Reading: 1 Peter 1: 3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Reflection for the second Sunday of Easter
A living hope – that is how the apostle Peter described the Christian faith. Of all the disciples, Peter is the one with whom we can identity most. Outspoken, impetuous, fiercely loyal, yet fallible, he was the natural leader of the small band who followed Jesus throughout Galilee and eventually to Jerusalem. There his courage failed; he denied his Lord and, along with the others, deserted him in his hour of need.
It was to Peter that Mary Magdalene ran on Easter Day to tell him that the body of Jesus was missing from the tomb and he ran to see for himself, where he noticed the discarded linen wrappings. Unsure of what to think, he was with the other disciples later, hiding behind a locked door when the risen Jesus appeared to them. We can hardly imagine the joy he and the others felt when they witnessed the presence of the Lord and heard his greeting ‘Peace be with you’.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter declared to the crowd: “This Jesus God raised up and all of us are witnesses”. It was through their testimony that many people came to faith and the gospel of Christ spread from Jerusalem throughout the known world.
In our reading from Peter’s first letter, the apostle addressed Christians who had not known the Lord during his earthly life, but had come to know him through faith as we do. Their relationship with the risen Christ was just as real as it was for Peter who had known him during his earthly life. “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.”
The joy and hope that lies at the heart of the Easter message continues to inspire Christians in every generation. The hymn that follows tells us that Christ is alive, “saving, healing, here and now, and touching every place and time”. We may not be able to meet together for worship and I am sure many of you miss that, as I do. We have to live with the uncertainty of the present crisis and for many people, this has been a very difficult time. But we do not live without hope.
Our hope is in the risen Jesus, who overcame sin and death. Our faith may be tested during these days, but we are assured that He is present with us through all circumstances. Let us take heart from the words of Peter as we continue to pray for all who are affected by the pandemic, that they may be protected by the power of God.
Hymn 260 Church Hymnal (5th edition)
Christ is alive! Let Christians sing;
the cross stands empty to the sky;
let streets and homes with praises ring;
love drowned in death shall never die.
Christ is alive! No longer bound
to distant years in Palestine;
but saving, healing, here and now,
and touching every place and time.
In every insult, rift and war,
where colour, scorn, or wealth divide,
he suffers still, yet loves the more,
and lives where even hope has died.
Women and men, in age and youth,
Can feel the Spirit, hear the call,
And find the way, the life, the truth,
Revealed in Jesus, freed for all.
Christ is alive, and comes to bring
new life to this and every age,
till earth and all creation ring
with joy, with justice, love and praise.
Written by Brian Arthur Wren.
Collect for the second Sunday of Easter
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
You are the Maker of heaven and earth,
As we face the coronavirus pandemic, help us to lift our eyes to you,
May your peace be with those who are feeling anxious,
May your strength be with those working to keep others safe,
May your comfort be with those who are grieving,
May your wisdom light the way for those making decisions,
May your healing be upon those who are unwell,
May your hope fill those who are fearful of the future,
May your compassion prompt us to love our neighbours,
Keep us from harm,
Watch over our coming and going,
Both now and forevermore, Amen.