Use this category to make a post appear on the home page. Be sure to create an excerpt.

April 19, 2017

Former Rector, the Reverend David Pittman, returns to St. Peter’s this Sunday as part of the sabbatical preaching series. Fr. Pittman preaches at the 8:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.

Faithful Thomas

The gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter is the familiar story of the disciples in a locked room after Christ’s Resurrection. The Apostle Thomas is skeptical that Jesus is alive after witnessing his painful death. It is because of this story that Thomas is often called “Doubting Thomas.” It is an unfair characterization for the disciple. We should remember that it was only Thomas who was willing to follow Jesus to the cross and to be killed alongside him. Thomas’s disbelief in Jesus’ Resurrection is not due to his lack of faith, but to the pain, trauma, and grief he has experienced. We would do better calling him “Faithful Thomas,” who after seeing and touching Jesus’ wounds, falls to the ground and worships his Lord.

What has struck me most about this story is the account of Jesus’ wounds. Even after his resurrection, Jesus bears the marks of his shameful death. A friend and colleague shared this reflection from Richard Rohr writing on exactly this subject in his July 2014 Daily Meditation. Rohr writes:

The significance of Jesus’ wounded body is his deliberate and conscious holding of the pain of the world and refusing to send it elsewhere. The wounds were not necessary to convince God that we were lovable; the wounds are to convince us of the path and the price of transformation. They are what will happen to you if you face and hold sin in compassion instead of projecting it in hatred.

Jesus’ wounded body is an icon for what we are all doing to one another and to the world. Jesus’ resurrected body is an icon of God’s response to our crucifixions. The two images contain the whole message of the Gospel.

In this Easter season, may we be like Faithful Thomas, eager to see our Lord’s wounds and to be reminded that transformation in Christ is possible, for our sake and for the sake of the world.

The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Associate Rector

Love will not Fail

In Holy Week, we witness our Lord’s suffering and death, the darkness and abandonment of the tomb, the despair of sin, rejection, and betrayal. Easter, however, leads us out of despair and into hope, out of the tomb and into new life. The Resurrection of Jesus is more than a commemorative event, it is the very meaning of God’s love. Through our Lord’s Resurrection we know that destruction and death will not have the final word. By the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the whole world witnesses God’s plan of salvation: “that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made…” (Book of Common Prayer, 280.)

Several weeks ago, the St. Peter’s Choir sang an anthem composed by Harold Friedell with words by Edith Williams, Jesus, So Lowly:

Jesus, so lowly, Child of the earth: Christen me wholly, Bring me new birth.
Jesus, so lonely, weary and sad; Teach me that only Love maketh glad.
Jesus, so broken, Silent and pale; Be this the token Love will not fail.
Jesus, victorious, mighty and free; Teach me how glorious death is to be.

Edith Williams’s words are so haunting because they exemplify the depth of our Easter faith: Death is not the final word for those who follow in the way of Jesus. Our Lord’s victorious triumph over the grave is not a sentimental symbol, but a clear and distinct sign of this simple Easter truth: Love will not fail.

Happy Easter,

The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Associate Rector