|Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 21, 2016||Proper 16, Year C||Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17|
|Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 7, 2016||Proper 14, Year C||Genesis 15:1-6, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Proper 14, Year C|
|Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 31, 2016||Proper 13, Year C||Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23; Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21|
|Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 24, 2016||Proper 12, Year C||Luke 11:1-13|
|Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 10, 2016||Proper 10, Year C||Luke 10:25-37|
|Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 3, 2016||Proper 9, Year C||Luke 10:1-11, 16-20; Galatians 6:7-16|
|Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 26, 2016||Proper 8, Year C||Luke 9:51-62, Galatians 5:1,13-25, Psalm 16, 1 Kings 19:15-16,19-21|
|Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 19, 2016||Proper 7, Year C||Luke 8:26-39: Luke 24:13-35|
|Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 12, 2016||Proper 6, Year C||2 Samuel 11;26-12:10-13-15, Luke 7:36-8:3|
|Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 5, 2016||Proper 5, Year C||Luke 7: 11-17|
|Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||May 29, 2016||Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||Luke 7:1-10|
|Trinity Sunday, Pentecost 1, Year C||May 22, 2016||Trinity Sunday, Year C||John 16:12-15, Psalm 8|
|Day of Pentecost! Year C||May 15, 2016||The Day of Pentecost, Year C||Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27|
|Easter 5, Year C||April 24, 2016||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C||Acts 11:1-18, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35, Psalm 148|
|Easter 4, Year C||April 17, 2016||Easter 4, Year C||Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30|
Easter 2, Year C
Sermon Date:April 3, 2016
Scripture: John 20:19-31
Liturgy Calendar: Easter 2, Year C
“The Incredulity of Thomas” – Duccio, di Buoninsegna (1308-11)
One of the hymns we have in Wonder, Love and Praise (WLP 790) opens with this line. “Put peace into each other’s hands, and like a treasure hold it.”
This peace that the hymn refers to is the same peace that Jesus brings to the frightened disciples on that evening of the first day of the week, the day of his resurrection.
When Jesus shows up in that locked house, the first words out of his mouth are “Peace be with you.”
In Bible study on Wednesday, Eunice asked a question.
“What exactly is this peace that Jesus brings to the disciples?” she wondered.
And I’ve been thinking about that question ever since, especially since Jesus says “Peace be with you” to the disciples not once, but three times in today’s gospel reading.
The peace that Jesus brings is not simply a freedom from war or conflict. It’s that deep down peace, full of the richness of God. God’s peace is alive and life giving.
God’s peace is the peace that we long for, particularly when death, fear, anger, war or any sort of discord threaten us and become barriers between us and God.
God’s peace, when we hold onto it and treasure it, can save us from death and sin.
What then, are the qualities of God’s peace?
Based on today’s gospel, I’ve come up with four qualities of God’s peace that I want to talk about today.
First of all, God’s peace is forgiving and merciful.
Jesus comes to the disciples and says “Peace with you.”
These were the disciples who had deserted him in his hour of need. Peter had even denied him publicly three times after his arrest. Most of the disciples were nowhere to be seen during the crucifixion of Jesus, and after he was dead, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had taken his body down from the cross and laid it in the grave. Where had these disciples been?
So when he appears to them, Jesus shows the disciples his hands and his side. They can see for themselves that even in his newly resurrected body, Jesus still carries the marks of the wounding, the pain and the suffering he endured during the crucifixion.
But Jesus does not show the disciples his wounds in order to make them feel even guiltier. Instead, Jesus is holding out his wounded hands and offering to them God’s peace—a forgiving peace that is rich in mercy.
So that’s the first thing—God’s peace is forgiving and merciful.
Second, a quality of God’s peace is joy.
We heard in today’s gospel that when the disciples saw Jesus with his wounded, forgiving and merciful hands stretched out to them, they rejoiced.
They experienced the same sort of joy that the psalmist proclaims in Psalm 150. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Hallelujah!”
This gladness and rejoicing is a sure sign of God’s presence with us and a sign of God’s kingdom active on this earth.
Third, God’s peace helps us remember who we are in light of whose we are, as Bishop Gulick likes to say.
Thomas hadn’t been with the disciples the first time that Jesus appeared. When Jesus comes back a week later and Thomas is there, Jesus doesn’t criticize Thomas for wanting visible proof for himself. Instead, he simply extends his wounded hands, full of that merciful and forgiving peace.
And so Thomas, upon hearing, “Peace be with you,” and seeing those hands, has the revelation that leads to these words—“My Lord, and my God!”
Thomas now knows the peace of God which passes all understanding, because his heart is now caught up in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, instead of in himself and his need for evidence.
He forgets about himself and sees only the One standing in front of him, his Lord and his God. A new found humility replaces his self-serving demand for proof.
Now here’s the last thing.
God’s peace is not just for us, but for all the world.
Remember the first line of the hymn, “Put peace into each other’s hands.”
God’s peace is for us to share with each other and for the world, and for all of creation.
God’s peace is something to freely give, just as God has freely given peace to us.
In fact, the more of God’s peace we share with others and with God’s good creation, the more peace we’ll find in our own hands.
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” said Jesus to the disciples.
Since the fourth century, people have been sent from church with the words we use every Sunday—to go out in peace to love and serve the Lord.
And so our Risen Lord will send us out today as well, bearing God’s peace that passes all understanding–
Forgiving and merciful, full of gladness and rejoicing, full of humility because now we know who we are in light of whose we are, and full of generosity, we carry God’s peace out into the world like a treasure—
Alleluia, alleluia! Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia! AMEN