Theme: A people of the Temple bear witness of resurrection
(excerpted; fresh translation)
On the first day of the week,
the apostles and some others were gathered together.
As they were talking, suddenly Jesus was standing among them.
“Peace be with you,” he said.*
But they were terrified; they thought they were seeing a ghost.
He said to them, “What’s wrong? It’s me!
Look—touch me. I’m flesh and bones, not a ghost.”
And he showed them his hands and feet.
They gave him some broiled fish,
and as they watched, he ate it.
Then he said to them:
“It was written that the Messiah** would suffer
and would rise from the dead on the third day,
and that in his name
repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed to all peoples,
starting at Jerusalem.
Of all this, you are witnesses.
But wait here in Jerusalem
until I send you what my Father promised
and you are clothed with power from heaven.”
Then he led them out to Bethany
and was taken away from them, up into heaven.
With great joy, the disciples returned to Jerusalem.
There they all spent their time in the temple, praising God.
* Peace be with you: in Hebrew, Shalom aleichem
** the Messiah: or the Christ, the Anointed One
Lent is over; Easter has come. But here’s a final reflection to cap off the Lenten series.
Luke’s version of the Easter story ends with the disciples in Jerusalem, waiting to be clothed with power from heaven so they can go out in the name of the Christ to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all peoples. Their wait will end on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit falls on them.
And what do the disciples do while they’re waiting? They spend their time in the Temple, praising God.
Today, I will gather with my congregation to celebrate resurrection. We will sing hymns of praise, as I imagine the disciples doing in the Temple at Jerusalem in the days following that first Easter.
As I sing Easter hymns with my congregation, I’m going to imagine that we’re standing inside the sanctuary of the Temple at Independence. I’m going to imagine the sanctuary filled with members of Community of Christ from all over the world. When our Easter service is over, we will pour out of the Temple onto the World Plaza, with its world map made of bricks. We will go forth to bear witness of the risen Christ and to proclaim, in his name, repentance and forgiveness of sins in every nation where Community of Christ members live.
We proclaim that people need to change the way they live.
We proclaim that people can change the way they live.
We support and participate in ministries that help people change the way they live.
We change the way we ourselves live.
We forgive people who have wronged us or hurt us.
We ask forgiveness of people whom we have wronged or hurt.
We work for reconciliation.
We work for healing.
We work to make peace.
Echoing the risen Jesus, we wish for everyone who crosses our path:
Shalom aleichem. Peace be with you.
That’s the vision, at least.