Easter 2, Year B

Title:Easter 2, Year B

 Easter 2, April 8, 2018 (full size gallery)


Easter 2 is a "low Sunday", the week after Easter but we had 37 people. Ladies Night Out was the night before. This week the tulips came out in force and some trees. However, there was a brief snow on Saturday that brought back some ice.

This week the Bishop requested that we devote the service to Dr. Martin Luther King, 50 years after his assassination rather than the Easter 2 readings . as described below. The King readings were very different -Genesis 37:17-20,Psalm 77:11-20, Ephesians 6:10–20 and the Gospel Luke 6:27–36. The King readings are here The bulletin is here.

The collect emphasized the example of King – "to resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Genesis was about the plot to kill Joseph as a dreamer. The last verse of the Psalm was considered King -You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

The Ephesians reading detailed the struggle – "For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace." It concludes with the necessity to speak boldly

The Gospel of Luke 6 was the famous "offer your other cheek if one is struck." “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. " Since this reading is for Epiphany 7, year C we rarely he hear it.

The sermon used the metaphor of a scrulptor – "Michelangelo said of himself, “In every block of marble I see a statue as though it stood before me., shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the others’ eyes as mine see it.”

Martin Luther King, Jr was also a sculptor and an artist. "With God given vision, he could see in the seemingly unmovable granite mountain of racism and the injustices it created in American society the potential to become something different, something beautiful"

"And so he went to work. With his words and his actions, he hewed away at the rough walls of discrimination and inequality that kept liberty and justice imprisoned in stone in this nation for anyone who wasn’t white. He hewed away at the hatred sown in human hearts by those caught up in fear and stuck in the prejudice which they had been taught.

His sculptor’s tools were “unarmed truth” and “unconditional love.” King said in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech that “unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

The sermon challenged us to find dreams for this church. "What dreams has God given you about your purpose in this place and in this lifetime? One possibility was developed – "If we are listening, we may hear God calling us to the places in this area that we might not usually find ourselves. What would it be like to develop ongoing relationships with the children in this town?

Easter 2 Lectionary

Today’s readings celebrate Jesus’ victory over death and his gift of faith to his followers. In Acts, the generosity and compassion of the disciples testify to their unity and faith. The first letter of John points out that we are victors when we believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In today’s gospel, Thomas’s doubts are transformed as he worships the risen Lord.

In today’s passage, Luke from the Acts passage summarizes the life of the early Church in Jerusalem. Two descriptions of the believers’ common life are given: complete community of goods and distribution to the needy, fulfilling the promise of Deuteronomy 15:4. The sharing of goods practiced by the Jerusalem church does not seem to have been repeated elsewhere.

Although the care of the needy was always a feature of Christian communities, the important issue was not a particular economic principle, but the expression of the community’s unity in love. The believers had one source and center of life, and were one in outwardly visible lifestyle.

The Gospel is the Doubting Thomas reading.

John’s account of the first appearance of the risen Lord shows that Jesus has returned, bringing peace and joy. He shows his wounds to establish that the crucified Jesus and the risen Jesus are one and the same. As he had promised, he then gives the disciples a mission and breathes upon them the Holy Spirit.

This is the new creation of humanity for eternal life. Just as Jesus’ own ministry began with his empowerment by the Holy Spirit at his baptism, so each Christian is similarly empowered for ministry.

Thomas personifies the elements of doubt that arise regarding the resurrection. He expresses his disbelief in exactly the way Jesus had decried. Yet, without touching the Lord, he can still be brought to penetrate the meaning behind the marvel and to make a full affirmation of Christian faith. He consummates the sequence of titles given to Jesus by giving him the ultimate one of God. Jesus’ blessing in response to him answers the problem of believers ever since the eyewitnesses died.

Verses 30-31 serve as a summary of John’s entire message. They evaluate the content of the gospel, inviting all to come to the understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, and through belief to share in a saving relationship with him.

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