Easter Sunday can be so exhilarating, but the days afterward can, especially for clergy, feel like a let down. We may experience that initial rush of joy, that thrill of hope as we shout our "Alleluias!" We may feel a sense of victory as we sing that our Lord has trampled over death by death, but what happens next? How do we go on living in light of the resurrection? This is the question for us in the great 50 days of the Easter season, and really a question at the heart of our faith. What does it mean to follow Jesus in the time between his resurrection and the time when all will be resurrected unto him? As we seek to answer these questions over the course of the Easter season, we will be hearing readings from the book of Acts.
Acts is primarily a work of history that traces the movement of the gospel from Jerusalem, all over the Mediterranean, and onto Rome. But at the heart of the book is the preaching and teaching of the Apostles. At the center of Apostolic preaching is the proclamation of Christ crucified and Christ risen from the dead. From Peter's Pentecost sermon onward, the book of Acts documents the Apostolic witness to the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ. And as people hear this message they believe, and as they believe, they are changed. The impact of Apostolic preaching has always been like this. Christ is proclaimed. People believe. People's lives are transformed.
The reading from Acts 4 this Sunday gives us an especially vivid picture of this dynamic. In these verses Luke tells us that those who believed the Apostles' preaching were of "one heart and soul" and that they shared what they had to meet all the needs in the community (Acts 4:32). What an amazing testimony to the power of resurrection life that it can create a community like that! As we continue the process of becoming St. Bartholomew's, this vision of life together in Christ is so important for us to contemplate and to prayer towards. As we celebrate the whole season of Easter together, I encourage you to do just that, to pray into and live out of the resurrected life of Christ.