What does it mean to practice resurrection? Among the stories about the first encounters the disciples have with their risen Lord, John remembers Jesus’ first words to his troubled and fearful disciples as being about not what has happened to him but rather what he hopes might happen among them: “Peace be with you,” Jesus says. Only then does he show them the signs of his suffering and death—the wounds in his hands and his side.

As with the most important lessons we have to learn in life, learning peace takes time—and practice. And so Jesus repeats the words, as if to make it clear that his resurrection is to be grasped in their own lives, not simply as some remote testimony about his: “Peace be with you.”

He follows with what we might read as an action plan, as if to clarify what it might mean to find this peace: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

We know this statement to be true in the grit and grime of our own lives: If we hold on to grudges, even if deserved because of some injury inflicted upon us, they will remain a weight—not only for those “others” but for ourselves. But if we forgive others, practicing resurrection at the places of what suffering they might have visited upon us, they will be forgiven.

How will we find our way into the deep mystery of the Resurrection? By risking forgiveness toward others, above all those who do not seem to deserve it. This brings the promise of peace—for them, of course, but also for us.

Forgiving God, let me dare today to forgive others and offer them the peace you offer me each moment in my life. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 20:19-31

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Lectionary Week
April 13–19, 2020
Scripture Overview

In the week following Easter, we reflect on the Resurrection. In Acts, Peter declares to his fellow Israelites that the story of Jesus is the fulfillment of promises made to their people long ago. He quotes Psalm 16, the second reading for the week, and applies it to Jesus. First Peter opens with a passage of extended praise for God’s mercy, and this is rooted in the hope that comes through the resurrection of Jesus. Yes, we may suffer in this life as Jesus suffered, but just as he is glorified, we will also one day be glorified in the Lord. John recounts a post-resurrection appearance to the disciples. All except Thomas have already seen Jesus, and here is Thomas’s first interaction with the risen Lord.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 2:14a, 22-32. How do you practice living into the “ways of life”?
Read Psalm 16. What would change if you were to make requests for God’s protection a fundamental of your faith?
Read 1 Peter 1:3-9. How does the mystery of the Resurrection help you understand and love Jesus?
Read John 20:19-31. What role does forgiveness play in the way you practice resurrection?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.