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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Acts 10:34–43

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (NRSV)

I love Easter Sunday. For a whole day I revel in the joy of the resurrection. 

Then on Monday the realities of this mortal life return: War. Poverty. Disease. Heartbreak. The week continues, the lilies wilt, and it becomes a bit more difficult to exclaim, “Christ is risen!” and a bit more trying to shout out, “Alleluia!” 

Suddenly the resurrection becomes a doubt, a disbelief, a fairy tale.

In our reading today, Peter is tasked with sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who do not yet believe.

Do you believe? Someone must believe. For the message of this wild and curious resurrection was so powerful, so real, that someone told another, and then that person told another person who wrote it down. They shared it with another and another and another, and somehow, someone shared it with you. Peter tells us that God’s people serve as witnesses to the resurrection and that they—we—are tasked with sharing that good news.

So on those days following Easter Sunday, when my faith begins to wane, I think of the witnesses in our midst who proclaim in word and deed that Christ is risen, and I believe again.

I think of the witnesses serving nourishment and grace at our Bag Lunch program, offering clean towels and dignity at our Shower Ministry, welcoming the stranger with a warm smile and a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. Christ is risen, indeed!

I think of the witnesses filled with that resurrection breath, that sweet Holy Spirit, marching to Springfield and to Washington to work—not just to ease poverty and injustice, but to change the systems that create it. Christ is risen, indeed!

I think of the witnesses—I think of you, Fourth Church—the doubters and the sure together in God’s sanctuary, wooed by God’s mystery, intrigued and enticed by God’s love.

Christ is risen indeed! Alleulia.

Thank you, O God, for those witnesses who remind me of the joy of your resurrection. Give me grace to take on the task and share the good news of your love. Amen.

Written by Shawn Fiedler, Worship and Adult Education Coordinator

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