Monday, May 08, 2017

Easter 4A

Acts 2:[41], 42-47

41they gladly received the word Peter preached and three thousand were baptized on that day!

42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

So far in the church's year of grace we've experienced Advent, as we wait for God's arrival in our midst as a baby in the Bethlehem manger. Then Christmas, the feast of God's Incarnation on earth arrives and we meet the infant Jesus of Nazareth. The season of Epiphany demonstrates God's revelation to everyone, that God is God of all and not only for particular people. During Lent we revisited Jesus' earthly ministry. During Holy Week we journey to the cross with Jesus; after Lent ends on Wednesday in Holy Week, the Three Days of the Triduum – "tri duum" – starts with Maundy Thursday, on to Good Friday, finally Easter, Jesus' resurrection from death. We celebrate Easter Vigil, Easter Sunrise, Easter Day, or all three. The lectionary also appoints readings for Easter Evening, a wonderful way to close out the day and begin the Great Fifty Days of Easter that finally lead to the Day of Pentecost that's the fiftieth day.

Throughout the easter season, our first reading comes from Luke's Acts of the Apostles. This is especially interesting because the lectionary hasn't yet given us the Day of Pentecost reading from Acts 2 that describes the Holy Spirit coming to earth in wind and fire, but the activities we read about during these fifty days demonstrate how God acted through the nascent church. Officially today's first reading begins with a description of the Christian community, but it follows 2:41 that tells about the baptism of 3,000 people! You can describe what follows as a blueprint for ways to live out our baptism—how, then, shall we live baptized?

You know some of it: worked for justice; defy empire; be God's shalom; practice resurrection. Praise and thank God, because anything we do is the work of the HS and not our own!

When we studied Luke's gospel in depth last year during Luke's lectionary year C, we discovered Luke emphasizes the Holy Spirit, carefully places everything in a historical context, focuses on women and other marginalized populations, loves prayer, makes table fellowship prominent. In his second volume of writing, the Acts of the Apostles, he continue in the same direction. However, God always acts within history; you always can identify longitude and latitude and linear clock time.

I'd planned to have a fairly extensive discussion of this text, but interim pastor kind of derailed where I planned to go by mentioning too soon this apparently was more of an ideal than a real community. I'd read the same thing in several commentaries, but wanted to ask why not aim for it, anyway, just as we always need to keep the commandments, but never will quite achieve keeping any of them.

No comments: