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17 April 2021

“While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.  He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost 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.  While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.’”

Luke 24:36b-48 NRSV

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Easter blessings and joy to you!  We celebrate Easter with fifty days as we continue to rejoice in Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the sharing of this good news.  This Gospel passage is Saint Luke’s version of the same story we read last week from the Gospel of Saint John.  Luke makes no mention of the disciple Thomas but make it even clearer that Jesus was a genuine physical presence by his ability to eat something, in this case a piece of broiled fish.

The connection that Jesus makes with his suffering, death and resurrection (thus fulfilling the scriptures) and the importance of proclaiming repentance and forgiveness in his name throughout all the nations now becomes their vocation.  “You are witnesses of these things.” Their lived life experience with Jesus gives them all they need to know in terms of how to live a life dedicated to Christ’s message of love.  As Jon Meacham puts it so eloquently at the end of The Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross, “…religion is not for the faint of heart; it is a hard, difficult business.  It is more courageous to hope than it is to fear, more taxing to be selfless than selfish, more humbling to hold that there is more to the universe than the eye can see or the ear can hear.”  Jesus calls us to go beyond ourselves into a place of joy and new life by acknowledging our sins and asking for forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our Savior.  This is key to being able to accept the Divine Love that is offered to us so freely.  On our own, our sins get in the way of receiving that love.  We feel too unworthy.  Through Christ, we are saved.

Please join us as we continue to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection by clicking on the link below for Saint John’s Service for the Third Sunday of Easter on April 18 at 10 a.m.  Our hymns from the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 are #209 “We walk by faith and not by sight” and #208 “The Strife is o’er, the battle done.” George Morrison is the lay reader for Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; First John 3:1-7, as well as our prayers.  The Gospel reading is Luke 24:36b-48.

Please join us also for our 45-minute Coffee Hour at 11:30 a.m. using the link below.  This casual conversation is delightful, and a wonderful way to check in with each other.  We miss you!

Please let me know if you have names to add to our prayer list or would just like a pastoral conversation ( ; 914 969 2969).  We continue to pray for healing for those who have had or will be having operations, those with COVID-19 and other diseases, hospitalizations and physical difficulties. Please pray especially for Jane Metzger, Linda Brown, The Rev. Canon Claudia Wilson, Judy Hinsch, Susan Spielmann and the many other names on our prayer list. Happy Birthday this week to Robert Perez Nevins, Edith Williams, Wayne Kempton and Luis Vilches! We pray for justice for George Floyd, for those who have died including the recent victims of gun violence in Indianapolis, as well as Adam Toledo, Daunte Wright, Prince Philip, Joseph John DiBartolo, Earl Simmons (aka DMX), the over 565,000 Americans who have died from the virus, and for ALL who have died unjustly because of racism and prejudice. 

Don’t forget our short Wednesday services (usually available through an e-blast or on the website around noon) and our lay-led Service of Evening Prayer on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. via zoom!

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

Easter blessings and much love,

Vicki+

The Rev. Canon Victoria R. Sirota, Rector