Acts 5:27-32; Psalm 118:14-29; Revelation 1:4-8; John 20:19-31

Second Sunday of Easter 11 March 2010 Vanderbilt Divinity Library Lectionary

Easter 2C 11 March 2010 Textweek

In the reading from Acts – Peter and John have been brought before the religious authorities

There is a new movement in the “Church” of the day...... The traditions of the past have been brought into a new light... a light that is revealed in the events of Easter......

This new movement – which in the first reading is being challenged by the authority of the culture.... Will change forever what has been preached and practised as the social/religious worldview.......

Such shifts occur throughout history.... and with hindsight we can appreciate an almost obvious progression........ It is like looking back to the time people thought the earth was flat – we can understand their limited view.... and yet the truth was there all the time waiting to be seen.....

Surely, this is the same in every time and every age........ and we too should attend to the movements that will bring us fully into the Divine nature of Life..... The movement that will enable us to experience resurrection.

The second reading from the book of revelation is quite a different style of literature.... It presents an abstract almost dreamlike representation of the spiritual reality........

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come

This greeting that begins the book of revelation seems to echo the narrative reality of the gospel....

. 21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

Jesus making manifest the one who is – by his presence in the room – the one who was for he died and the one who is to come for he has walked from the tomb of death into a new tomorrow

2

These readings seem to underline that Easter is about movement .... from an old established order.... into a very new paradigm of living that is no longer bounded by the confines of birth and death........

A movement that can be realised.... and lived.......

And the gospels present us with the figure of Thomas – as if to give us a reference point – a signpost toward engaging the movement of Easter......

In John’s gospel today we are told of an encounter with the resurrected Jesus....... This is a revelation of Living in a new paradigm........ of living beyond the living that we have become accustomed to.....

Jesus came and stood among them

This is not about life after death – it is about living beyond our view of life as the space between birth and death........ It is a complete change to the order of life as we currently live it - just as living within a dynamic universe and not on a flat earth is different in so many ways – such that it creates a new experience of humanity......

Thomas - in the orthodox teaching which reads the gospel as a Sunday School story– is seen as the doubter........

However rather than contrast Doubt with Belief – rather than seeing Doubt and belied as positions ....... what Thomas demonstrates is a movement ..... whereby Doubt becomes a catalyst to move into a dramatically different belief..... And yet at the same time it is a tangible and touchable experiential belief......... so much so that belief then serves as a catalyst to move into life in a new and different way......

Here we witness the generation of a new humanity.... Doubt moving into belief moving into life.....

The narrative is so much more than Thomas’ conversion.......... and that is made evident when we appreciate from Chapter 11 of the same gospel that Thomas was present at the raising of Lazarus.....

Thomas has already seen resurrection ... has already seen that Death is not the end..... But now he more fully appreciates and encounters the Newness of Life that resurrection evidences.....

3

We have probably all encountered at the front door, or in the street, someone, usually with a magazine or a flower, telling us to “accept the name of Jesus and we will be saved”.

I always doubt their authenticity and integrity. Why?, because like Thomas I do not see their wounds, nor do I see evidenced in them a life lived in the resurrection – quite the contrary, most proclaim a belief that is grounded in fear.

If we are to Move with the energy of Easter......

If we are to Receive the Holy Spirit that Easter breathes on us......

Then we too, like Thomas, must bring into question those things that do not make sense......... Like Thomas we too must seek a living example of resurrection.

We must go beyond the traditional paradigms we have been given.....

Jesus is not to be worshipped...... he never reveals that as a expected outcome

Jesus is not special because he is the Son of God– rather he reveals that we are of the same mind and so too children of the Divine

Jesus did not die for us..... but rather to make manifest the fullness of life – lived in the light of resurrection..

Heaven is not the destination after death.... for the kingdom of heaven is near ( just as a spherical world was near to those who lived on a flat earth)....... The kingdom of heaven is to be lived into reality and the stone has been rolled away so that we might emerge into the light has been revealed......

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit

In this season of Easter we should take some time to breathe in this newness of life
breathe in the Spirit of Easter life... so that through believing you may have life in his name.

Like Thomas we should seek signs of living in the resurrection, looking for that which lies beyond and that calls us into a new and living way – through the curtain into the Body of Christ. As in the Acts of the Apostles – don’t look to the Church, don’t look for an established authority, don’t rely on the practices of the past – But look to each other – breathe in the Spirit of Creation – seek a newness of life that tangibly moves us into the light of life beyond the tomb.

The Lord be with you.
Peter Humphris