Worship Resources for April 14, 2024—Third Sunday of Easter

A note on Rev-o-lution:

As I shared in previous posts, I will stop posting new weekly content on Pentecost (May 19, 2024). I have been posting on this site for over 13 years, and almost seventeen years counting my old Blogger site.

Thank you for your support of Rev-o-lution over all these years. It has meant a lot to me that my resources are useful to local pastors and that I have been able to provide them for free. But all things come to an end and there are other people blogging on the lectionary currently, with fresher words than mine. I’ll be sharing those sites in the coming weeks. Thank you for all your kind words over the last few weeks.

Revised Common Lectionary: Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

Narrative Lectionary: Beautiful Gate, Acts 3:1-10 (Mark 6:53-56)

For the Revised Common Lectionary in the season of Easter, in lieu of a Hebrew Bible lesson we read passages from Acts. The lesson of Acts 3:12-19 takes place right after the Narrative Lectionary lesson in Acts 3:1-10, so we’ll start there for background information. At the beginning of this chapter, soon after Pentecost, Peter and John were going to the temple at the hour of the afternoon prayer and encountered a man who couldn’t walk from birth being carried in. He would beg from the temple gates every day, because in that time, if you were disabled, the only way you could survive was to beg. However, Peter called out to the man and told him to look at him and John, then told him in the name of Jesus to stand up and walk. The man leaped up, praising God, and all the people recognized him and were amazed. In vs. 12, Peter addressed the people, declaring they didn’t heal the man, but it was Jesus. He continues sharing that Jesus was the servant of the God of their ancestors, the very one rejected by the people and crucified by Pilate, while a true criminal was released. Peter assures the crowd that they can repent and turn to God so their sins may be wiped away, for God fulfilled what had been foretold through the prophets about the Messiah, according to Peter.

The psalmist cries out for God to answer their prayer in Psalm 4. The psalmist addresses the ones who have spoken against them, who have gossiped and lied. God is with the faithful, the psalmist sings, and God hears the psalmist’s prayers. They instruct their enemies to turn to God’s ways instead. The psalmist knows that the faithless are still seeking, but as a faithful one, the psalmist rests assured in God’s presence and safety.

The writer of 1 John speaks of the love God has for all of us who are faithful, all of us called children of God in 3:1-7. We are God’s children now, but are to become something new, something yet to be revealed. We live into this hope, so we live into God’s ways. Everyone who lives into God’s ways is righteous, for that is right-living. Sin, however, deceives us, leading us astray; but in Christ there is no sin, for Christ removes our sin. Instead, we are called to flee from sin, and live into God’s ways.

The resurrection account continues in Luke in 24:36b-48. Jesus appeared before the disciples, and they were frightened. Jesus shows them his hands and feet (similar to John 20:19-31). The disciples, while full of joy, continue to struggle with their doubts and disbelief, but Jesus asks them for something to eat, and has some broiled fish (similar to John 21). Repeating the discourse with the two travelers on the road to Emmaus in 24:13-35, Jesus goes through the scriptures with the disciples, to understand that the Messiah was to suffer and die, and on the third day rise again. The disciples are witnesses of his death and resurrection, and the proclamation of repentance of forgiveness of sins in Christ’s name. They are called to go forth from Jerusalem to proclaim what they have seen and heard.

(The Narrative Lectionary focuses on Acts 3:1-10—see above).

The supplementary verses for the Narrative Lectionary are Mark 6:53-56. After Jesus had fed five thousand d people, and then appeared to the disciples later walking on water, they crossed over the lake to Gennesaret. There, the people recognized Jesus and the whole region brought those who were sick for him to heal. Wherever he went, people begged that they might even touch the fringe of his cloak to be healed, as the woman who hemorrhaged for twelve years did so in 5:24-34.

Resurrection is new life that begins now. When we read the scriptures of the miraculous healings we must be mindful that the worldview of the first century and our worldview now are quite different. The spiritual world was seen alongside the physical world, and therefore physical ailments were often given spiritual characteristics. We now know so much more about biology, and our worldview has changed. But we can understand that Jesus, and those who followed him, desired a full life, much as anyone desires a full life here and now. Jesus, and Peter and John, in their acts of healing restored people to society, to living a full life where they would have been excluded for their disability or illness. We ought to understand healing as restoration, and that we can participate in restoration in the work of disability justice, accessibility, and inclusion. Where do we make assumptions about what people can and cannot do, instead of asking the questions of what someone needs for accessibility and what do we need to do for inclusion?

We are witnesses of a resurrected Jesus who has all his scars, whom his own disciples doubt and disbelieve when he is actually among them. How often do we talk about disabled people as if they are not already in the room with us? The miracles can happen when we look at people and actually see them—their whole selves—accept them, and work to include them in all aspects of our lives, including leadership.

Call to Worship (from 1 John 3:1-2)
See what love our Beloved Parent has given us,
That we should be called children of God, for this is who we are.
The reason the world does not know us,
Is that it did not know God.
Beloved, we are God’s children now.
What we will be has not yet been revealed.
What we do know is this: when Christ is revealed, we will be like Christ,
For we will see Christ as he is.
Join together as the body of Christ in worship,
For we are God’s children: beloved, and still coming into who we are.

Prayer of Invocation
We open our hearts to You, O God, and invite Your presence to be made known to us. We open our minds to You, O God, and ask that You transform us. We open our lives to You, O God, and ask that You guide us on this journey of faith. We open ourselves to You, O God, as the body of Christ, that You may live, move, and be among us, Your beloved children. We welcome You in this time of worship. Amen.

Prayer of Brokenness/Confession
Risen Savior, we confess that we live as if You are not among us now. We do not see Your face in those we pass by on the street. We do not see You amongst the rubble and ruins of war. We do not see You in those who beg of us. We do not see You in those we have left out, unintentionally or intentionally. We have failed to remember that when we care for the most vulnerable among us, we are caring for You. We have made You into our own image, instead of seeing Your image reflected among the ones most in need. Call us into accountability. Guide us into repentance and reparation. Help us to seek restoration and forgiveness for where we have failed, so that we might live into Your kin-dom here on earth as it is in heaven. In Your name we pray, Amen.

Blessing/Assurance (Psalm 4:3-5)
But know that the LORD has set apart the faithful for God’s self; the LORD hears when I call to God. When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.

God hears our prayers, and God restores our souls. God will renew your spirit when you turn back to God, and will give you the strength you need for the journey of faith. You are not alone. Put your trust in the Lord, and God will make themself known to you. Go forth with this good news. Amen.

God of rain and sunshine, sand and mud, You made everything with a purpose, including us. Help us to remember Your intention for us was to be fruitful upon this earth, to care for all of creation the way You care for us. May our actions bear fruit, our words build up, our lives bring hope. May we remember Your intention for us in all we say and do. Guide us into ways of living that are more sustainable and restorative, instead of being seduced by convenience and speed. Help us not to be reckless with Your gift of life but to honor and treasure all You have made for us. Lead us into Your ways of love not only for our human neighbors but for all of creation, to love this good earth You made for us, and to care for it as if it were our own body, for You commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Keep us to Your created intention for us from the very beginning, to be Your children. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Worship Resources for April 14, 2024—Third Sunday of Easter

  1. Pingback: Learning something new – View from the Pulpit

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