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Collects, Comments and Conversation

Charlene E. Fairchild

Collects, Comments and Conversation Index

Third Sunday of Easter - Year B
"With Great Power"


RCL: Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48
Catholic Lection: (I'll only post the major differences.)Psalm 118; 1 John 2:1-5

READING: Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1-2:2; John 20:19-31

COLLECT

For Second Sunday of Easter; also known as Low Sunday (from the fact of low attendance after the crowds of the High Holy Days); or as 'Quasimodogeniti Sunday' (from the Introit: "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word." In Latin: "Quasi modo geniti infantes: rationabiles, sine dolo lac concupiscite." [1 Peter 2:2].)

Collect 1
Grant us, O Lord, a keen appreciation of the Easter feast we have just celebrated. Make us to ever want to bring forth the fruits of the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus - the gifts of our Baptism, in all areas of our lives. May our conversations and behaviours be always pleasing to You. Transform us into such potent witnesses of the Resurrection that others may, on seeing our faith in action, be drawn to the Living Word. Amen.

Collect 2
O mighty God, it is in the struggles of our doubting that we are driven to discover the Living Word, Your Son Jesus, and to proclaim, "My Lord and My God!". May the blessings won in that struggle ever light our way. We ask through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Risen Lord. Amen.

Forget Me Not bar

THOUGHTS

Tiny Forget Me Not flower Acts 4:32-35
"With Great Power"

In this passage we see a radical extension of the truth that everything we have comes from God and belongs to God and is for sharing with others as we and they have need. The impulse to live this truth in reality seems to come out of a new understanding of who we are in light of the Resurrection. It is written that the believers were, "one in heart and soul.." Do we get to experience this "oneness" in the communities we belong to? In our families? What would or does "oneness" look like for us in our days?

Emboldened to speak fearlessly, the apostles proclaimed the Resurrection "with great power." A few verses earlier the text refers to signs and wonders being performed through Jesus' name. Do we proclaim the Resurrection "with great power" and is our testimony accompanied by "signs and wonders" in Jesus' Name? How anemic is our evangelism? Does it need a transfusion?

"And great grace was upon them all..." What signs of grace are present in our midst? I think we need to talk more about this kind of grace, the grace of unity and oneness, the grace of blessing and sharing, the grace of holy boldness.

Tiny Forget Me Not flower Psalm 133
"In Unity"

The anointing oil, in glad celebration, with exuberance and joy is poured out extravagantly upon the head. It is warm and aromatic and runs down the face into the beard and into the collar of the robes. It is rich and sensual. No one minds. It is a sign of favour. It is an occasion for great happiness. This psalm is rich in its imagery. It is so much easier to catch the joy of "oneness" that is celebrated here with these pictures. The early morning dew on the mountainsides of Zion, the holy hills, before the sun burns through the mists, waters the ground, dazzles on the spiderwebs; this morning dew, speaks of the richness of God's blessing. The blessing of unity. This unity is more than just families dwelling in harmony together, it is a sign pointing to a larger promise; the promise of "life forevermore."

Tiny Forget Me Not flower 1 John 1:1-2:2
"Comfortable Words"

From my first introduction at age twelve to the Book of Common Prayer's Holy Communion service, I was struck by the formula used after the Confession and Absolution and before the Eucharistic prayer. That formula was known as the "comfortable words." There were four statements (see also: Matthew 11:28; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:15) from scripture begun by the words: "Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all that truly turn to him...." The last of the four statements used was, "Hear also what Saint John saith. If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins."

I was struck by these words and after almost forty years they are still very much a part of who I am. They are still "comfortable words." I have an Advocate, a lawyer, in the heavenlies. He is Jesus Christ the Righteous (as opposed to Charlene the Unrighteous). He is the propitiation, the "atoning sacrifice" for my sins. Not only that but he is ALSO - the propitiation, the "atoning sacrifice" - for "the sins of the whole world." Okay world. Hear what comfortable words Saint John says!

Tiny Forget Me Not flower John 20:19-31
"Having Life In His Name"

John 20:19-20 and John 20:24-29
(The Doubting Disciples) Jesus visits the frightened disciples. He shows them His hands and side. After that they rejoice. This portion connects with the part on Thomas in John 20:24-29. Thomas and the other disciples are no different really. Jesus has to show the other disciples too before they melt into relieved belief. Thomas just highlights the intensity of the week's upheaval in all their lives. In fact, all the resuurection stories have a hint of "shell shock" to them. The women, though told by an angel to go share the good news, are terrified and flee home. Peter and John, on seeing the empty tomb, just go home. Mary Magdalene weeps in the garden, lost and forlorn. All this - despite the promises made to them. I think we could well call these folk, "The Doubting Disciples." This, then, makes the blessing that Jesus gives to all who come after and believe so much more precious. I am 20 centuries and countless generations later. This blessing, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" is mine. Alleluia!

John 20:21-23
(Commissioning, Anointing, Instituting) In these brief few words we can find a commissioning of the disciples as His special ministers, His apostles ("ones who are sent"). "As the Father has sent me..." Jesus says. Jesus next "breathed" the blessing of the Holy Spirit on the ones He is sending. But He does this in a very special way and for a very special purpose. Catholics see here in verse 23 the institution of the sacrament of reconciliation. Certainly the authority for forgiving and retaining sins is here.

John 20:30-31
(Through believing... life... in his name) John says that there is more to Jesus' life, death and resurrection than are contained in the Gospel. He hints that he has picked on some highlights, choosing from the vast store of sayings and doings, to make a picture for us. And why? So that we might believe. And, so that believing, we might have life. Believe and live. Believe unto life. The stuff that is written here is important for our faith life. Every minute little detail. My advice then would be that of the Collect (from the Book of Common Prayer) for the Second Sunday of Advent: "Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy scripture to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by the patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen"

Forget Me Knot bar

EASTER THOUGHTS

"Now The Green Blade Rises"

John M. S. Crum, 1928; Music: Medieval French Carol; from the Oxford Book of Carols; Oxford University Press

A beautiful little Easter carol with a haunting melody proclaims the Resurrection. Everywhere I look on my walks I see greenery. Green shoots on the forest floor, green buds on the trees and - miracle of miracles - I can even hear the grass grow! The growing grass pushes up the old dead leaves and, at night, when it is quieter, I can hear this living phenomemon.

The rising green blades proclaim to me, with a vividness I never really appreciated so deeply until now, the Resurrection. I have died with Christ in Baptism and my life is "hid with Christ in God." But, like the grass blades pushing up against the detritus of dead leaves, my spirit is also rising up. I feel the well of living water rising within me. Like the disciples, I too, am experiencing just a little disorientation in these, the first days of my new life. But I am so high on "love is come again like wheat arising green" that it is a wondrous bewilderment!

I bring in to this Easter season the conviction that my life has radically altered. And I thank God!

Pax Christi,
Charlene
April 25, 2000

copyright - Charlene E. Fairchild - Spirit Networks 2000 - 2006
please acknowledge the appropriate author.



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