April 30, 2017
Luke 24:13-35
1 Peter 1:17-23
Acts 2:14a, 36-41


Redemption in Christ
Easter 3

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Sandra Herrmann
Many years ago, I was invited to the home of a parish family for Easter dinner. It was a big family, and some of us were standing around the edges of the dining room, waiting for the fragrant aromas to turn into something to eat. It’s always tricky for a woman pastor too. Should I be helping in the kitchen? No. I was the pastor. Still, the offer was greeted with smiles. The grandfather of the clan walked over to me and said, “Pastor, I have a question about your sermon this morning. What’s your definition of a Christian?”

“That’s easy. A Christian is a person who believes that Jesus rose from the dead.”

“What??? Seriously?”

“Well, yes. Without the resurrection, all we have is a guy who died because it was becoming clear to those with the power that he was dangerous. He evidently miscalculated, because he was crucified. But if he actually rose from the dead then all those things he said are true, and we can be strong and challenge the evil in this world without fear.”

“Well, then I guess I don’t know many Christians,” he replied sadly.

“That’s probably true,” I said. “We’ve been shamed by the world to think that this is something ridiculous to believe, that those people of old were prone to believe nonsense. But I think they didn’t believe it any more than we would -- at first. And then Jesus started appearing to various disciples, suddenly standing in the midst of his followers, letting Thomas touch the holes the nails caused in his hands, talking to them on the lakeshore.

“But here’s the thing: once we understand the meaning of the resurrection, we can do anything, accomplish anything, because all our fear has been washed away.”

He was still uncertain about what I was saying, but I deeply believe that people have put their lives on the line for moral causes because they believed that no matter what the world did to them, God would reward them. The early church had more overt persecution, and open hatred has a way of frightening us. Yet they persevered, even in the face of death. The problem in the Western world is that we are not hated for being Christians, we usually are reacted against with mockery. “Nobody with a brain could believe in that stuff!” has a power that is worse because it is subtle. No threat to undo us, just a loss of the respect of others. We become unimportant, unworthy of actual opposition.

Most of the scriptures for the Easter season present us with the disbelief of the first disciples, their struggle to accept the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, and the impact of the Holy Spirit in empowering the early days of the Christian faith....

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This Week
Looking Ahead
April 30, 2017
Easter 3
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May 14, 2017
Easter 5
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May 21, 2017
Easter 6
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May 28, 2017
Easter 7
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Lent 4
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Commentary
Writers



David Kalas


Wayne Brouwer


Sandra Herrmann


David Coffin


Catherine Venkatesh


Frank Ramirez


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Mark Ellingsen


Ron Love


Bob Ove


Frank Ramirez


Bonnie Bates


Bill Thomas


R. Robert Cueni