Easter 2 – Coordinates

Title:Easter 2 – Coordinates

 Easter 2 (full size gallery)

The garden pictures emphasize what has changed outside since Easter – Magnolia has its new suit of green, the dogwood is out and the sycamore are just coming out. We are now in the season of fresh green leaves, the smell of new flowers and today a gentle breeze and vibrant sunny skies.

The sermon’s conclusion is about what has changed for us due to Easter’s resurrection:

“Expansive love, deep trust, waiting on the Lord, and joy—are all the hallmarks of our life together as people of the resurrection.

“So let’s love one another as God has loved us,

“trust one another as Jesus trusted the disciples,

“be patient with one another as the disciples were patient with Thomas,

“and to be of one heart and soul with one another and to care for one another so that no one has need.

“And may our joy be complete, because we have seen the risen Lord at work all around us, and we already have resurrection life in his name.”

From Bishop Rob Wright, Diocese of Atlanta

“The first thing Jesus does when he’s raised from the dead, is find his friends behind locked doors in fear and offer “Peace.” Peace, not the absence of hardship, but the presence of liberation. He shows his wounds to his friends. What a defiant act. He bears no shame because of his wounds. He’s liberated, so his wounds are a part of who he is, not all of who he is. And then just like Harriett Tubman, the liberated Jesus shares the coordinates to freedom with his friends. “As I have been sent, I now send you.”

“Peace isn’t relaxing on a chaise lounge safe from the world’s bite; peace is the presence of purpose. Peace is being liberated from purposelessness. Peace is partnership with Spirit. Fear, wounds and a lack of purpose each can capture and kill, but Jesus comes with his way, truth and life to make us free. ”

Easter 2 Lectionary

The scriptures this week and for most of Eastertide from Easter to Pentecost are about the developing Christian Community after Jesus resurrection.

Today’s readings celebrate Jesus’ victory over death and his gift of faith to his followers.

The Psalm written centuries earlier extols the wondrous joys of being together in community. It is a blessing – more is done for everyone.

The Acts reading says that the community’s purpose was to give testimony and witness to Jesus’ resurrection, and they lived out the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.

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.

The early church was able to share what they owned to those in need. 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.

There were individuals in that community who were apprehensive when it came to accepting the resurrection. This included the Apostle Thomas who was not with the disciples when Jesus appeared and doubted until touching Jesus wounds in that locked room. Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

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 died. 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. ” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

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.