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NAILPRINTS / IT TAKES TIME TO REJOICE
April 11, 2007
 
Today's eMo is really two different meditations on texts that will be read in many churches this Sunday. The first is the usual sermon preparation eMo. The second, intended for preachers who wish to focus their congregations' attention on the Church's service to the poor and those who suffer from the effects of war or natural disaster, explores the ministry of Episcopal Relief and Development. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution. No further permission is necessary.
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Nailprints

"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
John 20:25


We are so accustomed to comparing ourselves favorably with poor Thomas, whose famous doubt has come to be considered part of his name, that we overlook something important about the way the resurrection works in us: Thomas isn't the only one who must absorb the fact of the risen Christ in his own way. We all do that. That's why people were often unable grasp who the risen Jesus was right away -- it took all of them a while to wrap their minds and spirits around the risen Christ.

It seems that there are two parts to the resurrection: Jesus' rising and our response. The resurrection, which we have always said was for our sake, seems also not to happen without our response, not to be an event in history so much as an event in relationship, a condition of our living with Christ. The resurrection is not so much a what as a how: here is how the dead is living, it says to us, here is how you experience him now.

How did it happen? we ask, and we cannot answer. What happened? we want to know, and nobody can say. But How is it within me? And what can I be now, because of it? Those questions take me a little further. I can work with those questions. I can live with them, and they will come to live in me. They are questions about now and about the future, not about the past. We don't seek the living among the dead.

And we all need to see some nailprints. Maybe not the ones we think we need to see, but something that will open a way for us into a future of belief that turns out not to be about evidence as much as it is about direction. Clues are what we need. And so we sharpen our eyes and look around, taking special care to expect the unexpected. And to assume nothing.

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Easter II Year C
Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 118:14-29 pr Psalm 150
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31
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And here is the ERD meditation:

It Takes Time to Rejoice

On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24


Rejoicing can take a while to come along, after something terrible has happened. Louisiana and Mississippi are still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and that's here in the richest country in the world. It will take longer for the communities in deforested areas of the Dominican Republic, one of the poorest, who are struggling to regain their footing after flooding that began on March 26. Three people were killed and 4,000 displaced in the Cibao region. Rescuers couldn't reach more than 225 families in the Yuna River Valley. Roads and bridges in Santiago and Puerto Playa have been damaged or destroyed, making it hard to move needed aid out into the country.

God is working, though. As soon as a phone call could be placed, the Bishop of the Dominican Republic was in touch with Episcopal Relief and Development, and the food, temporary housing materials and construction materials were on their way. God is working through us, and through the people on the ground -- still working in Louisiana and Mississippi, getting started but far from finished in the Dominican Republic.

How long will it take until they can rejoice there? We are part of the answer to that question. Knowing how long it can take for rejoicing to come after tragedy, we must remember to join ourselves to these brothers and sisters in prayer, and never to let ourselves imagine that prayer is a thing we do when there is no hope, that prayer is our last-ditch effort. Prayer is the first thing we do, not the last. And we keep it up while we're doing all the other things God enables in us, those concrete actions that will finally bring forth rejoicing.
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To learn more about ERD's work, or to make a donation, visit http://www.er-d.org/ or telephone 1--800-334-7626,ext 5129.


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Photos of the Easter Bunny Cake, peace be upon him, are available for viewing at the HodgePodge at http://www.geraniumfarm.org/ If you missed the eMo about the cake and its brief but meaningful life, it is archived on the site under Daily Messages, and is entitled "The Lord High Executioner."
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This Saturday, April 14, 10am-1pm A Quiet Morning in the Easter Season at St. Barnabas, Ardsley, NY. Barbara Crafton is retreat leader for this return visit to a favorite parish. All are welcome. Call 914-693-3366 or email The Rev'd. Harrison Simon at hgkjelr@gloryroad.net

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The 2007 Swindell Lecture Summit at Haw River State Park in the beautiful Diocese of North Carolina, 5:00 PM April 20 till 1:00 PM April 21. Keynote speaker is Barbara Crafton. For registration information, contact Harrison T. Simons, (919) 693-5547.

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The next day, Sunday, April 22, Barbara Crafton will preach at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Burlington, NC at the 8:15 and 10:30 services and will speak at the forum 9:30-10:15. Phone (336) 227-4251.

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May 13th -- Dignity/NY Mass at St. John's in the Village, NYC. 7:30 pm. In what has become something of a Mother's Day tradition, Barbara Crafton will preach at this wonderful weekly Mass for GLBT Roman Catholics and their friends. It's only the most joyous Mass in New York City. http://www.dignityny.org/.

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May 27-31st "Gardens and Grace" at Kanuga! Gardens large or small, wild or manicured, can be places for prayer, creativity and healing. This unique conference, in an exquisite outdoor setting, will provide breathing space, time for solitude and community, time for relaxation and restoration and time to learn about and to cherish the natural world. Inspirational meditations, workshops, teaching, sharing and celebrating will encourage a deepening of faith, hope and love. Barbara Crafton is among the keynote speakers.
http://www.kanuga.org/conferences/2007/gardens-grace.shtml

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