Today is the second Sunday of Easter. It is a time to reflect on what the resurrection of Jesus means to us as individuals
and as a church body. The body of Christ on earth. When have you had an Easter experience in your life?
When I went to Congregational Leaders Workshop at Graceland University a few years ago, I took a class on healing ministries. This was a very untraditional class, I learned a lot about the energy present in each of us, the energy of the Holy Spirit and how to focus these energies on healing. As each day went by and my knowledge increased, the more I felt and believed in the connectedness of all creation.
I noticed as I was walking through the campus that people were smiling at me, and then I realized they were smiling BACK at me,
because I was walking around with a big smile on my face!
I could feel the energy emanating from me. The power of the Holy Spirit was with me as I learned and grew and practiced, and it could be seen and felt by others!
As time went by and I continued to practice the healing arts I had learned, and to focus on the path of Jesus in my life, I began to feel and understand His love for me and for everyone on the planet.
This love has become an integral part of my ministry. This type of love is the energy of the Holy Spirit, the energy that heals both mind and body. It is the energy that brings the wellness of the peace of Jesus into our lives.
I began to understand that the primary function in my calling to serve Christ and the church through priesthood is to affirm that love and peace.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves you!
I have been teaching my granddaughter Samantha about Jesus.
I sing to her the song Jesus Loves Me, and also Jesus Loves the Little Children. I read her story books about the life of Jesus.
One day when she was visiting me, we were in the living room and I said to her ,” grandma loves you Sammie, and so does Jesus!”
And she stood there and said loudly, “Yes! Jesus loves me! Jesus LOVES ME!” She is getting the message.
Do you get the message?
Do you believe?
Please everyone stand up for a minute.
now shout it out with me,
JESUS LOVES ME!
RAISE YOUR HANDS AND SHOUT IT TO THE WORLD,
JESUS LOVES ME!
Read John 20:19-31
This scripture describes for us what that first Easter was like for
those first Apostles. In this scripture are signs that Jesus gave
to show the Apostles that he really is who he said he was, their Lord. He greeted them with peace, he showed them his scars,
he gave them a mission that was the continuation of his mission.
He breathed on them, giving them the Holy Spirit to be with them,
as he had promised.
He returned again when Thomas was present so that Thomas would have the chance to believe as well, like the shepherd who goes after the one lost sheep.
Oh! He appeared to them with the doors shut! Who can do that?
He revealed himself so completely that Thomas recognized God in Jesus, as is stated in other scriptures.
John chapter 14 verses 8-10 teaches us: “Phillip said unto him, show us the Father and it will suffice me. Jesus said until him, Have I been so long a time with you, and yet have you not known me Phillip? He that has seen me has seen the father, so how do you say now show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak unto you are not of myself, but of the Father that dwells in me, He does the work.”
John chapter one teaches us that “in the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and through Him all things were created.”
The use of the word “Word” with a capital W is a metaphor for Jesus. It is teaching us that Jesus and God are one. This is what Thomas recognized when it became clear to him just who was standing before him. Jesus blessed Thomas for believing what he was seeing, then Jesus blessed all those who had not seen what Thomas had seen, but believed anyway.
He has put his blessing on our faith, because of our faith he has blessed us with gifts of the Spirit, calm in the storms, peace in our souls. And so much more. He promised that with the Holy Spirit, He would be with us always.
There was another time in my life…Looking at that time now, I can see that even though I had an Easter experience years before, once again I was feeling cut off, separated, abandoned. Broken. Like Thomas, I doubted Jesus was with me. But he was with me, in the form of the friends and family and church family who reached out to take care of me. I am truly… truly humbled and grateful, that even in my forgetfulness and disbelief, Jesus was there to love and heal me. This is the Resurrection in action for me in my life, that he felt MY suffering while on that cross, because Jesus overcame death and lives, I can fall down and be lifted up
again and again. My renewed faith that Jesus is always with me
was rewarded by the knowledge that He is indeed with me at all times. This was a true awakening for me.
It is part of my personal Easter story…that He lives! He lives in me! I hope that you can see that this is true in your lives as well.
Today’s theme is “peace be with you”. At the beginning of the service we sang Peace, Salaam, Shalom. Did any of you know that there is more to Shalom than peace?
True shalom means reconciliation, justice, responsibility, love, inclusion, completeness, wholeness, the breaking down of ethnic and social boundaries, for the world as well as within each person. For everyone and the earth, a physical and spiritual peace.
The Shalom of Jesus’ ministry was lived out in his life, death, and resurrection. I admit I only understand part of this. For me there is a mystery here. But I trust that as I keep going along the path that I am on, all things will be made clear.
John chapter 14 verse 27 reads:” Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I think this verse touches on the full and true meaning of Shalom.
When we use the english word Peace, let it mean Shalom. All of it’s meanings are reflected In the Community of Christ Basic Beliefs.
Doctrine and Covenants section 164 9b says:
9b. When your willingness to live in sacred community as Christ’s new creation exceeds your natural fear of spiritual and relational transformation, you will become who you are called to be. The rise of Zion the beautiful, the peaceful reign of Christ, awaits your whole-hearted response to the call to make and steadfastly hold to God’s covenant of peace in Jesus Christ.
Will you accept… that Jesus loves you?
Will you accept… that Jesus loves all people?
Will you accept… that Jesus has given you peace not as the world gives, but as He gives?
Will you accept… that He has blessed your faith with the gift of the Holy Spirit to move in and through your life?
Will you accept… His call to bring His peace to the world?
He loves you, each one of you, and accepting this call is our response to this great love.
It is meant to be.
Peace be unto you all.