Month: April, 2014

On Community: An Easter Reflection

As we seek ways to discover and meet the needs of Christian orphans for belonging and community, I am reminded of the two times shared by Jesus with His disciples that form a part of Holy Week – events that form “bookends” for our understanding of Easter.

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus used the Passover meal to institute the sacrament of Communion:

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29)

On the evening of Easter Day, Jesus appeared to his disciples gathered in the locked room – perhaps the same upper room in which they had met three evenings before:

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:36-43)

From these two events I believe that we can draw several conclusions

  1. Jesus identifies himself with his disciples. As their Lord, he is a full participant in their fellowship. This isn’t just a matter of his physical presence. It is an ongoing reality. Shortly before his Ascension Jesus told them: “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 2. 20)
  2. Jesus’ participation is expressed in his loving care for his disciples. He provides them with spiritual nourishment and blessing. He calms their fears and offers them reassurance.

Establishing a virtual fellowship in the 21st Century can seem like a very long way from that upper room. Yet is it realty so different? In the presence of the Holy Spirit – Jesus’ own Spirit – we experience fellowship with one another. As we meet together, we also receive his reassurance. He is our Lord and a full participant in our community.

We do not know where this will lead any more than those original disciples could foresee the events that they would follow. The circumstances and the technology are very different, but we are on the same path with the same commitment from him and with the same call to worship and to obey.

We join with those original disciples in affirming: The Lord is Risen. HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Mark Larratt-Smith
Easter 2014