Tuesday, April 16, 2002

The Third Sunday after Easter. Meditation upon the Collect, Epistle & Gospel.

We continue to live in the Church Year with the resurrected Lord in the 40 days of his appearances and so we pray and read the Scriptures as those with whom the Lord is present.

The COLLECT affirms that our heavenly Father is the God of truth and light and that as such he desires that his children walk in the light of the truth. Thus it requests that all those who are baptized and enter the fellowship of Christ's religion will avoid everything that is contrary to that religion and at the same time embrace everything that is in accord with that faith and worship.

The EPISTLE is from 1 Peter 2:11-17 and is a call to holiness of life by baptized believers, who on this world and in this age are sojourners and pilgrims, and who are also in relation to God, the Father, his bondservants. Their citizenship is in the kingdom that is above and that will come and so their orientation of life is primarily to this kingdom. Nevertheless, as far as in them lies, they are to be exemplary as servants or masters, as citizens and members of society here below in this world that is passing away. As they worship, reverence, fear and obey God they are to honour the king. The religion of Christ brings duties both to God and to man.

The GOSPEL is from John 16:16-22 and focuses upon the phrase "a little while", which occurs seven times in verses 16-19. In a short time (from this conversation in the Upper Rome on Maundy Thursday) the disciples will not see Jesus (for he will be arrested, crucified and buried). But in a further short time, 2 nights/3 days, from the burial they will see him, for he will be raised from the dead and he will greet them as the Resurrected Lord with his "Peace".

We are taught in these verses that the death of Jesus was necessary for the inauguration of the new life of the Christian Church and that only when the disciples have suffered through being deprived of Jesus can they truly rejoice in his resurrection and of their union with him as their Lord. We learn that true joy is so often born out of sorrow and anguish.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon April 16, 2002

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