Second Sunday of Easter
“Peace be with you,” said Jesus to disciples who, in great fear, had locked themselves in an upper room (John 19:20). P.E.A.C.E.
Acts of Kindness, and
Saturday in Easter Week Station 4 The Risen Lord appears to Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles
Reading: She turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?' She thought He was the gardener and said to Him, 'Sir, if you carried Him away, tell me where you laid Him, and I will take Him.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni, “ which means Teacher. (John 20:14-15)
Prayer: (From Janet Morley, All Desires Known, 2nd Edition, Easter Eucharist)
Come now, disturbing spirit of our God, breathe on these bodily things and make us one body in Christ. Open our graves, unbind our eyes, and name us here. Touch and heal all that has been buried in us, that we need not cling to our pain, but may go forth with power to release resurrection in the world.
Friday in Easter Week: Station 3 The women visit the tomb
Reading: “Early in the morning, when the sun had risen, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome went to the tomb.” Mark 16:2
Mary Magdalene is one of the women in all four gospels; in John she is alone, and in the other gospels accompanied by various women. They are the ones charged to go and tell the disciples the incomprehensible news of the empty tomb, various angels or messengers, and that Jesus has been raised. And they are not believed initially—I’m not sure they believed it themselves at first.
Prayer: (From Janet Morley, All Desires Known, 2nd Edition)
Oh God, the power of the powerless, you have chosen as your witnesses those whose voice is not heard. Grant that, as women first announced the resurrection though they were not believed, we too may have courage to persist in proclaiming your word, in the power of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thursday in Easter Week: Station 2 Jesus Appears to his Mother
There is no Scriptural warrant for this; I learned it as a Jesuit tradition that feels right to me. Jesus and Mary didn’t have the easiest of relationships according to brief snippets in the Gospels. At 12, Jesus stayed in the Temple for three days without telling his parents where he was going. He seems rude to his mother at the wedding in Cana when she suggests he turn water into wine. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report his response to “your mother [and brothers and sisters] are asking for you as “Who is my mother and brothers and sisters? Those who follow me.” In John, Mary watches as he is crucified, and another Catholic tradition not in Scripture but immortalized by Michelangelo has Jesus placed into the arms of his mother.
For prayer, settle for a few minutes and then imagine their conversation. Joy? Tears? Memories? Anger? Forgiveness? Greater understanding? Love? What’s next?
Or hear Mary’s prayer at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry (this version is from the Order of St. Helena Breviary, p. 201))
My soul proclaims your greatness, Ò God; my spirit rejoices in yóu, my Sávior, *
for you have lôoked with favor on your lówly sérvant.
From this day all generations will cáll me bléssed; *
you, the Almîghty, have done great things for me, and hóly ís your Name.
You have mercy on thóse who féar you *
from generâtion to génerátion.
You, O God, have shown stréngth with yóur arm, *
and scâttered the próud in théir conceit,
Casting down the míghty fróm their thrones *
and lifting úp the lówly.
You have filled the húngry with góod things *
and sênt the rích away émpty.
You have come to the help ofyour sérvant Ísrael, *
for you have remêmbered your prómise of mércy,
The promise máde to our fórebears, *
to Âbraham, Sarah and their chíldren for éver.
Wednesday in Easter Week: Station 1 Jesus is Raised
Reading: "The angel of the Lord said to the women: 'Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said." (Matthew 28: 5b-6a).
Prayer: (Barbara Deming, in Earth Prayers: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations from Around the World, pp. 76-77)
Spirit of love that flows against our flesh, sets it trembling,
moves across it as across grass
Erasing every boundary that we accept
And swings the doors of our lives wide—
This is a prayer I sing: Save our perishing earth!
. . . Spirit that hears each one of us,
Hears all that is—
Listens, listens, hears us out—
Inspire us now! Amen.
Tuesday in Easter Week
A bit of beauty: the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens in The Netherlands during COVID restrictions
Prayer for this day in the Book of Common Prayer, p. 223
O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
Christ is Risen! And we have fifty days to contemplate what that might mean for us, individually and as a congregation and wider community. The Stations of the Cross is a venerable tradition from the 4th century; Via Lucis, or Stations of the Resurrection, seems to have started around 1980. I first found a sculpted set of stations set of stations, designed by Giovanni Dragoni, outside the San Callisto Catacombs in Rome, Italy. There are many different versions floating around the web: here’s a set from St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster, PA, designed as a family devotion. And reflections over the next few weeks will dwell on those and other images.
Easter Sermon goes here.
by Mary Oliver
Found in Devotions: Selected Poems, p. 129
The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.
Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn't move,
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
lay still and waited, wild awake.
Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.