Christ is Risen! The Easter celebration continues with the familiar upper room appearances from John’s Gospel. But, this year the supporting texts highlight a feature of the resurrection that can easily be missed – the way Christ’s resurrection brings us into a unified, loving community in which we share joy and abundant life together. This, I believe, is a message that is deeply needed in our world right now!
This second Sunday of Easter continues the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, but it adds a facet to the story that is not often spoken of – the way Christ’s gift of life brings us into a unified, life-giving, faith community.
In the Acts reading, the early church is described as a caring, loving and serving community in which all things were held in common and no one had need.
The famous Psalm 133 celebrates the joy and life that is found in a united community.
In John’s letter the testimony about Jesus connects with the call to live “in the light”, with honesty and integrity, and explains how living like this, in Jesus’ resurrection life, brings us into fellowship with God and one another.
Finally, in the Gospel, the first appearance of Jesus includes both the sending of the disciples as Jesus was sent to welcome, forgive and heal – proclaiming God’s Reign – and the call to be people of forgiveness, which of course, is a key facet to reconciliation.
In the Thomas story, the isolation that is felt by one who has not yet come to faith in Christ’s resurrection life is poignantly described, and then the joy when he finds faith and a place in the worshipping, faith community is expressed.
The simple and obvious message is that the resurrection is not a personal, individual gift, but is also about reconciliation and community. Because of Christ’s life we find connection with one another and with God, and we are able to live out of this sense of belonging, welcoming others, as John does in his letter, into the joy that we have found.
The truth is that life is always found and enjoyed together.
May we find life in our connection with each other, with the world, and with God as we worship this week.