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This Sunday, the fourth Sunday in the Easter Season for those of us following the RCL, continues the story of the formation of the early church as told in the Book of Acts. This week we have Peter branding out beyond the “norms” of Jewish members in the church to the uncircumcised Gentiles. It’s radical, and shifts the idea of membership in the church to baptism, which is open to all who so desire and learn the ways of following Jesus. But then the Gospel of John takes us back to the night of the last supper, before the crucifixion and resurrection, pointing toward what is to come…which ultimately is what we hear in the reading from Acts – a radical shift in understanding of who belongs. Everyone belongs. Everyone.

We live ins challenging times. Times in which some vocal people in the USA are trying to return us to a time before, to take us back 50 years. Before the civil rights movement. Before efforts for women’s equality. Before Roe V. Wade. Before women had the right to determine our own health care needs. Before efforts to bring equality to LGBTQ+ people. Before. As if it will be possible to actually go backward. All efforts will have consequences and people will be harmed, but ultimately they will fail. Because going backward is like the disciples hiding in the upper room instead of out in the world living into the radical transformation of whole and equality, justice and mercy, that God desires. Desires because that is the work of Jesus and the work that the disciples manage to create in the early church.

I am not sure where my homily will go on Sunday. Maybe you have some clear ideas? Regardless, we are here to share ideas, offer support, pray for one another.

Pull up a chair, grab a mug, I have lots of coffee and plenty of time. Let’s party!

The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving a parish in Dearborn, Michigan. She’s been a member of RevGalBlogPals since 2006 and blogs at Seeking Authentic Voice.

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com

7 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: It’s still Easter

  1. Terri, I love your line, referring to our call to go “out into the world living into the radical transformation of whole and equality, justice and mercy, that God desires”. My sermon is going in that direction. All four of the lessons point to God’s vision for the world…in my current draft (much editing to come) I have written, “I believe now is the time to embrace those visions with a passion the world has not previously seen. We are called to increase love and serve all peoples, all creatures and their habitat. As Jesus’ washed the feet of his disciples we are to cradle creation in our hands and gently clean, support and bless it. This, with God’s help, is how the new earth is coming into being. In places where this happens, crying, mourning and pain are rare.”

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    1. I’m wondering this morning about the idea of who do I eat with? And, who would I NOT eat with? Who do we eat with and who do we not eat with? Who is welcome at Jesus’ table for bread and wine? Is baptism really the requirement for this welcome to the table, or is it a way to define who we will and will not eat with?

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  2. I am off lectionary but also reminding them we are still in the Easter season. I’m using the end of the Emmaus story where Jesus appears to the disciples who remain hidden away. This weeks word, from our ordination/installation vows, is intelligence…so sermon title is Holy Intelligence…reminding them that sometimes the best intelligence is that which is learned after you think you know everything.

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    1. I remember thinking as I graduated from seminary that I was only now really ready to learn and understand all that seminary had tried to teach me. So, yes the best intelligence is that which is learned about I think I know everything.

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  3. “Can you imagine the joy of living into your call — the relief of your gifts and purpose coming into sync after a long struggle, the satisfaction of trusting your path when once you were frozen by doubts, the confidence of claiming the work that is yours to do — and yet having the humility (and noncompetitive spirit) to praise God for others who are also gifted, purposeful, confident, called, Spirit-filled, and traveling the same path, perhaps even doing the same work?” — Rachel Hackenberg

    I can. Because the ministry I have now was hard won. It cost me a ministry I loved, but in the end, by the grace of God, I have this new ministry about which I am passionate and still have opportunities to minister in new ways in the former ministry. And now, I wait for the presbytery to decide if what I’m doing now warrants validation and commissioning, so that “even the Gentiles” may be baptized and receive Communion … in an art gallery … in the mission field … in a massage salon ….

    The congregation with whom I’ll be worshiping tomorrow has paid a steep price for following God’s call as well. This judgment of those who think they know better about where God calls us to go and whom God calls us to love and how God calls us to do it has significant impact. Like Peter, we must find the strength … the confidence, says Rachel … to claim the work that is ours to do and then “get up and go,” regardless of the consequences of those who do not understand what it means for others when we color outside their lines.

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  4. Thank you, Terri. The conversation is positive, I’m told. I’ll meet with them in June or July. We are breaking new ground, so there are questions, which I expected, but the Presbytery staff is very supportive of the idea, and the committee seems to be interested. There is good reason to be hopeful. 🙂

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