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


Collect and Readings for Easter Day – Acts 10:34-43, Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, John 20:1-8, Luke 24:1-12

The Prayer for today Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen.

Throughout the whole world on Easter Day Christians are celebrating the most extraordinary event. Death, the most final thing we know as humans, has been the setting for the greatest regeneration story of all time. Jesus of Nazareth, handed over to the Roman authorities for execution and a cursed death, has been raised to a kind of life never before experienced. He has a body, the scars are still visible, he talks, listens and eats. Yet he is no longer bound by space or time.

In Christ’s risen nature we sense the stirring of that new life described by Isaiah, freed from all the tragedy and pain of mortal life, and full of hope, joy and overwhelming fulfilment. But the resurrection stories are about people who are emotionally confused and drained. The exhausting events of the past week have them seeing but not recognising, wondering and agonising but not immediately able to make sense of anything. And that is so human and reassuring for us to read. So often it takes us years of living before we eventually grasp something of God’s involvement in our journey or our pain.

So often the evidence of his real, loving presence is staring us in the face, and yet we assume any number of other factors are responsible, much as Mary assumed Jesus was the gardener. And Peter was wallowing so deeply in his own misery and pessimism that he probably wouldn’t have noticed Jesus if he had been standing there next to him. It may well have been that Jesus was!

With great gentleness and courtesy Jesus holds back on revealing the full power and vibrancy of his new life, so as to lead people at their own pace to recognise the astounding truth. He lets them see only what they are capable of assimilating, for he loves them, and has no desire to scare or overwhelm. That is just as true for us today. The more we seek this risen Lord, the more of him we will notice, recognise and delight in.

Some things to reflect on:

• What difference does it make to you that Jesus is alive for all time since that first Easter Day?

• How can we help others to recognise the living Jesus in this generation and in our community?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed. Alleluia!

God bless and stay safe and well.

Rev’d Fiona Robinson