are designed especially for you. While we use up-to-date language, music, and drama, our Bible-based message is as eternal as the revelation of God's love through the life of Jesus.
John 20:19-31 Common English Bible
It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you." Then he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you don't forgive them, they aren't forgiven."
This meditation follows the format of Daily Bread, a Community of Christ resource that is available for daily meditation. It includes a short message, a short excerpt from the Daily Prayer for Peace, a spiritual discipline, and a statement of a peace covenant.
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." —John 20:19 NRSV
It had been four weeks since the catastrophic EF5 tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri, USA. The church building was untouched, but several members lost everything they owned. The time had quickly passed as we received donations to give to people in need so they could begin rebuilding their lives.
During Sunday school, people shared their testimonies of survival and thankfulness for their church family. I noticed people were at different stages of recovery. Most had accepted the changes, some were still in shock, others were depressed, and a few were angry.
On my way to the sanctuary, a lady stopped me and asked for a hug. I gave her a big hug and felt the tension leave her body. When I stood to speak, I shared my impression that we needed to share the peace of Christ with one another as a healing practice. I asked the pianist to play "There Is a Balm in Gilead" CCS 234. I explained that as we sang, we would pass the peace with hugs, high-fives, or handshakes, according to the comfort level of the recipient. A powerful sense of peace settled over us as we sang, shared, and touched. Jesus came and stood among us to offer a blessing of peace that made us whole and revived our souls!
God sent Jesus to grant the disciples, including Thomas, the blessing they needed: peace, the Holy Spirit, and a mission to share what they had seen and heard and felt.
--Karen Tillery of Rich Hill, MO, USA
Spirit, now live in me.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply and enter a few minutes of silence. Be attentive to where you sense new life emerging in you. Search your memories of the previous day. When did you notice the sacredness of life in surprising places or forms in the world around you?
Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Visit the Daily Prayer for Peace page to find each day's prayer and be a part of this practice of peace.