3rd Sunday of Easter



You killed the prince of life.
God, however, raised him from the dead,
and to that fact we are witnesses. (Acts 3:15)

Christ rose from the dead not simply to amaze us but to bring us something radically new. The new life he brings means that our sinfulness, which ought to be evidence to condemn us, can be wiped clean. The shame we feel, the guilt we pile up, is erased by Christ’s sacrifice that takes away our sin. What we have to do is to believe and then to act on our faith.

Let us pray for the Church, that it may not be afraid, and that in the midst of troubles and duress it may look to the hands and feet of its risen Saviour and be bold in witnessing to the eternal truth that Jesus is risen as Lord of all creation.
In your loving kindness, Lord: Receive and hear our prayer.
Let us pray for Christians who live under regimes where to proclaim their faith means discrimination, hardship and even death, that they may seek all means possible to worship God and to live the life of the gospel.
In your loving kindness, Lord: Receive and hear our prayer.
Let us pray for those of our parish who have died recently (especially... ), that they may share in the glorious life of the risen Christ and that one day we too will meet them face to face when every tear is wiped away.
In your loving kindness, Lord: Receive and hear our prayer.
Let us pray for our world, that peace and justice may triumph in those places torn apart by war and strife, and all nations may enjoy that freedom and security which God intends for his people.
In your loving kindness, Lord: Receive and hear our prayer.

Christianity is not a religion of the head. If it were, then only the clever people could become holy while the rest of us would remain on the edges as we struggled to use our few wits to try and work out what our religion was all about. It would be a philosophy, a body of knowledge, accessible only to the intelligent.
No, Christianity is about the five senses. It’s a body-religion, a sensing faith. It uses sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. In doing this it simply continues what Jesus himself did when he ate and drank, was bathed in the Jordan, laid hands on people, used paste to cure the blind man etc.
There is a slightly comic aspect to today’s gospel when Jesus scares the wits out of the disciples and then simply asks, “Have you anything here to eat?” And this is just one of several times after the resurrection that Jesus appears to them and starts eating. Maybe it’s no coincidence that St Luke is trying to teach us that the primary way we meet Christ today after his resurrection is when we eat and drink his body and blood. The Eucharist is the action of the Church in which Christ becomes present in many ways but most clearly in the act of communion.
And, of course, we recall his presence by using all five of our senses. That’s why the Church uses water to baptise, why we make the Sign of the Cross with it, why we sprinkle it during some services. It’s why we lay hands on the sick, why we make music to God, why we anoint people with oil when they are baptised, confirmed, ordained or weakened by sickness. It explains why some people use incense to beautify their worship and others put out a mass of blazing candles and wear colourful vestments. It is all about worshipping God with our whole person, body as well as mind, about recognising Christ with all the faculties that God has given us.
It goes without saying that our five senses do not exist apart from us, on some shelf where we take them down. They are part and parcel of us. It’s people who incarnate sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. That’s why the best way of ensuring that Christ is present in our world is to carry him around in ourselves. This must be what Jesus meant today when he said, “You are witnesses to this.”



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