The second Sunday of Easter, usually means Doubting Thomas in the Gospel. I have preached this passage many times, but I am going to do something different this year; I will focus on the Acts reading–and find a way to use the rest of the scriptures in the proclamation.
- The Acts reading tells one of the stories of the early Church–a community of the resurrected Jesus. The early Christians lived a different existence. It flies in the face of an individualistic and possession obsessed culture. It calls the church of the 21st century to re-examine itself and its relationship to finances and assets. I especially like v. 33- With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. This is followed by a verse that describes how they acted toward one another: There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. Are we ready to reclaim the faith of the early church?
- This Psalm’s Latin name is- Ecce, quam bonum! “How good it is to live in unity!” This same phrase is carved in an entrance to to the Divinity School at Sewanee, a reminder of how we are to live together in the faith. After years of serving in churches, this is one of the things that gives a congregation away to the community–people make decisions to be a part of the congregation based on how they say the church treating one another. People are generally not attracted to people and organizations that are in enmity with one another. How pleasant it is to serve a congregation that lives in harmony rather than discord.
- The Epistle lesson hits the theme of unity, and gives us another look at living as a fellowship of the Risen Christ. Like much of that letter, it touches the theme of light and darkness–and to live as Christ’s community, we are to live in the light. The passage also touches the theme of forgiveness and atonement. You might say that the Epistle is rich with theology and is certainly a compliment to the other readings.
- The Gospel is an old favorite–the resurrected Jesus visits the disciples on that first Easter Sunday evening. There are several things about this reading that always stand out for me: 1) The greeting of peace/”shalom”(not just once, but twice); 2) the showing of the scars–yet nobody will touch them; 3) Jesus says “As I was sent, I send you (missio); 4) breathing on them–“receive the Holy Spirit” (the Hebrew similarity); 5) Thomas missing the first experience–being there dumb-founded a week later; 6) v. 29- 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.” Let’s just say, this Gospel has plenty to proclaim.
- Great resources for this Sunday at Textweek.com (they tend to lean toward the Gospel)
- Nice reflection on Acts- from The Witness
- More from Journey with Jesus