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Kaya OakesApril 20, 2023
Woman praying while leaning against brick wallPhoto by Ben White, courtesy of Unsplash.

A Reflection for Thursday of the Second Week of Easter

Find today’s readings here.

The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.” (Jn 3:31)

In the days after Easter, the readings ask us to imagine the fragile and often frightening days of the Apostles’ lives alongside the often-abstract ruminations of the Gospel of John. It’s a challenging combination, like putting a reported piece of journalism alongside some abstract poetry. But what we’re really seeing unfold is a new kind of world.

In his book Being Christian, Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, writes that “the new humanity that is created around Jesus is not a humanity that is always going to be successful and in control of things, but a humanity that can reach out its hand from the depths of chaos, to be touched by the hand of God.”

In this new Easter world, we will not always be successful or in control. It is the willingness to keep reaching out that sustains us.

Chaos is what is happening in the lives of Peter and the Apostles, who are facing death for preaching the story of Jesus. Chaos swirls in the words of John’s Gospel as well, as those who are earthbound strain to hear “the one who comes from heaven.” Jesus does not “ration his gift of the spirit,” but as we struggle to focus, to find our way out of the chaos, understanding God’s will for our lives can sometimes seem impossible.

Those who actually saw and knew Jesus can stand firm and attest to their faith. The rest of us will sometimes struggle in prayer and faith. But as Rowan Williams reminds us, in this new Easter world, we will not always be successful or in control. It is the willingness to keep reaching out that sustains us.

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