Grenz Ricoeur Shelf

Grenz Ricoeur Shelf

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Prayer and Scriptures for the Second Sunday of Easter (2014)

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
 Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary:
First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-32
Psalm: Psalm 16
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Gospel: John 20:19-31
When it was evening on the day of Resurrection, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." 
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe." 
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 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." 
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Lectionary Reflections for the Season of Easter:

 First Things: Let's Not Get The Hell Out of Here by Timothy George.
I think we need to connect Holy Saturday more closely to Easter Monday. If the former is rightly observed as a day of silence and contemplation, anticipating the sunrise at the end of Easter Vigil, then let the day after Easter Sunday be one of jubilation and holy hilarity for, as the gospel song declares, “Our God Reigns.” 
The descent, like the cross and the ascension, was a one-time event. It happened like a sudden lightning flash, “once for all” (Greek hapax), as the New Testament says. But the harrowing of hell has changed things forever, with consequences both cosmic and personal.
 Internet Monk: Chaplain Mike reminds us that Easter is a Season, not a Day.
Many Christians assume that Easter is commemorated on just one day. It is an event. After it is over, we move on to something else. 
But this cannot be. We are Easter people! The first Sunday of Easter is the beginning, not the climax of the season. 
As the disciples grew in their understanding and love for the risen Christ over the great fifty days when he arose, appeared to them, ascended into heaven, and poured out the Holy Spirit upon them, may we too experience Easter throughout the entire season to come!
Andy Goodliff: How Do We Live Easter?

Tamed Cynic: No Easter, No Eschaton.

Glory to God for All Good Things: Christ Our Passover (an Eastern Orthodox perspective).

Ekklesia Project: Shame, Scars, and Resurrection Hope (lectionary reflection).

Allan Bevere: What's in a (Nick)Name?: A Lectionary Reflection on John 20:19-31.
But the nickname "Doubting Thomas" has dogged the briefly skeptical disciple for two thousand years, and it is not really fair to characterize this faithful follower of Jesus, whose initial skepticism has labeled him for all time. I think it also says something about how we view the place of doubt in the midst of faith. 
The old adage states that faith is fashioned in the workshop of doubt. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, it can often be a catalyst for faith-- we move forward in our convictions, even though we are not always sure what to believe. It has become fashionable in some Christian circles today to turn doubt into a virtue, to make it almost as important as faith itself, to wear doubt as a badge of one's honest inquiry. I think that is going a step too far. Excessive doubt can undermine the faith, to be sure. But, doubt can assist in one's faith or it can cause one to seek faith even more sincerely-- as John the Baptist in prison who sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if he was the Messiah (Luke 7:20), and the man who asked Jesus for healing uttering, "I believe help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). This side of perfection we see through a glass darkly and we know only in part. Doubt is a reality in a world where more than a few pieces of the puzzle of life are missing. To deny this is to deny the obvious. Easter brings all of our emotions and confusion and understanding, the clarity and the ambiguity together into a new reality that only God can bring.

Perhaps it is time to give Thomas a new nickname. Shane Kastler suggests that we call him Daring Thomas, the one who dared to express his doubts when the other disciples would not. They had their doubts as well.

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