3rd Sunday of Easter
Year A: April 26, 2020
First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In the scripture last week, Peter was witnessing to Jesus and the resurrection before a large crowd. He came to the end of his sermon by stating again, “God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah.” Many who heard Peter believed that Jesus is both our Lord and the Messiah. They responded in a way that is appropriate for every sermon by asking, “What should we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in Jesus name. They would be forgiven and receive the Holy Spirit. This promise was not just for those in the crowd that day but for their children and for all who are far away. Many people were baptized that day. Then they devoted themselves to learning about Jesus from the apostles, having fellowship together, praying, and eating together.
Omu is cooking herself a thick red stew that she anticipates will be the best meal she ever ate! As it cooks, neighbors who smell the delicious stew show up at her door, one by one. She shares with a police officer, a lawyer, a hot dog vendor and many others until there is no stew left. As she ponders with sadness the delicious meal she will never eat, a knock on her door shows all with whom she has shared bringing their own food to her in order to share a community meal. Eating together is one of the things that disciples began doing together as they learned about Jesus, and the church welcomes all people to share a special meal. Are the things that Peter tells us new disciples did things that your church does together? Wonder together what other activities your church (or you) might do after you listen to a sermon and ask, “What should I do?”
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17-23
Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez
Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Peter calls the people to whom he writes this letter Exiles. They are Jews who live in many parts of the Roman empire so that they are exiles from Palestine, their home. But he also calls them exiles for another reason. Their true home is not this world, their first allegiance is not to the country where they live; it is to God who raised Jesus from the dead. Because Jesus died for you you are like a new person, a new citizen. Because Jesus died for you, it is as if you live in a different country. You live in a new way; it is a way of love. You are able to love one another with genuine, mutual love. Many people today are exiles and aliens. They speak a different language and have different customs. Peter says that Christians are exiles who are different, too. Their difference is in their life of love.
A young girl who doesn’t look like her classmates is frequently asked, “Where are you from?” When she replies she is from here, from now, they don’t accept that answer because she looks different than her classmates look. She asks her Abuelo the question her classmates are asking her. He tells her something of her history. He describes the land of the pampas and some of the history of slavery there. Still not satisfied, she presses to know where she is really from and her abuleo points to his heart. “From my love and the love of all before us”. As Christians. we are created by the love of God and enabled to love by the saving works of God in Christ. We love because God first loved us and according to Peter today, God’s love is both ‘where we are from’ and how we should live.
Gospel Reading: Luke 24:13-35
Around the Table That Grandad Built by Melanie Heuiser Hill
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Last week, we read about the disciples, including Thomas, hiding in fear and rejoicing in recognizing Jesus when he returned. Today, we read another recognition story and just like the passage in Acts today, this one also includes food. Two unnamed disciples are walking and talking and Jesus – totally unrecognized – joins them. The disciples can recount the story of Jesus’ death and the tentative hope that he has been seen by others. But they not recognize Jesus until he sits with them and shares a meal with them. Recognizing Jesus, they move on to share their story of Jesus and his effect on them with others.
In today’s story, a meal begins to be prepared around a table that Grandpa built. The preparations for this meal include flowers from young cousins, forks and spoons from a father’s grandmother, food grown in a garden. At the end of the book, a prayer of thankfulness is shared by a table that includes young and old, racially diverse neighbors and family members, and a variety of foods. But it all started with the table that Grandpa built.
As Sarah Henrich says, “In feeding others at the right time and in receiving the bread broken for us with thanksgiving, we are given Jesus. Stop talking, stop everything, and pay attention as you reach out to receive what is blessed. A glimpse of the Lord may propel you new confidence, new hope, even a new way of remembering. ” Eating is central to both of these stories. In breaking bread together, we meet Jesus, welcome others and are welcomed ourselves to the gifts that Christ offers.
The Revised Common Lectionary Links this week are co-authored by alumnae Virginia C Thomas and Ann Thomas Knox.