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The First Sunday after Easter.

ALMIGHTY Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Readings Below: 1 St. John v. 4. -- John xx19

In Eastertide we read and enjoy the stories of Jesus appearing with his disciples before he ascended. In John’s Gospel, Mary is the first to have seen him at the sepulcher. She does not recognize him, but takes him to be the gardener. He then reveals himself to her, and instructs her to go and tell the disciples that he is risen. After the Resurrection, the Gospels show us that something new is going on. People who knew Jesus intimately do not recognize him unless he chooses to reveal himself.

That same day, Jesus went to the disciples who were hiding themselves behind closed doors. They were afraid, unsure, and leaderless. Jesus appears in their midst. He doesn’t knock at door, or enter through any portal, he just appears. Jesus’ first words put them at rest: "Peace be unto you." His words, his presence, his testimony of the resurrection and his demonstration of his wounds had a very reassuring effect on the ten disciples gathered there. Just as he calmed the seas by his command, he calmed his disciples. Then he gave those gathered there a most wonderful gift, the Holy Spirit. The Gospel says he breathed on them. This was the first time that Jesus had given the Holy Ghost to anyone. He did so by breathing on them. This reminds one of the beginning of creation:

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The Hebrew word for spirit in this verse is Ruwach (roo’ –akh), and it means breath or wind. The image of creation is of God breathing out his Holy Spirit upon the void to create something new out of nothing.

When he created man it is written

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

John the Apostle tell us:

Jesus was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Now on this day of the Resurrection, the first day of the week, Jesus is creating a new thing. He did not breathe on only one person, but upon all his disciples who were gathered there collectively, as a group. This new thing he is creating is the Body of Christ – The Church Militant. Those who are called out to follow Jesus. In the coming Feast of Pentecost we will read of a similar episode with the Breath of God rushing in like a great wind upon the Church and then overcoming thousands who heard the Good News.

Jesus gives his Spirit and Peace to those who hear him and follow him. Whenever and wherever two or three are gathered in his name; he is in the midst of them just as he was on that Sunday Resurrection Day. We are assured as we walk with our Lord, that our path is right and true and that the Peace of God is amongst us and remains with us.

Let us conclude by singing the lovely hymn, Breathe on Me Breath of God.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.



1 St. John v. 4.
WHATSOEVER is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

St. John xx. 19.

THE same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.

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