Shield

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Eden, NC
2nd Sunday after Easter
Reflection: After the resurrection....
Acts 4:32-35
The Rev. Wheigar Bright

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

On Easter Sunday I shared on the effects of the resurrection of our Lord, especially on the life of Mary Magdalene. The takeaway for me was the realization that the resurrection is a lived experience to be effectuated daily in the life of the Christian. The scriptures for the second Sunday after Easter give references to ways the resurrection can be lived. So even after Easter, the resurrection continues.

Acts gives us a post resurrection community of Christians that shows a community living with a deep sense of God in their lives. There seem to be an intentional reflecting of the spirit of Jesus. “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.”

Acts 4:32 tells us that there is a unity of heart and soul; that there is a common ministry; there is the power of grace; and needs were being met through donations from their community. In this early Christian community, there is a deep sense of unity, compassion and generosity, and all of this Peter would claim are based upon their experience with the risen Lord, Jesus! We can then conclude that one of the evidence of the resurrection is a community living intensely, in the Spirit of the risen Christ.

But, even in the post resurrection there is this other side of the Christian, which is the pervasive nature of sin, as 1 John would acknowledge. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1.8. Yet sin can be dealt with the recognition and belief of who God is. “God is light and in him there is no darkness”, 1 John would say. The truth is that not one of our sins can change the nature of God. 1 John gives us a way of dealing with sin post resurrection: confession of sins and the belief that God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1.9 This is good news for the church and the world! that we need not give any premium to sin but to know that sin is a defeated foe by the resurrection and has no power over our lives.

Another thing to understand this post resurrection is to watch out for those things and ideas that scare us the most. What do we most fear? In John’s gospel, the disciples are locked up in their homes because they were afraid of the Jews. Now for me, reference to the “Jews” can be a collective allusion to the status quo-those who felt their agenda had not been met by the ministry of Jesus and also rather preferred to leave things as they were. We know, however, the status quo ultimately failed to keep Jesus from being faithful to God, the Father. Yet even after the resurrection there is still that lingering fear that the enemy still had the power over the faith of Christians! Fear will stifle our faith! Now here is the good news. Jesus will come in our fears because he has the power over our fears. It is that power which declares “peace” and offers the Holy Spirit! It is that power which lets us know that we have the power to forgive others, (even the status quo), and ourselves. John 20:19-31.

Indeed post resurrection is an exciting time. This is the time which assures us that we can live an invigorating and life-affirming existence, knowing that this is what our Lord Jesus intended us to be. Post resurrection lets us know that we can be as the song writer says,

“Because he lives, I can face tomorrow; because he lives, all fear is gone,
because I know he holds the future, and life is worth a living just because he lives.”

Prayer:
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the 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, for ever and ever. Amen.

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