Third Sunday of Easter in Year A
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
1 Peter 1:17-23
Hearts burning, eyes opened, lives changed, communities revitalized. These are the outcomes following the aftershocks of Jesus’ resurrection which we read about in today’s pericopes. Two followers of Jesus recognize the risen Christ in the breaking of bread after having been instructed by him as a mysterious stranger accompanying them on their walk to Emmaus. Peter’s sermon leads to the conversion of 3000 people to faith in Jesus Christ. In both cases a new start is made with hope for a better way to live and stronger faith in God.
Many environmentalists and ecotheologians speak of a different kind of conversion that is needed today as we witness the global climate and biotic catastrophe that is being wreaked upon the earth. Thomas Berry, Larry Rasmussen, and Mark Wallace all speak of a “conversion to earth.” Says Rasmussen when talking of Thomas Berry’s work The Great Work (Harmony Books, New York, 2000):
[W]e badly need a religious and moral conversion to Earth, not to say cosmos, if ‘ecozoic’ rather than ‘technozoic’ (Berry, p. 55) is to characterize the coming great work. ‘Growing people up’ for a different world, one that assumes Earth as the comprehensive community, is the task, a task which understands that human ethics are derivative from Earth and the ecological imperative, not vice versa” (Larry Rasmussen, “The Great Work Underway,” http://www.thomasberry.org/Essays/TheGreatWorkUnderway.html, accessed April 21, 2014).
Would that the conversion to earth would happen as swiftly as the conversions that occurred in the readings we have for the Third Sunday of Easter! The two disciples’ eyes were immediately opened when Jesus revealed himself at table. And in response to Peter’s sermon to the crowd gathered on the Day of Pentecost, those gathered were “cut to the heart” and wanted to know what they could do in response to the knowledge of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Three thousand persons were baptized and reoriented their lives around the apostles’ teaching as they began building community, and sharing meals and prayers.
Realistically, we know that the chances of our ecologically-oriented sermon converting even one or two hearers to earth-consciousness may be slim. Yet we are compelled to prophetically speak about God’s incarnating and redeeming our sin-filled world as much as Peter was to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem. The urgency of the need for prophetic and pastoral voices in the pulpit is underscored by nearly daily reports of the worsening ecosystems of our planet—from coral reefs bleaching and dying, to species disappearing, to island nations submerging.....
Read the rest of the commentary here: http://www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org/the-third-sunday-of-easter-in-year-a