Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Lectionary Reflection Year B, Easter 2, First Reading Year B, Easter 2, New Testament Reading

Acts 3:12a,13-15,17-26
In the portico of the temple, Peter addressed the people who were astonished by the healing of the lame man, "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. "And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, `The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.' And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days. You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, `And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."

Reflection on Acts 3:12a,13-15,17-26 by John Gibbs, PhD

Luke also draws contrasts between the status quo of his times, with its killing (3:15), and “the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.” “To this we are witnesses,” insists Peter in his second sermon to the earliest Church.

Life, healing, “perfect health” (3:16), the “glory” of the “servant” (3:13) all disclose the tragedy of preferring “a murderer” to “the Author of life” (3:15). But the point of this sermon is that the life, the healing, the health of the healed keep coming on in the light of Easter--even to those who have preferred death dealing to life authoring. We cannot know for sure whether there will be a universal salvation. But we look forward, as does the Apostle Peter, to “the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets” (3:21).

This goal of nobody left behind, no creature discarded on the scrap-heap of cosmic history, sounds very much like the great “Shalom” that was so much hoped for that the word itself became the word of daily greeting. We bless one another by partaking daily in God’s kind of wholeness and health, the Shalom that was given to the whole Creation at the start.

The blessing tradition, as James E. Will claims, is “grounded in belief in God as the Creator,” and this creation-blessing tradition “runs through the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. …The Bible’s first book begins with the story of the establishment of blessing in creation (Gen. 1:26-27), and its concluding book ends with the reestablishment of a blessed world (Rev. 22:1-5)” (Will, A Christology of Peace, p. 24; Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989).

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To Reflections on other Readings for Year B, Easter 2:
First Reading Acts 3:12a, 13-15, 17-26 or Isaiah 26:2-9,19
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Psalm 111
New Testament 1 John 5:1-6 or Acts 3:12a, 13-15, 17-26
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Gospel John 20:19-31

John Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN. He originally wrote this reflection in 2002. He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC Holy Trinity Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

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