3rd Sunday of Easter 2018B
Word, Flesh, and Witnesses
Word, Flesh, and Witnesses
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ our Lord (+), and the Holy Spirit. Amen
We were having a bit of table discussion at the conference Pastor’s meeting this week.
Two of my colleagues who were at the conference Pastor’s Bible Study on Tuesday were commenting on how the Lessons post Easter this season are very ‘Fleshy’ Touch… see… feel Jesus’ presence among the disciples.
I commented that the lessons especially Acts adds two other words that link into the Gospel Word and Witness.
Now for those of you who have been around for a while Word and Witness was the old primary Bible Study done in the Lutheran Church in America in the 70’s and early 80’s
It was actually written by my two Biblical Professors at Seminary Foster McCurley and Jack Reumann
And it actually attempted to do what Jesus speaks today to the disciples:
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Opening our minds to scripture. That is what Jesus did with the disciples.
Over the years I have found that both fun and challenging because first you have to in a way take away our first image of scripture and what it says and means especially on the surface or first read
Only then can you put it back together in a picture you can understand and share about Jesus.
that first step in taking away our image of Scripture is exactly what Jesus does,
Break it down in chunks we understand.
Moses, prophets, and psalms.
When we do we find that there are humans in Scripture who are fallible and faithful like Moses
so fallible that Moses if you remember can’t even enter the Holy Land.
but so faith full that he is still the greatest of the prophets.
and the Prophets themselves
Jesus shows their Visions showing the promise and faithfulness of God
and most of all words of prayer and faith in the psalms—speaking words of ordinary human beings like us.
Words that showing God’s understanding of death and life clearly promising us eternal life
“in the house of the Lord forever”
Scripture contains the story that brings God to us.
the Word....and Scripture witnesses to us
and it spite of being broken apart
and when it is questioning our faith
somehow through faith, individual and communal we put the picture back together
and in it we see Jesus.
I have this picture in my office given to me by the youth group of St. Peter’s Lutheran in Middletown PA where I served my second call.
It shows Jesus, a smiling Jesus etched into the picture.
but when you look closer it has all around creating that ‘Jesus’ the story of his life.
from an image of the manger and the birth at Bethlehem to the cross and resurrection of Holy Week.
all that help form the image and picture that becomes Jesus.
It is the same for us this morning.
Look around you.
the message and witness of God is also broken up for you to take in.
We have music to hear.
lessons to read
Windows and banners that declare Alleluia
A Baptism to see and hear as the water is poured.
bread and wine to consume
Faith even in this sanctuary is broken up
Faith even in this sanctuary is brooken up visually and spoken.... Windows, Words bread wine music..... flesh of our bodies
Windows, Words bread wine music..... flesh of our bodies
Witnesses always to God and his faithful promises.
All which make clear one thing
Jesus is risen from the dead.
He is risen indeed Alleluia.