This Sunday, May 1, is the Third Sunday of Easter, and we'll get to hear some powerful Scripture stories in worship. The reading from chapter 21 John's gospel tells of Jesus' third post-resurrection appearance to his disciples. (The first two appearances occurred behind locked doors in the upper room, where Jesus' disciples had gathered after his death by crucifixion.) The reading from Acts 9 tells the remarkable story of Paul's conversion.
When you think about it, both these stories speak volumes about God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness! For example, in the gospel reading, Jesus confronts Peter by posing essentially the same question three times. He does this not to be cruel, but rather to give his friend the opportunity to acknowledge and work through his own shame over having denied knowing Jesus three times. Jesus then forgives and restores Peter's call to leadership by inviting him to follow him and care for his flock.
The story from Acts takes things a step further, it seems, as Jesus appears in a vision and confronts Saul, who's been effectively persecuting Jesus by persecuting the followers of Jesus. Wow -- talk about forgiveness! God saw potential for leadership, so God converted the murder-breathing Saul into the grace-proclaiming Paul, who was a bold and articulate witness for the Kingdom. God truly works in mysterious ways, choosing the most unlikely people and showing up in the most unexpected places!
Both Peter and Paul had a powerful experience of God's grace and forgiveness shaping and renewing their call as disciples. When in your life have you have such an experience of forgiveness and grace? How did it shape and renew your call to follow Jesus on the path of discipleship?
Your companion on the journey,
Pastor Michelle Manicke
May 1, 2022 is the Third Sunday of Easter
The link and passcode to join our online worship service on Sundays at 10:30 am are below. (Note: This is the same link we've had on previous Sundays, and it will stay the same on future Sundays.)