by Rev Austin Newberry
John’s resurrection stories are, if such a thing is possible, even more densely packed than the rest of the Fourth Gospel. The text chosen by the Revised Common Lectionary for the Third Sunday of Easter this year has enough material for multiple sermons. My first suggestion would be to narrow down the scope by focusing on either the fishing story or the dialog between Jesus and Peter. Furthermore, I think separating the breakfast from the miraculous catch of fish is also helpful. Taking my own advice, this commentary will focus on John 21: 1-11.
by Pr. Jess Harren
Acts 5: 30-32 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.
John 20:24-25 But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.
In a mostly well known Bible story, sometime after Jesus comes back to life, one of Jesus’ disciples says that he won’t believe Jesus is alive until he can touch him. This story is often called Doubting Thomas, and usually preachers lift up Thomas as someone who had to see to believe, and caution us to believe without being sure -- without evidence. But, as the title of this project says, we’re here to disrupt the ways the stories are normally told.
by Emmy Kegler
The resurrection will not be tamed.
Oh, the church has tried. We have washed out the lightning-bright glare of the angel’s robes with pastel eggs and streamers. We have folded up the bloodsoaked burial clothes so that only the good side shows for company. We have joined in the frustration at women’s idle tales, silenced their joyous evangelism for the promotion of Peter instead.
But the resurrection will not be tamed.
by Tamika Jancewicz
We have access to harmful, traumatic images everywhere it seems. We live in a time where victims of police brutality, unlawful detainment, and shootings can have their traumatic experiences shared across the internet within minutes of, and sometimes during, the actual occurrence. Often we either become desensitized and/or people share it over and over again, re-traumatizing victims and others who have experienced similar abuse. There are arguments for sharing these images and videos so that we can witness injustice upfront and personal, and denial is no longer an option. Then there are others who refuse to watch because it’s too painful to watch and they would rather us believe victims when they say it happened.
by Niles Eastman
So, on this particular read through of the Maundy Thursday lectionary, I happened to notice something that I don’t think has ever really occurred to me before. It’s a pretty subtle theme so I don’t know if anyone else has really picked up on it. Perhaps, though, a few folks out there have realized that a lot of the readings for this day seem to focus on…ready for it?...food.
by Carla Christopher
In liberation theology, we begin by asking ourselves the question "Where in all of this is the good news for the oppressed?" In the relentlessly capitalist framework that is the United States of America, there has been little good news for the traditionally marginalized over the past more than a century. We value working without rest, we prioritize output over balance, we playfully glorify the sacrifice of self for hyper-achievement. And still there are those who cannot find success within this paradigm, no matter how hard they work. Nearly impenetrable barriers stand between the realization of dreams and the most self-sacrificing and productive individuals among us. Where is the good news for reconstruction era formerly enslaved Americans who were promised land only to have those land grants revoked after a transition of presidential power? Where is the good news for World War II survivors who returned to America only to find banks that refused to honor their school loans or red-lined housing districts that refused homes to people of color? Where is the good news for the African decent youth who comes of age but is afraid to use their new driver's license, or the immigrant youth who is not allowed to get one at all?
by Angel Figueroa
There is a phrase that most professional church workers are going to hear eventually in their ministry. In my opinion these five words are the most dangerous that can be heard in a church setting and are behind the decline of many congregations. Those five words are “We’ve never done that before.” These words are often said in response to any suggestions that perhaps things need to be done a little bit different to proclaim the in-breaking kingdom of God. And there is a certain universality to them, being able to be used to protest everything from the seemingly trivial; such as removing a pew to provide an accessible space for people with differing mobilities to worship, to literal matters of life and death such as battling the rising tide of antisemitism and Islamophobia that resulted in such horrors as the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh or the recent masjid attacks in New Zealand.