Pondering for Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Eucharistic Readings for Tuesday of Easter Week: Year C

Acts 2:36-41; John 20:11-18; Psalm 33:18-22 or Psalm 118:19-24:

 “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”   Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”  Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:36 – 38)

It really hurts to learn you have been a part of something that was bad.  When I visited Christ Episcopal Church, downtown Philadelphia (in 2015) I got into a conversation with a historian there about the heroes of the Civil War.  The question he put forth to me was how do the ancestors of Confederate soldiers honor the bravery and courage of their great, great grandparents and at the same time disapprove of what they were fighting for?  In the same vein I have a friend who is a priest and who has an old sword of his father connected to a form of White supremacy that he is ashamed of.  I told him that that was a different time. He told me, “that’s not a good enough answer.”

I myself have bought products made with slave labor from around the world.  I am sorry for participating in such shameful acts.  I have pretended not to see abuses of people different than myself. I have seen what I believed to have been evidence of domestic violence and not reported it. I continue to crucify Jesus.  I too am cut to the heart.  What should I do Peter, I have already been baptized?

I believe the waters of baptism never stop flowing.  While I believe in one baptism, I did engage in a ceremonial baptism in the Jordan River while on pilgrimage in Israel. Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan. A river is a “moving” body of water.  The Jordan River takes the sins of the baptized down river to the Dead Sea!  That’s something to ponder.

 The waters of baptism continue to move over us long after someone has initially started pouring the water over us, or submerging us in it.  This continual “Fount of Every Blessing”, this running water, like a regular shower, continues to rinse away our sins.  We, however, must keep regular visits to Holy Communion to keep that holy water moving.  This is why a little water is mingled into the wine at Communion.  It is a reminder that as a Baptized people we vowed that we will continue in the apostles teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers. (BCP 304)

Thanks to modern day social media and the world wide web, we can’t pretend to not know about the different horrors around the world – yes, especially Ukraine. We must reach out to them as best we can. To ignore them and their troubles is to again ignore the crucifixion of Jesus. At Communion Jesus’ words ring out, “This is my blood of the New Covenant that is shed for you, and others, for the forgiveness of sins…”  Thank You Lord Jesus!

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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