By Janne Grover, Council of Twelve Apostles
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. -Acts 2:42-47 NRSV
In this season of Easter, I am challenged by lines from the hymn “Leftover People in Leftover Places” CCS 275:
Here is God’s testing of true Easter people,
spirited people with service to give,
taking to heart the compassion of Jesus,
feeling how others must struggle to live; -Shirley Erena Murray, xc2xa92007 The Hymn Society
It seems easy for me to claim the promise of resurrection hope, but I recognize how my perspective is shaped by circumstances of privilege and opportunity. What does it mean for me to be a “true Easter person”? What does resurrection hope offer those who live in conditions of needless suffering? Wrestling with these questions gets to the heart of what it means to claim and live and share resurrection hope.
Archie is a young man I met during the 2016 International Youth Forum in Liberia. I made an immediate connection with Archie because he is the same age as my oldest son. While his outward appearance did not indicate a struggle to live, I learned that his opportunities to thrive are limited by a lack of education and loss of family support. Archie’s life circumstances are not unique, and the lives of children and youth around the world are limited by circumstances more dire than his. I carry the weight of this reality as I watch my own children develop and thrive. I could choose to accept this reality as something beyond my ability to change. However, that is not my understanding of what it means to be a “true Easter person.” Because I am claimed by resurrection hope, I choose to live for the sake of resurrection hope made real for others.
As “spirited people with service to give,” living the compassion of Jesus does not allow disciples to settle into an attitude of “it is what it is.” Being true Easter people and claiming resurrection hope mean practicing generosity and invitation as a way of life because it makes a difference in the world. I am grateful for the church-as the body of the Living Christ-which connects my life to Archie’s. I am also grateful for Christ’s mission, our mission, making resurrection hope real for Archie and for countless others.
Spirit, now live in me.
Breathe deeply and enter a few minutes of silence. Be attentive to where you sense new life emerging in you. Search your memories of the previous day. When did you notice the sacredness of life in surprising places or forms in the world around you?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.