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Year A, Easter 2, 2017 – Proof

April 18, 2017 / D2 / Easter

Hey everyone, welcome back! The Lord is risen!

We took a week off for Holy Week preparations and services, and we hope that your time with family, friends, and your worshipping communities was filled with God’s presence. We joined two colleagues in the area for a truly powerful Good Friday service. We’ll try to get that posted at some point. At any rate, we are back for a second year of post-Resurrection preaching and worship ideas! The texts are below and have as a common thread a need for or a provision of proof. In Acts, Peter preaches to a crowd gathered in Jerusalem about the man Jesus of Nazareth. He uses one of King David’s Psalms as proof that Jesus is the Messiah. In 1 Peter, the author encourages new disciples that the hardship they are going through is a test of their faith’s endurance, proving their faith like gold in the fire. And in the Gospel story, Thomas wants proof of his fellow disciples’ strange claim they’ve seen Jesus three days after he had been killed, which Jesus himself then provides.

 

This week’s texts are:

Acts 2:14a, 22-32 [01:59]

This is from Luke’s description of the first Christian Pentecost, if you will, and Peter’s sermon that day. It’s an excerpt focusing on (1) making sure the Israelites know he’s talking about Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had handed over for crucifixion a few weeks before, (2) King David’s prophetic description of the resurrection of the Messiah from the psalms, (3) the witness testimony of those who had seen Jesus after he had been raised. We, on the other hand, start off in Eye Smart focusing on things that are hard to hold, like soap and oobleck. We look at the logical development of Peter’s argument in Math Smart, and for Body Smart we invite everyone to be raised up. We close this part with People Smart, considering witness testimony and where your congregation may be witnessing the presence of the Spirit.

 

1 Peter 1:3-9 [12:24]

The author of 1 Peter (might not have been Peter, say many scholars) opens this epistle with a powerful statement of the power of Christ’s resurrection that calls forth a pure faith in us believers. The promises God makes through Christ are worth whatever one may have to go through in the face of opposition from the world. Our reading of the passage led to lots of ideas! In Word Smart, we poke at this being a passage used for baptismal liturgy and how it might connect with remembering our baptism. We make a Big Deal in Eye Smart, watching some Let’s Make a Deal. God’s protection takes a couple forms in our Body Smart illustrations. In Nature Smart we consider the process of refining gold and testing gold and recommend a couple demonstrations thereof. Keep your fire extinguisher handy! (Why does David like playing with fire so much?) Inheritance and long-distance love are the topics that illustrate People Smart here, followed closely by antici………. pation in Self Smart.

 

John 20:19-31 [20:38]

Every year it’s pretty much the same thing on the Sunday after Easter — “Doubting Thomas.” That’s not really fair to Thomas, of course, nor is it entirely fair to preachers to have the same text every year, but what are you gonna do? Any way, we wonder in Word Smart if Jesus meant “sins” like we think of it or if he meant “mistakes” or “bad shots.” It could make a difference. Skeptics make for interesting illustrations in Logic Smart, but be careful not to paint Thomas with the same brush. “Let me show you my scar!” is usually not something you want to hear, but it might be appropriate with this story in Body Smart. We suggest a couple interesting musical takes on the “Doubting Thomas” motif, one from Nickel Creek and one from Ozzy Osbourne. I mean, come on. When was the last time you quoted Ozzy Osbourne in a sermon? Lastly, we think about how the church maybe needs to be more diligent in reaching out to its wayward skeptics in People Smart.

 

Image credit: Our departed old cat Chester, quite the skeptic

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