Easter initiates a new day. It anticipates a new heaven and a new earth. The risen Christ is making all things new. In the mystery of holy baptism God has made new people of us. Today Jesus invites us to see everyone in a new light—through the lens of love.
Readings and Psalm
- Acts 11:1-18
Peter’s vision: God give the Gentiles repentance that leads to life
- Psalm 148
The splendor of the Lord is over earth and heaven. (Ps. 148:13)
- Revelation 21:1-6
New heaven, new earth: springs of living water in the new Jerusalem
- John 13:31-35
Jesus gives a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you
God’s Beautifully Messy Community
From abandonment to homecoming and from a narrow scope to a broader vision of God’s realm, these are the promises proclaimed. The early church and our faith communities are called to engage this reality. A community of Jewish Jesus-followers overcomes fear and expands to include the much larger Gentile world. In the hymnody of the psalm the whole creation and her people are ushered into praise and the trumpeting of a new community. An exiled follower of Jesus sees in the midst of his situation a vision of the Holy One who proclaims a new heaven and earth, stripped of tears and death. Finally, Jesus shares that he will no longer be physically present with his disciples, and points them to a new way of being a community of love for one another. Through the depth of the texts for this day, people are invited to explore the beauty and the messiness of community. The church, like any other human organization, is filled with the challenges of what it means to live together (for example, who is welcome? What rules do people need to follow? How do we care for one another?). Unlike other human institutions, however, we are called to be centered and re-centered in the unapologetic love for others. In our imperfection we are welcomed and called to invite others. We offer, in a spirit of humility, signs of welcome and love to others, just as God in Christ has been revealed to us.