If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.’ (1 Jn 1:7)
Today is the 3rd Sunday after Easter. The 1st Sunday after Easter is called green Sunday and the 2nd Sunday, last Sunday, is called Red Sunday. This 3rd Sunday after Easter has no assigned color, but if I did I would call it ‘Blue Sunday.’ ‘Blue Sunday’ because right about now, after the climax of Easter and the intensity of Our Martyrs Prayers, things come back down to normal. On Easter we punch above our weight. We had hundreds of people in church on Palm Sunday & Easter, spilling over into the hall. Louise literally ‘pulled out all the stops,’ and we followed her, singing with loud voice; ‘Krisdos Haryav Ee Merelotz/Christ is Risen From The Dead.” But now three Sundays later, we have our regular intimate gathering and worship. Last Sunday, reporters and photographers were following us, printing stories which testify to our people’s Resurrection from Genocide. But today, there are no reporters and the world has quickly moved on to other stories. After the dramatic triumph of Easter Resurrection and the high holy days in our church, going back to regular Sundays can seem somewhat of a letdown, a ‘Blue Sunday.’
Well we’re not the first to experience these post-Easter blues; take for instance the twenty first chapter of John. After all that has happened with their miracle making, healing, crucified and resurrected Lord, Peter announces to the others, “I’m going fishing.” Some take that to mean, “I’m going back to fishing … back to my old way of life.” With the perspective of hindsight and knowing the great works God would still accomplish through Peter and the apostles, this seems a bit absurd. But Peter, like the rest of us, didn’t have special hindsight or foresight, he just had the present day. And if this whole Easter event wasn’t to be some crazy dream or paranormal event, it would have to matter in the everyday. It would have to matter in the regular days after Easter, when fishing as well as praying. Today’s reading from the first letter of John reinforces this notion. It is a bridge between those few who experienced the miraculous Easter events of Jesus’ life and death, and the significance of those events for every person in every time and place, be it Easter Sunday-Red, Green or Blue Sunday-and all ordinary days in between.
You see John wrote this letter in around 100 A.D, with the goal of encouraging and instructing the congregations in Asia Minor who were now second or even third generation Christians. These church goers were two or three times removed from personal experience of Jesus’ miraculous life and death. So for them, the glory of God revealed in human form was no longer an immediate experience with the person of Christ. Now that experience had to come from the words of others like them, through the mundane struggles and movements of the everyday. So John bridges the miracle of Christ to his presence in the everyday. He first testifies to Jesus the great light which came into the world, which he saw personally, but emphasizes how this light is reflected and echoed for all people and all times. ‘This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,’ writes John, ‘that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.’ John was there for the fireworks of Easter, but he wants everyone to know that this light has the power to enlighten all men thereafter for all times and places.
And that’s because spiritual light, spiritual power can be unleashed in two ways just like power in our natural world: it can be unleashed in a great explosion, and it can also be harnessed for a slow burn. You can drop a match in ten gallons of gasoline and it will explode. Or you can slowly burn that gas in a car engine and transport 4 people for 400 miles. Explosions are spectacular, but controlled burns have lasting effect, staying power.
Well God’s power works in both ways. God exploded onto the world in his Easter Resurrection, and we will forever celebrate the coming of his great light into the world which changed history, time and life forever. It blew John the apostle around the Mediterranean, into exile in Patmos, and burst through the words of his Revelation, his Gospel and his letters. The explosion of God’s spirit also blew Thaddeus and Bartholomew through Armenia, exploding into our alphabet and literature, a land of 1,000 churches, monasteries and seminaries which propelled Armenia through its golden age. But God’s spirit also lives, works and burns slowly and constantly in his people and in his church–the living body which is powered for the long haul by the slow and constant burn of the Holy Spirit. We tap into this power on big feast days and little ones, here in this sanctuary and at home, whenever and wherever we open ourselves through prayer, love and service in Christ’s name.
Because as John reminds us, the God who caused the explosion that formed life, and the resurrection that reformed it, is also the God who energizes and inspires the everyday. He is the God of small things, present in daily bread, in acts of kindness and forgiveness, in love which is long-suffering and hospitality to all. These are small lights for sure, but lights which lift our spirits on blue Sundays. Lights which beautifully decorate the darkness as the dawning light of the heavenly kingdom slowly approaches, now and always and unto the ages of ages, amen.