Blessed are you,
O God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
in whom we receive the legacy of a living hope,
born again not only from his death
but also from his resurrection.
May we who have received forgiveness of sins
through the Holy Spirit live to set others free,
until, at length, we enter the inheritance
that is imperishable and unfading,
where Christ lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit.
Two things we cannot doubt: no matter how tired we are, no matter how much Holy Week might have taken out of us, we still have to think about the next sermon coming at us; and if it is the Second Sunday of Easter, chances are that sermon might touch on Doubting Thomas. Of course most of us have no trouble conjuring up those doubts ourselves. What role does doubt play in your congregation, in your life? Does the story of Thomas shed any light for you?
The other theme of the gospel is that Easter is not, after all, the end of a journey but rather the beginning. The commentary at Working Preacher makes a suggestion I find intriguing: What if the disciples were locked away, in hiding because they were afraid of the risen Jesus after having failed to miserably to stay with him during his arrest, trial and crucifixion. Could it be that we are a bit afraid of the demands Jesus might make on us if we really took him seriously? What does Jesus us expect from us now that he is, indeed, risen from the dead?
Our reading from the Acts of the Apostles brings us the into the life of the disciples after Pentecost. As Peter addresses the crowds after the sending of the Spirit,he places the death and resurrection of Jesus squarely in the context of God’s might acts of salvation for the people of Israel and of God’s overall plan for creation. Where do we see ourselves in this picture? Or do we?
Our second reading is the first of four installments covering most of the first letter of Peter. Here Peter reminds his audience that they have been given new birth through Jesus’ resurrection into an inheritance that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” This brings us both joy in the present and hope for the future. Peter compares faith to gold which must be refined by fire. How might this image embolden us in our ministry, strengthen our faith, hold us up in our life in Christ?
We might still be tired, preachers, (I know I am!) but the task is before us. How are this weeks readings speaking to you?What inspiration do you find to share on what may be a “low Sunday” for many of us. What questions are you pondering? Join the conversation; there is always strength to be found in our numbers!