Overcoming Failure: Easter 2B (8va)

Well, Holy Week was quite literally the undoing of my Lenten discipline -- but I like it too much to give it up. So, since I'm getting back on the stick, here the texts for the Octave of Easter in translation. (Also, this is the first year, basically ever in life, that I'm at all glad that all the major portions are in Greek. Generally, I despise the lectionary habit of replacing the OT with Acts -- but if you knew how much longer it takes me to do justice to the Hebrew...)

Acts 4:32-35
A quote well out of context -- this is the result of the successful conflict between Peter and John and the Temple authorities, in which they healed a man, and drew a crowd, and did nothing wrong. They rejoice, and live out utopia in Solomon's portico. And God remains Lord of utopia, as the passage goes on and we distinguish between the generous and the selfish, but these examples serve to demonstrate the (idealized) rule of the Spirit in the post-resurrection community, and the (ideal) disposal of the providence of God.
Now, the mind and life of those who trusted God was united, and no one claimed that anything that belonged to them was private property. Instead, everything was readily shared among them. And the missionaries were quite capably giving witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the master, from the dead, and great goodwill was upon all of them. There was no one in need, no deficiency or inferiority among them. As many of them as owned real estate, whether land or buildings, when they sold it, would bring the value of the merchandise and place it before the feet of the missionaries, and it was distributed to each as any had use for it.

1 John 1:1-2:2
Ah, ethics. Because God faithfully forgives and excuses our failures and purifies away our injustice, how do we live? We live honestly, and we fail honestly, and we confess our failures openly, and we conduct ourselves in the light of Christ. We still fail -- but we do not fear it. We have no cause to hide it. We are partners with one another, and partners with God, as we act in the world. God sets aside our failures to make room for actions that accord with God's logic and God's truth. All the time. For everyone.
We report to you what was from the very first, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have clearly observed for ourselves, and our hands have examined, concerning the meaning of life. That life appeared, and we have seen it, and we witness and report it to you: that same eternal life before the Father that was demonstrated to us. We report to you what we have seen and heard so that you may also have partnership with us; our partnership is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message that we have heard from him and report to you: God is light, and there is no trace of shadow in him. If we should say that we have partnership with God, and engage in shady conduct, we are false, and do not do what is true. But if we should engage in enlightened conduct, as God is in the light, we have partnership with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every failing.

If we should say that we have no failings, we mislead ourselves, and the truth is not in us. God is faithful and just, and should we confess our failings, God shall excuse us from our failures and cleanse us from every injustice. If we should say that we have not failed, we make God a liar, and God's reasoning is not in us.

My children, I write these things for you so that you may not fail. And if any should fail, we have an advocate before the Father, Jesus Christ the Just. He is the mollification of God concerning our failures -- and not only our own, but also concerning the failures of the entire world.

John 20:19-31
And, written down for your sake, a demonstration of the resurrection.
Then, when it was late on that first day after the Sabbath, and after the doors had been shut where the disciples were for fear of the Judeans, Jesus came and stood among them, and he said to them, "Peace be with you." And after he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then, having seen their master, the disciples cheered up. Then he said to them again, "Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, so I also send you." And after saying this, he blew on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you excuse the failures of any, they are excused for them; if you overcome their failures, they have been overcome."

Now, Thomas (one of the Twelve, called "the Twin") was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Master!" But Thomas said to them, "Unless I should see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails, and put my hand in his side, I will not trust it."

And after eight days, the disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, after the doors had been shut, and stood among them, and he said, "Peace be with you." After that he said to Thomas, "Bring your finger here, and see my hands, and bring your hand, and put it in my side, and don't become distrustful; become trusting." Thomas responded and said to him, "My Master and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Do you trust because you have seen me? They are fortunate who have not seen and still trust!"

So Jesus also did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written down in this book -- but these are written so that you may trust that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by trusting you may have life in his name.


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