Season of Easter Readings: Sunday, May 4

Readings:  1 Peter 1:17-23 and John Luke 24:13-35

Reflection Questions:

  • From our previous reading in the Peter’s letter (1:3-9) we’ve been reminded that we are born again to a living hope because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  In other words, we have been ushered into a new kind of life with new focus, future, family identity and inheritance. In verses 1:17-19, Peter reminds us of the cost of our new lives in Christ. Take a few moments to reflect on the cost of this holy transaction. What rises in your heart, what thoughts occur to you as a response to the way you were redeemed?  Offer to God words, expressions of that response.
  • How might your life become a living response to God as you reflect on the saving graces of God through Christ? Think about creative ways you might practice remembrance of Christ’s resurrection each day as you travel through the liturgical Season of Easter.
  • Peter’s imperative to love one another is not a novel command. Our Lord Jesus condensed the whole Law of God into two commands: Love God and love others as he has loved you. Loving others is not often an easy thing to do. What encouragement do you find for help to love others as Jesus loved you from Peter’s analogy of God’s seed implanted in our hearts and his living Word given to us (vs.22-23)?

Eugene Peterson in The Message describes 1 Peter 1:22-25 like this:

Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth,
love one another as if your lives depended on it.
Your new life is not like your old life.
Your old birth came from mortal sperm;
your new birth comes from God’s living Word.
Just think: a life conceived by God himself!
That’s why the prophet said,

The old life is a grass life,
its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
God’s Word goes on and on forever.

This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.

  • Walk with Jesus for a few moments as he engages discouraged, hopeless disciples on the Emmaus road (turn to Luke 24:13-35 and read the Resurrection narrative). How are the disciples changed by their discreet encounter with the Risen Lord of Life? How might you experience a change of heart and blossoming hope as you continue to walk with Jesus, listening to his Word and breaking bread in fellowship with him and other believers?

What Should We Wish For?

At the beginning of one of his sermons, the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard asks, what is the one thing we ought to wish for the people we love—a friend or spouse, a sibling or child? I’m sure many things come to mind. We would want for them success in their work or calling—although we know that our careers and endeavors go through ups and downs, cycles of struggle and prosperity. We would wish for them comfort and loyalty from a community, small group of friends, or late—although we know that inevitably there will be times of pain and disappointment at the hands of those who like ourselves, unsteady in love and loyalty. We would certainly want health for them, but we know about the weakness and unpredictability of the body, and that with the advancing years unhealth will come by degrees. Wishing all these things and more for those whom we love is natural, although we would probably also say it is emotionally draining, for there is so much we want for those we love, and our wanting is weighed down by the knowledge that hopes like success, health, and relational harmony will be only partially realized in the course of a normal life. But is there one thing above others that we should desire for those we love, that we should pray for, that would somehow draw up all these others things into it? Is there a one necessary thing, as Jesus says to Martha, when we love another person and see before them the uncertain landscape of life?

Trials of Many Kinds
The epistle of 1 Peter is a letter written to churches in several regions of Asia Minor, what is now Turkey. In this opening to his letter, he writes to encourage them, for he acknowledges in verse 6 that they are experiencing trials of many kinds– “many colored trials” as another translation puts it. Historians now think these were not yet the trials of martyrdom that would come to early Christians. Rather these trials were those that come with being “resident aliens”—“exiles” as Peter puts it—those whose commitment to Christ has made them outsiders in their towns, and those who may literally be living as foreigners—forced into exile from Rome that would regularly banish non-conformists to the remote regions of the empire like Galatia, Cappadocia, and Pontus. From the hints we get of these persecutions (1:6; 2:12, 15: 3:9, 16; 4:12, 16), they were probably experiencing suspicion, malicious talk, false accusations, and the frequent and personal social ostracism that would daily affect their social standing, opportunities for their families, their treatment by authorities, their ability to find work, and their future security. For a people suffering these kinds of trials, there is much to wish for. What, then, does Peter hold out to them? What does he want most for them? In a word, he calls it “faith”—that which in verse 7 he says is “of greater worth than gold.” Given how well money often works to improve our place in the world, that is quite a statement.

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– Todd Pickett

Jumbled Emotions: Resurrection Stories, Part 1

As I sit in my peaceful Sabbath after Easter Sunday, on the heels of multiple Holy Week services, loads of activity, public exchanges with God and my church community; tears stream gently down my face as I sip my coffee. I don’t try to stifle, restrain, deny or judge the undefinable emotions that produce these tears. I know they are what they are – a jumbled mixture of the ups and downs of my soul.

I’ve relearned over the years to befriend my emotions. Reared with a threat of punishment for expressing emotions and churched in a community that prized heroic stoicism wherein emotions were denied, or thought unspiritual and not to be trusted, I found no place, value, no way to interpret my emotions. Like many, I learned to judge and disdain my emotions. So I disconnected from them, splitting myself from my Self. However, this is inconsistent with the Scriptures. Psalmists and Prophets alike as well as Jesus’ first followers display a prolific range of articulated human emotions. In Jesus too, we see one who is completely self-aware, appropriately emotive with his own human condition and unapologetically emotional as he empathizes with the fallen condition of humanity around him.

In the Resurrection story (Matthew 28:1-20), both men and women were a jumbled mess of emotions! The women, discovering the empty tomb, deeply grieved and bewildered hours before, where now in fear, than heightened joy and reverence, falling to their knees in shock and awe at the sight of Jesus. The men feared and worshiped him, yet some doubted even as they worshiped. Grief, fear, joy, doubt, awe muddled together all part of the story being told. Jesus stands in the mix, without judgment of all these emotional human beings! His word to them: “Greetings!” A word of welcome. And, “Go…make disciples of all nations…” No one gets disqualified but rather commissioned in trust. Jesus embraces our rational, logical, selves as well as our emotive, intuitive selves.

So what do we do with our emotions? I wonder if the Resurrection, which at its core ushers in the redemptive ways God makes us whole integrated humans, includes the befriending of our emotions. Might our emotions be employed in the process of our formation into Christ-likeness? If so…how? What if emotions are more like triggers toward self-awareness indicating that something in the soul needs attention, care, recognition, and prayerful dialogue with God? In Christ, we are invited into a life of freedom from the tyrannizing effects of judgment and denial of our emotions. The Resurrection commits our unique and varied emotional expressions, whether chaotic or refined, and utterly human to the story being told.

So back to my stream of tears this morning. No need to judge them, I let them be…a friend, a gift of release…a story that is mine uniquely told to Creator of all of me.What story are your emotions telling about where you are, who you are, and what’s going on in the depths of your soul?

– Elizabeth Khorey

April 2014

Holy Week Reflections
Read reflections from Holy Week

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His Broken BodyHis Broken Body
Holy Trinity Church had the great pleasure of having ceramic artist Antje Campbell display her sculpture entitled His Broken Body at our Good Friday service. Antje created this piece especially for Holy Trinity. Witness the dramatic assembly of the sculpture. [watch video]

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May 2014

The Longing for Home – Women’s Book Club
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Note change in location

May Monthly Gathering | with Jan Johnson
Friday, May 16th, 2014

The Divine Conspiracy – Men’s Reading Group
Saturday, May 17, 2014

 

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