Greetings friends, and welcome to the first edition of Midweek Manna. This new series is designed to be a primer for Sunday and to hopefully help you in the present moment in which you find yourself. In these videos, the worship staff here at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church will lead you on a journey through scripture, music, and prayer.

To begin, we’ll be looking at the familiar passage of “Doubting Thomas” from the Book of John, chapter 20. But before we get to Thomas on Sunday, we’ll start a few verses back to when Jesus appeared to the disciples while Thomas was not present.

Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit…”

Peace be with you. As I was just sharing earlier today with our staff, we hardly ever just take a moment to breathe. Instead, we’re constantly hearing something—information that we need…information that we often don’t need. And right there in that moment of trepidation and uncertainty for His disciples, Jesus entered a home—a home, which by the way, was locked because the disciples were living in fear. So when Jesus entered, it must have been a moment of sheer fearfulness for those disciples. And yet, He said, “Peace be with you.” And then he breathed and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” — Barrett

The featured music for this week is the hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.” The tune, TERRA BEATA—Latin, meaning “beautiful world” or “blessed world.” It comes from an English folksong, whereas many of our hymns do, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that over this past year with the pandemic, that I’ve opened and closed each service with the opening phrase of this hymn.

But what I really love about this, and any of you who are J.R.R. Tolkien fans will really appreciate this, is that the opening line of this—the composer, Howard Shore, he actually used that opening phrase for the music of The Shire, which represents everything that is green and good and innocent in the world. It’s a beautiful adaptation that Howard Shore did, and I’m looking forward to sharing this music with you on Sunday. — Matthias

Friends, please join me in prayer. Jesus said “Come to me all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest…Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.”

Loving and gracious God, guide us through this week and to this place of worship, this little bit of home among a community that loves and supports us. In Your name we pray, amen. — Isaac