The tomb is empty, he is risen. But those who know and love Jesus are still primarily scared and confused. And they’re wondering, “now what?” The world has turned upside down, life has conquered death and yet there is still so much that suggests otherwise. For a community of faith like ours, in a time such as this, we can find ourselves asking the same thing, “now what?” How do we respond in a time of uncertainty? Which direction should we go? What plans should we make? If we are to have confidence in God, why do so many questions remain? For the eight weeks after Easter, we leave the Narrative Lectionary behind and consider a series of Gospel texts that recount how a risen Jesus restores the community of believers to become the church for tomorrow.
Schedule of Readings: (click on reading to view the text)
April 19 – Psalm 16, John 20:19-29
The disciples are huddled in the upper room hiding from the world. This isolation is something that we can relate to we experience the collective trauma of world changing events. Yet, the midst of all of this, Jesus shows up. The peace Jesus brings is not sometime in the future, it is here and now as we are going through this.
April 26 – Psalm 5:1-8, Luke 24:13-35
This Sunday’s familiar story of the road to Emmaus comes from Luke’s gospel. While the dramatic encounter with a risen Christ occurs while walking the road, it’s at the table where Jesus is truly recognized. How can the church be more like a table, set with a meal for family and friends and offering glimpses of the divine?
May 3 – Psalm 118:19-29, John 21:1-14
Jesus and the Disciples have breakfast together on the beach. In the darkness they experience scarcity, catching no fish. But in the morning light, they see Jesus and are blessed with abundance. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.” (John 1:5).
May 10 – Psalm 23, John 21:15-19 [20-25]
Sometimes we overcomplicate what it means to be a disciple. Today we hear a conversation between Peter and Jesus. Peter proclaims his love for Jesus three times and Jesus calls Peter to act out that love by feeding and tending Christ’s sheep. As the people of God we are called and committed to this work of being the helpers, of showing up in love to feed and tend exactly because that is who God created us to be in the world. What does it look like to be a disciple in these days?
May 17 – Psalm 133, Matthew 28:16-20
Jesus is Risen! Allelulia! We are in a Pandemic. Two very real truths. How do we navigate a post resurrection pandemic world? Like the early disciples we turn to the Lord for direction and clarity. In the presence of the risen Christ all is made clear. The mission remains.
May 24 – Psalm 47, Acts 1:1-9
This week, in Luke’s story from the Book of Acts, the risen Jesus gives one final instruction to his disciples before leaving the building. As is often the case, it’s not what they were expecting nor likely what they wanted to hear. But, for a church living through a pandemic and wondering, “now what?” it’s a word that couldn’t be more timely.
May 31 – Psalm 33:12-22, Acts 2:1-21
What does this mean? This is the question asked by the participants on the first Pentecost as flames danced on their heads and a violent wind blew through their community. How is the Holy Spirit at work in our community in this time of global pandemic? As we listen to the Holy Spirit, we ponder the question of “now what?”
June 7 – Psalm 139:13-18, Acts 9:1-20
“Get up and go.” Here’s our final answer to the question, “now what?” At the final installment of our series, we revisit one of the most famous stories of conversion and call. Saul the feared persecutor of Christians becomes Paul the primary Christian hero through whom God begins building the church of which we are heirs today. But Paul isn’t the only character in our story through whom God was able to work. And, if we’re paying attention, perhaps there’s a word for a church that’s wondering just what our next move might be.