Second Sunday of Easter
Adult and Small Child
Quantrilla (Quanny) Ard is a faith-based personal and spiritual development writer who lives in the DC Metro area with her husband Donny and three littles (Quentin, Dylan, and Logan). In addition to being a dedicated wife and mother, she is a entrepreneur, doctoral student, and curator of all things lovely. As a woman on her own quest of shining a light on the shadowy, hidden places in her life, she writes as the PhDMamma about things she knows to be true in hopes to encourage others to do the same. Her spiritual goals and her love for Christ propel her quest to share the spiritual journey with other women- to walk alongside them and encourage them with words, deeds, and wisdom. Quanny believes in the power in collective strength, community and fellowship. You will find her wherever people are sharing stories of triumph.
Read: Acts 5:27-32
Reflect: As the disciples continued to teach and preach about Jesus being alive, many people became upset. The church leaders were among this group of people, and had the disciples arrested and brought before them. The high priest questioned them by saying that the disciples had been warned not to teach in Jesus’ name, yet they continued to fill Jerusalem with their teaching and make the church leaders feel responsible for Jesus’ death. Peter replied back that the disciples were supposed to obey God not the orders of mankind. He continued by saying that this was the same God of their families before them, who raised Jesus from the dead, whom they (the church leaders) had crucified. Jesus is now at God’s right hand as Leader and Savior so that He might provide a way for Israel to turn away from their sins and be forgiven. Peter went on to say that he and the disciples saw these things with their own eyes so they knew this to be true - and the coming of the Holy Spirit to those who obey Jesus was yet another example of the truth of their teaching.
Respond: Just like Peter and the disciples, we should always tell the truth. Here’s a reminder for you to color and keep where you can always see it: http://bit.ly/honestypage
Adult and Elementary
Imani Driskell is the Director of Children's, Youth, and Family Ministries at St. Michael's-in-the-Hills Episcopal Church in Toledo, Ohio. Imani was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is a bagel and pizza enthusiast. She enjoys learning, teaching and speaking about Faith Formation. Her favorite novel is The Living is Easy by Dorothy West.
Read: Psalm 150
Reflect: Praise the Lord! It is still Easter so we can shout “hallelujah!” What are some of the things that made you happy on Easter Day? I was really happy during worship, while everyone at church was singing. We had special music, including a brass ensemble. This makes me think of our reading. We can praise using instruments like cymbals and trumpets. There are many things for which we can praise God. The second verse of the reading mentions God's mighty deeds and God’s surpassing greatness. We see God’s greatness all over creation. When the sky is high in the sky, we can praise God. When we’re playing, we can praise God. When we are running or, skipping or, jumping, we can praise God. Every time you inhale and exhale, remember to praise God.
Respond: Take a few minutes and do the following: clap your hands, tap your feet, turn around in a circle. Inhale deeply, exhale deeply. These are all different ways that you can use your body as an instrument to praise the Lord.
What good news do you need to share with someone else this week?
Adult and Youth
Faitth is the Communication and Programming Director for Legacy Collective. She engages in community organizing and activism. Her passion makes her a relentless spokesperson for racial reconciliation. She is a social media strategist and blogger who writes at Faitthbrooks.com.
Read: Acts 5:27-32
Reflect: After the death and resurrection of Jesus, He told His apostles to go and preach the gospel to all of creation (Mark 16:15). In Acts 5, the apostles were arrested for teaching and preaching in Jesus name. The high priest was not pleased that Jerusalem was filled with the teachings of Jesus, but the apostles did not apologize for sharing the gospel because they knew they had to obey God and not men.
Have you ever experienced something so exciting that you had to tell someone about it? So you get on social media and you tweet about it or tell your friends on Snapchat. The apostles in Acts 5 felt that same sort of excitement about sharing the gospel and telling people about Jesus. They couldn’t contain this good news; they had to tell everyone they could about it. Today, we have the same responsibility to show the love of Jesus to people- this is the gospel. Living out the truth of God’s word and loving people as Jesus did during his time here on earth. It’s our responsibility as believers to continue declaring the goodness of Jesus.
Respond: How you choose to live out your life is a reflection of the gospel; how can you share the love of Jesus with someone this week in a tangible way? Here are some examples: helping someone with their homework, standing up for someone who is being bullied, inviting a friend to church with you, or having a new friend over for dinner. There are all kind of ways you can display Jesus’ love each day.
Adult and Adults
Peggy Hoppes is a writer, artist, photographer and crafter; her creativity reflects her faith. She is married with two grown children. She began writing “A WORD FOR TODAY,” a devotional, in August 1999 which can be found at www.awordfortoday.org. Peggy teaches a Bible class at her church and has led workshops. She has published several books. Peggy shares her gifts to build up the church, to help Christians grow as disciples with living faith and to be a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world.
Read: John 20:19-31
Reflect: We pick on poor Thomas for his attitude in this story. Why wouldn’t he believe based on the word of his friends? Shouldn’t he have accepted what they had to say? After all, the disciples were not the first to proclaim this good news. Jesus told them it would happen. The women reported the missing body. Mary said that she had seen the Lord. How many witnesses would it take for Thomas to believe?
We shouldn’t be so hard on poor Thomas; none of the others believed until they saw Jesus for themselves. They didn’t believe the women. Even when Jesus appeared before them, they needed to see the physical evidence of Jesus’ crucifixion to see that He wasn’t a ghost. Jesus let them touch Him, to see His wounds. They reported His presence with joy to Thomas, who did not believe them. Thomas only believed when he saw the same evidence as the other disciples.
Jesus responded, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” We are the blessed ones. We do not believe because we have any sort of proof, but because we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit and by that power we can believe. We are the blessed ones because we believe by the mercy of God, for it is only by God’s grace can we have faith.
Respond: Do you know someone struggling with faith in Jesus? Remind them that they are blessed by God’s grace and by God’s Spirit they can believe.