God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all generations. I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sing of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” Genesis 9:12-15
During this season of 50 days of Easter, we will “Let Our Light Shine!” as we share our TRUE COLORS. This week we start with purple. We begin with gratitude for the covenant God made with Noah, so that we have the sign of the rainbow to remind us of God’s promise of continuing love and care for all of creation. We remember that God calls us into relationship with God, with each other, and with our authentic, true selves.
In addition, I want to begin with a note of gratitude to all whose voices and talents we heard and saw during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday. Many of you shared your true colors in our worship services. You reflected on various times and places in your faith journeys with honesty, vulnerability, and grace and/or you shared your creative talents with us. Thank you!
Craig and I have been grateful for the Zoom worship services of this past year+, and we are grateful that we were able to attend an in-person worship service for Easter. We look forward to venturing back out into the world after this long time of safer at home. And we wonder what that will look like, what will that mean for us and for others.
During the season of Epiphany, we asked Pastor Margot to send us each a star word. The words we received were curiosity and tranquility. While one word was for me and one for Craig, as with most things in life, we share the words. We are curious – we are life-long learners, eager to see, hear, experience new ideas. And we are tranquil – we appreciate a calm and quiet lifestyle. So how will those words play out as we move forward in this season of Easter and beyond? And how are they connected to purple?
Our gospel lesson for this second Sunday of Easter is John 20:19-31
During the evening after the Resurrection, the risen Jesus appears to the disciples who are hiding in fear. And Jesus says, “Peace be with you,” he shows them his wounds, he breathes on them, they receive the Holy Spirit. Thomas is not with them, so the disciples tell him what happened. He replies that he needs to see for himself. A week later, Jesus again appears to the disciples while Thomas is present. Jesus again says, “Peace be with you.” And Jesus shows Thomas the wounds. Thomas says, “My Lord and my God.” The writer of the Gospel then explains that the book is written so that we may come to believe and continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that we will have life in his name.
“Peace be with you.” God’s peace be with you. This is not necessarily the peace of a tranquil, calm, quiet life. Although it may occasionally include that. God’s peace comes with trust in God’s promises of unconditional love and forgiveness. It begins with Beloved, with accepting our true identity as beloved children of God. God’s peace keeps us grounded in faith when life’s challenges cause chaos around us. God’s peace allows us to build beloved community with others to help and support us when the challenges want to overwhelm us. God’s peace lets us know our true selves – our true colors – so we might share God’s love with others.
Resurrected and wounded, Jesus shows his wounds to the disciples and to us. According to Richard Rohr in his book “The Universal Christ,” this might be the primary pastoral message of the Gospel. This is a story about believing in one who is wounded and resurrected at the same time. This is a story about believing in one who invites us into life in his name and into living that life full of curiosity and who loves us fully and unconditionally, wounds included. This is a story that allows us to love one another, wounds included. This is a story that allows us to love ourselves, wounds included. This is a story that calls us to share our true colors.
Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. When I googled the meaning of purple, I found it is associated with spirituality, the sacred, higher self. Light purple or lavender is often associated with tranquility. I also include that physical wounds come in many shades of purple and suggest that we might see our own wounds and shadows in shades of purple.
God’s peace be with you as we walk through these 50 days of Easter, letting our light shine, sharing our true colors. At the end of the 50 days, we will be at Pentecost. I leave you with this blessing written by Jan Richardson, as I look forward to moving from safer at home to more gathering together in beloved community.
When We Breathe Together
This is the blessing we cannot speak by ourselves.
This is the blessing we cannot summon by our own devices,
cannot shape to our own purposes,
cannot bend to our own will.
This is the blessing that comes
when we leave behind our aloneness,
when we gather together.
when we turn toward one another.
This is the blessing that blazes among us
when we speak the words strange to our ears,
when we finally listen into the chaos,
when we breathe together at last.