Angie Larson, Alexandria, MN

Warm-up Question

What is one area that you think humans could work better together at?

Even Greater Things

On Thursday, April 13th, 16 year old Ralph Yarl went to pick up his twin younger brothers from a friend’s house, but accidentally went to the wrong house. When the homeowner came to the door he shot Ralph twice. Once through the door and then when he was already on the ground. Ralph made his way to a neighbor’s house where he got help for his injuries. His story shocked and outraged our nation. Ralph survived but not without difficulty. 

Three days later, Ralph’s aunt set up a GoFundMe page to support the family through this difficult time. Nearly 100,000 people have donated to Ralph, with nearly 4 million dollars raised. While there is absolutely no justification for the senseless and unnecessary trauma this family has endured, the outpouring of care shows what happens when humanity comes together. Ralph’s aunt mentions that extra funds beyond his medical needs will help with Ralph’s college tuition and his dream trip to West Africa. 

Discussion Questions

  • What problems in our world do you believe people find it easy to come together for common support?
  • Which problems in our world do you think people find it difficult to come together to solve?
  • Why are some problems easier to solve than others?
  • How can we work together to stop gun violence in our country?

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 7:55-60

1 Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14

(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

Jesus starts this part of John with the words “Do not let your heart be troubled.”  In the original Greek, the pronoun is plural (like “y’all”) and the heart is singular.  Jesus assumes that the disciples, though many,  share one heart. They’re a unified community. Whatever may come they’re in it together. 

Jesus tells them they don’t need to worry; God has space for all of them. There is no separation or scarcity. Then Jesus says something crazy. He says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.” Jesus tells the disciples that together, with one heart, they will do even greater things than they have seen Jesus do. Can you imagine? The disciples thinking, “Even greater than feeding 5000+ people? Even greater than healing people from illnesses? Even greater than walking on water?” Yet, that’s what Jesus says, “Even greater things.” When we’re one-hearted, we can make the changes our world needs. So communities can have access to safety, health care, food needs, and security. So no one will ever need to worry about ringing the wrong doorbell again. 

Discussion Questions

  • Around what issue do the members of your group have “one-heartedness?”  What is a problem that everyone cares about?
  • Why do you think Jesus says that together we will do even greater things?

Activity Suggestions

Grab one sticky note per kid and ask them to write their name on it.  Then have each person jump up as high as they can to put their stickie on the wall. Next, ask them to work together, to see if they can get each of theirs even higher.  Discuss what this activity might say about our life together as a community in Christ.

Closing Prayer

Blessed Savior, You give us the opportunity to work together, choosing collaboration over competition, compassion over contention, and care over conflict. Bring us together, so that through you we can do even greater things, creating the changes in our communities which allow all people to thrive. In your name we pray, amen.