Sight and Sound Theatres in Lancaster, PA, and Branson, MO, offer live presentations of stories of the Bible. Folks from my part of the country travel, literally by the busloads, to Pennsylvania Dutch country to be entertained and inspired by the sensory experience of these dramatic interpretations of the biblical narrative.
“We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life” declares the author of First John. The writer has had a wildly sensory experience of Jesus Christ and wants to share it. The purpose is so that the writer’s (or the reader’s) “joy may be complete.”
Yet so much of our sensory experience is sensory overload. Rapid visual images, a cacophony of sounds, touch intended to be more titillating than tender—these underwhelm in their inability to deliver complete joy. But what if instead of withdrawing from our God-given senses or bemoaning the forces that overload them, we invite our senses to be channels of the holy? What if we fill our sensory experience with “the word of life”? What if we seek, just for today, to be “self-consciously sensory” for the sake of a passionate sharing of “what was from the beginning”; that is, the good news of Jesus Christ?
If we try that, we may find the way of our spiritual walk illumined by the assurance that “God is light and in [God] is no darkness at all.”
Lord of our senses, open our eyes and ears, our nostrils, our taste buds, and the tips of our fingers as channels of your gift of love, that they may excite in us anticipation of the promise of eternal life, to the glory of your name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Easter promises us the possibility of new life in Christ, but what should that life look like? Scripture makes clear that one sign of union with God is unity with each other. How wonderful it is, the psalmist says, when there is peace among brothers and sisters. Unity and peace do not mean simply the lack of conflict but proactive care for one another. The Christians in Acts lived out this care in a practical way by giving of their material means to help one another. John in his epistle tells us that this fellowship is ultimately modeled on the fellowship we share with God and Christ, while in his Gospel, John teaches that belief in Jesus the Messiah is what binds us all together in this new life.
Read Acts 4:32-35. In what ways does your Christian community extend generosity to those within and those beyond the community?
Read Psalm 133. How do you experience God’s extravagant love for you? What is your response to this love?
Read 1 John 1:1–2:2. What experience of Christ have you “heard . . . seen . . . looked at . . . touched”? How do you share your experience of the risen Christ with others?
Read John 20:19-31. How do you relate to Thomas’s desire for tangible proof of the Resurrection?
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