Acts 5:27-32 Psalms 150 Revelation 1:4-8
The preacher ended his “evils of alcohol” sermon by saying, “The world would be a better place if everyone poured their beer, wine and whiskey into the river!” Then he sat down. The song leader stood and announced with a smile, “For our closing song, let us stand and sing Hymn # 365: ‘Shall We Gather at the River.’”
As we gather today, as the family of God, as a religious community, we are celebrating the Great Fifty Days. Joan Chittister reminds us that religion celebrates what the rest of the world forgets – the inherent goodness of life itself. It is religion that builds joy and excitement, happiness and satisfaction, God centeredness and trust, fun and holy leisure right into the midst of life.
The Great Fifty Days are the period of rejoicing in the Risen Lord between the Easter Vigil and Pentecost. During this time the Paschal candle is lighted at all services and “Alleluia” is said and sung on all possible occasions. The Easter Season provides opportunities for the church to reflect on the post-resurrection appearances to the disciples and to celebrate anew the blessing upon those who have not seen and yet who believe.
John uses parallel “double stories” in providing testimony to these post- resurrection appearances: two disciples and Mary Magdalene and the ten disciples and Thomas. Each double-story speaks of faith and of doub