It is interesting to see the ways folks work to make sense of things.

Similar to last week's readings, this week we see a range of reactions to the resurrection of Jesus. And this week, it feels a bit like watching a variety of news reporters all working to make sense of the same event.

And like our variety of news outlets today, everyone comes at it with their particular view, audience, and interest in mind.

Looking at them is as close to chronological order as we can, first we see a pretty straight forward first person account of the resurrection in the gospel of Luke. Jesus himself is present and is making sure every one at the scene is getting accurate information about has happened. After having a snack with them and letting them pinch him and such, he reminds 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. 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."  In this scene Jesus is doing his best to make sure the disciples put the pieces together of all that they have experienced and witnessed.

The next account we get comes from book of Acts which many assume was written by the same writer that wrote the gospel of Luke. Even though this may have been the same reporter, he is reporting on a different scene that is separated from the resurrection by some space and time. In this scene, we find disciples still trying to share the good news of Jesus with folks. However, Peter is sort of putting his own spin on the message. He berates his listeners by emphasizing how they were the ones who handed Jesus over and who killed Jesus and how they were ignorant and such. Not necessarily the same note of "Feed my sheep" that Jesus left on, but we have to trust that Peter knew his audience and felt that an insulting scare tactic was the right approach. WE don't think it was, but evidently Peter thought it was the right way to relay the message.

And in the passage from 1 John (which we assume was written about 50-70 years after the community described in Acts) we find a much more reflective and narrative news piece. The writer of this passage has obviously had some time to think through the life of Jesus and hone in on what he sees as the primary message to be shared. It seems he wants his audience to understand the importance of simple obedience. He refers to the love of God the Father protecting and inviting us, the children of God, in to obedient relationship.

It is always important for us to pay attention to the context and audience of the passages of scripture we encounter. Every word is written in a particular context with a particular audience in mind. 

And an important responsibility we have is to think about the messages we share in the particular contexts and with the particular audiences where we find ourselves. We all remember the words of Saint Francis to "Preach the gospel at all times--if necessary, use words", and find ourselves each day preaching the gospel in one way or the other.

What message do you choose? How do you choose to portray it?

God of creation, 
Of resurrection, 
Of breath,
Representing you, 
Sharing your light
Requires my knowing you
And my neighbor
My co worker
My partner 
The stranger 
The neighborhood 
The world itself
So that your light
Your message
Where you would have it.

© laura & matt norvell 2012 www.settingourstones.org  - We share
this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that
you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be
with you.

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