for Sunday, April 7, 2013
2nd Sunday of Easter
lectionary focus: John 20:19-31
inspiration: Forgiveness and Peace post by Carolyn Brown
Yes, it is still Easter! Easter is such a big joy and mystery that it is not just one day. Easter is why we are. We are an Easter people. Because Jesus died, and is risen, and lives, we, too, live in joyous community to praise God and enjoy Him forever! This is the joy and mystery of Easter.
In our Bible story today, it is still the first Easter day. So many things have happened. The disciples are scared. They are hiding in a room together, confused by this Easter mystery. And so, Jesus comes to them. Jesus, the risen and living Lord, comes and says, “Peace be with you.” Jesus spoke words of comfort and blessed the disciples.
We spent our time during Lent looking at prayer as a way to be close to God. We talked about praying when we are scared or have done wrong, or when we need help, or when we give thanks and praise to God. But just as Easter is a season that goes on, our praying continues. And our Bible story today reminds us of another kind of prayer…when we pray together. When people see each other on the street or in the store, they say Hi or Hello or How you doing? We greet each other to connect with each other. But we can also greet each other with a prayer. We can share words of comfort and blessing by saying “The peace of Christ be with you.” And the other person responds, “And also with you.” Let’s try that: (say it back and forth with the children) Here we are exchanging a simple yet powerful prayer. We are connecting with each other and with God. We are sharing that God loves us all, and that God forgives us all, and that we are all part of God’s family together.
Jesus blessed His friends with Peace. He still blesses us today with His peace. Not that everything is peaceful and calm and without problems, but that in the midst of it all, our hearts are full of God’s peace.
We are an Easter people. And God calls us to be active, peaceful people. We are called to share God’s love and peace. As we continue celebrating Easter, continue your prayers, and greet each other with God’s peace…sharing the joy and mystery of Easter. The peace of Christ be with you! (And children respond, And also with you.)
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)
that we are Easter people.
to share Your love
and Your peace
through the Easter season
We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.
Each year during Lent a faithful friend in our parish does a special Stations of the Cross for children age 4 through fifth grade. During one of the stations we exchange the peace, receiving the peace from our neighbor and passing it on to our neighbor on the other side. Diane always insists that we look each other in the eye when we exchange the peace. Since she said this, it strikes me what a good instruction this is – during church we ADULTS rarely do it. We’re looking at our hands or all around or the person behind us. It’s such a good thing to remember! (Great post this week!)
Thank you, Jill! It is so easy to be scouting for the next hand as we pass the Peace but eye contact is key. This is certainly something to add to this sermon where leaders see fit. One of the many reasons we fell in love with our current church is the way Pastor Sid sweeps his eyes over the congregation while he listens to us say, “And also with you!”
Peace be with you, Jill!