“Commit to Renewal: Doing Your Part” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
I am still living in the glow of Christ’s resurrection and I hope you are too. We shared such a wonderful Sunday together and I am so grateful for all the new people we met. Of course, we don’t take our ability to gather lightly and send our prayers of love, healing, and peace to the people of Sri Lanka. Holy One hear our prayer.
The days right after the resurrection are always so wonderful, albeit tiring. Churches work so hard to make sure that Holy Week and the Easter Sunday service is a faithful time of reflection and then joy. When it is finished, you are left with the energy of an amazed community and the knowledge that now, the real work begins. Like the first preachers (the Women at the tomb) who shared the good news of Christ with the disciples, to then go and share with others, we too are called to share Christ’s miracle with our wider community.
But it isn’t always easy. Amazing things are sometimes hard to believe. But persistence and faith are gifts of the spirit in each of us, and the risen Christ means that we continue this journey not by ourselves-as Good Friday has us lament, but with God-as the Resurrection assures us. This week’s scripture talks about the early challenges of sharing the news of Christ, that the disciple’s faced. Let us take this journey together as we read form the book of Acts.
27 The apostles were taken before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest began to interrogate them: 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach about that name, yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching-and you’re determined to make us responsible for this Jesus’ blood.”
29 To this, Peter and the apostles replied, “Better for us to obey God than people! 30 The God of our ancestors has raised Jesus, whom you put to death by hanging him on a tree. 31 This One, who has been exalted to God’s right hand as Ruler and Savior, is to bring repentance and the forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are eyewitnesses to this.
And so is the Holy Spirit, who has been given to those who obey God.” (Acts 5:27-32 [ILB])
I love to watch those videos that are people receiving unexpected gifts. A son buys his mother a home, a sister coming back from deployment, or even a surprise trip to Disneyland. I love seeing the look of amazement on people’s face. It brings me such joy. But have you ever noticed that when someone is shown something that is amazing, the first thing they say is usually “no!” It’s not a “no” of stop, it’s a “no” of disbelief. A “no” of actually seeing the unknown. And after they have seen or experienced this event, everyone continues to talk about it. Not just because it is online to share, but because unbelievable things that come true, are meant to be shared.
I watched one of these videos this week and it reminded me a lot of how I imagine the disciples must have felt in this moment in our scripture. And it gave me insight as to why they kept talking about the risen Christ even after the High Priests and Sanhedrin (a tribunal of Rabbi’s) had told them not to. How could they keep this amazing thing to themselves? They couldn’t!
But I am sure it was hard in those first few days and weeks; amazement is wonderfully exhausting. So, friends, if you find yourself filled with the holy spirit and sharing the news of Christ with others, and yet emotionally tired all at once, give yourself a break. The work of sharing the good news of Christ Jesus is like a relay. It’s not a race but we are all on the same team. Sharing the news of Christ takes many disciples not just one, and it is definitely a team effort to achieve our goals of building the kindom. When it is your turn, you go as hard as you can, to make it to the next person. And then you get to rest and renew because you are not your best for the team, if you don’t take care of you as well. So, beloveds, rest and renew, pray and rejoice. Take the time you need, when you need it, to tend to yourself. Because we can’t fully build the kindom in the name of a risen Christ, without everyone showing up to do their part. We can’t do it without you.
A quick prayer for your week: Dear Lord, Thank You for the WOW!