If it’s the Sunday after Easter, it must be Doubting Thomas Sunday. Or Faithful Thomas Sunday, if you prefer, since he’s the first disciple to recognize Jesus as God. It’s a familiar story about a faithful disciple getting a bad reputation that endures for 2000 years. What will you say about Thomas that you didn’t say last year or the year before? When the Revised Common Lectionary assigns the same text for all lectionary cycles, it can be a challenge to come up with something new each year. Please share any ideas or insights in the comments, to help out your fellow preachers! You can also check out the commentaries at Working Preacher or The Text This Week.

 

This Sunday’s reading from Acts can be an inspiration for the burned out pastor. After Holy Week, many of us need a day (or three) to sleep, get a massage, do laundry, and just recover from the long work hours and emotional stress of explaining or enacting the betrayal, execution, and resurrection of Jesus. Holy Week is an emotional roller coaster for church professionals. The Acts reading reminds us that burnout and frustration is not a new thing for those who proclaim the Word.

 

Take the time to read all of Acts 5. It’s a rich chapter with interesting stories. Just before the assigned passage for Sunday, Peter and the rest of the apostles had been arrested for proclaiming the Gospel and performing healings. It would have been easy for them to become discouraged and need a break from evangelizing. But when he was brought before the authorities, Peter continued to fearlessly proclaim the Gospel, even knowing that doing so would continue to put him and his peers in danger. mvzVswC.jpg

 

If Peter can preach in such circumstances, then so can you!

 

And if Peter can find new ways to tell the story of the Resurrection, even under severe pressure, then, dear colleague, so can you. Even if you’re at the end of your rope and don’t feel the usual spark of inspiration for writing this week, the Holy Spirit will be with you to guide and embolden you along your way. I will be praying for you and your proclamation this week!

 

In our congregation, a member recently went to a workshop on biblical storytelling. She will be telling (from memory) the story from Acts in worship this Sunday. It’s a helpful reminder that the most important thing we can do as preachers is to continue to tell the story of Jesus and his love. The Easter story is still meaningful and important a week after the fact. In this culture of short attention spans and only momentary news coverage of any single event, our congregations may just need to hear the Easter story again. It’s the basis of our faith, and worth telling and retelling as often as we can. So, happy preaching this week! Please share your ideas or frustrations and join the discussion below.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Do not doubt, but believe!

  1. I am wondering how the disciples went from behind closed doors, to preaching and healing and being arrested. There is a group of Christians in Australia, called Loves makes a Way – who pray in the electoral offices of government Ministers – praying for the release of children in offshore detention centres [part of Australia’s border protection program to try and stop refugees] this organisation, that started as a group of friends, turned 2 this week.
    I wonder what would we do that would get us arrested???
    don’t know if any of this will make it to Sundays service.

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    1. What a great example from Love Makes a Way. Thank you for sharing. I agree, it’s perplexing to think of the disciples hiding in a locked room in the Gospel of John, then being arrested for preaching and healing in Acts. What led from one to the other? How to bridge both in one worship service?

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  2. It seems to me that Thomas isn’t the only doubter in this story. The rest of the disciples have already seen Jesus, and yet they’re living in fear. They locked the door. But Jesus isn’t afraid of spending time with doubters. He shows up anyways. And then goes on to do many more miracles, and tell their faith is it strengthen enough to preach as they do in acts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point – we could call this the story of the doubting disciples! The process of believing without fear takes some time for them, and doesn’t happen the first time they see Jesus post-resurrection.

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