Collect and Readings for Second Sunday of Easter – Acts 5:27-32, Exodus 14:10-end, 15:20-21, Psalm 118:14-end, Psalm 150, Revelation 5:4-8, John 20:19-end
The Prayer for today Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
People will often say, ‘If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I’d never have believed it!’ Sight is the sense we trust most for evidence and proof. There are many who assume God does not exist because they cannot see him with their eyes, and it is interesting that God has chosen to withhold from us that very poof of existence that we prize most highly. It’s almost as if he is challenging us to be less dependent on this sense because our very mastery in sight can blind us to other kinds of perception.
The disciples had the women’s eye-witness account to trust, but they didn’t trust it. They were only convinced of the Resurrection when Jesus suddenly appeared right there in the room with them, talking with them and fully alive. We may think we are convinced of the Resurrection, but supposing the risen Christ suddenly appeared visually in the middle of our worship, and spoke to you, and looked you straight in the eye. I suspect our conviction would suddenly rocket, and we would be bursting to tell everyone about it.
In the reading from Acts we find the apostles doing just that and getting themselves into a lot of trouble as a result. They argue that they cannot possibly stop teaching people about the risen Jesus because it’s too important to keep quiet about. They are not saying, ‘Some people believe that…’ but ‘We know this is true because we have actually witnessed it’.
The really exciting thing is that we can also meet the living Jesus personally. We may not be able to see him visually, but there is no doubt that he is with us in persona when ever we gather to pray, whenever we share the bread and wine at Communion, and whenever we ‘wash one another’s feet‘ in loving service. Sometimes his presence is full of peace, sometimes reassuring, challenging or affirming, and as we become more attuned to his company, we come to realise that sight isn’t the most important proof of all.
Some things to reflect on:
• How do you think the apostles felt when they found Jesus there among them for the first time since the last supper?
• What would you say to someone who felt they could only believe in God if they could see him?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev’d Fiona Robinson