Second Sunday in Easter
April 11, 1999
|Acts 2:14a, 22-32||The Apostle proclaims the Psalmist's prophecy of life||303: The Day of
702: Sing with All the Saints in Glory
|Psalm 16||A Psalm of life in the Lord||89: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore
315: Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain
|John 20:19-31||Power of forgiveness||213: Lift Up Your Heads,
Ye Mighty Gates
372: How Can We Sinners Know
|1 Peter 1:3-9||Salvation--the goal of faith||325: Hail, Thou Once Despised
539: O Spirit of the Living God
The season of Easter! How wonderful it is to pass the peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ, filled with the knowledge of Christ's triumph over sin and death. The prophecy has been fulfilled. In a sense, it could be viewed as a continuation of the creation story. Perhaps it goes something like this--God said let there be life, and there was life. And God saw the life, and it was very good.
There is a natural difficulty with this that we experience as people, though. It applies to the creation story. It applies to the resurrection story. It applies to the whole idea of God's forgiveness of sins. It is the problem of believing something that we cannot see with our own eyes. It isn't a new problem. After creation the serpent tempted Adam and Eve by convincing them to choose between the fruit that they could see and a rule that they could not see. After the resurrection Thomas said he would not believe unless he could see and touch the Lord himself. Today we struggle with the same problems and with the issue of forgiveness.
This week's featured hymn by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) describes the sinner's struggle with the concepts of divine forgiveness and assurance of salvation. Wesley goes through, verse by verse, describing confidence, peace, gifts from the Spirit, humility, and transformation. We have all of these signs, and yet we remain full of questions and doubt. Read the words of this hymn and find comfort and assurance of forgiveness and salvation:
|1. How can we sinners know
our sins on earth forgiven?
How can my gracious Savior show
my name inscribed in heaven?
|2. What we have felt and seen,
with confidence we tell,
and publish to the ends of earth
the signs infallible.
|3. We who in Christ believe
that he for us hath died,
we all his unknown peace receive
and feel his blood applied.
|4. We by his Spirit prove
and know the things of God,
the things which freely of his love
he hath on us bestowed.
|5. The meek and lowly heart
that in our Savior was,
to us that Spirit doth impart
and signs us with his cross.
|6. Our nature's turned, our mind
transformed in all its powers,
and both the witnesses are joined,
the Spirit of God with ours.
How can we sinners know? The signs of the Spirit of God working in and around us are everywhere to be seen. The signs of the gift of salvation through Christ are all around us. In God there is no doubt. Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. We are sinners, and yet we know. And now--believe!
God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com
God bless you!
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|