Wounds of creation, wounds of Christ, by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Excerpt: Christianity has a powerful message to bring to a frightened and imperiled world: Yes, climate change is real, but so is the reconciling and liberating love of God. Anxiety about the future, anger and fear about the present, and regret and guilt about the past are not enough to sustain our efforts to care for creation. It is the forgiving love of God – that endless, self-sacrificing, hidden outpouring of love that we receive in every heartbeat, in every breath, in every moment – that alone will sustain our efforts to become healers of creation, both now and in the years ahead.
Courage to Tune, by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Excerpt: Are you still with me? Have you tuned out yet? It’s hard to listen to even a quick sketch of the devastation that is going on around us without wanting to cover our ears. It is painful and scary to face this die-off, this crucifixion, and if we don’t have moments of wanting to hide out, then I don’t think we’ve been paying attention.
That’s where the Gospel story comes in. Just think about those disciples huddled fearfully in that locked up room. We can say this about them: at least they were no longer in denial. They had seen the crucifixion; they knew the reality of the violence and the wounds. They were not about to tell you that Christ’s wounds on the cross were not real, any more than we can pretend that the wounds to God’s Creation are not real. Like we who face global warming, the disciples had looked death in the face, and they were scared.
Peace be with you, by Darell J. Pedersen
Excerpt: Jesus, risen Lord and Savior, visited his fearful disciples behind closed doors on the night of the first Easter and then again a week later. Three times in our text Jesus gave them this blessing, “Peace be with you.
Seeing, Believing, & Acting, by the Rev. Peter Sawtell
Excerpt: Let me be open-minded and compassionate. For a minute.
Let me try to be as understanding of the climate skeptics as I have been of Doubting Thomas. This is a new thing. As Daniel Maguire wrote, “For the first time, our power to destroy outstrips the earth’s power to restore.” For the first time.
Global climate change goes against all of our human experience. It makes us think of ourselves and our environment in a totally new way.
We can’t say “Well, I have doubts, but if you can harmonize the mid-level atmospheric temperatures and the ground-level readings, then I’ll believe.” It takes conversion, a stunning change in world view and perspective, to really believe what is happening.
Lord Help our Unbelief, by Gil Waldkoenig
Excerpt: But all who gather around the signs of grace have an orientation and centeredness to face the bad signs in their stark reality, without denial and without avoidance. The church is already learning to change and respond in new ways, because from the source of grace we can respond beyond denial and fear, with love – love just like the gospel of John features from beginning to end! In other words, go ahead and ask for a fish or any other signs—the work of our time still lays before us. The cross and the resurrection are still what they are, and from that orientation, we’re going to be able to move and respond.
The Apostles’ witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, which was borne with ‘great power’ (Acts 4:33), took place in a Christian community economically transformed. The sharing of possessions (Acts 4:32-35) was a fruit of the new life of Christ among them.
The risen Christ kindly accepts Thomas’s demand for personal physical proof of the resurrection (John 20:24-29). Thomas is invited to feel Christ’s hand and side. This story clearly shows that Christ’s transformed body could be felt – it was not just an appearance. The Gospel speaks not of escape from the physical, but of its perfecting.
The Self-Giving of the Community is Rooted in the Self-Giving of the Creator, by Dennis Ormseth
Excerpt: As with the readings for Easter Sunday, the power of God to resurrect Jesus from the dead is thus understood to be the power of the Creator to bring about the renewed flourishing of creation (See our comment on the lectionary readings for the Resurrection of Our Lord).
The significance of this connection between Jesus’ resurrection, the presence of Yahweh and the flourishing of creation can be drawn from the readings appointed for this Sunday. Following on the resurrection of Jesus, his followers are brought immediately into the experience of the presence of God: in the first section of the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus appears to the disciples, addresses the fear that keeps them behind locked doors with his word of peace, breaths upon them the Holy Spirit, and then commissions them by the power of the Spirit for the mission of forgiveness of sins. That the presence of Yahweh as creator is manifest in this account is clear from the allusion to Genesis 2:7