Readings and Sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Easter

Religion celebrates what the rest of the world forgets – the inherent goodness of life itself.  Religion knows that life unadorned and raw is the ultimate high.  Everything else is a pale shadow of the real thing.  All the excesses in the world—sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, greed—are simply substitutes for the real thing.  They are made for people who have yet to discover the joy of being human, the glory of God among us.
It is religion, in fact, that built joy and excitement, happiness and satisfaction, abandon and trust, fun and holy leisure right into the midst of life in the first place.

Joan Chittister

Collect: The 2nd Sunday of Easter

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Acts 5:27-32 . . . the apostles are brought before the council of religious authorities in Jerusalem and again commended to cease preaching in the name of Jesus
Psalm 150 . . . all that have breath are invited to join
Revelation 1:4-8 . . . John the Seer addresses seven representative churches in Asia Minor with a hymn of praise to Christ, the first-born from the dead and now ruler of all.
John 20:19-31 . . . two appearance of the risen Lord to his disciples

Sermon by Richard W. Voelz

“Not long after I arrived at my last pastoral ministry, I was at a gathering for area clergy where I met a minister who told me had an interest in apologetics, that is proving and defending the Christian faith by logical, defensible proofs,” begins Richard W. Voelz, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. But Voelz says, “I have to be honest. I have no interest in proving the resurrection of Jesus. I wasn’t there. I don’t have a firsthand eyewitness account of the empty tomb or Jesus’ appearances after the crucifixion.” He says, “On my best days, I do believe that resurrection happened in some way, shape, or form. Even more than that, I believe resurrection because I see resurrection.” Today’s text, John 20:19-31, anticipates our search for resurrection. How do we see and live the resurrection? Listen as Voelz tells us how to make sure that our belief is never disconnected from resurrection living, so that others will see resurrection in us.

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