April Newsletter

I’m reposting this because the one sent out last evening has major glitches! Sorry about that.

Community of the Incarnation

Charles Fillmore Chapel

Unity Temple on the Plaza

707 W. 47th St. Kansas City, MO

 

Schedule of Services

April 7:            Second Sunday of Easter

Bishop Cliff Kroski

April 14:          Third Sunday of Easter

                        Bishop Janet Sunderland

April 21:          Fourth Sunday of Easter

                        Bishop Cliff Kroski                              

April 28:          Fifth Sunday of Easter

                        Bishop Janet Sunderland

Reflection

The Sundays of April which immediately follow Easter present interesting gospel readings that continue to tell the Easter story and the appearances of Jesus to his followers after the resurrection.

We begin with the familiar “doubting Thomas” reading. Thomas does not believe the claims of the other disciples that Jesus has risen and appeared to them. Not until Thomas sees Jesus and probes the wounds of Jesus, does he believe. Thomas has probably been given a “bad rap.” After all, who could possibly believe on another’s word that Jesus has been raised from the dead? Do we keep on believing and trusting in the risen Lord and in new life, as the days pass in the Easter season? Have you had to tell yourself to “believe and trust” during the previous week?

The Third Sunday of Easter contains another post resurrection appearance. The disciples are fishing and they have caught nothing. Jesus, whom they do not recognize, is standing on the shore. He tells the disciples to cast their nets over the other side of the boat and they begin to haul in a large number of fish. Peter recognizes Jesus and jumps out of the boat and goes to shore. After eating, Jesus asks three times of Peter, “Do you love me.” This coincides with Peter’s denying Jesus three times. After Peter says for the third time, ‘Yes, Lord you know that I love you,” Jesus tells Peter, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus then tells Peter what his love and shepherding will cost him, namely his life. How do we feed others? What does our service and love cost us?

The next Sunday’s gospel is rather brief. Jesus speaks about the fact that his sheep hear his voice. He knows his sheep and they follow him. He also gives his sheep eternal life. Sheep know their shepherd voice, and if they do not follow the shepherd, they may wander off and face danger. What voices do we hear? Do we hear voices of life and love, or do we listen to voices, often our own, that may lead us astray into despair, frustration, and anger?

The last Sunday of April’s gospel follows a very familiar theme, that of “love one another.” How many times have we heard that? This loving one another is a new commandment which Jesus gives his followers. It is also, as we know, the most difficult one to follow. Janet was once told by a minister, “We need rules and regulations because love is too difficult.”  So often though, laws and regulations seem to carry with them opposition, judgment, and condemnation. We have been told many times in our lives to “Follow the rules.” We know that if we don’t follow the rules, we may get ourselves into trouble or face condemnation or objections from others.

If we look at the Gospels, Jesus in many occasions did not follow the rules set down by his religion or the laws of the ruling class. He acted out of love and compassion, not out of following the law. Well, we know what happened to Jesus as a result of his actions. Are we prepared to face rejection and judgment by following the law of love, when our actions may be seen as unpopular or foolish by others? May we hear the words, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

Peace,

+ Cliff and + Janet

 

 

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