Kelsey Brown, Brooklyn, NY

Warm-up Question

When meeting new people, what’s something you share about yourself to help them  know you better? 

Peace to All

Our current news cycle is full of debates around the validity and protections of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly our transgender siblings. While no one’s lives and identities should be used for political fodder, we many shape these conversations around demonizing trans folks, and more specifically weaponizing what God thinks about the diversity God has created.

CNN reports that transgender young adults are 40% more likely than their cisgender counterparts to contemplate suicide. The attack on the rights of trans individuals, mainly youth and young adults, is fueled by bias and misinformation. Many states have introduced bills to restrict gender-affirming medical care for youth. These laws and social commentary have real life affects for our siblings. We know what we can do to counteract this. We can believe people when they tell us who they are, standing together to make sure that all of God’s people receive the  the support, encouragement and hope they need to thrive. As Christians we can affirm that God knows us fully and wishes peace for  all God’s children.

Discussion Questions

  • Can you list some of the “God created diversity” you see in your day to day life? 
  • When have you been scared? How have you experienced God with you in the midst of this fear?

Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14a, 22-32

1 Peter 1:3-9

John 20:19-31

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year A at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

Fear is rampant following the death of Jesus. His closest friends and followers huddle together, deep in fear that they might be next. Their closest friend, their teacher has been executed by the state and their entire lives flipped upside down. The women, the first at the scene, have heard the good news that the Lord has been raised.  While the men wait, Jesus begins his post-resurrection tour. Although the doors to the room are locked he appears among them and breathes a word of peace. He forgives them for fleeing and remaining silent—reminding them of their belovedness. 

One disciple was missing from this “beyond the grave” visit – Thomas. Having heard from his brothers in Christ that the Lord is alive and has visited, Thomas remarks in disbelief. There is no way this has happened!  He cannot fathom this reality without seeing and touching the places where the Lord was wounded. 

Wouldn’t you guess it, a week later Jesus returns, and this time Thomas is there. He places his fingers in the wounds and his hand in Christ’ side. He suspends his doubt and begins to believe. “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” It is this believing which grants us eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Discussion Questions

  • If someone showed up saying they were Jesus, how would you know if they were telling the truth? 
  • How you think Jesus’ breath of peace soothed the disciples?  Was his mere presence their balm? 
  • How do you embody your belief in the risen christ? 

Activity Suggestions

  • On a sheet of paper and using your 5 senses, draw what peace looks, feels, tastes, sounds, and smells like to you?
  • Listen to Presiding Bishop Eaton’s video message about our commitment to our transgender siblings and an affirmation about God’s love for all who God has created. 
  • Find a comfy spot, close your eyes, breath deep and listen to rain sounds. Reflect on the places of stress in your lives – exhale tension and inhale peace

Closing Prayer

God who once was dead but lives again. We ask you to revive us from our apathy. Breathe new life into our world, that all your people might have what they need. Make us representatives of your love, your grace, and your mercy. May we continue to believe God’s people when they tell us who they are.  May we see you reflected in the eyes of one another. We ask this in your holy and perfect name.