“Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32). “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
These words from Acts and Psalms for this second Sunday of Easter contrast greatly with the opening scene in John’s Gospel. Here, we find the disciples terrified and locked in a room after betraying and abandoning Jesus to torture and death. They are a splintered, traumatized, and guilt-ridden group. Their world has been turned upside down and they have no idea what to do or what comes next. There is nothing “good or pleasant” or “of one heart and soul” about this situation.
Into this desperate moment Jesus comes and stands among them, saying the most unlikely words: “Peace be with you.” One might think Jesus would express hurt or disappointment or chastise them. Or perhaps gather them around and say, “Okay, now here’s the plan…” But he doesn’t. Instead, he declares, “Peace be with you,” not once, but twice. What’s more, he shows Thomas his wounds, letting him touch them, showing him that suffering is real but not the end of the story. “Peace be with you” are words of reconciliation and reorientation, of encouragement and possibility.
In fact, the other readings point to how this band of frightened followers were redirected by their encounters with the risen Jesus. They emerged from their lockdown and the “whole group...was of one heart and soul,” redistributing goods so “there was not a needy person among them” (Acts 4:34). In 1 John, the community is taught, “if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…” This peace of Christ has the power to transform our darkest fears and reunite all people into a community of caring and love.
We live in a time of great divisiveness and conflict. Many of us, like the disciples, are “locked in our room” in an effort to keep ourselves protected — from COVID-19, from people with differing political or theological views, from taking on powers that subjugate us and our neighbors in need. The risen Jesus is coming through that locked door, not to chastise or give us “the plan,” but to bring us peace and call us to life we can’t imagine until we step into it.
Director, Community Program and Public Life
Faith Formation & Education
Sundays at 10am | Online
Join us for Children’s Time on Zoom. We’ll start with a brief opening assembly together and then, each week, children can choose from two breakout groups.
Godly Play (Preschool and older)
Story: The Mystery of Easter
Response Time: Bring your favorite puzzle or drawing, coloring, and collage materials
Whole People of God (2nd Grade and older)
Lesson Theme: Visio Divina. We’ll look at some images of the Gospel story. How do you feel?
Activity: 60 seconds. Role-play interviews with the disciples.
This meeting opens early at 9:10am for the Family Service Watch Party — join us!
Discovery: Evicted in the American City
Sundays at 10am | Online
Join the Discovery community as we explore the complex causes and impact of eviction on our neighbors and consider what it means for our Christian vocation.
Over six weeks, our learning and reflection will center on Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. In his book, Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they each struggle to keep a roof over their heads. He transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. The scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible. Learn more about Desmond’s work.
We will also learn from members of the Trinity Grants team about eviction in New York City, how Trinity Church grant recipients are working to prevent homelessness, and what we can do to help our neighbors.