I think I’m going to start a new theme for the blog… Early on in the week (Monday or Tuesday) I’ll write up my ‘first thoughts’ on the lectionary readings. I know, its wednesday and hardly early in the week, but it feels like Tuesday since I took Monday off (during the day anyway) for a post-easter rest and overdue attention to my kayak at a local lake. So here goes… the format will develop over time, and I don’t know what might come up.
Acts 2:14a, 22–32 – http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=170921841
I’m kicking around maybe a ‘series’ on the book of Acts for the Easter season. Acts has always held a fascination for me, and yet I don’t recall preaching on it too often. Readings from Acts go all the way through the season of Easter, so its an interesting possibility to at least weave them in each week. I’ll have to take some time and look at each of them and the possibilities for it. The attraction might be also a connection I see… the book of Acts was the story of the early church finding its way in what for them was a radically re-formatted existence. And it goes without saying that LMS is in that same place… we are fresh with excitement at a new beginning, and working towards finding a sense of clarity to our purpose as community. I can see the potential for lots of connect with this story going forward.
This text is from Peter’s first sermon. He is framing the current situation and provides a framework for understanding Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection. Each Sunday is a ‘little Easter” where we witness to the resurrection. One of my favorites in seminary, Walter Boumann, insisted that all proclamation in the life of the Church begins with resurrection. The theme that would develop in a series on the book of acts is similiar to my theme Easter Sunday… hinging on a hypothetical question that Jesus might ask: “You believe in my resurrection? So what?” If resurrection is just an ‘I believe that’ box we check, it doesn’t really mean much. The only meaning to it is in the context of what it means to be a resurrection people. And that is different from just ‘people who say Jesus rose’.
1 Peter 1:3-9 – http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=170922886
The 2nd readings for Easter also wind through 1 Peter. I just am not as ‘grabbed’ by it. Probably comes out of the tradition of baptizing converts at Easter, with its theme going deep into ‘what does it mean to be baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection’? Good thematic for post-baptismal ‘continuing education’. This lesson goes into the theme of how to live and keep hope in the midst of persecution, which could stand as a reminder of those for whom being called by Christ is a life and death decision in ways we in America can’t really comprehend.
John 20:19-31 – http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=170923902
Here we have the Johanine pentecost, but which usually gets ignored in favor of ‘the Feast of the Bashing of Thomas’. I’m sorry, I just don’t know if I can bring myself to preach another sermon on doubting Thomas. If I were, I think this time I’d mess with the fact that not only does Peter ask for the same experience of seeing and feeling Jesus’ marks of death, but that the others had received the Holy Spirit. And, in my favorite lines from Luther “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith”. How can we, if we believe that the Spirit is the source of our Faith, expect Thomas to have believed?
Well, there it is. Any other ideas?