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Peace be with you Sunday 12th April,2015

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert – Sunday 12th April 2015, Easter 2

Peace be with youActs 4:32-37, 1 John 1:1-2:2, John 20:19-31

 

As we continue our celebration of this Easter season, we are blessed today to have Bishop Sarah visiting our Parish, as we welcome her ministry of oversight among us. I trust too that we will be blessed by these following words from another Bishop in the Church of God, Bishop Tom Wright;

‘Peace be with you many’, said Jesus. And again two verses later, ‘Peace be with you.’ Like a great bell, a single note with multiple overtones, the promise of peace tolls out across the world. Not just an inner peace of heart for every individual who hears and believes. Not just an agenda for peace for a warring world. The old Hebrew word Shalom speaks of a quality of life which includes but transcends both: rich and fruitful human living, God’s new creation bursting into many-coloured flower.

The peace declaration is flanked with simple but profound actions. Jesus shows the disciples his hands and his side, the marks of love which had loved them to the uttermost, the signs that the bill had been paid. Easter means, amidst much else, that peace, never other than costly, has truly been purchased on the cross.

As often in John, we move quickly from love’s evidence to love’s commission. New creation again: Jesus breathes on the disciples, as God breathed on the first human pair, to make them living beings of a new sort, peace-bringers, sin-forgivers. ‘As the Father sent me, so I send you’: the highest possible ecclesiology, grounded in the highest possible Christology, made effective by the gift of the Spirit. Peace is not so much a state of being, more a power let loose upon the world.

For Thomas, peace comes in person to confront the warring spirits of doubt. Scepticism was not born in the eighteenth century; believing in the resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of the ancient world trying to convince the modern one, but of the creator’s power confronting the age-old assumption of all humankind – the potter, you might say, confronting the clay. But if Easter peace brings order to the world’s confusion, it also brings glorious confusion to the world’s order, opening up undreamed of possibilities, not so much of random miracles but of new creation in place of decay, new peace in place of war.

(Adapted from Twelve Months of Sunday’s – Year B: Biblical meditations on the Christian Year, by Tom Wright, page 56-7).

Acts 4:32-35 – 32 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. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 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. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). 37 He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

 

John 20:19-31 – 19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

 

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin[a]), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

 

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

 

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.